The New International Encyclopædia/Lieber, Francis

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The New International Encyclopædia
Lieber, Francis
Edition of 1905. See also Francis Lieber on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

LIEBER, Francis (1800-72). A German-American publicist. He was born in Berlin, March 18, 1800. In 1815 Lieber enlisted in the Prussian Army, fought at Ligny and Waterloo, and in the attack on Namur was severely wounded. After Napoleon's overthrow he studied in Berlin, and becoming imbued with liberal political ideas, was, in 1819, accused of plotting against the Government and imprisoned. The charges never came to trial, but on his discharge he was forbidden to study at the Prussian universities. In 1820 he took his degree at Jena. On the outbreak of the Greek revolution in 1821, he went to Greece to take part in the struggle. An account of his experiences is given in his Journal in Greece (1823). In 1822 he found his way to Rome, where he became a tutor in the family of the historian Niehuhr. With him Lieber returned to Berlin, and was rearrested on allegations of disloyalty based on the old charges. After a short imprisonment at Köpenick, enlivened by the composition of a number of poems, he was released through the efforts of his friend Niebuhr, and, wearied by this constant persecution, left his native country in 1825 forever. For a short time he resided as a teacher in London, and in 1827 he embarked for the New World. His first work, the editing of the Encyclopedia Americana, was completed during his five years' residence in Boston (1827-32). The next two years were spent in Philadelphia, where he was interested in educational plans in connection with Girard College. In 1835 he removed to Columbia, S. C., where he occupied the position of professor of political economy in the South Carolina College for twenty years; and here he produced his most important works: A Manual of Political Ethics (1838); Legal and Political Hermeneutics (1839); and Civil Liberty and Self-Government (1852). In his line of investigation Lieber stands second to none. Such writers and jurists as Wittermaier, Bluntschli, Laboulaye, Story and Kent, recognized in him a kindred mind. The spirit of his work is indicated in his favorite motto, Nullum jus sine officio, nullum officium sine jure (“No right without its duties, no duty without its rights”). In 1856 Lieber was called to Columbia College, New York, to take the chair of political economy, and in 1860 accepted the chair of political science in the Columbia Law School, giving up his chair of economics. During the Civil War he served the Government by preparing, at the request of the War Department, a set of “Instructions for the Government of the Armies of the United States in the Field,” which is regarded as an authority on the usages of civilized warfare, and forms the basis of a number of military codes today. It is known as “General Order No. 100,” and is quoted often as authoritative. Lieber was a member of the French Institute and of numerous other learned societies in America and Europe. He died in New York, September 2, 1872. Among his voluminous minor writings the following are the most noteworthy: Reminiscences of Niebuhr; Laws of Property; Penal Laws and the Penitentiary System; Prison Discipline; The Origin and Development of the First Constituents of Civilization; and Great Events Described by Great Historians. His memoir was written by Perry, published in Boston, 1882, and a discriminating estimate of his career was published by Thayer in 1873. Lieber's Miscellaneous Writings were collected by Gilman and published in two octavo volumes, Philadelphia, 1881. His collection of books were sold to the University of California, and his manuscripts were deposited in the Johns Hopkins University.