conservative — if that is the word for it-and finally in his Congressional speech in the winter of 1861 he made the fatal statement that personally he would be in favor of permitting the Southern States to secede, although he could not see that there was any legal right for it. This acted as a divider between him and his former associates, until in 1876 he found himself again in the same party with Frank W. Bird.
During the administration of Governor Banks, that is, between 1857 and 1860, Bird served on the Governor's council, although generally in opposition to Banks himself.
He went as a delegate to the Chicago Convention of 1860, where he voted at first for Seward, and afterwards for Lincoln.
From that time forward, until 1880, he was always to be found at the State House, and devoted so much time to public affairs that it is a wonder his business of paper manufacturing did not suffer from it. Yet he always seemed to have plenty of time, and was never so much absorbed in what
last stanza she wishes to construct a dam at the foot of Beacon Hill and cause a flood that would sweep the rebel sympathizers out of Boston.
The office of the Blind Asylum was formerly near the middle of Bromfield Street on the southern side.
This is now historic ground.
Between 1850 and 1870 some of the most important national councils were held there in Dr. Howe's private office.
It was the first place that Sumner went to in the morning and the last place that Governor Andrew stopped before returning to his home at night.
There Dr. Howe and George L. Stearns consulted with John Brown concerning measures for the defence of Kansas; and there Howe, Stearns, and Bird concerted plans for the election of Andrew in 1860, and for the re-election of Sumner in 1862.
It was a quiet, retired spot in the midst of a bustling city, where a celebrated man could go without attracting public attention.
Chevalier Howe outlived Sumner just one year, and Wilson followed him not long after.
Governor Andrew was in doubt he usually sent for Frank W. Bird and George L. Stearns, but this time Mr. Stearns was before him. To the Governor's question, What is to done?
he replied, If you will obtain funds from the Legislature for their transportation, I will recruit you a regiment among the black men of Ohio and Canada West.
There are a great many runaways in Canada, and those are the ones who will go back and fight.
Very good, said the Governor; go as soon as you can, and our friend Bird will take care of the appropriation bill.
A handsome recruiting fund for incidental expenses had already been raised, to which Mr. Stearns was, as usual, one of the largest subscribers.
He arrived at Buffalo, New York, the next day at noon, and went to a colored barber to have his hair cut. He disclosed the object of his mission, and the barber promised to bring some of his friends together to discuss the matter that evening.
The following evening Mr. Stearns called a meeting of the col
ing elements of the Free-soil party.
At one time this club counted among its members two Senators, three Governors, and a number of Congressmen, and it was a power in the land.
Elizur Wright's services as editor of the Chronotype gave him an early entrance to it; and having life insurance on the brain, as it were, other members of the club soon became interested in the subject as a political question.
In this way Mr. Wright was soon able to effect legislation.
Sumner, Wilson, Andrew, and Bird gave him an almost unqualified support.
In 1858 he was appointed Insurance Commissioner for Massachusetts, a position which he held until 1866.
As Commissioner he formulated the principal legislation on life insurance; and his reports, which have been published in a volume, are the best treatise in English on the practical application of life-insurance principles.
In 1852 he resigned the editorship of the Chronotype, and from that time till 1858 he was occupied with life-insurance work,