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Rufus Choate


In office
February 23, 1841 – March 3, 1845
Preceded by Daniel Webster
Succeeded by Daniel Webster

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1831 – June 30, 1834
Preceded by Benjamin W. Crowninshield
Succeeded by Stephen C. Phillips

In office
1853 – 1854
Preceded by John H. Clifford
Succeeded by John H. Clifford

Born October 1, 1799
Ipswich, Massachusetts
Died July 13, 1859
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Political party Whig
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Harvard University
Profession Law
Religion Christian

Rufus Choate (1 October 1799 – 13 July 1859), American lawyer and orator, was born at Ipswich, Massachusetts, the descendant of a family which settled in Massachusetts in 1643.[1] His first cousin, physician George Choate, was the father of George C. S. Choate and Joseph Hodges Choate. Rufus Choate's birthplace, Choate House, remains virtually unchanged to this day.

A precocious child, at six he is said to have been able to repeat large parts of the Bible and of Pilgrim's Progress from memory. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa[2] and graduated as valedictorian of his class at Dartmouth College in 1819, was a tutor there in 1819–1820, spent a year in the law school of Harvard University, and studied for a like period in Washington, D.C., in the office of William Wirt, then Attorney General of the United States.

Contents

Career

Rufus Choate memorial statue by noted American sculptor Daniel Chester French, Old Suffolk County Court House, Boston, Massachusetts

He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1823 and practiced at what was later South Danvers (now Peabody) for five years, during which time he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1825–1826) and in the Massachusetts Senate (1827).

In 1828, he moved to Salem, where his successful conduct of several important lawsuits brought him prominently into public notice. In 1830 he was elected to Congress as a Whig from Salem, defeating the Jacksonian candidate for re-election, Benjamin Crowninshield, a former United States Secretary of the Navy, and in 1832 he was re-elected. His career in Congress was marked by a speech in defence of a protective tariff.

In 1834, before the completion of his second term, he resigned and established himself in the practice of law in Boston. Already his reputation as a speaker had spread beyond New England, and he was much sought after as an orator for public occasions. For several years, he devoted himself unremittingly to his profession but, in 1841, succeeded fellow Dartmouth graduate Daniel Webster in the United States Senate. Shortly afterwards he delivered an address at the memorial services for President William Henry Harrison at Faneuil Hall.

In the Senate, he spoke on the tariff, the Oregon boundary, in favor of the Fiscal Bank Act, and in opposition to the annexation of Texas. On Webster's re-election to the Senate in 1845, Choate resumed his law practice. He later served a short term as attorney-general of Massachusetts in 1853–1854. In 1846, Choate convinced a jury that the accused, Albert Tirrell, did not cut the throat of his lover, or, if he did so, he did it while sleepwalking, under the 'insanity of sleep'.[3] His successful use of sleepwalking as a defense against murder charges was the first time in American legal history this defense was successful in a murder prosecution.[4] He was a faithful supporter of Webster's policy as declared in the latter's Seventh of March Speech of 1850 and labored to secure for him the presidential nomination at the Whig national convention in 1852. In 1853, he was a member of the state constitutional convention.

In 1856, he refused to follow most of his former Whig associates into the Republican Party and gave his support to Democrat James Buchanan, whom he considered the representative of a national instead of a sectional party. In July 1859 failing health led him to seek rest in a trip to Europe, but he died on July 13, 1859 at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he had been put ashore when it was seen that he probably could not last the voyage across the Atlantic.

Works

  • Works — edited, with a memoir, by S. G. Brown, were published in two volumes at Boston in 1862
  • Memoir — published in 1870
  • EG Parker's Reminiscences of Rufus Choate (New York, 1860)
  • EP Whipple's Some Recollections of Rufus Choate (New York, 1879)
  • Albany Law Review of 1877–1878)
  • The Political Writings of Rufus Choate,' (2003)

References

Notes
  1. ^ Jameson, Ephraim Orcutt. The Choates in America. 1643–1896. John Choate and His Descendants. Chebacco, Ipswich, Mass. Boston: A. Mudge & Son, printers, 1896.
  2. ^ Dartmouth to honor two valedictorians, Dartmouth Press Release, June 2009, accessed Oct 9, 2009
  3. ^ "Maria Bickford". Brown University Law Library. http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/University_Library/exhibits/RLCexhibit/bickford/bickfordms.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.  
  4. ^ Kappman (ed), Edward W. (1994). Great American Trials. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 101–104. ISBN 0-8103-9134-1.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Benjamin Crowninshield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district

1831-1834
Succeeded by
Stephen C. Phillips
United States Senate
Preceded by
Daniel Webster
United States Senator (Class 1) from Massachusetts
1841-1845
Served alongside: Isaac C. Bates
Succeeded by
Daniel Webster
Legal offices
Preceded by
John H. Clifford
Attorney General of Massachusetts
1853-1854
Succeeded by
John H. Clifford
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Neither irony nor sarcasm is argument.
The final end of government is not to exert restraint but to do good.

Rufus Choate (October 1, 1799July 13, 1859) was an American lawyer, Whig politician, and orator.

Sourced

  • We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.
    • "The Importance of Illustrating New-England History by a Series of Romances like the Waverley Novels", a lecture delivered at Salem, Massachusetts (1833)
  • The courage of New England was the "courage of conscience." It did not rise to that insane and awful passion, the love of war for itself.
    • Address at Ipswich Centennial (1834)
  • The final end of government is not to exert restraint but to do good.
    • Speech in the Senate (2 July 1841)
  • There was a state without king or nobles; there was a church without a bishop; there was a people governed by grave magistrates which it had selected, and by equal laws which it had framed.
    • Speech before the New England Society (22 December 1843)
    • Possibly related to :
The Americans equally detest the pageantry of a king and the supercilious hypocrisy of a bishop.
  • Junius, Letter xxxv (19 December 1769)
It established a religion without a prelate, a government without a king.
  • George Bancroft on Calvinism, in History of the United States (1834), Vol. III, Ch. vi.
Oh, we are weary pilgrims; to this wilderness we bring
A Church without a bishop, a State without a King
  • Anonymous poem "The Puritans' Mistake", published by Oliver Ditson (1844)
  • All that happens in the world of Nature or Man, — every war; every peace; every hour of prosperity; every hour of adversity; every election; every death ; every life; every success and every failure, — all change, — all permanence, — the perished leaf; the unutterable glory of stars, — all things speak truth to the thoughtful spirit.
    • "The Power of a State Developed by Mental Culture", an address to the Mercantile Library Association (18 November 1844), published in The Works of Rufus Choate : Memoir, Lectures and Addresses (1862), edited by Samuel Gilman Brown
  • Happy is he who has laid up in his youth, and held fast in all fortune, a genuine and passionate love of reading.
    • Speech at the dedication of the Peabody Institute (29 September 1854)
  • We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag, and keep step to the music of the Union.
    • Letter to the Whig Convention, Worcester (1 October 1855)
  • Its constitution the glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
    • Letter to the Maine Whig Committee (1856). Six years earlier, Choate gave a lecture in Providence which was reviewed by Franklin J. Dickman in the Journal of December 14, 1849. Unless Choate used the words "glittering generalities", and Dickman made reference to them, it would seem as if Dickman must have the credit of originating the catchword. Dickman wrote: "We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent". Reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Neither irony nor sarcasm is argument.
    • As quoted in Dictionary of American Maxims‎ (1955) by David George Plotkin
    • Variant: Neither irony or sarcasm is argument.
      • As quoted in Lifetime Speaker's Encyclopedia (1962) edited by Jacob Morton Braude, p. 50

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHOATE, RUFUS (1799-1859), American lawyer and orator, was born at Ipswich, Massachusetts, on the 1st of October 1799, the descendant of a family which settled in Massachusetts in 1667. As a child he was remarkably precocious; at six he is said to have been able to repeat large parts of the Bible and of Pilgrim's Progress by heart. He graduated as valedictorian of his class at Dartmouth College in 1819, was a tutor there in 1819-1820, spent a year in the law school of Harvard University, and studied for a like period at Washington, in the office of William Wirt, then attorney-general of the United States. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1823 and practised at what was later South Danvers (now Peabody) for five years, during which time he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1825-1826) and in the state senate (1827). In 1828 he removed to Salem, where his successful conduct of several important law-suits brought him prominently into public notice. In 1830 he was elected to Congress as a Whig from the Salem district, defeating the Jacksonian candidate for re-election, B. W. Crowninshield (1772-1851), a former secretary of the navy, and in 1832 he was re-elected. His career in Congress was marked by a notable speech in defence of a protective tariff. In 1834, before the completion of his second term, he resigned and established himself in the practice of law in Boston. Already his fame as a speaker had spread beyond New England, and he was much sought after as an orator for public occasions. For several years he devoted himself unremittingly to his profession, but in 1841 succeeded Daniel Webster in the United States Senate. Shortly afterwards he delivered one of his most eloquent addresses at the memorial services for President Harrison in Faneuil Hall, Boston. In the Senate he made a series of brilliant speeches on the tariff, the Oregon boundary, in favour of the Fiscal Bank Act, and in opposition to the annexation of Texas. On Webster's re-election to the Senate, Choate resumed (1845) his law practice, which no amount of urging could ever persuade him to abandon for public office, save for a short term as attorneygeneral of Massachusetts in 1853-1854. In 1853 he was a member of the state constitutional convention. He was a faithful supporter of Webster's policy as declared in the latter's famous "Seventh of March Speech" (1850) and laboured to secure for him the presidential nomination at the Whig national convention in 1852. In 1856 he refused to follow most of his former Whig associates into the Republican party and gave his support to James Buchanan, whom he considered the representative of a national instead of a sectional party. In July 1859 failing health led him to seek rest in a trip to Europe, but he died on the 13th of that month at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he had been put ashore when it was seen that he probably could not outlive the voyage across the Atlantic. Choate, besides being one of the ablest of American lawyers, was one of the most scholarly of American public men, and his numerous orations and addresses were remarkable for their pure style, their grace and elegance of form, and their wealth of classical allusion.

His Works (edited, with a memoir, by S. G. Brown) were published in 2 vols. at Boston in 1862. The Memoir was afterwards published separately (Boston, 1870). See also E. G. Parker's Reminiscences of Rufus Choate (New York, 1860); E. P. Whipple's Some Recollections of Rufus Choate (New York, 1879); and the Albany Law Review (1877-1878).


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