Bear Wallow. 5. October 1827.
I have just received a communication from General Cocke, enclosing Mr. Shorts letters, on the subject of Doctr. Jones, also your letter with Mr. Browns and Mr. Bruces.
I wrote to you a few days since, from this place, informing you, that doctr. Patterson had declined being a candidate to for the chair of Nat. Philosophy, in our University, and giving you an extract from his letter, recommending doctr Jones.
Though I do not feel satisfied, that doctr. Jones possesses those high qualifications, which we desire in our professors, yet I do not see what better we can do than appoint him, unless we are justified in hoping something, from Mr. Bonnycastle’s letter to Mr. Barlow, or from Mr. Key’s efforts in our favor, on his return to England. You know much better than I, what is to be expected from those sources; I have no reliance on them, and if you and the other visitors are prepared to fill the vacancy, you have my sanction to the immediate appointment of doctr. Jones.
I have heard of Mr. Bruce for several years, as a very respectable instructor in mathematics, but there is no more conclusive evidence of his unfitness for the chair of Nat. Philosophy, in the University, than the opinion he manifestly entertains, that he has been usefully employed in teaching Nat. Philosophy, in his school at Winchester.
I shall leave this place, in a few days for Lynchburg and return to Richmond, about the 20th with the highest respect, Your very ob. Srt
RC (DLC). Docketed by James Madison.