Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Joseph Gurney Cannon (18361926)
The House of Representatives, in some respects, I think, is the most peculiar assemblage in the world, and only a man who has had long experience there can fully know its idiosyncrasies. It is true we engage in fierce combat, we are often intense partisans, sometimes we are unfair, not infrequently unjust, brutal at times, and yet I venture to say that, taken as a whole, the House is sound at heart; nowhere else will you find such a ready appreciation of merit and character, in few gatherings of equal size is there so little jealousy and envy. The House must be considerate of the feelings of its Members; there is a certain courtesy that has to be observed; a man may be voted a bore or shunned as a pest, and yet he must be accorded the rights to which he is entitled by virtue of being a representative of the people. On the other hand, a man may be universally popular, a good fellow, amusing and yet with these engaging qualities never get far. The men who have led the House, whose names have become a splendid tradition to their successors, have gained prominence not through luck or by mere accident. They have had ability, at least in some degree; but more than that, they have had character.
Representative JOSEPH G. CANNON.L. White Busby, Uncle Joe Cannon, p. 260 (1927).
Uncle Joe Cannon, who was Speaker of the House from 19031911, served in the House for 46 years.