Field. I. David Dudley, an American clergyman, born at East Guilford, Conn., May 20, 1781, died at Stockbridge, Mass., April 15, 1867. He graduated at Yale college in 1802, was minister at Haddam, Conn., from 1804 to 1818, at Stockbridge, Mass., from 1819 to 1837, and again at Haddam from 1837 to 1851, when he returned to Stockbridge. He published "History of Berkshire County" (1829),History of Middlesex County (1839), History of Pittsfield" (1844),Genealogy of the Brainerd Family" (1857), and several occasional sermons.
II. David Dudley, an American jurist, eldest son of the preceding, born at Haddam, Conn., Feb. 13, 1805.When he was 14 his father removed to Stockbridge, Mass., and in 1821 he entered Williams college. In 1825 he commenced the study of law, was admitted to practice in 1828, and settled in New York, where he has been conspicuous at the bar for more than 40 years. He is especially known by his labors in the cause of law reform. As early as 1839 he published his first essay on the subject, pointing out the necessity of a reconstruction of the modes of legal procedure. This he followed up by other articles on the same subject in 1842,1844, 1846, and 1847. In 1847 he was appointed by the legislature of New York a commissioner on practice and pleadings, and as such took the leading part in the preparation of the code of procedure. Of this work only a part has been enacted into law, and many, if not all, the defects imputed to the code may be fairly attributed to this fact. The radical design of the new system of civil procedure is to obliterate the distinction between the forms of action and between legal and equitable suits, so that all the rights of the parties in relation to the subjects of litigation can be determined in one action, instead of dividing them as heretofore between different suits, often inconsistent and always perplexing.
This system has been adopted not only in New York, but in Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Oregon, and in several other states, and has materially affected the legislation of Great Britain and her colonies. In 1857 Mr. Field was appointed by the legislature of New York as the head of a new commission to prepare a political code, a penal code, and a civil code, works designed to contain, with the codes of procedure, the whole body of the law. These several codes have been completed and reported, but have not as yet been adopted by that state. Other states have, however, drawn largely from them in their legislation, and in California they have been adopted entire, with only such changes and modifications as its constitution and conditions required. In 1866 he brought before the British association for the promotion of social science, at its meeting in Manchester, a proposal for a general revision and reform of the law of nations, similar to that which he had before undertaken in regard to the civil and criminal law.
He procured the appointment of a committee consisting of eminent jurists of different countries, charged with preparing and reporting to the association the outlines of an international code, to be first submitted to their careful revision and amendment, and, when made as complete as possible, to be presented to the attention of the different governments, in the hope of receiving at some time their approval and adoption as the recognized law of nations. As the distinguished jurists composing this committee resided in different countries, it was difficult for them to act in concert, and each was left to act independently. Mr. Field, as the sole American representative, took the whole matter upon himself, and in 1873, after the lapse of seven years, presented to the social science congress his completed work, in a volume of nearly 700 pages, which he styles Outlines of an International Code." This work has attracted no little attention from European jurists. In the same year he attended a meeting held at Brussels, composed of delegates from all parts of Europe to consult upon this subject. This resulted in the formation of an association for the reform and codification of the laws of nations.
The association consists of jurists, economists, legislators, and politicians, with branches in different countries. Its object is to substitute arbitration for war in the settlement of disputes between nations. Of this association Mr. Field was elected president. In August, 1873, he left the United States, proposing to make a tour around the world.
III. Stephen Johnson, an American jurist, brother of the preceding, born at Had-dam, Conn., Nov. 4, 1816. At the age of 13 he went to the East, and passed nearly three years at Smyrna and at Athens, engaged in the study of modern languages, particularly Greek. He returned in the winter of 1832-3, and in the following autumn entered Williams college, from which he graduated in 1837. He studied law in New York with his brother, and on admission to the bar became his partner, and thus continued until the spring of 1848, when he went abroad, and passed a year in Europe. On his return in the autumn of 1849 he went to California, where he has ever since resided. He was among the first settlers of what is now the city of Marysville, was elected its first alcalde, and held that office until the organization of the judiciary under the constitution of the state. Although the jurisdiction of the alcalde courts under the Mexican law was limited and inferior, yet in the then existing state of things in California unlimited jurisdiction, civil and criminal, was asserted and exercised by them. In October, 1850, he was elected to the legislature, and during the session of 1851 was an active member of that body.
He introduced and succeeded in getting passed the several laws concerning the judiciary, and regulating the procedure, civil and criminal, in all the courts of the state. He was also the author of that provision of law which gave controlling form to the regulations and customs of miners in the determination of their respective claims, and in the settlement of controversies among them; a provision which solved a very perplexing problem, and has ever since remained undisturbed. In 1857 he was elected a judge of the supreme court of California for six years, from Jan. 1, 1858. A vacancy occurring previous to the commencement of his term, he was appointed to fill it, and took his seat on the bench Oct. 13, 1857. In September, 1859, he became chief justice of the state. The law of real property in California was placed on a solid basis while he was on the bench, and principally by decisions in which he delivered the opinions of the court. In March, 18G3, he was appointed by President Lincoln an associate justice of the supreme court of the United States. As such he delivered the opinion of the court in the well known test oath cases. His dissenting opinions in the legal-tender cases, in the confiscation cases, and in the New Orleans slaughter house case, have also attracted attention.