Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Bringhurst, 8 July 1803

From Joseph Bringhurst

Wilmington Del. 7 Mo. 8th 1803

Esteemed fellow Citizen

During my absence, on a journey for the benefit of my health, thy note, of the 17th Ultim., was recd. and opened by my wife. She carefully deliver’d the enclosure, according to its address, without permiting it to be seen by, or known to any other than its owner—Suffer me to remark that this instance of confidence is grateful to my heart, & shall never be violated—

It will be grateful to thee to hear that during my journey into the State of N York, about 100 miles north of that City, I found the majority of Friends, (Quakers) well satisfied with thy administration, & desirous of thy continuance in Office, as a blessing to this Country—

I am with real esteem and affection thy frd

Joseph Bringhurst Jr

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 9 July and so recorded in SJL.

Joseph Bringhurst (1767–1834), son of Philadelphia Quakers James and Anne Pole Bringhurst, attended the Friends Latin School, where he formed a friendship with Charles Brockden Brown. He went on to study medicine and establish a practice in Philadelphia. Bringhurst is credited with carrying on a poetical correspondence with Elihu Hubbard Smith and Brown for several months in 1791 in the Gazette of the United States under the nom de plume “Birtha.” In 1793, Bringhurst moved to Wilmington, Delaware. Six years later, he married Deborah Ferris, from a prominent Chester County, Pennsylvania Quaker family. Bringhurst carried on his medical practice, established a drugstore, and, after his appointment as postmaster in 1802, operated the post office from his residence on Market Street in Wilmington. He was active in Republican politics, the Delaware Abolition Society, and in the promotion of domestic manufactures, later becoming the owner of a cotton factory. He frequently corresponded with his friend John Dickinson, caring for him during his final illness and informing TJ of his death (Josiah Granville Leach, History of the Bringhurst Family with Notes on the Clarkson, De Peyster and Boude Families [Philadelphia, 1901], 30, 39–41; Charles E. Bennett, “A Poetical Correspondence Among Elihu Hubbard Smith, Joseph Bringhurst, Jr., and Charles Brockden Brown in The Gazette of the United States,” Early American Literature, 12 [1977–78], 277–85; Wilmington Mirror of the Times, & General Advertiser, 19 Feb. 1800; Wilmington Delaware Gazette, 9 Mch. 1815; John A. Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 1775–1815 [New Brunswick, N.J., 1954], 217n, 227n; Latrobe, Correspondence description begins John C. Van Horne and Lee W. Formwalt, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, New Haven, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 2:7n; Bringhurst to TJ, 16 Feb. 1808).

For TJ’s note of 17 June (not found), the enclosure, and its delivery, see TJ to Caesar A. Rodney, 17 June, and Rodney to TJ, 7 July.

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