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Alexander Addison Papers

What's online?

The entire collection is scanned and online.

What's in the entire collection?

This collection of correspondence contains long runs of letters from newspaper publisher Hugh Henry Brackenridge and from the Reverend Charles Nisbet of Dickinson College, and a short run of letters from Congressman William Findley.

About Alexander Addison

Born in Scotland, Addison (1758-1807) received his Master of Arts from Aberdeen University at age nineteen. He subsequently trained as a minister, and was admitted by the Presbytery of Aberlowe in 1781. However, upon immigrating to the newly independent America in 1785, the Redstone Presbytery in western Pennsylvania refused to license Addison as a minister. As an alternative, he apprenticed as a lawyer and was later admitted to the Washington County, Pennsylvania, bar in 1787. Addison started his legal career as an itinerant lawyer. In 1791, Addison was appointed the president judge of the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which included all of western Pennsylvania. For thirteen years Addison presided over the nascent Fifth District when both state and federal laws were being written and little legal precedent existed.

During the Whiskey Rebellion, Addison upheld the authority of state and federal law. In 1802, he was impeached from the bench as a result of ongoing and politically motivated conflict with fellow Justice John B. C. Lucas. Addison died in 1807.

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