« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Orleans, has well justified the confidence reposed in them. I may add, with pride and with pleasure, that the alacrity with which the militia of Massachusetts recently rallied at the call of their illustrious chief, in whose judgment, courage and patriotism, they justly reposed unlimited confidence, the ardor and discipline they exhibited, the patience and courage they manifested, proved-if proof were wanting — that the soil of freedom will never be surrendered by its proprietors, but with their lives."
Lemuel Shaw was born at Barnstable, Jan. 9, 1781; and was the son of Rev. Oakes Shaw, the venerable pastor of the first church in that town, by Susanna Hayward, his second wife. At the age of fifteen years, young Lemuel entered Harvard College; and, on his graduation in 1800, he engaged in a dialogue with Timothy Flint and Abiel Holbrook, on the excellence of the Greek language. On leaving college, being ambitious to disencumber his beloved father of the expenses of his education, he became usher at the Franklin, now the Brimmer School, then under the direction of the excellent Dr. Asa Bullard. Here we cannot forbear to state that our own Charles Sprague, the immortal poet of Boston, was then a scholar at this public school. Who can estimate the influence of such minds on youthful genius? Mr. Shaw engaged in legal studies, during a period of three years, under the guidance of the famous David Everett, a counsellor, and author of the memorable poem for youthful orators, the first lines of which are
"You'd scarce expect one of my age
To speak in public on the stage."
We find in Felt's Memorials of William S. Shaw a remark of Mrs. Peabody, his mother and a sister of Mrs. President Adams, expressed in her letter to him, dated Sept. 2, 1801: "Your cousin, Lemuel Shaw, is studying law in Boston. He is a superior young man."
In 1805 Mr. Shaw was an entered attorney of Suffolk bar. He was representative of Boston in the State Legislature during the entire period of the war with Great Britain, from 1811 to 1816; and, on the institution of the Washington Benevolent Society, in 1812, was elected its secretary. Mr. Shaw married, Jan. 6, 1818, Elizabeth, a daughter of Josiah Knapp, a merchant of Boston, who died; and he married, the second time, Hope, a daughter of Dr. Samuel Savage, of Barnstable, to whom a lady made the happy allusion,-"There is Hope in the Judiciary," at the centennial celebration of his native town.
1811 he gave an address for the Massachusetts Humane Society. He was elected to the State convention on the revision of the constitution, where, in his arguments on the judiciary and other points, he evinced great wisdom; and, in the year succeeding, he was one of the editors of the General Laws of the State, revised and adapted to the amendments of the convention.
In the year 1822 we find Mr. Shaw in the State Senate, at which period he was chairman of the joint committee of the Legislature on a city charter for Boston. We venerate the man who devised our chartered rights. It was Chief Justice Shaw, then an eminent counsellor, -the sage of TRIMOUNT,- who drafted the city charter, in the committee of the town, and wrote, also, the act of incorporation establishing the city of Boston, granted by the General Court, Feb. 23, 1822, with the exception of the fourteenth section, regarding public theatres and exhibitions, and the act establishing a Police Court, which were drafted by Hon. William Sullivan, and went into operation at the same time; both acts constituting the system of municipal govern❤ ment. The original bill for a city charter is on file in the State archives, and is partly in the hand-writing of Chief Justice Shaw.
Every avenue to an invasion of the foundation of the city charter should be guarded with a jealous eye. At the period of its construction, a party was strenuous that each ward should elect its own alderman. This was vigorously opposed, as creating the wards into petty democracies, overturning the balance of power in the Council; and even though they be elected on a general ticket, it would lead to a strife of wards. In addition to a share in the legislative power of the Council, they are invested with important executive duties, without regard to local interests. Rather tolerate the minor evils of a conservative charter, than endure greater by submitting to party caprice. In a careful, conservative spirit, Justice Shaw has avoided both the exclusiveness of aristocracy and the arbitrary severity of democracy, weaving the whole system on a purely republican basis. The arguments for the inviolate preservation of the charter urged by the elder Quincy tend to its perpetuity. Our city is indebted to the oceanbound cape for many of its most eminent civil and mercantile men.
Lemuel Shaw is the successor of Isaac Parker, as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, over which he has presided since his appointment under Gov. Levi Lincoln, since his inauguration in September, 1830, at which period he was a representative in the
State Legislature. He is senior Fellow of the Corporation of Harvard College, which important station he has honorably filled since his election, in 1834. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the Massachusetts Historical and of the New England Genealogic Historical Societies.
During the whole period of his elevation to the head of the State judiciary, Justice Shaw has made records of the legal transactions under his superintendence, comprising nearly fifty volumes, of several hundred pages each, lettered "Minutes of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court," handsomely bound in substantial Russia backs,— thus giving him facilities to recur to former decisions, and learn of the past how to operate on the present. He could not bequeath to the law library of Suffolk any amount of money that would compare with the inestimable value of such a legacy as these volumes of Court Decisions.
With the exception of Theophilus Parsons, a more profound civilian never graced the ermine, in New England. He discerns, at a glance, points in a case, that, to an ordinary intellect, would require protracted reflection. He is unblemished in private life, and greatly esteemed for his courtesy, candor, and ready acts of charity. His sagacity and penetration are proverbial, and his influence on the bench is almost without bound. He is rather corpulent, and near the common height of man, with dark-blue, piercing eyes, that play amid expressive features.
Justice Shaw has ever felt a devoted veneration of his parents. His mother was a lady of more than ordinary powers of intellect; and of his father, the venerable pastor of Barnstable, he thus warmly expressed himself, in a speech at the centennial celebration of that town, Sept. 3, 1839: "Almost within sight of the place where we are still stands a modest spire, marking the spot where a beloved father stood to minister the holy word of truth, and hope, and salvation, to a numerous, beloved, and attached people, for almost hålf a century. Pious, pure, simple-hearted, devoted to and beloved by his people, never shall I cease to venerate his memory, or to love those who knew and loved him. I speak in the presence of some who knew him, and of many more who, I doubt not, were taught to love and honor his memory, as one of the earliest lessons of their childhood."
He is remarkable for social qualities, and his conversation is often 80 replete with wisdom and amiable vivacity that one is sure to be the
better for his society. The sentiment here advanced, and given by him at the celebration, so characterizes the man, that it is a choice memento: "Cape Cod, our beloved Birth-place: May it be the nursery and the home of the social virtues,—a place which all her sons and daughters, whether present or absent, may, for centuries to come, as in centuries past, delight to honor and to love." The passage herewith transcribed is taken from the song written for the occasion, by William Hayden, Esq., our late honored postmaster of Boston:
"To trace your debt to old Cape Cod
There's Dimmock, Gray, and Thacher, too,
The Searses, and George Hallett;
Justice Shaw gave the following sentiment at the first anniversary of the Cape Cod Association, celebrated in Boston, Nov. 11, 1851: "The Cabin of the Mayflower: The Convention Hall of the Pilgrims, from the first dawning of whose light has emanated a blaze of constitutional freedom which has lighted up every mountain and penetrated every valley of our land."
In addition to productions already named, Chief Justice Shaw has published his Inaugural Address; Charge to the Grand Jury at Ipswich, 1832; Address at the Opening of the New Court-house, in Worcester, 1845; Charge to the Jury in the trial of Professor J. W. Webster, in Bemis' edition.
What Justice Shaw said of his predecessor in office may, with great emphasis, be applied to himself: "His judicial character must stand upon the published reports of his judicial decisions, which now form so large a portion of his legal learning. These will form an enduring monument of his fame, and constitute a large claim upon the respect and gratitude of posterity." In transposing what Justice Shaw once said of the law, to the lawyers, we may remark of him, that, having been nurtured by an enlightened philosophy, invigorated by sound learning, and polished by elegant literature, he has been an efficient supporter of constitutional liberty.
JULY 4, 1815. FOR THE WASHINGTON SOCIETY.
WILLAM GALE was born at Waltham in the year 1792, and graduated at Harvard College in 1810. He became a counsellor-at-law, and practised in the old State-house. He was a warm adherent of the Democratic party, and a frequent contributor to the Chronicle. The papers of the day said of the oration (delivered at the Columbian Coffee-house, for the Washington Society, of which Mr. Gale was president in 1817), that it was a patriotic, spirited and elegant performance. Mr. Gale was the legal solicitor of the Republican Institution, on its foundation, in 1819. Possessing talents tending to an honored eminence, it is related that he descended to habits of inebriation,—an infirmity peculiar to men of literary genius,— which reduced him to poverty, and doomed him to the House of Industry, which, according to the records, he last entered Nov. 6, 1839, when, being attacked with the small-pox, he was removed to Rainsford Island on the 19th inst., where he died, Nov. 21, 1839, aged forty-seven years.
"Now there he lies,
And none so poor to do him reverence."
JULY 4, 1816. FOR THE TOWN AUTHORITIES.
WAS a son of Gov. Sullivan, and born in Boston February, 1782; entered the Latin School in 1791, and graduated at Harvard College in 1801, when he engaged in a discussion on the importance of national character to the United States. Was a counsellor-at-law; and married Sarah Bowdoin, a daughter of Hon. Thomas L. Winthrop. He was secretary to Hon. James Bowdoin, when minister to Spain. Was the governor's aid-de-camp, and a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in 1811. Was captain of the New