Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Rush, 11 June 1803

From Benjamin Rush

Philadelphia June 11th: 1803.

Dear Sir,

I have endeavoured to fulfil your Wishes by furnishing Mr Lewis with some inquiries relative to the natural history of the Indians. The enclosed letter contains a few short directions for the preservation of his health, As well as the health of the persons Under his Command.

His mission is truly interesting. I shall wait with great solicitude for its issue. Mr: Lewis appears admirably qualified for it. May its Advantages prove no less honourable to your Administration, than to the interests of Science!

The enclosed letter from Mr Sumpter contains some new Views of the present military arrangements of France & Great Britain. You need not return it.

From Dear Sir yours very respectfully & sincerely

Benjn: Rush

RC (NjP: Rush Family Papers); at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson Esqr:”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 June and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas Sumter, Jr., to Rush, Paris, 25 Mch. 1803; he sends a copy of a treatise by a French chemist on “the means of disinfecting bad air”; he also states his opinion that war may help restore Britain’s commerce and influence; war will also weaken the naval strength of France, Spain, and Holland, which they need to strike at Britain but which can only be strengthened during peace; the central issue in the previous conflict, he observes, was “between the principles of Republicanism & Monarchy,” a question that “interested all the powers of Europe”; the new war will not be on that basis and other countries may stay out of the fray to let Britain and France, which are becoming like Carthage and Rome, “both exhaust their power”; however, “Ambition & folly have so much more to do with these matters, between Nations, than wisdom or justice, that it is possible the conflagration may again become general”; Sumter will soon go to London “to embark for Charleston” (RC in same).

For the queries that Rush drew up for Meriwether Lewis concerning indians, see Lewis to TJ, 29 May.

Index Entries