Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Bache, 1 June 1803

From William Bache

June 1st. 1803. New Orleans.

Dear Sir.

It was not until the first week in may that I was permitted to exercise my functions in this place, since which time I have been fully employed. From the annexed list you will be able to judge the insufficiency of the late appropriation as an adequate releif for the sick even during the four sickly months of the year. May is deem’d here a healthy month, and yet in the last three weeks of that month 18 objects of charity have offered & had the knowledge of the institution been more general, in all probability there would have been more applications.

If the grand object of the Preservation of our fellow citizens is to be gone into in its fullest extent something more than medical assistance will be found absolutely necessary. The sick boatman must have a retreat from the scorching heat of the sun, & the penetrating dews of the night and the Sailor in cases of contagion should not remain on board Ship. If in these cases rescourse is had to lodging houses more expence will accrue in two months than a hospital would cost in one year. such are the enormous charges of tavern keepers & nurses. The following is the list of patients & their diseases &c.

John Mitchell— New england, shippg. Luxatio. well.
Henry Botts. Philadelphia.  Do. Rheumats. well
James Neunan. ———  Do. Scarlatina well
John Smith New York.  Do. Syphilis— well
Paul Sanbourn   Do—  Do. Peripneumn. well
Robt. Milligan black.   Do.  Do. Abscess— well
Wm Giles  black   Do—  Do. Syphilis—
Joseph Newman—   Do—  Do. Syphilis—
name not known. Kentucky. boats. diarrhœa— dead
Nicholas Reed— Pennsylvania  Do. Feb: Bil. rem. well
——— White—   Do—  Do—   Do— Do—
Pat. Maloy—   Do—  Do—   Do— Do—
John ———   Do—  Do—   Do— Do—
Wm Smith—   Do—  Do— Syphilis—
John Pine. Kentucky—  Do— Anasarca
Joseph Bridgham boats— diarrhœa. well
Saml. Chapin— Pennsylvania  Do. Feb. bil: rem. well
Saml. Kertright   Do—  Do—   Do— Do—

As nothing can be done further in the business untill the next session Mr Clarke in conjunction with Mr Hulings and myself will prepare a plan the better adapted to the circumstances of this place, & which will require some thought & leisure, but which we will forward for your consideration before the expiration of summer. accept of my grateful & res[pectful] considerations

William Bache

Mr Dayton & young Dearborn arriv’d here yesterday after a delay at Natchez of two or three days.

RC (DLC); torn; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson. President of the U.S. Washington City”; franked; postmarked New York, 6 July; endorsed by TJ as received 9 July and so recorded in SJL.

exercise my functions: that is, begin work as the doctor for the marine hospital at New Orleans (Vol. 37:619–20; Bache to TJ, 29 Mch.).

Luxation or luxatio was a dislocated joint (Robley Dunglison, A Dictionary of Medical Science, 6th ed. [Philadelphia, 1846], 457–8).

rheumats.: rheumatismus, here probably meaning rheumatic fever (same, 652–3).

peripneumn.: peripneumonia, a term for pneumonia (same, 593).

feb: bil. rem.: that is, febris biliosa remittens, bilious remittent fever—probably malaria (Erwin H. Ackerknecht, Malaria in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1760–1900 [Baltimore, 1945], 6; George M. Sternberg, Malaria and Malarial Diseases [New York, 1884], 211–12, 224; Dr. Mouat, “Observations on Diseases at Bangalore,” Madras Quarterly Medical Journal, 2 [1840], 1–3; Dunglison, Dictionary of Medical Science, 315, 647).

Jonathan dayton, who had been involved in controversial land speculation schemes, spent about six weeks in New Orleans. He traveled there via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and returned to the United States by sea (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 5:226; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 2:798n; New York American Citizen, 29 July; Alexandria Expositor, 5 Aug.; Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 13 Aug.; ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

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