James Madison Papers

James Madison to John Hartwell Cocke, 10 January 1828

Montpellier Jany. 10. 1828

Dear Sir

The last mail brought me your letter of the 4th. inclosing one from Docr. Jones, with your answer. From the footing on which the question of his appointment now rests, and the uncertainty of an earlier provision for the vacant Chair, it may be best to acquiesce in his terms. And if this be your opinion and that of Mr. Cabell & Mr. Johnson, he can be informed by a final letter from you, that a majority of Visitors have so decided. This will, it seems, satisfy him, and avoid the necessity of a Call of the Board, at the present Season. Without knowing more than I do of his "Apparatus & tools" and the expence of removing them, I should doubt the expediency of a pledge to him on that head. Altho’ I am willing, under our existing difficulties to make sure of Doctr Jones, I own that there are objections to him of considerable weight. It is admitted that his scientific attainments are not of an elevated order, and his age is such that it cannot be many years before his case with a large family may become embarrassing to the responsibility & sympathies of the Visitors. On the supposition that we are sufficiently at liberty to pass him by, I should not withold my concurrence in the appointment of Mr. Walker, if approved by you & the two Colleagues now with you. He appears to be well recommended on the whole, will be continually improving in his qualifications, and if found valuable in his place may be so for a long period.

I inclose a letter from Mr. Brokenbrough, with a delineation of his plan for introducing water into the University, and securing it against fire. The plan is specious and may be eligible. I apprehend, however, that such an extent of pipes, & such a number of Uprights must be attended with a difficulty of preventing leaks and the necessity of continual repairs of decaying timbers. It might perhaps be best for the present, to add to what is already done a reservoir as proposed, and trust to buckets attached to the dormitories &c. and the usual fire discipline, for supplying the Engine with water. His objections to the plan which had previously occurred are certainly weighty and if his substitute for it be thought preferable to what I have suggested, I shall accede to it.

His mode of remedying the leaky Skylight, by an Over Sash more elevated, appears to be much preferable to a Lantorn Roof, which would admit less light, & be a visible deformity. I shall inform Mr. B. that I have sent his letter & papers to you in Richmond, and that he will learn from you what is decided on, as soon as you return if not before.

I wrote to you not many days ago, inclosing a letter from Mr. Brougham, with a copy of my answer, which I hope reached Bremo, before you left home, or followed you to Richmond; the communication being intended for Mr. C. & Mr. J. as well as yourself. As the interposition of the Council through Mr. B. had its origin probably with the friends of Mr. Long, if not with himself, I am afraid that our hopes as expressed, however reasonable, will not induce an acquiescence on that side.

The inclosed resolutions of the Faculty, may on your next visit to the University be put into the hands of the Secretary of the Board

Will you be so good as to jog Mr. Cabell & Mr. Gordon on the subject of a law authorizing the appointment of a Rector pro. tem, unless it be understood that the power is already in the Board. Mr. Gordon moved for the usual leave, on the ground, as stated in the Newspaper, of a personal accomodation to my age &c. which I presume was not the main one, or rather not the real one urged by him. I have considered such a provision as permanently proper, and could not otherwise wish for it. With great esteem & regard

James Madison

2 FCs (DLC)?

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