George Washington Papers

To George Washington from St. George Tucker, 24 April 1797

From St. George Tucker

Winchester April 24. 1797


The solicitude which you have expressed in several of your communications to Congress for the establishment of a National University, & the apparent unwillingness of that body to act upon the subject, gave rise to the enclosed short essay, which I beg leave to submit to your perusal.1

Permit me to wish you many years of health and happiness, and to assure you of the most perfect esteem. I am, Sir, yr most obet humble sert

S. G. Tucker

Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

St. George Tucker (1752–1827) in the 1790s was a judge of the new General Court of Virginia formed in 1788–89. He also was professor of law and police at the College of William and Mary.

1GW pressed for the creation of a national university throughout most of his presidency. On 28 Jan. 1795 he wrote to the Commissioners for the District of Columbia urging that the adoption of a plan for such a university “by which the arts, sciences & Belles letters could be taught in their fullest extent” to the “youth of the United States.” He promised to endow such an institution with his fifty shares in the Potowmack Company. In his final annual message to Congress on 7 Dec. 1796, GW devoted several paragraphs to repeating his arguments for establishing and giving public support to a national university with a distinguished faculty which would draw students from all parts of the country. For further expression of his views on the creation of a national university, see GW to John Adams, 15 Nov. 1794, to Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 28 Jan. 1795, 21 Oct., 27 Nov., 1 Dec. 1796, to Thomas Jefferson, 15 Mar. 1795, to Alexander Hamilton, 1 Sept. 1796, and GW’s will, 9 July 1799. Tucker’s enclosed Sketch of a Plan for the Endowment, & Establishment of a National University, 16 April 1797, has been transcribed for CD-ROM:GW

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