David Brearley: Quiet and Supportive Delegate from New Jersey

Courtesy of Wikipedia

David Brearley was a delegate from New Jersey. He attended the constitutional convention with other New Jersey delegates including the outspoken William Patterson. Brearley was a fairly quiet man, not overly important compared to the other more famous delegates at the convention, however, he was described as a “good man” and was accomplished within his state (ANB). Brearley was an early supporterof the American Revolution and served in the continental army as a lieutenant colonel. He was later elected to chief justice of New Jersey. Brearley grew up in New Jersey on a farm, and is thought to have attended Princeton, then called the College of New Jersey.

At the convention he was out shined by Paterson, but worked on the New Jersey Plan with him and stood firmly for small state’s rights. Along with the other New Jersey delegates and small state representatives, Brearley was apprehensive about giving the larger states too much power, as well as proportional representation for states, and election of the upper house by the lower house. Brearley was a member of the Committee on Apportionment and headed the Committee of Eleven on the unfinished parts of the constitution, including details of the presidency, electoral college, and how executives were appointed.

In American National Biography his last name is spelled Brearly. Apparently, his last name was commonly mispelled Brearley, which is how Beeman spells it.


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