Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Snowden, 29 September 1803

To Samuel Snowden

Washington Sep. 29. 03.


I pray you to recieve & apply the within sum of one hundred dollars to the use of those among you afflicted with the present sickness, who may be in need of it. I further request that no acknolegement may be made of it in the public papers, nor otherwise in any manner. I offer my best wishes for the reestablishment of the health of Alexandria, & to yourself my respectful salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); at foot of text: “Mr. S. Snowden”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Recorded in SJL with notation “100. D. Alexa.”

Samuel Snowden (1776-1831) was printer and publisher of several Alexandria newspapers over the course of his life, including the Alexandria Daily Advertiser in 1803. In his financial memorandum for this day, TJ recorded $100 given to Snowden, as secretary for the Alexandria Committee of Health, “in charity for the sick of Alexandria.” Honoring TJ’s request for anonymity, Snowden printed in his newspaper the committee chairman’s acknowledgment “with gratitude, the receipt of 100 dollars from a gentleman, who has requested that his name may not be published.” Yet in the appendix of the local Presbyterian pastor’s published sermon on the yellow fever, James Muir listed the “cheerful and voluntary contributions of citizens and of neighbours both in their collective and individual capacities” as of 16 Nov. 1803, and recorded a donation of $100 “supposed to be the President” (James Muir, Death Abolished: A Sermon [Alexandria, 1803; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819, New York, 1958-63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 4690]; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:1105; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767-1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1109; Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780-1820, Bowie, Md., 1991-92, 2 vols. description ends , 2:142; Alexandria Advertiser, 13 and 30 Sep. 1803; Vol. 36:272n).

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