William Beach Lawrence, an American jurist, born in New York, Oct 23, 1800. He graduated at Columbia college in 1818, studied law, went to Europe in 1821, and on his return to New York in 1823 was admitted to the bar. In 1826 he was secretary of legation in London, and in 1827-'8 charge d'affaires. He then went to Paris, where he translated into English Marbois's history of the treaty of Louisiana, with an introduction and notes (Philadelphia, 1830). On his return he delivered a course of lectures on political economy to the senior class of Columbia college, which were published in 1832. He took a prominent position at the bar of New York, and actively promoted the construction of the Erie railway, being a member of the executive committee. In 1850 he removed to Ochre Point, near Newport, R. I. In 1851 he was elected lieutenant governor, and soon after became acting governor of the state; and in 1853 he was a member of the state constitutional convention. During his term as governor he exerted himself to procure the abolition of imprisonment for debt, and was instrumental in defeating the passage by the legislature of the Maine liquor law.

In 1855 he published a new edition of Wheaton's "Elements of International Law," with annotations and a notice of the author, a work which he undertook on the death of Mr. Wheaton in 1848 for the benefit of the author's family, and another edition in 1863. In October, 1869, he was a member of the social science congress held in Bristol, Eng. In 1872-'3 he delivered a course of lectures on international law before the law school of Columbian college, Washington. His more important publications include "History of the Negotiations in reference to the Eastern and Northeastern Boundaries of the United States " (New York, 1841); " The Law of Charitable Uses " (1845); "Visitation and Search " (1858); Commentaire sur les elements du droit international, etc. (3 vols., Leipsic, 1868-'73); Etude de droit international sur le mariage (Ghent, 1870); "The Treaty of Washington" (Providence, 1871); "Disabilities of American Women Married Abroad " (New York, 1871); "The Indirect Claims of the United States under the Treaty of Washington of May 8, 1871, as submitted to the Tribunal of Arbitration at Geneva" (Providence, 1872); " Belligerent and Sovereign Rights as regards Neutrals during the War of Secession," an argument on the case of the Circassian before the mixed commission on British and American claims, under the 12th article of the treaty of Washington (Boston, 1873); " Administration of Equity Jurisprudence" (Boston, 1874); and several speeches and addresses.