Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Samuel Brown to Thomas Jefferson, 4 May 1814

From Samuel Brown

Natchez May 4th 1814

Dear Sir.

The last mail from Catahoula brought me The enclosed Letter from Judge Lewis which seems to close all prospect of obtaining the information you wished from the papers of Mr Henderson. From the statement of the time of his Death, I am disposed to beleive, that your communication of may last never reached him but has probably been returned to the General Post office, from that of Catahoula where it was deposited about the beginning of June by my friend Dr Smith.

Although we submitted to the Embargo without much murmuring it never was a very popular measure here as is sufficiently evinced by the joy manifested by the people on receiving the news of its repeal. In time of war money is what we most want and I would rather sell my superfluous provisions to my enemy to enable me to buy arms & amunition to blow his brains out than attempt the less heroic measure of starving him to Death—In time of war taxes must be paid and unanimity at1 home is essential to national power & I fear this has not been promoted by the restrictive system—A few speculators have engrossed the greatest part of our last years crop of cotton at about six or seven cents per lb and many of our farmers are not able to pay the current expences of their plantations. What benefit the community at large may have derived from the measure I do not pretend to determine—as my means of information are extremely limited.

What will be the event of the great struggle in Europe? Will the usurper be able to transmit his throne and titles to his Son or will the Bourbons be restored?—

A fatal disease the Typhoid Pleurisy has spread itself over a great part of the western Country. From the beneficial effects of hot bathing I am persuaded that Dr Jennings’ apparatus would have saved a multitude of lives had it been in general use. There are few families among the middling & poorer classes of people where a hot bath can be obtained without expos[ing] the patient to many inconveniences & the attendants to much trou[ble.] I long to see a good history of this Epidemic. It exhibited some features of a very peculiar kind. Every evil has its benefit—It will check the rage for Bleeding which had become perniciously fashionable in the Philadelphia school of medicine—and with the indiscriminate and unlimited use of mercury has done more mischief than a dozen of Epidemics—

With sentiments of perfect respect & the most sincere wishes for your happiness

I am Yo mo obt

Sam Brown

RC (DLC); edge trimmed; at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 June 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas C. Lewis to Brown, Ouachita Parish, 7 Mar. 1814, stating that “I am confident Majr Henderson never Recd the letter You mention from Mr Jefferson to him relative to the Title of a certain tract of Land, or I should certainly have heard him speak of it. neither is there any such letter among his Papers; Nor any Note or Memom touching the subject, upon diligent search, which I have made with Pleasure, tho sorry not to have found any information required, Pr Your Request: Jas L. Henderson departed this life at the House of Mr Jas Barlow’s of this Parish on the 9th of June last past”; the letter also welcomes the possibility of peace, argues that the war has fostered industry and prosperity in the South, and complains of the difficulty in obtaining news with the nearest post office eighty miles away (RC in DLC: TJ Papers, 201:35706–7; addressed: “Doctr Samuel Brown Natchez favd by Mr Cudy”; stamped; postmarked Catahoula Court House, 23 Apr. 1814).

For TJ’s letter to James L. Henderson of 21 Apr. 1813 (not may last), see note to TJ to Brown, 24 Apr. 1813.

A letter from Brown to TJ of 15 Aug. 1814, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 2 Sept. 1814 from Natchez.

1Manuscript: “a.”

Index Entries

  • bath; portable search
  • Brown, Samuel; and Embargo Act (1813) search
  • Brown, Samuel; and Henderson case search
  • Brown, Samuel; and S. K. Jennings’s medical invention search
  • Brown, Samuel; letters from search
  • Brown, Samuel; letters from accounted for search
  • Brown, Samuel; on Napoleon search
  • Embargo Act (1813); western reaction to search
  • health; typhoid pleurisy search
  • Henderson, James L.; and Henderson estate search
  • Henderson, James L.; death of search
  • Jennings, Samuel Kennedy; portable bath of search
  • Lewis, Thomas C.; and Henderson case search
  • machines; portable bath search
  • medicine; bloodletting search
  • medicine; mercury search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; abdicates search
  • Smith, Dr.; and letter for J. L. Henderson search