CHASE

From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

CHASE, Samuel, a celebrated judge, and one of the signers of the declaration of independence, was born April 17, 1741, in Somerset county, Maryland. His father, a learned clergyman, instructed him in the ancient classics, and subsequently placed him at Annapolis as a student of law. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 20. His talents, industry, intrepidity, imposing stature, sonorous voice, fluent and energetic elocution, raised him to eminence in a veiy few years. Having become a member of the colonial legislature, he distinguished himself by his bold opposition to the royal governor and the court party. He took the lead in denouncing and resisting the famous stamp act. His revolutionary spirit, his oratory and reputation, placed him at the head of the active adversaries of the British government in his state. The Maryland convention of the 22d of June, 1774, appointed him to attend the meeting of the general congress, at Philadelphia, in September of that year. He was also present and conspicuous at the session of December following, and in the subsequent congresses, during the most critical periods of the revolution. That of 1776 deputed him on a mission to Canada, along with doctor Franklin, Charles Car roll of Carrollton, and the reverend John Carroll, afterwards Catholic archbishop of Baltimore. It was Mr. Chase who de nounced to congress the reverend doctor Zubly, a delegate from Georgia, as a traitor to the American cause, and forced him to a precipitate and ignominious flight. He signed the declaration of independence with promptitude, and was an active and able member of congress almost throughout the war; at the end of which he returned to the practice of his profession. In June, 1783, the legislature of Maryland sent him to London, as a commissioner, to recover stock of the bank of England, and large sums of money which belonged to the state. He remained in England nearly a year, during which time he put the claim in a train of adjustment. There he passed much of his time in the society of the most eminent statesmen and lawyers. In the year 1791, he accepted the appointment of chief justice of the general court of Maryland. Five years afterwards, president Washington made him an associate judge of the supreme court of the U. States. Political cases of deep interest having been tried when he presided in the circuit courts, and his conduct having given much displeasure to the democratic party, he was impeached by the house of representatives at Washington. The trial of the judge before the senate is memorable on account of the excitement which it produced, the ability with which he was defended, and the nature of his acquittal. A full report of it has been published. He continued to exercise his judicial functions, with the highest reputation, until the year 1811, in which his health failed. He expired June 19 of that year. Mr. Chase led an eventful and important life, and established the character of a sagacious, erudite and fearless judge, and a patriot little inferior in merit to any of his contemporaries.