Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Grimké, John Faucheraud
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Grimké, John Faucheraud
|Edition of 1900. See also Thomas Smith Grimké and Sarah Grimké on Wikipedia, Frederick Grimke, and our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer.|
GRIMKÉ, John Faucheraud, jurist, b. in South Carolina, 16 Dec., 1752; d. in Long Branch, N. J., 9 Aug., 1819. He studied law in London, and was one of the Americans there who petitioned George III. against the measures that infringed on colonial rights. He returned home at the beginning of hostilities, and fought through the Revolution as lieutenant-colonel of artillery. He was elected a judge of the superior court in 1783, and in 1799 became senior associate, and thus virtually chief justice. He was also frequently a member of the legislature, speaker of the house in 1785-'6, and a member of the convention of 1788 that adopted the Federal constitution. Judge Grimké, during the latter part of his life, became involved in much litigation, which made him unpopular. Owing to this, and to some hasty action on his part, he was impeached before the legislature in 1811, but the charges were not sustained. Princeton gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1789. He published “Revised Edition of the Laws of South Carolina to 1789,” “Law of Executors for South Carolina,” “Probate Directory,” “Public Law of South Carolina” (Philadelphia, 1790), and “ Duty of Justices of the Peace” (3d ed., 1796). — His son, Thomas Smith, reformer, b. in Charleston, S. C., 26 Sept., 1786; d. near Columbus, Ohio, 11 Oct., 1834, was graduated in 1807 at Yale, and during one of his vacations travelled with President Timothy Dwight. Abandoning his intention of studying for the ministry, he became a lawyer in deference to his father's wishes, and attained distinction at the bar and in politics. On 17 March, 1827, he advocated, in an address before the Bar association of South Carolina, the codification of the laws of that state. He was a member of the state senate in 1826-'30, and in 1828 made a speech in support of the general government on the tariff question. One of his finest efforts was his argument on the South Carolina test-oath question in March, 1834. He was a pioneer in the temperance cause, standing at first almost alone in that work, and one of the most distinguished members of the American peace society. He aided these and other reforms both pecuniarily and by his writings, and his public addresses in their favor won him much respect and sympathy. He advocated absolute non-resistance, holding that even defensive warfare is wicked, and his ideas met with much ridicule. When asked what he would do if he were mayor of Charleston, and a piratical vessel should attack the city, he is said to have replied that he would marshal the Sunday-school children in procession, and lead them to meet the invader. Though a fine classical scholar, he opposed both classics and mathematics as elements of an education, and urged the adoption of more extensive religious teaching. He was also one of the earliest advocates of reform in spelling, which he practically carried out in his later writings, making not only the changes advocated by Noah Webster, but others since advised by the Spelling-reform association, though not generally adopted, such as the omission of final silent e. In October, 1834, he delivered an address on “American Education” before the Western literary institute at Cincinnati, Ohio, and died suddenly while on his way home. He was much beloved, even by those who did not agree with his ideas. He published “Addresses on Science, Education, and Literature” (New Haven, 1831). See a “Eulogy” of him, by James H. Smith (Charleston, 1835). — Another son, Frederick, b. in Charleston, S. C., 1 Sept., 1791; d. in Chillicothe, Ohio, 8 March, 1863, was graduated at Yale in 1810, and removed to Columbus, Ohio, in 1818. He was for some time presiding judge of the Ohio court of common pleas, and in 1836-'42 was a judge of the state supreme court, resigning, in the latter year, to devote his time to philosophical studies. He published an essay on “Ancient and Modern Literature” and a work on the “Nature and Tendencies of Free Institutions” (Cincinnati, 1848). His works, with his latest revisions, were published collectively after his death (1871). — A daughter, Sarah Moore, reformer, b. in Charleston, S. C., 6 Nov., 1792; d. in Hyde Park, N. Y., 23 Dec., 1873. After the death of her father, she and her sister Angelina, afterward Mrs. Theodore D. Weld (q. v.), having long been convinced of the evils of slavery, emancipated their negroes and left their home. In her own account of the event, Miss Grimké says: “As I left my native state on account of slavery, deserted the home of my fathers to escape the sound of the driver's lash and the shrieks of the tortured victims, I would gladly bury in oblivion the recollections of those scenes with which I have been familiar. But it may not, can not be; they come over my memory like gory spectres, and implore me with resistless power in the name of humanity, for the sake of the slave-holder as well as the slave, to bear witness to the horrors of the southern prison-house.” Miss Grimké went to Philadelphia in 1821, and became one of the most active members of the Anti-slavery society, also advocating women's rights. She lectured in New England, and afterward made her home with the Weld family, teaching in their school, which was established in Belleville, N. J., in 1840. She published in 1827 an “Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States” — an effective anti-slavery document and afterward wrote “Letters on the Condition of Woman and the Equality of the Sexes” (Boston, 1838). She also translated Lamartine's “Joan of Arc” (1867).