Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Morrell to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January 1813

From Robert Morrell

Washington jan 22–1813


about two months since in paris was commited to my special care a book addressed to the Hon. Mr Jefferson which I this day put in the post office

during my stay of some months in the capital I made science a principal object which occasionally led me into the society of some of J’s acquaintances among others Mr Cuvier frequently made respectful mention of his name

Mr Wm MacClure who is in the scientific road also talked of the americain Worthy in that style of admiration which every man will who for a moment contemplates his character

I have the honor to be Your most obdt servt

Robt Morrell M.D.

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); at foot of text: “Hon. Thos Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 Jan. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Morrell (ca. 1790–1857) earned a medical degree in 1810 from Columbia College (later University) in New York after defending a dissertation on animal heat. He served as a naval surgeon in New Orleans, 1810–15, and was present at the American defeat of a British army there in the latter year. Morrell married the daughter of a French artillery officer and moved to San Marcos, Cuba, where he established himself as a physician and plantation owner, raising coffee, sugarcane, and tobacco. He also provided hospitality there to traveling Americans seeking a warm climate and healing springs. Morrell and his family returned to Philadelphia in 1852 (Milton Halsey Thomas, Columbia University Officers and Alumni 1754–1857 [1936], 179; Morrell, An Inaugural Dissertation on Animal Heat [New York, 1810]; Callahan, U.S. Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, 1901, repr. 1969 description ends , 391; The Necrology of Harvard College, 1869–1872 [1872], 97–8; Abiel Abbot, Letters Written in the Interior of Cuba … in the Months of February, March, April and May 1828 [1829], 133, 194, appendix; Megan Marshall, The Peabody Sisters: Three Women who Ignited American Romanticism [2005], 268, 271–2; Interment Register, Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, 4 Dec. 1857).

Morrell arrived in Baltimore from France on 13 Jan. 1813, carrying dispatches from Joel Barlow and copies of an engraving of James Madison sent by David Bailie Warden (New York Statesman, 20 Jan. 1813; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 5:453–4, 470). The enclosure entrusted two months since to Morrell’s special care was probably Isaac Cox Barnet to TJ, 21 Nov. 1812, and enclosure, which TJ received the same day as the above letter.

Index Entries

  • Barlow, Joel; mentioned search
  • Barnet, Isaac Cox; sends books to TJ search
  • Cuvier, Georges; on TJ search
  • Maclure, William; on TJ search
  • Madison, James; engraving of search
  • Morrell, Robert; forwards book to TJ search
  • Morrell, Robert; identified search
  • Morrell, Robert; letters from search
  • Warden, David Bailie; mentioned search