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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JACKSON, Mortimer Melville, jurist, born in Rensselaerville, Albany County, New York, 5 March, 1814. He was educated in Flushing and New York city, and entered a counting house, where he remained several years, also studying law. In 1838 he removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in the following spring he settled in Mineral Point, Iowa County, where he acquired a good law practice. He was a member of the territorial convention that was held in Madison soon after the election of Harrison to the presidency, when the Whig party was first organized in Wisconsin. As chairman of the committee, he prepared and reported the resolutions embodying the platform of that organization, and strongly opposed the extension of slavery in the territories. From 1842 till 1847 he was attorney-general, and during his term conducted many important cases. He was a member of the committee that was appointed by an educational convention in Madison in 1846, and prepared a plan for improvement in common school education, a part of which was subsequently incorporated in the state constitution. He was interested in the efforts made in western Wisconsin to have the reserved mineral lands, which were held by the United States government, brought into market, and addressed a memorial to President Polk on this subject, which was adopted by the legislature. On the admission of Wisconsin to the Union, he was elected the first circuit judge for the 5th judicial circuit, serving also in the supreme court till the organization of a separate supreme court in 1853, when he resumed his law practice. He subsequently united with the Republican party, and in 1861 was appointed by President Lincoln United States consul at Halifax, Nova Scotia. While there he caused the seizure from Confederates of about $3,000,000 worth of war material, and advised the government of suspected vessels. In 1870, at the request of the secretary of state, he made a report to congress on the fisheries and fishery laws of Canada, in which he examined and discussed the controversy between Great Britain and the United States. Judge Jackson also addressed a communication to the secretary of state, reviewing the action of the fishery commission in 1877, and saying that the sum of $5,500,000 that had been awarded to Great Britain was unwarranted and excessive. He resigned his consulship in 1882 and returned to Madison, Wisconsin
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