Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Brown, 13 November 1813

To Samuel Brown

Monticello Nov. 13. 1813.

Dear Sir

On the 24th of April I took the liberty of putting under your cover a letter for James L. Henderson of Washita, and in yours of May 25. you were so kind as to state to me the conveyance you had procured for it, and the probability that an answer might be returned by the same person. none having been recieved, I fear that Henderson1 does not mean to answer, altho’ in that letter I only asked from him some particular information as to facts which he alone possesses, and which might enable me to compromise advantageously, or perhaps defeat the claim set up to the lands he sold me. I asked for nothing but the information he possessed, saying nothing about his responsibility, because I believe it worth nothing as he went off to Washita bankrupt, this of course renders his information the more important to me and therefore I write him another letter & again trouble you with the request to find a conveyance to him. I do not know his particular residence at Washita, nor whether there is a post to that country, or what his nearest post office is, nor even do I know in what state or territory it is. if I could learn these particulars, I might save you the trouble of being the medium of our correspondence. it would be still more important to me if I could find out some good character near him whom I could request to confer with him & communicate the result.

The Capsicum which accompanied your letters recieved in June, was of course too late for that season, but I shall give it a fair trial in the spring. if it proves more equal to our climate than our former kinds it will be a valuable addition to our gardens. I sent some of it to Dr Sheecut of S. Carolina, author of the Flora Caroliniensis, and some to mr McMahon of Philadelphia, that it might be tried in those places also.

A medical gentleman called on me a few days ago, on his way to Washington to obtain a patent for a medical machine invented by Dr Jennings of Lynchburg, which, after an experience of 6. months they consider almost as a Panacea. it is a tin quadrantal tube, like that in the margin about 3. feet long, 4.I. diameter at the lower end and 2.I. at the upper. into the square aperture at bottom is set a small tin cup of ardent spirits, which are kindled, and the fumes issue at the small end which is introduced into the bed of the patient, under the bedclothes, and the fumes permitted to apply as an atmosphere to the whole body, or to any particular part of it, as the Doctor & patient may chuse. it produces what degree of sweat you desire. he uses it as a substitute for the water bath, but ascribes abundance of other effects to it. of these you will form better conceptions than I can. I was almost tempted to let him try his invention on my chronic rheumatism under which I have been suffering much for some weeks past. but I consider that an old crazy carcase like mine is not a safe subject for new experiments. with every wish for your health & happiness accept the assurance of my great friendship and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Doctr Samuel Brown.” Enclosure: TJ to James L. Henderson, 12 Nov. 1813, recorded in SJL, but not found.

TJ received only one letter from Brown in june; that of 13 June arrived at Monticello on 1 July 1813. The medical gentleman who had recently called on TJ may have been Daniel Hall, of Baltimore.

1Word interlined in place of “that man.”

Index Entries

  • bath; portable search
  • bird pepper search
  • Brown, Samuel; and Henderson case search
  • Brown, Samuel; and S. K. Jennings’s medical invention search
  • Brown, Samuel; and seeds for TJ search
  • Brown, Samuel; letters to search
  • Flora Carolinæensis (Shecut) search
  • Hall, Daniel search
  • health; rheumatism search
  • Henderson, James L.; and Henderson estate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; rheumatism search
  • Jennings, Samuel Kennedy; portable bath of search
  • machines; portable bath search
  • McMahon, Bernard; TJ sends seeds to search
  • medicine; use of heat in search
  • pepper; bird search
  • seeds; pepper search
  • seeds; sent by TJ search
  • seeds; sent to TJ search
  • Shecut, John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge; Flora Carolinæensis search
  • Shecut, John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge; TJ sends bird pepper to search
  • spices; bird pepper search