Lynchburg July 3rd ’28.
As the annual meeting of the Visitors of the University is nigh at hand, I have judged it but becoming in me to inform you of the situation, in which I desire to stand with reference to the Board. After the proposal which was declined last winter I certainly do not consider myself a candidate for Mr Long’s chair. That I should readily accept it, if freely offerred by the Board, I will not disavow, tho’ even in this case I should regret if the Visitors wd not consent for me to go abroad in the first, or second year after inauguration. You will understand yourself, I know, sir, that by desiring to go abroad I do not plead an incompetence to discharge the duties respectably at present; nor in striving to remove such an impression will I deviate into the vanity of self-sufficiency. I will therefore only venture to say, that it is from a very high appreciation of the qualifications of a Professor worthy of the University, who would be able to elevate its character, in this which in my opinion is the vital department of the University, that I should desire, if elected, to visit that Germany where the philosophy, politics, history, poetry &c of all nations, are the every-day helps of the scholars who study the remains of the Ancient age. Scarce any Englishman approaches so nigh to this standard as our admirable Mr Long, or Mr Everett, the latter of whom studied in Germany, & the former is devoted to their writings. I beg to be presented to Mrs Madison and to offer you the homage of my great veneration and my affectionate good wishes for your happiness.
Je: B. Harrison
RC (DLC). Docketed [not by James Madison?].