Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 14 March 1792

To Henry Lee

Philadelphia Mar. 14. 1792.


The President having referred to me your letter of Feb. 16. covering information from Dr. Taylor as president of the Commrs. of the Marine hospital at Norfolk, informing you that a wing of that hospital is in readiness to be delivered to Congress I am obliged to ask your further information on the subject. Is it a new proposition? If it is, we can find no provision made by any law for such a case. Or has any thing passed before between the state and general government on the subject? If there has, we have not been able to find any traces of it so as to resume the matter. Your information hereon is asked, that we may know what is to be done.—I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect & esteem Your Excellency’s most obedt. & most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (PHi); at foot of text: “H. E. Govr. Lee”; addressed: “His Excellency Governor Lee Richmond”; franked; postmarked: “14 MR” and “FR[EE]”; endorsed. PrC (DLC). FC (DNA: RG 360, DL).

Lee’s letter to the President had merely transmitted an extract from Dr. James Taylor, one of the commissioners of the marine hospital (CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State PapersPreserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875-1893 description ends , v, 130). The proposed transfer of the marine hospital to the United States was not a new proposition, but when first introduced in the House of Representatives in November 1791, it had been directed to the Secretary of the Treasury for consideration. Hamilton reported on the matter on 17 Apr. 1792 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett and others, New York, 1961-1979, 27 vols. description ends , xi, 294–7).

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