Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Hurt, 31 August 1801

From John Hurt

Green Springs 31st Augst. 1801

Dear Sir

I do myself the pleasure to make you acquainted with Doctor Baynham—he & his brother (who I have not the pleasure of being acquainted with) are travailing up to your healthy country for the benefit of a pure air—happening to hear them say they wished to pay their respects to you but was not furnished with letters of introduction I make use of the opportunity of Congratulating you on what has happened since I saw you—& to say that my worthy friend Doctor Baynham is one of your warmest friends—this I experienced last summer in his own neighborhood where he was encircled with a hot bed of Aristocrats—Colo. New his half brother you know very well & therefore I know there was no occasion of any introduction of the Doctor to you but I could not resist the opportunity of laying you under an obligation in so doing.—

As to my health I am almost gone & never expect to see you or Mr Madison again—but never was a poor wretch more completely gratified in their political wishes than I am at seeing you—Mr. Madn. & Gallatin at the head of the Government—& if I could be gratified in another wish it would be that you three might be transposed round those departments till every one had served in every place about 4 or 8 years each—May the great Jehovah prosper you, & that it may terminate in your honor & the peace & happiness our Country is the prayer of your dying friend

John Hurt

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Sep. and so recorded in SJL.

Virginia clergyman John Hurt served as a brigade chaplain during the American Revolution and as a chaplain in the U.S. Army from 1791 to 1794. He was TJ’s acquaintance and an infrequent correspondent of James Madison during the 1790s (Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 311; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 30 vols.: Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 5 vols. description ends , 16:7–8; 17:388n; Vol. 29:309; Vol. 30:608–9; Vol. 31:579).

A highly regarded surgeon and anatomist, Dr. William Baynham of Essex County had considered purchasing land in Albemarle County in 1799 (Vol. 30:612, 613n, 658; Vol. 31:92). His brother was Richard Baynham of Gloucester County (Washington, Papers, Ret. Ser. description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 48 vols.: Retirement Series, 1998–99, 4 vols. description ends , 4:263, 264n). His half brother was probably Anthony New of Caroline County, a Republican who represented Virginia in Congress from 1793 to 1805 before relocating to Kentucky (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 30 vols.: Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 5 vols. description ends , 13:150n; Vol. 25:463; Vol. 29:382n, 573; Vol. 30:388, 430).

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