Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Buchanan, 13 June 1790

To George Buchanan

New York June 13. 1790.


I am to return you thanks for your kind favor of May 28. which found me so far recovered as to have no further occasion for medecine. It was the first time the bark had ever failed to remove my complaint very speedily. Some future attack may perhaps oblige me to profit of your kind counsel. In the mean time my gratitude is equally engaged to you as if I had been still under the necessity of recurring to medecine.

The house of representatives have voted to remove us to Baltimore. We are impatient to see what the senate will say. I have the honor to be with great esteem Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC).

Buchanan’s letter of 28 May 1790 read in part: “Mr. Sterett has just arrived from New York, and upon enquiring after your health, he informed me, that you had been confined for some weeks past with a periodical headache, which would not yield to Bark, and that you had declined the use of that remedy for some time, in hopes that it would have a better effect when again repeated.—It frequently happens, Sir in periodical affections that the Bark fails, and the disease requires something more powerfully antispasmodick to prevent its return.” Buchanan added that, from his great regard for TJ’s “person and character,” he took the liberty of recommending a remedy he had found to relieve periodic pain where the “Bark, Blisters and other remedies had failed,” and that he offered this in order that “the States no longer be deprived of your virtuous exertions.” The prescription read:

“℞ Salis. vol ammon — ℈1
Gum. opii. — gr.11

Mis. fac. Pill √ of which you will please to take one every hour in Bed for 5 hours previous to the common accession of the fit and repeat the same for two or three days … and if upon consulting your Physician, you think it worthy of trial, and it proves any way advantageous towards your Cure, it will give great satisfaction to Sir your most humble servant, Geo: Buchanan” (RC in MHi; endorsed as received 3 June 1790, and so recorded in SJL as from Baltimore).

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