Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Wharton (d. 1829) to Thomas Jefferson, 5 July 1819

From John Wharton (d. 1829)

Stevensburgh Culpeper Cty. July 5th 18191

My Dear Sir

As one of the trustees of the University of my native State, I assume the liberty of addressing you. I find by the Prospectus of the different professorships, that one department will be appropriated to Medicine. I beg leave to make a tender of my services for that Chair. I have receved a liberal education, and studied four years at Edinburgh, where I graduated in Sepr 1806. The most satisfactory testimonials as to character and qualifications can be procured from the first men in Virginia. I have a wife and four children, and pursue the practice of Physic in this village. If you think there is any probability of my success, I will do myself the pleasure of waiting on you; when you may have an opportunity of making the necessary investigation. I feel deeply interested in the fate of an Institution, which reflects such honour on Virginia, and have little doubt of its success under the auspices of a man, whose whole life has been devoted to the good of his country; and the evening of whose days, sheds such lustre on the land of his birth. Be good enough to give me an answer as early as your leisure will admit. And beleive me to remain with sentiments of the most profound respect your humble Servant


RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 27 July 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Vaughan, 22 Aug. 1819, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Albermarle County”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Stevensburg, 14 July.

John Wharton (d. 1829), physician, was a native of Virginia. In 1803 he went to Europe and, after writing a dissertation on mania, received a medical degree in 1806 from the University of Edinburgh, where he was the president of the Royal Physical Society. Wharton returned to Virginia the next year and by 1810 was practicing medicine in Stevensburg. A book of verse that he published in 1814 included poems that had previously appeared in periodicals under the pseudonym of “Virginiensis.” Wharton served on an 1827 Culpeper County committee supporting the presidential candidacy of Andrew Jackson. He died in Stevensburg (Wharton, The Virginia Wreath; or Original Poems [Winchester, 1814]; Edinburgh Caledonian Mercury, 13 Sept. 1806; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 19 Sept. 1810, 1 Apr. 1829; Richmond Enquirer, 6 Apr. 1827).

The prospectus was the Rockfish Gap Report of the University of Virginia Commissioners, printed above at 4 Aug. 1818.

1Year interlined.

Index Entries

  • Edinburgh, University of search
  • medicine; education in search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners’ report search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; TJ as founder of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; medicine professorship search
  • Wharton, John (d.1829); family of search
  • Wharton, John (d.1829); identified search
  • Wharton, John (d.1829); letters from search
  • Wharton, John (d.1829); seeks position at University of Virginia search