James Watt Jr was born in 1769, the year in which his father obtained the first patent on the condensing steam engine. Watt Jr expended his energies on the family business. Watt Jr found Manchester an exciting place where he could develop his scientific activities and indulge his radical political enthusiasms. Although Watt Jr was representing his firm on business he was also intent upon supporting the cause of liberty in France. Watt Jr certainly spent over forty years of his life engaged on the filial project in one form or another. Within the filial project so defined, the 'water controversy' was very important to Watt Jr because he took it as illustrating his father's 'philosophical character', a crucial ingredient of his standing as a public benefactor. One of the surprises he found was a bundle of correspondence concerning the water controversy. Watt Jr is the 'Mr Gradgrind' of the water controversy.