Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BLAIR, Montgomery, statesman, born in Franklin County, Kentucky, 10 Nay, 1813; died in Silver Spring, Maryland, 27 July 1883. He was a son of Francis P. Blair, Sr., was graduated at West Point in 1835, and, after serving in the Seminole war, resigned his commission on 20 May 1836. He then studied law, and, after his admission to the bar in 1839, began practice in St. Louis. tie was appointed United States district attorney for Missouri, and in 1842 was elected mayor of St. Louis. tie was raised to the bench as judge of the court of common pleas in 1843, but resigned in 1849. He removed to Maryland in 1852, and in 1855 was appointed United States solicitor in the court of claims. He was removed from this office by President Buchanan in 1858, having left the Democratic Party on the repeal of the Missouri compromise. In 1857 he acted as counsel for the plaintiff in the celebrated Dred Scott case. He presided over the Maryland republican convention in 1860, and in 1861 was appointed postmaster-general by President Lincoln. It is said that he alone of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet opposed the surrender of Fort Sumter, and held his resignation upon the issue. As postmaster-general he prohibited the sending of disloyal papers through the mails, and introduced various reforms, such as money-orders, free delivery in cities, and postal railroad cars. In 1864 Mr. Blair, who was not altogether in accord with the policy of the administration, told the president that he would resign whenever the latter thought it necessary, and on 23 September Mr. Lincoln, in a friendly letter, accepted his offer. After this Mr. Blair" acted with the Democratic Party, and in 1876-'7 vigorously attacked Mr. Hayes's title to the office of president.
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