Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Pearce and Thomas Marshall, 31 December 1792

From William Pearce and Thomas Marshall

Paterson Decr. 31st. 1792.


Your favour of the 15th. Inst: came to hand on Saturday last, and have to Inform you that the true Account of our Machine was publish’d in the N. York Daily Advertiser of the 24th. Inst: in that Statement we carefully avoided every Exaggeration; we have divided our Machine for the Convenience of Stopping, Oiling, Cleaning &c into Twelve parts, each of these Divisions we calculate as equal to the production of 25 ℔ of Clean’d Cotton per Day making 300 ℔ for One Machine in 12 hours, but every Experiment more fully proves to us that each Stop or Division will produce upon an Average 36 ℔ in the Same time making 432 ℔ in One day, but diffidence induced us to Rate it at 300 Weight. They may be brought by Water, Horse or Hand, and Except in the latter Case require only the Attendance of Young Children. Thinking we have a plan in View of further Improvement, which is now preparing for trial, We Wish to forbear entering into Particulars at present. As Soon as Convenient, One of us shall Visit Philadelphia, but in the Mean time most ernestly and Respectfully Solicit a line of Advice from you, in the hope of which, we remain with the utmost Deference Sir Yr Most Obedient Humble Servants

Wm. Pearce

Thomas Marshall

RC (MiU-C); at foot of text: “The Honbl: Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Jan. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

Marshall and Pearce were English artisans who had immigrated to the United States in 1791. Marshall was currently superintendent of the cotton mill that was being erected in Paterson, New Jersey, by the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , viii, 556–7). Pearce was employed by the Society to procure machinery for the mill (Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., “Thomas Digges and William Pearce: An Example of the Transit of Technology,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 3d ser., xxi [1964], 557).

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