Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 7 April [1819]

To John Wayles Eppes

Monticello Apr. 7. 17. [1819]

Dear Sir

The adoption of our College as an University much delays the opening our schools here, as needing much greater preparation & the Visitors having concluded that accomodations must be provided before Professors, they have fixed on April next for recieving professors. Dr Cooper was to have brought on a mr Slack, as Usher to our Grammar school & whom he had pressed as our principal, considering him as a very able classic: I have written to him to propose to him to come on immediately, & set up on his own account for this year on the assurance that many pupils held up for this institution would immediately enter with him. I go to Bedford 3. or 4. days hence, and when I return I shall find the answer here. in Bedford also I shall have an opportunity of enquiring into the character lately employed in New London of whom I hear a good account. Francis had mentioned that if we were not ready here, you thought of sending him to Staunton. I therefore wrote to Girardin to know if he could take him & Baker & his terms. two mails have arrived without an answer, & Francis thinks he can wait no longer. this I shall find here on my return from Bedford. besides these 3. chances, among which we shall be able at that time to chuse, there is a mr Laporte from the Calfpasture to whom I had proposed to come & keep a boarding house for the University. in expectation it would open this spring he sold out at the Calfpasture, came down and engaged a house. he will come to it in May, and endeavor with such boarders as he can get to hold on till next spring. he is a good man and has a most respectable & genteel family, a wife & 2 daughters & they speak in their family nothing but French. if other more eligible situations fail, it is worthy of consideration whether Francis & Baker could employ a year better than in boarding with them & learning to speak French; and especially as they could go on themselves in the languages with such advice as I could give them. on these considerations I have proposed to Francis to meet me here on my return the 1st of May, and to bring with him your views & wishes in making this choice. if Slack comes there can be no doubt it will be best to attend him & board with Laporte. if he does not come, there may be doubt, and the more as we have heard that Girardin’s school is carelessly & incompetently instructed. General Cocke tells me he is about to take away his son on that account. I know nothing of the fact. I believe mr Girardin to be a good classic himself, but it is said he has an incompetent aid. these difficulties are submitted to your consideration, and I shall hope to recieve your conclusion by Francis on his return here. in the mean time accept assurances of my affectionat[e esteem?] & respect.

Th[:] J[effer]son

PoC (CSmH: JF); on reused address cover of Samuel Knox to TJ, 30 Nov. 1818; misdated; closing and signature faint; at foot of first page: “John W. Eppes.” Recorded in SJL as a letter of 7 Apr. 1819.

mr slack: Gerard E. Stack.

A missing letter from Eppes to TJ of 22 Mar. 1819 is recorded in SJL as received the following day from Mill Brook.

Index Entries

  • Baker, John Wayles (TJ’s grandnephew); education of search
  • Charlottesville Academy; and G. E. Stack search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); and son’s education search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1804–46); education of search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and G. E. Stack search
  • education; French language search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, in Charlottesville search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, in Staunton search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); and University of Virginia search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters from accounted for search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); letters to search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); relationship with son search
  • French language; spoken in boardinghouses search
  • French language; study of search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; Staunton Academy search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; L. H. Girardin search
  • Laporte, Peter; family of search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); boarders at search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); French language spoken at search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); opening of search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • schools and colleges; Staunton Academy search
  • Stack, Gerard E.; and Charlottesville Academy search
  • Staunton, Va.; schools in 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; opening of search