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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Francis Rawle

RAWLE, Francis, colonist, born in England about 1660; died in Philadelphia, 5 March, 1727. He was a member of the Society of Friends. With his father, of the same name, he came to Pennsylvania in 1686, to escape persecution on account of: his religious faith. He located 2,500 acres in Plymouth township, where, with a few others, he founded the settlement known as "The Plymouth Friends." In 1688 he was commissioned a justice of the peace and of the court of common pleas; under the first city charter (1691) he is named as one of the six aldermen; in 1692 he became deputy register of the wills; and in 1694 he was a commissioner of property. He was subsequently chosen to the provincial assembly, in which he served for ten years, and to the provincial council. He is said to be the first person in the British colonies in America that wrote on the subject of political economy and its application to local requirements. In 1721 he published "Some Remedies Proposed for the Restoring the sunk Credit of the Province of Pennsylvania; with Some Remarks on its Trade. Humbly Offered to the Consideration of the Worthy Representatives in the General Assembly of this Province. By a Lover of this Country." During the following year numerous petitions came to the assembly, praying for the issuance of paper money, and a committee, with Rawle at the head, was appointed, to whom was committed "the drawing-up the bill for issuing bills of credit, &c." The bill then drawn became a law. The paper money issued under it was the first in the province. In 1725 he published " Ways and Means for the Inhabitants of Delaware to become Rich: Wherein the several Growths and Products of these Countries are demonstrated to be a sufficient Fund fora flourishing Trade. Humbly submitted to the Legislative Authority of these Colonies." This book is said to be the first that was printed by Franklin. George Brinley's copy of this work sold for $100. In the following year he published "A Just Rebuke to a Dialogue betwixt Simon and Timothy, shewing What's therein to be found. &c.," being a reply to James Logan's " Dialogue shewing What's therein to be found, &c." (Philadelphia, 1725), printed by Logan ill answer to Rawle's "Ways and Means."--His great-grandson, William, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 28 April, 1759; died there, 12 April, 1836, was educated at the Friends' academy, and was yet a student when the war for independence was begun. His immediate relatives and connections were loyalists. On the evacuation of Philadelphia by the British, young Rawle accompanied his step-father, Samuel Shoemaker, who had been one of the civil magistrates of the city under Howe, to New York, and there began the study of the law. Mr. Rawle completed his studies in the Middle Temple, London, and returned to Philadelphia, where, in 1783, he was admitted to the bar. In 1791 he was appointed by President Washington United States district attorney for Pennsylvania. By direction of the president, Mr Rawle accompanied the United States district judge and the military on the western expedition in 1794, and it became his duty to prosecute the offenders after the insurrections in that year and in 1798 had been put down. In 1792 he was offered by the president the office of judge of the United States district court for Pennsylvania, but declined it on account of his youth and professional prospects. He was for many years the attorney and counsel for the Bank of the United States. From 1786 till his death he was a member of the American philosophical society, and for twenty years he was one of its councillors. In 1789 he was chosen to the assembly, tie was one of the original members of the Society for political inquiries, founded by Franklin, which held its weekly meetings at his house. From 1796 till his death he was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He was the chancellor of the Associated members of the bar of Philadelphia, and when, in 1827, this institution was merged in the Law association of Philadelphia, he became chancellor of the latter in 1822, and held the office till his death. He was chosen the first vice-president of the Law academy, was one of the founders of the Historical society of Pennsylvania in 1824, and its first president. He was also a member of the Agricultural, Humane, Linaeean, and Abolition societies, and was long president of the latter. For many years he was secretary and afterward a director of the Library company of Philadelphia. In 1830 he was appointed, with Thomas I. Wharton and Joel Jones, to revise the civil code of Pennsylvania, and he was the principal author of the reports of the commission, the results of whose labors are embodied in statutes that still remain in force. Among his published writings are "An Address before the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture "(Philadelphia, 1819); "Two Addresses to the Associated Members of the Bar of Philadelphia" (1824) ; "A View of the Constitution of the United States" (1825); and "The Study of the Law" (1832). To the literature of the Historical society he contributed a "Vindication of the Reverend Mr. Heckewelder's ' History of the Indian Nations, ' " a "Biographical Sketch of Sir William Keith," and "A Sketch of the Life of Thomas Mifltin." He left various manuscripts on theological matters, among them an "Essay on Angelic Influences," and an argument on the evidences of Christianity. He was a fine classical scholar. He translated from the Greek the "Phae-do " of Plato, adding thereto a commentary thereon. These "would in themselves alone," according to David Paul Brown, "suffice to protect his name against oblivion." He received the degree of LL. D. from Princeton in 1827, and from Dartmouth in 1828. See a sketch of him by Thomas I. Wharton (Philadelphia, 1840).--William's son, William, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 19 July, 1788 ; died in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, 9 August, 1858, was educated at Princeton, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1810. During the war of 1812 he served as captain of the 2d troop of Philadelphia city cavalry. Returning to the practice of the law, he in due time attained a rank at the bar but little inferior to that of his father. He was for four years president of the common council. He was a member of the American philosophical society, for many years a vice-president of the Historical society of Pennsylvania, and secretary, and afterward a director, of the Library company, and for twenty years a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. As reporter of the state supreme court, he published 25 volumes of reports (1818-'33). Among his published writings are an "Address before the Law Academy of Philadelphia," (1835), and "An Address before the Trustees of Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania" (1836). --The second William's son, William Henry, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 31 August, 1823, was graduated in 1841 at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received in 1882 the degree of LL. D. He studied law with his father, was admitted to practice in 1844, and has won reputation in his profession. In 1862, upon the "emergency" call, Mr. Rawle enlisted as a private of artillery, and in 1863, under a similar call, he served as quartermaster. He was a vice-provost of the Law academy from 1865 to 1873, has been vice-chancellor of the Law association since 1880, and for several years has been the secretary, and afterward a director, of the Library company. He has published a treatise on the "Law of Covenants for Title" (Philadelphia, 1852): the 3d American edition of John W. Smith's "Law of Contracts," with notes (1853; with additional notes by George Sharswood, 1856); the 2d American edition of Joshua Williams's "Law of Real Property" (1857); "Equity in Pennsylvania," a lecture, to which was appended "The Registrar's Book of Governor William Keith's Court in Chancery" (1868); " Some Contrasts in the Growth of Pennsylvania in English Law" (1881); "Oration at Unveiling of the Monument erected by the Bar of the United States to Chief-Justice Marshall" (Washington, 1884) ; and "The Case of the Educated Unemployed," an address (1885). --William Henry's nephew, William Brooke-Rawle, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 29 August, 1843, is the son of Charles Wallace Brooke by his wife, Elizabeth Tilghman, daughter of the second William Rawle, and has taken for his surname Brooke-Rawle. He was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1863, and immediately afterward entered the army as lieutenant in the ;3d Pennsylvania cavalry. He was promoted captain and brevetted major and lieutenant-colonel, at the close of the war, studied law, and in 1867 was admitted to the Philadelphia bar. He is secretary of the Historical society of Pennsylvania, treasurer of the Law association of Philadelphia, and agent for the Penn estates in Pennsylvania. Colonel Brooke-Rawle has published "The Right Flank at Gettysburg" (Philadelphia, 1878)" "With Gregg in the Gettysburg Campaign" (1884)" and "Gregg's Cavalry Fight at Gettysburg," art address delivered at the unveiling of the monument on the site of the cavalry engagement (1884).--The first William Rawle's grandson, Henry, iron-master, born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, 21 August, 1833, is the son of Francis William Rawle, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, who served in the war of 1812, became a civil engineer, was largely engaged in the manufacture of iron, and was for some time judge of Clearfield county. The son studied civil engineering, and as a young man engaged in constructing the Pennsylvania railroad, and became principal assistant engineer of the western division of the Sunbury and Erie railroad. He subsequently engaged extensively in the coal and iron business in Erie, Pennsylvania, and established the Erie blast-furnace and Erie rolling-mill, in 1874--'6 he was mayor of Erie, and from 1876 till 1878 he was treasurer of Pennsylvania.--Henry's brother, Francis, lawyer, born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, 7 August, 1846, was graduated at Harvard in 1869 and at the law-school in 1871, and in the latter year was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia. He has published two revised editions of Bouvier's "Law Dictionary," in which are given over seven hundred subjects not named in the original work (Philadelphia, 1883-'5).

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