Letter to the Vice President

Letter to the Vice President, November 15, 1794

Dear Sir: I have not been able to give the papers herewith enclosed more than a hasty reading; returning them, without delay, that you may offer the perusal of them to whom soever you shall think proper.

The picture drawn in them, of the Genevese, is really interesting and affecting. The proposition of transplanting the members, entire, of the University of that place to America, with the requisition of means to establish the same, and to be accompanied by a considerable emigration is important; requiring more consideration, than, under the circumstances of the moment I am able to bestow on it.

That a National University in this country is a thing to be desired, has always been my decided opinion; and the appropriation of ground and funds for it in the Federal City, have long been contemplated and talked of; but how far matured, or how far the transplanting of an entire Saminary of Foreigners, who may not understand our Language, can be assimilated therein is more than I am prepared to give an opinion upon, or indeed how far funds in either case are attainable.

My opinion, with respect to emigration, is, that except of useful Mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement: while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people.

I shall, at any leasure hour, after the Session is fairly opened, have pleasure in a full and free conversation with you on this subject, being, with much esteem &c