James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William West, 28 March 1815

Dartmoor Prison March the 28th: 1815

Honoured and respected Sir

From the general philanthropy of your character and liberality of sentiment no apology is deemed requisite for introducing to your particular notice and that of the nation at large Doctor George Magrath, principal of the Medical Department for the American Prisoners of war in England.

It is impossible for us to speak of this Gentleman in terms that will do Justice to his superior professional science, brilliant talents, the exemplary virtues of his heart, the urbanity and easy accessibility of his manners: his unremitting assiduities, and unwearied exertions, in combating a succession of diseases of the most exasperated and malignant character, which prevailed among the prisoners.

At the first forming of the Depot, Pneumonia in its worst form, generally prevailed, which degenerated into a still more dangerous species of pulmonic complaint, namely Peripneumonia Notha, which was rapidly succeeded by a putrid kind of measles, and that destructive malady followed by Malignant Small pox, which spread rapidly; dismay and apprehension was painted on every countenance. Doctor Magrath’s, time and attention were fully occupied in the Hospital and in vaccinating the prisoners. From his unprecedented

page missing

William West

Henry Sherburn} Prests No 1 Prison

Charles Dexter

Thomas B Frost} Committe No 3

For and in behalf of the American Prisoners of War at this Depot

DNA: RG 59--DD-Diplomatic Despatches, Great Britain.

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