Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Vaughan to Thomas Jefferson, 24 March 1821

From John Vaughan

Philad. March 24th 1821

D sir

Great pains has been taken in our City of late Years, to induce some of our Young men of good Education & promising Talents, to go to Europe after havg finished their Studies here; to qualify themselves in the higher Branches, to bring home an accession of knowledge, & to impart it to their Country in the Station of Professors—Situation too often filled, from the Interest of personal friends, rather than on accot of the personal merit of the Individuals—when particularly they have never1 been out of the Country, they Seldom Know the extent to which Knowledge has been pushed in Europe, & Seldom possess or can inspire their pupils with, that enthusiastic love of Science for its own sake, which more than any thing else elicits Talents & Genius—

When such return to this Country I feel warmly interested in seeing them placed to the advantage of themselves & the Country—& am sometimes probably carried away by the Zeal I experience on this subject, to take liberties which I am Scarcely authorised to do—To you my Dear Sir I know that on this subject you require no apology, & that in your retiremt as formrly in public life you wished for every information to guide your conduct from whatever quarter it might come—Amongst the Young men lately return’d who come within the description I have given is Mr Lardner Vanuxem—whose talents Mr DuPonceau had an early2 opportunity of knowing & at whose urgent solicitation his father Sent a few years ago to Paris where he has (under the recommendation of Mr Correa) Sedulously & intelligently followed his Chemical & mineralogical studies with signal Success & with the approbation of the Professors there—Upon his return here I recommended him warmly to attach himself to M Cooper for a Season as an assistant, knowing that Mr C would take him as one of his family—The advice was followed, & it has afforded to M Cooper a complete opportunity to ascertain the extent of his knowledge & his talent at communicatg to students what himself possessed—& I learn from him that he merited the favorable opinion formed of him by his friends & well wishers—I take the liberty under these Circumstances of joining my feeble voice to that of Mr Cooper favor of Mr Lardner Vanuxem as a Candidate for the professorship of Chemistry & Mineralogy in Your College which I understand goes into operation next fall—I will add that his manners are modest & amiable, & think his general views are liberal & truely american & I think of a turn to be acceptable & to assimilate with the tone of Character which pervades the enlightened men of your State. I am not acquainted with or would presume to write to, other of the trustees, but I will take the liberty thro’ you to request that if you think proper you would communicate the purport of this letter to Mr Madison & Mr Munro, with the mention of that feeling of respect & attachment arising from an acquaintance of many years Standing—I rejoice to see at hand the happy moment of realizing the truely useful project which has So many Years occupied you—so that Generations to come may have daily occasion to recollect the Services You have renderd I remain &c

Jn Vaughan

RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 31 Mar. 1821 and so recorded in SJL; with TJ’s notation beneath endorsement: “Vanuxem.” RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to George W. Erving, 10 Sept. 1822, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 24 Mar.

1Manuscript: “have never have.”

2Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • chemistry; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); recommends L. C. Vanuxem search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; recommends L. C. Vanuxem search
  • Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen; recommends L. C. Vanuxem search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); as member of University of Virginia Board of Visitors search
  • mineralogy; applicants to teach at University of Virginia search
  • Monroe, James (1758–1831); and University of Virginia search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Vanuxem, James search
  • Vanuxem, Lardner Clark; introduced to TJ search
  • Vanuxem, Lardner Clark; seeks professorship search
  • Vaughan, John (1756–1841); introduces L. C. Vanuxem search
  • Vaughan, John (1756–1841); letters from search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search