To the Directors of the Society for Establishing
[Philadelphia, October 12, 1792]
Minute of Matters which appear to require the attention of the Directors of the Society for establishing useful Manufactures.
I The appointment of a Superintendant, if an unexceptionable person should present; but if none such should occur it may be still most adviseable to defer till the buildings shall be erected and the works in operation.2
II An Application to the Legislature to remove all doubts concerning the power of forfeiting the interest of those who do not pay up. This appears indispensable to the successful prosecution of the business.
III Application to the Legislature to make the Indentures of Minors of equal force with the Contracts of full Aged persons. Perhaps it will be well to authorise at once the taking of apprentices.3
IV The authorising the sale of a certain number of Lots to persons (other than Mechanics) who may incline to build and settle. In this case the price of a lot ought to be set high (say not less than 150 Dollars for one consisting of a quarter of an acre) and a condition ought to be annexed to oblige the erecting upon it within a year a building of a certain value to be defined. Perhaps Twenty lots will suffice for this purpose. Tis desireable to accelerate some establishments besides those of the Society.4
V A person in the character of Store keeper is much wanting. He ought to keep a book and make regular entries in it of all articles received and issued specifying from and to whom, that a strict accountability may be established. An exact inventory of tools & implements in the possession of each person ought to be taken, when any is broken the parts returned when a new one is demanded—when lost a report to be made to the store keeper & noted in some proper column. Here is much opportunity for abuse and waste. It will be well that all articles purchased and sent to the Manufactory should be accompanied with something in nature of a bill of lading or cocquet to be delivered to the Storekeeper so that his books may shew as well by whom & how articles are sent as the particulars of the articles.5
A board yard well regulated to be under the care of the Storekeeper or some person under him seems much wanted.6
VI Some reductions of persons or wages may be found practicable but in this it will not be well to dismiss persons who though not immediately essential will be proper to be retained to be prepared for the works when ready. Such persons however will probably be content with half wages till the Manufactory goes into operation.
VII The Machines ordered were not going forward for want of some materials.7 It is interesting that all impediment should be removed. It will perhaps be most advantageous to contract for them by the piece but in this case a proper allowance would be to be made to the Society for the use of Shops tools &c.
VIII Piece-work in every branch has been found preferable to working upon wages. Somebody ought to be charged in time with preparing for the Society a scale of allowances or rates. The highest allowances in England would seem to be the proper standard; which considering collateral advantages will probably suffice.8 Young in his annals gives the rates of wages & compensations in England.9
AD, Passaic County Historical Society, Lambert Castle, Paterson, New Jersey.
1. This document is endorsed “October 12th: from Colo. Hamilton respecting objects of immediate use & consequence.” Most of the proposals in this document were considered at a meeting of the directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures at Paterson on October 13, 1792.
2. On October 13, 1792, the directors of the society appointed a committee of four “to Treat with such Person as they may deem proper to be appointed as Superintendant, and make Report to this Board at their next meeting” (“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 73).
3. In the margin opposite the preceding paragraph the word “agreed” is written. Opposite this paragraph “Do.” appears.
On October 13, 1792, the directors passed a resolution which incorporated both suggestions in this paragraph (“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 74). On November 16, 1792, Elisha Lawrence of Monmouth County, vice president of the New Jersey Council, presented a petition from the society and brought in a bill concerning the petition which was amended and passed (Journal of the Proceedings of the Legislative-Council of the State of New-Jersey, Convened in General Assembly at Trenton, on Tuesday the 23d Day of October 1792. Being the first Sitting of the seventeenth Session [Trenton: Printed by Isaac Collins, 1793], 20–21). The act as it was passed contains no reference to apprentices (“A Supplement to the Act, intitled, ‘An Act to incorporate the Contributors to the Society for establishing useful Manufactures,’” Acts of the Seventeenth General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey. At a Session begun at Trenton the 23d Day of October 1792, and continued by Adjournments. Being the First Sitting [Trenton, 1792], 804–05).
4. In the margin opposite this paragraph the word “deferred” is written.
5. In the margin opposite this paragraph is written “to be executed by Mr. Griffiths.” On August 20, 1792, James Griffiths had been appointed “Accomptant” of the society (“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 67).
6. In the margin opposite this paragraph is written “to be executed by Mr. Griffiths.”
8. Below this suggestion is written: “Committee Mr. [Herman] Le Roy Mr. [Matthew] Clarkson & Mr. [Cornelius] Ray.” The directors’ resolution appointing this committee may be found 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 74.
9. Annals of Agriculture, and Other Useful Arts. Collected and Published by Arthur Young, Esq., F.R.S. (London, 1784–1815).