Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John J. Giraud, 5 April 1806

Baltimore April 5th. 1806.


Tho’ I have not the honour of being personally known to you, the constant, and invariable disposition, by which you are known to be animated, to patronize, and foster whatever may tend to promote the happiness, and welfare of the people of the United States, over whom you preside with so much credit to yourself, precludes the necessity of an apology on my part for addressing you on a subject of the highest importance to the health of the people. I submit to your consideration, Sir, the fruit of my researches, and observations in relation to that disease, which for twelve years past has so frightfully ravaged our country. It is the discovery of a medicine, which long experience has beyond the possibility of a doubt evinced to be the certain, and specific remedy for the yellow Malignant fever.   About the middle of the progress of the Epidemic fever, which raged, in this City in the year 1800, after having in vain prescribed to my patients the remedies recommended by the most learned Physicians for malignant Epidemic fevers, I at length determined to investigate thoroughly the nature of the prevailing disease by the dissection of the bodies of some, who had fallen victims to its virulence, by analizing the vomits of patients, and by other similar experiments. In this I succeeded to the utmost of my most sanguine expectations and was afterwards fully confirmed in my ideas respecting its nature in subsequent attacks of the disorder.

It is a thorough conviction of the certain efficacy of this remedy, which makes me bold to pronounce it the sure antidote to that terrible disorder. This, time, and experience will but confirm, and will give to it the first rank among the most powerful antipestilential medicines, and perhaps even it may one day prove to be an antidote to the plague itself.

To indemnify myself for the trouble, and expense I have been put to, I have opened a subscription. The consideration that you are the patron, and friend of whatever tends to the general welfare induces me to claim your patronage, and encouragement—

I have the honour to be with profound respect, and esteem Your most humble, and most Obedient Servant

John J. Giraud

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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