Monticello July 16. 23.
I recieved in due time your favor of Jun 16. and with it your Syllabus of lectures on Spanish literature. I have considered this with great interest & satisfn, as it gives me model of the I wish to see pursued in the difft branches of instruction in our University. a methodical, critical & profound explanation by way of protection of every science I am not informed of the practices at Harvard, but there is one which , altho’ it has been copied I believe by nearly every college & academy in the US. that is, the holding the students prescribed course of reading exclusive applicn to those branches only which are to qualify them for the particular vocations to which they are destined. we shall on the contrary allow them uncontrouled choice in the le[. . .] they shall chuse to attend. require qualificn our institution will proceed on the principle of doing all the good it can without consulting it’s pride or ambition of let every one come and listen to whatever he thinks improve the core of his mind, the rock which I most dread is the discipline of the instn., and it is that on which most of our public schools . we may lessen the difficulty by avoiding too much govmt, by requiring no useless observances, none which shall thereby multiply occasions for by referring to the more discreet of them selves the minor disciplines, the graves to the civil magistrate dissatisfn on this head I am anxious for informn of the practices of other places having myself had little experience of the govmt of youth. I presume there are printed codes of the rules of Harvard, and if so you would oblige me by sending me a copy, and of any other academy which you think can furnish, any thing useful. you flatter me with a visit ‘as soon as you learn is fairly opened’. a visit from you will be the most welcome possible to all our family who remember with peculiar satisfn the pleasure they recieved from your former one. but were I allowed to name the time it shd not be beyond the autumn of the year. our building and that which will be the principal ornament and keystone, giving unity to the whole, will then be nearly finished, and afford you a gratifn compensating the trouble of the journey. we shall then be engaged in our code of regular preparatory to our opening which may perhaps take place in the begn of 1825. there is no person from whose informn of the European instns I should expect so much aid in that difficult work. come then, dear Sir, at that or any earlier epoch, and give to our instn the benefit of your counsel. I know that you scout, as I do; the idea of any rivalship. it is better even your University to have it’s at this distance, than to force and we may expect others in the , & middle regions of this vast country?
I send you by mail a print of the ground plan of our instn. it may give you some idea of it’s distribn & conveniences, but not of it’s architecture which being chastely classical, constitutes one of it’s distinguishing characters I am much indebted for your kind attentions to mr Harrison. he is a youth of promise. I would not deny myself the gratificn of communicating to [. . .] the part of your letter respecting him.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.