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CHASE, S.—CHASING

serving from 1855 to 1859. Although, with the exception of Seward, he was the most prominent Republican in the country, and had done more against slavery than any other Republican, he failed to secure the nomination for the presidency in 1860, partly because his views on the question of protection were not orthodox from a Republican point of view, and partly because the old line Whig element could not forgive his coalition with the Democrats in the senatorial campaign of 1849; his uncompromising and conspicuous anti-slavery record, too, was against him from the point of view of “availability.” As secretary of the treasury in President Lincoln’s cabinet in 1861–1864, during the first three years of the Civil War, he rendered services of the greatest value. That period of crisis witnessed two great changes in American financial policy, the establishment of a national banking system and the issue of a legal tender paper currency. The former was Chase’s own particular measure. He suggested the idea, worked out all of the important principles and many of the details, and induced Congress to accept them. The success of that system alone warrants his being placed in the first rank of American financiers. It not only secured an immediate market for government bonds, but it also provided a permanent uniform national currency, which, though inelastic, is absolutely stable. The issue of legal tenders, the greatest financial blunder of the war, was made contrary to his wishes, although he did not, as he perhaps ought to have done, push his opposition to the point of resigning.

Perhaps Chase’s chief defect as a statesman was an insatiable desire for supreme office. It was partly this ambition, and also temperamental differences from the president, which led him to retire from the cabinet in June 1864. A few months later (December 6, 1864) he was appointed chief justice of the United States Supreme Court to succeed Judge Taney, a position which he held until his death in 1873. Among his most important decisions were Texas v. White (7 Wallace, 700), 1869, in which he asserted that the Constitution provided for an “indestructible union composed of indestructible states,” Veazie Bank v. Fenno (8 Wallace, 533), 1869, in defence of that part of the banking legislation of the Civil War which imposed a tax of 10% on state bank-notes, and Hepburn v. Griswold (8 Wallace, 603), 1869, which declared certain parts of the legal tender acts to be unconstitutional. When the legal tender decision was reversed after the appointment of new judges, 1871–1872 (Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wallace, 457), Chase prepared a very able dissenting opinion. Toward the end of his life he gradually drifted back toward his old Democratic position, and made an unsuccessful effort to secure the nomination of the Democratic party for the presidency in 1872. He died in New York city on the 7th of May 1873. Chase was one of the ablest political leaders of the Civil War period, and deserves to be placed in the front rank of American statesmen.

The standard biography is A. B. Hart’s Salmon Portland Chase in the “American Statesmen Series” (1899). Less philosophical, but containing a greater wealth of detail, is J. W. Shuckers’ Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase (New York, 1874). R. B. Warden’s Account of the Private Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase (Cincinnati, 1874) deals more fully with Chase’s private life.


CHASE, SAMUEL (1741–1811), American jurist, was born in Somerset county, Maryland, on the 17th of April 1741. He was admitted to the bar at Annapolis in 1761, and for more than twenty years was a member of the Maryland legislature. He took an active part in the resistance to the Stamp Act, and from 1774 to 1778 and 1784 to 1785 was a member of the Continental Congress. With Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll he was sent by Congress in 1776 to win over the Canadians to the side of the revolting colonies, and after his return did much to persuade Maryland to advocate a formal separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain, he himself being one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence on the 2nd of August 1776. In this year he was also a member of the convention which framed the first constitution for the state of Maryland. After serving in the Maryland convention which ratified for that state the Federal Constitution, and there vigorously opposing ratification, though afterwards he was an ardent Federalist, he became in 1791 chief judge of the Maryland general court, which position he resigned in 1796 for that of an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. His radical Federalism, however, led him to continue active in politics, and he took advantage of every opportunity, on the bench and off, to promote the cause of his party. His overbearing conduct while presiding at the trials of John Fries for treason, and of James Thompson Callender (d. 1813) for seditious libel in 1800, drove the lawyers for the defence from the court, and evoked the wrath of the Republicans, who were stirred to action by a political harangue on the evil tendencies of democracy which he delivered as a charge to a grand jury at Baltimore in 1803. The House of Representatives adopted a resolution of impeachment in March 1804, and on the 7th of December 1804 the House managers, chief among whom were John Randolph, Joseph H. Nicholson (1770–1817), and Caesar A. Rodney (1772–1824), laid their articles of impeachment before the Senate. The trial, with frequent interruptions and delays, lasted from the 2nd of January to the 1st of March 1805. Judge Chase was defended by the ablest lawyers in the country, including Luther Martin, Robert Goodloe Harper (1765–1825), Philip Barton Key (1757–1815), Charles Lee (1758–1815), and Joseph Hopkinson (1770–1842). The indictment, in eight articles, dealt with his conduct in the Fries and Callender trials, with his treatment of a Delaware grand jury, and (in article viii.) with his making “highly indecent, extra-judicial” reflections upon the national administration, probably the greatest offence in Republican eyes. On only three articles was there a majority against Judge Chase, the largest, on article viii., being four short of the necessary two-thirds to convict. “The case,” says Henry Adams, “proved impeachment to be an impracticable thing for partisan purposes, and it decided the permanence of those lines of constitutional development which were a reflection of the common law.” Judge Chase resumed his seat on the bench, and occupied it until his death on the 19th of June 1811.

See The Trial of Samuel Chase (2 vols., Washington, 1805), reported by Samuel H. Smith and Thomas Lloyd; an article in The American Law Review, vol. xxxiii. (St Louis, Mo., 1899); and Henry Adams’s History of the United States, vol. ii. (New York, 1889).


CHASE, WILLIAM MERRITT (1849–  ), American painter, was born at Franklin, Indiana, on the 1st of November 1849. He was a pupil of B. F. Hays at Indianapolis, of J. O. Eaton in New York, and subsequently of A. Wagner and Piloty in Munich. In New York he established a school of his own, after teaching with success for some years at the Art Students’ League. A worker in all mediums—oils, water-colour, pastel and etching—painting with distinction the figure, landscape and still-life, he is perhaps best known by his portraits, his sitters numbering some of the most important men and women of his time. Mr Chase won many honours at home and abroad, became a member of the National Academy of Design, New York, and for ten years was president of the Society of American Artists. Among his important canvases are “Ready for the Ride” (Union League Club, N.Y.), “The Apprentice,” “Court Jester,” and portraits of the painters Whistler and Duveneck; of General Webb and of Peter Cooper.


CHASE. (1) (Fr. chasse, from Lat. captare, frequentative of capere, to take), the pursuit of wild animals for food or sport (see Hunting). The word is used of the pursuit of anything, and also of the thing pursued, as, in naval warfare, of a ship. A transferred meaning is that of park land reserved for the breeding and hunting of wild animals, in which sense it appears in various place-names in England, as Cannock Chase. It is also a term for a stroke in tennis (q.v.). (2) (Fr. châsse, Lat. capsa, a box, cf. caisse, and “chest”), an enclosure, such as the muzzle-end of a gun in front of the trunnions, a groove cut to hold a pipe, and, in typography, the frame enclosing the “forme.”


CHASING, or Enchasing, the art of producing figures and ornamental patterns, either raised or indented, on metallic surfaces by means of steel tools or punches. It is practised