Hugh Maxwell

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Hugh Maxwell
Hugh Maxwell.jpg
Collector of the Port of New York
In office
1849–1853
President Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Preceded by Cornelius W. Lawrence
Succeeded by Greene C. Bronson
New York County District Attorney
In office
1821–1829
Preceded by Pierre C. Van Wyck
Succeeded by Ogden Hoffman
In office
1817–1818
Preceded by John Rodman
Succeeded by Pierre C. Van Wyck
Personal details
Born 1787
Paisley, Scotland
Died March 31, 1873(1873-03-31) (aged 85–86)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Agnes Stevenson
Children 4
Parents William Maxwell
Alma mater Columbia College

Hugh Maxwell (1787 – March 31, 1873) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

Early life

Maxwell was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1787. He was the son of William Maxwell.[1]

After immigrating to the United States in 1790 around the age of three, he graduated from Columbia College in 1808 where he was classmates and close friends with Gulian C. Verplanck, later a New York State Senator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Career

After graduating from Columbia, he studied law and was admitted to the bar and built up a lucrative practice. In 1814, during the War of 1812, he was appointed Assistant Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army.[2]

New York County District Attorney

From 1817 to 1818 and again from 1821 to 1829, he was New York County District Attorney.[3] On September 15, 1826, Jacob Barker, Henry Eckford, and other leaders of Tammany Hall were indicted for allegedly committing millions of dollars in acts of fraud against banks, insurance companies, and private citizens, and Maxwell subsequently prosecuted them for "conspiracy to defraud."[4] The first trial ended in a hung jury in October 1826, although some defendants were convicted in a second trial. Eckford, a famous shipbuilder and entrepreneur of the time, was not prosecuted again after the first trial and sought an apology and public statement of his innocence from Maxwell, but succeeded only in getting Maxwell to make a statement that Eckford had been duped by others into illegal acts. Eckford challenged Maxwell to a duel in December 1827, but Maxwell ignored him.[5]

Collector of the Port of New York

After his term as New York County District Attorney ended in 1829, he resumed his law practice for the next twenty years, occupying a prominent position in the New York bar,[6] along with his law partner, Ogden Hoffman.[7]

An ardent Whig, in 1849, Maxwell was appointed by President Zachary Taylor as Collector of the Port of New York and remained in office through the Fillmore Administration until 1853, when his term expired. Afterwards he resumed the practice of law, but retired after a few years.[8]

Personal life

Maxwell was married to Agnes Stevenson (1796–1866), with whom he had four children:[6] Hugh Maxwell, John Stevenson Maxwell (1847–1918), Ann Eliza Maxwell, and Agnes Maxwell.[6]

He was a member of the New-York Historical Society and was elected a member of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York in 1811, serving as manager from 1826 to 1828, second vice-president from 1828 to 1832, first vice-president from 1832 to 1835, and as President from 1835 to 1837.[6] He was known for his love of classic literature and he entertained friends, including Thurlow Weed, William C. Rhinelander (grandfather of T.J. Oakley Rhinelander) and James Lenox, at his library, considered one of the best private collections in New York.[6]

Maxwell died on March 31, 1873 at his residence, 14 St. Marks Place in New York City. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack, New York.[9]

References

  1. ^ "Hugh Maxwell (1787-1873)". www.nyhistory.org. New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  2. ^ Jampoler, Andrew C. A. "Who Was Henry Eckford?" Naval History, December 2007, Pages 38–45.
  3. ^ "History of the Office". manhattanda.org. Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  4. ^ Lawson, John Davison (1914). American State Trials: A Collection of the Important and Interesting Criminal Trials which Have Taken Place in the United States from the Beginning of Our Government to the Present Day. Thomas Law Books. p. 515. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  5. ^ Barker, Jacob; Vermilya, Thomas; Davis, Matthew Livingston; Maxwell, Hugh (1827). Trial of Jacob Barker, Thomas Vermilya, and Matthew L. Davis, for Alleged Conspiracy: Testimony as Reported by Hugh Maxwell, Esq., District Attorney, and Certified for the Use of the Supreme Court, by Ogden Edwards, Esq., the Judge Before Whom the Cause was Tried at the Circuit, in August, 1827. Coke Law-Press. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Morrison, George Austin (1906). History of Saint Andrew's Society of the State of New York, 1756-1906. New York: Saint Andrew's Society of the State of NY. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  7. ^ Pierson, George Wilson (1996). Tocqueville in America. JHU Press. p. 63. ISBN 9780801855061. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  8. ^ Hough, Franklin Benjamin (1858). The New York Civil List: Containing the names and origin of the civil divisions, and the names and dates of election or appointment of the principal state and county officers from the Revolution to the present time. Weed, Parsons and Co. pp. 369, 377. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  9. ^ "The Law Institute.; Presentation of Bequests from the Late Hugh Maxwell" (PDF). The New York Times. 15 July 1873. Retrieved 7 August 2019.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
John Rodman
New York County District Attorney
1817–1818
Succeeded by
Pierre C. Van Wyck
Preceded by
Pierre C. Van Wyck
New York County District Attorney
1821–1829
Succeeded by
Ogden Hoffman
Government offices
Preceded by
Cornelius W. Lawrence
Collector of the Port of New York
1849–1853
Succeeded by
Greene C. Bronson
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