Dear Sir Monticello Dec. 28. 22.
Yours of the 19th was recieved [sic] some days ago, those of the
23rd the day before yesterday. at the same time with the former
I recieved [sic] one of the same date from mr Rives, proposing a ques-
tion to me, which, as he is absent I will answer to you. it was,
[uncertain strikethrough] If the remission of the principal debt, and an accomo-
-dation of the cost of the library cannot both be obtained,
which would be the most desirable? without any question, the latter.
of all things the most important is the completion of the buildings.
the remission of the debt will come of itself. it is already remitted
in the mind of everyone, even of the enemies of the institution.
And there is nothing pressing very immediately for it's supression.
the great object of our aim from the beginning has been to make the
establishment the most eminent in the United States, in order to
draw to it the youth of every state, but especially of the South and West.
we have proposed therefore to call to it characters of the first order
of science from Europe as well as our own country; and not only by
their salaries, and the comfort of their situation, but by the distinguish-
-ed scale of it's structure and preparation, and the promise of fu-
-ture eminence which these would hold up, to induce them to commit
their reputations to it's future fortunes. had we built a barn for a
College, and log huts for accomodations [sic], should we have had the
assurance to propose to an European professor of that character to
come to it? why give up this important idea, when so near it's accom-
-plishment that a single lift (?) more effects it? it is not a half project
which is to fill up the enticement of character from abroad. to stop where
we are is to abandon our high hopes, and become suitor to Yale and
Harvard for their secondary characters to become our first. have we been
laboring then merely to get up another Hampden Sidney or Lexington?
yet to this it sinks if we abandon foreign aid. the Report of Rock-
fish gap, sanctioned by the legislature, authorized us to aim at
much higher things; and the abandonment of the enterprise where
we are would be a relinquishment of the great idea of the legisla-
-ture of 1818, and shrinking it into a country academy. the open-
-ing of the institution in a half-state of readiness would be the most
fatal step which could be adopted. it would be an impatience defeat-
-ing itŐs own objects by putting on a subordinate character in the out-
-set, which never would be shaken off, instead of opening largely and
in full system. taking our stand on command ground at once,
will beckon everything to it, and a reputation once established
will maintain itself for ages. to secure this a single sum of 50. or 60.
M Dollars is wanting. if we cannot get it now, we will at another or
another trial. courage and patience is the watchword. delay is an evil
which will pass; despair loses all. let us never give back. the thing
will carry itself, and with firmness and perseverance we shall place
our country on it's high station, and we shall receive [sic] for it the bless-
-ings of posterity. I think your idea of a loan and placing it on the
sinking fund an excellent one.
Dinsmore's 70,000 D. evidence only the greediness of an Undertaker.
he declined communication of the details of his estimate lest their exaggerations
should be visible. from other undertakers we have the following offers
D. the brickwork compleat including columns 11,300 Perry
stone work 3,940 Gorman
carpentry & joinery of the lower rooms 12, 000 Oldham
there remain the inside work of the upperroom, the roof, &
the two appendages, or covered ways in the flanks to connect with the other
buildings, of which we have no estimate but they cannot cost as much
as all the rest of the buildings. I asked at what they had estimated the
stone work? the answer was 6000.D. I knew at the same time that
Gorman must do it for them, and would do it for 3,940.D. so that
50.p.cent was laid on this article for their gains, and probably like
advances on the other articles. mr. Brockenbrough's original es-
-timate was carefully & minutely made, and allowing for the two
covered ways we are safe in saying that another loan of 60,000.D.
will place us beyond the risk of ever needing to ask another Dollar
on that account.
You propose to me to write to half a dozen gentlemen on
this subject. you do not know, my dear Sir, how great is my phy-
-sical inability to write. the joints of my right wrist & fingers, in con-
-sequence of an antient [sic] dislocation, are become so stiffened that I can
write but at the pace of a snail. the copying our report and my
letter lately sent to the Governor, being 7 pages only, employed me
laboriously a whole week. the letter I am now writing you has
taken me two days. I have been obliged therefore to withdraw from
letter-writing but in cases of the most indispensable urgency. a
letter of a page or two costs me a day of labor, & a painful labor.
I have few now to live. should I consign them all to pain? I
ought, if I could to write to yourself, to mr Johnson, mr Rives, mr Gor-
-don, and to mr Loyall too, now one of our fraternity. but what I say
to one you must all be so indulgent as to consider meant for the whole
be so good as to express to mr Loyall my gratification at his being added
to our board, and my hope that he will make Monticello his head-
-quarters whenever he comes up. our meetings you know are always
on Mondays, and the stage passes us the Saturday evening. this gives
an intermediate day for rest, enquiry and consideration.
ever and affectionately yours.