The Life of William Dummer Powell: First Judge at Detroit and Fifth Chief Justice of Upper Canada

The Life of William Dummer Powell: First Judge at Detroit and Fifth Chief Justice of Upper Canada

The Life of William Dummer Powell: First Judge at Detroit and Fifth Chief Justice of Upper Canada

The Life of William Dummer Powell: First Judge at Detroit and Fifth Chief Justice of Upper Canada

Excerpt

My attention was first called to William Dummer Powell in the course of an historical inquiry into a purely legal matter not of general interest or importance. The curiosity, to give it no higher term, thus excited received a stimulus from my appointment in 1906 as Puisne Justice of the King's Bench Division, the lineal descendant of the Court of King's Bench of Upper Canada, of which Powell was, in 1794, appointed the first Puisne Justice; the King's Bench Division was abolished in 1913, so that I am the last of a long series of which he, a hundred and thirty years ago, was the first.

Powell was an inveterate and voluminous writer, and reams of documents in his unmistakable handwriting are in existence. Many of these are preserved in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa and in the Reference Library at Toronto. I am indebted to Powell's great-grandson, Commodore Aemilius Jarvis of Toronto, for no few others. I have read all these and have also read many contemporary private and official letters and other documents, in including the documents of which the originals or copies are to be found in the Canadian Archives. Use could not be made in a volume for general reading of a tithe of these: but I hope at no distant day to write some account of Powell as Lawyer. Powell deserved well of his country and he and his work should not be wholly forgotten.

WILLIAM RENWICK RIDDELL.

Osgoode Hall, Toronto, May 17, 1924.

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