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Thomas Corwin Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Thomas Corwin passes away in 1865.

Thomas Corwin was an American politician.

Corwin was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on July 29th, 1794. At the age of four his family moved to Lebanon, Ohio. During the War of 1812, he served as a wagon boy in General William Henry Harrison's Army. In 1815 he began reading law with a local law firm and in 1817 was admitted to the bar.

From 1818 to 1828, Corwin was the prosecuting attorney for Warren County. In 1822 he was elected for the first time to the Ohio House of Representatives. He served the until 1823. The second time he served in 1829. During his time in the Ohio House of Representatives he made a spirited speech against whipping posts being used in Ohio.

In 1830, Corwin was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He served there until 1840 when he resigned after being elected as the Governor of Ohio. He served only one two year term as governor.

After serving as governor, Corwin was elected by the Ohio General Assembly to serve as a United States Senator. He served from 1845 until 1850. He resigned to serve as President Millard Filmore's Secretary of the Treasury.

In 1857, former Ohio governor William Bebb, shot a man. Corwin defended Bebb and got an acquittal by arguing self defense.

In 1858, Corwin was again elected to the United States House of Representatives. There he was chairman of the "Committee of Thirty-three." The committee was set up with one representative form each state to discuss the state of the Union and in 1860 to try to avert the coming Civil War. Corwin drafted a bill in 1860 which passed Congress, but was never ratified by the states, it stated:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

The bill later became known as the Corwin Amendment. The amendment was meant to pacify the Southern states and take any reason for secession off the table. In this respect it failed since the Civil War started before ratification was ever picked up in many states.

Corwin resigned from the House of Representatives in 1861, he was reelected in 1860, to become the Minister to Mexico under Abraham Lincoln. Corwin was well liked in Mexico and worked to ensure it remained neutral in the American Civil War. This was despite efforts by the Confederacy to bring Mexico into the conflict on their side.

Corwin passed away on December 18th, 1865.

Corwin was a member of Lebanon Lodge No. 26 in Lebanon, Ohio. He also served as Grand Orator and Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. He was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1828. Corwin was also a member of Lebanon Chapter No. 5, Royal Arch Masons and Mount Vernon Commandery of Knights Templar.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.