Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Newton, 3 May 1807

Norfolk May 3 1807

Dr Sir

I am sorry to inform you that we had the misfortune of loosing the East wing of the Hospital, for sick seamen this morning, it is supposed it took fire, from a spark out of the Chimney, & the wind blowing very fresh from the N.W, the roof was instanly in flames, but by great exertions the main building (which was joind to it by a low coverd way, about ten feet a part.) was saved with very little damage & the West wing remains intire, but neither the main building or wing are fininished they have but one floor & not lathed & plaistered. most of the furniture & many materials are saved such as the sashes, with glass, doors &c which would answer to put the West wing in order, for the reception of the sick & repairing the main building. I suppose from a rough estimate, it would Cost 2000$ or probably more, to put the damaged part in repair & finish the West wing. it is an elegant building & very fine brick work well worth keeping in order; I have wrote the Secty of the Treasury on this subject, requesting instructions on this unfortunate event. I beg leave to observe, that very few or none of the Seamen of Virginia, are ever put into the Hospital, they are accommodated by their freinds, & relations. Most of those who are admitted into the Hospital, are from the Northern states who, not being used to our Climate fall sick; by the great exertion of a man just discharged from it, may be atributed in some measure, the saving the buildings, a slave also, was remarkably active & declared he would loose his life, or save the buildgs. he was on the roof while in flames, & contributed greatly to stop the them, many others also exerted them selves on the occassion. I have communicated this unfortunate accident to you, in hopes that some measures may be taken to accommodate the poor but useful seamen. wishing you health I am very respectfully your obt Servt

Thos Newton

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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