Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Bishop James Madison, 30 March 1800

From Bishop James Madison

March 30h. 1800 Williamsburg

Dear Sir,

I mentioned in a former Letter, that a Meeting of the Visitors of this College was expec[ted] on the 25h. Inst. & that I would communicate to them Mr. Smith’s Proposition; or rather, your Recommenda[tion] of that Gentleman.—A Meeting was obtained, but Not[hing] of Consequence was done. Some preparatory Steps we[re] taken for a full Discussion of collegiate Business, [on] the 4h. of July. I have no Doubt of a Meeting on that Day as the new Elections were confined to the Neighbourho[od,] but I fear, the Funds of this College, unless the Gramm[ar] School should be once more abolished, which I do not expect, will not permit us to indulge the Hope of a Revival of the chymical Professorship. I wish most sincerely for the Removal of every Obstacle; but it seems easier to move Mountain[s] than to eradicate old Prejudices. They seem, like [the] Stone of Sysiphus, to be eternally tumbling back upon us.—

I am greatly obliged to you for forwarding Dr. Preistley’s Book, which arrived sooner than I expected.—It contains no small Portion of Learning, & Ingenuity.—I am, Dr Sir with sincerest Sentiments of Respect & Esteem—

Yr Friend & Sert.

J Madison

RC (DLC); edge frayed; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

Former letter: Bishop Madison to TJ, 17 Jan. 1800. The Board of visitors of the College of William and Mary, which with the exception of one person seated in 1794 had taken on no new members since 1792, reconstituted itself in 1800 with 13 new members, all from towns and counties in the vicinity of Williamsburg (The History of the College of William and Mary (Including the General Catalogue) from its Foundation, 1660, to 1874 [Richmond, 1874], 77).

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