MICHIGAN TRAILS -
GENEALOGY and HISTORY

Bar

Henry Howland Crapo
Michigan Governor 1865 - 1869

Bar
Hon. Henry Howland Crapo Governor of Michigan from 1865 to 1869, was born May 24, 1804, at Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts; and died at Flint, Michigan, July 22, 1869. He was the eldest son of Jesse and Phoebe (Howland) Crapo. His father was of French descent, and was very poor, sustaining his family by the cultivation of a farm in Dartmouth Township, which yielded nothing beyond a mere livelihood. His early life was consequently one of toil, and devoid of advantages for intellectual culture; but his desire for an education seemed to know no bounds. The incessant toil for a mere subsistence upon a comparatively sterile farm had no charms for him; and, longing for greater usefulness and better things, he looked for them in an education. His struggles to secure this end necessitated sacrifices and hardships that would have discouraged any but the most courageous and persevering. He became an ardent student and worker from his boyhood, though the means of carrying on his studies were exceedingly limited. He sorely felt the need of a dictionary; and, neither having money wherewith to purchase it, nor being able to procure one in his neighborhood, he set to work to compile one for himself. In order to acquire a knowledge of the English language, he copied into a book every word whose meaning he did not comprehend; and, upon meeting the same word again in the newspapers and books which came into his hands, would study out its meaning from the context, and then record the definition. When unable otherwise to obtain the signification of a word in which he had become interested, he would walk from Dartmouth to New Bedford for that purpose alone; and, after referring to the books at the library, and satisfying himself thoroughly as to its definition, would walk back -- a distance of about seven miles--the same night. This was no unusual circumstance. Under such difficulties, and in this manner, he compiled quite an extensive dictionary in manuscript, which is believed to be still in existence.

Ever in the pursuit of knowledge, he obtained possession of a book upon surveying; and, applying himself diligently to its study, became familiar with the theory of this art, which he soon had an opportunity to practice. The services of a land surveyor were wanted, and he was called upon, but had no compass, and no money with which to purchase one. A compass, however, he must and would have; and, going to a blacksmith's shop near at hand, upon the forge, with such tools as he could find in the shop, while the smith was at dinner, he constructed the compass, and commenced life as a surveyor. Still continuing his studies, he fitted himself for teaching, and took charge of the village school at Dartmouth. When, in the course of time, and under the pressure of law, a high school was to be opened, he passed a successful examination for its principal ship and received the appointment. To do this was no small task. The law required a rigid examination in various subjects, which necessitated days and nights of study. One evening, after concluding his day's labor of teaching, he traveled on foot to New Bedford, some seven or eight miles, called upon the preceptor of Friends' Academy, and passed a severe examination. Receiving a certificate that he was qualified, he walked back to his home the same night, highly elated in being possessed of the acquirements and requirements of a master of the high school. In 1832, at the age of twenty-eight years. He left his native town, and went to reside at New Bedford, where he followed the occupation of a land surveyor, and occasionally acted as an auctioneer. Soon after becoming a citizen of this place, he was elected Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Collector of Taxes, which office he held until the form of the municipal government of New Bedford was changed,--about fifteen years;--when, upon the inauguration of the city government, he was elected Treasurer and Collector of Taxes, a position which he held two or three years. He was also Police Justice for many years.

He was elected Alderman of New Bedford; was Chairman of the Council Committee on Education; and, as such, prepared a report upon which was based the order for the establishment of the Free Public Library of New Bedford. On its organization, Mr. Crapo was chosen a member of its first Board of Trustees. This was the first free public library in Massachusetts, if not in the world; the Boston Public Library, however, was established soon afterwards. While a resident in New Bedford, he was much interested in horticulture; and, to obtain the land necessary for carrying out his ideas, he drained and reclaimed several acres of rocky and swampy land adjoining his garden. Having properly prepared the soil, he started a nursery, which he filled with almost every description of fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. He was very successful in their propagation and growth, and took much pride in the result of his experiment. At horticultural fairs in Boston and elsewhere, he exhibited from his grounds one hundred and fifty varieties of pears of his own propagation, and one hundred and twenty varieties of roses. In this, as in every thing that he undertook, he always worked intelligently, and for the best results; seeking the best methods, and looking for information to the highest authorities. The interest he took in the subject brought him into communication with the most eminent horticulturists of the country; and the desire to impart as well as to acquire knowledge soon led him to become a regular contributor to the New England Horticultural Journal, a position he filled as long as he lived in Massachusetts. As an indication of the wide reputation he acquired in that field of labor, it may be mentioned that, after his death, an effecting eulogy to his memory was pronounced by the President of the National Horticultural Society, at its meeting in Philadelphia, in 1869.

During his residence in New Bedford, Mr. Crapo was also engaged in the whaling business, which was then the great specialty of local enterprise. A fine baroque built at Dartmouth, of which he was part owner, was named the "H. H. Crapo," in compliment to him. Mr. Crapo also took an active interest in the State militia, and for several years held a commission as Colonel of one of the regiments. In speaking of the intimate relations of Mr. Crapo with the interests of New Bedford, the Evening Standard of that city says: "No man connected with our municipal concerns ever had, to a greater extent than Mr. Crapo, the confidence of the people. He was exact and methodical in all matters of record; conscientious and laboriously persistent in the discharge of every duty; clear in his methods and statements in all that appertained to his official transactions. He left, at the end of his long period of service, all that belonged to his department as a financial or recording officer so lucid and complete that no error has ever been detected, or any improvement made upon his plans." He was President of the Bristol County Mutual Fire Insurance, and Secretary of the Bedford Commercial Insurance, companies, in New Bedford; and, while an officer of the municipal government, he compiled and published, between the years of 1836 and 1845, five numbers of the New Bedford Directory, the first work of the kind ever issued there. Mr. Crapo removed to Michigan in 1856, having been induced to do so by investments made principally in pine lands,--first in 1837, and, subsequently, in 1856. He took up his residence in the city of Flint, and engaged largely in the manufacture and sale of lumber at Flint, Fentonville, Holly, and Detroit, becoming one of the largest and most successful business men of the State. He was mainly instrumental in the construction of the Flint and Holly Railroad, and was President of that corporation until its consolidation with the Flint and Pere Marquette Railway Company.

He exhibited a lively interest in the municipal affairs of Flint; gave his hearty support to the cause of popular education; and was elected Mayor of that city after he had been a resident of the place only five or six years. In 1862 he was elected State Senator to represent Genesee County, and took rank among the leading men of the Michigan Senate. He was Chairman of the Committee on Banks and Incorporations, and a member of the Committee on Bounties to Soldiers. He at once became conspicuous as a legislator; his previously acquired experience and knowledge of State and municipal affairs admirably fitting him for legislative duties. In the fall of 1864, he received the nomination, on the Republican ticket, for Governor of the State, and was elected by a large majority. He was re-elected in 1866, holding the office two terms, and retiring in January, 1869. During the four years he occupied this office, he served the State with unflagging zeal, energy, and industry. The features which especially characterized his administration were his vetoing of railway aid legislation, and his firm refusal to pardon convicts imprisoned in the penitentiary, unless upon the clearest proof of their innocence, or of extreme sentence. Subsequent events and experience have proved, conclusively, that his action in vetoing railway aid bills, passed by the Legislature of 1867, was of great benefit to the State financially; and his judgment in that matter has been generally approved. While serving his last term as Governor, he was attacked with the disease which terminated his life within one year afterwards. During much of this time, he was an intense sufferer, yet often while in great pain gave his attention to public matters. A few weeks previous to his death, which occurred July 23, 1869, a successful surgical operation was performed, which seemed rapidly to restore him; but he overestimated his strength, and, by too much exertion in business matters and State affairs, suffered a relapse, from which there was no rebound.

The Detroit Tribune closes an obituary notice with the following tribute to his worth: "In all the public positions he held, Governor Crapo showed himself a capable, discreet, vigilant, and industrious officer. He evinced wonderful vigor in mastering details, and always wrote and spoke intelligently on any subject to which he gave his attention. Michigan never before had a Governor who devoted as much personal attention and painstaking labor to her public duties as he did. His industry was literally amazing. He was not a man of brilliant or showy qualities, but he possessed sharp and remarkably well-developed business talents, a clear, practical understanding, sound judgment, and unfailing integrity. In all the walks of life, there was not a purer man in the State. So faithful, so laborious, so unselfish, so conscientious a man in official life is a blessing beyond computation in the healthful influence which he exerts in the midst of the too prevalent corruptions that so lamentably abound in the public service. We have often thought, that, in his plainness, his honesty, his fidelity to duty, and in his broad and sterling good sense, Governor Crapo closely resembled the lamented Lincoln. He was a man of the people, and most worthily represented them. His decease is an occasion for public mourning. The State has very few men like him, and can ill afford to spare such an eminently useful citizen. His death will be profoundly deplored throughout our Commonwealth, and a general sympathy will be sincerely extended to his bereaved family." In the prosperity of the city of Flint he was deeply interested, and his old love for agriculture and horticulture was further stimulated by his removal to a more fertile section of the country. He had an especial fondness for landscape and ornamental gardening; and, attached to his residence in Flint, he had upwards of an acre of land which he took great pride in cultivating.

In the town of Gaines, he possessed a farm of about eleven hundred acres, most of which he reclaimed from swamps by a system of drainage that he planned. Extensive improvements upon the farm were made by him from year to year, and it has now developed into one of the finest in the State. Here he made an effort to improve the breed of cattle and sheep, importing Hereford, Short Horn, and Devon cattle; and South down, Cotswold, and Leicester sheep. The farmers, recognizing the interest he felt in agricultural pursuits, elected him, in 1863, President of the Genesee County Agricultural Society, which position he held for a year. During the last years of his life, he was a regular contributor of articles on agricultural topics to the Albany Country Gentleman. A Flint correspondent of a Detroit paper, in announcing his death, says: "To say that his death has cast a gloom over our entire city, inadequately expresses the deep sorrow depicted on every countenance. He has now not only the respect, but the affections, of our citizens. While the State at large will regret his loss as an eminent and upright public officer, we mourn his untimely end as an energetic, influential citizen, a wise counselor, a prime mover in the prosperity of our city, and a kind neighbor, who ever stood ready to aid the unfortunate. With his administration of State affairs, the public are familiar; it needs no eulogy at our hands. Suffice it to say, that he assumed control at a very critical period, being near the close of the war, when all public affairs were in a very unsettled condition, and when the resources of the State were being taxed to the greatest extent to meet the demands of the General Government.

That we emerged from the great contest with a proud record, ranking with the highest for aid and counsel rendered the Government, was attributable, in no small degree, to the foresight and indomitable energy displayed by our lamented ex-Governor, who so well took up and carried forward the patriotic and untiring efforts of his predecessor in the gubernatorial office. The brave boys who sustained the glorious reputation of our State during the last year of the war, learned to love and respect him for the almost parental affection shown them; we know they will always revere his memory, and in this they will be joined by all who knew him." In the early part of his life, Mr. Crapo affiliated with the Whig party in politics, but became an active member of the Republican party after its organization. He was a member of the Christian (sometimes called the Disciples') Church, and took great interest in its welfare and prosperity. Mr. Crapo married, June 9, 1825, Mary Ann Slocum, of Dartmouth, a young lady only one year his junior. His marriage took place soon after he had attained his majority, and before his struggles with fortune had been rewarded with any great measure of success. But his wife was a woman of great strength of character, and possessed of courage, hopefulness, and devotion; qualities which sustained and encouraged her husband in the various pursuits of his earlier years. For several years after his marriage, he was engaged in teaching school, his wife living with her parents at the time, at whose home his two older children were born. While thus situated, he was accustomed to walk home on Saturday to see his family, returning on Sunday, in order to be ready for school Monday morning. As the walk, for a good part of the time, was twenty miles each way, it is evident that at that period of his life no common obstacles deterred him from the performance of what he regarded as a duty.

His wife was none the less conscientious in her sphere; and, with added responsibilities and increasing requirements, she labored faithfully in the performance of all her duties. They had ten children,--one son and nine daughters. His son, Hon. William W. Crapo, of New Bedford, is now Representative to Congress from the First Congressional District of Massachusetts.

American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men with Portrait Illustrations on Steel, Vol. I-II 1878

Bar

Governor Crape was born at Dartmouth, near New Bedford, Massachusetts, May 24, 1804. His father was of French descent and cultivated a farm for a livelihood. The land was not very productive and the life of a farmer at that time and place meant incessant toil and many privations. The lad was early inured to these. The opportunities for education were scant. But with an active mind, energy and a determination to learn, he took advantage of the near-by town of new Bedford to pick up some knowledge of books. There being an opening for a land surveyor, he quickly made himself familiar with its duties, and requirements, and with his own hands, through the kind of a neighboring blacksmith, made a compass and began life off the farm as a surveyor. In 1832 he took up residence in new Bedford and followed his occupation as a surveyor and occasionally acted as auctioneer. He was elected town clerk, treasurer and collector of taxes, in which positions he served for about fifteen years. When New Bedford was incorporated as a city he was elected an alderman. He was appointed chairman of the committee on education and as such prepared a report upon which was based the establishment of the free public library of that city, the first of its kind in this country, ante-dating that of Boston by several years. he was a member of the first board of trustees. While a resident of New Bedford he became greatly interested in horticulture. He acquired a quite unpromising piece of land, which he subdued and improved. Upon this he planted and successfully raised a great variety of fruits, flowers and shrubbery and ornamental trees. He soon became widely known for his efforts in horticulture, was a noted exhibitor at fairs and a valued contributor to publications on that subject. The chief business of New Bedford at that period was whaling vessels and the fitting out of vessels with supplies, and the receipt and marketing of the return cargoes was the leading industry. It was very profitable. Mr. Crapo became interested in this enterprise and was part owner of a vessel which bore his name and which made successful voyages. He was also interested in fire insurance and was made an officer in two companies.

Having invested in pine lands in Michigan, he removed to the state in 1856 and settled at Flint. Here he engaged extensively in the manufacture and sale of pine lumber. Branch establishments were set up by him at Holly, Fentonville, and Detroit. Engaging in this business with his characteristic energy and shrewdness, it was not long before he was recognized as one of the most successful lumbermen in a state noted for successful lumbermen. He was mainly instrumental in the construction of a railroad from Flint to Holly, where it connected with the Detroit & Milwaukee. This road was afterward expanded to the Flint & Pere Marquette and stretched across the state to the lake Michigan shore. From this small nucleus has grown what is now an elaborate railroad system which gridirons the state in every direction. He was active in public affairs in his home city, of which he was elected mayor, after a residence of only a few years. In 1862 he was elected a state senator and proved himself to be a very practical and useful member. In 1866 he was elected to a second term as governor. This term expired on the 1st of January, 1869. His death followed about six months later from a disease which attacked him before the close of his official life and which seriously hampered him for many months previous.

The inaugural message of Governor Crapo to the Legislature of 1865 is characterized by his hard-headed good sense. He advocated the prompt payment of the state debt and the adoption of the permanent policy, "Pay as you go." This policy led to a close scrutiny of all appropriations and prevented the incurring of any indebtedness for schemes and enterprises of doubtful expediency. He urgently advocated measures to induce immigration to the state. After calling attention to the vast and varied resources of Michigan and its population so meager in proportion to its capabilities for sustaining many times more, he says, "We want settlers, Five-sixths of our entire territory remains still a wilderness. The vast tracts of woodland, however rich and fertile they may be, are of no use to us until cleared and improved; and nothing but labor can do it. Out rich mines of copper, iron, coal, gypsum, our springs of salt, our fisheries, and out forests of valuable timber, are all calling for men; we want settlers." The Legislature heeded his advice and a bill was introduced and favorably reported in the Senate, creating an immigration commission, providing for the appointment of an agent and for the systematic circulation of literature, to be distributed in Europe, inviting the attention of intending emigrants to the advantages of Michigan.

This bill was not acted on at that session, but a few years later the subject was taken up persistently. It appears that other Western states notably Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota were already in the field and had agents in New York and in Europe in this own interests. It is said that these agent, not content with picturing in flowing colors the advantages of the state which they represented, sometimes went out of their way to disparage Michigan. It was charged that immigrants who were under contract and who expenses to this country had been paid by Michigan manufacturers, were tampered with on their arrival in New York by agents of rival states, and induced by representations of doubtful veracity to violate their contracts. It was this sharp practice at which one feature of the proposed legislation was aimed. Probably it was wise to avoid friction with out neighbors and in this view the bill was allowed to die. The governor called special attention to the natural resources and the situation of the state with reference to manufactures. With so many and so varied advantages, he argued that the state should be no longer dependent on Eastern manufacturers, but should make its own supply of needful articles and also meet the demands of the western market. To this end he encouraged all measures having a tendency to invite capital and labor in any and all branches of manufacture.

Another important subject of the time was the disposition of swamp lands. The general government had given to the state six million acres of what were described as swamp lands. Not that all, nor really any considerable portion, of such lands were actually in swamps. In some localities they were overflowed at certain seasons; in others, beaver dams had given them the appearance of swamps, and in almost all cases they would be drained and subdued at small cost. And possessed a very rich alluvial soil. The question was not to dispose of these lands for the best interests of the state. In 1859 the Legislature adopted the policy of appropriating such lands for the building of roads. The purpose of the general government in donating the lands to the state, as set forth in the act of congress making the cession, was to provide for this reclamation by means of levees, drains, etc. Nominally a road might be considered a levee and practically, in many instances, the building of a road was as good a way as any of reclaiming the lands and opening them up to settlement. The policy had been pursued with satisfactory results on the start, but gradually degenerated into the grabbing of valuable tracts by contractors for the building of roads which began nowhere and ended nowhere, and for roads begun but never finished, and by combinations of greedy persons who were robbing the state. The governor called an emphatic halt to the practice and urged the Legislature to take steps to rescue the remaining acres. The legislature responded by passing an act for the appointment of a swamp land commissioner to examine all roads, inquire into the facts and circumstances of the letting of contracts, and requiring of all unfinished contracts before payment should be made.

There was considerable popular prejudice against the agricultural college. Even the farmers themselves, who had decided views on the question of economy when taxpaying time came around, felt that it was an expensive luxury which had very little to show as justification for its existence. In 1862 the general government made an appropriation of two hundred and forty thousand acres of public lands for the maintenance and support of such an institution, which grant had been accepted by the state. Governor Crapo, in his message, says regarding the college: "I am aware that in consequence of the very unfavorable circumstances surrounding this institution during the first dew years of its existence, and which to a very great extent controlled its operations, many of the people of the state, who should have been deeply interested in its prosperity and success, imbibed strong prejudices against it, and were even disposed to abandon it altogether." But the governor counsels suspension of judgment and giving the institution an opportunity to do justice to itself and its friends. Of all classes, the farmer is most deeply interest, and the farmer should regard it with pride. While its demands have seemed to be large, the fact should be borne in mind that it is laying the foundations and that, large as the expenditures seem, they are really small in comparison with the magnitude of the interests involved. "Agriculture is no longer what it was once regarded by a majority of other professions, and partially admitted by the farmers themselves to be--a low, menial employment, a mere drudgery, delving in the soil--but is becoming recognized as a noble science. Formerly any man who had merely sufficient sense to do just as his father did before him and to follow his example and imitate his practice, was regarded as fully competent to become a farmer.

The idea of applying science to the business was sneered at and denounced by many of the farmers themselves as 'book farming.' But the cultivation of the soil has now justly come to be regarded as one of the most noble and dignified callings in which an educated man can engage." The Legislature heeded his advice and made a liberal appropriation to set the college on its feet. this was the critical time in the infancy of the institution, when it might have been easily smothered. The earnest words o the governor, backed by his influence, encouraged the friends of the college and today the people of the state will rejoice that the strong support of Governor Crapo resulted in saving it for a noble and beneficent career.

Governor Crapo exercised the pardoning power with extreme caution, he held the view that the executive had no right to annul or make void the acts and decisions of the judicial tribunals in the trial, conviction and sentence of any person unless in the contingency of the discovery of new facts which would, it proved upon the trial, have established the innocence of the accused, or so mitigated the offense that a less penalty would have been imposed. While he admitted that extreme cases might arise under circumstances which would make an exception to the rule desirable, he held to it for the victims of the criminal law, or their families or friends. In reply to the claims that a convict having suffered for a time and the public excitement and notoriety of his offense having passed away, no possible good can be gained by keeping him longer in prison, he insisted that the principle of justice and the claims of society for self-[protection must not be lost sight of. The guilty are not punished because society wishes to inflict pain and suffering, but because its own safety requires it and because the only reparation the criminal can make is the example afforded by his endurance of the penalty. To effectually meet these ends, punishment must be made certain. There have been governors both before and since, who seemed to regard the executive prerogative as a matter of mere sentiment. There have been cases where sympathy went too far. There have been instances which were little less than unfortunate. In modern times the business of getting convicts out of our prisons and relieving them from the consequences of their crimes through the aid of a sympathetic governor has been carried to such an extent that it is refreshing to contemplate a man who, while he was not lacking the kindness of a gentle nature, still had the firmness to stand for justice and right, as he clearly saw them.

At the biennial election of 1866 Governor Crapo was elected for second term by a majority of upwards of twenty-nine thousand. Governor Crapo entered upon his new term of office in January, 1867, somewhat broken in health, but with mind as vigorous and active as ever. In spite of his impaired physical condition, he insisted upon personally looking after his extensive private interests, and kept in close touch with all public affairs. His second regular message to the Legislature was a full and lucid discussion of all the problems then before the state authorities. He again dwelt on the immigration question, but the Legislature adjourned without making effective his sensible recommendations.

Governor Crapo was very sparing with vetoes and it is notable that they were for the most part sustained. The most exciting event during this entire gubernatorial career grew out of his vetoes in the matter of municipal aid to railroads. That was the day of feverish railroad building schemes. Rural communities were exceedingly anxious for railroads, and many villages were induced to support projects which would make them railroad centers. In several instances the people did not wait for legislative authority, but went ahead and voted aid, issued and put bonds on the market and then came and asked the Legislature to validate them. With a veto message Governor Crapo called a halt tot his practice. It is interesting to observe with what neatness he riddles the sophistical arguments of those who said the thing being done should be legalized to save investors in the bonds. The schemes expanded insidiously. At first the aid voted by municipalities was limited by law to five per cent of the assessed valuation of the municipality; shortly this was increased to ten per cent, with a tendency to further increase the rate. At first he district included in the liability on the bonds was the municipality; shortly this was extended to include the entire county in which the municipality was situated.

But most important of all he vetoed the acts passed to permit localities to vote aid to railroad enterprises. The thing having previously been done and being considered so much a matter of course, he did at the outset approve such bills. But he soon saw the tendency of such legislation and when the bills came pouring in on him he waited until some fourteen had accumulated and then sent them back with a message which settled the case for all time, so far as he was concerned. He called attention to the provision of the constitution that "the credit of the sate shall not be granted to or in aid of any person, association or corporation; the state shall not subscribe to or be interested in the stock of any company, association or corporation shall not be a party to or interested in any work of internal improvement." He argued that the principle considered by the framers of the constitution so essential for the protection of the state should by implication, at least, apply to towns and counties. Clearly the policy of the state, as expressed in its constitution, was opposed to all this legislation. While refraining from discussing the judicial aspects of the question, he believed that all would agree with him that it was of doubtful constitutionality.

He went to great length in discussing the economic bearings of the question. He believed that permanent welfare of the state would be injured. While railroads were desirable and greatly beneficial tot a community, if they were secured at the cost of an accumulation of municipal debt and enormous taxation we should destroy the value of property and retard settlement. Then , instead of increased growth and resources, we should drive away population and wealth. At a time when other states were trying to extricate themselves from the burden of taxation caused by the war, and were deferring public improvements, the people of Michigan, by municipal action, were competing with each other in the creation of vast amounts of indebtedness. He showed how insidiously the idea of municipal aid had expanded. At the outset the rate was limited to five per cent and the liability was confined to a few localities. Within four years the restrictions had been swept away and there were towns which were in danger of accumulating forty per cent of such bonded indebtedness. Such a course could have but one ending--bankruptcy and repudiation.

The aggregate length of the railroads already proposed, which relied for this completion upon aid from taxes, was not less then two thousand miles. The amount of capital necessary to construct, complete and efficiently equip this extent of railroad could not be less then sixty million dollars. It was claimed that if about one-third of the cost could be obtained by taxation the balance could be procured of capitalists by the issue of stocks and mortgages. It would then be necessary for the people of the state to create an indebtedness of twenty millions in city, township and county bonds. Could such bonds be sold for cash either at home or abroad? It was not likely they could be sold outside the state. There was not surplus capital enough in the state to take them; certainly not unless they could be bought at a very small percentage of their face value. Thus the actual aid to railroads would be very small indeed, compared with the amount of municipal indebtedness. As the bonds continued to be depreciated in value, additional taxes would be called for and urged to make up the deficit, and thereby prevent the total loss of what had been already appropriated, until repudiation would inevitably follows.

The gloomy picture which the governor thus drew of the results likely to end the course which the state was pursuing in this matter , was both timely and truthful. It was clear to level-headed and unprejudiced men, but such was the popular furor that many minds were dulled to its appreciation. The bills lay on the table for a month while great excitement prevailed in the popular discussion of the subject. When the matter was finally brought to a vote, the veto of the governor was sustained by the narrow margin of a single vote. It is not often that a governor has the delicate task of saving the people from themselves, but saneness and firmness are admirable in any emergency.

After the war, an important event in Michigan's history was the movement for a revision of the constitution of 1850. In his inaugural message of 1865, Governor Crapo called the attention of the Legislature to the constitutional provision for submission of this question tot he people in the general election of 1866. The necessary steps were accordingly taken, and in due course delegates were elected to the convention. This convention was held at Lansing from may 15 to August 22, 1867. It proved harmonious and industrious. But at the election of 1868 the new constitution which was there drawn up was not adopted by the people.

Back Home