Charles C. Beaman

Charles C. Beaman

Charles C. Beaman, (May 7, 1840 - Dec. 15, 1900), lawyer, traced his descent from Gamaliel Beaman, probably a native of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who, emigrating at the age of twelve in 1635, settled in Massachusetts. Sixth in direct line of descent from Gamaliel was Charles Cotesworth Beaman, a New England Congregational minister, who married Mary Ann Stacey of Wiscasset, Me., their eldest son, Charles Cotesworth Beaman, Jr., being born in Houlton, ME. His early education was received at Smithtown Seminary, North Scituate, R. I., whence he proceeded in 1857 to Harvard, graduating in 1861.

For the next two years he was principal of the academy at Marblehead, Mass., and then studied law at the Harvard Law School. His Harvard prize essay, "Rights and Duties of Neutrals in Respect to the Armed Vessels of Belligerents," published under a shorter title in the North American Review, was read by Senator Sumner, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations who thereupon engaged Beaman as private secretary, and after his call to the bar in November 1865, procured his appointment as clerk of the Committee. Beaman occupied this position for three years, during which he laid the foundation for an intimate knowledge of international law.

In 1868 he resigned and, going to New York, commenced practice. At this period the controversy between the United States and Great Britain respecting the depredations committed by Confederate cruisers was becoming acute and he made an exhaustive study of the subject. As a result he wrote The National and Private "Alabama Claims" and their "Final and Amicable Settlement," which was published in March 1871. Two months later, by the Treaty of Washington, the Geneva Tribunal of Arbitration was constituted to adjudicate the dispute, and Beaman was appointed solicitor for the United States in the arbitration proceedings. At Geneva his intimate knowledge of all the details proved of inestimable value. He assisted J. C. Bancroft Davis, the United States agent, by arranging the evidence presented with the American case, representing both national and individual claims, and "did his work with admirable fidelity" (Report of Davis, Sept. 21, 1872, House Executive Document, No. 1, pt. 1, 42 Cong., 3 Sess.).

On his return to New York in 1872 he resumed practice. Following the arbitration award, a Court of Commissioners of Alabama Claims was established at Washington, and he was retained as counsel by a number of the more important claimants. One remarkable case was that of the Texan Star, where he successfully maintained a claim for the destruction of that ship by a Confederate cruiser, although it had acquired a British registry in order to avoid capture. In connection with this work he wrote The Rights of Insurance Companies under the Geneva Award (1876).

During the Geneva proceedings he had come into close contact with William M. Evarts, whose daughter, Hettie Sherman Evarts he married Aug. 19, 1874, and in 1879 he was offered and accepted a partnership in the firm of Evarts, Southmayd & Choate. He was endowed with exceptionally sound judgment, which, combined with a thorough grasp of legal principles and a wide experience of international matters, gave him unusual prestige professionally. Personally he was much liked, possessing a genial temperament which attracted old and young, and a perfect sincerity of language and demeanor which never left any room for doubt as to his attitude toward any subject under discussion.

He was much interested in politics, though the only occasion upon which he aspired for office was in 1894, when he was the unsuccessful Republican and Independent Democratic candidate for the office of judge of the New York Supreme Court. In 1899 he was appointed a member of the Commission for the Revision of the Charter of the City of New York. He died in New York in December of the following year. -- H. W. Howard Knott

He encouraged the famous artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, (1848-1907), to live in Cornish, Vermont; where he rented his "Blow-Me-Down" estate to the sculptor, 1885. Beaman was President of the Association of the Bar, New York City, 1885-86

His daughter Mary Stacy Beaman married Edward Jackson Holmes, the nephew of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and the grandson of poet and Harvard Dean Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. and Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Charles Jackson (jurist).

Further reading

*Details of his ancestry will be found in The Beaman and Clark Genealogy by Emily Beaman Wooden (1909).
*An authoritative review of his life and career, "Memorial of Charles C. Beaman," prepared by Edmund Wetmore, appeared in Bar of the City of N. Y. Report, 1901, p. 96. See also Hist. of the Bench and Bar of N. Y., ed. by D. McAdam et al. (1897), II, 30, and Hist. and Digest of the International Arbitrations to which the United States has been a party, by John Bassett Moore, (1898), I, 495-678; obituary, N. Y. Times, Dec. 16, 1900.


"Charles Cotesworth Beaman."Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005.

External links

* [ Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site]
* [ Charles C. Beaman]
* [ William Evarts & Hettie Evarts Beaman]
* [ William Maxwell Evarts Bust]
* [ Saint-Gaudens' General William T. Sherman]
* [ Quincy, Jackson, Holmes and Paine Genealogy]

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