Choate, Rufus & Shaw, Lemuel

1833 legal document signed by two Massachusetts legal giants

Price: $90.00

Description:
Rufus Choate (1799-1859) Mass. lawyer, US Rep & Senator, orator. He graduated as valedictorian of his 1819 Dartmouth class, spent a year in Harvard law school, studied for a year in Washington with US Attorney General William Wirt. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar 1823, served in the state House of Representatives 1825–26 and in the state Senate 1827. Elected to Congress as a Whig from Salem 1830, re-elected 1832. He resigned in 1834 and established a Boston law practice. His reputation as a speaker spread beyond New England, and he was much sought after as an orator for public occasions. In 1841, he succeeded Daniel Webster in the US Senate, and shortly afterwards he delivered an address at the memorial services for President Wm. 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 w state attorney general 1853–1854. He was a faithful supporter of Webster's and worked to secure for him the 1852 Whig presidential nomination. In 1856, he refused to follow most of his former Whig associates into the Republican Party and supported Democrat James Buchanan. Lemuel Shaw (1781-1861) American jurist, Chief Justice of the Mass. Supreme Court 1830–60. Graduated Harvard with honors 1800, and in August 1801 began studying law in Boston and began practice there. Mass. state representative 1811-14, 1820 & 1829, state senator 1821-22, member of 1820 constitutional convention, held many offices in Boston. In 1822, he drafted the 1st city charter that lasted to 1913. On the 1830 death of Chief Justice Isaac Parker, Gov. Levi Lincoln offered Shaw the appointment, and he served until Aug. 21, 1860. His long judicial career coincided with the development of many important industries, and he made law on such matters as water power, railroads and other public utilities. Few other state judges so deeply influenced commercial and constitutional law throughout the nation. In his time, the Chief Justice sat often at trials, and he was thorough, systematic, and patient, with a remarkable power to charge juries so they understood the exact questions before them. While Chief Justice, Shaw reportedly heard 2,000-2,200 cases. Among his cases were the 1834 trial of the anti-Catholic rioters who destroyed the Ursuline convent in Charlestown (Commonwealth v. Buzzell). In 1836 his court ruled in Commonwealth v. Aves that a slave girl brought voluntarily into Massachusetts was a “sojourner," not taking domicile in that State, so slaves could be brought into the state for a limited time. Abolitionists wanted a rule which would have freed the girl, while southerners wanted the court to uphold the concept of comity and acknowledge slavery’s legality. Shaw attempted to split the decision by applying the archaic "sojourner" status to slaves. This caused an uproar in the South where planters accused Northerners of denying their equal sovereign status. His ruling favoring the constitutionality of school segregation in Roberts v. City of Boston (1849) established "separate but equal" as a legal doctrine in the state. Other notable cases were the 1847 divorce of Henry Cobb against his wife for joining the Mormons and eventually marrying Brigham Young in a polygamous marriage (Cobb v. Cobb). His work extending the equity jurisdiction and powers of the court was especially important. In Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842), he provided an important precedent in labor relations arguing that members of labor unions were not engaging in criminal conspiracies against their employers. In Brown v. Kendall (1850), Shaw established negligence as the dominant standard of tort law, and ruled that injured plaintiffs have the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent. In the 1850 Webster-Parkman murder trial, he delivered a 3-hour charge to the jury in which Shaw reviewed and/or refuted portions of the testimony heard and, in turn, defined murder, manslaughter, circumstantial evidence and reasonable doubt. In 1850, the law required the prosecution to prove the existence of a crime, the corpus delicti; the prosecution had to physically produce the corpse of the person allegedly murdered. In that only body parts and some teeth had been found, Shaw stated the jury could rely on circumstantial evidence. The case against Webster was one of the first capital cases won by the prosecution without absolute evidence the victim had been murdered. He was Herman Melville’s father-in-law and Melville dedicated his novel, "Typee", to Shaw. Partly-printed 13 ½ x 8 ¼ DS while Shaw was Massachusetts Chief Justice, completed by him, and while Choate was Mass Whig US Rep, Salem, November 5 1833. 3pp (folded sheet) with other related instruments appended at top left, empowering any Justice of the Peace, Notary or other person legally empowered to administer oaths and take depositions to examine witnesses in the cae of Isaac Wheeler v. George Brackett, a property case (failure to deliver 2 cases of shoes). On the inside pages are interrogatories to be given to defendant Brackett and another witness in New York and on the 3rd page, Choate, as counsel, objects to certain cross-interrogatories as irrelevant.

Condition: Good, heavy folds, few starts repaired with old tape
Type:Document






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