Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 26 February 17[93]

To George Wythe

Philadelphia Feb. 261 17[93]

Dear Sir

I have just now received your favor of [15 Feb. 1793. A?] law is passed on the subject of patents which [will require Mr.?] Clarke to present his petition anew. This [will appear?] in the newspapers within a few days. Having [only given?] it a slight reading in the Roll, I am unable [to give you a?] particular account of it.

Your seal is promised in time to [be given to Mr.?] Giles on his return from Congress. Should the [engraver?] fail in punctuality you may still [count on it?] in [a few?] more days. Adieu my dear Sir your’s affectionately

Th: Jefferson

P.S. Mr. Clarke’s letter with Meredith’s affidavit is just received. By the new law, when a question arises on the priority of invention the parties are to name referees to decide it.

PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 28: 4873); badly faded in part; at foot of text: “Mr. Wythe.” Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy with blanks for words illegible in PrC. Recorded in SJL as a letter of 25 Feb. 1793.

Wythe’s letter to TJ of 15 Feb. 1793, recorded in SJL as received 26 Feb. 1793, has not been found. For the new law … on the subject of patents, see A Bill to Promote the Progress of the Useful Arts, [1 Dec. 1791], and note. John clarke’s letter with meredith’s affidavit is not recorded in SJL and has not been found. On 31 Dec. 1793 Clarke was awarded a patent on a disputed claim for the invention of “a machine to work in a current of water” (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1792, to December 31, 1836, Washington, D.C., 1872 description ends , 8). The engraver was James Poupard, who was engraving a seal for the Virginia Court of Chancery, of which Wythe was chancellor.

1Numbers added or overwritten in ink.

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