The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lawrance, John

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LAWRANCE, John, American lawyer, soldier and legislator: b. Cornwall, England, 1750; d. New York city, November 1810. He emigrated to America in 1767, settling in New York, where he was admitted to the bar in 1772. He early attained a considerable success as a lawyer, and at the outbreak of the Revolution warmly espoused its cause. He received an officer's commission in the First New York regiment, serving under his father-in-law, Gen. Alexander MacDougall. He was appointed aide-de-camp to Washington in 1777, and in October of that year presided over the trial of Major André. He returned to the practice of law after the war, and in 1785-87 was a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was an ardent supporter of the constitution proposed by the Federalists, and lost his seat to an anti-Federalist in 1788. He served in the New York State senate in 1789 and was elected the first representative of New York city in the first United States Congress, 1789-91, succeeding himself in the second Congress, 1791-93. In 1794 he was the first justice appointed to the United States District Court of New York, resigning upon his election to the United States Senate in 1796. He served as president pro-tempore of the Senate in 1798-99. Lawrance was a personal friend of both Washington and Hamilton.