At first glance, the Chair’s future appeared secure. Yet, symptomatic problems developed. First, the gentlemanly Professor Thompson retired and the new leadership at the Miller Center grew suddenly uncomfortable about the congruity of the Kosciuszko Chair’s program with one of the Center’s main mission — to study the US Presidency.
Somehow the Chinese Chair functioning at the Miller Center failed to raise similar concerns. Second, some questions arose regarding the role that UVA’s Department of History should play as far as the jurisdiction of the Chair was concerned. Third, the State of Virginia was experiencing a budget crunch which resulted in an unfulfilled pledge of matching funds for the Chair. Fourth, problems developed while searching for a suitable candidate. The eminent British historian Norman Davies, who was to be the original holder of the Chair, declined to be involved with the American academia after his abysmal treatment by
Did you Know?Kosciuszko and Jefferson:A Friendship Built on Love of LibertyThe friendship between Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Thomas Jefferson began with their common interests in freedom and liberty for their countries. Both men lived in Philadelphia in the late 1790s, and they met frequently, at times almost daily, to discuss important matters of the day. Not only friends, but statesmen who cooperated in their quests to secure independence for their homelands. Kosciuszko left the United States in 1798 on a diplomatic mission on behalf of both countries, a trip that was arranged by Jefferson.A strong advocate of the Polish cause, Jefferson wrote regarding Poland’s situation at this time: “A wound was indeed inflicted on the character of honor in the eighteen century by the partition of Poland.” Frequent correspondence kept the two in close contact following Kosciuszko’s return to Europe. Jefferson was even elected to the Polish Royal Society of the Friends of Science in 1810. One of their common concerns was the situation of slaves in the United States. In his will, which is in U. VA’s Alderman Library, Kosciuszko left Jefferson his American estate so that it could be used to pursue the causes of freedom and education of American slaves.