Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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IREDELL, James, justice of the supreme court, born in Lewes, England, 5 October, 1750; died in Edenton, North Carolina, 20 October, 1799. He was the son of a merchant of Bristol, and went to North Carolina when he was seventeen years old. He was appointed deputy collector of the port of Edenton, married the sister of Samuel Johnston in 1773, studied law with his brother-in-law, was licensed to practise in 1775, and soon attained a high reputation as a lawyer. From 17 February, 1774, till the Revolution he held the office of collector of customs at Edenton. At the beginning of the war of independence he resigned this post, and relinquished the prospect of a large inheritance from an uncle in the West Indies in order to embrace the popular cause. He was elected a judge of the superior court in December, 1777, which office he resigned in August, 1778. In 1779 Governor Richard Caswell appointed him attorney-general, but he resigned soon afterward. During the Revolution he was the trusted adviser of William Hooper, Samuel Johnston, and other Whig leaders. In 1787 the assembly appointed him a commissioner to compile and revise the laws of the state. A part of his collection was printed in 1789, and the whole work, known as "Iredell's Revisal," was published in 1791 (Edenton). He was the leader of the Federalists of North Carolina, and in the convention held at Hillsborough in 1788 he argued without success in favor of the adoption of the Federal constitution. On 10 February, 1790, President Washington appointed him an associate justice of the United States supreme court. In the case of Chishohn's executor against Georgia he delivered a dissenting opinion to the effect that the Federal court could not exercise jurisdiction over a state at the suit of a private citizen. In that of Wilson against Daniels he also dissented, and his view relative to jurisdiction on a writ of error was adopted in subsequent rulings of the court. His addresses to grand juries, explaining and extolling the constitution, were often published at the request of the jurors in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond, Iredell county was named after him in 1788. He left nearly ready for the press at his death a treatise on pleading, which has never been published. See his " Life and Correspondence," by Griffith J. McRee (New York, 1857).--His son, James, senator, born in Eden-ton, North Carolina, 2 November, 1788; died there, 13 April, 1853, was graduated at Princeton in 1806, and studied law. In the war of 181, -'15 he raised a company of volunteers, and, marching with them to Norfolk, tool< part in the defence of Craney island. After the peace he returned to his profession, and was sent to the state house of representatives in 1816. He was speaker in 1817 and 1818, and was returned to the legislature for many years. In March, 1819, he was nominated a judge of the superior court, but resigned two months later. He was elected governor of North Carolina in 1827, and on the resignation of Nathaniel Macon was sent to the United States senate, serving from 23 December, 1828, till 3 March, 1831. He subsequently practised law in Raleigh, and for many years was reporter of the decisions of the supreme court. He was one of three commissioners who were appointed to collect and revise the laws in force in the state. The result of their labors was the revised statutes passed at the session of 1836-'7, and afterward published (Raleigh, 1837). His reports of law-eases in the supreme court fill thirteen volumes, and the reports of eases in equity eight volumes (Raleigh, 1841-'52). He published also a "Treatise on the Law of Executors and Administrators," and a "Digest of all the Reported Cases in the Courts of North Carolina, 1778 to 1845" (Raleigh, 1839-'46).
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