Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Griffin to Thomas Jefferson, 29 December 1821

From Thomas Griffin

Richmond Decr 29th 1821—


The importance of the subject, which induces this address, will I hope be deemed by you, an ample apology for the obtrusion—I feel solicitous, that the blessings of knowlidge, and the treasures1 of literature, may become generally diffused through the Commonwealth—an efficient aid to these objects, may confidently be expected, from2 the University of Virginia, when this institution shall come into operation—Permit me Sir to request your answer, to the following interogatories—Should the Legislature of this state, consent to cancel the bonds given by the, Rector and Visitors, of the University of Virginia, to the President and Directors of the Literary Fund, and release, the University, from the debts, and interest, now due, to the Literary fund; will the Rector and Visitors, ensure that no further applications, for appropriations from the revenue of the Literary fund, or loans from its principle, be asked by the University?—

The interest annually thus released,3 will amount to the Sum of seven thousand two hundred dollars; will not this Sum, united with the annual appropriation to the University, be sufficient of themselves, or from the credit they will give the institution, to complete the buildings, organise the University entire, furnish a library, apparatus,4 &c without the future aid of the Legislature?

Accept Sir the assurances of my high respect

Th: Griffin

RC (DLC); mistakenly endorsed by TJ as a letter of 22 Dec. 1821 received 2 Jan. 1822 and so recorded in SJL; with correctly dated docket by Joseph C. Cabell beneath endorsement. RC (ViW: TC-JP); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to William Russell, 1 May 1824, on verso; addressed: “Mr Jefferson Monti Cello Virginia” by “Mail”; franked; inconsistently postmarked Richmond, 28 Dec. Enclosed in TJ to Cabell, 3 Jan. 1822, and Cabell to TJ, 18 Mar. 1822.

Thomas Griffin (ca. 1772–1836), farmer and public official, was born in York County. A Federalist, he represented his native county in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1793–1800, 1819–23, and 1826–30, and he sat in the United States House of Representatives, 1803–05. Griffin served in the Virginia militia during the War of 1812, rising to the rank of major, and he was a justice of the York County Court, 1809–20. He owned forty-one slaves in 1810, emancipated an enslaved woman in 1833, and owned twenty-six slaves at his death in Yorktown (Norfolk Gazette And Publick Ledger, 18 Feb. 1815; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends ; York Co. Order Book, 8:374, 9:500; Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 [1988], 112; DNA: RG 29, CS, York Co., 1810–30; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 12 Oct. 1836; York Co. Wills and Administrations, 3:14–7, 22–44).

1Manuscript: “treasues.”

2Manuscript: “fom.”

3Manuscript: “realeased.”

4Manuscript: “appratus.”

Index Entries

  • Griffin, Thomas; and University of Virginia search
  • Griffin, Thomas; as Va. legislator search
  • Griffin, Thomas; identified search
  • Griffin, Thomas; letter from search
  • Literary Fund; and annuity for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and construction of University of Virginia search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and funds of University of Virginia search