Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LANSING, John, jurist, born in Albany, New York, :80 January, 1754; died in New York city, 12 December, 1829. He studied law with James Duane in New York, and in 1776-'7 was the military secretary of General Philip Schuyler. He was a member from Albany of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th sessions of the New York assembly, on 8 February, 1784, became a member of congress under the articles of confederation, and on 26 October following was reappointed. On 18 January, 178¢;, he was elected speaker of the New York assembly, and on 28 April he was appointed in place of John say, resigned, on the commission that met at Hartford, Connecticut, and made final division of the territorial claims of New York and Massachusetts. On 29 September, 1786, he was appointed by the council of appointment mayor of Albany, and in the same year was elected a member of the 10th session of [he New York assembly. On 26 January, 1787, he was again a delegated member of congress under the confederation. On 6 March, 1787, the New York legislature appointed him, with Robert Yates and Alexander Hamilton, a delegate to the Philadelphia convention, which assembled on 23 May and framed the constitution of the United States. On 10 July, 1787, he addressed a letter to Governor George Clinton, resigning his membership in the convention on the ground that the state had not delegated to its representatives power to form a new government, but only to pass amendments to the articles of confederation. The resolution under which he acted justified this view, which was concurred in by Judge Yates, though Alexander Hamilton elected to remain in the convention and was active in framing the constitution. Mr. Lansing was a member of the New York state convention that met at Poughkeepsie in June, 1788, to ratify the Federal constitution. He was re-elected speaker of the New York assembly at its 12th session, and by an act of the legislature he was appointed a commissioner on the part of the state to settle the controversy with Vermont. On 28 September, 1790, he was appointed a justice of the supreme court of the state of New York, and by act of legislature, passed 6 July, 1791, he was appointed one of the commissioners to determine the claims of the city and county of New York to lands in Vermont. On 15 February, 1798, he was appointed chief justice of the state supreme court, succeeding Robert Yates, and on 28 October, 1801, chancellor of the state in place of Robert R. Livingston, resigned, and held the office until 1814, when by reason of age he became ineligible, and was succeeded by James Kent.. In 1.804 he was unanimously nominated for governor of New York by the anti-Federalists, and accepted the nomination, but subsequently declined. The course that was pursued by Chancellor Lansing and those in sympathy with his views, in endeavoring to defeat the ratification of the Federal constitution, resulted in the adoption by the 1st United States congress of the important amendments to the constitution that were passed by that body. Chancellor Lansing ranked as one of the distinguished lawyers of his time, and as an upright and able judge. He mysteriously disappeared, having" left his hotel to post a letter on board the Albany boat at the foot of Cortland street, New York city. ]t was supposed that he was either robbed and murdered or accidentally drowned. He published "Select Cases in Chancery and in the Supreme Court in 1824 and 1828."
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