A Feb. 27 article by Staff Writer Kevin Miller (“Gov. King or Gen. Chamberlain: Who should represent Maine in Capitol?“) announced that state Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, is proposing to remove the statue of Gov. William King from the U.S. Capitol, replacing it with a statue of Joshua L. Chamberlain, a Maine Civil War hero.

But before Sen. Mason initiates this legislation, he might consider a few facts.

Sen. Mason is quoted as saying that Joshua Chamberlain is a national hero, while William King is only a state hero. While Chamberlain demonstrated awe-inspiring leadership in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, how many people in the 11 former Confederate states would consider him a national hero?

The list of those whose statues we currently find there representing states shows a preponderance of noteworthy individuals who are honored for contributions made to their state, and not for their military experience. With the exception of Robert E. Lee, Ethan Allen and Nathaniel Greene, most, like William King, were influential primarily in their own state.

William King realized many stunning achievements. In the War of 1812, he played an important role in enlisting troops and organizing defenses to protect the Maine coast against attack from British warships. Beginning in 1813, he spearheaded a successful seven-year effort to allow Maine to break away from Massachusetts, following which he was elected the first governor of Maine.

As governor, he strongly opposed the support of churches by taxation, and his King Betterment Law protected the holdings of squatter settlers on unclaimed land. Later President Monroe named him a minister to negotiate a treaty with Spain to settle the United States’ claims to Florida.

I suggest we erect a statue of Joshua Chamberlain in Augusta and leave William King’s statue right where it is.

Linda McLoon

Portland