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Austin Blair

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Anoíher of Michigan's ex-chief executives has passed from earth. Austin Blair, the venerable war governor, closed his long and eventful life yesterday morning. For fifty years he has been a historie character in Michigan. The opportunity of his life, however, came with the breaking out of the great conflict of 1861, and he utilized it to the full in rendering great public service to his state and nation. At the age of 43, in the strength of his young manhood he found himself governor of Michigan at a time calculated to tax to the utmost the abilities of the greatest of men. But he was equal to the emergency and it is no disparagement to any to say that he was one of the most versatile, tireless and able of the war governors of the Union. During his two terms he devoted himself and his splendid abilities exclusively to the task of causing the great state of which he was the executive head to do her full duty in the supreme crisis of the nation's life. He was the right man for the place he oceupied. so fitting in fact that his being there must be considered providential. Early in the war it was demonstrated that the destines of the nation were bound up in large measure in the occupants of the gubernatorial chairs of the various states, for without their powerful assistance the president would have been all but powerless. This fact was fully appreciated by Governor Blair and he threw his whole soul with tireless energy and zeal into the purpose of causing his state to acquit herself of her whole duty to the nation. It was due in large degree to his herculean efforts that Michigan succeeded in making the splendid showing she did in organizing, ofñcering, equipping and sending to the front so large a number of volunteers. No state did better in proportion to her population and no state filled her quotas of men more promptly. More than 88,000 men, an army larger than those with which many of the decisive battles of the world have been won, were drawn from the citizenship of Michigan, organized, drilled and sent to the front. In all the immense labor attending such a vast undertaking Gov. Blair was a leading spirit. Besides, this enormous business was conducted upon economical principies and without scandal of any kind. When the struggle ended the honor and renown acquired through his great work as governor gained for him a seat in congress, which he oceupied for six years. His record in congress was perhaps not as brilliant as his career as governor, but it was sufnciently pronounced to gain for him the jealousy and enmity of prominent men of his party, who compassed his political overthrow and drove him out of the party. He afterward returned to the party, but the I treatment he had received undoubtedly embittered the later years of his life. He had too much of the patriot and statesman about him to make a successful politician in the ordinary sense, and he could not therefore be in favor with the element of his party which dominated its policy after the death of Lincoln. However, he has left a record behind for honesty and uprightness and faithful adherence to duty in a crisis that tried men's souls which will endure as long as the state in whose arduous service he spent four of the best years of his life.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News