Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph C. Cabell to Thomas Jefferson, 3 February 1822

From Joseph C. Cabell

Richmond 3d Feb: 1822.

Dear Sir,

I did not write you this day week because the posture of affairs had undergone no change, and I had nothing to communicate worthy of your attention. I thank you for your two favors of 14th & 25th ult: both of which I have shewn to many friends. Since the date of my last, Mr Johnson has suggested to me an expedient, perhaps freer from objection than any heretofore thought of since the begining of the session. It is, to leave the debt of the University as it now stands, and to ask for an additional appropriation out of the surplus revenue of the Literary fund, over & above the $60,000, already appropriated. I am inclined to think this a better scheme than the preceding: because it is free from the objection of touching or giving up any of the capital of the fund: from that of taxing the people; & from that of entrenching on existing appropriations. It is not more inconvenient to the college interest than the plan of cancelling the bonds, which Mr Griffin proposed: & it is equally as beneficial to the University, except that, perhaps, if the bonds should be cancelled & the fund in its revenue fall short of $60,000, we might hereafter claim arrearages. It is better than an appropriation pro tanto out of the Interest claim, because it gives us the benefit of every addition to the fund. I should prefer the cancelling of the bonds, because I think a fair construction of the University act would give us the arrears as soon as the fund should be able. But Mr Morris told me to-day he was so committed he could not support that measure: & probably Blackburn & many others would object, & the wavering would avail themselves of the pretext. Something will be attempted in a few days: & our election seems to be confined to these two measures. Your plan of suspending the interest seems to be regarded as equivalent to cancelling the bonds. I think we should get rid of the debt if possible. We could then go into operation without the Library or get it from the Annuity or other sources. I consider the cancelling the bonds, and the appropriation of $7,200, pr annum out of the surplus as substantially the same thing. The latter measure has the advantage only of relieving our friends from embarrassment. I fear nothing will be done: & that we shall be voted down promptly. I shall endeavor to enlist the speakers on our side, & there is my only hope.

The subject of the Kentuckey mission is now before us, & likely to take up some time. That of state rights is also on the carpet. I think it would have been better postponed till the next session.

faithfully yours.

Joseph C. Cabell

RC (ViU: TJP-PC); endorsed by TJ as received 7 Feb. 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with Dft of TJ to Thomas Eston Randolph, 22 May 1824, on verso; addressed: “Mr Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Richmond, 3 Feb.

pro tanto: “to that extent; for so much; as far as it goes” (Black’s Law Dictionary description begins Bryan A. Garner and others, eds., Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed., 1999 description ends ). The university act was “An act concerning the University of Virginia,” which passed 24 Feb. 1821 (Acts of Assembly description begins Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia (cited by session; title varies over time) description ends [1820–21 sess.], 15–6). The speakers of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate were Linn Banks and William C. Holt, respectively.

On 31 Jan. 1822 Governor Thomas Mann Randolph advised the House of Delegates of the arrival of commissioners from kentuckey. That state’s government had chosen Henry Clay and George M. Bibb to explain its interpretation of certain provisions in the original statehood act separating Kentucky from Virginia. Disputes had arisen after Kentucky passed laws favoring current occupants of lands there over titleholders who had been awarded property prior to Kentucky statehood. In 1823 the United States Supreme Court struck down these laws (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1821–22 sess.], 159–60; Green v. Biddle [1823] [8 Wheaton], U.S. Reports description begins Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, 1790–  (title varies; originally issued in distinct editions of separately numbered volumes with U.S. Reports volume numbers retroactively assigned; original volume numbers here given parenthetically) description ends 21, 1–108).

Index Entries

  • An act concerning the University of Virginia (1821) search
  • Banks, Linn; as speaker of Va. House of Delegates search
  • Bibb, George Minos; and Va. land grants search
  • Blackburn, Samuel; as Va. legislator search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; as Va. state senator search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; letters from search
  • Clay, Henry; and Va. land grants search
  • Green v. Biddle search
  • Griffin, Thomas; and University of Virginia search
  • Holt, William C.; as speaker of Va. Senate search
  • Johnson, Chapman; as Va. state senator search
  • Kentucky; and Va. land grants search
  • Literary Fund; and annuity for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; funds of search
  • Morris, Richard; as Va. legislator search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); as governor of Va. search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; andGreen v. Biddle search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; Rotunda (library) search
  • Virginia; and Ky. land grants search
  • Virginia; House of Delegates search