Philadelphia: N.p., 1862. Paperback. Small 4to. Stiff grey printed wrappers. 29pp. Very good overall. Outer wrappers (only) age toned and a bit edgeworn, though internally tight and bright and lovely. Item #36138
Attractive first edition of this attack on Horace Binney's views on habeas corpus. Binney (1780-1875) was a leading Philadelphia attorney and former Congressman who issued several popular pamphlets defending President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Wharton (1806-70) was a Philadelphia district attorney and civic leader, and in this pamphlet disagrees with Binney's constitutional interpretation. This copy is unique in that its inscription appears to answer the authorship issue. Sabin attributes authorship to Charles H. Gross, though not with certainty and he alphabetizes it under "Binney'; he also cites six others (including Wharton). Near the top of the front wrapper, Wharton inscribes and signs this copy boldly in black ink: "E. Walin Esq. / from Geo M Wharton Es / March 6, 1862" -- then, underneath the printed title, he adds: "attributed to Geo. M. Wharton Esq / of the Philadelphia Bar." This last phrase clearly refers to the printed title page line, "By a Member of the Philadelphia Bar" -- thus proclaiming his authorship without actually saying so, as only an attorney can. Binney was a powerful and influential figure in Philadelphia legal circles, and Wharton a public official perhaps hesitant to criticize a colleague publicly -- but not too hesitant to hint at it to a friend privately and obliquely. An outstanding copy -- probably the most important copy, as it assigns authorship. SABIN 5486.