Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Wiatt to Thomas Jefferson, 4 December 1820

From Edward Wiatt

Cumberland, md Decemr 4. 1820.


The known benevolence of your character renders apology for this address scarcely necessary.

I am anxious to make some enquiries respecting the Virginia University about to be established at Charlottesville, and, as I am personally unknown to any person from whom to expect it, I have taken the liberty of troubling you to inform me.

About what time is it expected the course of Education will commence?

What will probably be the annual cost of Tuition, board &C?

My motive for this inquiry is, that I have a Brother whom I am anxious to place in a suitable situation to acquire a good Education and various considerations make the scite of the Virginia University preferable to any other.

The opportunities to vice and immorality in our Cities are always numerous and alluring and my Brother is of that tender age when the propensities to indulge in evil habits are strongest.

Moreover, the present political state of the Northern and Eastern Sections of the Union is to my mind not a little objectionable. If therefore there is a reasonable prospect of the University of my native state going into early operation I will delay and place my Brother there.

Your reply will be duly estimated.

Permit me to add my unaffected wishes that the evening of your life may be as happy as the preceding part was distinguished and useful.

I am, Sir, your obt Servt

Edward Wiatt

RC (CSmH: JF); endorsed by TJ as received 31 Dec. 1820 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John H. Cocke, 1 Apr. 1821, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq Monticello Albemarle County,” and redirected successively in unidentified hands to Lynchburg and Monticello; franked; postmarked Cumberland, 4 Dec., Milton, 10 Dec., and Lynchburg, 29 Dec.

Edward Wiatt, public official, was a native of Virginia who served as deputy postmaster of Winchester in 1816. He was appointed postmaster of Cumberland, Maryland, late in 1819 and removed early the following year. The 1820 Cumberland census lists Wiatt with three slaves, and he represented Allegany County for one term in the Maryland House of Delegates, 1821–22. Wiatt returned to Winchester by 1825 and proposed moving west the following year (A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the service of the United States, On the thirtieth day of September, 1816 [Washington, 1816], 71; Scharf, Western Maryland description begins J. Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland, 1882, repr. 2003, 2 vols. description ends , 2:1339; Wiatt to James Monroe, 23 Jan. 1820 [DNA: RG 59, MLR]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Md., Cumberland, 1820; Edward C. Papenfuse and others, eds., An Historical List of Public Officials of Maryland [1990– ], 1:129; Wiatt to John Quincy Adams, 5 Dec. 1825 [MHi: Adams Papers]; Wiatt to Henry Clay, 14 Oct. 1826 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1825–29]).

Index Entries

  • United States; sectional divisions in search
  • Virginia, University of; Students; and tuition fees search
  • Virginia, University of; Students; prospective students search
  • Virginia, University of; Students; room and board search
  • Wiatt, Edward; family of search
  • Wiatt, Edward; identified search
  • Wiatt, Edward; inquires about University of Virginia search
  • Wiatt, Edward; letters from search