James Madison Papers

James Madison to James Barbour, 22 September 1828

Montpellier Sepr. 22 1828

Dear Sir

I need not remind you of the vacancy produced in the professorship of Ancient Languages in the University of Virginia, nor remark on the importance of providing a Successor worthy of it. The anxiety of the Visitors on this subject led them to offer the Chair for the term of one year to M<r.> Gesner Harrison, a distinguished pupil of Mr. Long, who has accepted it with that limitation; instructing the Rector, at the same time, to open correspondences with a view to obtain a fit person to fill the Chair permanently. The instruction had particular reference to G. Britain the quarter which had furnished Mr. Long. Well knowing the interest you feel in the success of the University I take the liberty of requesting you to institute such enquiries as may ascertain, whether a fit successor to Mr. Long be attainable in G. B. In making the enquiries, the aid of Mr. Long himself, will doubtless be valuable & readily afforded. Mr. Key also has shewn a very friendly disposition to co-operate in such cases for the benefit of the University. And you will of course avail yourself of the information of the Secretary of Legation, Mr. Lawrence, who was particularly obliging & useful in his enquiries relating to a Professor for the Chair of Nat: Philosophy, and who, in executing that task, may have gained a knowledge of individuals qualified for other Chairs in Learned Institutions.

It will occur to you that as other provision may be made for the case before the expiration of the temporary appointment, the enquiries requested are to avoid any commitment of the Visitors, that would produce disappointment or just complaint in the party communicated with. It must be distinctly understood that the Visitors are not precluded from any other arrangement, that may secure for the Chair in question a permanent and satisfactory appointment; the object in view being that only, of ascertaining whether there be any individual within the scope of your enquiries who is duly qualified for that Chair, & willing to accept it, in the event of his being appointed to it, & required to be on the spot in the month of August next.

It may be proper to mention that the Salary is now limited to $1000 per annum to be paid quarterly, with fees from the pupils from $50 to $20 each according to the number of Schools they attend, with the use of a Pavilion such as you know, free of rent. The duties of the Chair embrace the Latin & Greek Languages, the Hebrew, Rhetoric, Belles Lettres, Ancient history & ancient Geography. During the period of Mr. Long, the Hebrew was not called f[or.]

I shall hope for the pleasure of hearing from you occasionally, on your prospect of success; assuring you in the mean time of my great esteem & sincere regard.

James Madison

RC (CSmH); draft (DLC); 2 copies (DLC: John Tyler Papers).

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