Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Landon Carter, 21 November 1802

From Landon Carter

Rhodes Tavern
Sunday morning [21 Nov. 1802]


I take the Liberty to inclose to you a Letter from Mr. Dawson. I beg leave to account for the step by assigning a motive.

My business to the City is an exhibition of a piece of invention for the purpose of procuring a Pattent; and considering it to be a curious piece of mechanism I flattered myself with an expectation you would honor it with your judgement if I had an oppty to bring forward a request—I wish it scanned by the Philosophic Eye which in an enquiry after the principles can be abstracted from the deformities in the Execution—That was the sole effort of an ignorant Clapboard Carpenter as they are vulgarly distinguished in the state I live in

I have the honor to be with perfect respect Sir Your very obt

Landon Carter

RC (DLC); partially dated; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 21 Nov. received from Washington the same day and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: John Dawson to TJ, 19 Nov. 1802.

Landon Carter (1751–1811) of Cleve, a significant landowner and the grandson of Robert “King” Carter, represented King George County in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1780–81. He corresponded with George Washington from 1796 to 1799 on scientific interests including agricultural matters and health remedies. In 1810, he described his invention of a lock and key to Madison, who discouraged his hopes of obtaining patent rights (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Pres. Ser., 2:239n, 254–5; same, Sec. of State Ser., 4:121–2; Washington, Papers, Ret. Ser., 1:32n, 3:60–63).

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