Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Dr. John Vaughan, 3 December 1800

From Dr. John Vaughan

December 3d. 1800

Hond. Sir,

You will please to accept the enclosed pamphlet as a tribute of esteem from its author. The only apology, I have to plead in extenuation of the privilege assumed, is the liberality necessarily attached to your character as a Philosopher.

With anxious solicitude for the (just) result of this auspicious day, I am your most obedient, incognant, hbl Servt.

Jno. Vaughan

RC (DLC); at head of text: “Thos. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 6 Dec. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: John Vaughan, The Valedictory Lecture Delivered Before the Philosophical Society of Delaware (Wilmington, Del., 1800); Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends Nos. 993, 3773.

John Vaughan (1775–1807) a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, was the son of Jane Taggert and Joshua Vaughan, a Baptist minister. John Vaughan studied medicine under Dr. William Currie in Philadelphia and at the University of Pennsylvania from 1793 to 1794. In 1795 he set up practice as a physician in Christiana Bridge, Delaware, and moved to Wilmington in 1799, where he was a member of the Delaware Medical and Philosophical Societies. He delivered a series of lectures on chemistry and natural philosophy in 1799 and 1800. Among his publications were Observations on Animal Electricity, in Explanation of the Metallic Operation of Doctor Perkins (Wilmington, Del., 1797); Chemical Syllabus (Wilmington, Del., 1799); and an edition of Hugh Smith’s The Female Monitor, Consisting of a Series of Letters to Married Women on Nursing and the Management of Children (Wilmington, Del., 1801). Vaughan studied the effect of the weather on various diseases, developed a twofold classification system of fevers, and introduced vaccination into the state of Delaware. An active member of several medical associations, Vaughan wrote a pamphlet in 1803 for the American Philosophical Society, A Concise History of the Autumnal Fever, which prevailed in the Borough of Wilmington in the Year 1802 (Wilmington, Del., 1803; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 984). He also compiled a history of diseases in Delaware for publication in the New York Medical Repository, and, at the urging of David Ramsay of Charleston, South Carolina, kept a medical journal of Wilmington in 1803, which was to be included in a proposed annual medical history of the United States (Dean B. Ivey, ed., “John Vaughan’s Wilmington Medical Register for 1803,” Delaware History, 14 [April 1971], 188–204; J. Thomas Scharf, History of Delaware. 1609–1888, 2 vols. [Philadelphia, 1888], 1:492–3; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 22, pt. 3 [1884], 310).

TJ wrote a brief reply from Washington on 10 Dec.: “Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Doctr. Vaughan, and his thanks for the pamphlet inclosed to him, which he is assured he shall peruse with pleasure at the first leisure moment. he prays him to accept the assurances of his respect” (PrC in DLC; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso).

Index Entries