Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Samuel M. Stephenson to Thomas Jefferson, 10 October 1811

From Samuel M. Stephenson

Belfast the 10 October 1811

Hond Sir

At the Request of our friend D: B. Warden; I herewith send you a small Box, containing 2 Roots of the agrostis Stolonifera in Irish, Fiorin Grass: with printed Directions for the Culture of it. It is often transported in a dry state, I have sent it with the Roots in a little Earth, supposing this the most Successful mode.

As I wish to hear of your Success, in the Culture of our Indigenous Grass; I request a line from you, in Spring. & I am Hond Sir your most obedt Servant

S: M: Stephenson M.D.

RC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Dec. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in William & Samuel Craig to TJ, 29 Nov. 1811. Enclosure not found.

Samuel Martin Stephenson (1742–1833), physician and Presbyterian clergyman, was a native of County Antrim in northern Ireland. He attended Glasgow University, was licensed for the ministry in 1767 and ordained a minister in 1774, and received an M.D. from Edinburgh University in 1776. Stephenson preached and practiced medicine in Greyabbey, County Down, until he relocated to Belfast in 1785. There he became a noted specialist in the treatment of fevers and helped found a dispensary in 1792 and a fever hospital in 1797. Stephenson was also active in the Belfast Literary Society, serving as its vice president, 1802–03, president, 1803–04 and 1811–12, and secretary and treasurer, 1805–06. He presented seventeen papers before the society on topics ranging from lightning to lyric poetry, and he published a number of religious, medical, historical, and antiquarian works. Stephenson served as vice president of Belfast’s Linen Hall Library, 1814–17, and as its president, 1817–28. He gave up the practice of medicine in 1821 and took up farming (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1901, 22 vols. description ends ; ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Belfast Literary Society, 1801–1901: Historical Sketch [1902], 151, 185).

Index Entries

  • agriculture; and Belfast Literary Society search
  • Belfast Literary Society search
  • fiorin grass; sent to TJ search
  • grass; fiorin search
  • Stephenson, Samuel Martin; and fiorin grass search
  • Stephenson, Samuel Martin; identified search
  • Stephenson, Samuel Martin; letters from search
  • Warden, David Bailie; and fiorin grass search