A pamphlet describing the retirement ceremony of Judge Ashur Ware from the United States District Court in 1866. The pamphlet, at 8 pages, is too long to transcribe in its entirety, but I will transcribe the first page or so, as well as the Judge's remarks at the end. First, scans of all the other 7 pages:
RETIREMENT OF JUDGE WARE
The members of the Cumberland Bar met by invitation at the United States Court Room, in Portland, on Wednesday the 23rd day of May, 1866, to determine what expression of their esteem and respect for Judge WARE would be appropriate to the occasion of his retirement from the Bench of the District Court of the United States, a position which he had resigned after a judicial service of more than forty-four years. Hon. THOMAS A. DEBLOIS, Hon. GEORGE EVANS and District Attorney GEO. F. TALBOT, were appointed a Committee to prepare Resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the Bar on the occasion.
At an adjourned meeting, Mr. TALBOT, from this Committee, presented the following Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
RESOLVED, That the members of Cumberland Bar, ask leave, on the occasion of the retirement of Judge Ware from the Bench of the District Court of the United States, to express their high appreciation of the important labors and studies, by which, through his long career of judicial service, the principles of maritime equity and international law have been established, and the interests of commerce have been secured and extended; and to signify their pride and satisfaction in the just eminence, which the pure style, the exhaustive learning, and the logical candor of his published opinions have gained fo him among jurists throughout the world.
Resolved, That we shall ever cherish in grateful remembrance the patience, impartiality and courtesy, which have marked the official conduct of Judge WARE towards the members of the Bar, and the amiable frankness and dignified simplicity, which in his intercourse with us individually, have formed the basis of the friendship and veneration in which he has long been held; and that we tender to him our cordial wishes that he may find in the retirement he has chosen as the appropriate close of his protracted labors, that calm satisfaction, which the retrospect of important service to his age and to the world, faithfully performed, cannot fail to give, and that peace of mind which flows out of a pure and blameless life.
It was then voted, that the Resolutions be presented by the U. S. District Attorney to Judge WARE, at the coming in of the Court on Thursday, May 31st, at 11 o'clock, A.M., being the last day previous to that on which he resignation was to take effect, with such remarks as the Attorney might deem appropriate.
A few minutes after 11 o'clock the venerable Judge came in, and taking his seat upon the Bench, the Court was formally opened, the area assigned for the accommodation of the Bar being filled with the members of the legal profession, anxious to participate in the official leave-taking. The District Attorney then came forward and read the Resolutions, accompanying the presentation with the following address:-
May it Please your Honor:
In presenting these resolutions in behalf of the Cumberland Bar I perform a task at the same time sad and grateful. It is sad to be obliged to defer to that judgment of yours, which has constrained you to terminate the pleasant official relations, that have so long subsisted between the Court and the legal profession practicing in it, and to feel that the bench, you are about to vacate, will be deprived of the confidence and veneration your character has given it in the popular heart. But it is grateful to review your long career as a judge, paralleled by no other in judicial history, and to remember how its foundation was laid in thorough classical, historical and legal study, how its progress has been signal-marked with the lights of jurisprudence, and how it has culminated in the eminence which has crowned your prolonged labors. It is grateful too to know that you have arrived at that goal which fitly divides labor from repose with natural vigor so little abated, that those tastes for intellectual investigation, which have been at the same time your employment and your diversion, have not lost their relish.
You took your seat upon the bench of this Court very early in the independent existence of our State. Maine, by her seaboard position and the enterprise and hardihood of her people destined to become a commercial and maritime State, counts herself happy in having had you for so many years at the head of her maritime and admiralty Court.
The people who have been the most resolute in attempting to subdue and control the sea have from the earliest times dictated its law. While powerful chiefs subjected to their sway such territories of the land as they could occupy and defend with their arms, the sovereignty of the ocean was for them who were bravest in defying its dangers. While on the northern coasts of the Mediterranean and on the south shores of the Baltic and North seas, merchants were gathering wealth, and mariners finding exciting adventures, thoughtful minds were collecting and expanding those principles of natural equity, and those customs and usages to which traffic had learned to accommodate itself, which, still for the most part unenacted, form the body of the Commercial Law of the World.
As citizens of our State we feel no more pride in the rank among commercial and maritime communities our merchants and ship-builders and seamen have won, than in the high repute your labors and studies have gained for you, in interpreting and developing the principles of maritime jurisprudence...
[His speech continues for a few more pages, as you can read in the scans. I'll pick up the transcription again at the top of page 7, which contains a paragraph about the Judge's reaction to the speech and his own speech in return, which concludes of page 8.]
Judge WARE was much affected by this expression of the feeling and appreciation of the Bar, with which he had been so long connected, and with emotion only partially controlled, made the following response, all the Bar coming forward and standing around the Bench, and listening with reverent attention:-
Gentlemen of the Bar:
The expression on the part of the Bar practicing in this Court, wholly unsought for and unexpected on my part, deserves from me and is received with the deepest gratitude. It is a source of great gratification that the course of the Court during the protracted period I have had the honor to sit in it, has received the approbation of men learned in the law, who have been familiar with its practice, from whom nothing has been or could be concealed, and has called forth such an expression. In every case, one party or the other must be disappointed, in almost every instance of reasonable, and in some perhaps of just expectations, especially as the jurisdiction and practice of the Court were in some degree uncertain and unsettled. In Admiralty the prevailing opinion of the soundest and most learned jurisconsults of this country is that our courts have a larger jurisdiction than the High Court of Admiralty of England. Of course the English decisions, to which we habitually look as a safe guide, fail. The halting practice and the imperfect reports of our own Court afford but an imperfect substitute. We are therefore left to find our way as well as we can by looking to general principles. When these are our only guide there will be of course different opinions. It cannot be expected that there will always be an entire agreement, and the most that can be hoped for is integrity of intention, and this I trust, has never been doubted. To err is the common frailty of humanity, and I cannot too highly value the calmness with which these errors have been received, and the tenderness with which they have been handled.
The unvarying courtesy and kindness on the part of the Bar which for so long a period has been uninterrupted, in full measure and beyond what would reasonably be expected, call imperiously for my grateful acknowledgements. They can never be forgotten by me, and will live as long as th pulsation of life lasts. It only remains, that with the best wishes for your happiness in this life and that which is to come, I bid you a final farewell.
At the close of the Judge's remarks the Court adjourned.
From online research: [Note: if you have corrections or additions to the information presented here, please scroll down to the comments section - thanks!]
Ashur Ware was born on 10 February 1782 in Sherborn, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph and Grace (Coolidge) Ware. I saw a brief reference to his name as John Asher Ware in a death notice published in a Midwest newspaper, but that is the only such instance I found where Ashur was not his first name.
His paternal grandparents were John and Martha (Prentice) Ware, who lived in Sherborn, which is in Middlesex County. His maternal grandparents were Joseph and Elizabeth (Frost) Coolidge, also of Sherborn.
Ashur Ware graduated from Harvard College in 1804 and Bowdoin College with a law degree in 1807. He worked as a tutor at Harvard until 1811, when he became a Harvard Professor Greek. In 1816, he practiced law in Boston, but moved to Portland, Maine, the next year to practice law there. He was editor of the Eastern Argus newspaper from 1817 to 1820 and was known as a Separatist in the issue of the separation of Maine from Massachusetts. In 1820, when Maine became a State, he became its Secretary of State. He became Judge of the United States District Court in 1822.
Ashur Ware married Sarah Morgridge, who was born 14 April 1800 in Litchfield, Maine, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Jackson) Morgridge. Her paternal grandparents were William & Sarah (Starbird) Morgridge of Harpswell, Maine. Her maternal grandparents were Judge Charles and Amelia (Lee) Jackson of Massachusetts.
Asher and Sarah Ware had at least 4 children that I could find:
- Joseph Ashur Ware, born 30 August 1832 in Maine; lawyer; died in Washington DC 25 May 1874
- Emma Grace Ware, born 27 August 1833; died July 1892 in Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Charles Morgridge Ware, died 27 August 1835
- Sarah Elizabeth Ware, born 10 Jul 1838; married widower John Mackay of Scotland