Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MERRICK, William Duhurst, statesman, born in Annapolis, Maryland, 25 October, 1793; died in Washington, D. C., 5 February, 1857. He served as captain in the war of 1812, and was a member of the legislature. He served in the United States senate from 5 January, 1838, till 3 March, 1845, having been chosen as a Whig, was a member of the Constitutional convention of 1850, and again served in the legislature. He was the author of a cheap postage scheme, and held local offices in Maryland.--His son, William Matthews, jurist, born in Charles county, Maryland, 1 September, 1818, received a liberal education, studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Baltimore in 1839. He settled in Frederick, Maryland, in 1844. and in 1845 was appointed deputy attorney-general for that county, serving five years. In 1854 he removed to Washington, D. C., and was appointed associate judge of the United States circuit court for the district of Columbia, serving until this court was abolished in 1863. He then retired to Maryland, where he practised law. In 1866-'7 he was senior professor of law in Columbian college, Georgetown. He was a member of the State constitutional convention of 1867, and was elected to the Maryland legislature in 1870. He was then chosen to congress as a Democrat, serving from 4 March, 1871, till 3 March, 1873. On 4 May, 1885, he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of the District of Columbia, and is now (1888) professor of law in the Georgetown university, D. C.--Another son, Richard Thomas, lawyer, born in Charles county, Maryland, 25 January, 1826; died in Washington, D. C., 23 June, 1885, raised a company, which he commanded in the Mexican war, although he was under age, after which he practised law and served in the legislature. He then went to Chicago, where he formed a law-partnership and was a delegate from Illinois to the Democratic national convention of 1860, supporting Stephen A. Douglas. In 1864 he removed to Washington, D. C., where during the following twenty years he stood high in his profession. After the war he was a Democratic candidate for delegate to congress from the District of Columbia under the territorial form of government. He was also engaged in the defence of President Johnson in the impeachment trial in 1868; in 1876-'7 was one of the counsel before the electoral commission, and afterward in prosecuting the Star-route eases. He was a brilliant debater and public speaker, and during the exciting presidential canvass of 1884 took an active part. in the western states in the interest of the Democratic ticket. He was lecturer on constitutional law in Georgetown university.
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