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 James Robbins Lawrence

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James Robbins Lawrence

Birth
Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Death
21 Mar 1874 (aged 83)
Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Burial
Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Plot
Sect 7 lot 10
Memorial ID
59771706 View Source

This stone is on the Smithsonian Institute List for Preservation of Cultural Property.

Parents – Grove Lawrence & Elizabeth "Betsey" Robbins

Syracuse, New York
The Daily Journal newspaper
Saturday evening, March 21, 1874
Page 4, Columns 2 and 3

The Hon. James R. Lawrence died at his residence in this city, at ten minutes after one o'clock this afternoon. His disease was congestion of the lungs, and he had been dangerously ill for the last ten days. The announcement of his death is therefore not unexpected.

The death of this aged and eminent citizen re-opens many pages of our local history and excites reminiscences of the men who were instrumental in inaugurating our prosperity, and who for years were plentified with our interests. How few of those who were prominent in the business, the politics, or the professional life of thirty years ago remain. Noxon and Forbes and Hillis no longer plead at the bar. White and Wilkinson no longer impel the wheels of business. Birdseye and Earll and Taylor are no longer potent in politics. The circle of those to whom, but a little time ago, the community looked for counsel, and upon whom it bestowed its rewards, is being rapidly contracted and will soon utterly vanish. Younger generations already direct our energies and shape our destinies. The cemetery is more populous than the mart with those who but yesterday were our vitalizing forces.

To-day we mourn the departure of one who had exceeded by more than a decade the allotted years of man, who had been more than half a century a resident of this county, who had here achieved high professional and political honors, and who goes to the grave bearing with him the respect of four generations. Until stricken with his last sickness his stately form was unbent and his mental faculties were unimpaired, although he had for years groped in physical blindness. He seemed like some mighty oak which had defied the blast and repelled the lightnings, while his companions lay prostrate and withered about him; but the bolt which sooner or later falls upon all humanity, has at last reached him, and we stay a moment to recount the incidents of a life filled with activities and crowned with a royal old age.

James R. Lawrence was born in Norfolk, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the 11th day of September, 1790. In the female line he traced his ancestry directly to the Mayflower. He was a grandson of the Rev. Ammi Ruhamah Robbins, who for more than half a century was pastor of the Congregational church at Norfolk. The Robbins family were lineally descended from William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth Colony, whose long and resolute administration did so much to strengthen the infant community and to lay broad and deep the foundations of the future commonwealth. Of this descent General Lawrence was pardonably proud, and something of the eminent self-reliance which distinguished him may be not unjustly referred to the blood of the Pilgrims which mingled in his veins. When he was but five years old, his father, Grove Lawrence, removed to Oneida county, and while yet a young man died suddenly, leaving a large family of children to the care of their paternal grandfather, Ariel Lawrence. This gentleman was one of the wealthiest men of Oneida county, but lost a large portion of his property through loans to the Continental government, receiving therefore only its irredeemable and repudiated scrip. He was able, therefore, to give to his numerous grandchildren only their education, and about $500 each in money, to start them in life. Happily, all of them made the best use of their opportunities, and acquired not only competence, but honorable positions among their fellows.

James R. after receiving a common school education, pursued his studies at the "Hamilton Oneida Academy," graduating there from about the year 1810. The academy was afterwards incorporated as a college, and for sixty years no institution in the State has done more for advanced education, or prepared a nobler body of young men for the professions than Hamilton College. General Lawrence was always a warm friend of the college, long served in its Board of Trustees, sent his sons and grandsons thither to be educated, aided it by benefactions, and had in turn received from it the degree of LL.D. Union College also, at an early day, conferred upon him the degree of A. M.

After finishing his academic course, Gen. Lawrence began the study of the law, in the office of Medad Curtiss, esq., at Onondaga Hill, then the county seat, and a place of growing importance. In the old Court House at the Hill, the best legal talent of the State frequently crossed swords. Here Kent, and Van Ness, and Livingston graced the bench, and James Emott, Thomas Addis Emmett, Martin Van Buren and Abraham Van Vechten displayed the wealth of their forensic talents. There was inspiration in the presence of such men. It was amid such influences, and through the exact curriculum and patient labor imposed by the old common law system, that General Lawrence laid the basis of his subsequent success at the bar. Shortly after his admission to practice he removed to Camillus, and, in connection with his younger brother, Grove Lawrence, built up a very large and lucrative practice, for that day. He removed to Syracuse in 1840. He remained actively engaged in his profession for over forty years, and did not retire from its conflicts until failing eyesight admonished him that it would be impossible for him to continue his legal labors. While at the bar no man had uniformly better success than he in the conduct of his cases. Able as a legist, he shone as an advocate; with a commanding presence, a persuasive eloquence, and withal quick at repartee and abounding in humor he was almost resistless before juries. In the full tide of his career he more than divided the honors of the bar with B. Davis Noxon who perhaps excelled him in the higher courts but was less than his equal at nisi prius. In thus awarding the bays of the profession to Gen. Lawrence we know we are saying a great deal, when it is remembered that the Onondaga bar bore on its roll such names as Freeborn G. Jewett, Victory Birdseye, Daniel Gott and David D. Hillis, and at an earlier day those of Wood, and Forman, and Sabine. But success is after all the true test of merit, and we are sure of our facts when we say that no lawyer has a fuller or more continuous record of verdicts achieved for his clients that Gen. Lawrence could show. His professional brethren, as they meet to do honor to the Nestor of the bar, will bear willing testimony not only to the number but also to the worth of his victories.

In the course of his professional life, two honors naturally resulting from it, have been conferred upon him. He was the first county judge, elected under the new constitution, and served in that capacity from 1847 to 1850, with eminent acceptability to lawyers and litigants. On the 24th of September, 1850, he was appointed by President Fillmore, United States Attorney for the District of Northern New York. It was his misfortune, during his incumbency, to employ his talents in the enforcement of the then recently enacted fugitive slave law, a law odious generally at the North, and rendered particularly obnoxious in this locality by the efforts made to return the fugitive Jerry to bondage. The excitement occasioned by the Jerry rescue is still vividly remembered in our community, but although passion was aroused against Gen. Lawrence for what he deemed to be the exercise of his duty, connected with the indictments against prominent abolitionists, the integrity of his motives was never questioned. He was through life a staunch upholder of the sanctions of the law, and his official oath, independent of his personal convictions, would have led him to use every effort for the enforcement of the law, even though that enforcement was attended with something of personal obloquy. His discharge of the functions of his office was in every way honorable, giving evidence both of the extent of his legal acquirements and of his uprightness of character.

Gen. Lawrence's purely political life began nearly half a century ago, when he was elected to the Assembly, as a Clintonian, we believe His colleagues from Onondaga county were Erastus Barber, Moses Kinne and James Pettit. Among his associates were Ambrose L. Jordan, Thurlow Weed, Clarkson Crolius, Samuel L. Gouverneur, David Seaman, Joseph Kirkland and others - men distinguished in our State annals and all, we believe, with the exception of Mr. Weed, now numbered with the dead. In 1838, 1839 and 1840 Gen. Lawrence was again a member of the Assembly, 1837 was one of the most exciting political contests the county has ever witnessed. The Whig party had become consolidated, but as yet gave little more than the promise of a vigorous youth. The county had hitherto uniformly gone Democratic by large majorities, and it was not supposed that the Whigs could conquer the compact and disciplined forces arrayed against them; but they nominated a very strong ticket for the Assembly. It bore the names of Victory Birdseye, Phares Gould, James R. Lawrence and Azariah Smith. Its success was a surprise, but it heralded a series of triumphs which lasted for three years, the same gentlemen being elected during the entire period, except that in the canvass of 1838 James L. Voorhees was substituted in the place of Judge Birdseye. In the Assembly, General Lawernce took high rank as a debater and as being accurately informed upon the interests of the State. In his interesting reminiscences, Thurlow Weed has frequently referred to General Lawrence as belonging to a class of statesmen who represented the better era of our politics - an era when the lobby was unknown and vicious arts of legislation had not yet been discovered.

General Lawrence continued to take a warm interest in politics until the very end. Connected with the Whig party until its dissolution, he early identified himself with the Republican party, and continued earnest in its support. He firmly believed in the validity of regular nominations as essential to the integrity of party organization, and side issues had little influence in disturbing his political faith. In the campaign of 1872, although of course not mingling in its excitements, he was ardent in his advocacy of the re-election of General Grant, and rejoiced greatly in his success, and in that of the principles he represented. During the war the Government had no champion more staunch than he, and he presided and spoke at several meetings in behalf of the Union cause. His mind, clear to the last, was replete with reminiscences of our early politics, and it was delightful to hear him rehearse the incidents of struggles in which he had actively participated - "all of which he saw, and of the greater part of which he was." The writer hereof had occasion to notice during his last sickness the singular precision with which he recalled the men and the measures of the long ago. The only office, beyond the positions already specified, held by General Lawrence, was that of Brigadier-General of cavalry under the old regime, and from which he derived the title by which he was generally addressed.

As a citizen General Lawrence was public spirited and sagacious; inclining, however, to a rigid economy in the disposition of the money of the people. He had learned his lessons in political economy in an era when wasteful expenditure was rare, and public corruption was an unknown factor in the problem of politics. He was a firm believer in the orthodox faith, and was for many years a communicant of the First Presbyterian church in this city. He had little patience with modern evolutions of thought, as related to Christianity, and interpreted the Scriptures upon the Calvinistic theory, logically and uncompromisingly. He was the father of a large family of children, most of whom are still living, occupying most honorable positions in society. His eldest son, James R. Jr., who inherited much of his father's legal ability, and was in every respect a most brilliant man, died in the service of his country in 1863. The following is the list of his children by his first wife: - Eliza, widow of the Hon. Daniel T. Jones, living at Baldwinsville; Margaret, (Mrs. Joseph F. Sabine, of this city); Christine, (Mrs. Justus Palmer, of Brooklyn); James R., jr., died 1863; Urania, (Mrs. Edward Hall, of New York); Irene, (Mrs. Edward Pratt) died 1874; Agnes, (Mrs. DeWitt C. Brown) died 1873; by his second wife, Eureka, (Mrs. Albert J. Hood, of this city); Horatio William, and Mary, (Mrs. Daniel Murphy). He was a patriarch in Israel, permitted to see his children and his children's children grow up around him and honor him in honoring themselves.

As a lawyer he was erudite, accomplished and persuasive; as a politician, patriotic and incorruptible; as a citizen, enlightened and judicious; as a husband and father, affectionate and discreet; as a Christian, faithful and unbending. Interwoven as is his life with the history of this county, we do not think we have transgressed the proprieties in this somewhat extended delineation. Few men have more appreciably moulded our progress. He came as a pioneer. He lived to be a veteran. In the fullness of years and of honors he descends to the tomb, with the respect and the sorrow of the community in which he had so long moved and had his being, attending him. We are sure we cannot more fitly close this lengthened notice than in quoting the closing sentences of the touching obituary remarks which he made at the meeting of the bar in 1869, in honor of the late B. Davis Noxon: -

We shall soon meet our friend on the other side of the river, where I trust the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the intellect restored, and we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known. O, may it then appear that while sojourning on this planet, advocating human laws as a rule of action between man and men, we have not been unobservant of the higher divine law, and its requirements; and that we have an Advocate with the Father of our spirits, pleading our cause, through whose mediation and atoning sacrifice our sins have been forgiven, and the Recording Angel of Heaven's chancery has written our names in the Lamb's Book of Life; and may we then have an abundant entrance given us into the courts of the Most High, where all litigation shall forever cease, and happiness be endless as it is perfect.



(same paper - Monday evening, March 23, 1874, page 4, column 3) -
Reminiscences of the late James R. Lawrence.

To the Editor of the Syracuse Daily Journal -

So far as the essential character of the late Hon. James R. Lawrence is concerned, there seems to be very little to be added to the exhaustive obituary article which appeared in your columns on Saturday last; but the announcement of his death has recalled a few reminiscences of his life, which may not be uninteresting to many of his acquaintances. During the past four years of General Lawrence's life, it was a pleasure to me to be on very agreeable terms of friendship with him. Although there was a difference of more than half a century in our ages, yet I have often been surprised to find how readily he manifested a sympathy with the younger impulses that stirred me, and evinced a deep interest in those movements that were identified with modern progress.

General Lawrence married Miss Christine McLaren, of Onondaga Hill, in 1811; and Miss Eureka Spafford, of Albany, in 1841. He lost the sight of one of his eyes about fifteen years ago. He was attending service at the First Presbyterian Church in this city when he first discovered his partial blindness. All medical efforts to restore his sight were unavailing. Eight years afterwards he became totally blind, and his earthly vision was forever closed. We have often been surprised at the resignation with which he bore his great affliction. He possessed an unusually active nature; and it would not have been surprising if he had rebelled against a fate which limited him, and prevented him to a great extent from actively participating in the events of the times. But he observed patience with rare Christian fortitude.

And right here I cannot refrain from remarking the unflagging, almost heroic, devotion of his daughter Eureka during those seven years of his blindness. The chief purpose of her life during that time seemed to be to serve her father and to soften his affliction. She was his constant attendant, ministering to his wants, accompanying him about the city, reading the daily journals, and inspiring him with much of her own firm courage.

Last Christmas, by invitation, I dined with General Lawrence. I speak of this to remark the change which I then observed int he current of his thoughts. On previous occasions he had manifested deep interest in the leading movements of the day, but on this he scarcely spoke of them. "I am near the end of life, and I am ready!" said he with firmness. During the evening, at the request of those who were present, he was induced to sing an old ballad which was a favorite with him in his younger days, entitled "The Downhill of Life." His voice was weak and tremulous with age, but he sang the whole of the ballad, the last verse of which is as follows -

And when I at last must throw off this frail covering,
Which I've worn these three score years and ten;
On the brink of the grave I'd not seek to keep hovering, Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again.
But my face in the glass I'd serenely survey,
And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow;
This old worn-out stuff, which is thread-bare today;
Shall become everlasting to-morrow.

As I have above said, his voice was tremulous with years; but when he came to the last two lines, his tones became as firm and clear as though youth had come back to him. And so it had! Spirit had triumphed over physical decay! All of us who were present had caught a vision of a resurrection to immortality.


SYRACUSE, March 23d, 1874. H. H. B.

This stone is on the Smithsonian Institute List for Preservation of Cultural Property.

Parents – Grove Lawrence & Elizabeth "Betsey" Robbins

Syracuse, New York
The Daily Journal newspaper
Saturday evening, March 21, 1874
Page 4, Columns 2 and 3

The Hon. James R. Lawrence died at his residence in this city, at ten minutes after one o'clock this afternoon. His disease was congestion of the lungs, and he had been dangerously ill for the last ten days. The announcement of his death is therefore not unexpected.

The death of this aged and eminent citizen re-opens many pages of our local history and excites reminiscences of the men who were instrumental in inaugurating our prosperity, and who for years were plentified with our interests. How few of those who were prominent in the business, the politics, or the professional life of thirty years ago remain. Noxon and Forbes and Hillis no longer plead at the bar. White and Wilkinson no longer impel the wheels of business. Birdseye and Earll and Taylor are no longer potent in politics. The circle of those to whom, but a little time ago, the community looked for counsel, and upon whom it bestowed its rewards, is being rapidly contracted and will soon utterly vanish. Younger generations already direct our energies and shape our destinies. The cemetery is more populous than the mart with those who but yesterday were our vitalizing forces.

To-day we mourn the departure of one who had exceeded by more than a decade the allotted years of man, who had been more than half a century a resident of this county, who had here achieved high professional and political honors, and who goes to the grave bearing with him the respect of four generations. Until stricken with his last sickness his stately form was unbent and his mental faculties were unimpaired, although he had for years groped in physical blindness. He seemed like some mighty oak which had defied the blast and repelled the lightnings, while his companions lay prostrate and withered about him; but the bolt which sooner or later falls upon all humanity, has at last reached him, and we stay a moment to recount the incidents of a life filled with activities and crowned with a royal old age.

James R. Lawrence was born in Norfolk, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the 11th day of September, 1790. In the female line he traced his ancestry directly to the Mayflower. He was a grandson of the Rev. Ammi Ruhamah Robbins, who for more than half a century was pastor of the Congregational church at Norfolk. The Robbins family were lineally descended from William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth Colony, whose long and resolute administration did so much to strengthen the infant community and to lay broad and deep the foundations of the future commonwealth. Of this descent General Lawrence was pardonably proud, and something of the eminent self-reliance which distinguished him may be not unjustly referred to the blood of the Pilgrims which mingled in his veins. When he was but five years old, his father, Grove Lawrence, removed to Oneida county, and while yet a young man died suddenly, leaving a large family of children to the care of their paternal grandfather, Ariel Lawrence. This gentleman was one of the wealthiest men of Oneida county, but lost a large portion of his property through loans to the Continental government, receiving therefore only its irredeemable and repudiated scrip. He was able, therefore, to give to his numerous grandchildren only their education, and about $500 each in money, to start them in life. Happily, all of them made the best use of their opportunities, and acquired not only competence, but honorable positions among their fellows.

James R. after receiving a common school education, pursued his studies at the "Hamilton Oneida Academy," graduating there from about the year 1810. The academy was afterwards incorporated as a college, and for sixty years no institution in the State has done more for advanced education, or prepared a nobler body of young men for the professions than Hamilton College. General Lawrence was always a warm friend of the college, long served in its Board of Trustees, sent his sons and grandsons thither to be educated, aided it by benefactions, and had in turn received from it the degree of LL.D. Union College also, at an early day, conferred upon him the degree of A. M.

After finishing his academic course, Gen. Lawrence began the study of the law, in the office of Medad Curtiss, esq., at Onondaga Hill, then the county seat, and a place of growing importance. In the old Court House at the Hill, the best legal talent of the State frequently crossed swords. Here Kent, and Van Ness, and Livingston graced the bench, and James Emott, Thomas Addis Emmett, Martin Van Buren and Abraham Van Vechten displayed the wealth of their forensic talents. There was inspiration in the presence of such men. It was amid such influences, and through the exact curriculum and patient labor imposed by the old common law system, that General Lawrence laid the basis of his subsequent success at the bar. Shortly after his admission to practice he removed to Camillus, and, in connection with his younger brother, Grove Lawrence, built up a very large and lucrative practice, for that day. He removed to Syracuse in 1840. He remained actively engaged in his profession for over forty years, and did not retire from its conflicts until failing eyesight admonished him that it would be impossible for him to continue his legal labors. While at the bar no man had uniformly better success than he in the conduct of his cases. Able as a legist, he shone as an advocate; with a commanding presence, a persuasive eloquence, and withal quick at repartee and abounding in humor he was almost resistless before juries. In the full tide of his career he more than divided the honors of the bar with B. Davis Noxon who perhaps excelled him in the higher courts but was less than his equal at nisi prius. In thus awarding the bays of the profession to Gen. Lawrence we know we are saying a great deal, when it is remembered that the Onondaga bar bore on its roll such names as Freeborn G. Jewett, Victory Birdseye, Daniel Gott and David D. Hillis, and at an earlier day those of Wood, and Forman, and Sabine. But success is after all the true test of merit, and we are sure of our facts when we say that no lawyer has a fuller or more continuous record of verdicts achieved for his clients that Gen. Lawrence could show. His professional brethren, as they meet to do honor to the Nestor of the bar, will bear willing testimony not only to the number but also to the worth of his victories.

In the course of his professional life, two honors naturally resulting from it, have been conferred upon him. He was the first county judge, elected under the new constitution, and served in that capacity from 1847 to 1850, with eminent acceptability to lawyers and litigants. On the 24th of September, 1850, he was appointed by President Fillmore, United States Attorney for the District of Northern New York. It was his misfortune, during his incumbency, to employ his talents in the enforcement of the then recently enacted fugitive slave law, a law odious generally at the North, and rendered particularly obnoxious in this locality by the efforts made to return the fugitive Jerry to bondage. The excitement occasioned by the Jerry rescue is still vividly remembered in our community, but although passion was aroused against Gen. Lawrence for what he deemed to be the exercise of his duty, connected with the indictments against prominent abolitionists, the integrity of his motives was never questioned. He was through life a staunch upholder of the sanctions of the law, and his official oath, independent of his personal convictions, would have led him to use every effort for the enforcement of the law, even though that enforcement was attended with something of personal obloquy. His discharge of the functions of his office was in every way honorable, giving evidence both of the extent of his legal acquirements and of his uprightness of character.

Gen. Lawrence's purely political life began nearly half a century ago, when he was elected to the Assembly, as a Clintonian, we believe His colleagues from Onondaga county were Erastus Barber, Moses Kinne and James Pettit. Among his associates were Ambrose L. Jordan, Thurlow Weed, Clarkson Crolius, Samuel L. Gouverneur, David Seaman, Joseph Kirkland and others - men distinguished in our State annals and all, we believe, with the exception of Mr. Weed, now numbered with the dead. In 1838, 1839 and 1840 Gen. Lawrence was again a member of the Assembly, 1837 was one of the most exciting political contests the county has ever witnessed. The Whig party had become consolidated, but as yet gave little more than the promise of a vigorous youth. The county had hitherto uniformly gone Democratic by large majorities, and it was not supposed that the Whigs could conquer the compact and disciplined forces arrayed against them; but they nominated a very strong ticket for the Assembly. It bore the names of Victory Birdseye, Phares Gould, James R. Lawrence and Azariah Smith. Its success was a surprise, but it heralded a series of triumphs which lasted for three years, the same gentlemen being elected during the entire period, except that in the canvass of 1838 James L. Voorhees was substituted in the place of Judge Birdseye. In the Assembly, General Lawernce took high rank as a debater and as being accurately informed upon the interests of the State. In his interesting reminiscences, Thurlow Weed has frequently referred to General Lawrence as belonging to a class of statesmen who represented the better era of our politics - an era when the lobby was unknown and vicious arts of legislation had not yet been discovered.

General Lawrence continued to take a warm interest in politics until the very end. Connected with the Whig party until its dissolution, he early identified himself with the Republican party, and continued earnest in its support. He firmly believed in the validity of regular nominations as essential to the integrity of party organization, and side issues had little influence in disturbing his political faith. In the campaign of 1872, although of course not mingling in its excitements, he was ardent in his advocacy of the re-election of General Grant, and rejoiced greatly in his success, and in that of the principles he represented. During the war the Government had no champion more staunch than he, and he presided and spoke at several meetings in behalf of the Union cause. His mind, clear to the last, was replete with reminiscences of our early politics, and it was delightful to hear him rehearse the incidents of struggles in which he had actively participated - "all of which he saw, and of the greater part of which he was." The writer hereof had occasion to notice during his last sickness the singular precision with which he recalled the men and the measures of the long ago. The only office, beyond the positions already specified, held by General Lawrence, was that of Brigadier-General of cavalry under the old regime, and from which he derived the title by which he was generally addressed.

As a citizen General Lawrence was public spirited and sagacious; inclining, however, to a rigid economy in the disposition of the money of the people. He had learned his lessons in political economy in an era when wasteful expenditure was rare, and public corruption was an unknown factor in the problem of politics. He was a firm believer in the orthodox faith, and was for many years a communicant of the First Presbyterian church in this city. He had little patience with modern evolutions of thought, as related to Christianity, and interpreted the Scriptures upon the Calvinistic theory, logically and uncompromisingly. He was the father of a large family of children, most of whom are still living, occupying most honorable positions in society. His eldest son, James R. Jr., who inherited much of his father's legal ability, and was in every respect a most brilliant man, died in the service of his country in 1863. The following is the list of his children by his first wife: - Eliza, widow of the Hon. Daniel T. Jones, living at Baldwinsville; Margaret, (Mrs. Joseph F. Sabine, of this city); Christine, (Mrs. Justus Palmer, of Brooklyn); James R., jr., died 1863; Urania, (Mrs. Edward Hall, of New York); Irene, (Mrs. Edward Pratt) died 1874; Agnes, (Mrs. DeWitt C. Brown) died 1873; by his second wife, Eureka, (Mrs. Albert J. Hood, of this city); Horatio William, and Mary, (Mrs. Daniel Murphy). He was a patriarch in Israel, permitted to see his children and his children's children grow up around him and honor him in honoring themselves.

As a lawyer he was erudite, accomplished and persuasive; as a politician, patriotic and incorruptible; as a citizen, enlightened and judicious; as a husband and father, affectionate and discreet; as a Christian, faithful and unbending. Interwoven as is his life with the history of this county, we do not think we have transgressed the proprieties in this somewhat extended delineation. Few men have more appreciably moulded our progress. He came as a pioneer. He lived to be a veteran. In the fullness of years and of honors he descends to the tomb, with the respect and the sorrow of the community in which he had so long moved and had his being, attending him. We are sure we cannot more fitly close this lengthened notice than in quoting the closing sentences of the touching obituary remarks which he made at the meeting of the bar in 1869, in honor of the late B. Davis Noxon: -

We shall soon meet our friend on the other side of the river, where I trust the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the intellect restored, and we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known. O, may it then appear that while sojourning on this planet, advocating human laws as a rule of action between man and men, we have not been unobservant of the higher divine law, and its requirements; and that we have an Advocate with the Father of our spirits, pleading our cause, through whose mediation and atoning sacrifice our sins have been forgiven, and the Recording Angel of Heaven's chancery has written our names in the Lamb's Book of Life; and may we then have an abundant entrance given us into the courts of the Most High, where all litigation shall forever cease, and happiness be endless as it is perfect.



(same paper - Monday evening, March 23, 1874, page 4, column 3) -
Reminiscences of the late James R. Lawrence.

To the Editor of the Syracuse Daily Journal -

So far as the essential character of the late Hon. James R. Lawrence is concerned, there seems to be very little to be added to the exhaustive obituary article which appeared in your columns on Saturday last; but the announcement of his death has recalled a few reminiscences of his life, which may not be uninteresting to many of his acquaintances. During the past four years of General Lawrence's life, it was a pleasure to me to be on very agreeable terms of friendship with him. Although there was a difference of more than half a century in our ages, yet I have often been surprised to find how readily he manifested a sympathy with the younger impulses that stirred me, and evinced a deep interest in those movements that were identified with modern progress.

General Lawrence married Miss Christine McLaren, of Onondaga Hill, in 1811; and Miss Eureka Spafford, of Albany, in 1841. He lost the sight of one of his eyes about fifteen years ago. He was attending service at the First Presbyterian Church in this city when he first discovered his partial blindness. All medical efforts to restore his sight were unavailing. Eight years afterwards he became totally blind, and his earthly vision was forever closed. We have often been surprised at the resignation with which he bore his great affliction. He possessed an unusually active nature; and it would not have been surprising if he had rebelled against a fate which limited him, and prevented him to a great extent from actively participating in the events of the times. But he observed patience with rare Christian fortitude.

And right here I cannot refrain from remarking the unflagging, almost heroic, devotion of his daughter Eureka during those seven years of his blindness. The chief purpose of her life during that time seemed to be to serve her father and to soften his affliction. She was his constant attendant, ministering to his wants, accompanying him about the city, reading the daily journals, and inspiring him with much of her own firm courage.

Last Christmas, by invitation, I dined with General Lawrence. I speak of this to remark the change which I then observed int he current of his thoughts. On previous occasions he had manifested deep interest in the leading movements of the day, but on this he scarcely spoke of them. "I am near the end of life, and I am ready!" said he with firmness. During the evening, at the request of those who were present, he was induced to sing an old ballad which was a favorite with him in his younger days, entitled "The Downhill of Life." His voice was weak and tremulous with age, but he sang the whole of the ballad, the last verse of which is as follows -

And when I at last must throw off this frail covering,
Which I've worn these three score years and ten;
On the brink of the grave I'd not seek to keep hovering, Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again.
But my face in the glass I'd serenely survey,
And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow;
This old worn-out stuff, which is thread-bare today;
Shall become everlasting to-morrow.

As I have above said, his voice was tremulous with years; but when he came to the last two lines, his tones became as firm and clear as though youth had come back to him. And so it had! Spirit had triumphed over physical decay! All of us who were present had caught a vision of a resurrection to immortality.


SYRACUSE, March 23d, 1874. H. H. B.


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