To George Clymer, Esquire Nov 19th, 1786

To George Clymer, Esquire Nov 19th, 1786

BORDENTOWN,

SIR:

I observe by the minutes that the Agricultural Society have presented a petition to the House for an act of incorporation for the purpose of erecting a bridge over the Schuylkill on a model in their possession. I hope this business will not be gone into too hastily. A bridge on piers will never answer for that river, they may sink money but they never will sink piers that will stand. But admitting that the piers do stand- they will cause such an alteration in the bed and channel of the river, as will most probably alter its course either to divide the channel, and require two bridges or cause it to force a new channel in some other part. It is a matter of more hazard than they are aware of the altering by obstructions the bed and channel of a river; the water must go somewhere-the force of the freshets and the ice is very great now but will be much greater then.

I am finishing as fast as I can my new model of an iron bridge of one arch which if it answers, and I have no doubt but it will, the whole difficulty of erecting bridges over that river, or others of like circumstances, will be removed, and the expense not greater (and I believe not so great), as the sum mentioned by Mr. Morris in the house, and I am sure will stand four times as long or as much longer as iron is more durable than wood. I mention these circumstances to you that you may be informed of them-and not let the matter proceed so far as to put the Agricultural Society in a difficult situation at last.

The giving a Society the exclusive right to build a bridge, unless the plan is prepared before hand, will prevent a bridge being built; because those who might afterwards produce models preferable to their own, will not present them to any such body of men, and they can have no right to take other peoples labors or inventions to complete their own undertakings by.

I have not heard any news since I came to this place. I wish you would give me a line and let me know how matters are going on. The stage boat comes to Bordentown every Wednesday and Sunday from the Crooked Billet Wharf.

THOMAS PAINE.