James Madison Papers

Robert M. Patterson to James Madison, 27 April 1832

University of Virginia April 27th, 1832.


It is my painful duty to inform you, that Mr Arthur S. Brockenbrough departed this life, at 1 o’c., today.

By this event, the office of Patron of the Students of the University is rendered vacant; and it is provided, by the Enactments, that a vacancy, in this office, "occurring during the recess of the Board, may be filled by appointment under the hands and seals of the Executive Committee, subject to the approval or disapproval of the Board, at their ensuing meeting."

You are aware, Gentlemen, that by the death of Mr. Brockenbrough, a large and helpless family is left destitute. He mentioned to me, also, a short time before his death, that the most profitable period of the session, to the Patron, was the end; and that it would be a serious loss to his family to be deprived of it.

Under these circumstances, I hope the Executive Committee will excuse me for suggesting to them the propriety of appointing, as Patron, for the remainder of the Session, Mr. Thomas Brockenbrough of Richmond. He will be here, very soon, to attend to the business of the Family, as Executor, and would make arrangements for the execution of the duties of the office, in person, or by a suitable agent; and he would devote all its emoluments to the benefit of the widow and children of the late Patron. Of all this, I am assured by Dr. Jno. Brockenbrough, who is now at the University.

I can assure the Executive Committee, that an appointment, such as I have taken the liberty of suggesting, which would secure a faithful execution of this important office, at the same time that it would procure its emoluments for Mr. Brockenbrough’s family, would be exceedingly gratifying to every individual at the University. Very respectfully & faithfully, Your obed. Servant,

R. M. Patterson.

Note. A copy of this letter is sent to each member of the Committee.

RC (DLC). Addressed to the Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia.

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