Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Ogilvie, 29 October 1802

From James Ogilvie

Stevensburg Octr. 29. 1802


I take the liberty of requesting your attention to an Address to the Inhabitants of the City of Washington & its Vicinity, which I have transmitted for insertion in the next Intelligencer.—Whilst I disclaim every intention of soliciting any thing at your hands, that requires the preface of an apology & have not the smallest right to expect from you any exertion of the nature of private favour, or personal friendship, I could not but regard it, as a pleasing evidence of the utility of my existence & exertions & an auspicious earnest of future success, if, after perusing the Address, you should deem the design it announces worthy of your approbation & countenance, nor, could I fail to consider any aid you may have it in your power and think proper to afford me, in the accomplishment of my design, under a conviction of its probable public utility, as an additional proof of the sincerity & ardour of your wishes, to promote the happiness & improvement of the nation, which has so emphatically manifested its affiance in your integrity & veneration for your talents.—I remain, with lively respect & esteem,

Sir, your affectionate fellow Citizen

James Ogilvie

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 4 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

In his ADDRESS “To the Inhabitants of Washington and Its Vicinity,” Ogilvie, who had been an instructor at Stevensburg Academy, proposed to move to Washington by the beginning of 1803 “for the permanent establishment of a Seminary” for young men. His design of a four-year plan of juvenile education consisted of a rudimentary curriculum followed by a sequence including philosophy, geometry, history, and logic. Lectures, discussions, exercises in elocution and composition, as well as public examinations supplemented his instructional methods. For this new venture, he required a pledged enrollment of at least 30 pupils with a tuition of $30 for boys 15 and younger and $40 for older students (National Intelligencer, 8 Nov. 1802).

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