President James Monroe on Purchase of Florida and John Adams's Recommendation of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse

June 15, 1821

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President James Monroe on Purchase of Florida and John Adams's Recommendation of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 934

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      Background

      Three presidents – incumbent, past and future – are involved in this letter about two subjects: the acquisition of Florida, and Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse.

      En route to completing the acquisition of Florida, President Monroe writes that “on the subject of Florida,” regarding which he informed Calhoun the day before to suggest measures “proper for us to take immediately there”, he is gratified that he has the support of his cabinet. His letter to Secretary of State – and future president –  John Quincy Adams has, he says in this connection, “brought this subject regularly before the administration.” 

      About Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, and a letter lately received from “the late President Adams” on that subject, Monroe asks Calhoun to investigate: “You will inform how he stands,” Monroe directs, “and what I can say to Mr. Adams in reply.” Waterhouse, who was the first American to vaccinate against smallpox, had been recently dismissed as a medical superintendent of military facilities in New England. A brilliant scientist, he was either so contentious, or so indifferent, a general practitioner, that officers served by the Medical Department would employ private physicians, rather than trust him. John Adams, however, made the claim that Waterhouse’s present difficulties were the result of his outspoken support of “the Union.” Be that as it may, Monroe did not reinstate him.


      Autograph Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, Oak Hill, June 15, 1821. Most probably to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun.
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      Oak Hill June 15 1821
       
      Dear Sir
       
      I wrote you, yesterday, on the subject of Florida, & suggested the measures which it appeared to me to be proper for us to take immediately there. It will be very gratifying for me to hear that you and the others members of the administration are in the view therein taken. My letter to Mr. Adams will have brought the subject regularly before the administration.
       
      I enclose a letter lately received from the late President Adams on the subject of Dr Waterhouse. You will inform how he stands, & what I can say to Mr Adams in reply. Return me Mr Adams’s letter.
       
      very sincerely yours
       
      JAMES MONROE

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      Page 2 transcript
      President of
      the UStates

      Oak hill

      15 June, 1821 - 

      [...] to Florida

      encloses a letter
      from late Pres.
      Adams relative
      a Dr. Waterhouse