Thursday, February 18, 2016

James Iredell of NC

 James Iredell 2

The South is a garden.  It has been worn out by the War, Reconstruction, the Period of Desolation, the Depression and the worst ravages of all—Modernity;  yet, a worn-out garden, its contours perceived by keen eyes, the fruitfulness of its past stored in memory, can be over time, a time which will last no longer than those of us who initially set our minds to the task, restored, to once again produce, for the time appointed unto it, the fruits which nurture the human spirit and which foreshadow the Garden of which there will be no end.  
Dr Robert M. Peters of Louisiana


“When Congress passes a law consistent with the Constitution, it is to be binding on the people. If Congress, under pretense of executing one power, should, in fact, usurp another, they will violate the Constitution.”[1]

One of the greatest legal minds of the founding generation was also one of the most reserved and unobtrusive. On many levels, he differed from his peers. Outspoken Federalist from New York, John Jay, became the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Prominent Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph was selected by George Washington to be the first Attorney General. Patrick Henry, who was an incredibly effective lawyer, became known as one of the greatest orators of his time. James Iredell did none of this – he was plainly overshadowed and eclipsed by his haughtier peers. Still, his life is worth studying for his unshakable consistency to the constitutional principles he espoused.

After a modest upbringing in Lewes, England, Iredell immigrated to Edenton, North Carolina at the age of 17. For a time, he collected custom duties from Port Roanoke in Edenton. He began to study law under the tutelage of one of the most prominent lawyer in North Carolina, Samuel Johnston. At an extremely young age, he completed the training necessary to practice before North Carolina and passed the bar in 1771.

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