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Barnabas Bidwell


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Barnabas Bidwell was an author, teacher, and politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, active in Massachusetts and Upper Canada. Educated at Yale, he practised law in western Massachusetts and served as treasurer of Berkshire County. He served in the state legislature as representative and senator, in the US Congress as spokesman for the administration of Thomas Jefferson. He was effective in defending the administration's positions and passing important legislation, and was the Massachusetts Attorney General from 1807 to 1810, when exaggerated press accounts of irregularities in the Berkshire County books halted his political career and prompted his flight to Upper Canada. Bidwell later paid the $63.18, plus fines, which he attributed to a Berkshire County clerk while he was away on duties in Boston. Nonetheless, the controversy, exaggerated in the press by his Federalist Party enemies, effectively scuppered his potential appointment to the US Supreme Court.
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