Horace Binney

Horace Binney (January 4, 1780 – August 12, 1875) was an American lawyer, author, and public speaker who served as an Anti-Jacksonian in the United States House of Representatives.[1]

Horace Binney
Horace Binney, Childs and Inman (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1835
Preceded byHenry Horn
Succeeded byJoseph R. Ingersoll, James Harper
Personal details
Born(1780-01-04)January 4, 1780
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedAugust 12, 1875(1875-08-12) (aged 95)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyWhig, Anti-Jacksonian
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Cox
RelationsHorace Binney Wallace (nephew)
Horace Binney Sargent (nephew)
ParentsBarnabas Binney
Alma materHarvard College

Early lifeEdit

Portrait of Binney at age 20, by Gilbert Stuart

Binney was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Dr. Barnabas Binney (1751–1787), a prominent Philadelphia physician who cared for Deborah Sampson. He graduated from Harvard College in 1797, where he founded the Hasty Pudding Club in 1795.[2]

Through his sister Susan Binney Wallace, he was the uncle of Horace Binney Wallace (1817–1852), a legal critic and through his sister, Mary Sarah Binney Sargent (d. 1824), wife of Lucius Manlius Sargent (1786–1867), an author and temperance advocate, he was the uncle of well-known author and Horace Binney Sargent (1821–1908), a Civil war veteran.[1]


Photograph of Binney in his late years

He then 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.[2] In 1800, Binney was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia and practiced there with great success for half a century, and was recognized as one of the leaders of the bar in Pennsylvania and the United States.[3]

Between 1806–1807, he served in the Pennsylvania legislature. From 1833 until 1835, he served as a Whig member of the United States House of Representatives. While in the House of Representatives, he defended the United States Bank and opposed the policies of President Andrew Jackson.[4]

After leaving office, he returned to the practice of law. Binney's most famous cases were Lyle v. Richards (1823), and Vidal et al v. Philadelphia et al (1844). In the latter case, which involved the disposition of the fortune of Stephen Girard, he was unsuccessfully opposed by Daniel Webster. Binney's argument in this case greatly influenced the interpretation of the law of charities.[2]

Public addresses and writingsEdit

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, in 1858, and an Inquiry into the Formation of Washingtons Farewell Address, in 1859.[2]

During the American 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.[2] He was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1867.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Binney was married to Elizabeth Cox (1783–1865), one of six daughters of John Cox, Esq. of Bloomsbury, New Jersey,[6] and descendants of the Langeveldts who originally settled New Brunswick, New Jersey.[7] Her sister, Mary Cox, was married to the inventor John Stevens III (1749–1838).[6] Together, Horace and Elizabeth were the parents of:[8]

  • Horace Binney Jr. (1809–1870), a member of the American Philosophical Society.[9]
  • Esther Coxe Binney (1817–1902), who married John Innes Clark Hare (1816–1905), also an attorney.[10][11]
  • Elizabeth Binney (1820–1910), who married Richard Roger Montgomery (1818–1888), the son of William M. Montgomery and Marie d'Elincourt, on April 30, 1844.[12]
  • Susan Binney (1822–1887)[13]
  • William Binney (1825–1909), a prominent banker in Providence, Rhode Island who married Charlotte Hope Goddard, the sister of Robert Hale Ives Goddard, in 1848.[14]

Binney died on August 12, 1875, at the age of 95 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of his birth. He was buried in the churchyard of Church of St. James the Less in Philadelphia.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Binney family papers 1809-1894". quod.lib.umich.edu. Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Binney, Horace. In Encyclopædia Britannica 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Sarah Barringer Gordon, Professor of Law and History. Chiseling Legal Tradition., Penn Law
  4. ^ Binney, Charles C. The Life of Horace Binney: With Selections from His Letters.Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co, 1903.
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  6. ^ a b The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. XI. New York City: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 1880. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  7. ^ Cox, Henry Miller (1912). The Cox Family in America: A History and Genealogy of the Older Branches of the Family from the Appearance of Its First Representative in this Country in 1610. pp. 223-227. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  8. ^ Bergen, Tunis Garret (1915). Genealogies of the State of New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 1085. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  9. ^ Stillé, Charles Janeway (1870). A Memoir of Horace Binney, Jr., read at a meeting of the Union League of Philadelphia, June 1, 1870. Philadelphia, H. B. Ashmead. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  10. ^ "The Law of Contracts. ISBN 1584773111 by John Innes Clark Hare on The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd". lawbookexchange.com/. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  11. ^ Nitzsche, George Erazmus (1918). University of Pennsylvania: Its History, Traditions, Buildings and Memorials ; Also a Brief Guide to Philadelphia. International Printing Company. p. 170. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  12. ^ Clemens, William Montgomery (1915). The Montgomery Family Magazine: Genealogical, Historical and Biographical. New York City, N.Y: William M. Clemens. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Horace Binney". www.nga.gov. National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  14. ^ The Brown Alumni Monthly. Brown University. 1910. p. 26. Retrieved 1 December 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry Horn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district

alongside: James Harper
Succeeded by
Joseph R. Ingersoll
James Harper