To Joel Barlow Feb. 24, 1806

The Letters of Thomas Jefferson

I return you the draft of the bill for the establishment of a National Academy & University at the city of Washington, with such alterations as we talked over the last night. They are chiefly verbal. I have often wished we could have a Philosophical society or academy so organized as that while the central academy should be at the seat of government, it's members dispersed over the states, should constitute filiated academies in each state, publish their communications, from which the central academy should select unpublished what should be most choice. In this way all the members wheresoever dispersed might be brought into action, and an useful emulation might arise between the filiated societies. Perhaps the great societies now existing might incorporate themselves in this way with the National one. But time does not allow me to pursue this idea, nor perhaps had we time at all to get it into the present bill. I procured an Agricultural society to be established (voluntarily) on this plan, but it has done nothing.

Friendly salutations.