Thomas Jefferson Papers

William W. Hening to Thomas Jefferson, 9 September 1820

From William W. Hening

Richmond Sept. 9. 1820


I am just favored with your letter of the 3rd of this month.

How the M.S. volume A. should have found its way to Williamsburg, is to me perfectly incomprehensible. I rejoice that it is regained.

I was so well sa[tis]fied, from your letter of April 25 1815, that the M.S. D. was your property, that I did not hesitate to give it the destination you requested. At the same time I explained the reasons for its detention, after the other volumes had been forwarded. The caption prefixed to the laws, taken from that Volume, was warrantd by the information which I then possessed.—I am now sensible that it was erroneous.—I shall make a note to that effect, in the preface to the next volume I publish; and whenever the early volumes may be republished, I shall mark it, in its proper place

The 7th Volume of the Statutes at Large having been completed, I send you a volume, bound in elegant calf, to match the set I last sent you, also one in ordinary binding to complete the former set; the 4th 5th & 6th volumes of which were left with Mr Gibson, to be forwarded to you.

As soon as I shall have finished the printing of the 3rd edition of1 the Virginia Justice, which will probably be in three weeks, I shall put the 8th Volume of the Statutes at Large to press.—This will terminate the laws under the Colonial government. It has occurred to me, that between the acts of 1773, and the Ordinances of Convention of 1775, the chasm might be filled up to great advantage, with papers, marking the rise and progress of those troubles, which led to the revolution.—On this subject I should be greatly indebted for your advice and assistance.

In your letter of Apr. 8. ’15, you observe that you have still a volume of ancient records, not in your catalogue, which might furnish matter for a valuable supplementary appendix, when the work shall have been brought down to the revolution. If you would point out the mode in which I could have access to it, as well as furnish some hints, as to the best use to which it could be converted, I should be much delighted.

I should be gratified, indeed, if my labours could be brought to a close, with two more volumes.—But, after the publication of the 8th they will just commence with the Ordinances of Convention, & Laws of the revolution,—a very interesting period to the people of Virginia.—I have determined, however, to make my volumes larger, keeping within a convenient2 size, so as to effect my great object as early as possible.—My original prospectus contemplated the bringing down the laws to the revisal of 1792. Perhaps it may be found expedient to come down to a later period.

I am respy yrs

Wm W: Hening

RC (DLC); hole in manuscript; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Sept. 1820 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: two copies of 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.; Sowerby, no. 1863; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 10 (no. 573) description ends vol. 7.

1Preceding five words interlined.

2Manuscript: “convenent.”

Index Entries

  • Gibson, Patrick; and goods for TJ search
  • Hening, William Waller; and TJ’s collection of Va. laws search
  • Hening, William Waller; letters from search
  • Hening, William Waller; The New Virginia Justice search
  • Hening, William Waller; The Statutes at Large search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; catalogue of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; manuscript collection of Va. laws search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • law; books on search
  • Library of Congress; manuscripts of Va. laws acquired by search
  • The New Virginia Justice (W. W. Hening) search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); publication of search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); sent to TJ search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); sources for search
  • Virginia; conventions of1775–76 search
  • Virginia; laws of search
  • Virginia; TJ’s collection of laws of search