BENSON, Egbert

1746–1833

Biography

BENSON, Egbert, a Delegate and a Representative from New York; born in New York City June 21, 1746; was graduated from King's College (now Columbia University) in 1765; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New York City; deputy to the provincial convention in 1775; member of the council of safety in 1777 and 1778; in 1777 was appointed the first attorney general of New York and served until 1789; member of the State assembly 1777-1781 and again in 1788; in 1783 was appointed one of the three commissioners to direct the embarkation of the Tory refugees for the loyal British provinces; associate judge of the supreme court of New York 1784-1801; Member of the Continental Congress in 1784, 1787 and 1788; member of the State constitutional convention in 1788, which ratified the Federal Constitution; elected as a Pro-Administration candidate to the First and Second Congresses (March 4, 1789-March 3, 1793); regent of the New York University 1789-1802; appointed judge of the United States Circuit Court, second circuit, February 20, 1801; served as the first president of the New-York Historical Society from 1804 to 1816; elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth Congress and served from March 4, 1813, to August 2, 1813, when he resigned; died in Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y., August 24, 1833; interment in Prospect Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1772-1939, 3 linear feet. The collection consists of correspondence and papers of various members of the Benson and related families, particularly of Egbert Benson. The papers include briefs, memoranda, trial notes, bills of costs, powers of attorney, and similar papers, relating to various cases in which Egbert Benson was concerned. The papers also include notebooks and compositions of Egbert Benson.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: In the John Jay Papers,1777-1820, 31 letters. A finding aid for the papers is available in the repository. Finding aid in repository.
Papers: In the Van Schaack Family Papers, 1788-1812, 8 letters. A finding aid for the papers is available in the repository.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: In the Oliver Wolcott, Jr. Papers, 1802, 1 letter. A letter from Egbert Benson to Oliver Wolcott.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, n.d., 1 item. An undated letter from Egbert Benson to an unidentified recipient.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: 1796, 1 volume. A small volume in a case containing a statement of the controversy over the Northeast boundary of the United States between the U.S. and Canada, written by Judge Egbert Benson, a member of the joint American-British Commission to resolve the dispute. The controversy arose over the St. Croix River and Island discovered by Samuel de Champlain and established as the boundary by the Treaty of 1783. The volume also includes maps of the area.
Papers: In the Northeast Boundary Papers, 1796-1799, 1 box. These papers include correspondence and other papers also concerning the dispute over the St. Croix River. This collection contains depositions and interrogations of persons living in the vicinity of the St. Croix River, including members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and other Maine Indians, and of surveyors employed by both countries. Judge Egbert Benson was a member of the joint American-British commission that settled the dispute.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: 1774, 1 page. A notice of a writ of inquiry sent by Egbert Benson, the plaintiff in the case, to Thomas Merit, the defendant in the case, on December 13, 1774. The notice states that a writ of inquiry in the case will be executed at the house of Clear Everitt, innkeeper, in Poughkeepsie, New York on January 5.

Syracuse University
Manuscript Collections, George Arents Research Library for Special Collections, Bird Library

Syracuse, NY
Papers: 1786-1819, 10 items. Includes correspondence from Egbert Benson to Samuel Bayard, Samuel M. Hopkins, Nicholas Low, William S. Shaw, and a single incoming item from John Jay. The letters include discussions about legal decisions, financial and personal affairs. An unpublished guide to the papers is available in the repository.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: 1809, 0.1 cubic foot. A letter from Egbert Benson to Peter Van Schaack, dealing with the settlement of an estate between siblings.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Benson, Egbert. Brief Remarks on the "Wife" of Washington Irving. New York: Printed by Grattan and Banks, Corner of Nassau & Spruce Streets, 1819.

------. Opinion of Mr. Justice Benson on the Question, Whether a Foreign Condemnation is Not Conclusive Against the Assured? Albany, N.Y.: Whiting and Leavenworth, 1802.

------. Vindication of the Captors of Major Andre. 1817. Reprint, with a new introduction and preface by George Athan Billias, Boston: Gregg Press, 1972.

Holt, Wythe, and David A. Nourse. Egbert Benson, First Chief Judge of the Second Circuit (1801-1802): Essays. New York: Second Circuit Committee on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1987.

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