Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Hamilton, 3 March 1803

From Joseph Hamilton

Hudson March 3rd. 1803.

Hon’d Sr

The motives Which induce me at this time to take the Liberty to present to you the two enclosed Pamphlets are first that if the Sentiments contained in either of them Should be approved of by you, it’s Publicity may be thereby Increased, and Secondly to make known my earnest Desire that you would be Pleased to accept of them as a Tribute paid to a Character that I have most Sincerely Loved and revered ever Since the year ’76.—perhaps at Some leisure moment they may afford Some little Amusement, and perhaps also be Convenient among your Neighbours.—

Would wish to Say much more; But This I wrote from my Bed (being Sick with the gout),1 therefore beg your Indulgence while I take the Libery to Subscribe myself with every Sentiment of Esteeme, & Consideration

Your Humble Servt.

Jos Hamilton

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thos. Jefferson”; postmarked Hudson, N.Y., 4 Mch., and Washington, 14 Mch.; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Mch. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: see below.

Originally from Connecticut, Joseph Hamilton (ca. 1738–1805) was a doctor who lived for many years in Hudson, New York. Having inherited a large stake in the Susquehannah Company, Hamilton played a leading role in reviving the company in the 1780s and in its attempt to reassert the claims of Connecticut settlers in the Wyoming Valley area of Pennsylvania. In 1804, he publicized his plan to establish a consortium of botanical gardens, where doctors throughout the country could collect seeds and attempt to grow exotic plants (John L. Brooke, Columbia Rising: Civil Life on the Upper Hudson from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson [Chapel Hill, 2010], 185; Petersburg Intelligencer, 10 Jan. 1804; Albany Gazette, 7 Mch. 1805; Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, eds., The Susquehannah Company Papers, 11 vols. [Ithaca, N.Y., 1930–71], 8:310–13).

Hamilton was likely enclosing two of his own pamphlets, the 1800 Hudson publication, A Certain Bar against the Approach of the Yellow Fever, Written for the Good of the Public (Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from…1639…to…1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903-59, 14 vols. description ends No. 37574), and Occasional Reflections on the Operations of the Small-Pox, or, the Traveller’s Pocket-Doctor, originally published in New York City in 1798 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961-87, 27 vols. description ends , 24:85).

On 21 Mch., TJ responded from Monticello, writing, “Th: Jefferson presents his respectful salutations to Doctr. Hamilton, and his thanks for the pamphlets accompanying his letter of the 3d. inst. which he recieves & shall have the pleasure of perusing here where he is on a visit of a fortnight only” (PrC in DLC; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso).

1Closing parenthesis supplied by editors.

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