1808.025: Speech of William Branch Giles on Treason Bill (February 1808).

Published: 1808

Full Title: Debate on the bill for the punishment of treason, and of other crimes and offences against the United States. In Senate of the United States--Feb. 1808. Mr. Giles then rose and delivered a speech substantially as follows: …

Author: Giles, William Branch (1762-1830), senator.

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Thomas W. White

Description: 16 pgs.; 22 cm (8vo).


On February 11, 1808, Giles presented a bill to the U.S. Senate that proposed a legislative definition of treason, countering the judicial decision advanced by John Marshall in 1807 during the trial of Aaron Burr in Richmond; the text here reprints the text seen in the Senate journal synopsizing Giles's speech defending his bill on constitutional grounds, and attacking Marshall's definition from English common law precedent; the bill did pass the Senate. This title is the first imprint issued by White, the future publisher of the Southern Literary Messenger, then just twenty years old, as an independent job-printer in Richmond.

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