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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JOHNSON, William, law reporter, born in Middletown, Connecticut, about 1770; died in New York city in July, 1848. He was graduated at Yale in f788, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. From 1806 till 1823 he served as reporter of the supreme court of New York, and from 1814 till 1823 he held the same relation to the New York court of chancery. Judge Story says: "No lawyer can ever express a better wish for his country's jurisprudence than that it may possess such a chancellor [Kent] and such a reporter" [Johnson]. Judge Kent dedicated his "Commentaries" to him, and Judge William A. Duer wrote in 1857: "Johnson was a man of pure and elevated character, an able lawyer, a classical scholar, a gentleman, and a Christian." He received the degree of LL. D. from Hamilton college in 1819, and from Princeton in 1820. He published a translation of D. A. Azuni's "Sistema Universale dei principii del diritto maritime dell' Europa" (2 vols., New York, 1806); and also issued "New York Supreme Court Reports, 1799-1803" (3 vols., 1808-'12); "New York Chancery Reports, 1814-'23," and "Digest of Cases in the Supreme Court of New York" (2 vols., Albany, 1825; 3 vols., Philadelphia, 1838).
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