The Resource Accs. 13780, 13781, 13782, 13783 are filed under this accession number. Collections are filed in chronological order, not by accession number

Accs. 13780, 13781, 13782, 13783 are filed under this accession number. Collections are filed in chronological order, not by accession number

Inclusive dates
  • Letters, 1803-1832, from William Wirt (1772-1834) of Williamsburg, Norfolk, and Richmond, Virginia; Washington D.C.; and Baltimore, Maryland; to Dabney Carr (1773-1837) of Charlottesville, Winchester, and Richmond, Virginia; concerning his legal and literary careers; Carr's judicial career; politics, including the presidential elections of 1824 and 1832; foreign policy; prominent Virginia and American politicians; and personal and family news
  • Wirt discusses his resignation from the Superior Court of Chancery in Williamsburg, plans for possible relocation to Kentucky, his subsequent relocations to Norfolk, Richmond, and Baltimore to practice law, and his duties as Attorney-General (1817-1829) for Presidents James Monroe (1758-1831) and John Quincy Adams (1767-1848). Wirt encourages Carr to accept the Superior Court of Chancery at Winchester and informs Carr of a vacancy on the Virginia Court of Appeals. Wirt comments on politics including the presidential elections of 1816, 1824, 1828, and 1832; his defeat for the United States Senate by James Barbour (1775-1842); the controversy between Ninian Edwards (1775-1833) and William H. Crawford (1772-1834) and Crawford's political ambition. Wirt analyses his campaign as the Antimasonic party candidate for president in 1832, Henry Clay's (1777-1852) chances of winning, and Andrew Jackson's (1767-1845) chances for reelection. Wirt discusses the political figures of the day including Monroe, Adams, Clay, Jackson, Crawford, and John C. Calhoun (1782-1850). Wirt mentions elections in Kentucky in 1831
  • Wirt also comments on the War of 1812, including on military leaders, the Virginia militia, and New England's threatened secession. Wirt mentions his work as Attorney-General before the Supreme Court in cases such as Gibbons v Ogden (1824); his acceptance as a private lawyer the case of the Cherokee nation against the state of Georgia; and his relationship with Chief Justice John Marshall (1775-1835). He informs Carr of discussions with the Colombian foreign minister concerning United States citizens in Colombia. He mentions lecture trips to Boston, Massachusetts, and Rutgers College in New Jersey, and comments on property he owns in Florida. Wirt discusses the Marquis de Lafayette's (1757-1834) visit to the United States. He describes a visit with James Maury (1746-1840) who attended school with Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Carr's father, Dabney Carr (1743-1773). Wirt asks Carr to relay his thanks to Thomas Jefferson Randolph (1792-1875) for permission to use a letter Jefferson had written, and mentions Jefferson offering the presidency of the University of Virginia to Wirt. Wirt remarks on the Neapolitian and French Revolutions
  • Wirt mentions his part-ownership of the Bellona Foundry in Chesterfield County, Virginia. He discusses his literary endeavors, including THE LETTERS OF THE BRITISH SPY, THE OLD BACHELOR, a biography of Patrick Henry (1736-1799), a play, and some newspaper essays. He sends Carr a circular for a law school he is opening, and letters of introduction for Louis Eisenmenger of Switzerland and for Clara Fisher (1811-1898), a British actress. Wirt mentions trips to the Virginia Springs and to springs in Maryland and Pennsylvania. He sends news of his family and asks for news of Carr's family, including births, marriages, and deaths. He discusses his own health and expresses concern for Carr's. Wirt mentions several prominent Virginians, including William H. Cabell (1772-1853), Edmund Randolph (1753-1813), John Wickham (1763-1839), Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761-1820), Edmund Pendleton (1721-1803), George Wythe (1726-1806), Littleton Waller Tazewell (1774-1860), and Robert B. Taylor (1774-1834). Wirt mentions reading Galt's life of George Gordon Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
  • Cellulose acetate lamination.
Additional physical form
Also available on microfilm (Misc. Reels 319 and 343)
Biographical or historical data
William Wirt was born 8 November 1772 in Bladensburg, Maryland, to Jacob Wirt (d. 1774) and Henrietta Wirt (d. 1779). Orphaned, Wirt fortunately received help from an uncle and from a family friend and received an education. He studied law and settled in Culpeper County, Virginia, where he was admitted to the Virginia bar and practiced in Culpeper and Albemarle Counties where he lived from 1795 to 1799. He moved to Richmond, Virginia, in 1800 to continue his practice. He was elected clerk of the House of Delegates. In 1802, he was appointed chancellor of one of the three chancery districts and moved to Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1803, he resigned as chancellor and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, to continue his private law practice. Wirt returned to Richmond in 1806 and continued practicing law. He served as one of the prosecution in the Aaron Burr trial in 1807. In 1817, he was appointed Attorney-General of the United States by President James Monroe (1758-1831) and served for twelve years through Monroe's term and through the term of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848). In 1829, he retired to private life in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1832, Wirt was the presidential candidate of the Anti-Masonic party. Wirt wrote many works including LETTERS OF THE BRITISH SPY and a biography of Patrick Henry. Wirt died in Washington D.C. 18 February 1834, and was buried in the National (Congressional) Cemetery. William Wirt married first Mildred Gilmer (d. 1799) of Albemarle County 28 May 1795. He married second Elizabeth Washington Gamble (1784-1857) of Richmond 7 September 1802, and they had twelve children.
Cataloging source
Form designation
Accs. 13780, 13781, 13782, 13783 are filed under this accession number. Collections are filed in chronological order, not by accession number
Accs. 13780, 13781, 13782, 13783 are filed under this accession number. Collections are filed in chronological order, not by accession number
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Inventory
.225 cf.
Immediate source of acquisition
Conrad, Holmes



Member of

Library Locations

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