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Civil War-dated letter to Secretary of War Stanton, recommending the appointment of a Presbyterian minister and classics instructor as a military hospital chaplain. (The applicant's son was a Union Major-General.) As a legal advocate for President Lincoln's emergency war measures, Binney had a right to expect that his recommendation would carry some weight.
Autograph Letter signed: "Horace Binney", 2 pages (front and verso) 5x8, affixed to 6¾x10½ sheet. Philadelphia, 1864 September 30. To Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, Washington. In full: "The Rev. Samuel W. Crawford of the Reformed Presbyterian Church was for many years a resident of this City, was well known to me, & of great benefit to one of my family, as an efficient & admirably qualified classical instructor of our Academy. All respected who knew him. Since his removal into the interior, I have not till lately seen him; but his reputation is unsullied & his worthiness universally esteemed. He informs me that he is desirous of obtaining a chaplaincy in one of the Hospitals; and as I have no doubt that his appointment to such a post will gratify many respectable persons among the friends of the Union & of the Administration, I take great pleasure in recommending him to you consideration for such an appointment. I remain very respectfully your obedient servant". Horace Binney (1780-1875) was a leading lawyer in Pennsylvania. Appointed in 1808 a Director of the First Bank of the United States, he later served in Congress (1833-1835) as an anti-Jacksonian. In 1844, Binney argued successfully for the city of Philadelphia before the U.S. Supreme Court, in opposition to Daniel Webster as the plaintiff's lawyer, that a bequest of Stephen Girard to the city for philanthropic purposes to create a college was lawful. His argument had an important influence on the American law relating to charitable bequests. Binney's claim here to be a "friend of the Union & of the Administration" was not an idle one. He had already written two pamphlets justifying President Lincoln's wartime suspension of the writs of habeas corpus, and he would write a third in 1865. Samuel W. Crawford had been not only a classics instructor but the principal of the preparatory academy connected with the University of Pennsylvania. He may have been inspired to apply for the more onerous task of hospital chaplain by the example of his son and namesake, Major General Samuel W. Crawford, a surgeon who fought under the Union colors, wounded while commanding a division of XII Corps at Antietam (1862). Lightly creased. Pencil notes (unknown hand) at top margin. Minor show through at upper margin. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: January 4, 1780 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: August 12, 1875 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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