Washington 6 february 1807
The Situation of the sick and infirm American Seamen at New Orleans, and the impossibility of providing in a suitable Manner for their wants under the present limited appropriation while there is no Marine Hospital in that City, nor any other public Building which could be made use of for the purpose, induced me to apply a short time since to the Secretary of the Treasury on the subject. That Officer was of Opinion that the peculiar Situation of that place, the great exposure of the Seamen & Boatmen navigating to it, and their annually increasing Numbers would authorise a greater expenditure, and that as at present, on account of the want of a Marine Hospital the major part of the Sum was expended in procuring admittance and relief for a few who were first taken sick, in a Charity Hospital belonging to an Individual, for which 75 Cents per man per day were paid, it might be adviseable to erect a Building in New Orleans for the purpose. The Secretary of the Treasury further suggested that if the Corporation would undertake for a certain weekly Sum to support and have the Sick attended to, he believed you might be induced to appropriate part of the Fund destined for the relief of the Seamen to the creation of an Hospital—this I have no hesitation in saying the Corporation will very willingly undertake, if a Sum of about 20,000 Dollars should be advanced for the purpose, by which it would be enabled, by the addition of other funds of its own to build an Hospital where the Seamen, and Poor of the City could be all accommodated. The adoption of such a Plan would permit relief to be afforded with the present appropriation to near double the number of Patients now admitted, and the Secretary of the Treasury having advised me to lay the subject before you in writing, I have presumed to do so, in the hope that you will take it into Consideration and afford such relief to the suffering Seamen as you may have it in your power to extend to them.
The annexed remarks furnished by Doctor Barnewell will shew how necessary it is that some change should take place to better the Condition of the Patients and should it please you to direct any proposal to be made to the Corporation I may venture to assert that it will be immediately attended to and acted on in such a manner as to fulfill your most sanguine expectations.
I have the Honor to remain with the greatest respect
Sir Your most obedient Servant
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.