Lexington VA: 28 Nov 65
At a late meeting of the Board of Trustees of Washington College, it was resolved, with a view to a more thorough & extended course of scientific instruction; & to the liberal & practical education of the industrial classes; to establish five additional Professorships; without interfering with the regular classical & literary course.
The Professorships proposed are those of Practical Chemistry, Experimental Philosophy & practical mechanics, Applied Mathematics, Modern Languages, History & Literature.
Such a course of instruction, is requisite to meet present events of the country; & enable those young men who do not desire to devote themselves to special professions, requiring specific studies after graduating, to enter at once upon the active pursuits of life. To you who are so conversant with the necessities of the country, & its vast underdeveloped resources; the benefit of applying scientific knowledge & research, to agriculture, mining, manufacturing, architecture, & the con- (page 2) construction of ordinary roads, R. Roads, canals, bridges etc, will be at once apparent; & it is hoped will elicit your approval. To provide the funds necessary for the execution of this project, the Board of Trustees rely upon the patriotism of the people; & the citizens of Rockbridge & adjacent counties, notwithstanding their impoverished condition; are responding with generosity, which they always evince towards measures of national importance. Their efforts I am sure, will be strengthened by your sympathy; & your influence will cheer them in their meritorious work. The success of their cherished design, I am equally sure , will be peculiarly gratifying to me, who has already done so much for the advancement of agriculture & the relief of the husband-man; not only of his native state, but for a grateful world; & it is this consideration that has emboldened me, to bring it to your notice.
I am Sir with great resepct
Your obt servt
R E Lee
Cyrus McCormick Esqr