Thomas Jefferson Papers

Francis Brooke to Thomas Jefferson, 27 November 1817

From Francis Brooke

Richmd Novr 27th 1817


your Letter containing proposals from the visitors of the Central Collige to be established1 near Charlottesville to the Society of Cincinnati has been received and will be laid before it, as soon as it assembles, it has for Some time been the object of the Society to make an appropriation of its funds in Some degree corresponding with the views of its founders, having by the application of the interest provided by pensions for the immediate objects of its benevolence, untill very few of them remain it is believed by some of the Society that an appropriation of the principal, according with the proposals made through you (with Some Small modification) would best promote those views history has afforded few examples better calculated to inspire Succeeding ages with the love of Country than the one exhibited by those who instituted the Society of Cincinnati the members that now remain take no part of this Eulogium to themselves but it is thought not unimportant to the American Character that they owe it, to their departed Brethren and to posterity that the motives and feelings that gave life and being to the institution should not be misunderstood, those motives and feelings are very ably Stated in the recorded declaration of its founders, a more enlarged imposition2 of them in an oration to be delivered by the professor of the Class of Cincinnati, or one of its members to be Selected for that Object at its anniversary Commencement would probably best conduce to perpetuate and explain the Character of the institution, whether this will be the precise view of the Society it is not for me to Say—at present it is my own and if adopted by the Society it will be no Small gratification to me if it meets the approba[tion] of yourself and of those who are united with you—our funds I believe approaching nearly the amount which has been Suggested to you—

be so good as accept the assurance of my high respect and very Sincere Esteem,

Francis Brooke

RC (DLC); torn at seal; addressed: “Thos Jefferson Esquire Monticello Albemarle County”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Dec. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in Bernard Peyton to TJ, Richmond, 27 Nov. 1817, which reads “B. Peyton presents his complts: to Mr Jefferson & forwards this letter by request of his friend Judge Brooke” (RC in MHi, with PoC of TJ to Richard N. Thweatt, 6 July 1818, on verso; RC address cover in CSmH: JF, with PoC of TJ to John Wayles Eppes, 3 May 1818, on recto and verso, addressed: “Mr Thomas Jefferson Lynchburg” by “mail,” franked, postmarked Richmond, 27 Nov.).

The Society of the Cincinnati was founded in New York in 1783 as a patriotic, fraternal, and charitable organization for Continental army officers. Its objectives included providing pensions to widows and orphans of officers and to disabled society members. The organization was made up of state societies. A Virginia branch was established in Fredericksburg later the same year, but it disbanded in 1824 due to declining membership (The Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati [New York, 1784]; Proceedings of the Virginia State Society of the Cincinnati from the 6th of October, 1783, to the disbanding of the society on October 13th, 1824 [1896]).

1Manuscript: “establisheed.”

2Manuscript: “inposition.”

Index Entries

  • Brooke, Francis Taliaferro; and Society of the Cincinnati search
  • Brooke, Francis Taliaferro; letters from search
  • Central College; and Society of the Cincinnati search
  • Peyton, Bernard; forwards letter to TJ search
  • Peyton, Bernard; letters from search
  • Society of the Cincinnati; and Central College search
  • Society of the Cincinnati; identified search