WHARTON, FRANCIS (1820-1889), American legal writer and educationalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 7th of March 1820. He graduated at Yale in 1839, was admitted to the bar in 1843, became prominent in Pennsylvania politics as a Democrat, and in Philadelphia edited the North American and United Slates Gazette. He was professor of English history and literature at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, in 1856-1863. He took orders in the Protestant Episcopal church in 1862 and in 1863-1869 was rector of St Paul's Church, Brookline, Massachusetts. In 1871-188; he taught ecclesiastical polity and canon law in the Protestant Episcopal Theological School at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at this time he lectured on the conflict of laws at Boston University. For two years he travelled in Europe, and after two years in Philadelphia he went to Washington, D.C., where he was lecturer on criminal law (1885- 1 886) and then professor of criminal law ( 1 886- 1 888) at Columbian (now George Washington) University; in 1885-1888 he was solicitor (or examiner of claims) of the Department of State, and from 1888 to his death on the 21st of February 1889 was employed on an edition (authorized by Congress) of the Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United Stales (6 vols., 1889, ed. by J. B. Moore), which superseded Sparks's compilation. Wharton was a " broad churchman " arid was deeply interested in the hymnology of his church. He received the degree of LL.D. from the university of Edinburgh in 1883, and was the foremost American authority on international law.
He published : A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United Stales (1846; many times reprinted); State Trials of the United States durtng the Administrations of Washington ana Adams (1849); A Treatise on the Law of Homicide in the United States (1855); with Moreton Stille 1 , A Treatise on Medical Jurisprudence (1855); Modern Theism (1859), in which he applied rules of legal evidence to modern sceptical theories; A Treatise on the Conflict of Laws (1872; 3rd ed. 1905); A Treatise on the Law of Negligence (1874); A Commentary on the Law of Agency and Agents (1876), A Commentary on the Law of Evidence in Civil Issues (1877; 3rd ed. 1888); a companion work on Criminal Evidence; Commentary on the Law of Contracts (1882); Commentaries on Law (1884); and a Digest of the International Law of the United States (3 yols. 1886).
See the Memoir (Philadelphia, 1891) by his daughter, Mrs Viele, and several friends; and J. B. Moore's Brief Sketch of the Life of Francis Wharton," prefaced to the first volume of the Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)