Binney, Horace

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Binney, Horace

Horace Binney was born January 4, 1780. He graduated from Harvard in 1797 and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1800.

In 1806, Binney became a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, serving until 1807. In 1808 he became a director of the first Bank of the United States, then returned to his political career in 1810 as a member of the Philadelphia Common Council and, from 1816 to 1819, the Philadelphia Select Council.

As a counselor, Binney displayed his legal expertise in cases concerning land titles. He won a famous victory in the Girard Trust Case of 1844, which involved the legality of a charitable legacy left to Philadelphia by philanthropist Stephen Girard. Binney defended the validity of this gift and set a precedent for interpretation of the law in regard to charitable bequests.

Binney was a representative for Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835. He opposed the views of Andrew Jackson on the Second Bank of the United States: Binney favored the federal bank, while Jackson preferred the use of state banks for federal deposits.

"The Bar is a large and diversified body. Like the web of our life, it is a mingled yarn, good and ill together."
—Horace Binney

Binney wrote several biographies and case reports, including Leaders of the Old Bar of Philadelphia (1859). He died August 12, 1875, in Philadelphia.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.