James Madison Papers

James Madison to the President and Directors of the Literary Fund, 16 October 1826

In obedience to the law requiring that the Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, should make report annually to the President and Directors of the Literary Fund, (to be laid before the Legislature at their next succeeding meeting) embracing a full account of the disbursements, the funds on hand, and a general Statement of the Condition of the said University The said Rector & Visitors make the following Report.

Report.

Since that last rendered by the Board a loss which has clothed the whole land in mourning and fallen with peculiar force on the Institution confided to them, has called for the appt. to the vacant rectorship. To that lamented event the Board Cannot refer, without feeling that some tribute is due, on their part, to the memory of a patriot and sage so distinguished by his various and invaluable services to his Country, and so richly, eminently entitled to manifestations of grateful affection from every portion of its Citizens. After disching with a zeal that never abated, and abilities which commanded universal admiration, all the labours imposed by a series of most important public trusts, he did not cease, in his retirement from them, to cherish that love of country and of liberty which had been the ruling principle of his life. Reflecting more particularly on the great truth, that as no people can be happy but with a free Government, so no Govt. can long be free, without knowlege for its conservative element, he determined to close his illustrious career by devoting the resources of his genius, and his vast acquirements to the erection of this monument to Science & Liberty, indulging to the last hour of his protracted existence the gratifying confidence, that under the auspices of the State to which it was dedicated, it would more than repay whatever might be done for it, by the lights it would diffuse, and by the characters it would rear, for the service & the ornament of the Republic.

With an origin so propitious, and the continued patronage of the State, the Board are encouraged to expect that no part of the promised blessings will be disappointed, in the progress of the University to its destined usefulness. They have the satisfaction to state that with the small exceptions of what remains to be done to   all the Buildings undertaken have been compleated; that by the acquisition of a Professor of Law, the number required for the existing arrangement is also compleat; that the number of matriculated students has increased to   and that further augmentation may reasonably be looked for, as the benefits of the Institution shall be unfolded, and regulations for extending and securing them shall be suggested by experience. (The addition, which with this view the Board have made to former enactments, is here communicated.)

The condition of the University, as regards its finances, is explained by the accts. of the Bursar & Proctor, also communicated. It will be seen that its resources compared with the disbursements & engagements for the present year, < > and the estimates for the next, will leave at the end of the next, an adverse balance of   to extinguish which the annual surplus of income thereafter, estimated at , will be required for a period of more than six years. (In submitting this statement to the General Assembly the Board venture to hope that a favorable view will be taken by the Genl Assembly of the advantages to the early prospects of the Institution, from a public liberation of its funds from the debts weighing upon them; and of the prospect which this will open of its earlier enlargments of its Scope, sphere of action without

adverse balance of   to extinguish which, the annual surplus of income thereafter, estimated at   will be required for a period of more than six years.

In submitting this statement to the Genl. Assembly the Board venture to hope that a favorable view will be taken, of the advantage to the early prospects of the Institution, from a public liberation of its funds from the debts weighing upon them.

In pursuance of the intentions communicated in the last Report, the Library <room> in the Rotunda has been nearly completed and the Books put into it. Two rooms for the Professor of Chemistry, with one other Work-room for the Professors of Nat. Phil. & of Chemistry, and one large Lecture room have also been fitted for use. The Work of the anatomical Hall is so far advanced that it may be used early in the next Session. The Portico of the Rotunda has been finished with the exception of the flight of Steps, & the laying of the such Flagging which has been received & paid for. The work remaining to be done is the finishing one other large oval room one small one, and the entrance Hall of the Rotunda; with the unfinished parts of the Portico, and about one fourth of the Anatomical Hall Some small additions are also required for the better accommodation of the Professors in their Pavilions & the Students in their Dormitories < > & for   and a few other minor objects.

The Receipts by the Collector of arrearages of subscriptions, since the date of last Rept. amount to 644.85, leavg. a bal still due of 8161.68 1/2 of which 3661.68 are is considered sperate.

The accts. for the rect. disburmts. & funds on hand for the year ending with the month of Sepr as rendered by the Bursar & Proctor < > with this Rept as is required by law

In looking to the future, the Bd. notwithsd their anxiety to bring the establisht. into the completed States witht. any extending its current income in comparing the <appointment> therewith & contracts & estimated demands for   < > for the present & next year with < >

at the end of the next an adverse balance of not less than   operated against income < > year for to blank to  . the extinguisht. of which will require a period of not less than Six or 7 years

In submitting < > the Board, venture to hope, that a favorable view will be taken by the Genl. Assy. of the advantage to the Institution from a pub: liberation of its funds from the debts now weighing on them, and of the prospect which this wd. open for earlier enlargements of its scope of action by such < >

Since the Report last made, the acquisition of a Professor of Law, has completed the number required for the existing arrangement, and the matriculated Students have been increased to 177’ the State of the Schools, being,

In the School of Antient languages 107

Modern languages 90

Mathematics 90

Natural Philosophy 43

Natural History 45

Anatomy & Medicine 16

Moral Philosophy 28

Law (opened in July)26

This increase justifies the expectation that further additions to the number will continue to be made as the benefits of the Institution shall be unfolded, and regulations for extending and ensuring them shall be suggested by experience. The enactments now made by the board with this view, will be laid before the General Assembly, as soon as they shall be duly prepared for the purpose.

From a comparative view of the tasks of the Professorships of Law and of moral Philosophy, it was found convenient and mutually agreeable to the Parties, that the Science of political Economy should be taught in the School of the latter instead of the former.

On the further considerations of the most eligible period for the Session of the University it has been provided that the next Session shall commence on the first of February, and terminate on the 4th. of July; and that all future Sessions shall commence on the 20th. of August in each year & terminate on the 4th. of July ensuing; but that there shall be one recess of all the Schools & no more during each Session, to commence on the 15th. and terminate on the 31st. of December

The first act of the Bd. <at ye.> present meeting was that of providing for the vacancy <in> the Rectorship occasioned by the loss which has clothed the land in mourning, and fell which has with peculiar power on the < > That lamented event &c

The first act required from the Board at their present meeting was that of providing for the vacancy in the Rectorship occasioned by a loss which clothed the whole land in mourning, and which has fallen with peculiar force on the Institution committed to their care

last clause -- In looking to the future, the Board notwithstanding their anxiety to bring the Estabt. into a compleat State without exceeding its current resources, find on comparing with these, the engagemts. & estimated demands for the present & the next year, that at the end of the next an adverse balance will exist of ; the extinguist of which will require the estimated annual surplus of income thereafter; for a period of

In submitting this unavoidable result, the Board venture to hope that a favorable view will be taken by the Genl. Assy. of the advantage to the Instn. from a public liberation of its funds from the debts otherwise weighing upon them, and of the prospect thence opened of earlier enlargts. of its scope of action and usefulness.

Draft (NN).

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