W2611 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from William Dunn
Nov 19 1883
From: New York
I.B. McQuesten Esq
I have just received your Telegram. I do not recollect anything that was written in my letter of Saturday [November 17] that could be construed into dishonesty. I think the letter must have been misunderstood for it was written with the utmost candour. As far as I can remember, It is time I was not in a happy mood; consequent of a perplexed mind, and some word may have been inadvertently added or omitted that allowed a different construction from what was intended And persons proposing to act dishonestly do not as a rule "Show their hand" However I have not contemplated any such course And I do think I have a fair conception of which is right and wrong and endeavour to practise it as far as lies in my power. I know and feel that circumstances has [sic] made my actions and performances appear perhaps differently. But I know what pain it has cost me and how I would have abandoned this struggling long ago, no matter how much the prospective reward.1 If others would not have been the greatest losers And would have accepted a position that was in every way to my taste and which I was eminently qualified to fill. But to carry this business to a successful issue have adhered to this through many unpleasant reminiscences. Not attributable to any individual but to circumstances. I know that I am not adapted to sell Patents as they are usually sold. Because it requires "cheek," distortion of facts &c. I know that there are many who could sell a useless Patent at a larger figure than I could one of indisputable merit. But I would not adopt the same course hence I deem it advisable to secure the services of some one who by former successes has proven that he is qualified to carry the business to a satisfactory issue I do not class these Patents in the same category as the majority of those that are sold because I know that they have merit. And in making this assertion I merely re-echo the opinions of those who are qualified to discriminate and judge from actual comparison.
It is needless to say I respect very much that you should have interpreted the letter as indicated by your Telegram. For I have striven to retain your favorable opinion. This is is [sic] easily accounted for because I am not under as many obligations to any other living man. For the opinions of the others interested in the business, I do not care a straw. With them it was a business transaction simply. Your actions have been altogether different. So long as I do not undertake any underhand or unfair advantage but endeavour to act equitably, Is all they can expect and am not called on to sacrifice self for their benefit Any concessions made to me has [sic] I am confident been made through your influence, Hence so far as the others and I are concerned it is merely a business transaction. But as stated before my position does not hold the same relation at all so far as regards yourself. Consequently I am anxious to divert your mind of the thought if possible and which only can be done by explanation. The letters I have written have been written under the disadvantage of being done when troubled as to the best course to pursue. And the perspective failure of all my good intentions, and fair-seeming hopes built on a foundation constructed by hard work. I refer particularly to the Sett. As stated to you I wanted to give this machine a reputation show, by having the proper tools, how they could be made and then sell the Patent And the tools for a price afterwards if they were not sold to take them to Canada, and manufacture some machines there. This was the plan laid out. The expense was more than I expected but I came here badly equipped and labored under disadvantages. But I established the reputation, Of course to do anything I would require the Patents and Models and will do the best I can with them.--But If you cannot comply with my request in yesterday's letter,2 I am afraid I cannot be in a position to do much. Tending to satisfactory results I can forsee the difficulties and candour compels me to tell them. And I think you will concur in this view when thinking the matter over. As the mail is about closing.
1 Isaac had been providing financial support to Dunn in his efforts to sell his machine patents, but was largely unsuccessful and made little or no profits over the years. In December 1883 he proposed a deal whereby he would repay Isaac for $600 within the span of six months or else turn over all patents and related materials as compensation, see W2609 for information and links. For a more complete picture of Isaac and Dunn's business relationship see W2554a.
2 See W2609 in which Dunn asks for money, claiming that he has enough for his own needs but requires it for business expenses only.