James Madison Papers

James Madison to Albert Gallatin, 9 April 1827

Montpellier April 9th. 1827

Dear Sir

In my letter of March 20. I stated the salary allowed to Professors in the University of Virginia to be fifteen hundred dollars per annum. I did not advert to the circumstance, that this amount was limited to those first engaged, and that their successors would be entitled to one thousand only instead of $1500. I hasten to correct the error, that it may lead to no embarrassment in the case with which we are troubling you. It is possible that the Visitors, rather than fail of an acceptable Professor, would enlarge the offer as heretofore. But I am not authorized to anticipate such a decision. It is to be recollected also that the terms first granted had reference to a state of things not exactly the same with that now existing. It is intimated to me that a family may live very comfortably in the University at an annual expence not exceeding twelve hundred dollars, and the fees alone of Mr. Key have more than doubled that sum. For an account of the situation of the Professors, it may be well to refer those wishing to know it, to the connections of Doctr. Dunglison, who fills the Medical Chair with great ability, tho’ as yet with a small proportion of fees. The father of Mrs. Dunglison, whose correspondence is very likely to embrace that subject, is Doctor John Leadam, 65. Tooly St: London.

I find that Mr. Bonnycastle, the Professor of Natural Philosophy is anxious to be transferred to the Mathematical vacancy. Whether he will be indulged by the Visitors I can not say, as it may prove more difficult to replace him than Mr. Key. It strengthens my request however that your enquiries may have a view to that contingency.

What are the comparative qualifications of Mr. Hassler for the school of Mathematics and that of Nat: Philosophy? I ask the question, ex abundanti cautela only; for I suspect there are prejudices against him, well or ill founded, which may obstruct his introduction into the faculty of the University. I repeat assurances of my great esteem and regard.

James Madison

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); draft, with the draft of JM to Henry Clay, April 10, 1827 (DLC).

Index Entries