Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph C. Cabell to Thomas Jefferson, 1 February 1818 (first letter)

From Joseph C. Cabell

Richmond 1st Feb: 1818.

Dear Sir,

Since the date of my last letter to you I have had conferences with the Presidents of the three Banks in this place on the subject of the proposed loan in anticipation of the resources of the College. The enclosed letters between Doctor Brokenbrough & myself, contain the best terms which it has been in my power to procure. From my conversation with Mr Hatcher I am led to doubt whether the Farmer’s Bank would give the same accomodation in point of time. And Col: Nicholas assures me that the Visitors could not obtain better terms from any bank whatever. I had prepared the same letter—mutatis mutandis—for Mr Hatcher, but as my conference with him left me so little room to hope for an amelioration of the terms, I thought it would be most agreeable to you not to send it to the Bank. I endeavored to prevail on the Bank of Virginia, thro’ the medium of the President, to consent to the loan, without making the Visitors liable in their individual characters: but such an idea was at once pronounced inadmissable as well by himself as by the board of Directors. Col: Nicholas thinks no Bank would or ought to accede to such a proposition. Mr Watson is now in town. I met him on my way to the Bank of Virginia, read to him my letter to the President, and told him that I expected we should be required to sign the notes in our character as individuals. To this he seemed opposed; however, my opportunity of conversing with him was very unfavorable to satisfactory explanation. I expect to see him again before he leaves town. For myself, I can only say that I will be willing to follow your own example. My situation as to money matters would make it very inconvenient & hazardous for me1 to be called on to advance a large sum at any period within a few years from this time. But in this case, I imagine2 there would be no danger. Tho’ the Bank is not pledged to wait for the fourth installment, I am inclined to think they would continue our note for the amount of any deficiency in the payments of the 2d & 3d

I am, Dr Sir, faithfully yours,

Joseph C. Cabell


Since writing the above I have called again on Doctor Brokenbrough, and having shewn him this statement, I am authorized by him to inform you that he thinks my expectation would not be disappointed.


RC (ViU: TJP-PC); above postscript: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Feb. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Cabell to John Brockenbrough, Richmond, 30 Jan. 1818, enclosing a copy of Central College Board of Visitors to James P. Preston, 6 Jan. 1818; pointing out that more than $40,000 has been subscribed to the college, “payable in four annual installments,” with the first falling due on 1 Apr. 1818; indicating that by the following summer the visitors will probably need to borrow between ten and twenty thousand dollars “in anticipation of the second and third payments”; offering the last three installments as security; asking whether the Bank of Virginia will be willing to make the loan and, if so, under what conditions; and hoping that it will “lend its funds upon the most liberal & advantageous terms” (Tr in ViU: TJP-PC; entirely in Cabell’s hand and endorsed by him as a “Copy of a Letter” to “the President of the Bank of Virginia”). (2) Brockenbrough to Cabell, Bank of Virginia, 31 Jan. 1818, stating that although neither the bank’s charter nor its policy authorize it to extend loans beyond sixty days, the board of directors are willing, “for a purpose so beneficial to the community,” to renew notes “made by the Visitors, or a part of them,” until the second and third installments come due; consenting also to waive its usual requirement that either the payer or endorser reside in or near Richmond; and indicating that no formal pledge of the college’s subscriptions will be necessary (RC in ViU: TJP-PC; addressed: “Joseph C. Cabell Esqr”).

The presidents of the three banks in Richmond were John Brockenbrough of the Bank of Virginia, Benjamin Hatcher of the Farmers’ Bank of Virginia, and Wilson Cary Nicholas of the Richmond branch of the Second Bank of the United States.

1Cabell here canceled “to make myself liable.”

2Postscript keyed by Cabell to this point in the text with a dagger.

Index Entries

  • Bank of the United States, Second; Richmond branch of search
  • Bank of Virginia (Richmond); and Central College search
  • banks; in Va. search
  • Brockenbrough, John; and Bank of Virginia search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and establishment of Central College search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; letters from search
  • Central College; bank loan for search
  • Central College; funding for search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; and funding for college search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; report of, to J. P. Preston search
  • Farmers’ Bank of Virginia; and Central College search
  • Hatcher, Benjamin; and Farmers’ Bank of Virginia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Central College Board of Visitors’ report to J. P. Preston search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and Second Bank of the United States search
  • Preston, James Patton; Central College Board of Visitors’ report to search
  • Richmond, Va.; banks in search
  • Virginia; banks in search
  • Watson, David (1773–1830); mentioned search