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Hoffman, a renowned lawyer and a staunch Federalist, was the son of Nicholas and Sarah (Ogden) Hoffman and a descendant of Martin Hoffman who had come to New Amsterdam in 1657. After the Revolutionary War Hoffman began his law practice in partnership with Cadwallader Colden and acquired over the years an unchallenged reputation as a jurist. He served in the New York State Legislature, and from 1798 to 1801 was attorney general of the state. He was recorder of the City of New York 1808 to 1815.
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