Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

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John Blair


The Virginia colleague of Madison in signing the federal constitution was John Blair. This distinguished man was born in that State about the year 1731. On receiving a collegiate education, he entered upon the study of the law, and in a very few years rose to the head of his profession. From eminence at the bar, his course to political distinction was rapid and successful. He was called by the voice of his fellow-citizens to some of the highest and most important trusts, which he faithfully discharged, at a time when the state of the country wore the most gloomy aspect, and by his exertions contributed essentially to its liberty and independence.
   In 1787, at which time Mr. Blair was judge of the court of appeals, the legislature of Virginia, finding the judiciary system inconvenient, established circuit courts, the duties of which they directed the judges of the courts of appeals to perform. These judges, among whose names are those of Blair, Pendleton, and Wythe, remonstrated, and declared the act unconstitutional. In the same year he took his seat in the convention which met at Philadelphia to frame the federal constitution, and was one of its most active members. To that instrument the names of Blair and Madison are affixed as the deputies from Virginia. In September, 1789, when the government which he had assisted in establishing had commenced its operations, he was appointed by President Washington an associate judge of the supreme court of the United States. He died September 12, 1800, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. Judge Blair was an amiable, accomplished, and truly virtuous man.

Source: Marshall, James V.. The United States Manual of Biography and History. Philadelphia: James B. Smith & Co., 1856. Page 180. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)


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Last modified January 1, 2004