Thomas Jefferson Papers

William W. Hening to Thomas Jefferson, 14 May 1822

From William W. Hening

Richmond, May 14. 1822.


I am thankful for your friendly note of the 8th just received.

It is much to be regretted that the state of our finances did not permit the legislature to enable me to complete the Statutes at Large without delay, instead of restricting the publication to one volume a year, according to the existing law.—Notwithstanding the embarrassment which this arrangement necessarily produces, I published the 8th & 9th vols last year, and am about to commence the 10th so that I always have a large portion of my capital in stock perfectly inactive.—The 8th volume terminated the laws under the colonial government; the 9th commences with the revolution, and comes down to the end of the year 1778.—Being desirous to ascertain the precise day on which our governours were elected, I must trouble you for information as it respects your own election.1 The journal2 of the H. of Delegates, of the May session 1779, is unfortunately lost.

I have now in the hands of the book-binder, the 8th & 9th Volumes, for your library; as well as a complete set for the University of Virginia; which will be forwarded by the first safe conveyance.—

I thank you for the offer of your old MSS, containing historical documents.—I have it in contemplation to publish a supplementary volume consisting of historical documents only.—With this view I have been3 making considerable collections.—Judge Tucker has very obligingly furnished me with some very valuable old papers, which contain documents no where else to be found, by me. On this subject I ask your advice and assistance. I am particularly anxious to exhibit a connected view of the public papers, from the period of the stamp-act to the revolution:—not only state-papers, properly so called, but the proceedings of public bodies, and periodical publications.4—Your friendly aid in not only directing me to such papers as fall within my plan, but pointing out where they may be obtained will be peculiarly acceptable.

I am respy Yrs

Wm W: Hening

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 June 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Vaughan, 2 July 1822, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 15 May.

The existing law, “An Act authorising William Waller Hening to Publish an Edition of certain Laws of this Commonwealth, and for other purposes,” committed Virginia to the purchase of 150 copies of each volume of this series for up to $5 per copy, “of six hundred pages, large octavo,” stipulating further, “nor shall more than one volume of the said edition to the number of copies taken by the state be paid for out of the treasury in any one year” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1807–08 sess.], 24 [5 Feb. 1808]).

1In margin adjacent to this sentence TJ interlined “1779. June 1.”

2Manuscript: “jounal.”

3Manuscript: “bien.”

4In margin adjacent to this sentence TJ interlined “41–83. 12. v. f.,” a reference to the collection of eighteenth-century Virginia newspapers that he had sold to the nation in 1815, and which was lost in an 1851 fire at the Library of Congress (see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends nos. 535–9).

Index Entries

  • An Act authorising William Waller Hening to Publish an Edition of certain Laws of this Commonwealth, and for other purposes (1808) search
  • Hening, William Waller; letters from search
  • Hening, William Waller; The Statutes at Large search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as governor of Va. search
  • newspapers; collection of Va., owned by TJ search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); publication of search
  • The Statutes at Large (W. W. Hening); sources for search
  • Tucker, St. George; and W. W. Hening’sStatutes at Large search
  • Virginia, University of; Books and Library; books and manuscripts for search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates, journals of search
  • Virginia; laws of search
  • Virginia; TJ’s collection of newspapers search
  • Virginia; treasury of search