Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 3 May 1818

To John Wayles Eppes

Poplar forest May 3. 18.

Dear Sir

I set out from this place for Monticello tomorrow morning and shall leave this letter at Flood’s. I have engaged Francis’s board with mr Dashiell himself, who takes only three others. Francis will be much pleased with the family, which is a very genteel one, and they live well as I saw by going in upon them at their dinner unexpectedly. he is an excellent teacher as I judged, at his examination, by the progress and correctness of three boys particularly who had begun with him at Christmas. he desired me to give him what directions I pleased as to Francis and he would exactly observe them; but not knowing what progress he had made this last winter in Greek particularly, I could only desire him provisionally that if Francis had done with the Greek testament, to put him into the Cyropedia of Xenophon rather than Lucian. if he has not one, mr Yancey will get it for him at Cottom’s bookstore in Lynchburg as I leave directions for his being furnished there with any books he will have occasion for. he should bring his Bezout with him, as mr Dashiell is a good mathematician, and will teach him every branch of Arithmetic, Algebra, & Geometry as far as he chuses. an Euclid also if he has one. Dashiell is a strict, but rational disciplinarian. at his examination I observed a medal given as a premium to a youth who had excelled in the observation of order, decorous conduct, & respect to his teacher. this premium I am in hopes to see Francis obtain at the next examination. he is to find his own bed & bedding. as I have nothing of that kind here but the strict necessary, he will have to bring a mattras & bed clothes. I direct mr Yancey to have a trussel bedstead made, as that would be heavy to bring, and to let it be only 3. feet wide that he may not have to take in a bedfellow which is so apt to render the propagation of the itch so general at schools. I hear nothing of it here, but at Dr Carr’s school it is the pest of the neighborhood, and we are kept in eternal dread of it at Monticello. his whole school lodges in one room.

I have not yet recieved the subscription paper I sent you yet it is very essential we should know what our funds are. but I inclose you another paper equally essential, which is an authority, to be signed by every subscriber to the College, enabling the visitors and Proctor to transfer the whole property of the College to the President and directors of the literary fund, on the condition that the University is fixed at the Central college. this in fact is only authorising them to recieve from the public a subscription of 15,000 D. a year to the same institution to which they have subscribed. I must request your active attention, dear Sir, to this paper as it’s early return to me is very important; & to send me also the subscription paper. the general inattention to the return of these has already thrown us back a year for a 3d professorship, as we could not engage for building until we were sure of the funds. there is a possibility of opening our grammar school in July, but perhaps not till winter. the uncertainty as to the incorporation of the University with our college checks our operations much. I forgot to mention that mr Dashiell’s school is now in vacation till the 1st of June, by which day Francis should be here. he had better go on his arrival to mr Yancey’s who will do whatever is necessary for him. I shall be here myself within 3. weeks from that time. if Francis is not better employed at home during this month, we should be happy to see him at Monticello, where learning his progress I could better advise mr Dashiell as to his course. ever & affectly yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (Mrs. Francis Eppes Shine, Los Angeles, 1946; photocopy in ViU: TJP); at foot of first page: “Mr Eppes.” PoC (CSmH: JF); on reused address cover of Bernard Peyton to TJ, 27 Nov. 1817 (see note to Francis Brooke to TJ, 27 Nov. 1817); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ.

trussel: a variant of “trestle” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ). The enclosed copy of the paper equally essential has not been found, but it is quoted in full in the 27 July 1818 Deed to the President and Directors of the Literary Fund. The proctor was Nelson Barksdale.

A missing letter of 15 May 1818 from Eppes to TJ is recorded in SJL as received 4 June 1818 from Mill Brook.

Index Entries

  • Barksdale, Nelson; as Central College proctor search
  • beds; trestle search
  • Bézout, Étienne; Cours De Mathématiques search
  • Bible; New Testament search
  • books; on mathematics search
  • Carr, Frank; school of search
  • Central College; as state university of Va. search
  • Central College; Conveyance of Central College Properties to the President and Directors of the Literary Fund search
  • Central College; opening of search
  • Central College; proctor of search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Central College; subscription for search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; and funding for college search
  • Cottom, Peter; as bookseller search
  • Cours De Mathématiques (É. Bézout) search
  • Cyropaedia (Xenophon) search
  • Dashiell, Alfred Henry; and New London Academy search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, at Monticello search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, in Lynchburg search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); relationship with father search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and Central College search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and Central College–University of Virginia subscription search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters from accounted for search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters to search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); relationship with son search
  • Euclid; writings of search
  • Flood’s Ordinary (Buckingham Co.; proprietor unclear) search
  • Greek language; study of search
  • health; rash search
  • household articles; bedclothes search
  • household articles; beds search
  • household articles; mattresses search
  • Lucian; works of search
  • mathematics; algebra search
  • mathematics; geometry search
  • mathematics; study of search
  • mattresses search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); schooling at search
  • New London, Va.; academy at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); and F. W. Eppes search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • schools and colleges; New London Academy search
  • subscriptions, nonpublication; for Central College–University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners search
  • Virginia; Literary Fund search
  • Xenophon; Cyropaedia search
  • Yancey, Joel (d.1833); as superintendent of Poplar Forest search
  • “itch” (rash) search