Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BREARLEY, David, jurist, born near Trenton, New Jersey, 11 June, 1745; died in Trenton, 16 August, 1790. He studied law, and practiced in Allentown, New Jersey, early took part in the controversy of the colonies with Great Britain, and was arrested for high treason, but was set free by a mob of his fellow-citizens. He was a member of the first convention to frame a constitution prior to 1781, and an officer in the revolutionary army, being lieutenant colonel, at first in the 4th battalion of the 2d establishment, and, subsequent to January, 1777, in the 1st New Jersey regiment. On 10 June, 1779, he was elected chief justice of New Jersey, resigning in 1789, when he was appointed United States district judge. In the constitutional convention of 1787 he protested vehemently against an unequal representation of the states, and opposed the joint ballot of the two houses of congress, on the ground that it impaired the power of the small states. He presided over the state convention that ratified the federal constitution, and was one of the presidential electors in 1788. In the federal convention he was a member of the committee of eleven selected to decide on the length of tenure and powers of the president. Judge Brearley was one of the compilers of the Protestant Episcopal prayer-book of 1785.--His brother, Joseph, was a soldier of the revolution, who was promoted major in 1777, and served through the war without compensation as aide to General Washington.
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