James Madison Papers

William Richardson to James Madison, 13 December 1830

Royal Observatory, Greenwich December 13, 1830.


Not having been so fortunate as to hear that the Professorship of Mathematics in your College was vacant until it was filled up, has prevented my appearing as a Candidate, which otherwise I should have done. I trust however that you will not consider it an unwarrantable liberty if I request to be informed whether or not such situations as adjoint professorships exist among you, and if so, whether or not any one may happen to be unoccupied. The grounds on which I venture to offer myself to your notice are briefly these—I am at present, and have been for nearly nine years Assistant at the Royal Observatory of Greenwich with a salary of rather more than two hundred pounds per annum, which is increased ten pounds every three years—I was this year honoured by the Gold Medal of the Astronomical Society of England for determining anew the Constant of Aberration—My investigations relative to the Comet of 1823-4 are before the world and I am at present engaged in reducing Sir Thomas Brisbanes observations at Paramatta.

I have preferred stating the public grounds on which I now take the liberty to address you, to forwarding certificates, from a wish to avoid all unnecessary trouble. Should any situation like that above mentioned be vacant and myself permitted to appear a candidate, I shall have the honour to submit to you such testimonials as will excuse, if not justify, my present application.

An answer, sent under cover to the Reverend Thomas John Hussey 49 Long Acre London, is respectfully solicited, and I have the honour, Gentlemen, to remain Your obedient Servant,

William Richardson

RC (DLC). Addressed to JM and the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia.

Index Entries