Roger Newberry to John Chester35
Windsor [Connecticut] 16th Septr. 1791
Since I received yours of the 10th. of August My Son on whome my dependance has been has been sick and unable to assist me in my business, so that I have been unable to pay much attention to the Subject of your letter. I have wrote to several Gentlement and have recd. no answer except from Alexander King36 Esq of Suffield whose letter I herewith send you.
The Manufactures of this Town are Mostly in the domestic way such as most of our coarse Woolens & Linnens, chec’d Linnens we import none they are all of home manufacture as are all Linnens under 2/ per yard, and notwithstanding the great increase of population there is not one quarter part of coarse imported Woollens used that there were four year ago. Our Axes Siythes, Hoes, and many other of the large & heavyer kind of edged tools are manufactured among our selves. The Prisons at New Gate will probably manufacture from 15 to 20 Tons of Nails in a year which are sold by large quantities at 6d per pound by retaile at 7d. There is usually in the country large quantities of Tow cloth from 1/ to 1/3 per yard made in the domestick way, brought to market and sent to the Southen States, but this year there has been but little more made than is necessary for home consumption, owing I suppose to moderate crop of Flax last year and the great demand for that article for Sail Cloth and Cordage. It is difficult to fix any time when the above mentioned Manufactures began. They have been gradually increasing ever since the first Settlement of this Country, but have been rapidly improveing ever since the commencement of the late War but more especially since the conclusion of it. And what farther incouragement is necessary I am unable to say. The two cloth is sold according to the labour and expence about it, very low, and I could wish some better incouragement might be given to that manufacture as it imploys a great many women in the country. I am very sorry I have not been able to pay greater attention to the subject, as it is a subject of importance and in which this State is deeply interested. If I shall receive any answers from the other Gentlemen to whome I have wrote I will forward them to you, and am
Your Obedient Humle Serv
Honle John Chester Esq
35. ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
Newberry, a Windsor lawyer and merchant, had served as a major general in the Connecticut militia during the American Revolution. At the time this letter was written he was a member of the Connecticut legislature.
In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, is an undated document in the handwriting of Roger Newberry which is endorsed "Sample of Flax thread or Yarn Spun by Mill Machinery. for Mr. Alexr. Hamilton Treasury Philadelphia." This document reads: "Warp Yarn. Spun by Machinery on nearly the same principle as the Cotton Mill Machinery. It is the first effort, & was done at the House of Mr. Backiss 30 miles from New Castle under Line in Engd. It is a most ingenious & very beneficial discovery, as from 80 to 100 threads can be thrown of at a time, the same as with Cotton. I have a drawing & specifications of the two machines wch work it, one for the thread in a first state & the second for the last stage of Spining. It is done by frames of rollers & spindles, four to each frame, wch are so multiplyed by wheel work, chiefly of Brass, as to spin 80, or 100 or more threads at a time according to the Force of Water, Steam, Horse, or Animal force afforded to the work.
N B this thread is the first Effort, & meant for the backs of Fustains or thicksets, but the machinery now works thread of any fineness vizt. to that fit for 5f yard Linen, or Cambricks of 7 or 8f yard.
The cost of the two machines (wch there is great difficulty to a get a sight of, I suppose will be about sixty Guineas.) One man & two small boys, or girls, is sufficient manual labour for the machine of 100 threads.
36. King was a Suffield physician who served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1778 to 1784.