Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Barnes, 17 August 1793

From Joseph Barnes

London Augt. 17th 1793


This will be presented to you by Mr. Priestley, Son of the celebrated Doctor Priestley, who goes to the United States to Seek an Asylum for his father, And, who, previous to Making a purchase, Means to visit all those parts of the States which he conceives an object, in order to enable him to determine on the Most eligible place to reside.

I am happy in giving him this Letter to you, not only, from a knowledge of your being the Most competent to advise, but from a full Sense of the pleasure you will receive in giving, And he in receiving your advice on the Object of his Mission. With the highest esteem I am Sir yours most respectfully

Joseph Barnes

P.S. I have not as yet got the afairs of my deceased friend Mr. Rumsey, So arranged, as to give you that Specific information I Wish; however, I find that Messrs. Parker & Rogers have Acknowledged from under their hands, the Practical effect of all Mr. Rumsey’s Machines Stipulated (except the Steam Vessel, the experiments with which are Not finished) to be fully up to contract, And of course the Stipulated Sums due on the Same; but, Not having yet Settled with the Gentlemen in question, I know not what prospect there is of obtaining the Money So due.

’Tis Some time Since I had the pleasure of an interview with Mr. Pinckney, Who received me with much ease And attention; And, who, on my Suggestion, very obligingly promised to write to France for the requisite information relative to Mr. Rumsey’s objects in that country—and added that he Should be happy to Serve me when ever in his power.

J. B.

RC (DLC); above postscript: “Mr T. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Dec. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

The son and namesake of the celebrated scientist and Unitarian theologian best known for his discovery of oxygen, Joseph Priestley, Jr., soon began buying land for a projected haven for refugees of English political persecution near Northumberland, Pennsylvania. Although plans for the settlement proved abortive, his father took up residence in Northumberland shortly after arriving in America in June 1794 (Thomas Cooper, Some Information respecting America [London, 1794], 24n; Mary C. Park, Joseph Priestley and the Problem of Pantisocracy [Philadelphia, 1947], 15–18, 34, 51; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ).

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