Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Peter Colt, 27 March 1793

From Peter Colt1

Paterson [New Jersey] 27th March 1793


Some weeks past I wrote you by Mr. Hall2 requesting to be favoured with the copy of your accts. with the Society for establishing useful Manufactures. By the Books which I have opened, you appear a Creditor for upwards of two thousand Dolls, advanced Pearce3 & others. As I am without your answer, I cannot ascertain if you are Still in advance to the Society that sum, or if it has been repaid, from what quarter the Money has been received.

I find on the records of the Society, that Mr. Jos. Mort4 is retained in their pay at £100 Sterling per Ann. I have never seen him here; & am assured he is in Virginia pursuing Business no ways essential to the Interest or views of this Society. Will there be any hazard in discharging him altogether? It is prety certain he cannot be useful to us this Season.

I find Mr. Hall also retained on a Salary of £300 Sterlg. It is worthy of some consideration if his salary should not be reduced untill such time as he is able to render Some Service to the Factory. I see no prospect of bringing his abilities in play under a Year from this time, in any manner that will justify such compensation.

I presume you will have been informed by Mr Low5 that the quarterly meeting of the Directors is posponed untill the 16th April. Should you be prevented attending that Meeting, your Sentiments respecting those work men would be very acceptable to the Board.

Majr. L’Enfant is now with us. Presuming he will write you on the Subject of a proposition lately made respecting the mode of geting possession of the waters of the Passaic & constructing a Canal,6 I shall forbare troubli⟨ng⟩ you on that Subject. This however may render your attendance at the meeting the more necessary.

I am Sir   Your most obedient   & very humble   Servant

P. Colt

Hone Alexr Hamilton Esqr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1When the directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures appointed Colt superintendent of the society on February 19, 1793, they authorized him “to act for the Society in the same manner as if the Works were his own property, and that if he should find from examination that any of the Salaries and Wages given by the Society should be inadequate to the merits of any one employed, that he report the same to the Board and if any of them should appear to be too high in proportion to the services rendered, that he reduce the same, and discharge every Person whose services are not profitable to 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 79–80).

2Colt to H, February 28, 1793. William Hall was an artisan employed by the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures in August, 1791, for “the business of printing staining and bleaching of Cotton and Linnens.” See “Contract with William Hall,” August 20, 1791.

3William Pearce.

4Joseph Mort was employed as an “Assistant in the Manufactory.” See H to the Directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, December 7, 1791.

5Nicholas Low.

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