Thomas Jefferson Papers

Wilson Cary Nicholas to Thomas Jefferson, 25 January 1819

From Wilson Cary Nicholas

Richmond Janry 25. 1819

My Dear Sir

You have heard I know, that your College is made the University of Virginia. I call it yours, as you are its real founder, its commencement can only be ascribed to you, to your exertions & influence its being adopted can only be attributed. The object was always dear to me, it is doubly so, as it is now so compleatly identified with your fame. The sum given is too small but it will be increased I have no doubt from time to time. Perhaps it is as well to begin upon a small scale. It will be easier to get four competent professors than ten; & there may be a facility in governing a few that wou’d not be found if the number of young men shou’d be very large at first. The only difficulties I apprehend are in procuring good teachers & in governing the young men, both I fear will be very difficult in this country. It is indispensible that the masters shou’d be gentn & command the respect of those they are to instruct & govern. Men of that description who are qualified are not to be had of our own growth, & are not often imported; but these are things you understand much better than I do. I hope your health & strength are perfectly restored. Be pleased to endorse the enclosed & return them to me by the first mail.

I am Dear Sir most respectfully

W. C. Nicholas

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to de Bure Frères, 27 May 1819, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monti Cello Milton Va.”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 25 Jan.

The enclosed items sent for endorsement were probably promissory notes from Nicholas to TJ needed to renew Nicholas’s bank loans, likely including a surviving one dated 6 Jan. 1819 and reading “Sixty days after date I promise to pay Thomas Jefferson Esqr or order ten thousand dollars without offset negotiable & payable at the office of the Bank of the U.S. at Richmond for value received” (MS in ViU: TJP; written in Nicholas’s hand on a small scrap and signed by him; dateline added by Nicholas in a different ink; endorsed on verso by Nicholas and TJ, with additional notation in an unidentified hand: “W C nicholas 10000 March 7”).

Index Entries

  • Bank of the United States, Second, Richmond branch of; Richmond branch of (subentry to be split apart as time permits) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; endorses notes for W. C. Nicholas search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; and founding of University of Virginia search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); and University of Virginia search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters from search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); TJ endorses notes for search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; TJ as founder of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; recruitment of faculty from Europe search