Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Redman Coxe, 23 April 1802

From John Redman Coxe

Philada. April 23d. 1802

Dear Sir/

I feel that it necessary to apologise for thus encroaching on your valuable time; at the same time you will permit me to return you my most sincere thanks for your very polite attention in transmitting to me, through Mr. Jno. Vaughan, a portion of Vaccine Infection, which has enabled me to introduce this invaluable blessing in this City, & also to extend it very considerably through this & most of the Southern States.—

Having attended particularly, since I recd. the Infection in Novr. 1801. to the progress of the disease, & from various sources derived many facts which I feel anxious to communicate to the public, in hopes of its aiding the speedy extension of so grand a discovery; I presume to request your permission to allow me to introduce in my treatise, the valuable letter which accompanied this valuable present.—Should you permit this May I ask if you have tested any of the persons whom you previously Vaccinated, with Variolous matter, & what was the result.—

I know I am encroaching greatly on your time, but hope the importance of the subject will be my excuse.—

I am Sir with the highest respect yr. obedt. Servant

John Redman Coxe

RC (DLC): at foot of text: “His Excely. Ths. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

THE VALUABLE LETTER WHICH ACCOMPANIED THIS VALUABLE PRESENT: TJ’s letter to John Vaughan of 5 Nov. 1801, which accompanied the vaccine matter that TJ forwarded for Coxe’s use, included a detailed account of his vaccination experiments at Monticello, with a particular emphasis on the proper time for taking matter from persons infected with cowpox. It was reprinted, with TJ’s permission, in Coxe’s 1802 treatise, Practical Observations on Vaccination: Or Inoculation for the Cow-Pock (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 953). For details on Coxe’s vaccination efforts in Philadelphia, see Vol. 35:604–5, 698–9; Vol. 36:189.

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