W2599 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from William Dunn
Nov 8 1883
From: New York
I really do not like to trouble you so frequently with lengthy correspondence nor am I given to writing more than can be dispensed with.---I wrote you today with reference to disposing of the Patents that were now lying in "abeyance" and the necessary requirements to promote the matter. To carry out the scheme I knew that it was necessary to secure the aid or co operation [sic] of some person of ability. With this object in view I managed to be brought in contact with a man of noted intelligence. I refer to the
celebrated "Rev." W. H. Murray the late Boston preacher who was noted for his Sermons, Lectures, Writings on the "Adironidacks" [Adirondacks] And fast [horses??]. He is now engaged by a Bureau to deliver a number of lectures. But is also engaged in finding purchasing for meritorious Patents in a somewhat vicious manner. That is he does not wish it to be understood that he is directly engaged in the business of selling Patents. Hence there is another party who acts conjointly with him in prosecuting the business. I have been informed on good authority that they have just completed the sale of a Railing Appliance to a party of capitalists for a large amount of money. Before going further I wish to say that I am merely relating what I have heard and I do not claim mere wish such to be considered and conclusive proof that he or anyone else can realize at once from any or all of these Patents, All I do say is that he is a man of more than ordinary ability, a great and convincing conversationalist and understands what he is undertaking. Such is his reputation Of the man, personally, I know nothing but from that could possibly be got to carry the business to a successful issue--. I made an appointment with him this afternoon and concluded the conference this evening. At which I briefly told him what we had to sell and that we were willing to dispose of the Patents at such figures as would induce capitalists to invest. The upshot of the matter is I promised to have at once all the necessary Papers, Testimonals, Models &c. in a position to show. Of course I made no definite arrangements with him nor did he pledge himself to take the matter in hand before seeing what the devices were. But he gave me to understand if the articles were of value and devoid of the usual "Clap-trap" style of Patents, he would have no objections to interesting parties in the matter. Of course, no more could be done in the absence of any tangible to show.
However should it so happen that this party does not see fit to enter into the arrangement there are others to be had that will. But I feel certain that there has been no one here before been approached that is as capable of realizing out of the business as the one mentioned. I have thus candidly expressed my opinion of the subject of the outcome. Time must prove as I make no decided promises or predictions. All I do say is I shall avail myself of every possible means to bring about mutually satisfactory issue.
As they are they are of no benefit to you or me and will so remain when efforts are made to dispose of them, And this is the place to do it if it can be done at all.--I must admit that your referring to the Coupler Patents at out last meeting may be productive of some beneficial results. As my mind was so absorbed with furthering the Setts, as to cause one to lose sight of the others for the time being. However my object in writing tonight is to urge the necessity of having the Models &c. here as early as possible. And I think it would be advisable to forward the Patents as well. They always present a more convincing appearance than mere copies.
Of course nothing can be done with them without your acquiescence. As I stated in my letter of last week, if I am expected to bring this business to a satisfactory finality I must be allowed to carry it out without interference, the progress of affairs will be reported when progress is visible. But I will hazard no opinions merely based on conjecture. When advice is required I shall candidly ask for it, otherwise I wish to engage in the contest as I have done in others, single-handed. If I then succeed I can claim the success if I suffer defeat I must content myself with the "odium."---As it is of the utmost importance that this business should be attended to at as early a date as possible, you will confer a form by forwarding the requests as soon as can be done.
1 Dunn is quite insistent that Isaac not "interfere" in his work. Unfortunately, his ineffectiveness as a businessman did not warrant such a laissez faire attitude from Isaac and his brother Calvin Brooks who had both invested money in Dunn's patents and machinery. For other letters which mention this non-interference agreement see W2573, W2615, W2648, W2643. For a more comprehensive view of the McQuesten's business with Dunn see W2554a.