Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Edward Gantt, 11 October 1801

From Edward Gantt

Octr. 11th. 1801

Dear Sir

You mentioned to Day that you had furnished Mr. Smith with Dr. Jenner’s Observations on the Origen of the Vaccine Virus. As Doctr. Mitchell requests in the inclosed, that You may be informed that the Virus may be obtained in this Country, I have sent you his Memorandum; which perhaps you may think a necessary Communication, to accompany what may be inserted in the Washington Intelligencer.

I am Sir Your most obedt. Servt

Edwd. Gantt

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 1 Oct. but recorded in SJL at 10 Oct. Enclosure: “Memorandum on the Vaccine Disease” by Samuel Latham Mitchill, sent from New York and dated 2 Aug. 1801, which concludes, “Dr. Mitchill wishes the President of the U.S. to be informed, that he has correct information that the Vaccine Poison has been discovered both at Danbury in Connecticut and Sheffield in Massachusetts among the Cows of this Country. The mode of obtaining and perpetuating it will therefore be speedily established so as to render its’ importation from Europe unnecessary” (MS in same; entirely in Mitchill’s hand; addressed on verso: “Dr. Bainbridge”).

The following day, Samuel Harrison Smith reprinted in the National Intelligencer Edward Jenner’s pamphlet, The Origin of the Vaccine Inoculation, which had been published in London the previous May. Smith did not print Mitchill’s memorandum (Richard B. Fisher, Edward Jenner 1749–1823 [London, 1991], 113).

Gantt probably obtained Mitchill’s memorandum as part of the communication from Absalom Bainbridge to TJ of 20 Aug. (see Edward Gantt to TJ, 17 Aug.).

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