Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Cooper to Thomas Jefferson, 23 June 1821

From Thomas Cooper

Columbia S. Carolina. June 23. 1821

Dear sir

I send you the account of our collegiate Studies, which the Trustees have directed to be published. It does not meet my full concurrence, but under all circumstances, it is very well. I much doubt if there is a better appointed Institution in the United States than this. Our mathematical professor, with great modesty, and great industry in teaching, ranks with Bowditch, Audraine & Nulty; far above the common professors of the same Studies. Our other departments are respectably filled. The Professor of Logic and Ethics, is a man of considerable learning, upon the European Scale, having spent 13 years on his education in England, & at Edinburgh, with very good effect. You will see too, that the terms of tuition including a very tolerable Library, of which I will send you a Catalogue, is extremely low. I shall endeavour to get it raised to 50$ per annum, & there stop. It is manifest, that unless your legislature shall have wisdom and liberality enough, to enable your Virginia youth to be as1 well instructed at as light an expence, you can never enter into competition either with the northern Colleges or with this. In no country whatever, have the mass of mankind, sense or liberality enough to provide for the expences of a good education: it must be a system maintained every where, in Europe as well as here, by public liberality.

Your Grandson Eppes is studious & exemplary. The place I believe to be very healthy, & it certainly is very pleasant. The discipline here, is as good as I can make it as yet; but I hope still to improve it. At present, it is better than at any of the northern colleges. Since I have been President, no Professor has omitted a single recitation, myself excepted, when I injured my eyes & was confined to my bed. I lecture at 8 & at 11 in Chemistry & Mineralogy and at 2 in Criticism & Belles Lettres. Each student attends 3 recitations daily. I long to hear of yr Institution doing as well. I remain with all kind wishes

Dr sir Yr friend

Thomas Cooper.

RC (ViU: TJP); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Montecello Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Columbia, 26 June; endorsed by TJ as received 6 July 1821 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

On 2 Dec. 1820 James Wallace was elected mathematical professor at South Carolina College (later the University of South Carolina). audraine: probably Robert Adrain. Robert Henry, who became the college’s president much later, was professor of moral philosophy and ethics from 1818 (Maximilian LaBorde, History of the South Carolina College [1859], 187, 436; John Wayles Baker to TJ, 8 Dec. 1820).

1Text from “It is manifest” to this point leaves wide margins on both sides to account for placement of seal.

Index Entries

  • Adrain, Robert; as mathematician search
  • belles lettres; collegiate education in search
  • Bowditch, Nathaniel; as mathematician search
  • chemistry; collegiate education in search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); letters from search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); president of South Carolina College search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); professor at South Carolina College search
  • Eppes, Francis Wayles (TJ’s grandson); education of, at South Carolina College search
  • ethics; collegiate education in search
  • Henry, Robert (of South Carolina); and South Carolina College search
  • logic; collegiate education in search
  • mathematics; collegiate education in search
  • mineralogy; and T. Cooper search
  • moral philosophy; 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); cost of education at search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); faculty at search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); library search
  • South Carolina College (later University of South Carolina); trustees of search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; opinions on search
  • Virginia, University of; Students; and tuition fees search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Wallace, James (d.1851); and South Carolina College search