Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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TROWBRIDGE, Edmund, lawyer, born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1709; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2 April, 1792. He was Graduated at Harvard in 1728, and for some time bore the name of Goff, after an uncle. "This Goff," wrote John Adams in 1759, "had been attorney-general for twenty years, and commanded the practice in Middlesex and Worcester and several other counties. He had power to crush, by his frown or his nod, any young lawyer in his country." He became attorney-general of Massachusetts in 1749, and was a member of the council several years, but lost favor with the popular party in 1766, on account of his lukewarmness in resisting British aggressions. He was elevated to the supreme bench of Massachusetts the next year, and, notwithstanding his loyalist principles, is declared by all his contemporaries to have been the most profound lawyer in New England prior to the Revolution, and an honorable and upright judge. In the trial of Captain Thomas Preston and other British soldiers for firing on the people in State street, Boston, 5 March, 1770, his fairness and ability commanded universal praise. But, although he was attached to the royal government, he did not approve of all its measures, and in 1772, alarmed at the aspect of affairs, he resigned his office and retired to private life. As an executor of John Alfred, a wealthy merchant of Boston, he had the power of determining to what the latter's bounty should be applied, and founded in Harvard the Alfred professorship of natural religion, moral philosophy, and civil polity. He was the last of the judges of the supreme court of Massachusetts that wore the scarlet robe and powdered wig.
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