Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Cooper to Thomas Jefferson, 2 February 1819

From Thomas Cooper

Feb. 2. 1819. Philadelphia

Dear Sir

Mr Richardson has not yet returned. I received yr friendly letter, but I see by the act, that your limits of permanent Salary,1 are 1000 Dlrs to each Professor. Had I twenty years of probable exertion before me I would accept the situation at once; but I see clearly, that I shall have to commence a new course of labour for the benefit of those who come after me, and be a loser in a pecuniary point of view into the bargain, by removing. However, when you have the goodness to write to me precisely, what offers the Visitors think it right to make, and what are the duties I am required to perform, I will return a distinct answer.

I expected in the last week of last October to have tried a cause in the circuit Court of the U. S. here, wherein I and my antagonist were fully prepared. It was not reached. It will come on the last week of April next. I have exactly (as Plaintiff) 10,000$ depending, being offered that Sum for the Land in dispute, if I succeed. This is too much to put to risk by absence. If the Terms proposed to me, are such as will even in a small degree mend my present situation, I will be ready to set out immediately, and bring with me a classical Assistant, that the University may go into immediate Operation. In mean time, and under any event, let me know how I can be useful here. I salute you with affectionate respect.

Thomas Cooper

RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 7 Feb. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to James Ronaldson, 7 Feb. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq Montecello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 2 Feb.

The act of 25 Jan. 1819 “for establishing an University” stipulated that the professors “first employed” were to receive “such standing salary as the visitors shall think proper and sufficient,” while “their successors” were to be paid no more than $1,000 a year plus “tuition fees from each student” (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1818–19 sess.], 15–8, quote on p. 16).

For Cooper’s successful lawsuit against Josiah Galbraith (my antagonist), see note to Cooper to TJ, 26 Aug. 1818.

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • An act for the establishment of an University (1819) search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and builders for University of Virginia search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and G. E. Stack search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); letters from search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); litigation of search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); University of Virginia professorship proposed for search
  • Galbraith, Josiah search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Bill to Establish a University search
  • Richardson, Jared; as potential builder for University of Virginia search
  • Stack, Gerard E.; as classical tutor search
  • United States Circuit Court, Pennsylvania District search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; builders for search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; Bill to Establish a University search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; T. Cooper as proposed professor search