Bushrod Washington

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Bushrod Washington
BushrodWashington.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
December 20, 1798 – November 26, 1829
Nominated by John Adams
Preceded by James Wilson
Succeeded by Henry Baldwin
Personal details
Born (1762-06-05)June 5, 1762
Mount Holly, Virginia, British America
Died November 26, 1829(1829-11-26) (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Federalist
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Religion Episcopalianism

Bushrod Washington (June 5, 1762 – November 26, 1829) was an attorney and politician, appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, where he served for more than 30 years. He was among the founders of the American Colonization Society in 1816, intended to promote emigration of freed slaves and free blacks to a colony in Africa, and served as its president. The nephew of American founding father and President George Washington, he inherited his uncle's papers and Mount Vernon, taking possession in 1802 after the death of Martha Washington, his uncle's widow.

Early life[edit]

Bushrod Washington was born on June 5, 1762, at Bushfield Manor, a plantation home located at Mount Holly in Westmoreland County, Virginia.[1][2] He was a son of John Augustine Washington (1730–1787), the brother of George Washington, and John's wife, Hannah Bushrod (1735–1801).[2][3]

Washington graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1778 and as an alumnus became in 1780 the 41st member of Phi Beta Kappa.[4] After beginning with John Marshall the study of law under George Wythe in 1780, he joined the Continental Army during 1781 and served as a private in the army until 1782.[5][6]

After Bushrod left the army, his father and his uncle, George Washington, sponsored his further legal studies with James Wilson.[7] After concluding his studies with Wilson in April 1784, the young Washington returned to Westmoreland County, married Julia Anne (Anna) Blackburn, and opened a law office.[8]

Career and political activities[edit]

Washington was in the private practice of law from 1784 to 1798.[5] He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1787.[1] In 1788, he served in the Virginia convention that reviewed the draft Constitution of the United States, where he voted for ratification.[9]

On September 29, 1798, Washington received from President John Adams a recess appointment to the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court vacated by James Wilson after John Marshall had declined the appointment while seeking an elective office.[5][6] Formally nominated on December 18, 1798, Washington was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1798, and received his commission the same day.[5] Washington became an associate justice on February 4, 1799, at the age of 36.[5] After Marshall became Chief Justice two years later, Washington voted with Marshall on all but three occasions (one being Ogden v. Saunders).[10] Washington served on the Supreme Court until his death in 1829.[5]

While serving on the Marshall Court, Washington authored the opinion of Corfield v. Coryell, 6 Fed. Cas. 546 (C.C.E.D. Penn. 1823), while riding circuit as an Associate Justice.[11] In Corfield, Washington listed several rights which he deemed to be fundamental "privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States" (See: Privileges and Immunities Clause).[12]

Residences[edit]

Around 1795, Washington purchased Belvidere, the former Richmond estate of William Byrd III. He relinquished Belvidere upon his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1798.[13]

Upon his aunt Martha Washington's death in 1802, Bushrod Washington inherited all of his uncle George Washington's papers as well the largest part of his estate, including the Mount Vernon plantation, as bequeathed in his uncle's will.[14] By George Washington's will, George's slaves were to be freed after his wife Martha died, as she had the use of them during her lifetime.[15] However, Martha freed the slaves before her death in an 1800 deed of manumission.[15]

When Bushrod Washington and his wife moved to Mount Vernon immediately after Martha's death, he brought his own slaves there.[1][16] The estate had not included much cash, and Washington found that he was unable to support the upkeep of the plantation's mansion on the proceeds from the property and his Supreme Court salary.[17] As a result, the mansion deteriorated while he lived there.[18][19] As his farms were not profitable, he sold many of his slaves to gain working capital to support the main house and property.[17]

Society memberships[edit]

Washington was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813.[20]

In 1816, Washington was among the founders of the American Colonization Society (ACS), which promoted repatriation to Africa of free blacks and slaves who were freed in preparation for transport there.[18] Washington became the Society's first president and held that position for the remainder of his life.[18] His sales of slaves to support the upkeep of Mount Vernon angered abolitionists, who questioned why the ACS president could not set an example by freeing his slaves, as had his uncle George Washington.[17][18] They believed that Bushrod Washington should have sent his freed slaves to Liberia.[17]

Death and interment[edit]

Bushrod died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1829, while riding circuit.[1][5] His wife died two days later while transporting his body for burial.[1][21] They were both interred at Mount Vernon.[21] An obelisk erected in front of the Washington family vault at Mount Vernon memorializes Bushrod and his wife.[22]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Because of his role in the ACS and his assistance in founding the Republic of Liberia, Bushrod Island near the national capital of Monrovia was named for him.[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Bushrod Washington". Oyez: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia. Jerry Goldman. 1997-07-16. Archived from the original on 2005-02-14. Retrieved 2015-12-27. 
  2. ^ a b Wayland, John Walter (1944). The Washingtons and Their Homes. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield. p. 125. ISBN 0806347759. OCLC 39055916.  At Google Books.
  3. ^ (1) "Hannah Bushrod". Ancestry. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
    (2) "George Washington's Family Chart". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  4. ^ (1) Vorhees, Oscar M., ed. (1919). "The Phi Beta Kappa Key: The Official Publication of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa". 4 (1). Somerville, New Jersey: Unionist-Gazette: 112–113.  At Google Books.
    (2) Smith, Jean Edward (1996). John Marshall: Definer of a Nation. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 554. ISBN 9781466862319. OCLC 874903389. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Washington, Bushrod". History of the Federal Judiciary: Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  6. ^ a b Hall, Timothy L. (2001). Bushrod Washington. Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Facts on File, Inc. pp. 39–42. ISBN 9781438108179. OCLC 234179292.  At Google Books.
  7. ^ Fister, Jude M. (2014). America Writes Its History, 1650-1850: The Formation of a National Narrative. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-7864-7921-4. OCLC 859384941.  At Google Books.
  8. ^ Fister, Jude M. (2014). America Writes Its History, 1650-1850: The Formation of a National Narrative. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7864-7921-4. OCLC 859384941.  At Google Books.
  9. ^ Grigsby, Hugh Blair (1890). Brock, R.A., ed. The History of the Virginia Federal Convention of 1788 With Some Account of the Eminent Virginians of that Era who were Members of the Body. Collections of the Virginia Historical Society. New Series. Volume IX. 1. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Historical Society. pp. 344–346. OCLC 41680515.  At Google Books.
  10. ^ Cushman, Clare: Supreme Court Historical Society, ed. (2013). Bushrod Washington. The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–2012 (3rd ed.). CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE Publications. p. 47. ISBN 9781608718320. OCLC 832697340.  At Google Books.
  11. ^ Thayer, James Bradley (1894). Cases on constitutional law: With notes, Part 2. C.W. Sever. pp. 453–56. 
  12. ^ "All Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the Several States". Justia: US Law. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-12-29. 
  13. ^ Dabney, Virginius (1990). Richmond: The Story of a City: Revised and Expanded Edition. Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia. p. 19. ISBN 0813912741. OCLC 20263021.  At Google Books.
  14. ^ (1) Fister, Jude M. (2014). America Writes Its History, 1650-1850: The Formation of a National Narrative. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7864-7921-4. OCLC 859384941.  At Google Books
    (2) Lossing, Benson J. (1870). "The Home of Washington; Or, Mount Vernon and Its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Pictorial". Hartford, Connecticut: A.S. Hale & Company. p. 350. OCLC 1593086.  At Google Books.
    (3) Washington, George (1790-07-09). "Last Will and Testament". Rediscovering George Washington. PBS. Archived from the original on 2005-02-06. Retrieved 2015-12-04. To my nephew Bushrod Washington, I give and bequeath all the Papers in my possession which relate to my Civil and Military Administration of the affairs of this Country; I leave to him also such of my private papers as are worth preserving; and at the decease of my wife, and before; if she is not inclined to retain them, I give and bequeath my Library of books, and pamphlets of every kind. ..... To my nephew Bushrod Washington and his heirs (partly in consideration of an intimation to his deceased father, while we were Bachelors, & he had kindly undertaken to superintend my Estate during my Military Services in the former War between Great Britain and France, that if I should fall therein, Mount Vernon (then less extensive in domain than at present) should become his property) I give and bequeath all that part thereof which is comprehended within the following limits, .... 
  15. ^ a b "George Washington and Slavery". George Washington's Mount Vernon: Digital Encyclopedia. Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  16. ^ Lossing, Benson J. (1870). "The Home of Washington; Or, Mount Vernon and Its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Pictorial". Hartford, Connecticut: A.S. Hale & Company. p. 351. OCLC 1593086.  At Google Books.
  17. ^ a b c d Fister, Jude M. (2014). America Writes Its History, 1650-1850: The Formation of a National Narrative. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-7864-7921-4. OCLC 859384941.  At Google Books.
  18. ^ a b c d Dunne, Gerald. "Bushrod Washington and The Mount Vernon Slaves". 1980 Yearbook. Supreme Court Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2002-10-09. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  19. ^ "The Formation of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and the Dramatic Rescue of George Washington's Estate". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Archived from the original on 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2015-11-23. 
  20. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  21. ^ a b "Burials at Mount Vernon". Digital Encyclopedia. Mount Vernon, Virginia: George Washington's Mount Vernon. Archived from the original on 2015-11-21. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  22. ^ "The Tomb". Digital Encyclopedia. Mount Vernon, Virginia: George Washington's Mount Vernon. Archived from the original on 2014-10-19. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  23. ^ Starr, Frederick (1913). Liberia: description, history, problems. Chicago: Frederick Starr. p. 9. OCLC 6791808.  At Google Books.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
James Wilson
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
1798–1829
Succeeded by
Henry Baldwin