Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Fuller, Melville Weston

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FULLER, Melville Weston, jurist, b. in Augusta, Me., 11 Feb., 1833. He was graduated at Bowdoin in 1853, studied law in Bangor with his uncle, George M. Weston, and then at Harvard, and began to practise in 1855 in his native city. There he was an associate editor of the “Age,” served as president of the common council, and became city attorney in 1856; but he resigned in June of that year, and removed to Chicago, Ill., where he was in active practice for thirty-two years. He rose to the highest rank in his profession, and was concerned in many important cases, among which were the National bank tax cases, one of which was the first that was argued before Chief-Justice Waite, the Cheney ecclesiastical case, the South park commissioners' cases, and the Lake front case. He was a member of the state constitutional convention of 1862, and later of the lower house of the legislature, where he was a leader of the Douglas branch of the Democratic party. He was a delegate to the Democratic national conventions of 1864, 1872, 1876, and 1880. On 30 April, 1888, he was nominated by President Cleveland to be chief justice of the United States, and on 20 July he was confirmed by the senate. On 8 Oct. he took the oath of office and entered on his duties. Justice Fuller is, with one exception, the youngest member of the supreme court. In 1899 he was a member of the arbitration commission, convened in Paris, to which was referred the case of the Anglo-Venezuelan boundary question. Among his addresses is one welcoming Stephen A. Douglas to Chicago in 1860, and another on Sidney Breese, which is prefixed to Judge Breese's “Early History of Illinois” (1884). The degree of LL. D. has been conferred on him by Harvard and other institutions.


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