Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 15 November 1817

To James Madison

Monticello Nov. 15. 17.

Dear Sir

We are sadly at a loss here for a Palladio. I had three different editions, but they are at Washington, and nobody in this part of the country has one unless you have. if you have you will greatly aid us by letting us have the use of it for a year to come. it will come safely by the stage, and may be left at the stage office of either Milton or Charlottesville, & either postmaster will pay the postage for me to the driver. we fail in finishing our 1st pavilion this season by the sloth and discord of our workmen, who have given me much trouble. they have finished the 1st story and covered it against the winter. I set out to Bedford tomorrow, on a short visit, and at Lynchbg shall engage undertakers for the whole of next summer’s brickwork.

Cooper is not able to get us a Professor of languages above the common order; and is suspended as to coming here. efforts are on foot in Philadelphia to get from the Medical department permission for their students to attend their own chemical professor or Cooper at the choice of the student.1 in this case all will quit the former & attend the latter, which will ensure him more than he can get here, and in a more agreeable situation. we shall have to write to Dugald Stewart & Professor Leslie, who I am sure will select for us those of the 1st order. but we had better defer writing till we know whether the legislature will adopt us, because that will greatly add to the inducements of a foreigner to come to us. I have given to mr Cabell a sketch of a bill for establishing the ward schools, Colleges, & University at an expence within the funds of the literary board now in hand. their funds could not have met Mercer’s bill in a century. I hope they will pass mine. we all join in affectionate respects to mrs Madison & yourself

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); at foot of text: “Mr Madison.” PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; torn at seal, with portion of dateline rewritten by TJ; endorsed by TJ.

For the four copies of palladio TJ sold to Congress in 1815, see note to Isaac A. Coles’s Account of a Conversation with TJ, [before 23 Feb. 1816].

Confirming the sloth and discord described by TJ, on 4 Nov. 1817 John H. Cocke wrote that he “Accompanied Mr Jefferson & Mr Cabell to see the progress made in the work of the Central College—Found every thing at a stand & but little prospect of the Walls of the first pavillion being done this year—the result of employing a drunken undertaker for the brick work” (ViU: JHC, Cocke diary).

For Charles Fenton mercer’s bill “Providing for the establishment of Primary Schools, Academies, Colleges, and an University,” see note to Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 19 Feb. 1817.

1Reworked from “at their own choice.”

Index Entries

  • A Bill for Establishing a System of Public Education search
  • A Bill Providing for the establishment of Primary Schools, Academies, Colleges, and an University search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; as Va. state senator search
  • Central College; as state university of Va. search
  • Central College; brickmasons for search
  • Central College; construction of search
  • Central College; pavilions at search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; and construction of Central College search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; mail service to search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and Central College search
  • drunkenness; of Central College brickmason search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; borrows books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; A Bill for Establishing a System of Public Education search
  • Leslie, Sir John; and Central College search
  • Library of Congress; TJ sells personal library to search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and T. Cooper search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); TJ borrows books from search
  • medicine; collegiate education in search
  • Mercer, Charles Fenton; as Va. legislator search
  • Milton, Va.; stage office at search
  • Palladio, Andrea; works of, borrowed by TJ search
  • Palladio, Andrea; works of, owned by TJ search
  • Pennsylvania, University of search
  • Post Office, U.S.; and Va. post offices search
  • schools and colleges; University of Pennsylvania search
  • Stewart, Dugald; and Central College search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Virginia; Literary Fund search