James Madison Papers

Robley Dunglison to James Madison, 18 April 1831

University of Virginia April 18th 1831.

Dear Sir.

Some months ago, the Trustees of the [ ] University, established at Cincinnati, tendered me the Professorship of Anatomy & Physiology in their University, the Agent guaranteeing me the Sum of $2500 per annum for four months duty. The Proffer was advantageous but circumstances induced me to decline it. A short time thereafter, I was requested to accept a Chair in the Medical Jefferson College of Philadelphia, the Professor of Anatomy (the most lucrative Chair) in the most complimentary manner, proposing to give me up his Place, should I desire it. This offer I likewise declined. More recently, one of the Professors, and other Inhabitants of Baltimore, have corresponded with me for the purpose of knowing whether I would accept the vacant Chair of Anatomy in their Institution, if elected. To this proposition I have returned for answer, that if chosen, I should not feel at liberty to refuse; but, at the same time, I declined becoming a Candidate. The matter rests in this Situation & will continue to do so until the commencement of June, when the Election will take place.

As I am making no personal exertions for the office, I shall probably not be appointed to it; but I have not considered it right to withhold from you the circumstances as they now exist, whatever may be their issue. I have many fears that this Mountain Air, which, as you know, is proverbially rheumatic, does not entirely agree with Mrs. Dunglison’s health; and this dread makes me disposed to embrace any offer, which may be sufficiently advantageous; much as I shall regret my disconnection from a University, in the prosperity of which I have ever felt the warmest & most zealous interest.

My "New Dictionary of Medical Science and Literature" is, I presume, in the Press. It was sent to Boston a month ago, and I hope has arrived safe.

May I beg your attention to an article, which I wrote, in Mr Walsh’s Review, on the Subject of Longevity. It is in the 16th. Number; and, also, to one, which will probably appear in the June Number, on College Education & Discipline. In it I have made the University of Virginia prominent; too much so, perhaps, for Mr. Walsh, who is, as you know, Trustee of one on the old System. As he has requested the Essay, however, I trust he will insert it. Some of our regulations I have ventured to canvass; and have made Suggestions which I hope may meet with your approbation. Should they not do so, I shall consider them of doubtful orthodoxy.

Mrs. Dunglison unites with me in most respectful regards to Mrs Madison; and have the goodness to believe me, dear Sir, Most faithfully & respectfully, Your obedient & obliged Servant,

Robley Dunglison


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