All Biographies

You are here: Home >                                                                                    

George Maxwell Robeson


GEORGE MAXWELL ROBESON was, until his appointment to the Secretaryship of the Navy, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, where as a lawyer, he had attained eminence, both in professional and social life. He is a son of William P. Robeson, a native of Philadelphia, who was an Associate judge of the Philadelphia county court. He comes from a family that have been long distinguished in both law and politics. His maternal uncle, J. P. Maxwell, and his grandfather, George C. Maxwell, were members of Congress from New Jersey.

Mr. Robeson was born in the town of Belvidere, Warren County, New Jersey, in the year 1829. At an early age be matriculated at Princeton College, and, when under eighteen years of age, graduated with distinguished honors. Subsequently he began the study of law, at Newark, New Jersey, in the office of Chief Justice Hornblower, and although his learning and abilities fitted him to discharge the duties of his profession before he arrived at a legal age, he was obliged to wait that period under the rules of the court, before being admitted to 

Commencing his professional duties at Newark, he subsequently removed to Jersey City, were the larger commercial and manufacturing interests and population afforded a wider field for his abilities.

In 1855 Governor Newell appointed Mr. Robeson Prosecutor of the Pleas of Camden county, and he became a resident of Camden, holding his office of public prosecutor until 1860.

Retiring from that office he became a law partner of Alden C. Scovel, Esq., but in the year 1865, when Mr. Theodore F. Frelinghuysen, then Attorney General of New Jersey, was elected Senator, he recommended Mr. Robeson to the vacant Attorney. Generalship, to which position Governor Ward appointed him.

Mr. Robeson has always taken an active part in polities, and was one of the most ardent and able supporters of the war policy of the Government through all our late troubles.

He was a member of the Sanitary Commission, and was from the first associated with the Union League of Philadelphia. In 1862 he was appointed by Governor Olden a Brigadier-General, and commanded a camp of volunteers at Woodbury, New Jersey for the organization of troops. Mr. Robeson is in the prime of life, and is universally esteemed for his abilities and his agreeable social character.

His nomination as Secretary of the Navy, June 25th, 1869, though somewhat surprising, since he had not been known in political circles outside of his own State, was not, on the whole, injudicious. He had had no special training in naval matters, nor any particular acquaintance with marine affairs, but in these matters he was probably as well informed as many of his predecessors, better, perhaps, than some of them; and having spent most of his life in the vicinity of large seaports, he would naturally have been attracted to the interests of both our commercial and national marine.

His administration of the Department has been, in general, very creditable to him. Charges were brought against him by a New York editor of corruption, fraud and malfeasance in office; but on a careful and thorough investigation by a committee of the House of Representatives, they were proved to have been unfounded, and the only instance in which there was ground for any semblance of blame was in his payment of the Secor (Jersey City) claim, after it had been once decided adversely by Congress and by an official Board of Examination. The claim was not, perhaps, unjust, and it was reasonable that the contractors, if wronged, should have some means of redress; but it was a somewhat dangerous stretch of official authority for the head of a department to order a large payment made to them on his own motion, after it had been adjudicated by the only competent authority that they had been paid in full. It is due to him to say, however, that in this case there was no just imputation in regard to his honesty and integrity, but that his action was only an error of judgment in regard to the scope of his official powers.

Mr. Robeson unquestionably possesses a high order of talent, and may be regarded as one of the ablest administrative officers of the Government.

His genial temper, graceful address and fascinating manners, render him deservedly popular in private life.

Source: Source: Men of Our Day; or Biographical Sketches of Patriots, Orators, Statesmen, Generals, Reformers, Financiers and Merchants, Now on the state of Action: Including Those Who in Military, Political, Business and Social Life, are the Prominent Leaders of the Time in This Country, by L. P. Brockett, M. D., Published by Ziegler and McCurdy, Philadelphia Penna; Springfield, Mass; Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo., 1872  

Related Links:


Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.