Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Rush, 27 November 1801

From Benjamin Rush

Philadelphia Novemr. 27th. 1801

Accept much honoured & dear sir of a Copy of the enclosed publication.

How joyful the Sound of Peace! It brings a thousand blessings in its train, among which the revival & diffusion of knowledge will not I hope be the least.

Receive again, and again Assurances of the friendship of Dear sir your Affectionate humble Servant

Benjn: Rush

PS: Vaccination as you have happily called it, has taken root in our city, and will shortly supercede the Old mode of Inoculation. I consider it as a complete Antidote to the ravages of war in its influence upon population. It is computed 210,000 lives will annually be saved by it in Europe. It is only necessary to believe the plague every where, is the Offspring of domestic causes, & not propagated by Contagion, to extirpate it in like manner from the list of human evils.—

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 2 Dec. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Benjamin Rush, Six Introductory Lectures, to Courses of Lectures, upon the Institutes and Practice of Medicine, Delivered in the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1801; Sowerby description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends , No. 979).

The origins of the word vaccination are obscure and are believed to be in France (Hervé Bazin, The Eradication of Smallpox: Edward Jenner and the First and Only Eradication of a Human Infectious Disease, trans. Andrew and Glenise Morgan [San Diego, 2000], 40, 208–10).

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