James Madison Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson Randolph, 16 September 1830

Sepr. 16. 1830

Dear Sir

Yours of the 13th. was recd yesterday afternoon. You rightly inferred my concurrence in the temporary apt. of a Tutor and I doubt not you have done right in the choice made. Mr. Hervé, whose pre[f?]erence is well attested could not otherwise, it seems be secured than by postponing a permanent appt. for the present [?]. Docr. Blatterman, preferring an oral to a written communication with me, called on me on Sunday and hurried back, to open his lectures the next morning. He appeared very apprehensive of collisions with the Tutor, or of [some] an arrangement that might degrade him. Nothing passed between us worth repeating.

I have always been aware of the difficulty as well as importance of defining the respective duties of the Profr. & Tutor with such precision as would preserve harmony, and avail the department of the useful capacities of both; especially if there should be a temper in either not favorable to the object.

The duties of the two Officers may be divided between them according to the progress made by the Students, that is, as formed into the Junior & Senior classes, or by an allotment of the several languages, according to the comparative knowledge of them by the Professor & Tutor, or by a rule, partaking of both those modes.

An assignment of the Senior class to the Professor, and the Junior to the Tutor, is the most simple in itself, and corresponds with the relation between the Teachers, but does not accord altogether with a main view in providing a Tutor for a language native to him & not to the Professor.

An exclusive allotment of the several languages, according as they might be best understood by the P. or the T. would be equivalent to making 2 professors, and would require a more accurate & certain comparison, with respects to some of the languages, claimed by both, than might be easily made.

The best course perhaps will be to assign the Junior Class, to the Tutor, and the Senior to the Professor, with the exception, in favor of the Tutor, as to his native language or the languages he pronounces as a native, in which may he instruct the Students without a distinction of classes. Having no knowledge whatever of Colonna’s linguist talents, and unable to decide on those of Blattermans, beyond his known intimacy with the German both as pronounced & written, I cannot undertake to apply the rule I suggest. This can be much better done by yourself & Genl. Cocke, with the aids on the spot, and with the casual aid of any visitor that may be in the way; particularly Mr. Cabell, who is occasionally in Charlottesville, & Mr. Johnson who is I believe not yet to return to Richd. through Charlottesville.

You will observe that altho’ the appointment of a Tutor in this case is to be made by the authy of the Board, not by the P[rofessor] yet the specific duties to be performed by him, are to be [as] signed by the Profr. with the approbation of the Executive. This consideration inculcates a moderate tone on the p[art] of the Tutor, and may aid in reconciling th[e] Professor to the loss of importance in other respects. He wi[ll] retain his lectures on Modern Hist & Geogy, to which is added, what he regards as a new duty, and ought to feel a special dignity: the instruction of the Senior Classes in th[e] Literature of the countries whose languages they study. This is [a] task which such a Tutor as Hervé, and for aught I know, Co[lonna] also may be more capable of as to his native Country at least, [than] the Professor.

Besides the division of the duties, the hou[rs] & order of lectures by the P. & T. may require an arrangement which it may be better to settle for the parties, than to hazar[d] a jar between them on the subject.

Considering the danger of these jars, perhaps it [wd] be a good preliminary to any final arrangemt. of the duties or even any discussions between the parties [to] converse with both separately, and to try correcting wr[ong] impressions in either; prepare them for the decisions you have f[ound necessary.]

Finding by y[our letter] that you & Genl. Coc[ke] wished for my views of [the matters before] the depending ca[use?] I have thrown out such [views or] ideas as occurre[d to] me. But I submit them entirely to yr. better judgt. & Shall learn the course opted by you, whatever it be with entire confidence in the justness of it

Draft (DLC).

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