Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MATILE, George Auguste, jurist, born in La Chaux-de-Ponds, Neufchatel, Switzerland, 30 May, 1807; died in Washington, D. C., 6 February, 1881. He was educated in the colleges of Neufchatel and Berne, studied law in Berlin, Heidelberg, and Paris, and was admitted to the bar at Neufchatel in 1830. He served several terms in the legislature of his canton, and was chosen professor of Roman law at the University of Neufchatel in 1838. He also served as one of the judges of the supreme court, he came to the United States in 1849, in consequence of political troubles, and was naturalized in 1856. He was professor of history at Princeton in 1855-'8, and then accepted the chair of French literature in the University of Pennsylvania. After 1863 he held various government posts in Washington, and he was translator of the interior department at the time of his death. On 1 February, 1881, while ascending the steps of the patent-office he was suddenly seized with an attack of vertigo, and fell, receiving severe injuries about the head, which resulted in his death. Like his colleague, Arnold Guizot, he held that religion did not necessarily conflict with science, and frequently wrote articles for the religious press of both this country and the old. Among these writings is a pamphlet bearing the title "The True God." Professor Matile was the first to call the attention of jurists to the importance of examining the question of patents from an international standpoint. Among his numerous works are "Points de coutume" (1838)" " Autorite du droit romain de la Boutume de Bourgogne et la Caroline dans la principautd de Neufchatel" (1838)" "Musde historique de Neufchatel" (3 vols., 1841-'9) ; "Monuments de l'histoire de Neufchatel" (2 vols., 1844-'8) ; and " Histoire de la seigneurie de Valangin" (1852). His son, LEON, is now (1888) a captain in the United States army.
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