Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Westwood Wallace, 4 May 1823

Mo May 4. 23.

Dear Doctor

Your frdly lre of Apr. 25t was duly recd and altho so much a cripple in both my wrists as to make writing slow & painfull I cannot resist the impulse of the spirit to acknolege it’s rest the degencracy of man, its interesting subject is still a most question, but if a fail I do not think it is on this side the Atlantic we are to seek it. were Buffon alive the holy alliance would point it to him nearer home if it be true, as you suppose, of our own country admits some explann. before the revoln a good grammer school was kept an almost every perish by it’s in cumbent and the pupils finished at wm & M. so that every man who could afford it had schools convenient for educating histons. it is not so now and we have been and still are declining in character. I look to our University to raise us again in the respect of our co states with whom at] present we are held in low rank. this establmt is now well worth a ride altho it will be more to when our last building shall has finished [. . .] just now began, and will form the key-stone of the whole fabric. it will depend on our legislature, to say when the instrn. shall be opened by declared that the monies furnished for the buildings under the name of loans were legitimate appropriates of so much of the literary fund, and that their reimbursement is dispensed with, we shall require one year only to provide professors, among whom we shall admit none who is not of the 1st order of science in his line, on whichever side of the atlantic he is to be found. if I can live to see this instn put well under way, I shall say with old Simeon, ‘Lord now lettest those thy.   depart in peace for mine eyes have seen the salvn. of my country’ .accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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