Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Barnard to Thomas Jefferson, 28 December 1820

From Robert Barnard

George Town D.C. 28th Decr 1820


I have observed the report of the Trustees or Committee of the College or Institution about to be formed in the state of Virginia for the purpose of Education—Altho’ your name does not appear, your well known Character for literary & Scientific acquirements Would lead me to suppose that you are neither indifferent to the success of the Institution, nor decline to take An active part in promoting it.—Under that impression1 Sir permit me to make the Enquiry of you Whether there will be wanted a Teacher of the Classics & the learned Languages—If so, might I be permitted Also to state to you that I am acquainted with one who is fully Competent to be a Tutor in both Hebrew—Greek & Latin; in all of which he is conversant Grammatically

I am not recommending myself in making this Enquiry but should such a person be wanted in the Institution, the man for whom I am (unknown to him) Making this application wd be found upon investigation fully Equal to any recommendation that Can be given of him—He is at present Engaged in A situation far below his Talents, & the remuneration for which is barely sufficient for the support of his numerous family. The knowledge of these circumstances, has induced me to take this liberty & may perhaps be deemed by You a good reason for noticing this application. Should you honor me so far & require further information I shall have great Satisfaction in rendering it, Assured that I shall be Assisting in promoting the interest of learning & in Elevating to a situation more worthy of his Education & literary acquirements, a man at present placed far below his deserts—

Any reply You may favor me with may be addressed as below, Waiting which

I remain Sir Your very obed Sert
Robt Barnard
care of Thos C. Wright
 George Town D.C.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “To Thos Jefferson Esq &c &c”; endorsed by TJ as received <5> 4 Jan. 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Barnard (1786–1852), clerk, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. In 1819 he moved to Georgetown, D.C., and four years later to nearby Washington, where he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1824. Barnard was treasurer and clerk of the Potomac Company in 1825 and secretary of the same when it merged in 1828 with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, of which he then became assistant clerk. He went on to serve as treasurer of the company, 1834–40, 1841, and 1841–46. A founding member of the Columbian Horticultural Society in 1833, Barnard was elected its president in 1840. His real estate in Washington was valued at $7,000 in 1850 (DCHi: Barnard Family Papers; Barnard’s naturalization record, 28 Dec. 1824 [DNA: RG 21, DIDC]; Acts of the States of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and of the Congress of the United States, in relation to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company [1828], 51, 53, 148; Harlan D. Unrau, Historic Resource Study: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal [2007], 624; Constitution and By-Laws of the Columbian Horticultural Society, in the District of Columbia [1833], 8; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 11 Sept. 1840, 11 Oct. 1852; DNA: RG 29, CS, D.C., Georgetown, 1830, Washington, 1840, 1850; gravestone inscription in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington).

Barnard made this application on behalf of his brother Samuel Barnard (see Samuel Barnard to TJ, 12 Feb. 1824).

1Manuscript: “inpression.”

Index Entries

  • Barnard, Robert; and University of Virginia professorship for S. Barnard search
  • Barnard, Robert; identified search
  • Barnard, Robert; letter from search
  • Barnard, Samuel; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • classics; collegiate education in search
  • Greek language; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Hebrew language; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Latin language; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; annual reports of search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; classics professorship search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Wright, Thomas C. search