Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Lyons, 14 May 1791

From James Lyons

Hanover town. May 14th. 1791.


I received, a few weeks past, a letter from Dr. Currie of Philadelphia, informing me of his preparing for the press, a history of the diseases which occur in the different parts of America and which will be printed next month. As the design is laudable, and the work may be useful, tho’ he is quite unknown to me, I have endeavoured to comply with his request for my assistance, by giving him such information on the subject, as I could from the short notice and the interruption of Medical practice. The pleasure, which you have always appeared to enjoy, in communicating information yourself, and in assisting those, who endeavoured the same, has induced me to address the inclosed to you, as it will be conveyed easily, I hope, and save the considerable expence of postage, without being any to you. That it may not be thought an unwarrantable liberty will give considerable satisfaction; and at the same time it affords a pleasing opportunity of assuring you, that I am, Sir, With the most respectful regard, Your very humbl. Servt.,

Jas. Lyons

RC (ViW); addressed: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Secretary of State Philadelphia”; endorsed by TJ as received at Bennington, Vt., 4 June 1791 and so recorded in SJL.

The work in preparation was An historical account of the climates and diseases of the United States (Philadelphia, 1792) by William Currie (1754–1828), a privately trained surgeon who engaged in controversy with Benjamin Rush (L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, ii, 674n.). Currie was a founding member of the College of Physicians and was elected to the American Philosophical Society the year his work was published. So far as the record indicates, TJ did not respond to Lyons’ letter or engage in correspondence with Currie.

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