1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lamar, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus

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LAMAR, LUCIUS QUINTUS CINCINNATUS (1825-1893), American statesman and judge, was born at the old “Lamar Homestead,” in Putnam county, Georgia, on the 17th of September 1825. His father, Lucius Q. C. Lamar (1797-1834), was an able lawyer, a judge of the superior court of Georgia, and the compiler of the Laws of Georgia from 1810 to 1819 (1821). In 1845 young Lamar graduated from Emory College (Oxford, Ga.), and in 1847 was admitted to the bar. In 1849 he removed to Oxford, Mississippi, and in 1850-1852 was adjunct professor of mathematics in the state university. In 1852 he removed to Covington, Ga., to practise law, and in 1853 was elected a mejnber of the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1855 he returned to Mississippi, and two years later became a member of the National House of Representatives, where he served until December 1860, when he withdrew to become a candidate for election to the “secession” convention of Mississippi. He was elected to the convention, and drafted for it the Mississippi ordinance of secession. In the summer of 1860 he had accepted an appointment to the chair of ethics and metaphysics in the university of Mississippi, but, having been appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate Army in the spring of 1861, he resigned his professorship. The colonel of his regiment (Nineteenth Mississippi) was killed early in the battle of Williamsburg, on the 5th of May 1862, and the command then fell to Lamar, but in October he resigned from the army. In November 1862 he was appointed by President Jefferson Davis special commissioner of the Confederacy to Russia; but he did not proceed farther than Paris, and his mission was soon terminated by the refusal of the Confederate Senate to confirm his appointment. In 1866 he was again appointed to the chair of ethics and metaphysics in the university of Mississippi, and in the next year was transferred to the chair of law, but in 1870, Republicans having become trustees of the university upon the readmission of the state into the Union, he resigned. From 1873 to 1877 he was again a Democratic representative in Congress; from 1877 to 1885 he was a United States senator; from 1885 to January 1888 he was secretary of the interior; and from 1888 until his death at Macon, Ga., on the 23rd of January 1893, he was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In Congress Lamar fought the silver and greenback craze and argued forcibly against the protective tariff; in the department of the interior he introduced various reforms; and on the Supreme Court bench his dissenting opinion in the Neagle Case (based upon a denial that certain powers belonging to Congress, but not exercised, were by implication vested in the department of justice) is famous. But he is perhaps best known for the part he took after the Civil War in helping to effect a reconciliation between the North and the South. During the early secession movement he strove to arouse the white people of the South from their indifference, declaring that secession alone could save them from a doom similar to that of the former whites of San Domingo. He probably never changed his convictions as to the righteousness of the “lost cause”; but he accepted the result of the war as a final settlement of the differences leading to it, and strove to restore the South in the Union, and to effect the reunion of the nation in feeling as well as in government. This is in part seen from such speeches as his eulogy on Charles Sumner (27th of April 1874), his leadership in reorganizing the Democratic party of his own state, and his counsels of peace in the disputed presidential election of 1876.

See Edward Mayes, Lucius Q. C. Lamar: His Life, Times and Speeches (Nashville, Tenn., 1896).