Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Brown, 8 February 1819

Spring Farm Feby. 8th 1819


This will be handed you by Mr Cosby, who waits on you for the purpose of obtaining a contract for the erection of such buildings as may be thought necessary, at this time, for the University of Virgia; and who has requested me to state to you my opinion of his character, and of his fitness for the undertaking.

Mr Cosby has never done any work for me; nor have I ever, critically, examined any that he has done; and if I had, I do not consider myself a competent judge of such matters. He built a house on the land I now own, for the gentleman from whom I purchased, the materials and workmanship of which appear to me to be very good. And though he has been pretty extensively engaged in building for the sixteen years last past, during which I have known him; I have never heard but of two or three complaints against him. But whether he was really in fault in those cases; or whether his employers, as sometimes happens, raised objections in order to avoid or delay payment, I know not.  My opinion is that Mr Cosby is a good workman. And, as I know him to be sober, attentive, and industrious, I would, in contracting with him, for myself, feel perfectly secure of a faithful performance, on his part.

I will only add that his moral character, as far as I know, is without a stain.

With great respect, I am, Sir, your most ob. sevt

Jno Brown


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