1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Binney, Horace

BINNEY, HORACE (1780-1875), American lawyer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of January 1780. He graduated at Harvard College in 1797, and studied law in the office of Jared Ingersoll (1749-1822), who had been a member of the Constitutional convention of 1787, and who from 1791 to 1800 and again from 1811 to 1816 was the attorney-general of Pennsylvania. Admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1800, Binney practised with great success for half a century, and was recognized as one of the leaders of the bar in the United States. He served in the Pennsylvania legislature in 1806-1807, and was a Whig member of the National House of Representatives from 1833 until 1835, ably defending the United States Bank, and in general opposing the policy of President Andrew Jackson. His most famous case, in which he was unsuccessfully opposed by Daniel Webster, was the case of Bidal v. Girard’s Executors, which involved the disposition of the fortune of Stephen Girard (q.v.). Binney’s argument in this case greatly influenced the interpretation of the law of charities. Binney made many public addresses, the most noteworthy of which, entitled Life and Character of Chief Justice Marshall, was published in 1835. He also published Leaders of the Old Bar of Philadelphia (1858), and an Inquiry into the Formation of Washington’s Farewell Address (1859); and during the Civil War he issued three pamphlets (1861, 1862 and 1865), discussing the right of habeas corpus under the American Constitution, and justifying President Lincoln in his suspension of the writ.

See the Life of Horace Binney (Philadelphia, 1904), by his grandson, C. C. Binney.