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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HOFFMAN, Murray, jurist, born in New York city, 29 September, 1791; died in Flushing, L. I., 7 May, 1878. He was graduated at Columbia in 1809, studied law, and practised in New York city. In March, 1839, he became assistant vice-chancellor, which office he held for four years. He was appointed judge of the superior court in New York in November, 1853, and held that office till the end of 1861. He published "Office and Duties of Masters in Chancery" (1824) ;" Vice-Chancery Reports" (1839-'40); "Treatise on the Practice of the Court of Chancery" (1840-'3); "Treatise on the Corporation of New York as Owners of Property, and Compilation of the Laws relating to the City of New York" (1853); and "Digest of the Statutes and Decisions relating to the Board of Supervisors of the County of New York" (1866). He was an active layman in the Episcopal church, and published a "Treatise on the Law of the Protestant Episcopal Church. in the United States" (1850); "Ecclesiastical Law in the State of New York" (1868); and "The Ritual Law of the Church, with Notes on the Offices, Articles, etc." (1872).--His brother, Ogden, lawyer, born in New York city, 3 May, 1793; died there, 1 May, 1856, was intended for the bar, but his father permitted him, after his graduation at Columbia in 1812, to join the navy. He was appointed a midshipman on 31 December, 1814, was taken prisoner with Captain Decatur on the " President," and in 1815 served under that officer in the war with the Barbary states. In 1816 he resigned, began the study of law with his father, and completed it with a lawyer of Goshen, New York, whose partner he became. The young midshipman displayed courage and presence of mind on several trying occasions, and was a favorite with his commanding officer, Commander Decatur, who, when Hoffman left the navy, expressed regret that he should have exchanged "an honorable profession for that of a lawyer." In Nay, 1823, he was appointed district attorney of Orange county, and in 1825 he was elected by the Democrats to the legislature. At the close of his term he removed to New York city, and became a partner of Hugh Maxwell, then district attorney. When President Jackson removed the deposits from the United States bank he joined the Whig party, and in 1828 he was elected a member of the state assembly, where he suggested various improvements in practice and procedure, as a member of the judiciary committee. He succeeded Maxwell as district attorney in 1829, and held the office for six years. During twenty-five years he was counsel in almost every noted criminal trial in New York, and in many important civil cases. In 1836 he was elected a member of congress, served on the committee on foreign affairs, and took a prominent part in the debates. He was re-elected in 1838, and at the conclusion of his second term was appointed by President Harrison United States district attorney at New York. This office he resigned in 1845. In 1853-'5 he was attorney-general of the state.--Their half-brother, Charles Fenno, born in New York city in 1806; died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 7 June, 1884, was sent to an academy in Poughkeepsie at the age of nine, but ran away to escape harsh treatment, and was placed under the tuition of a Scotch clergyman in New Jersey. In 1817 his leg was crushed between a ferry-boat and the wharf, necessitating amputation. Notwithstanding the loss of his leg, he became proficient in athletic exercises. He entered Columbia, but left before graduation, studied law with Harmanus Bleecker in Albany, at the same time contributing articles to the newspapers, and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-one. After three years of practice he resolved to adopt literature as his profession, and joined Charles King in the editorship of the New York "American," to which he had previously been a contributor. In 1833 he established the "Knickerbocker Magazine," which he transferred to Timothy Flint after issuing a few numbers. He then became proprietor of the "American Monthly Magazine," and was its chief editor for many years. For twelve months he edited also the "New York Mirror." In 1846 he became editor of the "Literary World," and conducted it for a year and a half. After relinquishing the editorship he contributed to that journal a series of " Sketches of Society," which was closed in December, 1848. Of these papers the most. popular were fanciful sketches entitled "The Man in the Reservoir" and "The Man in the Boiler." He received an appointment in the civil service at Washington, but in 1849 was attacked with a mental disorder, from which he never entirely recovered, spending the last thirty-five years of his life in the Harrisburg insane asylum. His first published book was "A Winter in the West" (New York and London, 1835), containing spirited descriptions of nature and sketches of frontier life, originally printed in the "American," composed after a long journey in the saddle, undertaken for his health, in the western country in 1833. It was followed by "Wild Scenes in Forest and Prairie" (London, 1837), which was republished with additions (New York, 1843). A novel entitled " Vanderlyn" was published in the "American Monthly" in 1837. Next appeared "Greyslaer, a Romance of the Mohawk" (New York, 1840), founded on the trial of Beauchamp for the murder of Colonel Sharpe. He wrote another romance called "The Red Spur of Ramapo," but the manuscript was destroyed by a careless servant. Hogman was also the author of many poems and of songs that were set to music and attained great popularity. Among the latter are "Sparkling and Bright," "Rosalie Clare," and "Monterey," a great favorite with General Grant. The first collection of his poetry was "The Vigil of Faith, a Legend of the Adirondack Mountains, and other Poems" (New York, 1842), of which several editions were published in the United States and England. A larger collection is "The Echo, or Borrowed Notes for Home Circulation" (Philadelphia, 1844), the title of which was suggested by a criticism in the " Foreign Quarterly Review." charging Hoffman with plagiarizing from Thomas Moore. "Lays of the Hudson, and other Poems " (New York, 1846)contained additional lyrics. "Love's Calendar, and other Poems" (1848) is a fuller collection than "The Echo." He was the author of "The Administration of Jacob Leisler" (1848) in Sparks's " American Biography." In 1847 he delivered before the St. Nicholas society a discourse on "The Pioneers of New York," which was published (New York, 1848). A new edition of his poems was prepared by his nephew, Edward F. Hoffman (New York, 1874). It contains a critical sketch of the author by his friend, William Cullen Bryant.--Their grandmother, Sarah, philanthropist, born in Newark, New Jersey, 8 September, 1742, was a daughter of David Ogden, and married Nicholas Hoffman in 1762. She was one of the founders of the Society for the relief of poor widows with small children, which was established in New York city in 1797, and was accustomed to visit the poor quarters of the city to administer to the wants of the sick and destitute. Washington Irving was engaged to her grand-daughter, Matilda Hoffman, who died before the time appointed for their marriage.--Murray's son, Wickham, diplomatist, born in New York city, 2 April, 1821, was graduated at Harvard in 1841. He served during the civil war in the adjutant-general's department, being appointed a captain on 6 March, 1862, and promoted major on 26 August, 1863. He was commissioned secretary of legation at London on 15 December, 1874, and on 27 February, 1883, minister to Denmark, which post he held until his successor was appointed on 2 April, 1885.
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