Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Jesse Wharton, 25 October 1820

To Jesse Wharton

Monticello Oct. 25. 20.


Your favor of Sep. 25. is just now recieved, and to answer it will require some explanation. our legislature, at their last session authorised the Visitors of the University to borrow money to finish the buildings, pledging the public annuity of 15,000.D. settled on it for the repayment of the loan. money was accordingly borrowed and the buildings will be compleated by this time twelvemonth. if the annuity is to redeem the debt, it will take seven years, during which time the buildings will be locked up. if however the legislature liberate us from the debt, measures will immediately on such liberation, be taken to have all the Professors in place by the time the buildings are done, and to open the institution the 1st of February twelvemonth. this will be known to the public1 by the proceedings of the legislature the ensuing winter.

In answer to your 2d question as to the best of the existing [se]minaries, I must answer that also hypothetically. Dr Cooper is appointed a Professor of Chemistry Etc at Columbia college. it is expected that at the next meeting of their trustees, mr Nulty one of the best Mathematicians in the US. will be appointed to that professorship, and mr Elliot President with the department of botany & Natural history. if these appointments take place it will be the best seminary within my knolege, because no other will possess three such men. in this expectation I have recently2 sent my own grandson there, to remain till our University is opened. with this imperfect information, be pleased to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect

Th: J[efferso]n

PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of reused address cover of John J. Boyd (for LeRoy, Bayard & Company) to TJ, 14 June 1819; mutilated at seal; signature faint; at foot of text: “Mr Wharton”; endorsed by TJ. Not recorded in SJL.

columbia college: South Carolina College (later the University of South Carolina). TJ’s grandson was Francis Eppes.

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Reworked from “sent.”

Index Entries

  • botany; collegiate education in search
  • chemistry; collegiate education in search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); professor at South Carolina College search
  • Elliott, Stephen; and South Carolina College search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, at South Carolina College search
  • Literary Fund; and annuity for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • mathematics; collegiate education in search
  • natural history; collegiate education in search
  • Nulty, Eugenius; as mathematician search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); and F. W. Eppes search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); faculty at search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); president of search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); trustees of search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; opening of search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Wharton, Jesse; letters to search
  • Wharton, Jesse; seeks educational advice from TJ search