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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GILCHRIST, Robert, lawyer, born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 21 August, 1825; died there, 6 July, 1888. He was educated in private schools, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1847. Subsequently he became a counsellor of the United States supreme court. He was a member of the New Jersey legislature in 1859. -At the first call for troops in 1861 he went to the front as a captain in the 2d New Jersey regiment. Until the close of the civil war he was a" Republican, but he left that party on the question of reconstruction, and in 1866 he was a Democratic candidate for congress. In 1869 he was appointed attorney-general of New Jersey, to fill the unexpired term of George M. Robeson (appointed secretary of the navy in President Grant's cabinet), and in 1873 was reappointed for a full term. In 1875 he was a candidate for United States senator. He had been appointed one of the commissioners to revise the constitution of the state in 1873, but resigned before the work was completed, and he also declined the office of chief-justice of New Jersey. Mr. Gilchrist was especially versed in constitutional law, and he was employed in many notable cases. His interpretation of the fifteenth amendment to the national constitution secured the right of suffrage to colored men in New Jersey. He was the author of the riparian-rights act, and was counsel for the state in the suit that tested its constitutionality. From this source the fund for maintenance of public schools in New Jersey is now chiefly derived. He also secured to the United States a half million dollars left by Joseph L. Lewis to be applied in payment of the national debt. His large law library, enriched with thousands of marginal notes, was sold at auction in New York six months after his death.-His wife, FREDERICKA, born in Oswego, New York, in 1846, is a daughter of Samuel Raymond Beardsley (q. v.). She has published "The True Story of Hamlet and Ophelia," a minute study and completely new interpretation of Shakespeare's play (Boston, 1889).
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