Philadelphia: Published by James Webster, 1817. xv,427,xii pp. plus p. errata. Frontispiece portrait. 19th-century calf by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, boards ruled in gilt, spine gilt extra, gilt morocco labels, gilt inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Rebacked, with gilt backstrip laid down, boards unevenly toned, minor shelf wear. Text lightly tanned. Very good. Untrimmed. Item #WRCAM55541
First edition of this popular biography of Patrick Henry, reprinted many times. Wirt's biography was vitally important in developing the image of Henry as a "forest- born Demosthenes," and he gathered his information from a number of sources, "a combination of authentic facts, traditions, and old men's recollections" (DAB). The Henry family thought so well of Wirt's biography that one of Patrick Henry's grandsons was named "William Wirt Henry." Wirt is said to have worked on the manuscript for twelve years before it was finally published, the first of his productions to appear under his own name. The same year as publication, Wirt was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President Monroe. HOWES W586. SABIN 104882. SHAW & SHOEMAKER 42937.