Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to George Blackburn, 4 April 1819

To George Blackburn

Monticello Apr. 4. 19.


I have to acknolege the reciept of your favor of Mar. 8. and to thank you for the Synopsis of your process in teaching Mathematics, which is lucid as far as it goes, and goes as far as utility requires with us. what transcends it may be considered as the luxury of science, rather than as immediately useful. I am strengthened also by your sound observations on the art of instruction generally. the institution in which we are engaged here was at first intended1 on the limited plan of private funds, under the name of the Central College, and would have been in operation before this time, but that the legislature thought proper to adopt and enlarge it to a National university. this requires more extensive preparation, without a commensurate addition to our funds. the scantiness of these will require years of preparation, to which they must be almost exclusively applied in t[he] first place. until therefore accomodations are provided, no profess[ors] will [be emp]loyed, except in the single instance of Doctr Cooper, who, pre[viou]s to the adoption, and on the prospect of an early commencement, had been appointed Professor of Chemistry for the Central College. in the mean time the functions of the Visitors are merely those of superintendants of the buildings.   I salute you with assurances of high respect & esteem.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; mutilated at seal, with three words rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Blackburne”; endorsed by TJ.

1Word interlined in place of “instituted.”

Index Entries

  • Blackburn, George; and University of Virginia search
  • Blackburn, George; letter to search
  • Blackburn, George; on education search
  • Blackburn, George; teaching system of search
  • Central College; funding for search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and Central College search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); University of Virginia professorship proposed for search
  • education; G. Blackburn on search
  • mathematics; study of search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and construction of University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; pavilions search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; T. Cooper as proposed professor search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search