Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James E. Heath, 15 August 1821

To James E. Heath

Monticello Aug. 15. 21.


I inclose you an order from the President & Directors of the Literary fund for the sum of 29,100 D. for the use of the Rector and visitors of the University of Virginia, for which I have to request you to issue two warrants of the tenor described in the endorsement on the order, and I pray you to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); on verso of reused address cover of Thomas Law to TJ, 23 Jan. 1821; at foot of text: “The Auditor of Virginia. James E. Heath”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: (1) Resolution of the President and Directors of the Literary Fund, 6 Aug. 1821. (2) TJ’s Request for Warrants for Money for University of Virginia, [ca. 15 Aug. 1821].

James Ewell Heath (1792–1862), public official and author, was a native of Virginia most likely born in Northumberland County. He represented Prince William County in the House of Delegates from 1814 until his election to the Council of State late in 1816. Heath became state auditor in 1819 and held the position until 1849. The following year President Millard Fillmore appointed him commissioner of pensions, and he served until 1853. The census described Heath as an editor in 1850 and a clerk a decade later. He wrote a novel and a play both set in Virginia. In 1831 Heath was a founder and the first recording secretary of the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society (later the Virginia Historical Society), and he served as a vice president, 1848–50. When Thomas W. White founded the Southern Literary Messenger in 1834, Heath was an unpaid author and editor for the magazine until the following year. He owned eight slaves in 1840, and ten years later his real estate was valued at $2,000 (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, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; Valentine Museum, Richmond Portraits … 1737–1860 [1949], 87; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 279, 283, 287; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1816–17 sess.], 75 [9 Dec. 1816]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Richmond, 1830–60; Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines [1930–38; repr. 1970], 1:631–4; Richmond Enquirer, 5 Jan. 1832; Virginia Historical Register, and Literary Advertiser 1 [1848]: 47; 2 [1849]: 53; 3 [1850]: 51; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 8:274, 276, 311, 327 [16 Dec. 1850, 5, 10 Mar. 1851]; Richmond City Hustings Court Will Book, 22:8–9; gravestone inscription in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond).

Index Entries

  • Heath, James Ewell; as Va. auditor of public accounts search
  • Heath, James Ewell; identified search
  • Heath, James Ewell; letter to search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and loans for University of Virginia search