Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 6 February 1818

To James Madison

Monticello Feb. 6. 18.

Dear Sir

I inclose you a letter from Dr Cooper, considerably important to the first successes of our college. I will request you to return it to me. I inclose also the answer which I think should be given. if you think so likewise be so good as to seal & forward it. if not, return it, as I should be unwilling to take on myself alone so important a relinquishment. yet I think it right that we should not hold him to a place of 1500.D. a year, if he can get one of 7000.D. and in a society which he would prefer. indeed the probability is that he will think the case justifies1 a retraction of his engagement with us, & that he would refuse to come.

I observe that the bill on education before the H. of Repr. proposes to give an annual sum to 4. colleges of which our’s is one. mr Cabell will endeavor to fill the blank with 5000.D. this would pay all our annual charges, so that we might lay out our whole subscriptions in buildings. and indeed I have little doubt but on their plan of fixing the site of their university by the vote of an elector from each Senatorial district, Charlottesville will obtain it. the greatest fear is that they will do nothing, and that this immense fund, the interest of which is near 100,000.D. a year will continue to lie idle, or be perverted to something else. affectly yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); at foot of text: “Mr Madison.” PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Thomas Cooper to TJ, 23 Jan. 1818; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: (1) Cooper to TJ, 23 Jan. 1818. (2) TJ to Cooper, 6 Feb. 1818.

The legislation then under consideration in the Virginia House of Delegates (h. of repr.) was “A Bill Providing for the endowment of Primary Schools, Academies, Colleges, and an University,” which proposed the appointment of an elector from each senatorial district to fix the site of a state university and also included unspecified annual allotments to Central College, the College of William and Mary, Hampden-Sydney College, and Washington College (printed Dft bill in Vi: RG 79, House of Delegates, Rough Bills; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1817–18 sess.], 134, 162, 176 [20, 29 Jan., 5 Feb. 1818]). It passed into law on 21 Feb. 1818, without the suggested collegiate grants, as “An Act appropriating part of the revenue of the Literary Fund, and for other purposes” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1817–18 sess.], 11–5).

1Reworked in RC from “justified.” PoC: “justified.”

Index Entries

  • A Bill Providing for the endowment of Primary Schools, Academies, Colleges, and an University search
  • An Act appropriating part of the revenue of the Literary Fund, and for other purposes (1818) search
  • Central College; as state university of Va. search
  • Central College; construction of search
  • Central College; funding for search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Central College; subscription for search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; and funding for college search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; and proposed professorships search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and Central College search
  • Hampden-Sydney College; funding for search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and Central College subscription search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and T. Cooper search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters to search
  • schools and colleges; Hampden-Sydney College search
  • schools and colleges; Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) search
  • subscriptions, non-publication; for Central College/ University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; site of search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search
  • Virginia; Literary Fund search
  • Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) search
  • William and Mary, College of; funding for search