CHASE, Samuel

CHASE, Samuel
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
1741–1811

Biography

CHASE, Samuel, a Delegate from Maryland; born in Princess Anne, Somerset County, Md., April 17, 1741; was tutored privately and pursued an academic course; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1761 and commenced practice in Annapolis, Md.; member of the General Assembly of Maryland 1764-1784; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1778; sent on a special mission to Canada in 1776 to induce the Canadians to join in the revolution against Great Britain; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; went to England in 1783 as agent for the State of Maryland to recover the stock in the Bank of England which had been purchased when the State was a colony of Great Britain; moved to Baltimore, Md., in 1786; judge of the Baltimore criminal court in 1788; appointed judge of the general court of Maryland in 1791; appointed by President Washington an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1796; articles of impeachment were filed against him in 1804 on charges of malfeasance in office five years previous in his conduct of the trials of Fries and Callendar for sedition, and for a more recent address to a Maryland grand jury; tried by the Senate in 1805, he was acquitted of all charges on March 1, 1805; resumed his seat on the bench, and retained it until his death in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 1811; interment in Old St. Paul's Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1787-1816, 16 items. Includes letters, bills, and legal papers of Samuel Chase and his son, Samuel Chase, Jr.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: 1804, 1 page. A letter from Samuel Chase to Roger Griswold written on November 8, 1804. In the letter, Samuel Chase encloses a statement of what he hopes to discuss confidentially with Roger Griswold about the articles of impeachment against Samuel Chase. The statement referred to was not transcribed, probably because of Samuel Chase's request that it be committed to the flames.

Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library

La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1778, 1 page. A letter from Samuel Chase to Stephen West written on October 16, 1778. In the letter, Samuel Chase writes that he wishes that Stephen West was in the House of Delegates.
Papers: 1796, 1 page. A letter from Samuel Chase to Samuel Meredith written on April 21, 1796. This document indicates payment of Samuel Chase's monthly salary to Samuel Sterett.
Papers: 1796, 2 pages. A letter from Samuel Chase to an unidentified recipient written on December 4, 1796. In the letter, Samuel Chase writes "A free press is the support of liberty...but a licentious press will do more to destroy real liberty than any other instrument."

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1776-1805, 4 items. Papers of Samuel Chase, 1776-1805.

Maryland Historical Society Library

Baltimore, MD
Papers: ca. 1802-1806, 1 volume. A charge book containing instructions to grand juries of the U.S. Third Circuit delivered by Samuel Chase as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The charges reflect Samuel Chase's highly political viewpoints on federalism, representative government, separation of powers, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: In the Luther Martin Papers, ca. 1804, 1 item. A letter from Luther Martin to Samuel Chase. In the letter, Luther Martin writes that he regrets that his health may prevent his returning to town and wishing to see him on legal matters.

Pennsylvania State Archives
Manuscript Groups

Scranton, PA
Papers: In the Mrs. James Lewis Hook Autograph Collection, 1752-1810, 22 items. Persons represented include Samuel Chase.

The Rosenbach Museum & Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1777, 3 pages. A letter from Samuel Chase to Thomas Johnson written on August 12, 1777. In the letter, Samuel Chase conveys military news, including troop strengths and the actions of George Washington. Samuel Chase also discusses actions to establish credit with European nations.
Papers: 1777, 1 page. A letter from Samuel Chase to Thomas Johnson written on August 26, 1777. In the letter, Samuel Chase writes about military matters in Maryland.
Papers: 1803, 1 item. A letter from Samuel Chase to John Francis Mercer written on November 7, 1803. In the letter, Samuel Chase writes about the draft of a new bill to be put before the Maryland legislature concerning the state courts.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Chase, Samuel. The Answer and Pleas of Samuel Chase, One of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, to the Articles of Impeachment, Exhibited Against Him in the Senate, by the House of Representatives of the United States, In Support of Their Impeachment Against Him, For High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Supposed To Have Been Committed By Him. Salem, MA: Re-printed by Joshua Cushing, 1805.

___. Trial of Samuel Chase, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Impeached by the House of Representatives, For High Crimes and Misdemeanors, before the Senate of the United States. Taken in Shorthand by Samuel H. Smith and Thomas Lloyd. 1805. Two Volumes. Reprint edition, New York: DaCapo Press, 1970.

Elsmere, Jane S. Justice Samuel Chase. Muncie, IN: Janevar Publishing Co., 1980.

Haw, James. Stormy Patriot:The Life of Samuel Chase. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1980.

Presser, Stephen B. The Original Misunderstanding: The English, the Americans, and the Dialectic of Federalist Jurisprudence. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 1991.

Rehnquist, William H. Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson. New York: Morrow, 1992.

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