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BENJAMIN R. CURTIS.
[Benjamin R. Curtis was born in Watertown, Mass., 1809. He was educated at Harvard College, where he was graduated in 1829. He studied law at Cambridge under Judge Story and Prof. Ashmun, but left, before taking his degree, to practice law in Northfield. In 1834 he moved to Boston. While serving as a member of the state legislature in 1851 he was appointed by President Fillmore, at the solicitation of Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate, an associate justice of the supreme court of the United States. In 1857 he resigned his judicial position, and resumed practice in Boston. He died at Newport, R. I., 1874. His lije, by his brother, George Ticknor Curtis, and a selection from his public and professional writings, were published by Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1879, by whose permission two of the following selections are reproduced.]
It was once remarked of the famous Dr. Chalmers that whatever science he happened to touch was at once transmuted into theology. The same remark may well be applied to Judge Curtis with respect to jurisprudence. Judicial alike in moral and mental temperament, he devoted his entire energies to his high vocation. And the wonderful precision and accuracy of his mental operations were probably due in no small degree to the singular simplicity, rectitude, and force of his character. No stimulus of ambition led him to mar the integrity of his life; and well might the sense of duty which seems to have guided his exertions prompt his biographer to characterize him, in the words of Wotton's hymn, as one
"Whose armor is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill." The characteristic features of his mind were described with sympathetic appreciation in a memorial address by his friend Sidney Bartlet:
"Whoever will peruse his recorded judgments will find how thoroughly, when the occasion arose, he mastered, and how acutely and comprehensively he applied, those principles; but, if I mistake not, he may also find slight, though not disfiguring, traces of a mind thoroughly imbued with the principles of the common law, and which that common law had