Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 5 July 1819

To Henry Dearborn

Monticello July 5. 19.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday your favor of June 24. and am very sensible of the interest you so kindly take in my health. the eruptive complaint which came upon me in Aug. last was unquestionably produced by the bath1 of the warm springs, which I tried on account of rheumatism.2 the cause of the eruption was mistaken, and it was treated with severe unctions of mercury & sulphur. these reduced me to death’s door; and on ceasing to use them I recovered immediately, and consider my health as now perfectly re-established, except some small effect on the bowels produced by these remedies and nearly, altho’ not entirely, worn off. I am still thankful for your recipe, and should the eruption return, I shall certainly try it’s effect, in preference to those before tried.

With respect to mr Stuart, it was in May 1800. I got him to draw [my] picture, and immediately after the last sitting I paid him his price. he was yet to put the last hand to it, so it was left with him. when he came to Washington in 1805. he told me he was not satisfied with it and therefore begged me to sit again, and he drew another which he was to deliver me instead of the first, but begged permission to keep it until he could get an engraving from it. I soon after got him to sketch me in the Medallion form, which he did on paper with Crayons. altho a slight thing I gave him another 100.D. probably the treble of what he would have asked. this I have; it is a very fine thing altho’ very perishable.   I cannot say I am anxious about the Spanish treaty. in giving up the province of Techas, we gave up a sugar coun[try] sufficient for the supply of the US. I would rather keep that and trust to the inevitable falling of Florida into our mouths. it is true however that present peace is secured by the exchange, and on the general separation of the Spanish colonies which is to take place, Cuba will join us & give us sugar.3 The crush of our gambling adventurers, who called themselves merchants but who, never owning a dollar, were playing double or quit with the money of others will be a good in the end; by restoring commerce to it’s true measure, that is to say, just so much as will take off our surplus produce & exchange it for what we want. it is better for us to let other nations carry on their own commerce, and meet the wars it always produces. what is unfortunate in the present crisis is the danger of it’s shattering the merchant of real capital, and the country people, many of whom will be heavily affected. some legislative provision to save them, and let the crisis wear off by degrees, may be salutary. I am not afraid of a war with England. the eyes of that government are opened as to us, and the inveteracy of their people is softening. it is [o]ur interest to meet them in friendship, if they will treat us with jus[tice a]nd respect. if we can avoid war with that nation we need never [have it?] with any other, for the separation of Spain from her colonies re[moves] all ground of war with her.   Our family join in testimonies of attachment and kind remembrance to mrs Dearborne and yourself, and mine is what it ever was and will be, most affectionate & sincere.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on reused address cover of Archibald Stuart’s undated letter of recommendation for Dabney Cosby (see note to Stuart to TJ, 9 Mar. 1819); some text lost on first page due to polygraph misalignment, with several words rewritten by TJ; damaged at seal; at foot of first page: “Genl Dearborne”; endorsed by TJ.

On 12 May 1800 TJ paid Gilbert Stuart $100, the price for his original portrait. He paid another 100.D. for Stuart’s “medallion profile” on 18 June 1805 (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 , 2:1018, 1156; Bush, Life Portraits description begins Alfred L. Bush, The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson, rev. ed., 1987 description ends , 45–7, 60–3). techas: Texas. double or quit: in gambling, “an expression implying that the stake already due is either to become double, or to be cancelled, according to the issue of another chance” (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 ).

1Word interlined in place of “use.”

2Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

3Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Adams-Onís Treaty (1819); ratification of search
  • Cuba; sugar from search
  • Cuba; TJ on U.S. acquisition of 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 to search
  • Dearborn, Sarah Bowdoin (James Bowdoin’s widow; Henry Dearborn’s third wife); greetings sent to search
  • Florida; TJ on U.S. acquisition of search
  • Great Britain; and U.S. search
  • Great Britain; TJ on war with search
  • health; and treatments search
  • health; and warm springs search
  • health; staphylococcus infection search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; rheumatism search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; staphylococcus infection search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Cuba search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; financial speculation search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; the acquisition of Florida search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; war with Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; G. Stuart’s paintings search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Warm Springs search
  • medicine; mercury search
  • medicine; sulfur search
  • merchants; TJ on search
  • mercury; as medicine search
  • paintings; by G. Stuart search
  • Spain; and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • Spain; colonies of search
  • Spain; status of Florida and Cuba search
  • staphylococcus; TJ infected with search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portraits of TJ by search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; “Medallion” profile of TJ by search
  • sugar; Cuban search
  • sugar; Texan search
  • sulfur; medicinal uses of search
  • Texas (Spanish colony); and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Texas (Spanish colony); sugar from search
  • United States; and Great Britain search
  • United States; and Spain search
  • United States; Panic of1819 search
  • Warm Springs (Bath Co.); TJ visits search