Minutes of the Board of Visitors
of the Central College
July 28. 1817.
At a called meeting of the Visitors of the Central College, held at the House of Mr. Madison in Orange, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Hartwell Cocke,1 and Joseph C. Cabell, being present:
The plan of the first Pavilion to be erected, and the proceedings thereupon, having been stated and agreed to—
It is agreed that application be made to Doctor Knox2 of Baltimore to accept the Professorship of Languages, Belles Lettres, Rhetoric, History and Geography, and that an independent salary of five hundred dollars, with a perquisite of twenty five dollars, from each pupil, to-gether with chambers for his accomodation, be allowed him as a compensation for his services, he finding the necessary assistant ushers.
Alexander Garrett requesting to resign the office of Proctor, it is agreed that Nelson Barksdale3 of the county of Albemarle be appointed his successor.
It is also agreed that it be expedient to import a stone cutter from Italy, and that Mr. Jefferson be authorized & requested to take the requisite measures to effect that object.
J. H. Cocke
Joseph C. Cabell
Ms (ViU). In an unidentified hand.
1. In Cocke’s diary entries for 26 and 27 July he discussed the visitors’ meeting and noted: “Dined at Mr. Madisons again today. More stile than good management manifest in the Establishment—but the most unbounded politeness & elegance in Mr. M. with a degree of affability & Ease in Mrs. M. which is almost incompatible with that degree of dignity which is naturally looked for in a lady of her standing in society” (ViU: John Hartwell Cocke Papers, box 23).
2. Samuel Knox (1756–1832) was a Presbyterian minister, born and educated in England, who headed a number of schools in Maryland, including the Bladensburg Grammar School, 1788–89, Frederick Academy, 1797–1803, and 1823–27, and Baltimore College, 1808–20. Knox was an advocate of a national system of public education that embraced elementary schools for both sexes, academies for boys, state colleges, and a national university. In his plan, he excluded religious instruction from the public schools. In 1800 he wrote a defense of Thomas Jefferson’s religious views.
3. Nelson Barksdale (d. 1861), an Albemarle County planter, served as proctor of the Central College until March 1819 (Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 141–42; Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, 1:238).