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Washington Post
Washington Post
Contributed by Susan

Description: The Late Samuel Tyler

Date: December 18 1877

Newspaper published in: Washington, DC

Page/Column: page 2

The Late Samuel Tyler

This very able and distinguished man died in Georgetown, DC, on December 15th. He was born in the county of Prince Georges, Maryland, October 22, 1809, on his father's plantation, where his ancestors had dwelt for several generations. His earliest education was received at a country school, after which he attended the academy in Georgetown, DC, over which Dr. James Carnahan presided before he became President of Princeton College. Under the guidance of that rare classical scholar, young Tyler became so infatuated with Greek literature that for a long period he devoted 14 hours out of every 24 to its study, until the Greek forms of expression became as familiar to him as those of his native language. In 1827 he entered Middlebury College, Vermont, but he did not fancy the course of instruction pursued there, and only remained a few months, when he returned to Maryland, and began the study of law at Frederick City with John Nelson, afterwards Attorney General of the United States. He was admitted to the bar in 1831, and although he at once entered upon a lucrative practice, he soon began to write for the reviews on subjects connected with philosophy, and as his old instructor was now a resident of Princeton, he naturally send his papers to he Princeton Review, to which he contributed occasionally from 1836 to 1855. In 1852 he was elected one of three commissioners to simplify the pleadings and practice in all the courts of Maryland, and in that
capacity his services were of great value and were highly applauded. Some of the papers which he published in the Princeton Review attracted the special attention of Sir William Hamilton, resulting in a prolonged and intimate correspondence between the two, which lasted until the death of the latter, and continued by members of his family. Without any degree relaxing his hold upon the profession of law, he continued to write upon the important subjects in which he was interested, and although his books are not numerous, they are generally of such a character as will exert a marked influence on the philosophical literature of the country. When the Columbian University was reorganized a few years ago under the presidency of Dr. James C. Welling, Mr. Tyler received from it the degree of LL.D. and was appointed a Professor of Law in that institution, and he remained in that position until his death. The books published by Mr. Tyler were as follows: "Discourse on the Baconian Philosophy;" "Robert Burns as a Poet and as a Man;" "Progress of Philosophy in the Past and in the Future;" "Memoir of Roger B. Taney;" "Theory of the Beautiful;" "A Treatise on Pleadings in the Court of Chancery;" "A Commentary on the Law of Partnerships;" "Treatise on Preliminary Procedure and Pleadings in the Maryland Courts of Law;" and he also edited, with very copious notes, the noted work of "Stephens on Pleading." But the crowning work of his life was "An Introduction to Statesmanship, as Shown in the Progress of European Society, in Relation to Government and Constitutional Law, from the Foundation of Rome by Romulus." The production was not quite finished at the time of the author's death, but we are glad to mention the fact that he very recently stated to a friend that while he desired to add about 40 pages to his manuscript, it might be sent to press without great detriment. During the protracted illness, which proved to be his last, he made two or tree attempts to resume his labors on this book, but his brother, Dr. Grafton Tyler, told him to throw it aside at one, as he was killing himself, whereupon he replied "I have killed myself," and never again took up the pen, which he had so long wielded with consummate skill. For many months his friends had been apprehensive that he was over working himself, and the result was that he died from paralysis of the brain. Mr. Tyler's philosophical writings commanded the attention and received high praise from such men as Hamilton, Mansel and Cousin, with all of whom he corresponded. Lieter recorded the opinion that his "Progress of Philosophy" entitled him to a place among the learned, both of this country and Europe, that he was the first of American metaphysical of philosophical authors. The writer of this notice knew Mr. Tyler intimately and has often said to his townsmen that they really did not appreciate the greatness of the man who was known among them only as an accomplished gentleman and a noted lawyer, while his fame as a philosopher extended over two continents. He was a man of fine personal appearance, always dignified and agreeable in his manners; fond of finding relaxation from his life of intellectual toil in cultivated society, and his conversational powers were truly remarkable. His learning at times seemed to be without any limit, and within the space of an hour he could rivet the attention of one listener after the manner of a philosopher and also fascinate a party of ladies by his wit and brilliant conversation. In the intellectual world of his country, his departure has left a void which cannot soon be forgotten by this admirers and friends. Charles Lanman (Lanham?).

Submitted: 03/12/07 (Edited 03/15/07)

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