Thomas Jefferson Papers

Archibald Stuart to Thomas Jefferson, 9 March 1819

From Archibald Stuart

Staunton 9th March—19—

Dear Sir

I congratulate you most sincerely on the passage of the Law establishing the University of Virginia, & rejoice to learn that under your Auspices The most prompt Measures have been taken for the erection of the buildings; This verifies what every body says, “That we cannot yet do without you”—

Mr Dabney Cosby who will probably hand you this, is desirous of undertakeing a small part of the Brick work to be done The ensuing season say to Make and lay 350.000 bricks: He is a man of Industry, Energy & I believe Capacity & may be relyed on to execute whatever he undertakes—

Mr C. has for years past been more extensively employed in his line than any man in This County & with few exceptions as far as1 I have been informed has given satisfaction to his Employers & these exceptions arose principally2 out of the quality of the Materials which this section of our Country is said to be badly calculated to furnish—

I have been advised That separate proposals will be made by Messrs Jordan, Brown, Hawkins, Darst and perhaps others for parts of the brick work takeing care that such parts shall include the whole while in fact they are all to be3 partners in the proposed undertakeing—If they are successful They will exclude all competition & this monopoly may eventuate even worse than that of an Individual—Mr C. assures me he stands unconnected in the Offer he shall make & I believe it is his object so to demean himself as to attract the future attention of the Visitors

The Inclosed letters of Messrs Tucker & Kenney were delivd to me by the latter with a pressing request That I would enquire of you if any of the papers refered to were in your possesion or if you could advise where they could be found—I am sorry to Give you any Trouble on this subject but could not refuse the application of Mr Kenney

I am Dr Sir yours very affectionately

Archd Stuart

RC (ViU: TJP); adjacent to closing: “The honble Thos Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 (reworked from 14) Mar. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

Stuart also provided Cosby with a signed, undated letter of recommendation addressed to University of Virginia proctor Nelson Barksdale: “The bearer hereof Mr Dabney Cosby a Bricklayer by Trade is desirous of undertakeing a part of the Brick work to be done at the University of Virginia the ensuing Season—Mr Cosby has for many years been a Neighbour of mine during which Time he has been extensively employed in the line of his profession:
 I consider him an industrious, capable, energetic man, who may be depended upon to execute whatever he will undertake—I do not pretend to be an accurate Judge of Brick work but understand from those who are that the brick work done by Mr Cosby particularly the two last seasons was as well executed as the materials would admit of” (MS in ViU: LRW; address cover in DLC, with PoC of TJ to Henry Dearborn, 5 July 1819, on recto and verso, addressed: “Nelson Barksdale Esqr Albemarle” by “Mr Dab. Cosby”).

1Manuscript: “a.”

2Word interlined.

3Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • An act for the establishment of an University (1819) search
  • Barksdale, Nelson; as University of Virginia proctor search
  • Brown, Mr. (brick-mason) search
  • Cosby, Dabney; recommendations of search
  • Darst, Samuel (brick-mason) search
  • Hawkins, Mr. (brick-mason) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Bill to Establish a University search
  • Jordan, John (brick-mason); and University of Virginia search
  • Kinney, Mr.; and titles to western lands search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Stuart, Archibald; and brick-masons for University of Virginia search
  • Stuart, Archibald; and University of Virginia search
  • Stuart, Archibald; letters from search
  • Stuart, Archibald; recommends D. Cosby search
  • Tucker, Mr. search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; selects officers, staff, and workmen search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; brickmakers and brick-masons for search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; Bill to Establish a University search