Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WOODBURY, Levi, jurist, born in Francestown, New Hampshire, 22 December, 1789; died in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 4 September, 1851. He was descended from John Wood-bury, of Somersetshire, England, who settled first at Cape Ann in 1624, and at Naumkeag (now Salem) in 1626. After graduation with the highest honors at Dartmouth in 1809, Levi entered the Litchfield, Connecticut, law-school. He was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practised in his native town until 1816, when he was chosen senate clerk of In the state he was appointed a judge of the supreme court of the X state, and in 1819 removed to Ports mouth, where he practised law after serving as governor of New Hampshire in 1823-'4 He was speaker of the state house of representatives in 1825, and was elected to the United States senate as a Democrat, serving from 5 December, 1825, till 3 March, 1831, when he was appointed secretary of the navy, and held that office until 1834, when he was made secretary of the treasury, serving until 1841. During this period he refused the post of chief justice of the New Hampshire superior court. Being elected again to the United States senate, he served from 4 March, 1841, till 20 November. 1845, and voted in 1844 for the annexation of Texas. In 1845 he declined the mission to England, and was appointed a justice of the United States supreme court to succeed Judge Joseph Story. His nomination was confirmed by the senate on 3 January, 1846, and he held this office at the time of his death. For his part in the celebrated senate debate on Samuel A. Foote's resolutions "on the public lands " in 1830 he was pronounced by Thomas H. Benton "the rock of the New England Democracy," and he was also conspicuous in the session of 1841 in defending the independent treasury system, which was first established under his administration of the department, and in defeating the banking system that was proposed by Henry Clay. He published discourses, and was co-editor with William M. Richardson of several volumes of the "New Hampshire Reports" (Concord, 1816 el seq.). After his death appeared "The Writings of Hon. Levi Woodbury, Political, Judicial, and Literary," selected and arranged by Nahum Capen (3 vols., Boston, 1852).-His son, Charles Levi, lawyer, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 22 May, 1820, was a member of the Suffolk, Massachusetts, bar, and United States district attorney for Massachusetts from 1858 until 1861. He edited with George Minor "Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Circuit Court of the United States for the First Circuit," containing the decisions of Judge Levi Woodbury (3 vols., Boston, 1847-'52).
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