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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PATERSON, William, jurist, born at sea in 1745; died in Albany, New York. 9 September, 1806. His parents, who were natives of Ireland, brought him to this country when he was two years old. He was graduated at Princeton in 1763, studied law with Richard Stockton, and was admitted to the bar in 1761). He was a member of the New Jersey state constitutional convention in 1776, and in the same year became state attorney-general and one of the legislative council. He was a delegate to the Continental congress in 1780-'1, and to the National constitutional convention in 1787, introducing the resolution that the "state sovereignties shall be preserved, while power shall be placed in the general government to provide for the common defence and general welfare of the country." The resolution was opposed by Edmund Randolph, who introduced the proposition of a National government, the discussion resulting in a fusion of the two plans. He was United States senator in 1789, until his resignation in March of the next yes, r, became governor of New Jersey in 1791, and was appointed by Washington a justice of the United States supreme court in 1793, which post he held until his death, which occurred while he was on a visit to his son-in-law, General Stephen Van Rensselaer, his place of residence being New Brunswick. Bancroft says he was an accomplished writer. Harvard gave him the degree of Lb. D. in 1806. He published a revised edition of the laws of New Jersey (Philadelphia, 1798-'9).
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