Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 75, page(s) 729-732

OBITUARY SKETCH OF CHARLES B. ANDREWS

Though born in Sunderland, Mass., on November 4th, 1834, Charles Bartlett Andrews was of Connecticut ancestry, being descended from William Andrews, one of the original settlers of Hartford. He graduated with honor from Amherst College in 1858, and while teaching school began the study of the law and was admitted to the bar of Fairfield County in 1860. At first he settled in Kent, where his legal ability was acknowledged from the beginning. In 1863 he removed to Litchfield, and became the partner of the late John H. Hubbard, then in large practice; here he at once took a prominent position at the bar, advancing rapidly till he became its leader. At the next April term of the Supreme Court he prepared and argued six cases, including the famous soldier bounty case of Webster v. Harwinton, involving an exhaustive consideration of the original or inherent powers of towns and of those conferred by the legislature. It was in the preparation of this case that he laid the foundation of that intimate knowledge of our system of town government, as well as the general principles of law, which so characterized him through all his legal and political life and culminated in the Constitutional Convention of 1902. Judge Andrews was twice a member of our State Senate, in 1868 and again in 1869. In the latter year he was chairman of the judiciary committee, a position he also held when, as a member of the House in 1878, he became the leader of his party and made an enviable record. He was Governor of the State in 1879 and 1880, and in 1881 was appointed a judge of the Superior Court. In 1889 he was made Chief Justice, to which position he was again appointed in 1897, and continued to hold the same till his resignation in 1901. His last public office was that of president of the Constitutional Convention of 1902, to which he was sent as a delegate by the unanimous vote of his fellow townsmen.

Chief Justice Andrews was a man of untiring industry in his profession - a deep student and of wonderful memory; his knowledge was profound, extensive, accurate, and at his ready command. Though so profound a student, he was no recluse but one of the most genial of men, with an unfailing fund of anecdote, apt and well told. His knowledge of men and things was as complete as his knowledge of books, and this made him powerful as an advocate and acute as a judge. His law library was the most extensive and best selected of any in western Connecticut, and was as free to his fellow lawyers as was the wisdom of his well-stored mind.

Judge Andrews enjoyed the high places of power and honor which he so well filled, but he cared not for their pomp and show. He was happiest in the enjoyment of his quiet home in the town of his adoption, of whose past history he was proud and to which he contributed additional luster. In that peaceful home he passed away on the morning of September 12th, 1902, in the full vigor of his great mind.

Upon the opening of the October term, 1902, of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Charles Phelps of Rockville, Attorney-General of the State, addressed the court as follows:

Upon the occasion of the first sitting of the Supreme Court, before resuming its work for the year, it is most appropriate that attention be called to the recent death of the Honorable Charles B. Andrews, late Chief Justice of this court.

For a period of about twelve years he presided over this, the highest tribunal of the State, coming to that position from eight years of active work upon the Superior Court bench. Back of this record and preparatory to it, lay a wide experience at the bar, in the halls of legislation, and in the executive chamber. Within the proper domain of his chosen profession his activities covered an extensive field. His vigorous mind and his strong personality left their impress upon all of the great departments of the State, legislative, executive and judicial. It was his fortune to fill the position of governor, chief justice, and president of the second Constitutional Convention of Connecticut. These three positions embody the highest honors within the gift of the State; for them he was well equipped; to them he brought patient and unremitting labor.

Such a record would have been remarkable in the life of any man; but especially must it be regarded as remarkable in the life of him of whom we speak. His physical infirmities burdened him in the race of life, and deprived him of those outward excellencies which pass for much in the public gaze, and which help to grace exalted position. Here his intellectuality showed its supremacy; his mind became the dominant force, and men, attracted by his mental symmetry, lost sight of physical qualities less attractive. Rugged in his nature like the hills among which be dwelt, his character possessed many powerful attributes. Sincere and courageous, he condemned petty artifice and held to his work consistent with the motto, " It is better to be than to seem."

His life and his work are now interwoven with the history of Connecticut; he has helped to make a part of her history, and when we repeat the names of her distinguished sons, we shall dwell with peculiar emphasis upon the name of Charles Bartlett Andrews.

At the conclusion of Mr. Phelps' address, CHIEF JUSTICE TORRANCE said: -

The court is fully sensible of the distinguished services rendered to the State by Chief Justice Andrews, and expresses its obligation to the Attorney-General for the appropriate manner in which he has called the attention of the bench and bar to them, on this occasion.

The Practice Act was enacted with the warm approval of Governor Andrews, in 1879. Three years later, it became his duty, as a judge of the Superior Court, to aid in its administration, - a work which he continued on the bench of that and of this court for nearly twenty years. But the regulation of legal practice, however important, is but a small part of judicial labor. Chief Justice Andrews was an earnest student of law as a science, - of its fundamental principles, and philosophical development. Only such an one could have written such an opinion, for instance, as that from his pen, in the case of Wildman v. Wildman, 70 Conn. 700, in which he analyzes with so much clearness and precision the nature of a cause of action.

He was the seventeenth in the line of chief justices who presided in this court during the first hundred and seventeen years of its history, and of this number, only Judges Hosmer, Williams and Park held the office for as long a period.

In a review of a history of the courts of Connecticut on a public occasion, he once said this : "In every government of laws, the courts hold the most important place. The legislature may be nominally higher than the judiciary; but in the actual experience of life, the courts touch the citizen more frequently and more nearly than the law-making power." Acting under his conviction, he was deeply impressed by the responsibility which attaches to a judicial station. It was his ambition to discharge it with fidelity, and none of his associates on the bench failed to remark the earnestness of his convictions amid the force and perspicuity with which he was able to set them forth. On the pages of our reports they have become interwoven with the jurisprudence of the State, and of all the States.

This minute will he entered at length on the records of the court.

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