From Seth Jenkins
Hudson Nov. 7. 1791
This will be handed you by Mr. Cotton Gelston of this place, whom I have taken the Liberty of
introducing to your acquaintance.
His business is to obtain a Patent for Mr. Benjamin Folger, for securing an important discovery he hath
made in manufacturing Whale Oil—the particulars of which discovery will be communicated to you by
From the information I have had, and the experiments Mr. Folger has made, I am fully convinced that
the discovery is entirely new, and a very important one, and that it will prove highly beneficial to the
United States.—I am very respectfully Sir Your Mo: Obed: Servt,
RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed by TJ as received 15 Nov. 1791 and so recorded in SJL.
Jenkins, a whaling captain based in Hudson, N.Y., had met TJ during his northern tour with James
Madison in May and June 1791 (TJ to Jenkins, 21 June 1791). Benjamin Folger was granted a patent on 2
Jan. 1792 for his process for “Cleansing whale oil” (List of Patents Granted … from April 10, 1790, to
December 31, 1836 [Washington, 1872]).
Cite as: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition, ed. Barbara B. Oberg and J. Jefferson Looney.
Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.
Canonic URL: http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/TSJN-01-22-02-0251 [accessed 31 Mar 2013]
Original source: Main Series, Volume 22 (6 August 1791–31 December 1791)