James Diament Westcott, Jr. ( born May 10, 1802 in Alexandria, Virginia; † January 19, 1880 in Montreal, Canada ) was an American politician (Democratic Party). He acted as one of the first two U.S. senators for the state of Florida after its accession to the Union.
Legal career and rise in Florida
James Westcott's father was in Alexandria to publish a newspaper; later the family moved to New Jersey, where the elder Westcott began to engage in political activities and deputy in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1830 to 1840 and was the post of executive officials ( Secretary of State ) held in the state government. James Westcott Jr., meanwhile, studied the law and was admitted to the bar in 1824, after which he first struck a legal career. Among other things he was doing in Washington D.C. employed.
In 1830 he moved to the Florida Territory whose Governor Andrew Jackson, later President of the United States, appointed him Secretary of the Territory; in fact he held until 1834 so that the same item as the same time his father in New Jersey. Among other things, it was one of his duties to represent the Governor during his absence.
Westcott came in 1834 in a quarrel with a native of Kentucky lawyers Thomas Baltzell, who challenged him to a duel; the exact reason is not known. Both men met on September 25th of this year, on the border with Alabama. While Westcott injuries wore Baltzell was not hit. Later he became a deputy in the House of Representatives from Florida and the chief judge of the state.
After he had until 1834 acts as territorial secretary and as a member of the Governing Council of Florida, Westcott took over the duties of the Attorney General for the middle district of the territory. He held until 1836, a post; thereafter, he participated as a delegate at the State Convention, which met the preparations for accession to the United States. The first state constitution of Florida carries his signature. 1845 Florida was admitted into the Union.
When subsequently held the first election to the U.S. Senate by the state legislature of Florida to Westcott could and also the Democrats belonging to David Levy Yulee prevail. The allocation of the Senate classes was by lot: the seat of Class 3 - and a six -year term - fell to Yulee, while Westcott as a Class 1 senator remained the only four -year term. During his membership in the Congress, which lasted from July 1, 1845 to March 3, 1849, he led, among other things chair of the Committee on the Territories and in the Patent Committee. In 1848 he not applied for re-election.
In 1850, James Westcott first moved to New York City, where he practiced law until 1862. Then he settled in Montreal, Canada; he died there in January 1880. He was buried in Tallahassee. His son James also worked as a politician and lawyer: He was a deputy in the State Parliament, Attorney General of Florida and justice of the state Supreme Court. He also competed in 1872 for the Senate seat once held by his father, but was defeated by Republican Simon B. Conover.