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Anderson, John (1726-1796) to George Washington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.10273 Author/Creator: Anderson, John (1726-1796) Place Written: Glasgow, Scotland Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 20 August 1793 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 40.7 x 25.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Titles the document "The Memorial." Writes discussing inventions. States "[t]hat he has invented a Bronze Guns Metal, which has the advantage of Common Iron Guns, and of Common Brass Guns, without their imperfections. That he has invented a Carriage for Guns; by which the recoil of the Gun is distroyed, without giving motion to the Carriage." Believes that these inventions will be very useful and writes that "because they were brought to the test of experiment by French Armies under the Generals [Marquis de] La Fayette, [Comte de] Rochambeau, [Charles François Du Périer] Dumourier, and Custine; and because, the Memorialist received the thanks of the French Nation; and which he values much more, of the military officers who made use of them in very trying situations." Volunteers his services in making the field pieces and writes that he "would think himself highly honoured by being appointed Engineer, Artillerist, and Director of the Gun Foundery, to the United States of America; which office would likewise give Them a right to other things of his invention; besides the two specified, and explained ... " Watermarked.

Background Information: Anderson was a Scottish natural philosopher and professor of oriental languages in the University of Glasgow. He was later appointed to the post of Professor of Natural Philosophy. Adam Philip, ...Count de Custine served with distinction against the English in the War of American Independence. He was elected to the states-general by the bailliage of Metz and also again joined the army, with the rank of lieutenant-general and became popular with the soldiers, amongst whom he was known as Général Moustache. He was found guilty by the Revolutionary Tribunal of having intrigued with the enemies of the Republic, and guillotined on 28 August 1793.
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Full Transcript: [Draft]
To His Excellency,
George Washington Esquire,
President of the United States of America,
The Memorial

Of John Anderson Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, Humbly Sheweth,
...That he has invented a Bronze Gun Metal, which has the advantages of Common Iron Guns, and of Common Brass Guns, without their imperfections.
That he has invented a Carriage for Guns; by which the recoil of the Gun is distroyed, without giving motion to the Carriage.
That the advantages of these two inventions are pointed out in printed papers, which accompany this Memorial; to wit, N.1. Essays on Field Artillery 1788 - N. 2. Essais sur L'Artillerie de Campagne 1791 - N.3. Of Cast Metal Cannon - N.4. Of Anderson's Ship Gun.
That there can be no doubt of the usefulness of these two inventions; because they were brought to the test of experiment by French Armies under the Generals La Fayette, Rochambeau, Dumourier, and Custine; and because, the Memorialist received the thanks of the French Nation; and, which he values much more, of the military officers who made use of them in very trying situations. Extracts in proof of this, marked N.5. accompany this Memorial.
That these Field Pieces would be of very great advantage to the armies of the United States of America ; whose enemies at present are successful, because, it seems, they are in ground where Common Field Pieces cannot be used. Whereas the Field invented by the Memorialist, though of a large calibre, can be carried speedily without wheels; and fired in swamps, without sinking; upon stones or rough ground without recoiling; and upon the sides of steep hills without running down; properties which belong to no other Field Pieces whatever.
That though the Memorialist communicated the method of making the Carriages of his invention to the Generals of the French Nation; yet that he has communicated to no person whatever, the invention of the Gun Metal, which may be easily kept secret. If therefore, the United States of America should think it their interest to have the sole possession of that Gun Metal, and to have Carriages made of the Memorialists invention, he, for a proper reward, is ready to communicate both inventions; and would think himself highly honoured by being appointed Engineer, Artillerist, and Director of the Gun-Foundery, to the United States of America; which Office would likewise give Them a right to other things of his inventions; besides the two specified, and explained in the five numbers above mentioned.
Glasgow College. 1793. August 20th. John Anderson. Prof. of Natural Philosophy.

[docket]
20 August 1793
Prof. John Anderson
Bronze Gun
Memorial
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People: Anderson, John, 1726-1796
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834
Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de, 1725-1807
Dumourier, Charles François Du Périer, 1739-1823
Custine, Adam Philip, Count de, 1740-1793

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: InventionInventorWeaponryArtilleryScience and TechnologyMilitary HistoryFranceOffice SeekerPresidentGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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