Slavery and Revolution


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 6 December 1787

By Admms |

At the end of 1787, Taylor commented on proposals by Matthew Boulton, the British entrepreneur and manufacture of steam engines, to adapt steam power to sugar mills in Jamaica. He was not fully convinced by them.

[…] Respecting Mr Bolton, untill he sends out modell, & letts people know the premium he expects for his machines, and convinces them they will answer, he will gett no encouragement here, I should think if he was so certain of the success, that he would wish to have one erected on an estate even at his own expence, to be reimbursed should it answer, or leave to take his materials away if it did not, and that would convince people of its utility, for at present we here have only his own ipse dixit [i.e. unproven assertion]. As you justly observe sending out only one man is nothing, we want nothing new from him, but his mode of applying the steam to the turning the mill, the method of hanging his boiler to the most advantage to save coal, for machinery work and making the mill we know more about it than he does, or can be expected to know, and if once any person steals that mode from him, all his expectation from this island is at an end, as there is not patent that does, or can extend to this country. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1787/20, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 6 December 1787)