Rufus Choate. an American lawyer, born at Essex, Mass., Oct. 1, 1700, died in Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 13, 1850. He graduated at Dartmouth college in 1810, was tutor there for a year, then studied law, and in 1824 commenced practice at Danvers, Mass., but soon afterward removed to Salem. In 1825 he was elected representative in the Massachusetts legislature, in 1827 state senator, and in 1832 a representative in congress. He declined a reelection, and taking up his residence in Boston entered upon the practice of his profession, in which he soon rose to the highest rank, being recognized as one of the most acute lawyers and the ablest advocate of the Massachusetts bar. In 1841 he was elected United States senator to fill the unexpired term of Daniel Webster. In the senate he made several eloquent speeches, but his true sphere was rather that of a lawyer than of a politician. At the close of his senatorial term, in 1846, he resumed his practice in Boston. In 1853 he was attorney general of the state, and was thenceforth to the close of his life the foremost lawyer in New England. He died while on his way to Europe for the benefit of his health.
Mr. Choate was perhaps the most effective pleader of the day; and apart from his purely legal efforts, his reputation rests upon two or three speeches delivered in the senate of the United States, and some occasional addresses and orations. The principal of these are a eulogy upon President Harrison (1841), an address upon the anniversary of the landing of the pilgrim fathers (1843), a eulogy upon Daniel Webster (1853), an address at the dedication of the Peabody institution in Dan vers (1854), an oration before the young men's democratic club of Boston (1858), two addresses before the law school at Cambridge, and two lectures before the mercantile library association of Boston. His "Works, with a Memoir," by Prof. S. G. Brown, including correspondence, have been published (2 vols., Boston, 1862).