The Volume XXV
Green February, 1913
Bag Number 2
Charles Allen AN EXCELLENT example of the type of men who have helped to make the standard of the Massachusetts judiciary what it is was the late Charles Allen, former Associate Justice of the Su preme Judicial Court, Reporter of Deci sions, and Attorney-General, who died Dec. 13 at his apartments in Hotel Charlesgate, Boston. He lacked three months of reaching the age of eighty-six years. Since suffering a paralytic stroke in June, 1907, he had been a confirmed invalid, but had retained his mental vigor to a marked degree. Judge Allen, who was deeply learned in the law and much admired and es teemed by the bar, was born in Green field on April 17, 1827, and was the son of Sylvester and Harriet (Ripley) Allen, and a nephew of George Ripley the author. Charles Allen was graduated from Harvard with the class of 1847, of which he was, with perhaps a single exception, the only surviving member. Judge Allen received from Harvard his honorary L.L.D. degree in 1892. After his graduation he studied law in the office of George T. Davis and Charles Devens, Jr., of Greenfield, and later at Harvard Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1850. He then began active practice in his native town, Greenfield, where he remained until 1862. In his practice he was associated at different times as law partner with George T. Davis, David Aiken and James C. Davis. In 1861 he was ap pointed Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court. He continued as Reporter until 1867, when he was
elected Attorney-General of Massachu setts, continuing as such until 1872, when he was succeeded by Charles R. Train. He then resumed his private legal practice, earning a good income at the bar. In 1880, Hon. John D. Long, then Governor of the state, appointed Mr. Allen chairman of the commission to re vise the General Statutes of Massachu setts. In this work he had charge of the law limiting the hours in which hotels and saloons should sell liquors to cus tomers. He copied from a reprint, and thus arose the "comma and semicolon" controversy twenty years later. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on Jan. 23, 1882, by Governor Long. He con tinued in office for sixteen years, though eligible for retirement under the law when in 1897 he had reached the age of seventy years. At that time Judge Allen was in excellent health and active and so decided to continue in his official duties on the bench. In August, 1898, however, when Governor Wolcott was chief executive of the Commonwealth, Judge Allen sent in his resignation, choosing to resign at the age of 71 while in the full vigor of his powers. Judge Allen was the author of Allen's Reports, comprising fourteen volumes embodying his work as Reporter of Decisions, and other works, including "Telegraph Cases" and "Notes of the Bacon-Shakspere Question." His cul ture was more than merely professional. The beauties of nature and the best in literature and art appealed to him.