Andrew, John Albion
ANDREW, JOHN ALBION (1818-1867), American political leader, "war governor" of Massachusetts, was born at Windham, Maine, on the 31st of May 1818. He graduated at Bowdoin College in 1837, studied law in Boston, was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1840, and practised his profession in Boston. He also took a deep interest in religious matters, was a prominent member of the Church of the Disciples (Unitarian; founded in Boston by the Rev. James Freeman Clarke), and was assistant editor for some time of The Christian World, a weekly religious paper. With ardent anti-slavery principles, he entered political life as a "Young Whig" opposed to the Mexican War; he became an active Free-Soiler in 1848, and in 1854 took part in the organization in Massachusetts of the new Republican party. He served one term, in 1858, in the state House of Representatives, and in 1859 declined an appointment to a seat on the bench of the state supreme court. In this year he took such an active part in raising funds to defend John Brown, then on trial in Virginia, that he aroused the suspicions of a senatorial committee investigating Brown's raid, and was summoned to Washington to tell what he knew of the affair. In 1860 he was chairman of the Massachusetts delegation to the Republican national convention at Chicago, which nominated Lincoln for the Presidency; and from 1861 to January 1866, throughout the trying period of the Civil War, he was governor of Massachusetts, becoming known as one of the ablest, most patriotic and most energetic of the remarkable group of "war governors" in the North. Immediately after his inauguration he began filling the militia regiments with young men ready for active service, saw that they were well drilled and supplied them with good modern rifles. As a result, Massachusetts was the only northern state in any way prepared for war when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter; and her troops began to muster in Boston on the 16th of April, the very day after President Lincoln's call for volunteers. On the next day the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry started south for the defence of Washington, and was the first fully armed and equipped volunteer regiment to reach the capital. Within six days after the call, nearly four thousand Massachusetts volunteers had departed for Washington. In 1865, at Governor Andrew's own request, the secretary of war authorized him to raise several regiments of negro troops, with white commissioned officers, and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry was the first regiment of free negroes raised in the North. Governor Andrew's example was quickly followed in other states, and before the end of the year 36,000 negroes had been enrolled in the Union armies. When the war department ruled that the negro troops were entitled to pay only as "labourers" and not as soldiers, Governor Andrew used all his influence with the president and the secretary of war to secure for them the same pay as white troops, and was finally successful. Notwithstanding his loyal support of the administration during the struggle, he did not fully approve of its conduct of the war, which he deemed shifting and timid; and it was with great reluctance that he supported Lincoln in 1864 for a second term. In 1865 he rejected the more radical views of his party as to the treatment to be accorded to the late Confederate states, opposed the immediate and unconditional enfranchisement of freedmen, and, though not accepting President Johnson's views in their entirety, he urged the people of Massachusetts to give the new president their support. On retiring from the governor's office he declined the presidency of Antioch College, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, and various positions in the service of the Federal government, and resumed the practice of law, at once achieving great success. In 1865 he presided at the first national convention of the Unitarian Church. He died suddenly of apoplexy, at Boston, on the 30th of October 1867.
See Henry G. Pearson's Life of John A.
Andrew (2 vols., Boston and New York, 1904).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)