Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 15 December 1824

Decr 15. 1824

Dr Sir

I return Mr Gilmers two letters to you & that of Mr Emmet to Mr Calhoun, inclosed in yours of the 10th.

I have so much confidence in the )pinion of Mr Gilmer, & respect for the testimony of the father, with every abatement for partia[. . .] that I can not doubt the chemical & other mine[. . .] ascribed to young Emmet. As a letter however such as you propose, would be viewed by him as equivalent nearly to an appointments, & preclude the Visitors from the freedom of decision, some of them might wish there might be some hazard in the step. For myself I should allow but little weight to the circumstance of foreign natively agst superior qualifications in the other scale, especially where naturalization & a fixture in the Country had taken place. But some of our Colleagues, to say nothing of the public [. . .]es may vary from our way of thinking, and prefer arrangement giving Chemistry to Dunglison [. . .] Natural History & rural Economy. in the hands [. . .] a Native, to a change which would leave but a single professorship for a native, in case the Ethical professor should be of foreign birth.

Something may depend on the comparative [. . .] fitness for the Chemical Chaer, of the two [. . .]didates, and the probable effect of a disappoi[. . .] on Dunglison; who tho’ having no stipulatns or pledge, may feel it in his profits, as well as in his wishes & hopes. and it may be well as he appears to be a great acquisition that he enter on his career with all the satisfaction that can be secured without a sensible sacrifice of the interests of the University. Suppose instead of writing to Emmet, or otherwise making a commitment, you were to drop a line to Gilmer, who may not have not have left N-Y. with a view to prevent Young Emmet from disposing of himself, should there be any immediate danger of it. This may probably be done for a very short, but sufficient time in a way not even commiting Mr G. himself. As you, after all, think it best to take the step you suggest I am very willing to take my share of the responsibility.

I am glad to learn that the result of your enquiries concerning Mr Tucker strengthens my favorable view of his fitness for the Ethical Chair. I wish Mr Cabel, who doubtless knows every feature of his character, could have been consulted on the subject. Would it not be better to request Mr C if you [. . .]to sound him, than to write directly yourself. The delay will be trifling: Mr T. being now at Washington.

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

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