Page:Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (1900, volume 5).djvu/330

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twenty-four in the compressed air of the caissons than any one else, led to an attack of caisson fever early in 1872.

Appletons' Roebling John Augustus - East River Bridge.jpg

He soon rallied and resumed his work, but he was so weak that he was unable to leave his room. Nevertheless, he prepared the most minute and exact directions for making the cables, and for the erection of all the complicated parts of the superstructure. In 1873 he was compelled to give up work entirely, and spent several months in Europe, but on his return he resumed charge of the bridge, which he held until its completion in 1883. The structure he built, which is the longest suspension-bridge in the world, cost about $13,000,000. The picture shows it before completion. Its total length, including approaches, is 5,989 feet, of which the middle span takes up 1,596 feet, while the length of the suspended structure from anchorage to anchorage is 3,456 feet. He has since spent his time in directing the wire business in Trenton, N. J., and in the recuperation of his health. Besides various pamphlets on professional subjects, he is the author of “Military Suspension-Bridges” (Washington, 1862).

ROEBUCK, John Arthur, English politician, b. in Madras, India, 29 Dec., 1802; d. in England, 30 Nov., 1879. His grandfather, Dr. John Roebuck, wrote “An Inquiry on the War in America” (London, 1776). From 1815 till 1824 the son resided in Canada; then going to London, England, he studied law, and in 1831 he was admitted as a barrister. In 1832 he was elected to parliament, and became prominent as a radical reformer. In 1835 he was appointed agent for the Lower Canada assembly during the contest between that house and the executive. His advocacy of the Confederate states and his opposition to trades-unions led to his defeat in 1868. In 1877-'8 he vigorously supported the policy of Earl Beaconsfield, and was sworn a privy councillor in 1878. He was one of the stanchest supporters of the rights of Canada against what he regarded as the aggressions of the crown. Besides numerous articles in the “Westminster Review” and the “Edinburgh Review,” he wrote “Existing Difficulties in the Government of the Canadas” (London, 1836); “Plan for the Government of the English Colonies” (1849); and “History of the Whig Ministry of 1830” (1852).

ROELKER, Bernard, lawyer, b. in Osnabruck, Hanover, Germany, 24 April. 1816; d. in New York city, 5 March, 1888. He was graduated in 1835 at the University of Bonn, where he had devoted himself to the study of law and philology. Later he came to this country, and after teaching German and music in Bridgeport, Conn., was appointed to a tutorship at Harvard in 1837, was admitted to the bar, and practised for several years in Boston. In 1856 he removed to the city of New York, and entered the firm of Laur and Roelker. He soon established a large practice among the Germans, and when his partner died he had gained a reputation as an authority on wills and contracts. In 1863 he won the suit of Meyer vs. Roosevelt, the first of the legal-tender cases before the U. S. supreme court, which attracted general attention. He continued to practise until advancing age compelled him to relinquish a large part of his business. His last important argument was made before the New York court of appeals in October, 1887. Mr. Roelker was a personal friend of Samuel J. Tilden, and was associated with him in the organization of the Prairie du Chien railroad. He published “Constitutions of France” (Boston, 1848); “Argument in Favor of the Constitutionality of the Legal-Tender Clause in the Act of Congress, Feb. 25, 1862” (New York, 1863); and “Manual for the Use of Notaries Public and Bankers” (3d ed., 1853; edited by J. Smith Homans, New York, 1865). He also translated from the Swedish “The Magic Goblet,” a novel, and made a German adaptation of Cushing's “Manual of Parliamentary Practice.”

ROEMER, Jean, author, b. in England about 1815; d. in Lenox, Mass., 31 Aug., 1892. He was taken in infancy to Hanover, and afterward to Holland. His early education was conducted under the guardianship of William I., king of the Netherlands, and Frederica Louisa, Princess of Orange, and wife of Charles George Augustus, heir-apparent of the crown of Brunswick. He was destined for the army, and served on the Dutch side throughout the war of secession between Holland and Belgium, at the close of which he visited the great military establishments of France, Prussia, and Austria, and completed his studies in Lombardy under the guidance and auspices of Field-Marshal Count Radetzky. Subsequently he resided in Naples, where a close intimacy with the Prince of Syracuse, ex-viceroy of Sicily, and some articles that were attributed to him, caused much comment. They gave umbrage to King Ferdinand II., whose distrust of the liberal tendencies of his brother lent to this friendship a political significance. It became the subject of diplomatic correspondence, and led to the visitor's recall from Italy early in 1845. Some time after the death of William I., whose successor on the throne appears to have been influenced by a different spirit from that of his father concerning Mr. Roemer, the pretensions of the latter began to take a definite form, setting forth claims to titles and estates, the right to which was denied him on special grounds, which ever since have been maintained against him. Strong efforts made in his behalf did not avail, and even at the congress of German sovereigns, held in Frankfort in 1863, a well-supported attempt at compromise and conciliation remained without result. From 1846 he resided in the United States. In 1848 he accepted the post of professor of the French language and literature in the New York free academy, and in 1869 he was appointed vice-president of the College of the city of New York, which place he occupied while he lived. In addition to articles and pamphlets on agriculture, education, and linguistics, he published a “Dictionary of English-French Idioms” (New York, 1853); “Polyglot Readers” (5 vols., 1858); “Cavalry: its History, Management, and Uses in War” (1863); “Cours de lecture et de traduction” (3 vols., 1884); “Principles of General Grammar” (1884); and “Origins of the English People and of the English Language” (1888).