James Madison Papers

John Tayloe Lomax to James Madison, 8 November 1828

Univ: Va. Novr. 8. 1828.

Dear Sir

As none of the Students ever attend both the Medical and Law Schools, I found it a very convenient arrangement to my self, as well as my Students, to adopt the hours assigned by the enactments to the School of Medicine, instead of those assigned by them to the Law School. I was enabled thereby to have the exercises of my class over, before dinner—and could then appropriate, without any interruption, the afternoons to preparations for the exercises of the ensuing day—As I have found it necessary to have daily exercises—instead of every other day, as required by the enactments, I thought that it would be deemed no infringement of the rules of the University, if, in consideration of this double duty, I should seek some personal accomodation and should take better opportunities for preparation, in a departure from the regular hours assigned to me. The Students in my school were gratified in a change which relieved them, in their exercises, from the dulness and lassitude which are apt to oppress the minds of many after dinner—Whilst we were thus mutually accomodated, no inconvenience was produced to any of the schools, because no Student attends or is ever likely to attend these two professional schools of Law and Medicine, there could therefore be no interference between them. Indeed there was a positive convenience afforded to other professors, because the hours which by this arrangement were left unemployed by me after dinner, were left free to be occupied by such of the professors as have extraneous Lectures.

At the last meeting of the Visitors an order was made, directing that the Professors should adhere strictly to the hours assigned them by the enactments. Whether this direction had any particular reference to the seeming irregularity in the Law School, I know not. If it was designed to defeat the alterations which I had made in the hours of my school, the Visitors could not have been apprised of the motives which had induced them, or the conveniences which they had produced not only to the Professor himself, but to the Students, and to other Professors—In consequence however of the directions of the Visitors, I have resumed my regular hours on Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays. Nor would I now ask for permission to deviate from them, were it not required by consideration of the peculiar circumstances of several members of my class. The Librarian, who is one of the Law Students, is, by my adherence to these hours after dinner, excluded from my exercises, for his attendance in the Library is required during the same hours. There are five of the Law Students who reside in the Town of Charlottesville, or out of the University, and they complain of the inconvenience of attending the School at 1/2 past 2, which causes them to dine unseasonably early or unseasonably late—and subjects the persons with whom they board to inconvenience.

I should be very much pleased therefore, on their account, if I could be permitted to relinquish my evening hours, and occupy as heretofore the hours of the medical school—at least that I should be permitted to do so, as long as, in the opinion of the Faculty, no inconvenience is likely to arise from the change. I am with very great respect & friendship Your obt. Servt.

Jno Tayloe Lomax

RC (ViU).

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