Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to the Governor and Directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, 16 August 1792

To the Governor and Directors of the
Society for Establishing
Useful Manufactures1

Philadelphia Aug 16. 1792


The bearer of this Mr. Trenet is a person whom Col Duer entered into a speculation with for the establishment of a manufacture of brass and iron Wire.2 He is just returned from France, from which place he has brought tools and one or two hands. And he now with Mr Duers consent offers himself to the Society.

There is no doubt that the manufacture of iron & brass Wire would be an extremely useful one, having an extensive consumption & being applicable to a great variety of purposes. The first is particularly recommended by its connection with the great Iron-branch.

Mr. Trenet will produce all his certificates & papers to shew what are his pretensions and his engagements with Mr. Duer and I presume he will also produce a statement of the Capital necessary & the various objects to be provided.

It will then remain with the Board to determine whether they will engage in this enterprise. It will require to be first satisfied that Mr. Trenet is in every respect a competent and proper character—in the second that the object is likely to be profitable and in the third that there are adequate funds. This last will depend on the success of the late payments.

In general a multiplication of the objects of the Society will be inexpedient. But there may be circumstances of sufficient force to induce in special cases a departure.

With great consideration & esteem   I have the honor to be Gentlemen   Yr. Obed serv

A Hamilton

The Governor & Directors of the Manuf Society

ALS, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

1On the last page of his letter H named the addressee of this letter as “The Governor & Directors of the Manuf Society.” The envelope, however, was addressed to “Archibald Mercer, Deputy Governor of The Society for establishing useful Manufactures New Ark.”

2Jerome Trenet had been authorized by William Duer to obtain artisans for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. As early as February 27, 1791, Trenet complained to Duer that he had been unable to obtain funds from Benjamin Walker at Paris which were necessary to enable him to go to Lyons and fulfill his part of the agreement. No record of any action taken by the society appears in “Minutes of the S.U.M.,” description begins MS minutes of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, City of Paterson, New Jersey, Plant Management Commission, Successors to the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. description ends and on September 11, 1792, Trenet complained to Duer of the “despair in which you have put me by your fall” (ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City).

By October 17, 1792, however, according to Robert Morris’s accounts, Trenet had been hired to work at the “Delaware Works,” Morris’s manufacturing establishment at the falls of the Delaware opposite Trenton, New Jersey. Trenet remained there for several years (D, partly in the handwriting of Robert Morris, Wastebook, 1792–1796, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).

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