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A SKETCH OF LUCIUS LYON

by GEORGE H. WHITE

He visited France, and, ever attentive to the best interests of Michigan, procured a portrait of Lafayette from Lafayette's sitting for it, painted by Horace Vernet, the most famous portrait painter of France, and brought it back with him, and presented it to the State of Michigan. This portrait now hangs in our legislative hall, a perfect likeness of Washington's friend. Mr. Gidley, who saw and conversed with the Marquis de Lafayette, when he was in this country, the guest of the Nation in 1824, says that the likeness is perfect, and any one who sees it will perceive that it is a speaking one.
In 1843, at the request of a large number of the residents of the Grand River district, he allowed himself to be put in nomination for representative in congress, and was elected by a very large majority.
At the close of this term President Polk, wholly unsolicited, requested him to accept the very responsible office of surveyor general of the public lands of the northwest. At that time the office was at Cincinnati. Mr. Lyon replied to the offer that it would necessitate his removal from Michigan, which he did not desire to do. The president had been personally acquainted with him while in congress, and knew his fitness for the office, and as he was anxious to have it well filled asked him if that was his only reason for refusing; he said it was. The president then said, "there are but few remaining public lands in Ohio and Indiana, and the office in the interest of economy and convenience ought to be near the lands with which it is concerned, and the bulk of those needing attention are in Michigan and Wisconsin. Now if I have the office removed to Detroit, will you then accept the appointment?'' Mr. Lyon replied that he would. In a few days a bill was introduced and crowded speedily through, changing the location of the office to Detroit.

Michigan


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