From William W. Hening
Richmond 23rd April 1809.
I have not sooner acknowledged the receipt of the MSS which you were so obliging as to send me, because I was unwilling to trespass for a moment on your time, which was incessantly occupied with the cares of government, and in an honest endeavour to avert those evils with which the injustice of the two great belligerent powers of Europe seemed to threaten us.—Permit me to congratulate you on the prospect of a favourable termination of all our differences;—produced by that wise, firm and just policy which characterized the late administration, and which, I am confident, will be pursued by the present.
The first volume of MS. which was in such a decayed state, has been transcribed by myself, and is in print, with the omission of a few words, which were entirely obliterated—I expect to publish the first volume in about three months.
Mr Clements, who will present this to you, is a gentleman of Philadelphia, engaged in furnishing the profession with law-books.—Having often heard you express a wish to exchange your old law books, for new editions, I would recommend Mr Clements in the strongest terms, as a person well-qualified to assist in the arrangement. His knowledge in this branch of trade, and the reputation for integrity which he has so justly acquired, has ensured him the confidence of the bar of Richmond, as well as the parts of the United States, whose orders to a large amount, he annually executes.
Wm: W: Hening
RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 29 Apr. 1809 and so recorded in SJL.
William Waller Hening (1767–1828), attorney and legal scholar, represented Albemarle County in the House of Delegates, 1804–05, served on the Virginia Council of State, 1805–10, and was deputy adjutant general, 1808–14. He became clerk of the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond District in 1810 and served until his death. Hening was best known for his extensive legal writings, beginning with his New Virginia Justice (Richmond, 1795; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1971), to which TJ subscribed, and culminating with his edition of The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, 13 vols. (Richmond, 1809–23; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1863), a landmark of legal scholarship that printed the commonwealth’s laws from 1619–1792, along with many other public documents. His correspondence with TJ during the retirement period focused primarily on his preparation of this work, which drew extensively on TJ’s collections of legal records (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 28:105–6; Samuel M. Walker Jr., “William Waller Hening,” description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, Richmond, 1809–23, 13 vols. description ends in W. Hamilton Bryson, ed., The Virginia Law Reporters Before 1880 , 19–24; Richmond Enquirer, 4 Apr. 1828).
A year earlier TJ had sent Hening eight volumes of manuscript laws for the years 1623–1711, the first volume of which contained the laws for 1623–24 given to TJ by Peyton Randolph (Hening to TJ, 17 May 1808, and TJ to Hening, description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, Richmond, 1809–23, 13 vols. description ends 7 June 1808 [DLC]; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1822). clements may have been one of two merchants in Philadelphia named James Clement (Robinson, Philadelphia Directory for 1809 description begins James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1809, 1809 description ends ).
- Clement, James search
- Hening, William Waller; and TJ’s collection of Va. laws search
- Hening, William Waller; identified search
- Hening, William Waller; letters from search
- Hening, William Waller; The Statutes at Large search
- law; books on search
- Randolph, Peyton (ca.1721–75); gives volume of laws to TJ search
- The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); publication of search
- Virginia; TJ’s collection of laws of search