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in Memoriam


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T the opening of the circuit court for the district

of Nebraska on Thursday, May 8, 1873, the Circuit Judge announced the death of Mr. Chief Justice Chase, saying:

“GENTLEMEN OF THE BAR: The telegraph brings us this morning the sad intelligence of the death, on yesterday, of Chief Justice CHASE. It is fitting that all classes of citizens should pay appropriate honors to the memory of one who for more than a quarter of a century bas worthily filled so many places of public trust and confidence in the country. It is especially fitting that this should be done by the courts of law, and particularly by the courts of the United States. The illustrious deceased was the head of the national judiciary. He occupied the seat which the professional as well as the popular mind, associates with the great and venerable names of MARSHALL and Taney. The seat to-day is vacant. The Chief of the highest tribunal on earth — a tribunal more august than the Amphyctionic Council — a tribunal endeared to the American people by the spotless character of its individual members, and by the unclouded splendor of its reputation – lies, after a long life of usefulness and honor, silent in death.”

The court appointed a Committee of the Bar to draft appropriate resolutions, which were, on the following


day, presented to the court by Mr. JAMES M. WoolWORTH, the chairman, with appropriate remarks.

The following are the resolutions :

Resolved, That the death of the Chief Justice of the United States, announced in fitting terms by his honor, the presiding Judge, has closed a career of eminent service and beneficence. In the first conflict with the arrogant slave power, he stood forth a stalwart figure, inspired by the loftiest philanthropy, and sustained by an unconquerable courage, and did dauntless battle for the weak and the oppressed. In the great rebellion, which drained the best blood of the people and the vast wealth of the land, and the inexorable demand still unsatisfied, called for new and strange devices for replenishing the treasury of the Union, his wisdom conceived, developed, matured, and executed a series of financial measures which supplied the great necessities of those times, and in these days of peace form an integral part of the government. And in that highest human dignity in which we most delight to honor him, the Chief of the august tribunal over which he presided, adjudicating the new questions to which the war gave rise, and expounding the novel phases which the federal power has assumed, he towers before us a character solid, massive, and pure — the peer of those greatest of our country's magistrates, MARSHALL and TANEY.

Resolved, That while we mourn the loss which the nation has sustained in the demise of this great and good man, we rejoice that his life was so long protracted to be illustrated by services so beneficent and noble to his country and race."

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[7] On behalf of the court, the Circuit Judge responded :

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“We assure the bar that the court fully shares in the sentiments respecting the illustrious deceased, and his services and character, so appropriately expressed in the resolutions just presented, and in the eloquent observations with which they have been accompanied.

“ It is not necessary to recount the history or services of the late Chief Justice. For more than twenty-five years his life has been spent in public employment, and in the public eye. To him have been committed, at various times, high executive, administrative, legislative, and judicial trusts. He has been called upon to act in many of the decided epochs which have marked the marvelous growth and development of our country during bis time, and he has demonstrated his greatness by rising always to the full height of any demand made upon his intellectual resources.

“There is one portion of his public history which his countrymen, and lovers of constitutional liberty in all lands, now and hereafter, will cherish with peculiar interest. I allude to his services throughout the civil war as the counsellor of the lamented Lincoln, and as finance minister. Instead of pressing the securities of an imperilled nation upon the timid and unfriendly capitalists of the old world, he appealed with confidence to the people, whose highest interests were at stake. The result attested his wisdom, and surprised the world and even ourselves. To him, as Secretary of the Treasury, may justly be applied, in all its scope, the magnificent and striking eulogy which Webster pronounced on Hamilton: 'He touched the dead corpse of the public credit, and it

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sprang to its feet. He smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth.'

“I am aware that the opinion has, to some extent, prevailed, that Mr. CHASE did not increase his reputation by his services as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I do not concur in that opinion. In intellectual capacity, in purity of life and character, I regard him a worthy successor of the great men to whose seat he succeeded. Before his health gave way he seemed to do as much work in the Supreme Court, and on the circuit, as either of his associates, or as any of his predecessors had done. Some of his published judgments, particularly those respecting the constitutional powers and relations of the state and federal governments, and those concerning the novel questions which grew out of the civil conflict, in logical force, clearness, and finished beauty of expression, take rank with the best opinions of Sir WilLIAM Scott or Lord MANSFIELD, and scarcely fall below those of even MARSHALL himself.

“We join with the bar and with all classes of citizens in mourning the death of the Chief Justice, and in desiring to pay honors to his memory.

“ Accordingly, the resolutions presented will be ordered to be entered of record, and the court will be adjourned during the remainder of the day.”





Hon. SAMUEL F. MILLER, LL. D., Supreme Court Justice assigned

to the Circuit.

Hox. JOHN F. DILLON, LL. D., Circuit Judge for the Circuit


Hon. JAMES M. LOVE, Iowa.
Hox. SAMUEL TREAT, Eastern District Missouri.
Hon. ARNOLD KREKEL, Western District Missouri.
Hon. ELMER S. DUNDY, Nebraska.
Hon. MARK W. DELAHAY, Kansas.
Hon. HENRY C. CALDWELL, Eastern District Arkansas.
Hon. WILLIAM STOREY, Western District Arkansas.

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