Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Roselius, Christian

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ROSELIUS, Christian, lawyer, b. near Bremen, Germany, 10 Aug., 1803; d. in New Orleans, 5 Sept., 1873. His early education was limited to the elementary branches, and at sixteen he left his native land on board the bark “Jupiter” for New Orleans, having secured his passage by the sale of his services for a stated period after his arrival, which was in July, 1820. He was employed for several years in a printing-office, and in 1825, with a partner, established and edited the first literary journal published in Louisiana. It was called “The Halcyon,” and, failing to prove remunerative, was abandoned for the study of the law, Mr. Roselius supporting himself at this period by teaching. His legal studies were pursued in company with his friend, Alexander Dimitry, in the office of Auguste Devesac, beginning in December, 1826, and terminating in March, 1828, at which time he was admitted to practice by the supreme court, consisting of Judges Martin, Matthews, and Porter. His love of the civil law became a passion, and soon placed him in the front rank and eventually at the head of the Louisiana bar. In 1841 he was appointed attorney-general of the state and served for a term of two years. During the same decade he was honored with an invitation to become the law partner in Washington of Daniel Webster, which he, however, declined, preferring to remain in the south. For many years he was dean of the faculty of the University of Louisiana, and for the last twenty-three years of his life professor of civil law. In 1863 he was offered the highest place in the reconstructed supreme court of the state; but he declined to accept the appointment unless the court should be secured from military interference. Mr. Roselius possessed one of the finest private libraries in the south. It was particularly rich in the Latin classics, of which he was a constant reader, and in Shakespeariana, of which he was a devoted student. He conversed equally well in English, French, and German. His house and spacious grounds at Carrollton, a suburb of the great city, was noted for its generous hospitality, few persons of distinction visiting New Orleans during the last two decades of his life without being entertained by Mr. Roselius, who was a cheery and charming host. His hand and purse were always open to the unfortunate, and one of several visits to his native land was for the sole purpose of aiding some of his less prosperous kinsmen.