Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tobias Lear, 24 February 1793

From Tobias Lear

Feby 24th: 1793

The enclosed letter came under cover to the President, and is by his direction transmitted to Mr. Jefferson.

The President sends likewise a letter from Mr. Vall Travers to him, with a request that Mr. Jefferson will peruse the same, and if it requires an acknowledgement that Mr. Jefferson would give it to Mr. Vall Travers.

RC (DLC); dateline precedes postscript; addressed: “Mr. Jefferson”; erroneously endorsed by TJ as received 23 Feb. 1793. Enclosures: (1) Rodolph Vall-Travers to the President of the “honble. Society for promoting Arts and Manufactures throughout the United States of N. America” [American Philosophical Society], Amsterdam, 13 Dec. 1792, reporting that in Europe’s unsettled state “useful Emigrants and Artists of all Denominations” can be persuaded to move to “your Land of legal Liberty, Peace and Industry”; announcing his intention, once appointed agent, of settling in Brussels and there using the liberty of the press and his own extensive European connections to second the Society’s wishes; enclosing a description and samples of a new method invented by Dandiran, a French fugitive from Guienne now in the Netherlands, of carding, spinning, and weaving raw hemp cheaper and better than linen; promising to support Dandiran and his family until he hears whether the Society wishes to sponsor him; and directing that correspondence be sent to the care of Beerenbroek & Van Dooren at Amsterdam under TJ’s protection (RC in PPAmP). (2) “Mr. Dandiran’s Succinct Account of the respective Charges and Profits, in manufacturing Hemp, after his improved Method, compared with the common Method of manufacturing Flax; … Imparted to Rh. Vall Travers, at the Hague, by the Inventor Decr. 9th. 1792” (MS in same; entirely in Vall-Travers’s hand). (3) Vall-Travers to Washington, Amsterdam, 10 Dec. 1792, acknowledging TJ’s reply to his earlier letters to the President, requesting an appointment as United States “Agent, Consul, or Resident” at Brussels, suggesting that the paper on hemp can serve as an example of the useful immigration to America he could encourage if given this post, and recommending the Amsterdam firm of Beerenbroek & Van Dooren if the United States needs to borrow additional money in Europe (RC and Dupl in DLC: Washington Papers).

The first two enclosures (identified in Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 65–6) were submitted on 15 Mch. 1793 to a meeting of the American Philosophical Society chaired by TJ. The Society immediately appointed a committee on hemp, which recommended at the next meeting that American manufacturing societies be notified of the new invention and that Vall-Travers be informed of “the American system of patent rights,” of the abundance of hemp in America, and of the readiness of several persons to employ Dandiran if his invention answered the description (APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings, xxii, pt. 3 [1885], 213–14). No reply by TJ to Vall-Travers’s 10 Dec. 1792 letter to Washington has been found.

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