James Madison Papers

James Madison to Joseph C. Cabell, 14 July 1833

Montpellier July 14. 1833—

Dear Sir

I have seen no evidence yet that a successor has been appointed to Mr Breckenridge. I hope the Govr. has not waited for the formality of a notice of his Death, as the event was a matter of certainty and notoriety, and as well known to the Govr. as it could be to any of the Visitors. I took for granted that there would be no scruple or delay in filling the vacancy. On the first suggestion that I might possibly be in in error, I wrote to Mr Johnson, requesting him to ascertain the views of the Executive on the occasion. I enclose his answer which explains the ground on which I have looked for an appointment, and I wish it may have taken place. Return if you please, the letter, at your leisure.

I enclosed to Mr. Randolph several letters recommending a successor to Doctr. Dunglison. It is the only contribution I had to make for the use of the Board. The difficulty of duly providing for the case, is I fear insurmountable: and the effect of a bad choice, must be fatal to the Medical School. As a preferable course may it not be well to make the experiment of a temporary arrangement. Patterson, I understand is scientifically competent, a good Lecturer, and popular among the Students—His Northern reputation might also have something of a countervailing attraction; one advantage of a provisional arrangement, is that the door will be open for the return of Dunglison, in the event of disappointed calculations, which some, I learn regard as not improbable.

I am sure the Board will act for the best, as I am, that they are the best Judges of what is so. Be assured always of my great and cordial esteem——

James Madison

RC (ViU).

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