James Madison Papers

James Madison to James Breckenridge, 27 November 1827

Montpellier. Novr. 27, 1827

Dear Sir

This will be handed you by Mr. Jesse B. Harison of Lynchburg. He offers himself as successor to Mr Long, in the Professorship of Ancient Languages: & if satisfied by the concurring opinions of the Visitors separately expressed, that his appointment will take place, intends to embark immediately at his own expence for Germany, in order to avail himself of the peculiar opportunities there found for improving his qualifications. His proposal is to return & be ready to enter on the duties of that Chair, at the commencement of the Session in Septr; but with an understanding, that if Mr Long should not then have vacated it, or if vacated, & a temporary provision can be made for it, extended to a few months, he may be at liberty to pospone his return accordingly.

It is due to Mr. Harrison to remark that very strong testimonials of his talents of his good dispositions & habits, & of his scholarship, are recd. from Professor Ticknor of Cambridge where he studied for some time; from Professor Tucker who is familarly acquainted with him; & for a paper of Mr. Jefferson dated in the last year of his life, which dwells with great emphasis on the merits & promised distinction of Mr. Harrison. Mr. Long bears testimony to his classical acquirements, as far as he has had opportunities of being acquainted with him & taken an interest in his plan of devoting himself to the service of the University in the Classical department, as an occurence favorable to the Institution itself. It is the advice of Mr Long that makes him anxious to ripen his preparations for it, by a residence for a short time in a German University distinguished for its accurate cultivation of the Ancient Languages.

Refering you to Mr. Harrison himself for a full explanation of his views, I ask the favor of you to express your oppinion respecting them in a letter to Mr. Johnson, who at Richmond will most conveniently rece. like communications from our Colleagues & impart the result to Mr Harrison, who wishes, whatever that be, to know it with as little delay as possible.

You will oblige me by a few lines at the same time, saying whether your opinion be favorable or otherwise to the arrangement in question. With great Esteem & friendly salutations

J. Madison


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