The New International Encyclopædia/Wheaton, Henry

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WHEATON, Henry (1785-1848). An American lawyer, diplomat, and publicist, born in Providence, R. I. He graduated at Brown University in 1802, was admitted to the bar in 1805, and studied for several years in Paris and London. He then practiced for some time in Providence, and in 1812 settled in New York City, where for three years he edited The National Advocate. In 1814 he became a judge advocate of the army, and in 1815-19 was a justice of the Marine Court of New York City. From 1816 to 1827 he was reporter of the United States Supreme Court, and the Reports published by him in twelve volumes are of exceptional value. In 1821 he was a member of the New York Constitutional Convention, in 1823 of the State Assembly, and in 1825 of the commission appointed to revise the statute law of New York. In 1827 he was sent as chargé d'affaires to Denmark, in which country the United States had never before been regularly represented. In 1835 he was appointed Minister Resident to the Court of Prussia and from 1837 to 1846 was Minister Plenipotentiary there. A treaty successfully negotiated by him in 1844 was rejected by the United States Senate, but formed the basis upon which future German treaties were drawn up. His best work is his Elements of International Law (1836), which remains one of the greatest authorities on the subject in any language. It has been republished in many editions in America, of which that of Lawrence (1855), with a biographical memoir, and that of Dana (1866) are the most valuable. It has also been republished in London, and translated into French, Chinese, and Japanese. Among his other publications are: A Digest of the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States from Its Establishment in 1789 to 1820 (1820-29); Life of William Pinkney (1826), abridged for Sparks's “American Biographies;” History of the Northmen (1831; French trans. 1844); Histoire du progrès des gens en Europe depuis la paix de Westphalie jusqu'au congres de Vienne, avec un précis historique du droit des gens européens avant la paix de Westphalie (1841; Eng. trans. 1846); and An Enquiry into the Validity of the British Claim to a Right of Visitation and Search of American Vessels suspected to be engaged in the Slave Trade (1842).