Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry Dearborn to Thomas Jefferson, 24 June 1819

From Henry Dearborn

Boston June 24th 1819—

Dear Sir,

Having not yet been able to prevail on Stewart to finish your portrait, I suspect that you have paid him in part, or in full, in advance, if so, I should like to know it, as I might in that case address his pride, with some chance of success.—If you have not made any advance, and will authorise me to pay him as soon as he shall complete it, I will address his poverty, which is now great, and by ingaging to pay him, and by frequent calls, I should hope to sucseed.—I hope you have quite recovered from your troublesome cutanious complaint, if not permit me to play the quack and advise the use of a solution of Sal Soda, it being perfectly safe and at the same time very efficacious in all sharp, cutanious eruptions, I have very frequently within the last ten years witnessed its strong usefull effects when many other remidies had failed, and in some old & obstinate scorbutick cases. twenty grains of pure Sal Soda dissolved in a wine glass full of pure water, take such a dose three times every day for fifteen or twenty days, say early in the morning, at twelve oclock & at bed time. put 320 grains of sal Soda into a quart decanter & fill it with water, shaking it frequently until the Soda is dissolved, is the most convenient mode of preperation. one or two swallows of pure water after taking down the solution, takes away any unpleasant taste in the mouth or throat.—the perfect safety, and certain effect, of this simple1 remedy are strong recommendations not usually combined in medical prescriptions. my reasoning is not from books, but from long & repeated experiments under my own eyes & observation. Sal Soda should be made from either the natron Salt of Egypt, or from the barilla of Spain, it may be had at the apothecaries, that which discolours water the least is usually the best.—by appreciating my motives you will pardon the liberty I have taken in playing the quack at such length.—Doctrs Eustis & Mr Benja Vaughan both informed me of your complaint, and altho I presume you have quite recovered, the prescription I have stated, may be usefull to some of your friends.—I am anxious to hear of the ratification of our Treaty with Spain, I have entertained some fears that2 the Marquis might oppose the ratification, unless he will be personally benifited by some former speculation.—certain charactors with us are quite chop fallen at the decided part the British Ministers have taken in Parlement in relation to the execution of the two raskels in Florida, by Genl Jackson. our Junto men had fondly hoped that a different course would have been taken & pursued by the British Government. It is very evident that the pecuniary situation of Britain must for some time compell its Government to be less quarrelsome than they have been for the last fifty years.—I hope that the present imbarasments of our commercial men will eventuate in a diminution of our heitherto extravigent importations and a corrisponding decline of every kind of extravagancy, and bring us back again to a sistem of more prudence & economy.—

Mrs Dearborn Joins me in the most respectfull regards to yourself and best respects to Mr & Mrs Randolph & their children.

H, Dearborn

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 4 July 1819 and so recorded in SJL; with notes by TJ beneath signature relating to his 5 July 1819 reply: “

Stewart   1800. 1805
RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to William Paxton, 29 Dec. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Honbl Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Boston, 25 June.

sal soda, or crystallized sodium carbonate, can be extracted from natron or from barilla, the product resulting from burning Salsola soda, the Mediterranean barilla plant, and other saltworts of the same genus (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ). The marquis was presumably Carlos Martínez de Yrujo, Spain’s secretary of state.

Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Ambrister were the two British citizens executed in florida by order of Andrew Jackson. In the British House of Lords on 11 May 1819, Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2d Earl of Liverpool, the prime minister, indicated that “although he censured the conduct of Gen. Jackson, those persons had no right to the protection of their government, if they voluntarily embarked in war against any state with which their own government was at peace” (Boston Commercial Gazette, 24 June 1819).

1Manuscript: “simpte.”

2Manuscript: “the.”

Index Entries

  • Adams-Onís Treaty (1819); ratification of search
  • Ambrister, Robert search
  • Arbuthnot, Alexander search
  • barilla search
  • Dearborn, Henry; and foreign relations search
  • Dearborn, Henry; and G. Stuart’s portraits of TJ search
  • Dearborn, Henry; and TJ’s health search
  • Dearborn, Henry; letters from search
  • Dearborn, Sarah Bowdoin (James Bowdoin’s widow; Henry Dearborn’s third wife); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Egypt; salt from search
  • Essex Junto search
  • Eustis, William; and TJ’s health search
  • Great Britain; and U.S. search
  • Great Britain; House of Lords search
  • Great Britain; parliament of search
  • health; and treatments search
  • health; staphylococcus infection search
  • Jackson, Andrew; Pensacola seized by search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; staphylococcus infection search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; G. Stuart’s paintings search
  • Liverpool, Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2d Earl of; as British prime minister search
  • medicine; sal soda (sodium carbonate) search
  • paintings; by G. Stuart search
  • Pensacola, W. Fla.; seized by A. Jackson search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); greetings sent to search
  • sal soda (sodium carbonate) search
  • salt; medicinal use of search
  • Spain; and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Spain; barilla from search
  • staphylococcus; TJ infected with search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portraits of TJ by search
  • United States; and Great Britain search
  • United States; Panic of1819 search
  • Vaughan, Benjamin; and TJ’s health search
  • Yrujo (Irujo), Carlos Martínez de; Spanish secretary of state search