James Madison Papers

James Madison to James Breckenridge, 30 January 1830

Dear Sir

I have just recd. from Professor Lomax a communication of his final purpose to accept the Judicial appointment lately conferred on him, which will of course dissolve his connection with the University. He expresses much gratitude for the favors & friendship he has recd. collectively & individually from the Board of Visitors; & his deep regret that an imperious duty to his family obliges him to withdraw from a situation in which more than in any other, his life has been spent in accordance with his taste & inclination———

He is anxious to learn whether it will meet the approbation of the Visitors, that he shall continue in the Professorship, till the end of the current Session with a dispensation to attend the Spring Terms of his circuit. He observes that these will consume less than six weeks, & will be broken into portions leaving an interval of a fortnight, when the duties of the School would be resumed; care being taken also that the periods of absence should not be devoid of employment for the Students. This indulgence is not expected without a surrender on his part, fully equivalent in Salary & Fees as may be apportioned by the Visitors themselves.

In my answer I have observed that I can only say for myself that the arrangement he states appears to be preferable to the alternative state of things, & that I presumed it would be so viewed by the other Visitors.

The consequence of a rejection of the arrangement would be a release producing a premature vacancy, or a compulsory detention, violating his Judicial obligations, & possibly endangering a loss of the office.

With great esteem & regard

James Madison

I make this a circular communication, that each of the Visitors may have an opportunity of expressing his opinion on the case which it presents, & may be turning his thoughts as to a Successor for the vacancy now to be provided for.

RC (Mr. William C. Breckenridge, Fincastle, Va., ). JM sent copies of this circular letter to John Hartwell Cocke (ViU), and James Monroe (DLC).

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