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Richard Stockton Field

FIELD, Richard Stockton, senator, born in White Hill, Burlington co, New Jersey, 31 December 1803; died in Princeton, New Jersey, 25 May 1870. He was a grandson of Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was graduated at Princeton in 1821, studied law in the office of his uncle, Richard Stockton, and was admitted to the bar in 1825. He was for several years a member of the New Jersey legislature, and in 1838 was appointed attorney general of the state, which office he resigned in 1841. He was a prominent member of the convention that, in 1844, met to adopt the present constitution of the state of New Jersey, and in 1851 was chosen to deliver the first annual address before an association composed of its survivors. From 1847 till 1855 he was professor in the New Jersey Law School. Ever taking a strong interest in educational matters, and especially in the common schools of the state, he was in the latter year made president of the board of trustees of the state normal school, then just organized, and thenceforward until his death he wrote all its annual reports to the legislature. In November 1862,, he was appointed to the U. S. Senate for the un expired term of John R. Thompson, who died in office. While a member of that body he delivered an able argument on the discharge of state prisoners, in which he maintained that the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus resided not in congress, but in the president.

On 21 January 1863, he was appointed by President Lincoln U. S. district judge for the district of New Jersey, which office he held until his death. In 1866 he was a delegate to the Philadelphia convention, and throughout his life he was an unflinching advocate of the Union cause. After his elevation to the bench he lived in comparative seclusion in his luxurious home at Princeton. Judge Field was a man of varied and profound learning, gentle, courteous, and dignified, and of a charitable disposition. He was closely identified with the interests of his alma mater, which in return conferred upon him, in 1859, the degree of LL.D. Judge Field, at the time of his decease, was president of the New Jersey historical society, and for many years a valuable contributor to its publications. " The Provincial Courts of New Jersey," etc., forming the third volume of the "Collections" (1849), is probably his most valuable contribution to historical research. Among his best known addresses, all of which have been printed, are those "On the Trial of the Rev. William Tennent for Perjury in 1742" (1851); "The Power of Habit " (1855); "The Constitution not a Compact between Sovereign States" (1861); "On the Life and Character of Chief Justice Hornblower" (1865); and " An Oration on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln " (1866).

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