Curtis. I. Benjamin Robbins, an American jurist, born in Watertown, Mass., Nov. 4, 1809. He graduated at Harvard college in 1829, was admitted to the bar in 1832, and commenced the practice of the law at Northfield, Mass., but soon removed to Boston, where he took a high rank and secured an extensive business. He was remarkable for the extent and readiness of his legal attainments, the clearness and accuracy of his statements, and the vigorous grasp of his logic. Upon the death of Judge Woodbury he was appointed a judge of the supreme court of the United States in September, 1851, which office he resigned in 1857. He has since resumed the practice of his profession in Boston, and frequently appears in important cases before the supreme court of the United States in Washington and in other parts of the country. Few distinguished lawyers in our country have devoted themselves so exclusively to their profession as Judge Curtis. He was for two years a member of the house of representatives in Massachusetts, but has taken very little part in politics. In 1868 he was one of the counsel that defended President Johnson against the charges of impeachment, and made an argument which was widely commended for its legal soundness and clearness.
He has published "Reports of Cases in the Circuit Courts of the United States" (2 vols., Boston, 1854); "Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States," with notes and a digest (22 vols., Boston); and a "Digest of the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States," from the origin of the court to 1854. II. George Ticknor, an American lawyer and juridical author, brother of the preceding, born in Watertown, Mass., Nov. 28, 1812. He graduated at Harvard college in 1832, was admitted to the bar in 1836, and was engaged in the practice of the law in Boston till 1862, when he removed to New York, where he has since continued his professional labors. While in Boston Mr. Curtis held the office of United States commissioner, and as such, in 1851, returned to his master a fugitive slave named Thomas Sims, for which act he was severely denounced by the abolitionists. He has made several valuable contributions to the literature of his profession, including treatises on the " Rights and Duties of Merchant Seamen " (1844), on the "Law of Copyright" (1847), and on the " Law of Patents " (1849; 2d ed., 1854; 4th ed., 1873). He has also compiled a volume of "Equity Precedents," a digest of English and American admiralty decisions, and two volumes of the series of digests of the reports of the United States published by Little, Brown, and co.
He has also published "Commentaries on the Jurisprudence, Practice, and Peculiar Jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States" (2 vols. 1854-'8), which was highly commended by Chief Justice Taney, and a " Life of Daniel Webster " (2 vols., New York, 1870). But the work by which he is best known is a "History of the Origin, Formation, and Adoption of the Constitution of the United States" (2 vols., 1855-8). Mr. Curtis served for two or three years as a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives, but he has allowed politics to interfere but little with the labors of his profession, and his historical and constitutional investigations.