Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joseph C. Cabell to Thomas Jefferson, 17 December 1818 (first letter)

From Joseph C. Cabell

Richmond. 17th Decr 1818.

Dear Sir,

The select committee of the House of Delegates on the subject of the university has just had a third meeting. 13 members attended. On the question whether the bill should be reported with a blank as to the scite, it was decided1 in the negative by the casting vote of the Chairman. The Central College was selected as the scite, and the bill reported to the House. The Lexington party sought for further delays under the pretext of wanting time to consider the calculations as to the centre of population, and to bring forward their own claims. I am really fearful for the ultimate fate of the bill. Since the date of my last, I have discovered that the Delegation from the west are forming a combination among themselves to vote against the bill on the passage. Finding themselves in a minority on the question of the Scite, they will endeavor to defeat the measure altogether for the present. There is a party in the East in favor of putting down the Literary fund. Should these parties unite on the question on the passage of the Bill, it will be lost; and this result is much to be apprehended. The fund cannot be put down, & I cannot but hope that many of its enemies will vote for the University as the best means of rectifying what they deem a bad appropriation. On consultation with Col: Nicholas & my brother Wm I determined to publish your calculations as to the centre of population, in this mornings’ enquirer. We deemed the publication essential to unite the eastern delegation2 & to put them under responsibility to their constituents. The anonymous shape was preferrd; but the author is very well known. Knowing the course of argument which the Lexington party would take as to the progress of population since 1810, I have made some auxiliary statements to shew that on the most liberal allowance to the west, we shall have in 1820, a surplus of from 80 to 100,000 white persons. These will be used only in a defensive way.

I am, Dr Sir, faithfully yours

Joseph C. Cabell

RC (ViU: TJP-PC); endorsed by TJ as received 20 Dec. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in Cabell to TJ, 17 Dec. 1818 (second letter).

Chesterfield County delegate Samuel Taylor was the chairman of the House select committee considering the University Bill. TJ’s calculations as to the centre of population of Virginia are printed above at 4 Aug. 1818 as document 2 in a group of documents on the Rockfish Gap Meeting of the University of Virginia Commissioners.

1Cabell here canceled “to fill.”

2Cabell here canceled “on the east of the ridge.”

Index Entries

  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and establishment of University of Virginia search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; letters from search
  • Cabell, William H.; advises J. C. Cabell search
  • Central College; as state university of Va. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Bill to Establish a University search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the Geographic Center of Virginia’s Population search
  • Lexington, Va.; as potential location for state university search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); advises J. C. Cabell search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); prints TJ’s Notes on the Geographic Center of Virginia’s Population search
  • Taylor, Samuel; and establishment of University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; Bill to Establish a University search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; Notes on the Geographic Center of Virginia’s Population search
  • Virginia; center of population of search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search
  • Virginia; Literary Fund search