DescriptionThomas Pinckney Autograph Letter Signed "Thomas Pinckney". Three pages with integral (now detached) address leaf, 7.75" x 9.75. Moultrieville, [S.C.], June 18, 1809. A letter to fellow Revolutionary War hero and inventor General [Jacob] Read with great content regarding patents,and referencing Eli Whitney, James Deneale, and James Watt. In small part: "The question you propose namely, what ought the Inventor of the improvement described to demand for the use of his patent right; should be considered in two points of view-the first is what it is fairly worth; the second what under the existing circumstances of this Country the Inventor is likely to obtain - With respect to the first point I am of opinion that the fairest mode of remuneration is that established by Mr [James] Watt in England for his improvement in the steam Engine..."
Condition: Flattened folds, with partial separations at margins, dampstaining affecting a few words; paper loss where seal has been torn open.
Moultrieville 18 June 1809
I received at this place three days ago your favor addressed to me in George Street & dated the 26th of last Month, I know not where it has been delayed but the apparent neglect of not answering it sooner is not to be attributed to me.
The question you propose namely, what ought the Inventor of the improvement described to demand for the use of his patent right; should be considered in two points of view-the first is what it is fairly worth; the second what under the existing circumstances of this Country the Inventor is likely to obtain - With respect to the first point I am of opinion that the fairest mode of remuneration is that established by Mr [James] Watt in England for his improvement in the steam Engine, which was the value of a certain portion (to the best of my recollection one half) of the actual saving of fuel during the term of his patent right. To apply the same principle to the present case; I should consider the pounding to be equal to one half the compleat manufacturing of the thrashed rice; an improvement in that part therefore of 100 per cent may be noted at 50 pr. cent in the whole operation, of this 50 pr. ct. the inventor would be intitled to ½ or 25 pr. ct. during the term of his patent & the toll being 10 pr cent, he would of course be intitled to ¼ of 1/10 or 2 ½ pr cent on the whole quantity manufactured, provided the improvement be equal to 100 pr cent in the pounding, without requiring additional power, or great expence in the alteration of the machinery.-this on the crop of So. Carolina taking it at 100,000 tierces would amount to 2500 tierces- But alass, my dear General, the reward of inventive intelligence is scarcely even adequate to its merit among us and adverting to the 2d point I would recommend it to your Projector to be guided by the Experience of others of the same craft in order to make the most of his patent right- [Eli] Whitney & [James] Deneale have been the most favored Patentees that I recollect- Whitney recd $40,000 from the State-Deneale 10,000$ by the sale of his entire right in the State to individuals- I doubt the probability of similar sums being again obtained, or that a sale of the patent in gross could be effected; Nor do I think your Projector could obtain more (even if the improvement be proved equal to 100 pr. cent in the pounding) than $200 for each toll Mill worked by water 100$ or private water mills not taking tolls & restricted to pounding only half the year, & 50$ on machines worked by animal power; the above sums to be taken as a remuneration for the whole term of the patent [text loss] to an annual sum or a percentage on the amount of rice manufactured, it appears to me impracticable to obtain either of them with advantage to the Inventor, in the state of Society wherein we are placed-. I remain with much respect & Esteem-Dear General
Your faithful & obedt Servant
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