Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Ewell to Thomas Jefferson, 10 August 1819

From Thomas Ewell

Washington 10th august 1819

Dear Sir,

I spent last winter in Philadelphia in order to improve my knowledge of the branches of my profession. Under the operation of different motives—I published a collection of various essays & attempts at improvement, which I had made—as you may have seen advertised in the Intelligencer under the head of “Statement of improvements in the theory & practice of the Science of medicine.” Without your leave, I took the liberty of dedicating the work to you for the reasons there stated—that “for more than half a century you had been the patron of Genius & benefactor of your country—alike distinguished as the Chief of the statesmen and the ornament of the Philosophy of America” I directed the publisher Mr Bioren to send you a copy—and supposing you had received it—I wondered that I had not heard from You—that you considered my gratitude & veneration for you—as strong now as in the days of your office. I suspect you have not received it. I have received but one copy which I presented to the French Minister—who had been a physician, and who has undertaken to have it translated into French & published at Paris—

I send you a part of the sheets I had to correct from the Press—and you may observe in page 145 that I still retain my attachement to the “ancient1 Dominion.” Indeed nothing could shake this feeling—nothing could contribute more to my happiness than in the pursuit of science, to be able to return to Virga. I will send you in a few days half a dozen copies of my work alluded to for the Trustees of the University of Virga. If you & the gentlemen associated, should think me worthy of a station in the medical School—gladly would I leave Washington & take my residence near the University.—I would prefer—teaching the principles of medicine—if I could make a selection.   My friend Smith President of W & M. College is now with me and says this office has been offered to him and he declined it. The Trustees I believe could not appoint one who would more ardently devote himself to the duties of his office than I would.

My prayrs are constantly offered to god—that you may be blessed and happy as you wish to be.

Thomas Ewell

p. S. I should be much gratified to learn your opinion of the address to the medical2 Society—commeng page 121—

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Aug. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Francis Eppes, 21 Sept. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello near Charlottesville Va”; franked; postmarked Washington, 11 Aug.

Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville, the french minister, lived incognito as “Dr. Rolland” in Lyon while avoiding political persecution in 1805 (DBF description begins Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933– , 22 vols. description ends ).

The enclosed part of the sheets (not found) of Ewell’s Statement of Improvements in the Theory and Practice of the Science of Medicine (Philadelphia, 1819; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 5 [no. 194]), included on pp. 121–45 his “Address to the Philadelphia Medical Society, on the Mechanical Means of Relieving Diseases, Read before the Society, during their sitting, in January, 1819,” which ended by stating that “if preference is to be given to any place in the Union, justice and truth require it should be done in favour of ‘THE ANCIENT DOMINION,’ giving presidents as she has of the greatest science to America.”

1Mismatched opening single quotation mark editorially changed to double quotation mark.

2Manuscript: “medica.”

Index Entries

  • Bioren, John search
  • books; on medicine search
  • Ewell, Thomas; letters from search
  • Ewell, Thomas; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • Ewell, Thomas; Statement of Improvements in the Theory and Practice of the Science of Medicine search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; andStatement of Improvements in the Theory and Practice of the Science of Medicine (T. Ewell) search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; poses as “Dr. Rolland” search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books and Library; works sent to search
  • medicine; books on search
  • medicine; education in search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); advertisements in search
  • Philadelphia Medical Society search
  • Smith, John Augustine; and medical professorship at University of Virginia search
  • Statement of Improvements in the Theory and Practice of the Science of Medicine (T. Ewell) search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and faculty recruitment search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; medicine professorship search
  • William and Mary, College of; president of search