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The Rev. Mr. Chase having lost his wife, and succeeding at nearly the same time to the pastoral charge of St. Paul's parish, in Baltimore, removed with his son to that town in the year 1743. .
Baltimore was, at that period, merely a village, and afforded little opportunity for the education of boys; indeed, so lately as nine years afterwards, a schoolmaster seems to have been still a desideratum, for a gazette of that date contains an advertisement, offering good encouragement from the inhabitants, to
Among the patriots of the revolution, none were more actively engaged during its most trying scenes, and few more distinguished in after life, than SAMUEL CHASE.
He was born on the seventeenth of April, 1741, in Somerset county, Maryland, and was the only child of the Reverend Thomas Chase, a very learned clergyman of the protestant episcopal church, who emigrated from England, and married Matilda Walker, the daughter of a respectable farmer.
The Rev. Mr. Chase having lost his wife, and succeeding at nearly the same time to the pastoral charge of St. Paul's parish, in Baltimore, removed with his son to that town in the
1743. Baltimore was, at that period, merely a village, and afforded little opportunity for the education of boys; indeed, so lately as nine years afterwards, a schoolmaster seems to have been still a desideratum, for a gazette of that date contains an advertisement, offering good encouragement from the inhabitants, to
any one of “sober character,” competent to “teach English, writing and arithmetic.”
The Rev. Mr. Chase was, however, perfectly well qualified to instruct bis son. He had enjoyed the best advantages which England afforded, and had become not only a scholar of remarkable attainments, but also an enthusiast in classical learning; a proof of which was given in his laborious translation of the poem of Silius Italicus, enriched with copious and learned notes, a work which though bearing the marks of great talent as well as perseverance, yet remains in the hands of his descendants, awaiting sufficient encouragement for its publication.
Under the tuition of a parent so accomplished and so devoted to learning, the young Samuel acquired a degree of erudition uncommon among his compeers; and at the age of eighteen, with the established character of a good scholar, he was sent to Annapolis to commence the study of the law.
Pursuing his studies, in the office of Mr. Thomas Jobnson, with the earnestness that marked all his conduct through life, he was admitted to practice in the mayor's court at the early age of twenty, and two years afterwards was licensed for the chancery and some of the county courts.
He chose Annapolis for his permanent residence, and very soon became known as an able, eloquent and fearless lawyer; with the reputation superadded, at least among the more staid and loyal inhabitants,
of being too little inclined to respect and venerate the dignity of the provincial officers.
In after years, he gave abundant proof of extraordinary talent; but his immediate success in starting on his professional career, was perhaps a more equivocal test, since the opportunity for distinction was then such as the present aspirants to forensic fame may not hope to see. The number of practitioners at the Annapolis bar was so small, that if the courts had any occupation at all, the lawyers could not fail, all to have clients. “I qualified,” says Mr. Chase, in a letter written long after, “in 1761 in the mayor's court; the bar then consisted of three practitioners, Messrs. William Paca, John Brice, junior, and myself; all of us students of the law under gentlemen of Annapolis, who qualified merely for improvement, without the remotest view of profit.
He very soon married Miss Ann Baldwin, of Annapolis, a lady described, by those who recollect her, as remarkably amiable and intelligent, and who became the mother of two sons and two daughters, all of whom survived their parents.
Advancing continually in his profession, the few years that intervened between his coming to the bar and the commencement of the troubles, were not signalized by any incident, except his marriage, that has been preserved by memory or tradition.
In this interval he became a member of the colonial legislature, and distinguished himself there not only by the vigour of his mind, but by the bold inde
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