Maunsell Bradhurst Field (1822-1875)

Diplomat, Judge, Author & Assistant-Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

He was born at Peekskill, New York, and was a grandson of Samuel Osgood, 1st Commissioner of the U.S. Treasury, etc. He graduated from Yale (1841) and before being admitted to the Bar of New York (1847) travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East. Returning to New York, he practiced for a time with John Jay, but preferring travel went abroad again. He was Secretary of the Legation at Paris under John Y. Mason and involved with the Legation at Madrid under Pierre Soulé. Returning to the States in 1855, he was appointed a Commissioner for the State of New York and President of the American Commission at the French Universal Exhibition (1855) for which he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by Napoleon III. In 1861, he was made Deputy Sub-Treasurer of New York City and in 1863 President Lincoln appointed him Assistant-Secretary of the U.S. Treasury which he held until the strain of the job forced him to resign in 1865. He was at Lincoln's side when he was shot and was quoted as saying, "I had never seen upon the President's face an expression more genial and pleasing." He was a Collector of Internal Revenues in New York until 1869 on being made a District Judge.

Judge Field wrote three books, contributed to several magazines, and translated two or three works from the French - a language in which he was a "thorough master". In 1852, he co-authored a romantic novel with his friend, G.P.R. James, entitled, Adrian; or Among the Clouds of the Mind, and in 1869 he published a small volume of poems, Trifles in Verse. His most popularly received book was his memoir published in 1874, an entertaining collection of various reminiscences from his time abroad entitled, Memories of Many Men and of Some Women: Being Personal Recollections of Emperors, Kings, Queens, Princes, Presidents, Statesmen, Authors, and Artists, at Home and Abroad During the Last Thirty Years. In 1846, he married Julia, daughter of a well-known auctioneer at New York, Daniel Stanton, and his wife Julia Stanley, who lived between New York and their summer home at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They had four children of whom three (listed) survived to adulthood including high society ne'er-do-well, Julian Osgood Field.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 23/01/2024 and last updated on 26/01/2024.