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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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William Beach Lawrence

LAWRENCE, William Beach, jurist, born in New York city, 23 October, 1800; died there, 26 March, 1881. His ancestor came from England about the middle of the 17th century, and received a patent of land on Long Island. His father, Isaac, was a wealthy merchant of New York. Beach was graduated at Columbia in 1818, studied law, went to Europe in 1821, and on his return to the United States in 1823 was admitted to the bar. In 1826 he was appointed secretary of legation in London, and in 1827 he was charge d'affaires there. From London he went to Paris, and on his return to New York, after an absence of four years, he formed a law partnership with Hamilton Fish, and delivered in Columbia college lectures on political economy, which were repeated before the mercantile library association, and published. He attained eminence at the bar of New York, and promoted the construction of the Erie railway, being a member of the executive committee About 1845 he purchased Ochre Point, at Newport, Rhode Island, erected on it a summer residence, and resided there permanently after 1850. He was elected lieutenant-governor of Rhode Island in 1851, soon afterward became acting governor of the state, and in 1853 was a member of the State constitutional convention. During his term as governor he exerted himself to procure the abolition of imprisonment for debt, and was instrumental in defeating the passage by the legislature of the Maine liquor law. Governor Lawrence achieved distinction in appearing before the British and American into, national tribunal at Washington in 1873 in the case of the "Circassian," involving more than half a million dollars. He won the suit, obtaining for his clients the reversal of a decision of the United States supreme court, the only instance of that character that has occurred in the country's history. Lawrence's argument in the case, on which the decision was rendered, is regarded, both in this country and in Europe, as an authoritative exposition of several important points of international law. He was a lecturer on international law in 1872-'3 in the law school of Columbian college, Washington, D. C., and was an original member of the "Institute of the Law of Nations." For thirty years he was noted for the generous hospitality that he dispensed at Ochre Point, where he had collected one of the most valuable private libraries in the land. He was an active member of the New York historical society, and from 1836 till 1845 its vice president. At the annual meeting on 3 January, 1882, James Grant Wilson delivered an address on Governor Lawrence, at the same time presenting to the society a marble bust by Dunbar, the gift of his eldest son, Isaac, and also an unfinished address on "The Life, Character, and Public Services of Albert Gallatin," which had been prepared for the society. Mr. Lawrence published "Address to the Academy of Fine Arts" (New York, 1825); " The History of Louisiana," by Barbe Marbois, translated, with notes (Philadelphia, 1830); "Bank of the United States" (Boston, 1831); "Institutions of the United States" (New York, 1832); "Lectures on Political Economy" (1832); "Discourses on Political Economy" (1834); "Inquiry into the Causes of the Public Distress" (1834); "History of the Negotiations in Reference to the Eastern and Northeastern Boundaries of the United States" (1841); "Biographical Memoir of Albert Gallatin" (1843); "The Law of Charitable Uses" (1845); a new edition of Wheaton's "Elements of International Law," with annotations and a notice of the author (1855); "Visitation and Search" (Boston, 1858); "Commentaire sur les elements du droit international" (4 vols., Leipsic, 1868-'80); "Etude de droit international sur le mariage" (Ghent, 1870); "The Treaty of Washington" (Providence, 1871); "Disabilities of American Women married Abroad" (New York, 1871); "The Indirect Claims of the United States under the Treaty of Washington of May 8, 1871, as submitted to the Tribunal of Arbitration at Geneva" (Providence, 1872); "Belligerent and Sovereign Rights as regards Neutrals during the War of Secession" (Boston, 1873); "Administration of Equity Jurisprudence" (1874)" and "Etudes sur la juridiction consulaire et sur l'extradition" (Leipsic, 1880).--His son, Albert Gallatin, soldier, born in New York city in 1834; died there, 1 January, 1887, received his early education at the Anglo-American academy, Vevay, Switzerland, entered Harvard on his return, and was graduated in 1856. He then studied in the law school at Harvard, and, after graduation in 1858, entered the office of a New York attorney, but soon afterward went to Vienna as an attache of the United States legation. When the civil war began he returned, joined the volunteer army, was commissioned as lieutenant in the 54th New York infantry, and served through the Maryland and Virginia campaigns. In 1864 he was made a captain in the 2d United States colored cavalry. He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel for bravery at Fort Fisher, where, in leading the forlorn hope, he lost his right arm, and on 25 March, 1865, was given the brevet of brigadier-general. He was appointed minister to Costa Rica on 2 October, 1866, but was recalled in 1868 in consequence of a duel that he fought with a Prussian attache who had disparaged the United States. He subsequently served as a commissioner to investigate the grievances of Sitting Bull and his tribe and other difficulties with the Indians.

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