University of Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes (July 4–7, 1840)


At its meeting of July 4–7, 1840, the University of Virginia board of visitors discusses a number of issues, including the rights of students living off Grounds to retain their personal slaves.


Saturday July 4th. 1840.

The stated annual meeting of the Board of Visitors of the University, in obedience to the commission of the Governor of the state conferring their appointments, was held at the University on the 4th day of July 1840: Present Chapman Johnson, Joseph C. Cabell, John H. Cocke, Ths. J. Randolph, and Wm. C. Rives.

Mr. Johnson was unanimously chosen Rector.

The Reports of the Bursar & Proctor were handed in. The following resolutions were passed.

1. Resolved that the Book of the Chairman be referred to Mr. Rives to read and note such parts of it as may require the action of the Board.

2. Resolved that the Book of the Faculty be referred to Mr. Randolph to read & to note such parts of it as may require the action of the Board.

3. Resolved that Messrs. Cabell & Cocke be appointed a committee of Inspection.

4. Mr. Rives was appointed a committee of Finance,

5. Resolved, that in consequence of the Board having granted to Mr. Tucker leave of absence from the University in order that he might make a trip to Europe, which could not be accomplished with certainty in any precise number of days, the abatement made from Mr. Tucker’s Salary of one hundred & forty four dollars, be remitted.

6. Resolved that the application of Smith Bankhead contain’d in his letter of July 1st 1840 to be excused from the observance of the Uniform Law, be rejected.

7. Resolved that the application of Th: H. Watts to be permitted to take the Degree of A. M. without the required graduation in the Greek language & Literature, be rejected.

The Board then took a recess to attend the Exercises of the Public Day.

They met again in the Afternoon; but, that the several committees might have time to prepare their reports, adjourned to meet again on Monday.

Monday, July 6th. 1840. Present as on Saturday.

In consequence of Mr. Cabell’s indisposition Messrs. Rives & Randolph were added to the Committee of Inspection.

The Committee of Finance reported.

The committee of the Faculty, to whom was referred the subject of a supply of water for the University made a report, which was ordered to be laid upon the Table.

The following resolutions were passed:

1. Resolved that Doct: Henry Howard be appointed Professor of Medicine in the University of Virginia.

About 12 O. C. M. Mr. Randolph retired from the Board.

2. Resolved that Professor Davis be appointed Chairman of the Faculty for the ensuing year.

3. The Proctor having appointed A. C. Grimm Hotel Keeper, and having submitted to the Board his Bond with the endorsement thereon of an agreement between himself & Mrs. Margaret Ward—Resolved that the arrangement indicated by the endorsement aforesaid be approved by the Board.

A letter from the professors of the Medical school to the Visitors on the subject of the disadvantages of the site of the present Infirmary, & recommending to the Board to authorise another Building to be rented for the purpose between the University & the town of Charlottesville having been laid before the Board: Messrs. Cabell, Rives, & Randolph, the Committee on the preceeding resolution.

4. Resolved that a Committee of Visitors be appointed and charged with the duty of confering with the Professors of the Medical School as to the details of the most expedient plan of an Infirmary to be attached to the Medical School of the University, & of making enquiries as to a suitable site for said Infirmary, and that the Committee make report to the next annual meeting of the Visitors: Messrs. Cabell, Rives, & Randolph, the comm’ee on the preceding resolution.

5. Resolved that the sentence of Expulsion pronounced by the Faculty against Henry C. Chambers and John W. Pope be remitted. The Visitors, in thus interposing between the sentence of the Faculty and it’s execution, do not intend to cast the shadow of censure on that Body, who could not have done otherwise than apply the penalty of the Law to a manifest violation of it. But an application by those Students to the Board, praying a remission of their sentence presents an array of circumstances & considerations strongly and respectfully urged in extenuation of their transgression, which, in the opinion of the Board, should make an effectual appeal to their favorable consideration.

A letter from the professor of Natural Philosophy having been read wherein application is made to the Visitors to augment & improve the means of illustration in his department:

6. Resolved that the said Professor have authority to procure, on account of the University the list of Instruments specified in his letter, and such others as he may deem essential, provided the whole cost thereof do not exceed three hundred Dollars, and that the proctor shall be authorised to draw on the Bursar for the requisite amount.

7. Resolved that the Proctor refund to professors Tucker and Cabell without Interest the sums which are or shall be severally advanced by them for the improvements and additions heretofore authorised to be made in the pavilions respectively occupied by them.

8. Resolved that the accounts of the Proctor, Patron & Bursar, during the periods for which they may not have been already examined and reported upon, together with the report of Commissioner Watson on the accounts of the Patron for the Session of 1838–9 be referred to a committee of two members of this Board, and that the said committee be authorised to employ an accountant to aid them in the investigation if they shall deem it necessary to do so:- Messrs. Rives & Randolph were appointed a Committee to carry the preceeding resolution into effect.

About dinner time Mr. Rives withdrew from the Board, which being thus left without a quorum, adjourned till tomorrow.

Tuesday July 7. The board met. Present Messrs. Johnson, Cabell, Cocke & Randolph.

The following resolutions were passed

1. Resolved that all favorable recommendations for admissions of Students under age by the Faculty be referred to the Executive Committee, who may admit such as they deem within the equity of the enactments.

2. Resolved that the sum of $256.42 be allowed professor Blaetterman for the alterations and additions to his premises in 1835 as per the statement of G. W. Spooner of July 3d 1837, and James Lobban’s account of Nov. 1st. 1835, the sum of seventy two dollars for paving having been stricken from Lobban’s account.

3. Resolved that the Executive Committee report to the Board at their next meeting the proper appropriation of the lecture rooms directed to be fitted up in the Gymnasia.

4. Resolved that the 2d & 3d branches of the communication of Professor Davis in his letter to the Board of July 6th 1840 be referred to the Executive Committee to be acted upon according to their discretion.

5. Resolved that the proctor be directed to pay to Professors Rogers & Harrison the proportion of fees & salary with[h]eld in consequence of their absences during the past session.

6. Resolved, that the consolidated report which the Chairman is now required to prepare, be dispensed with; and that instead thereof, it shall be his duty to prepare and lay before the Visitors, at the commencement of every annual meeting, a report, founded on the weekly class reports of the professors, showing the number of times on which every professor shall have fail’d to meet his class on the days & hours prescribed by Law, or fixed by the Faculty, together with the reasons of such failure when appearing in the reports; and also the number of times that each professor shall have failed to make his  weekly class reports, as required by the Enactments.

7. Resolved, that two orations may be hereafter delivered by Students of the University, at the close of the Session as a part of the Exercises of the public day; who shall be thus selected. The Chairman, shortly after the commencement of every session, shall give a general invitation to the Students to prepare orations, under such restrictions as to length & subject as he shall deem expedient to be submitted to him on or before the 1st of May ensuing, accompanied each by the name of the author in a seal’d envelope. From these compositions, the Faculty shall select the two best, which shall be spoken on the public day; & return the others to their respective authors, with the seals unbroken.

8. Resolved, that the Faculty be authorised to confer on those Students who obtain distinction in the several schools a certificate to that effect, signed by the professor of the  school.

9. Resolved, that a suitable form of certificate of proficiency, and of the Diploma to be conferred upon those Students who obtain the degree of Master of Arts of the University, & the necessary plates for the purpose be provided by the Chairman.

10. Resolved that the graduates in the School of Law shall have the title of Bachellor of Law.

11. Resolved that the proctor be instructed to sell or hire out Lewis the property of the University and to purchase or hire a suitable servant in his place.

12. Resolved, that the proctor be directed to pay the account of Wm. B. Rogers amounting to 80 dollars for 8 cases for the preservation of shells presented to the University by John A. Carr.

13. Resolved, that no Student residing out of the University shall, without leave of the Faculty, keep a servant, horse or dog, upon pain of any of the major or minor punishments.

It appearing that the new book presses recently placed in the Library are improperly planned and defectively constructed:

14. Resolved, that the Chairman of the Faculty be requested to ascertain and to report to the Visitors at their next meeting the cause of the error in the plan & the authority by which so large a number of presses was procured and paid for; & by what means, if there be any by which the defects may be remedied.

15. Resolved, that the plan for converting the Gymnasia into two apartments for lecture rooms submitted by Genl. Cocke be adopted; and that the proctor, under the supervision of the Executive Committee, in order to have the same executed, be directed to advertise forthwith for contractors to undertake the work, and the proposals be accepted which may be offered upon the best terms, & under circumstances which may afford the best hope of the fulfilment of the wishes of the Board in getting the job done of the best materials, faithfully put together, and at fair & reasonable prices, & to be compleated as soon as practicable: including the excavation of a space at least four feet wide parallel with the South walls, of the said Gymnasia, & extending from the steps of the Rotunda to the porticos of the Pavilions 1 & 2 respectively. This excavated passage to be sunk six inches below the level of the floors of the new rooms, to be faced with a brick wall laid in hydraulic cement up to the level of the Lawn & capt with cut stone & the bottom paved with hard brick, inclining from the walls of the rooms half an inch to the foot, with a graduated blind drain at the base of the outer wall to deliver the water by a continuation of the drain beyond the arched entries at the east & west ends of the said  lecture rooms. And

16. Resolved further that the sky light of the Rotunda be altered agreeably to a plan at the same time submitted by Genl. Cocke and that it be executed under the arrangements already directed in the case of the alterations in the Gymnasia.

The Committee of Inspection submitted a report, accompanied by the following resolutions which were adopted.

17. Resolved that it shall be the duty of the Librarian to cause the floor of the Hall and galleries of the Library to be scoured immediately preceeding the opening of each session of the University and at the commencement of each succeeding quarter thereafter, and as much oftener as may be necessary to keep them in a clean & neat condition; and that he be authorised to call upon the Proctor for the hirelings of the University to perform that service.

18. Resolved, that it shall be the duty of the Librarian to cause the hall and galleries of the Library to be swept once every day, & that he shall be authorised to employ the servant who attends at the Rotunda and rings the Bell to perform this service.

19. Resolved, that the Proctor be required to cause the Hall and galleries of the Library to be newly painted.

20. Resolved that, there being various volumes in the Library, inclusive of a portion of books in Mr. Bohn’s donation, which it is expedient to have immediately bound, the annual appropriation of tharty dollars for binding books shall, for the next year be augmented, if necessary, to one hundred and fifty dollars, and it shall be the duty of the Librarian, under the superintendance and direction of the Faculty to cause the aforesaid volumes to be properly bound, and to draw upon the Proctor for the sum necessary to defray the Expense.

21. Resolved, that the 8th section of the 5th Chapter of the Enactments be amended so that all books which may have been taken out of the Library shall be returned thereto on or before the 30th of June in every year, and every person whether professor or other individual who shall violate this injunction shall be liable to a fine of twenty five cents for every day that any book or number of a periodical may be unlawfully withheld.

22. Resolved, that the 12th section of the 5th Chapter of the Enactments be amended so that any professor of the University who shall take any book or books, or one or more numbers of periodicals from the library without leaving with the Librarian a note of such books, or periodicals shall, for every such book or periodical so unlawfully taken pay a fine of one dollar.

23. Resolved, that it shall be the duty of the Librarian to report to the Proctor at the end of every quarter all fines incurred by withholding or taking books or periodicals from the Library in violation of the provisions of either of the preceeding resolutions and it shall be the duty of the Proctor forthwith to collect such fines.

24. Resolved, that the professor of natural philosophy be authorised to procure a press for holding such of the objects in Mr. Jefferson‘s donation as cannot otherwise be properly preserved, and also to have such objects in the Philosophical and astronomical apparatus repaired as he may think require repair, and that he be authorised to draw upon the Proctor for the money necessary to pay for such press & such repairs provided it shall not exceed in the whole, the sum of one hundred dollars.

25. Resolved, that the proctor be required to cause to be made in the backyard contiguous to the pavilion of professor Bonnycastle & at the expense of the Professor the enclosure referred to in his letter to the Board of Visitors of the 4th July; it being understood that the portion of ground to be embraced in said enclosure shall not extend further from the South wall of the Pavilion than the length of two Dormitories.

26. Resolved, that the proctor be authorised to cause the cellar under the Dormitory occupied as a study by Professor Bonnycastle to be fitted up for the accommodation of his Domestics, on condition that should such improvement cost more than forty Dollars, the excess over that amount, shall be at the charge of the Professor.

27. Resolved, that the proctor cause Venetian Doors to be annexed to the passage of Professor Bonnycastle’s pavilion on the side thereof next the Lawn, at the expense of the University.

28. Resolved, that the proctor be required to place a new superstructure over the porch in the rear of Professor Roger’s pavilion & to cause to be made a neat painted plank enclosure in the backyard contiguous to his pavilion and parallel to the north wall of the same, embracing a breadth of ground equal to the length of the adjacent Dormitory; provided that said plank enclosure shall be erected at the charge of the professor.

29. Resolved, that a circular, painted plank enclosure extending from the S.E. corner of the garden wall to the nearest corner of Professor Howard’s pavilion be caused to be erected by the proctor provided it be done at the charge of the professor.

30. Resolved, that permission be given to continue the plank enclosures in the backyards on the south sides of professor Cabell’s & Blaetterman’s pavilions, and in the backyards on the north sides of professor Bonnycastle’s & Harrison’s pavilions, provided that the old planking, wherever requiring repair, be taken down & neatly renewed & that the whole shall be painted; and the expense charged to the respective professor’s.

31. Resolved, that in all cases where glass has been broken and still calls for renewal in the windows of the pavilions, that the proctor cause the glass to be replaced as soon as practicable, at the expense of the respective professors.

32. Resolved, that the proctor be required, as soon as practicable to cause to be replaced all the glass broken in the buildings of the University where, by the enactments the expense of glazing is at the charge of the University.

33. Resolved, that the proctor be required to cause the slate roofs of the University to be search’d with a view to replace any defective slate, and that it shall be his duty to cause to be corrected as soon as practicable, the leaks in the said slate roofs, or in the other roofs of the University.

34. Resolved, that the large hall in the basement story of the Anatomical Theatre occupied as a lecture room by the Professor of Medicine being insufficiently warmed in winter by the small stoves on the sides of said apartment, the proctor be required to procure and caused to be fitted up a large additional stove in the centre of said lecture room.

35. Resolved that the proctor be required to remove all trees now growing within twelve feet from any wall at the University which appear to be doing injury to such wall unless objection should be made by the occupant of the ground enclosed in which case he shall report such objection to the Board of Visitors; and it shall be his duty to prevent the planting in future of any tree within fifteen feet of any of the walls.

The Board then adjourned sine die.

Frank Carr secty.

July 7, 1840
The University of Virginia board of visitors states that "no Student residing out of the University shall, without leave of the Faculty, keep a servant, horse or dog, upon pain of any of the major or minor punishments."
APA Citation:
University of Virginia Board of Visitors. University of Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes (July 4–7, 1840). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
University of Virginia Board of Visitors. "University of Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes (July 4–7, 1840)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 22 May. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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