Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Wirt to Thomas Jefferson, 9 September 1817

From William Wirt

Richmond. Septr 9. 1817.

Dear Sir.

The revd John H. Rice, of this place, a gentleman of great erudition, is about to publish a magazine, in which he proposes to give a view of the literature and literary men of Virginia. To this end, he is anxious to procure a complete catalogue of all the works, of any merit, which have been published, by Virginians, since the first foundation of the colony—the names of the respective authors—the times of their publication—and a brief account of the works.—Being extremely desirous to gain the valuable information which he naturally supposes you to possess on this subject and not having the advantage of a personal acquaintance with you, he has requested me to make this application, which I do with the less reluctance because I know the lively interest you take in whatever concerns the honor of Virginia. May I hope to hear whether it will be convenient to you to grant this request?—But whether it be or not I beg you to be assured that I shall not be the less your much obliged friend and servant,

Wm Wirt

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 21 Sept. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1 Nov. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esqr Monticello Albemarle County” by “mail”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Richmond, 10 Sept. Tr (MdHi: Wirt Papers).

John Holt Rice (1777–1831), Presbyterian clergyman, author, and educator, was born in a part of Bedford County that became Campbell County in 1781. He attended Liberty Hall Academy (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington and George A. Baxter’s academy in New London. From 1796 to 1799 Rice worked as a tutor at Hampden-Sydney College. After privately studying theology, he was licensed as a minister in 1803, and he served successively as pastor of a Charlotte County church, 1804–12, and First Presbyterian Church of Richmond, 1812–23. Rice founded the Virginia Bible Society in 1813. He regularly published sermons and religious essays and edited the Christian Monitor, 1815–17, and its successor, the Virginia Evangelical and Literary Magazine, 1818–28. In 1823 Rice declined the presidency of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), instead accepting the professorship of theology at Hampden-Sydney, where he helped transform the theology department into the separate but affiliated Union Theological Seminary. He died at Hampden-Sydney (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 ; Sprague, American Pulpit description begins William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 1857–69, 9 vols. description ends , 4:325–41; William Maxwell, A Memoir of the Rev. John H. Rice, D.D. [1835]; Richmond Enquirer, 16 Sept. 1831).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Rice, John Holt; as editor ofVirginia Evangelical and Literary Magazine search
  • Rice, John Holt; identified search
  • Rice, John Holt; W. Wirt recommends search
  • Virginia; literature of search
  • Virginia Evangelical and Literary Magazine search
  • Wirt, William; and J. H. Rice search
  • Wirt, William; letters from search