Thomas Jefferson Papers

Englehart Cruse to Thomas Jefferson, 3 July 1813

From Englehart Cruse

Saint mareys July 3th 1813

Dear Sir

hearing of the Repeated Barbarrities Committed by the Ship of the Enemy on ower Defenceless towns, I felt sorely for the same, and tried My tallent whether I might not discover Some plan by which we might not Counteract those Savage Cruelteys, I Acordingly Invented the Inclosed plan; a faint drauft of which with a specification, I take the Libberty to transmit and Submit, to your Judgement,1 your pattriotism I make no doupt will Contanence the same,2 and hand it over to the propper Authorrities, Shold you Aprove of it, wich Shold it be the Means of disarming the Brttish thunder as It regards ower Seaports, I shall think myself Suffitiently Rewarded, I shold not have given you the trouble of it had I Been Aquainted with the Pressident of the united states3 or Aney other tried friend of ower Cuntry, and you probaly have forgot me, as fortune has placed me in this Remote Corner of the union where I still spend my tallents in the steam Buissness with Considderable sucsess of Late years,4 but you will no doupt Recolect me by Repeating the Lasts Clause of an5 Introduterry Letter given me to you by Doctor James Mchenrey, which was … his Cientific Acquirements are not Maney, but his Natturrel tallents are verrey Considderable, I rite this to you that you may see what ower soil produses without the help of Culture …6 your gennerrossity will I hope pardon My freedom, as also Exquse My scollership as it Regards my Riting, as I found it not safe to make my Sending you this known, Least it wold not find its way to you, and if you will Condecend to Let me know by a Line whether you have received this you will Confer a Lasting obligation on your7 Sincere friend & humble Servant

Englehart Cruse

NB you was Secratary of state in filadelphia and I Lived in Baltimore at the time I handed you the Letter of Introduction

E. C

RC (DLC); ellipses in original; endorsed by TJ as received 21 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL. Dupl (DLC); dated 10 July 1813; text of substantially the same import, with significant variations recorded below; lacking postscript; endorsed by TJ as received 28 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL; enclosed in George M. Troup to TJ, 24 July 1813.

Englehart Cruse, mechanic and millwright, concentrated his efforts as an inventor on improving steam technology. He defended the originality of his ideas in a pamphlet entitled The Projector Detected or, Some Strictures, On the Plan of Mr. James Rumsey’s Steam Boat (Baltimore, 1788). The following year Cruse applied to Congress for a patent for his perpetual cylinder, and he put his idea to work in a steam gristmill in Baltimore at about the same time. In 1791 he secured a patent, although James B. Pleasants claimed to have originated the concept. Cruse was in Georgia by 1796 and later moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he patented a cotton gin in 1816 (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 1:35 [14 May 1789]; List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 6, 170; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 16:xlii–xliii, 412–3, 17:320, 27:803–4; Washington, Papers description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 49 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 14 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 18 vols. description ends , Pres. Ser., 5:384–6; John W. McGrain, “Englehart Cruse and Baltimore’s First Steam Mill,” Maryland Historical Magazine 71 [1976]: 65–79; Columbian Museum & Savannah Advertiser, 30 Sept. 1796; The Directory and Stranger’s Guide, for the City of Charleston … for the Year 1822 [Charleston, 1822], 34; Directory and Stranger’s Guide, for the City of Charleston … for the Year of Our Lord 1825 [Charleston, 1824], 39).

james McHenry introduced Cruse in a letter dated 18 Apr. 1791 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 16:413n).

1RC: “Judement.” Dupl: “Judgement.”

2Remainder of sentence in Dupl reads “I have no doupt but you will recommend it to the notice of the Pressident of the united states, or other propper Authorrityes, as it is I trust for the good of our Cuntrey, the Inclosed plan Avoids all that danger and uncertainty of Simmeler plans that have Been proposed, as it is attended with no danger in Laying it, and in my opinion Cannot fail to produce the Effect for which it is Intended.”

3RC: “stats.” Dupl: “states.”

4Dupl here adds “I fain wold have offered my <perssonable> perssonal sirvisses to that native Countrey of mine, in Executing the within apperratus, but my funds or rather the want of them prevent me.”

5Manuscript: “and.”

6Dupl here adds “{If you received my letter wich I rote the last mail in which I Inclosed also the same plan of an apperratus for Blowing up Enemys ships,} you will no doupt wonder at this Repatition, but sir I have reason to doupt of its finding its way to you, since it was put in the post office, I therefore thought it nessary to send the same plan to you again under Cover of Mr troups name.”

7RC: “you.” Dupl: “your.”

Index Entries

  • Cruse, Englehart; and underwater mines search
  • Cruse, Englehart; identified search
  • Cruse, Englehart; introduced by J. McHenry search
  • Cruse, Englehart; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • machines; torpedo (mine) search
  • Madison, James; mentioned search
  • McHenry, James; introduces E. Cruse to TJ search
  • torpedo (mine) search
  • Troup, George Michael; forwards letter to TJ search