Thomas Jefferson Papers

Isaac McPherson to Thomas Jefferson, 2 January 1814

From Isaac McPherson

Baltimore January 2nd 1814

Respected Friend,

Thy esteemed favour of the 3rd of September came safe to hand and I have the great satisfaction in saying that I have procured such testimony respecting the origin of the different parts of the machenery that O Evan’s claims as his invention that I think every honest man must say when he peruses it that he has most grossly imposed upon the public and it may have its use. I have had 500 pamphlets printed containing the whole one of which I beg the favour of thee to accept it goes by the same mail as this—Major Martin has deceased was he living I think his testimony would be still more pointed but I think the whole so clear that either Congress or the Courts will do something to releave the public—

I have been most intimate with O E for many years & never had the smallest misunderstanding with him—I am not one cent dirictly or indirectly benefited or injured by the decition having nothing but the public good at heart, having spent some hundreds of dollars in collecting the testimony that I now, produce shoud the citisens at large be benifited I shall be satisfied I propose laying a pamphlet on the desk of each member of the Sanate and House of Represintatves I am thy friend

Isaac Mcpherson

RC (DLC); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Jan. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ’s esteemed favour was dated the 18th, not the 3rd of september. McPherson sent TJ one of the pamphlets he had recently published anonymously, the Memorial to Congress on Evans’ Patent description begins Memorial to Congress of sundry citizens of the United States, praying relief from the oppressive operation of Oliver Evans’ Patent, Baltimore, 1813 description ends , in which he and a group of fellow millers sought to prove that Oliver Evans should not benefit from his patent because he had neither created, nor newly applied, the inventions he claimed to have designed, including the elevator, conveyer, hopper-boy, drill, and kiln drier. Early in 1811 Evans had more than doubled his licensing fees for millers using his alleged improvements (Bathe and Bathe, Oliver Evans description begins Greville Bathe and Dorothy Bathe, Oliver Evans: A Chronicle of Early American Engineering, 1935, repr. 1972 description ends , 189–90; McPherson to TJ, 3, 28 Aug. 1813, and enclosure to latter; Evans to TJ, 7 Jan. 1814).

Index Entries

  • Congress, U.S.; Memorial to Congress on Evans’ Patent search
  • Evans, Oliver; originality of machinery questioned search
  • machines; O. Evans’s patent machinery search
  • Martin, Thomas C.; drill of search
  • McPherson, Isaac; and O. Evans’s patent machinery search
  • McPherson, Isaac; letters from search
  • Memorial to Congress on Evans’ Patent search
  • patents; of O. Evans search