William Smith

William Smith, fourth chief justice of the Province of Quebec (born 18 June 1728 in New York City; died 6 December 1793 in Québec City).

William Smith, fourth chief justice of the Province of Quebec (born 18 June 1728 in New York City; died 6 December 1793 in Québec City). Smith, a Yale graduate (1745), succeeded his father as a judge in New York (1767) and was subsequently chief justice there (1780). He remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution. He was a friend of Governor Guy Carleton and was named chief justice of Québec (1786). He is now remembered for his interpretation of the Quebec Act (1774) and his view that English or French law applied according to whether the litigants were of French or English expression. That position is now seen as having been motivated by political considerations. Smith is also known as an historian of New York state.