Would it be possible for you to be in Richmond and confer with the gentlemen, together with myself and Miss McKenny, who have prepared the bill as it now stands. I wish too that we might have the privilege of a conference with Dean Page and Mr. Gordon. I had almost made up my mind to go to Charlottesville and Staunton for this purpose, but unfortunately illness has overtaken me. If it were possible for you three gentlemen to meet with our committee here prior to Wednesday next it would certainly be a thing I should most desire and of material benefit in a wise decision of the question raised by your letter. If you could in any way bring this about I should personally be most grateful to you.
I have hoped that the bugbear of the supposed great cost might not be raised in the minds of this Legislature, whose policy is evidently to be one very probably of reduction in the tax rate. It has seemed to me that an over emphasis on the cost of the coordinate college, would certainly be a bad weapon in the hands of those, who like Mr. Hunton, Mr. Taylor, Mr. McGuire and Mr. Harrison of your city, are anxious to defeat the measure. They can much more successfully bring this about by dealing in side issues than by meeting the heart of the question squarely. I think they realize this, and that therefore the emphasis upon commissions and expense has been eagerly seized upon by them. It so happens that the coordinate college at Harvard, at Brown, and at Columbia had in each instance a very modest beginning. In the instance of Barnard College at Columbia with a present endowment of nearly four million and a student body of 800 they made a beginning on an income of $5000 given by friends of the college, which together with the student fees, enable them to run the college for several years by reason of the fact that the professors in Columbia did all the teaching and were paid for their services at the rate of $5 per hour. Knowing these facts I have been loath to have the proportions which in the nature of the case this college will grow, used as a bugbear to suggest either that such large initial expenditure is necessary or that as time goes on the entire expense of the college must be borne by the State. As a matter of fact the pivotal situation of the college in connection with the State University should give us ability to attract students from other parts of the country to attract endowment, to which sources our present University looks for considerably more than two-thirds of its income.
Please come to Richmond and and give us the benefit of your advice, also please help us during the hearings and sessions of the Legislature, and above all will you not, as often and as quickly as anything occurs to your mind, give me the benefit of your wisdom and advice. I am doing the best I can. I went into this work with Beverley Munford by my side, and as much interested as I was, but you know how much I miss his counsel and I am therefore turning to his friends and the strong men of the State to advise me as he would have done.
I note that your fellow townsman, Mrs. Montague, seems to be fighting the proposition very hard. You doubtless know that this seems to be a part of a movement to secure this college for Farmville. I have heard that one of the business organizations in Lynchburg under Mr. Featherston’s leadership, recently passed resolutions adverse to the college. I wish that you might use your influence in Lynchburg to offset the work which Mrs. Montague with the cooperation of some