London Sepr. 21
I received yesterday from Mr Mc Lane your very kind and obliging letter. At the time of its date the board of Visitors had not met, but I have since heard that Mr Harrison is finally appointed to the Chair of Antient Languages. It may be a subject of ridicule, especially with some of your northern friends, to appoint to so important a place a Virginia youth, whose travels have not been extended farther than from his own home in the Shenandoah Valley to a University in an adjoining county. But I feel convinced that if he continues in his situation, he will prove both a valuable teacher, and an ornament to the State. When I before spoke of the difficulty of procuring a competent person from England, which difficulty was by no means exaggerated, I omitted to mention one consideration which I feel now at liberty to state. The kind and mode of instruction which I endeavored to establish in Virginia, I believe, met with the approbation of the Visitors, and that of my best pupils: I am here Continuing the same course, perhaps with greater efficiency from being limited to a single object. Our course of instruction in the London Univ. in my department, and that of the Latin language, differ essentially from the plan of our two English Universities; and had a gentleman from one of them been appointed, a considerable change in the Virginia Univ. plan would probably have been introduced.
Mr Key is professor of the Latin language in the Univ. of London, and together with myself is desirous of transmitting to the Virginia Univ. all such examination papers &c, as may let your new Professor know what we are doing, and enable him to profit, as far as his judgment approves, by our experience, and the suggestions which we receive from others.
I lately received a letter from the other Mr Harrison of Lynchburg, who is now in Germany endeavoring to avail himself of the excellent instruction, and the useful libraries of that country. Your state will not want the means of calling forth efficient teachers, when the young men exhibit so laudable and disinterested ardor. Mr H. (of Lynchburg) will no doubt improve in Germany, and perceive some of the defects of the superficial education of your northern colleges.
Mr Bohn told me some time ago that he had forwarded to the Virginia Univ. (in compliance with an order left by the late Mr Gilmer) the remaining nos. of the Thesaurus: I will call to enquire if he has sent all those that are wanting.
I can not omit this favorable opportunity of expressing through you to the Visitors my gratitude for their uniform kindness and attention to my interests: I wish them to know that I look back with pleasure to my residence in Virginia, and I still indulge the hope of paying, at some future time, a visit to your beautiful country. With the best wishes for your health, and the success of the Institute over which you watch. I remain with the highest regard.
RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.