Philadelphia [PA]: Lea and Blanchard, 1849. Two volumes. 8vo. 417, 4pp. ads, 16pp. publisher's catalogue, (32)pp. publisher's catalogue; 450pp., errata. Frontis. portraits in each volume. Three-quarter blue morocco and marbled boards; gilt decorated spines with raised bands; top page edges gilt. First edition, inscribed by the author and extra-illustrated, especially with letters, but also including portrait engravings, a lock of Wirt's hair, and a document (over 100 items). A very nice set with a bit of rubbing to marbled paper.
Wirt (1772-1834) served as prosecutor in the 1807 treason case against Aaron Burr and as United States Attorney General, 1817-1829. Howes K-87 ("aa"). Sabin 37414. BAL 11056. Larned 1708: "Valuable for history of the practice of law rather than statesmanship. Concerns early Virginia politics, the cabinets of Monroe, Adams, and Jackson, but especially the bar of the Supreme Court from 1814 to 1834 ... especially full on the trial of Aaron Burr."
The added letters are primarily from legal and historical figures of the time, contemporaries of Wirt, including: Jonathan Meredith (1784-1872), Wirt's junior counsel in the impeachment trial of Judge James Hawkins Peck; Walter Jones, a well-known Maryland lawyer who argued more than 300 cases in front of the Supreme Court; Thomas Swann, a member of the Virginia legislature & a US District Attorney in Washington; Henry St. George Tucker (1780-1848), a law professor and member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia; John T. Mason (1766-1849), son of George Mason, and a banker and merchant in Georgetown [D.C.]; William H. Cabell (1772-1853), Governor of Virginia from 1805-08; Henry Clay (1777-1852), statesman from Kentucky, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State under Pres. John Quincy Adams, well known for his oratorial skills, etc. Item #62062
The extra-illustrations include: [in Vol. 1] 1) tipped in letter, ALS of presentation from Kennedy to Jonathan Meredith, 1849; 2) ALS, Baltimore, Dec. 5, 1829, 4 1/2 pp., Wm. Wirt to John White regarding a legal case; 3) ANS Jan. 29, 1820, W[alter] Jones to John White regarding a payment made; 4) ALS, Alexandria, Feb. 15, 1814, Thos. Swann to Hendley A. Chapman regarding a law case; 5) Note (not signed) with a lock of Wm. Wirt's hair, 1834, for Meredith; 6) ALS, Montpelier, Feb. 12, 1832, William Pope to Jonathan Meredith discussing a trip to Washington; 7) ALS, July 20, 1815, Henry S.G. Tucker to John Ambler regarding a law case & property sale; 8) ALS, Jan. 22, 1820, Wm. Wickham to Jonathan Meredith, on a payment; 9) ALS. Richmond, March 18, 1806, Geo. Tucker to John Ambler, on a bill involving James Cowper; 10) ALS, Carr's-brook, July 17, 1812, D. Carr to an unnamed correspondent; 11) ALS, Georgetown, Aug. 1, 1797, John T. Mason to Wm. Taylor; 12) ms. note in ink about Webster visiting Thomas Jefferson in 1824 and their discussion of Wirt's biography of Patrick Henry, with a pencil annotation "handwriting of J. Meredith"; [in Vol. 2] 13) facsimile of a letter from John Adams to Wm. Wirt, Quincy, Jan. 5, 1818, discussing Wirt's biography of Patrick Henry, among other things; 14) ALS, Ellicott Mills, June 15, 1853, J.P.K[ennedy] to J. Meredith, on a visit to Baltimore; 15) ALS, March 13, 1823, Wm. Wirt to John Donnell, 6pp. on law cases; 16) ALS, Westham, Feb. 19, 1779, R.C. Nicholas to Col. Thos. M. Randolph; 17) ALS, Lexington, Jan. 31, 1804, Henry Clay to Wm. Taylor, regarding payments, and Taylor's ALS reply, Feb. 13, 1804; 18) ANS, Robert G. Harper to John White, May 30, 1823, regarding payments; 19) ALS, Wm. H. Cabell to John Ambler, Jan. 15, 1807, regarding money; 20) ANS, Oct. 27, 1849, J. Meredith to Edmund Didier; 21) ALS, Oakland, Hagerstown, April 17, 1828, Judge J. Buchanan to Jonathan Meredith; 22) ALS, E.W. Wirt (Wm. Wirt's wife) to Mr. Meredith, nd; 23) ALS, Hor. Binney to Jon. Meredith, Phila., Nov. 1, 1826, regarding a law case; 24) ANS E.W. W[irt] to J. Donnell, Aug. 28, 1822, confirming the forwarding of his letter to her husband; 25) ms. document (secretarial) opinions of Wm. Wirt & R.B. Taney in Warren case, May 2, 1830 [involving the seizure of the ship Warren by the Spanish in 1806, and the imprisonment of the crew].