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TAPHS AND INSCRIPTIONS WITH OC CASIONAL NOTES, BY REV. TIMOTHY ALDEN.
MARBLEHEAD, MASS. 631. Nole.-The late hon. SAMUEL SEWALL, LL. D. A. A. S. successor to the hon. Theophilus Parsons, LL. D. A. A. S. (see art. 560.] as chief justice of the supreme judicial court of Massachusetts, died, suddenly, at Wiscasset, while on his tour of official duty, in the summer of 1814, having entered on the 57 year of his age.
He was a grandson of the pious and rev. Joseph Sewall, D. D. for many years, the celebrated pastor of the third congregational church in Boston, and great-grandson of the excellent and hon. Samuel Sewall, long the able chief justice of the same court, of which he, in this character, was a distinguished ornament. The senior chief justice Sewall was a son, of Henry Sewall and Jane Dummer and a greatgrandson of the hon. Henry Sewall, mayor of the city of Exeter in England, of whom a notice appears in the 335 article of this Collection.
The late chief justice Sewall received his education, preparatory for admission into college, under
the tuition of the well known Samuel Moody, esq. at Dummer academy in Byfield, as did not a few of bis learned cotemporaries. In 1772, he entered Harvard university and received its accustomed honours in regular course. At college, he was reputed an excellent classical and belles-lettres scholar, and retained, to the close of life, his attachment to the literary and scientifick pursuits of his juvenile age. Having studied under the direction of the late chief justice Dana, who was a lawyer of great eminence. he commenced his professional labours in Marblebead, and continued his practice in the county of Essex till called by the suffrages of his fellow citizens, to enter on a more publick station. For several years, he was a very important and influential member of the state legislature. In 1797, he was elected a representative to congress.
The hon. Isaac Parker, in a tribute highly respectful to the memory of chief justice Sewall, delivered at the opening of the first session of the supreme judicial court after his death, says, “ no man ever understood better the general interests of his country and particular interests of his constituents. The eitizens of Marblehead used to acknowledge the great benefits derived from his attention to their peculiar business and the improvements introduced into it by his exertions. His commercial information was much valued and much used in congress. Having been, two years, colleague with him, I am able to declare, that no man, in the house of representatives, was more relied upon for useful knowl
edge, nor more esteemned for power in debate, than he was. Although ardent in his feelings and inflexible in his political opinions, whenever he addressed the chair, members, of all descriptions, listened with an expectation of being informed and an assurance, that they should not be deceived.
“ In the year, 1800, while a member of congress, he was appointed to a seat on the bench. Some of you have witnessed his labours, for fourteen years past, and it is unnecessary to state his acknowledged qualifications for the seat he occupied. In some points of importance, bis venerable colleagues, Dana, Strong, and Bradbury, seemed to feel and admit all his pre-eminence. I mean, particularly, in commercial law and in the probate system of our state. On these subjects, also, the late chief jus. tice Parsons was known to place great reliance on his opinion. On his succession to the first place in this court, he felt, with all his native diffidence, the publick expectations from the man, who took the place of Parsons, and, without believing he could approach so near his eminence, as those, who knew him best, expected, he bent the whole strength of his faculties to the accomplishment of his great object, that of filling with respectability and usefulness so conspicuous and important an office.
"Enough was exhibited, in the short time of his oxercise of the chief judicial office, to prove his native ability to sustain it, and to warrant the assertion, that the publick loss is now indeed irreparable.
6 In all his publick functions, he was remarkable for his devotedness to the cause, in which he was engaged, for his assiduity and earnestness, for research and deptli of thought, and for an extraordinary ingenuity of reasoning, which sometimes appeared to border on refinement, but which ended in the most just and satisfactory conclusions.
“ In his style of writing and speaking, he was uncommonly nice and elegant, generally framing and polishing his sentences, till they became suited to an ear made almost fastidious by an early classick education and a copious and reiterated reading of all the celebrated authors in English literature.
“ His mind was originally that of a poet, in which fancy predominates and ornament is the great desideratum ; but business, deeper study, and the judge ment of manhood had substituted a more durable basis for his compositions, leaving enough only of the former character to adorn and beautify them.
“ He viewed the system of law as a system of justice, considering its technical forms and rules as its guards and securities, always exercising his ingenuity to adapt them to the substantial merits of the case, and yet cautious not to break through those approved precedents and formularies, which the experience of ages has proved to be useful and necessary.”
The subject of this article was cut off in the midst of his useful life to the great grief of all, who knew his worth. He was an exemplary communicant and