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He displayed those essential qualities of judicial excellence, a quick perception, sound judgment, promptness of decision, and
THIS gentleman, who represents the thirty-fourth Congressional District of the State of New York, comprising the counties of Orleans and Niagara, was born at Windham, Green county, in that state, on the 5th of August, 1811. He is descended from revolutionary stock, several of his kindred having been engaged in the struggle for independence. His grandfather, a surgeon in the army, lost his life in the service. His maternal grandmother was a sister of Nathan Hale, whose dying regret it was " that he had but one life to lose for his country.”
In the year 1818, while Washington Hunt was yet in early childhood, his father, Sandford Hunt, removed to the Genesee Valley, in Western New York, and settled at Portage, Livingston county, where he still resides. At the age of eighteen the son entered upon the study of the law, and, after completing the usual course, was admitted to the bar of Lockport in 1834. In the same year he was married to Mary H. Walbridge, daughter of Henry Walbridge. From early manhood he took an active interest in political affairs. He embraced what he then regarded as the Democratic, or liberal cause, with the ardor of youthful enthusiasm. He was a zealous admirer and supporter of General Jackson. He advocated the election of Mr. Van Buren in 1836. At the same canvass he was a candidate for Congress, and lacked but a few votes of being elected.
In 1836 he was appointed first judge of Niagara county, and for five years presided in its civil and criminal courts. The appointment, it is believed, gave general satisfaction. Perhaps it may be said that he was the youngest judge of a court of record ever appointed in his state. Yet he discharged the delicate, and often difficult, duties of his important trust with a degree of ability and integrity which won the public approbation. He displayed those essential qualities of judicial excellence, a quick perception, sound judgment, promptness of decision, and readiness in applying the principles of jurisprudence to complex transactions and ever-varying facts. His constitutional term of service having expired, he was urged to accept a reappointment, which, however, he declined. On his retirement in the early part of 1841, the following proceedings took place:
“ Meeting of the Bar.–At a meeting of the members of the Niagara county bar, held at the Court-house, in the village of Lockport, on the 4th day of February, 1811, the Honorable H. Gardner was called to the chair, and M. M. Southworth appointed secretary.
“ The following call was read :
6 A meeting of the members of the bar of Niagara county is requested to be held on Thursday, the 4th of February instant, at one o'clock, for the purpose of expressing their approbation of the manner in which Judge Hunt, whose term of office, as first judge of this county, is about to expire, has discharged his official duties.
“ Lockport, February 1, 1841. “L. H. Nicholls, H. B. Walbridge, L. Bement,
H. K. Hopkins, J. C. Morse, E. I. Chase, Henry M. Stewart, H. H. Stuart, H. C. Clark, Seth C. Hart, S. B. Piper, J. L. Woods, R. H. Stevens, S. Caverno, H. A. Carter, M. M. Southworth, A. Holmes,
E. Newton, A. A. Boyce,
C. R. Parker, A. C. Bradley, T. J. Wisner, J. L. Cuttenius, M. L. Burrall.
“ The following resolution was then offered, and, on motion, unanimously adopted :
“ Resolved, That the Honorable Washington Hunt, in retiring from the office of first judge of the county of Niagara, will carry with him the kind and grateful recollections of the members of the bar of this county, not only as a judge, possessing a clear and comprehensive mind, combined with a firm, independent, and dignified deportment, but as a man and a private citizen.
« On motion,
“Resolved, That the chairman and secretary communicate the proceedings of this meeting to Judge Hunt, and that the same be published in the Lockport papers.
“On motion, the meeting then aajourned."