Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Taylor, 3 March 1819

To Robert Taylor

Mar. 3. 19. Monticello.


I have learnt with pleasure your nomination as a Visitor of our University; and with the more as it will give us occasions of seeing you here. the object of this letter is to ask the favor of you to make Monticello your head quarters on all these occasions, and for the present to express my wish that you could come a day at least before our meeting of the 29th instant. the papers being all here, their perusal would put you into possession of the train of our business and of the objects of the meeting. it has in fact been our usual course for the gentlemen of the Central College to come here the day before our appointed meeting, which gives us an opportunity of talking over our business at leisure, of making up our minds on it, and even of committing it to paper in form; so as that our resort to the College (where there is no accomodation) is a mere legal ceremony for signing only. in the hope therefore that you will do me this favor I pray you to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (CSmH: JF-BA); on verso of reused address cover of Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 7 Jan. 1819; at foot of text: “Genl Taylor”; endorsed by TJ.

Robert Barraud Taylor (1774–1834), attorney, public official, and soldier, was a lifelong resident of Norfolk. He attended the College of William and Mary early in the 1790s and then embarked on a successful legal career. Taylor sat in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1799–1801 and 1826–27, and he represented a district including Norfolk at the state’s 1829–30 constitutional convention but resigned before casting a vote. A grand juror at Aaron Burr’s 1807 treason trial, he served during the War of 1812 as a brigadier general of militia charged with defending the region around Norfolk from British incursions. Taylor was also a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, 1819–22, and a circuit court judge, 1831–34 (William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888, 1941 description ends , 39; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 216, 220, 335, 354; The Trial of Col. Aaron Burr, on an indictment for Treason [Washington, 1807–08], 1:12; Butler, Virginia Militia description begins Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812, 1988 description ends , 16, 18, 20, 310; Minutes of University of Virginia Board of Visitors, 7 Oct. 1822; Richmond Enquirer, 3 May 1831, 18 Apr. 1834; Norfolk City Will Book, 5:343; gravestone inscription in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk).

A likeness of Taylor is reproduced elsewhere in this volume.

Index Entries

  • Central College Board of Visitors; meetings of search
  • Taylor, Robert Barraud; appointment of to University of Virginia Board of Visitors search
  • Taylor, Robert Barraud; as member of University of Virginia Board of Visitors search
  • Taylor, Robert Barraud; identified search
  • Taylor, Robert Barraud; invited to visit Monticello search
  • Taylor, Robert Barraud; letters to search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; meetings of search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; members of search