c.1748-1826, American lawyer and political leader, b. New Brunswick, N.J. He practiced law in Maryland and became the first attorney general of the state, holding office from 1778 to 1805 and again from 1818 to 1822 (although he was inactive in his last two years of office). He was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention but refused to sign the Constitution because he felt it violated states' rights. Martin, considered one of the nation's leading lawyers, was one of the defense counsel in the trials of Justice Samuel Chase (1805) and of Aaron Burr (1807). He was a bitter opponent of Thomas Jefferson.
See biography by P. S. Clarkson and S. R. Jett (1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2004.
Licensed from Columbia University Press