MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE OF WILLIAM WIRT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

Philadelphia [PA]: Lea and Blanchard, 1849. First edition. Two volumes. 8vo. 417, (4, ads) 16 [publisher's catalogue], (32, publisher's catalogue); 450, (1, errata) pp. Frontispiece portrait, folding facsimile. Wirt (1772-1834) served as prosecutor in the 1807 treason case against Aaron Burr and as Attorney General of the United States, 1817-1829. Inscribed by the author in the year of publication to Jonathan Meredith, William Wirt's junior counsel in the impeachment trial of Judge James Hawkins Peck. Extra-illustrated with the insertion of 26 related autograph letters (described further below), a lock of Wirt's hair, and 82 inlaid plates, mostly engravings, primarily portraits of important American politicians from the early decades of the 19th century. Howes K-87 ("aa"). Sabin 37414. BAL 11056. Larned 1707: "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 trail of Aaron Burr." Some foxing, but a very good copy in a beautiful binding, an important extra-illustrated copy. Later blue three-quarter crushed morocco, gilt, and marbled boards and endpapers, spine gilt with titles and rules between raised bands,top edge gilt, by Blackwell. (9815). Item #62062

The added letters and documents are primarily from legal and historical figures of the time, contemporaries of Wirt, concerning various legal matters: 1) Kennedy, John Pendleton (1795-1870; author, politician, Secretary of the Navy, 1852-1853, U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland, 1838-1839 and 1841-1845). 1849 one-page ALS of presentation of this book to Jonathan Meredith, Wirt's junior counsel in the impeachment trial of Judge James H. Peck; 2) Wirt, William. Important ALS, Baltimore, Dec. 5, 1829, 4 1/2ppages, to John White of the Cashier's office, Bank of the United States, regarding the long-running case of the ship Warren concerning the financial liability of its owners, commencing with its seizure by Spain on an 1806 voyage and partly decided by the Supreme Court in 1831; 3) Jones, Walter (1776-1861; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who argued more than 300 cases in front of the Supreme Court). ANS, Jan. 29, 1820, to John White, regarding a payment; 4) Swann, Thomas (member of the Virginia legislature & a US District Attorney in Washington). ALS, Alexandria, Feb. 15, 1814, to Hendley H. Chapman in Annapolis, Maryland, regarding a legal case; 5) ANS (not signed) with a lock of Wm. Wirt's hair folded within, 1834, for Jonathan Meredith; 6) Pope, William (1762-1852; prominent Powhatan County, Virginia, lawyer, "intimate friend of William Wirt"). ALS, Montpelier, Feb. 12, 1832, to Jonathan Meredith, discussing a trip to Washington; 7) Tucker, Henry St. George (1780-1848, law professor and member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia). ALS, July 20, 1815, to John Ambler (1762-1836; owner of Jamestown Island, served on the Aaron Burr trial jury) regarding a law case & property sale; 8) Wikham, William (1793-1880; Richmond lawyer and planter, son of Aaron Burr's defense counsel John Wickham). ALS, Jan. 22, 1820, Jonathan Meredith, on a payment; 9) Tucker, George (1775-1861; Virginia lawyer, politician, and historian). ALS. Richmond, March 18, 1806, to John Ambler, on a bill involving one James Cowper; 10) Carr, Peter (1770-1815; nephew of Thomas Jefferson under whom he studied law). ALS, Carr's-brook, July 17, 1812, to [John Amber, "Mrs. Ambler," his wife, being mentioned in the text] concerning the importance of beginning French lessons at an early age and other matters; 11) Mason, John T. (1766-1849; son of George Mason, banker and merchant in Georgetown, D.C.). ALS, Georgetown, Aug. 1, 1797, to Wm. Taylor, a merchant in Baltimore, concerning property and financial matters involving a "Mr. Prentiss"; 12) [Meredith, Jonathan: pencil annotation "handwriting of J. Meredith"] (1784-1871; Wirt's junior counsel in the impeachment trial of Judge James Hawkins Peck). Unsigned ms. note in ink about Webster visiting Thomas Jefferson in 1824 and their discussion of Wirt's biography of Patrick Henry; 13) Kennedy, John Pendleton. ALS (signed with initials), Ellicott Mills, June 15, 1853, 4 pages, to Jonathan Meredith, on a visit to Baltimore; 14) Wirt, William. ALS, March 13, 1823, 6 pages, to John Donnell (Pres., U.S. Bank at Baltimore) on legal cases; 15) Nicholas, Robert Carter (1728-1780; Virginia lawyer and judge, served on the Revolutionary War version of the state's Supreme Court). ALS, Westham, Feb. 19, 1779, 2 pages, to Col. Thos. M. Randolph (1741-1793) of Tuckahoe, concerning court matters and other subjects; 16) Clay, Henry (1777-1852; statesman from Kentucky, Speaker of the House of Representatives, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, well known for his oratorial skills). ALS, Lexington, Jan. 31, 1804, one page, to William Taylor, a Baltimore merchant with whom Clay transacted a good bit of business in the opening decade of the 19th century, regarding payments. With Taylor's ANS reply, Feb. 13, 1804; 17) Harper, Robert Goodloe (1765-1825; U.S. House of Representatives, 1795-1801, U.S. Senator, 1816). ANS, to John White (of the cashier's office, Bank of the United States), May 30, 1823, regarding payments; 18) Cabell, William H. (1772-1853; Governor of Virginia, 1805-1808). ALS as governor, one page, to John Ambler, Jan. 15, 1807, concerning, in part, the hiring out of a slave; 19) Meredith, Jonathan. ANS, one page, Oct. 27, 1849, to Edmund Didier, a Baltimore land owner and builder, concerning a claim; 20) Buchanan, Judge John (1772-1844; served on the Maryland Court of Appeals, 1806-1844, as Chief Justice 1824-1844). ALS, 2 pages, Oakland, Hagerstown, April 17, 1828, to Jonathan Meredith, explaining a delay in providing information for a case; 21) Wirt, Elizabeth W. (1784-1857; American author, her "Flora's Flowers" was an early attempt to popularize the concept of the language of flowers, William Wirt's wife). Undated ALS, one page, to Mr. [Jonathan] Meredith, reporting on her husband's letter to her with news of a trip to appear in court; 22) Sullivan, William. 3 page ALS from Boston, June 25, 1829, to Jonathan Meredith in Baltimore, reporting on how William Wirt was received in Boston on a recent trip there; 23) Binney, Horace (1780-1875; attorney and arts critic). ALS, one page, to Jonathan Meredith, Phila., Nov. 1, 1826, requesting help in acquiring a copy of a U.S. District Court of Maryland case from "about" 1803; 24) Wirt, Elizabeth W. ANS (signed with initials), three lines, to J. Donnell (President of the U.S. Bank in Baltimore), Aug. 28, 1822, confirming the forwarding of his letter to her husband; 25) Secretarial manuscript document presenting opinions of William Wirt and R.B. Taney in the Warren case, 4 pages, May 2, 1830 [involving the seizure of the ship Warren by the Spanish in 1806, and the imprisonment of the crew], a case at least partly decided in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1831. Taney and Wirt served as lawyers for the assignees.

Price: $6,500.00

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