Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Richard Channing Moore to David Hosack, 20 October 1806

Enclosure I

Richard Channing Moore to David Hosack

Staten-Island Octob. 20 1806.

Dear Sir

The discordant opinions which are held by physicians of the first reputation, upon the Subject of yellow fever, have prevented me from Replying to your letter of january last, lest the information which I may offer should give rise to such observations as would necessarily involve me in a medical controversy—From frequent conversations with my worthy1 preceptor, the late Mr. Richard Bayley, as well as from the perusal of those tracts, which had fallen under my notice, I for many years entertained the opinion, that the yellow fever, which has proved a scourge to our Cities, originated exclusively within their [e]nclosures, and was confined to the impurity of their immediate atmosphere

One of the first circumstances which excited in my mind an impression [o]f the infectious nature of the disease, and which induced an alteration in my views, was the illness and subsequent death of Dr Wynant and his wife—This gentleman had been called to take the charge of a man from New-york, ill with yellow fever, upon the north side of this island—The Doctor, after an examination of the case, Judged it expedient to bleed the patient, and while engaged in the performance of that operation, the man was seized with violent puking, and discharged the contents of his Stomach upon his physician’s clothes—From the appearance of the matter so discharged, Dr Wynant expressed his apprehensions with respect to his own safety; he continued, however, his attendance faithfully, until the patient expired—A few days after the death of the person alluded to, Dr Wynant was taken seriously ill: the usual remedies were applied, from the use of which he imagined himself relieved, and expressed a conviction of his recovery—At this moment [he]2 was visited by Dr. Henderson and myself—When we entered his room, which was a fine, airy, comfortable apartament, he declared to us his expectation of being restored in a little time; the danger of the disease he concluded to be completly removed, and he was then in the use of bark and wine—His wife, an amiable woman, was sitting at his bed side, to all appearance in full health, elated with the prospect of her husband’s recovery—She, however, Soon discovered that her hopes were premature. the next day, the companion of her bosom was wrested from her arms by that fatal disease3—Upon the day4 Mrs. Wynant was attacked with the same fever, which had terminated the life of her husband, and within [the]5 space of6 five days from its commencement she fell a victim to its malignant, deadly influance—

Il Dr parla in seguito della malattia, che egli medesimo contrasse in occasione che fu chiamato a visitare un Parrocchiano preso da febbre gialla, che aveva guadagnata a New-york, e aggiunge altri casi dalla stessa natura av[evano] in Staten-Island—.

Tr (DLC: TJ Papers, 207:36908); extract entirely in Eusebio Valli’s hand, consisting of opening of letter; with following enclosure subjoined; edge chipped; at head of text: “Letter addressed to David Hosack M.D. from the right Rev. Dr. Richard Channing Moore.” The complete letter, containing other accounts of yellow-fever victims instead of the final paragraph in Italian, is printed in Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York, Transactions 1 (1815): 266–8, and in Hosack, Observations on Contagious Diseases description begins David Hosack, Observations on the Laws Governing the Communication of Contagious Diseases, and the Means of Arresting Their Progress, New York, 1815; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 7 (no. 304); TJ’s copy in MiU-C description ends , 70–2.

Richard Channing Moore (1762–1841), Episcopal bishop, was born in New York City. After studying medicine under Richard Bayley, he had a brief career as a physician in New York City and on Long Island. Moore then studied for the Episcopal ministry and was ordained in 1787. He served successively as rector at Saint Andrew’s Church on Staten Island starting in 1789 and at Saint Stephen’s Church in New York City from 1809. Moore was elected bishop of Virginia in 1814 and moved to Richmond, where he also served as rector of Monumental Church and from 1819–23 acted as bishop of North Carolina. He was aided by William Meade as coadjutor bishop from 1829 but remained at the head of the diocese until his death in Lynchburg (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; John P. K. Henshaw, Memoir of the Life of the Rt. Rev. Richard Channing Moore [1843]; John N. Norton, The Life of the Right Reverend Richard Channing Moore, D.D., Bishop of Virginia [1857]; Lynchburg Virginian, 15 Nov. 1841; gravestone inscription in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond).

il dr parla in seguitoin staten-island: “The doctor speaks subsequently about the illness he himself contracted while calling on a parishioner who had contracted yellow fever in New York, and he added other cases of the same nature from Staten Island.”

1Manuscript: “whorty.”

2Omitted word supplied from printed versions.

3Printed versions here add “the force of which she had flattered herself was subdued.”

4Printed versions here add “in which the doctor died, which was the 13th of October, ’99.”

5Omitted word supplied from printed versions.

6Manuscript: “of of.”

Index Entries

  • Bayley, Richard search
  • cinchona (Peruvian bark); use of search
  • Henderson, Richard search
  • Hosack, David; letter to, from R. C. Moore search
  • medicine; bloodletting search
  • medicine; cinchona (Peruvian bark) search
  • medicine; wine search
  • Moore, Richard Channing; identified search
  • Moore, Richard Channing; letter from, to D. Hosack search
  • Moore, Richard Channing; on yellow fever search
  • New York (city); yellow fever in search
  • Staten Island, N.Y.; yellow fever in search
  • Wynant, Dr. (of Staten Island, N.Y.) search
  • Wynant, Mrs. (of Staten Island, N.Y.) search
  • yellow fever; dissemination of search
  • yellow fever; in New York City search
  • yellow fever; in Staten Island, N.Y. search
  • yellow fever; R. Moore on search
  • yellow fever; symptoms of search
  • yellow fever; treatment of search
  • yellow fever; victims of search