Page images

that animated that body was given to the land for a purpose. In treating of the great moral, social, political and military struggle, which has swallowed up the life of a generation, history will look back and recognize in him whom we bury to-day, a heroic and conspicuous figure, that men of honor, nobility and generosity of character will respect forever. It will recognize one who, superior to prejudices, rose above the intimidation attendant upon a loss of popularity, above the huzzas of men, there to think freely, bravely, manfully.

And whatever the decrees of that mind, though we may have differed from him, and deemed him mistaken in judgment, we all must recognize that he stood by what he thought, and that he believed that in so doing he was serving the cause of truth, honor, freedom and his country. History will recognize him as one who stood in those days an incorrupt man. No selfishness tainted Frank P. Blair. He was superior to fear in any cause which he thought right, and many of us will, from the stand-point from which we view the affairs of those dark days, gratefully remember him, now and in years to come, as the great pivotal figure around which rolled the surges of that great internecine war-as one who stood between us and the terrible vortex—as one who stood in those days when dark prospects and menaces were all about him, a calm and heroic man, and in full view of the multitudes, warded off from our municipality the curse of civil strife. We may have differed from him in views, but none lived who would forgive such a difference sooner than that great heart hushed there forever.

I shall attempt no biography of Frank P. Blair. Born in 182 I he measured with his manly life that solemn and terrible era of strife in ideas, politics and arms that has marked our national history for twenty or thirty years past. To an intellect naturally acute, quick, sagacious, he added culture of universal lore and letters, and that education and cultivation which came to him in the way of a natural heritage from his honest father, who was one of the foremost journalists of the age. This heritage inspired him with an ambition to do something for his land, and his education, by posting him thoroughly on the affairs of the world, admirably fit. ted him to gratify that ambition-an ambition which forms the keynote to our country's noblest characters. He inherited a faculty for handling public questions with facility, and from earliest boy. hood he placed public above private interests. But above all these qualities, he possessed a rare generosity of soul—a soul cast in an heroic mould, which blossomed forth in heroic thought and action. He possessed those qualities which enter into the composition of a hero and a patriot, exhibiting a fearless courage, a readiness to make private sacrifice for public good, and a generosity toward friends and foes—for he harbored malice toward none. He was a friend indeed—one who knew not how to cease doing and laboring for those whom he once adopted as his friends. His generosity constituted the wonderful magnetism which drew people to him. Superior to jealousy, above sordid purposes, he was decisive as well as incisive. While others were debating a proposition he would decide his course at once, and having adopted that course, he was not to be driven back. With these admirable qualities he united affection and gentleness in a rare degree. No child or woman was more simple in heart nor more gentle and kindly in manner than he, who, on the arena of strife, had the bearing of a lion.

He was often misunderstood because of his great decision of character. Men knew what they had to fear if they opposed his principles. In his private walks of life he was, as he said in a eulogy upon a friend of his, "sweet as summer.” He had few counterparts in history. There certainly have been intellects equal to his, but in combining such intellects with such a degree of generosity and other noble qualities, he stands alone, and history must point to him as one of the most heroic figures of the heroic age of our country's life.

He had his faults, as all of us have. Would you not dread to have a friend who had none of these failings which establish between weak humans a bond of sympathy?

His mistakes were more or less, according to the various views of those who judged him. But even they were of a noble order, and grew out of a love of truth and patriotism. He will stand out as a star in the political firmament that all the future may gaze at, and time will never dim.

I may not follow the grand qualities of his character any further, although they tempt me to dwell upon them. Time hastens.

But if this record were all, his would have been an imperfect life. How was it between his soul and his maker?

How is it between him and that tribunal before which he now stands in the light of eternity? I know that all that he has done, and the tributes we may pay him, and all we may do for him, will drift down amid the perishing things of mortality. We look, then, at his spiritual life, and I am grateful for the record I can give you.


The life of our brother was an intense one, full of political strife and questions of public enterprise. These engaged him constantly, and if it were not for what was looked upon as a calamity, they might have continued to engage him to the end of his career.

Some two years ago God looked down and would save what he had created—that strong, grand man. A hand arrested and prostrated him. The drift of his thoughts was changed. He acknowledged his gratefulness to God and his neglect of the matters most important to his soul. He was in conversation with an old friend, and some remark of that friend struck hiin with peculiar force, as such things do occur between friends. He determined to devote his attention to spiritual affairs, and it was no part of his character to neglect that which he had once determined to do.

In all the changes of his life he had held to the faith he had received from his mother's lips. He had been guided and directed by it in his vicissitudes, and was jealous of it in his children. He now gave himself to Christ—not with broken intellect, as some might suppose, but with his full vigor of mind. He was anxious to make public profession of his faith in the same spot where he now lies dead, that his old friends might hear and see him, but the disease, the malady was upon him, and he was never allowed to make it here. While seeking health at Clifton Springs, however, he declared his faith. Old friends, he makes that declaration now. This is a consolation above all others to those mourners, to those of his name whom his land loves because of him, and to whom, I trust, it will always extend a grateful remembrance. This was the finest achievement of his life and character. That life which ends in heaven is a glorious life.

In youth I visited the grave of Washington, and as I lay on the grass looking up I found written—not a record of his triumphs nor a history of his revolutionary achievements—but the simple inscription, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, even though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Nothing grander could be written over great Washington. In Westminster, far above the royal emblazonry and emblems of power over the graves of departed royalty and genius, as that alone under which man can lie down in the grave in peace and rest, is the cross of Christ. Let us take refuge there. Let the voice from that dust plead with his own friends-old friends. Benton, Bates, Geyer, Gamble—political giants of their day—where are they all? Their names are almost forgotten. Let us, then, in our efforts to make fleeting records here, not forget to make records in the books of God forever.

REMARKS BY DR. BROOKES. At the request of Dr. Post, Dr. Brookes made a few supplemental remarks in regard to the profession of religion by the deceased. He stated that in 1866 or 1867 he traveled one day with General Blair through the interior part of the State, the General being on a political tour. Dr. Brookes stated that the day passed most agreeably. Some remarks led him to ask the General if he was an infidel. The General replied instantly that he was not, and that he could not see how any fair-minded man could regard the Bible as mythical, or christianity as a delusion. He stated that he had been so pressed for time that he had no leisure for contemplation of spiritual subjects, but he hoped to give them a thorough investigation before he died. Sometime afterward, as Dr. Post had stated, the General had a conversation with a friend, which turned his thoughts in the direction indicated, and Dr. Brookes heard of it. The General had commanded his respect and admiration by his unfaltering fidelity to principle, self-sacrifice to right, and his superiority to anything malignant; hence he wrote the General a letter, seeking to lead his mind in a proper channel. He received a prompt and cordial response, and had hoped to read it upon this occasion, but was unable to find it. The General in that letter stated that he had come to recognize the goodness of God in the paralytic stroke which rendered him helpless. He regarded it as the most fortunate event of his life, as it had arrested his mode of life and thought, and directed his attention to the subject of his soul's salvation. He stated that he intended to make a public profession of faith in St. Louis as soon as possible, but the opportunity was never afforded him. Rev. Dr. Nelson, formerly of St. Louis, wrote to Dr. Brookes soon after that the General wished to join the church, but his tongue was paralyzed, and he requested Dr. Nelson to write to Dr. Brookes to tell the state of his (the General's ) mind. Within a few days thereafter, the General, fearing that he could not live, went to the village church and stood bravely up in his weak condition, and made his confession of faith in a manner just as those who were acquainted with him knew he would make it. No one who knew him believes that he was frightened by the prospect of death into making a sneaking acknowledgement of Christ. He had braved the dangers of too many battles to warrant such an imputation, and his course was due to moral bravery.


In a little while, as we all know by the records of the past, Frank P. Blair will be forgotten, except by a small circle of friends. During the past few years, the great men mentioned by Dr. Post had passed into mere casual remembrance, and this makes us forcibly feel the emptiness of worldly things. It was the prayer of the speaker that the surviving friends of General Blair might reap the full benefit of the grand lesson taught by this noblest act of his life—the acknowledgment of Christ.

This was followed by an earnest prayer by Dr. Post, and the services were declared completed.

TO BELLEFONTAINE. The remains were escorted by an immense procession to Bellefontaine Cemetery, where the interment took place in a lot owned by the family of the deceased. At the grave Dr. Post offered a fervent prayer, the casket was gently lowered to its final restingplace, and the melancholy task of love and respect was ended.

Men who had been comrades or foemen at arms, those who had been closest friends or bitterest opponents through the varied interests of public or private life, joined with equal zeal in paying the last tribute of respect to the memory of Francis P. Blair.

Major-General MORGAN L. Smith died suddenly of congestion of the lungs at Taylor's Hotel in Jersey City, December 29th, 1874.

He was born March 8th, 1821, in the town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York, subsequently removing with his father's family to Jefferson County, New York. In 1842 he, having become of age, left home and settled in Meadville, Pennsylvania, but soon moved to New Albany, Indiana. In 1846, the Mexican war having commenced, he enlisted as a private in the regular army, and was sent to the Barracks at Newport, Kentucky, where he made himself so useful in drilling troops and assisting the commanding officer, that he received the appointment of Orderly

« EelmineJätka »