Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Thomas Wharton Collens

New Orleans

James Wood Davidson, The Living Writers of the South 100-105 (New York: Carleton, 1849):

Judge Collens was born in New Orleans, on Tuesday, the 23d of June, 1812. His lineage is half Anglican and half Gallican, his mother being French. The printing-office was his seminary of learning. At twenty-one he became editor but gave up that honourable position to study law; and since then has been Reporter and Clerk of the State Senate (1834); clerk of the United States Court (1836); Editor again (1837); District-Attorney for Orleans District (1840); Judge of the Presiding City Court (1842); Practicing Lawyer (1846); Member of the State Convention (1852); and Judge of the First District Court of New Orleans (1861).

In 1862, though he had strenuously opposed secession, he took the fortunes of the Confederacy, and retired from the city upon the advent of Butler.

Since the war he has returned to New Orleans, and betaken himself assiduosuly to the practice of law. His clientèle is large.

He is to-day re-writing a series of Lectures on Political Philosophy, prepared just before the war, for the University of Louisiana. [Id. at 102]

Davidson notes that "Judge Collens has written in a variety of styles for the periodical press—verses, essays, and polemics. The verses came from a youthful brain; the essays belong to a riper age; while the polemics date through both periods." [Id. at 100]. Judge Collens' poetry seems, from our initial investigation, not to have been collected into a published volume.

Collens was a leading New Orleans Mason.

[See generally: Caryn Cosse Bell, "Thomas Wharton Collens," in American National Biography]


T. Wharton Collens, The Martyr Patriots; or, Louisiana in 1769, an historical tragedy, in five acts (New Orleans, Dillard, 1836)(performed in the old St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans in the year of its publication)

_______________, Humanics (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1860) [online text]

_______________, The Eden of Labor; or, The Christian Utopia (Philadelphia: H. C. Baird & Co., 1876) [online text] (New York: Arno Press, 1971)


T. Wharton Collens & Christoval Morel, Analytic Digest of the Acts of the Legislature, now in force, constituting the city charter of New-Orleans (New-Orleans, Printed by A. Bruslé, revised & published by C. Morel, esq., 1846)

Research Resources

New Orleans Masons

Covington, Louisiana & Its Founding Families