Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Hopkins, 27 June 1791

From Samuel Hopkins

Newyork 27th. 6 mo 1791

Respected Friend

Thomas Jefferson. I take the liberty of offering for thy acceptance an address to the Manufacturers of Pot and Pearl-ash, containing an account of the process and according to the Principles of my Patent. Thou wilt observe my having succeeded in Canada, and by accounts from those who have commenced opperating I am flatterd to believe that the business is in a fair way of fully answering what I have held out.

After making some further arangements here propose returning to Philadelphia when intind personally to wait on thee, and hope I shall have it in my power to give farther satisfaction. In mean time believe me, Thy Assured Friend,

Sam Hopkins

RC (MHi); endorsed as received 30 June 1791 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: An address to the manufacturers of pot and pearl ash, with an explanation of Samuel Hopkins’s patent method of making the same … Also, copy of the patent granted to Samuel Hopkins (New York, Childs and Swaine, 1791; Roger P. Bristol, comp., Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography, Charlottesville, 1970, B7629). TJ bound the enclosed address with Charles Williamos’ translation of Lavoisier’s The art of manufacturing alkaline salts and potashes (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–1959, 5 vols. description ends No. 1222). Hopkins’ patent was granted 31 July 1790 for his “new Apparatus and Process … in the making of Pearl ash 1st. by burning the raw Ashes

in a Furnace, 2d. by dissolving and boiling them when so burnt in Water, 3rd. by drawing off and settling the Ley, and 4th. by boiling the Ley into Salts which then are the true Pearl-ash; and also in the making of Pot-ash by fluxing the Pearl-ash … which Operation of burning the raw Ashes in a Furnace, preparatory to their Dissolution and boiling in Water, is new, leaves little Residuum, and produces a much greater Quantity of Salt” (MS Letters Patent in Remsen’s hand, signed by Washington, certified by Edmund Randolph to be in accord with the Act to promote the useful arts; with Great Seal impressed on paper; 31 July 1790; ICHi).

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