Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Edward Gantt, 19 February 1812

To Edward Gantt

Monticello Feb. 19. 12

Dear Doctor

Your’s of Jan. 21. came by our last post, & I have with pleasure forwarded your application to the President. your letter gave me the first information of your removal to the Westward, and I learned from it with real concern the circumstances which had induced it. on my going to live in Washington, my first enquiries were into the mode of practice of the Physicians there, of whom I should of course find it necessary to employ one sometimes. I did not ask the public opinion, but merely the facts of their practice. the result was an unhesitating preference of yourself, tho’ then equally unknown to me personally as the others, and I never found cause to doubt the correctness of my preference. I can add that your leaving that residence afterwards gave me very sincere concern. as you carried with you my high esteem and respect, so my cordial wishes attend you in your new situation, that you may find it as advantageous as your worth and skill have a right to command. Accept my affectionate and respectful salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Doctr Gantt”; endorsed by TJ.

Edward Gantt (ca. 1741–1837), physician, was born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1762. He studied medicine at the universities of Edinburgh and Leiden, receiving an M.D. from the latter in 1767. In 1790 Gantt owned twenty-three slaves at a plantation in his native county that he inherited from his father in 1785. Later he moved to Georgetown and was attending physician at the President’s House from 1801 until about 1806. Gantt worked with TJ to introduce and encourage smallpox vaccination. He spent his last years in Kentucky (Princetonians description begins James McLachlan and others, eds., Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, 1976–90, 5 vols. description ends , 1748–68, pp. 377–8; BDML description begins Edward C. Papenfuse and others, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789, 1979–85, 2 vols. description ends , 1:342; Gantt to TJ, 17 Aug. 1801 [DLC]; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1118–9, 1144; Silvio A. Bedini, Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science [1990], 311–4).

Gantt’s missing letter to TJ of Jan. 21., recorded in SJL as received from Louisville, Kentucky, on 15 Feb. 1812, evidently contained his application for a military appointment for his son (TJ to James Madison, 19 Feb. 1812; Madison to TJ, 6 Mar. 1812).

Index Entries

  • Gantt, Edward; identified search
  • Gantt, Edward; letters from accounted for search
  • Gantt, Edward; letters to search
  • Gantt, Edward; seeks appointment for son search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search