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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 18 October 1825

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Oct. 18. 1825

Every thing is going on smoothly at the University. The Students are attending their schools more assiduously, and looking to their Professors with more respect. The authority of the latter is visibly strengthened, as is the confidence of those who visit the place, and the effect, on the whole, has been visibly salutary. The Professors are all lecturing, the two Cantabs1 however somewhat in the pouts as yet.2 I sent a copy of the new enactments the other day, with a request they might be read to the schools, at their lectures, for promulgation. The other Professors did it, these did not, nor say why.

My rides to the University have brought on me great sufferings, reducing my intervals of ease from 45. to 20 minutes. This is a good index of the changes occurring.

I was taken in by Browere. He said his operation would be of about 20. minutes and less unpleasant than Houdon’s method. I submitted therefore without enquiry. But it was a bold experiment on his part on the health of an Octogenary, worn down by sickness as well as age. Successive coats of thin grout plaistered on the naked head, and kept there an hour, would have been a severe trial of a young and hale person. He suffered the plaister also to get so dry that separation became difficult & even dangerous. He was obliged to use freely the mallet & chissel to break it into pieces and get off a piece at a time. These thumps of the mallet would have been sensible almost to a loggerhead. The family became alarmed, and he confused, till I was quite exhausted, and there became real danger that the ears would separate3 from the head sooner than from the plaister. I now bid adieu for ever to busts & even portraits.

I do not know whether you are acquainted with Colo. Bernard Peyton,4 commissn. mercht5 of Richmond, as honest and worthy a man as lives, and the most punctual in business I ever knew.6 He understands that Lay, your correspondent there, is become bankrupt, and he would gladly serve you there. He has been my homme d’affaires these 10. or 12. years, and I never had one who in the smallest as well as greater matters was so kind and zealous. He has the business of this nbhood. generally, and that of the Staunton country. I know that these connections are dictated often by very special and personal considerations, and my mention of him is only ut valeat quantum valere debet.7 Ever and affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); draft (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Minor differences between the copies have not been noted.

1Cantabs: short for Cantabrigians (i.e., from Cambridge University, England), referring here to Thomas H. Key and George Long.

2The draft reads: “somewhat in the pouts, however and reserved.”

3The draft has “tear” instead of “separate” here.

4Bernard Peyton (1792–1854), a Richmond commission merchant, was a veteran of the War of 1812, having served in the U.S. Army Twentieth Regiment of Infantry from March 1812 to June 1815. He rose to the rank of captain. In 1825 he was appointed adjutant general of Virginia. Peyton was also Richmond postmaster, 1838–44. In 1850 he purchased the estate, Farmington, near Charlottesville and lived there until his death (Hayden, Virginia Genealogies [1973 reprint], 547; Heitman, Historical Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.; 1903; reprint, Baltimore, 1994). description ends , 1:787; Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 295–96).

5The words “commissn. mercht” are omitted from the draft.

6The words “I ever knew” are omitted from the draft.

7That it may be worth whatever it should be worth.

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