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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hughes, Charles Evans

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HUGHES, Charles Evans, American jurist: b. Glens Falls, N. Y., 11 April 1862. He attended the public schools and Madison, now Colgate, University, 1876-78, and was graduated from Brown University in 1881; he then taught Greek and Latin in the Delaware Academy, Delhi, N. Y., studying law at the same time. In 1882 he went to New York city, where he continued to study law. He received honorary degrees of LL.D. from Brown in 1906, from Columbia, Knox aad Lafayette in 1907, from Union and Colgate in 1908, from George Washington University, Washington, D. C., in 1909, from Williams, Harvard and Pennsylvania in 1910, and from Yale in 1915. He studied law in the office of Gen. Stewart L. Woodford and in the Columbia Law School, from which he was graduated with the degree of LL.B. in 1884; he was admitted to the bar the same year and practised in New York city. He won the prize fellowship at Columbia Law School and was a Fellow 1884-87; he was a member of the firm of Carter, Hughes & Cravath, 1887-91; professor of law at Cornell University, 1891-93; special lecturer, 1893-95, and also a special lecturer at the New York Law School, 1893-1900. He returned to his old law practice in New York as a member of his old firm, which became Carter, Hughes & Dwight, and in 1904, on the death of Mr. Carter, the firm became Hughes, Rounds & Schurman. In 1905 he was made counsel for the legislative committee, headed by Senator Stevens, appointed by the New York State legislature to investigate the Consolidated Gas Company and the price of New York city gas, and he framed the 80-cent gas and the assault proof bills, which became laws. In the same year, while in Europe, he was recalled to act as attorney for the Armstrong legislative insurance committee, and drew up a set of insurance laws which were adopted and which have meant the effective stoppage of waste and theft which had run into millions of dollars annually. In 1906 he was appointed special assistant to United States Attorney-General William Henry Moody, in the investigation of the coal trust; in the same year he was nominated for governor of New York State on the Republican ticket and was the only Republican candidate elected on the ticket, defeating William Randolph Hearst, the Democratic nominee, and was re-elected in 1908. In 1908 Governor Hughes was regarded as a possible candidate for President of the United States as successor to Theodore Roosevelt, the delegates from New York giving him a complimentary vote in the convention. On 25 April 1910 he was appointed by President Taft an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court He was sworn in 10 Oct. 1910. and was succeeded as governor by Lieut.-Gov. Horace White, who served the remaining three months of the term. As governor he gave to New York State one of the most efficient administrations in its history. He carried many of his measures against the strong opposition of the legislature and other political forces, by gaining for them popular opinion through speeches made throughout tho State. The most important amongst them were: Creation of State Probation Commission, Public Service Commissions, State Highway Commission, New Apportionment Act, Anti-Race Track Gambling Act, Direct Primary Law. During his administration the State also celebrated in a worthy manner the tercentenary of the discovery of Lake Champlain and of the Hudson River. He resigned from the United States Supreme Court after having been nominated on 10 June 1916 by the Republican National Convention for the presidency. After his defeat by President Wilson in November of that year he returned to the practise of his profession. After the entrance of the United States into the World War, he was appointed chairman of the New York District Board of Exemption. In the spring of 1918 President Wilson placed in his hands the investigation of supposed irregularities in connection with the building of airplanes for the United Stales army and navy, and he submitted his findings to the President October 1918. He is a member of the American, New York State and New York city bar associations, a Fellow of Brown University, a trustee of Chicago University and of the Rockefeller Foundation, and president of the Legal Aid Society. His speeches have been published as ‘Addresses of C. E. Hughes’ (revised ed., New York 1916); his messages, etc., as governor of New York have been collected as ‘Public Papers of C. E. Hughes, Governor, 1907-10’ (Albany 1908-10). He has also published ‘Conditions of Progress in Democratic Government’ (Yale Lectures on the Responsibilities of Citizenship, New Haven 1910). Consult Ransom, W. H., ‘Charles E. Hughes, etc.’ (New York 1916).