Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Murray, 4 July 1803

From Charles Murray

London 4th. July 1803.


I have the honour, by the direction of the Royal Jennerian Society for the Extermination of the Small pox, to entreat Your acceptance of the Society’s Address and it’s other publications.

The ardour already manifested in the United States in promoting the Vaccine Inoculation, and the progress which it has made there under Your Auspices, sufficiently evince Sir, that no inducements are wanting to engage You in this great cause of benevolence.

It cannot however but be satisfactory to You to be informed of the origin and Success of an Establishment which has received the most august Patronage in this Country, and from which, as it tends to systematize, and by every possible means encourage the diffusion of the new Practice, the greatest advantages may be expected.

With Sentiments of the highest Respect, I have the honour to be Sir! Your most devoted, and most humble Servant

Charles Murray


RC (ViW: Tucker-Coleman Collection); at foot of first page: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Sep. and “Secy. of Royl Jennerian society” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Address of the Royal Jennerian Society, for the Extermination of the Small-Pox, with the Plan, Regulations, and Instructions for Vaccine Inoculation (London, 1803; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 948).

Son of a prominent, philanthropic-minded physician and brother to another, Charles Murray (1768–1847) became a lawyer and devoted his energies to several relief organizations over the course of his life. Having developed a professional relationship with Edward Jenner, Murray became secretary to the board of directors of the Royal Jennerian Society, which sought to spread the use of cowpox vaccination in London. The Society disbanded over medical disagreements in 1809, but Murray remained close to Jenner and was named that year secretary of the Jenner-headed National Vaccine Establishment. He retained the position into the 1820s. Afterwards he became steward of a country estate near Plymouth (Gentleman’s Magazine, new ser., 27, pt. 1 [1847], 554–6; “Report of the Select committee on the Vaccine Board, with the Minutes of Evidence, and an Appendix,” London Monthly Review, 3d ser., 3 [1833], 437–8; Richard B. Fisher, Edward Jenner, 1749–1823 [London, 1991], 138, 169–70, 199).

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