Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Andrew, John Albion
ANDREW, John Albion, statesman, b. in Windham, Me., 31 May, 1818; d. in Boston, Mass., 30 Oct., 1867. His father, descended from an early settler of Boxford, Mass., was a prosperous merchant in Windham. John Albion was graduated at Bowdoin in 1837. He was a negligent student, though fond of reading, and in his professional life always felt the lack of training in the habit of close application. He immediately entered on the study of the law in the office of Henry H. Fuller, in Boston, where in 1840 he was admitted to the bar. Until the outbreak of the war he practised his profession in that city, attaining special distinction in the fugitive-slave cases of Shadrach Burns and Sims, which arose under the fugitive-slave law of 1850. He became interested in the slavery question in early youth, and was attracted toward many of the reform movements of the day. After his admission to the bar he took an active interest in politics and frequently spoke on the stump on behalf of the whig party, of which he was an enthusiastic member. From the year 1848 he was closely identified with the anti-slavery party of Massachusetts, but held no office until 1858, when he was elected a member of the state legislature from Boston, and at once took a leading position in that body. In 1860 he was a delegate to the Chicago republican convention, and, after voting for Mr. Seward on the early ballots, announced the change of the vote of part of the Massachusetts delegation to Mr. Lincoln. In the same year he was nominated for governor by a popular impulse. Many feared that the radicalism of his opinions would render him unsafe in action, and the political managers regarded him as an intruder and opposed his nomination; yet he was elected the twenty-first governor of Massachusetts since the adoption of the constitution of 1780 by the largest popular vote ever cast for any candidate. He was energetic in placing the militia of Massachusetts on a war footing, in anticipation of the impending conflict between the government and the seceded states. He had announced this purpose in his inaugural address in 1861, and, upon being inducted into office, he sent a confidential message to the governors of Maine and New Hampshire, inviting their cooperation in preparing the militia for service and providing supplies of war material. This course of action was not regarded with favor at the time by a majority of the legislature, although his opponents refrained from a direct collision. On receiving the president's proclamation of 15 April, 1861, he despatched five regiments of infantry, a battalion of riflemen, and a battery of artillery to the defence of the capital. Of these, the Massachusetts 6th was the first to tread southern soil, passing through New York while the regiments of that state were mustering, and shedding the first blood of the war in the streets of Baltimore, where it was assailed by the mob. Gov. Andrew sent a telegram to Mayor Brown, praying him to have the bodies of the slain carefully sent forward to him at the expense of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was equally active in raising the Massachusetts contingent of three years' volunteers, and was laborious in his efforts to aid every provision for the comfort of the sick and wounded soldiers. He was four times reflected governor, holding that, office till January, 1866, and was only then released by his positive declination of another renomination, in order to attend to his private business, as the pecuniary sacrifice involved in holding the office was more than he was able to sustain, and his health was seriously affected by his arduous labors. In 1862 he was one of the most urgent of the northern governors in impressing upon the administration at Washington the necessity of adopting the emancipation policy, and of accepting the services of colored troops. In September, 1862, he took the most prominent part in the meeting of governors of the northern states, held at Altoona, Penn., to devise ways and means to encourage and strengthen the hands of the government. The address of the governors to the people of the north was prepared by him. Gov. Andrew interfered on various occasions to prevent the federal authorities from making arbitrary arrests among southern sympathizers in Massachusetts previous to the suspension of the habeas-corpus act. In January, 1863, he obtained from the secretary of war the first authorization for raising colored troops, and the first colored regiment (54th Massachusetts infantry) was despatched from Boston in May of that year. Gov. Andrew was particular in selecting the best officers for the black troops and in providing them with the most complete equipment. Though famous as the war governor of Massachusetts, he also bestowed proper attention on the domestic affairs of the commonwealth. In his first message he recommended that the provision in the law preventing a person against whom a decree of divorce has been granted from marrying again, should be modified; but the proposition met with strong opposition in the legislature, especially from clergymen, and it was not till 1864 that an act was passed conferring power upon the supreme court to remove the penalty resting upon divorced persons. He also recommended a reform in the usury laws, such as was finally effected by an act passed in 1867. He was strongly opposed to capital punishment, and recommended its repeal. A law requiring representatives in congress to be residents of the districts from which they are elected was vetoed by him on the ground that it was both unconstitutional and inexpedient, but was passed over his veto. Of the twelve veto messages sent by Gov. Andrew during his incumbency, only one other, in the case of a resolve to grant additional pay to members, was followed by the passage of the act over the veto. His final term as governor expired 5 Jan., 1866. In a valedictory address to the legislature he advocated a generous and conciliatory policy toward the southern states, “demanding no attitude of humiliation; inflicting no acts of humiliation.” Gov. Andrew was modest and simple in his habits and manner of life, emotional and quick in sympathy for the wronged or the unfortunate, exceedingly joyous and mirthful in temperament, and companionable with all classes of persons. The distinguished ability that shone out in his administration as governor of Massachusetts, the many sterling qualities that were summed up in his character, his social address, and the charm of his conversational powers, together with his clear and forcible style as an orator, combined to render him conspicuous among the state governors of the war period, and one of the most influential persons in civil life not connected with the federal administration. Soon after the expiration of his last term as governor he was tendered, but declined, the presidency of Antioch college, Ohio. He presided over the first national Unitarian convention, held in 1865, and was a leader of the conservative wing of that denomination — those who believed with Channing and the early Unitarians in the supernaturalism of Christ's birth and mission, as opposed to Theodore Parker and his disciples. After retiring from public life Mr. Andrew entered upon a lucrative legal practice. In January, 1867, he represented before the general court about 30,000 petitioners for a license law, and delivered an argument against the principle of total prohibition. His death, which occurred suddenly from apoplexy, was noticed by public meetings in various cities. He married, 25 Dec., 1848, Miss Eliza Jane Hersey, of Hingham, Mass., who with their four children survived him. See “Memoir of Gov. Andrew, with Personal Reminiscences,” by Peleg W. Chandler (Boston, 1880), “Discourse on the Life and Character of Gov. Andrew,” by Rev. E. Nason (Boston, 1868), and “Men of Our Times,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. A life of Gov. Andrew, by Edwin P. Whipple, was left unfinished at the time of Mr. Whipple's death in 1886. — His son, John F., d. in Boston, 30 May, 1895. He was graduated from Harvard in 18?2, and three years later from the Harvard law school. He served three terms as a Massachusetts representative and two terms as state senator. In 1888 he was elected to congress as a democrat, and reëlected two years later, but was defeated in 1892.