Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas C. James, 21 January 1803

To Thomas C. James

Washington Jan. 21. 1803


A pressure of business for some days past has prevented my acknoleging the reciept of your favor of the 7th. inst. informing me that at the last annual election of officers of the American Philosophical society, they had been pleased unanimously to re-elect me their President. I beg leave through you, Sir, to express my thankfulness to the society for the reiterated proofs of their good will to me, & to assure them of my sincere devotion to the society itself, as well as of my attachment to it’s members individually. entirely engrossed by the duties of another office, I feel with pain my inability to render those services which the kindness of my colleagues ought to command from me: and can only repeat assurances that my zeal for the interests of science is unabated, and my disposition to be useful to our institution, whenever occasions arise, will continue always the same. I pray you to accept for the society and for yourself assurances of my high consideration and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PPAmP); addressed: “Thomas C. James esq. Secretary of the Amern. Philos. society Philadelphia”; endorsed for the APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends . PrC (DLC).

Thomas C. James (1766–1835), a Philadelphia physician, specialized in obstetrics. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, he received additional medical training in London and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1803, he served as one of the secretaries of the American Philosophical Society, a position that he had held on earlier occasions as well (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 22, pt. 3 [1884], 320, 330; Vol. 30:273n).

favor of the 7th. inst.: James wrote to TJ from Philadelphia on 7 Jan. to report that TJ had been unanimously reelected president of the American Philosophical Society on that day. James enclosed a list of the officers selected in the annual election, including Robert Patterson, Caspar Wistar, and Benjamin Smith Barton as vice presidents, James and three others as secretaries, and John Vaughan as treasurer (RC in DLC, at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr.,” endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. and so recorded in SJL; enclosure: list of officers, 7 Jan., MS in same, entirely in James’s hand). assure them of my sincere devotion: the society received TJ’s acknowledgment of his election at a meeting held on 4 Feb. (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, 22, pt. 3 [1884], 332).

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