Thomas Jefferson Papers

John F. Oliveira Fernandes to Thomas Jefferson, 19 May 1821

From John F. Oliveira Fernandes

Norfolk—May 19th 1821


The favours and kindness, with which, I have been treated by you, Since the Year 1803, are too deeply impressed in my mind, to permit me, to leave this Country, without addressing you few Lines.

Persecuted by a dispotical Minister I did Seek for Shelter, in these Ud States, where I have lived, for eighteen years: the King however, had the goodness by his Decree of the 15th April–1820, to render justice to my Services; Ordering that, all my property, as well as its arrears, Should be rendered to me. This, compells me to go to Madeira, to proceed afterwards to Court; whence, it is my intention, to return to these Ud States.

Should it please you to employ my Services I beg of you to be assured of my Sincere wishes and acknowledgement of duty, towards you.

When my respectable Country-man Joseph Corrêa de Serra was with me, Last, he mentioned, your great Stablishment; (the everlasting monument of your heroic patriotism), the University of Virginia; this, I had resolved to visit some time, this Summer; was it not, for my present voyage, to Madeira, Brasil or Lisbon: as I cannot fulfill my intention, Sanguine as I am for the progresses of Science in this State, I hope you will excuse me, (or at Least, you will take it, as a mark of zeal), if I take the Liberty to recomend to you, for one of the Teachers of Anathomy, Physiology; Pathology, Nosology—Surgery, & obstetric Arts, Doctor Thomas Francis Andrews, Graduated in Edinburgh—

This rare genius, is native of Norfolk; Studied all the Medical branches with me for Several years; went to Europe, where he frequented1 & attended assiduously (& always with aplause) the most eminent Professors in Medicine & natural phylosophy, at Paris, Edinburgh; London; Berlin & Vienne of Austria—for five years: he has just returned—and—my perfect conviction, that he will be a very valuable acquisition to the University, is the only cause of the Liberty I take, by recomending him to your attention and protection.

I presume I will Leave this, to the 10th of the next Month, and Shall be happy to recive your Commands As

Sir! Your most obedt Servant

John F. Oliveira Fernandes—

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 27 May 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Craven Peyton, 12 Aug. 1821, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello Virginia” by “mail”; franked; postmarked Norfolk, 21 May.

Thomas Francis Andrews (1797–1886), physician, was born in Norfolk. He studied medicine with John F. Oliveira Fernandes before continuing his education in Europe and obtaining a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1819 with a thesis entitled “De Vasis Absorptioni servientibus.” Andrews was elected a fellow of London’s Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society the following year. Shortly thereafter he returned to Norfolk, where he took over the practice of Oliveira Fernandes and in 1850 owned real estate worth $28,700 and eleven slaves. Andrews retired the following year and settled permanently in Baltimore after a lengthy sojourn abroad (Solemnities of the Dedication and Opening of the Catholic University of America. November 13th, 1889 [1890], 86–8; List of the Graduates in Medicine in the University of Edinburgh [1867], 57; William H. Stewart, History of Norfolk County, Virginia, and Representative Citizens [1902], 288; Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 24 [1841]: v; DNA: RG 29, CS, Norfolk, 1850, 1850 slave schedules, D.C., Washington, 1860, Baltimore, 1880; gravestone inscription in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Norfolk).

1Manuscript: “frequentd.”

Index Entries

  • Andrews, Thomas Francis; identified search
  • Andrews, Thomas Francis; introduced to TJ search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and University of Virginia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • John VI, king of Portugal and Brazil; mentioned search
  • medicine; education in search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; as political refugee search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; introduces T. F. Andrews search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; letters from search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; returns to Portugal search
  • Portugal; affairs in search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; medicine professorship search