Governor Andrew's Death Caused by the War—The Governors Dr. Beecher Prayed for—Governor Andrew a Christian Governor—Gov. Andrew's Birth—He goes to Boston to Study Law—Not Averse to Unfashionable and Unpopular Causes—His Cheerfulness and Social Accomplishments—His Sunday School Work—Lives Plainly—His Clear Foresight of the War—Sends a Thousand Men to Washington in One Day—Story of the Blue Overcoats—The Telegram for the Bodies of the Dead of Baltimore—Gov. Andrew's Tender Care for the Poor—The British Minister and the Colored Women—The Governor's Kindness to the Soldier's Wife—His Biblical Proclamations—The Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1861—The Proclamation of 1862—His Interest in the Schools for the Richmond Poor—Cotton Mather's Eulogy on Governor Winthrop—Gov. Andrew's Farewell Address to the Massachusetts Legislature—State Gratitude to Governor Andrew's Family.

Among the many heroic men who have sacrificed their lives in the great battle of liberty in our country, there is no one who deserves a more honored memory than John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts.

We speak of him as dying in battle, for it is our conviction that Governor Andrew was as really a victim of the war as if, like Lincoln, he had been shot down by a bullet. His death was caused by an over tax of the brain in the critical and incessant labors of the five years' war. He had been previously warned by a physician that any such strain would expose him to such a result, so that in meeting the duties and exigencies of his office at the time he did, he just as certainly knew that he was exposing himself to sudden death as the man who goes into battle. He did not fail till the battle was over and the victory won, then with a smile of peace on his lips, he went to rest by the side of Lincoln.

It was a customary form in the prayers of the Rev. Dr. Beecher, to offer the petition that God would make our "Governors as at the first, and our counsellors as at the beginning." These words, spoken with a yearning memory of the old days of the pilgrim fathers, when religion was the law of the land, and the laws and ordinances of Christ were the standard of the government, found certainly a fulfillment in the exaltation of John A. Andrew to be the Governor of Massachusetts.

It has been said of Lincoln by a French statesman that he presents to the world a new type of pure, Christian statesmanship. In the same manner it may be said of John A. Andrew, that he presents a type of a consistently Christian State Governor.

The noble men of America who have just consummated in the 37th and 38th Congresses the sublimest national and moral reform the world ever saw, are the spiritual children of the pilgrim fathers. So are Garrison, Phillips, John Brown, and other external helpers in bringing on the great day of moral victory. They were men either tracing their descent in lineal blood to Puritan parentage, or like Garrison, spiritually born of the eternal influences which they left in the air of the society they moulded.

These sons of the Puritans do not, it is true, in all points hold the technical creed of their ancestors, any more than the Puritans held the creed of the generation just before them. Progress was the root idea with the Puritans, and as they stood far in advance in matters of opinion, so their sons in many respects stand at a different line from them; in this, quite as much as in anything else, proving their sonship. The parting charge of the old pastor Robinson to the little band of pilgrims was of necessity a seed of changes of opinion as time should develop fit causes of change.

"If God reveal anything unto you by any other instrument of his, be ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for I am verily persuaded and confident that the Lord hath much truth yet to break forth from his holy word. For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches who are come to a period in their religion, and will go at present no further than the instruments of their first reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther said; and whatsoever part of his will our good God has imparted unto Calvin they will rather die than embrace it. And the Calvinists you see stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things."

But that part of the Puritan idea which consisted in unhesitating loyalty to Jesus Christ as master in practical affairs, and an unflinching determination to apply his principles and precepts to the conduct of society, and to form and reform all things in the state by them, was that incorruptible seed which has descended from generation to generation in Massachusetts, and shown itself in the course of those noble men who have brought on and carried through the late great revolution. This recent conflict has been in fact a great revival of religion, by which the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount have been established in political forms.

John Albion Andrew was born in the little town of Windham, Cumberland county, Maine. It was like the most of the nests where New England greatness is hatched—a little, cold, poor, barren mountain town, where the winter rages for six months of the year. We hear of him in these days as a sunny-faced, curly-headed boy, full of fun and frolic and kind-heartedness, and we can venture to say how he pattered barefooted after the cows in the dim grey of summer mornings, how he was forward to put on the tea-kettle for mother, and always inexhaustible in obligingness, how in winter he drew the girls to school on his sled, and was doughty and valiant in defending snow forts, and how his arm and prowess were always for the weak against the strong and for the right against the wrong. All these inherent probabilities might be wrought into myths and narratives, which would truly represent the boy who was father to the man, John A. Andrew.

He graduated from Bowdoin College in the class of 1837, and came to Boston to study law in the office of Henry H. Fuller, whence in 1840, he was admitted to the bar.

During the earlier portions of his educational career, both in college and at the bar, he had no very brilliant successes. He had little ambition to dazzle or shine, or seek for immediate effect; he was indifferent to academic honors, his heart and mind being set upon higher things. He read and studied broadly and carefully, in reference to his whole manhood rather than to the exigencies of a passing occasion. Besides his legal studies, he was a widely read belles-lettres student, and his memory was most retentive of all sorts of literature, grave and gay, tragic and comic. He was one that took the journey of life in a leisurely way, stopping to admire prospects and to gather the flowers as he went on.

From the very earliest of his associations in Boston, he allied himself not only with popular and acceptable forms of philanthropy, but also with those which were under the ban of polite society. One who knew him well says: "Few men were connected with so many unpopular and unfashionable causes. Indeed, it was only sufficient to know that an alliance with any cause was considered to involve some loss of social caste, or business patronage, to be pretty sure that John A. Andrew was allied with it."

His cheerful, jovial spirit, and the joyousness with which he accepted the reproach of a cause, took from it the air of martyrdom. His exquisite flow of natural humor oiled and lubricated the play of his moral faculties, so that a gay laugh instead of an indignant denunciation would be the weapon with which he would meet injurious language or treatment heaped on him for conscience sake. Like Lincoln, he had the happy faculty of being able to laugh where crying did no good, and the laughter of some good men, we doubt not, is just as sacred in heavenly eyes as the tears of others. They who tried to put men under society's ban for their conscientious opinions, got loss on their own side in excluding Andrew, since no man had in a higher degree all the arts and faculties of agreeableness in society. No man had a wider or more varied flow of conversation. No man could tell a better story or sing a gayer song. No man was more gifted with that electrical power of animal cheerfulness, which excites others to gayety and mirth. In the intervals of the gravest cases, when pressed down, overwhelmed, and almost bewildered, he would still find spare hours when at the bedside of some desponding invalid, or in the cheerless chamber of old age, he would make all ring again with a flow of mimicry and wit and fun, as jolly as a bob-o-link on a clover head.

Some of the most affecting testimonials to his worth come from these obscure and secluded sources. One aged friend of seventy or more, tells how daily, amid all the cares of the state house and the war, he found some interval to come in and shed a light and cheerfulness in her shaded chamber.

His pastor speaks of him as performing the duties of a Sunday school superintendent during the labors of his arduous station. He was a lover of children and young people, and love made labor light. While he did not hesitate, when necessary, to carry forward the great public cause on the Sabbath day, yet his heart and inclinations ever inclined him to the more purely devotional uses of those sacred hours. The flame of devotion in his heart was ever burning beneath the crust of earthly cares, but ready to flame up brightly in those hours consecrated by the traditions of his Puritan education.

In one respect Governor Andrew was not patterned on the old first magistrates of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was at first decidedly an aristocratic community. A certain of idea rank and stateliness hedged in the office of the governor. He stood above the people at an awful distance and moved among them as a sort of superior being.

Nothing could be more opposed to the frank, companionable nature of Governor Andrew than any such idea. He was a true democrat to the tips of his finger nails, and considered a Governor only as the servant of the people. In this respect, more truly than even the first Puritan governors, did he express the idea given by Christ of rank and dignity, "Whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant."

Governor Andrew from the first rejected and disclaimed everything which seemed to mark him out from the people by outward superiority. He chose to live in a small, plain house, in a retired and by no means fashionable part of the city, and to conduct all his family arrangements on a scale of the utmost simplicity. When the idea was suggested to him that the Governor of Massachusetts ought to have some extra provision to enable him to appear with more worldly pomp and stateliness, he repelled it with energy, "Never, while the country was struggling under such burdens, and her brave men bearing such privations in the field, would he accept of anything more than the plain average comforts of a citizen." The usual traditional formulas and ceremonials of his position were only irksome and embarrassing to him. One of his aids relates that being induced by urgent solicitation to have the accustomed military coat of the Governor of Massachusetts, with all its gold lace and buttons, he wore it twice, and then returning with his aids to his private cabinet, he pulled it off and threw it impatiently into a corner, saying, "Lie there, old coat—you won't find me wearing you again, soon." The ceremonies on public occasions were always irksome and fatiguing to him, and he would recreate himself by singing "Johnny Schmauker" with his aids in his private apartments afterwards. We think good Governor Winthrop would have rolled up his eyes in horror at such carelessness of etiquette and station.

As a public man, Governor Andrew was distinguished for quickness, perspicasity, and energy. The electric, social element of his being made him an apt reader of human nature, and gave him that prophetic insight into what would arise from the doings of men, which enabled him to see afar off and provide for possible emergencies. Thus at the time he was appointed Governor, nothing was farther from the thoughts of the body of Northern men than that there could ever be really and in fact a war in America. All the war talk and war threats that had come from the South had been pleasantly laughed at, as mere political catch words and nursery tales meant to frighten children.

But Andrew felt the atmosphere chilling with the coming storm, and from the moment of his election, he began making active preparations for war, which were at the time as much laughed at as Noah's for the flood.

But the time came which the laughers and skeptics said would not come, and behold on the 15th of April, the President's requisition for troops! Thanks to the previous steps taken by Governor Andrew, the Massachusetts sixth regiment started from Boston in the afternoon of the 17th, leaving the 4th all but ready to follow. Only one day was necessary to get a thousand men started—and this company was the first that entered Washington in uniform and with all the moral effect of uniformed soldiers. This leads us to the celebrated story of the blue overcoats, which is this: Shortly after Lincoln's election, Benjamin F. Butler took tea with Jefferson Davis in Washington, and there satisfied himself in personal conversation that a war must be the result of the machinations that were going on. He posted to Boston and communicated what he knew to Governor Andrew, who immediately called a secret session of the legislature in which he told the crisis and asked for an appropriation to get troops in readiness. They voted twenty-five thousand dollars which Governor Andrew put into arms, ammunition and stores for an immediate equipment for the field. Among other things, he had two or three thousand army overcoats made and stored in the State house.

When the call came, the sixth regiment had not half a quota, but was immediately made up by the fiery zeal of enlisting citizens, who contended for places and even paid large bounties to buy the chance to go. They came into Boston an army of zealous new recruits. The Governor uniformed them at one stroke with his overcoats, and had each man's outfit ready for him so that in one day they were marching from Boston to the capital; and in six days, on Sunday, he was able to announce to the government that the whole quota of men required of Massachusetts were already either in Washington or in Fortress Monroe, on their way thither.

When news came back of the fight in Baltimore, and the murder of some of his brave men, Andrew sent a telegram which showed that if he did not care to wear the uniform of a Massachusetts Governor, he knew how to assert the honor of Massachusetts, and to make other States feel that she had a Chief Magistrate in whose sight the blood of every Massachusetts man was sacred.

He telegraphed to the Mayor of Baltimore:

"I pray you let the bodies of our Massachusetts soldiers, dead in Baltimore, be laid out, preserved in ice, and tenderly sent forward by express to me. All expenses will be paid by the commonwealth."

The tender and fatherly feeling expressed in this telegram is the key note to all Governor Andrew's conduct of the war. Though he would not waste one cent on the trappings of rank, or his own personal dignity or convenience, he gave unlimited orders for marks of tender and delicate devotion to even the remains of the brave who had fallen for their country.

In the same manner he gave himself no rest, in his labors for the families of the brave men who were in the field. This interest was the deeper, the humbler the walk in life of its objects.

The British minister, Sir Frederick Bruce, once called upon him at the State House, and found the room nearly filled with colored women who had come to hear news of fathers, brothers and sons enlisted in the black regiments of Massachusetts. He waited patiently while the Governor inquired into the sorrows and grievances, and listened to the perplexities of these poor anxious souls, and tried in his hopeful cheery way to smooth away difficulties and inspire hope. It was not till the humblest and poorest had had their say, that the turn of the British Minister came, who, as he shook the Governor's hand, said that the scene before him had given him a new idea of the paternal character of a Republican Government.

Of a like nature is another anecdote, one of many which since the Governor's death, have risen like flowers upon his grave.

A poor woman, the wife of a soldier, came to his room to have some business done in relation to the pension of a poorer sister. The Governor told her that her application must be made at another bureau in another part of the State house. Observing something of delicacy and timidity in her air, he asked her where she lived and finding it out of Boston, enquired if she had any friends or relations in the city with whom she could rest during the hours before the opening of the office. Finding that she was utterly a stranger in Boston, and evidently in delicate health, the Governor provided her a sofa in a private nook and told her to rest herself, and offered her from his own frugal stores a glass of wine and a cracker for refreshment. The fatherly kindness and consideration of his manner was more even, than the favors he gave.

His sympathy with the soldiers in the field was a sort of personal identification. He put himself into the Massachusetts army and could say as Paul said of the churches: "who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?" One incident illustrative of this is thus related by Edwin Whipple in his eulogy:

Receiving, in the depth of winter, an urgent request from the War Office that a regiment, not yet properly equipped, should be sent immediately to Washington, he despatched it on the assurance that all its wants should be supplied on its arrival. Hearing that it had been stopped on the way, and that it was undergoing cruel privations, he started instantly for the camp, determined at least to share the misery he might not be able to relieve; and he would not budge an inch until the regiment was sent on to its destination. Indeed he would have blushed to enter heaven, carrying thither the thought that he had regarded his own comfort rather than the least duty he owed to the poorest soldier-citizen.

The proclamations of Governors, Presidents and public men have generally been mere stately generalities and formalities. But with the great stirring of the deeper religious feelings of the community, these papers on the part of our public men have become individual and human—animated by a deeply religious spirit.

The proclamations of Governor Andrew for the usual State Thanksgivings and fasts, customary in Massachusetts were peculiar and unusual documents, and show more than any thing else how strongly the spirit and traditions of his old Puritan ancestry wrought in him, and how completely his mind was permeated with the Hebraistic imagery of the Old Testament.

His first thanksgiving proclamation after the commencement of the war, is a document worth preserving entire.

"By His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor: A proclamation for a day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise.

"The example of the Fathers, and the dictates of piety and gratitude, summon the people of Massachusetts, at this, the harvest season, crowning the year with the rich proofs of the Wisdom and Love of God, to join in a solemn and joyful act of united Praise and Thanksgiving to the Bountiful Giver of every good and perfect gift.

"I do, therefore, with the advice and consent of the Council, appoint Thursday, the twenty-first day of November next—the same being the anniversary of that day, in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and twenty, on which the Pilgrims of Massachusetts, on board the May Flower, united themselves in a solemn and written compact of government—to be observed by the people of Massachusetts as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise. And I invoke its observance by all people with devout and religious joy.

"Sing aloud unto God, our strength; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

"Take a Psalm and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with psaltery.

"Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

"For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. Psalms 81, v. 1 to 4.

"O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

"Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

"For thou, O God, hath proved us; thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Psalms 66, v. 8 and 9.

"Let us rejoice in God and be thankful for the fulness with which he has blessed us in our basket and in our store, giving large rewards to the toil of the husbandman, so that 'our paths drop fatness.'

"For the many and gentle alleviations of the hardships which in the present time of public disorder have afflicted the various pursuits of industry.

"For the early evidence of the reviving energies of the business of the people:

"For the measure of success which has attended the enterprise of those who go down to the sea in ships, of those who search the depths of the ocean to add to the food of man, and of those whose busy skill and handicraft combine to prepare for various use the crops of the earth and sea:

"For the advantages of sound learning, placed within the reach of all children of the people, and the freedom and alacrity with which these advantages are embraced and improved:

"For the opportunities of religious instruction and worship, universally enjoyed by consciences untrammelled by any human authority:

"For the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ, for the means of grace and the hope of glory:

"And with one accord let us bless and praise God for the oneness of heart, mind and purpose in which he has united the people of this ancient Commonwealth for the defence of the rights, liberties, and honor, of our beloved country.

"May we stand forever in the same mind, remembering the devoted lives of our fathers, the precious inheritance of freedom received at their hands, the weight of glory which awaits the faithful, and the infinity of blessing which it is our privilege, if we will, to transmit to the countless generations of the future.

"And while our tears flow, in a stream of cordial sympathy, with the daughters of our people, just now bereft, by the violence of the wicked and rebellious, of the fathers and husbands and brothers and sons, whose heroic blood has made verily sacred the soil of Virginia, and mingling with the waters of the Potomac, has made the river now and forever ours; let our souls arise to God on the wings of Praise, in thanksgiving that He has again granted to us the privilege of living unselfishly, and of dying nobly, in a grand and righteous cause:

"For the precious and rare possession of so much devoted valor and heroism:

"For the sentiment of pious duty which distinguished our fathers in the camp and in the field:

"And for the sweet and blessed consolations which accompany the memories of these dear sons of Massachusetts on to immortality:

"And in our praise let us also be penitent. Let us 'seek the truth and ensue it,' and prepare our minds for whatever duty shall be manifested hereafter.

"May the controversy in which we stand be found worthy in its consummation of the heroic sacrifices of the people and the precious blood of their sons, of the doctrine and faith of the fathers, and consistent with the honor of God and with justice to all men.


"'Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him, flee before him.'

"'As smoke is driven away, so drive those away.' Psalms, 68, v. 1 and 2.

"'Scatter them by thy power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.' Psalms, 59, v. 11.

Given at the Council Chamber, this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and the eighty-sixth of the Independence of the United States of America.


"By His Excellency the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Council.

Oliver Warner, Secretary.

"God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

The next year, 1862, the annual thanksgiving proclamation has the following characteristic close:

"Rising to the height of our great occasion, re-enforced by courage, conviction and faith, it has been the privilege of our country to perceive, in the workings of Providence, the opening ways of a sublime Duty. And to Him who hath never deserted the faithful, unto Him 'who gathereth together the outcasts of Israel, who healeth the broken in heart,' we owe a new song of thanksgiving. 'He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation.'

"Putting aside all fear of man, which bringeth a snare, may this people put on the strength which is the divine promise and gift to the faithful and obedient; 'Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand.' Not with malice and wickedness, but with sincerity and truth, let us keep this feast; and while we 'eat the fat and drink the sweet, forget not to send a portion to him for whom nothing is prepared.' Let us remember on that day the claims of all who are poor, or desolate, or oppressed, and pledge the devotion of our lives to the rescue of our country from the evils of rebellion, oppression and wrong; and may we all so order our conduct hereafter, that we may neither be ashamed to live, nor afraid to die."

When the war was over, and the victory won, the generous and brotherly spirit of Governor Andrew showed itself in the instant outflowing of charity towards our misguided and suffering brethren, and he was one of the first and warmest to respond to the cry for aid to the starving thousands at the South. "I was for a vigorous prosecution of the war while there was a war," he said, "but now the war is over, I am for a vigorous prosecution of the peace."

It is not generally known that the moment the national flag made Richmond a safe place to be visited by northern men, teachers were at once sent from Boston to found a series of common schools for the poor white children of Richmond. The building formerly employed as a laboratory for the preparing of torpedos and other implements of war, was converted into a school room for these poor vagrants, who had suffered from cold, hunger and neglect during the chances of the war. The teachers carried with them not only school books for the children, but gifts of clothing and supplies of food, whereby they carried comfort to many a poor family. In this most peculiarly Christian work, Governor Andrew sympathized deeply. His was a nature that, while it could be surpassed by none in energetic resistance to wrong, was ever longing the rather to express itself in deeds of kindness.

Governor Andrew's farewell address to the Legislature of Massachusetts was a state paper worthy of the State and worthy of him. We shall make a few extracts:

"At the end of five years of executive administration, I appear before a convention of the two Houses of her General Court, in the execution of a final duty. For nearly all that period, the Commonwealth, as a loyal State of the American Union, has been occupied within her sphere of co-operation, in helping to maintain, by arms, the power of the nation, the liberties of the people, and the rights of human nature.

"Having contributed to the army and the navy—including regulars, volunteers, seamen and marines, men of all arms, and officers of all grades, and of the various terms of service—an aggregate of one hundred and fifty-nine thousand one hundred and sixty-five men; and having expended for the war, out of her own treasury, twenty-seven million seven hundred and five thousand one hundred and nine dollars,—besides the expenditures of her cities and towns, she has maintained, by the unfailing energy and economy of her sons and daughters, her industry and thrift even in the waste of war. She has paid promptly, and in gold, all interest on her bonds—including the old and the new—guarding her faith and honor with every public creditor, while still fighting the public enemy; and now, at last, in retiring from her service, I confess the satisfaction of having first seen all of her regiments and batteries (save two battalions) returned and mustered out of the army; and of leaving her treasury provided for, by the fortunate and profitable negotiation of all the permanent loan needed or foreseen—with her financial credit maintained at home and abroad, her public securities unsurpassed, if even equalled, in value in the money market of the world by those of any State or of the Nation.

* * * * *

"But, perhaps, before descending for the last time from this venerable seat, I may be indulged in some allusion to the broad field of thought and statesmanship, to which the war itself has conducted us. As I leave the Temple where, humbled by my unworthiness, I have stood so long, like a priest of Israel sprinkling the blood of the holy sacrifice on the altar—I would fain contemplate the solemn and manly duties which remain to us who survive the slain, in honor of their memory and in obedience to God."

The Governor then goes on to state his views of reconstruction, and we will say no state paper ever more truly expressed the Christian idea of statesmanship as applied to the most profound problem of modern times.

In conclusion, it seems to us that Governor Andrew so fully lived in the spirit of the old Christian Governors of Massachusetts, that the words of Cotton Mather, in his mourning for Governor Winthrop, fully apply to him: "We are now," he says, "to mourn for a governor who has been to us as a friend in his counsel for all things, help for our bodies by physic, for our estate by law, and of whom there was no fear of his becoming an enemy, like the friends of David; a governor who hath been unto us as a brother; not usurping authority over the church; often speaking his advice, and often contradicted, even by young men, and some of low degree; yet not replying, but offering satisfaction when any supposed offences have arisen; a governor who has been to us as a mother, parent-like distributing his goods to brethren and neighbors at his first coming, and gently bearing our infirmities without taking notice of them."

It is pleasant to record for the honor of republics, that while the disinterestedness of Governor Andrew had left him in honorable poverty, the contributions of Boston and Massachusetts immediately flowed in to supply to his family that estate which their father's patriotism and devotion did not allow him to seek for them. There must have been thousands of grateful hearts in Massachusetts, in homes of comparative indigence whence have come joyful contributions to that testimonial of Massachusetts to her beloved and faithful citizen Governor.

Schuyler Colfax

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