To the Governor and Directors of the Society
for Establishing Useful Manufactures1
April 14. 1792
Among the disastrous incidents of the present juncture, I have not been least affected by the temporary derangement of the affairs of your Society. If however no real misfortune shall have attended any considerable part of your funds, the mere delay will be no very serious evil. It will not be difficult to put the business in Train with more promising prospects.
The following appears to me to be the course proper to be pursued.
1 To appoint the principal Officers of the Institution and regulate their duties. I mean a Superintendent, an Accountant, and a Cashier, especially the first. Tis impossible that any thing can proceed with vigour or efficiency till this is done. An infinite deal depends on the qualifications of the Superintendant. If Mr. Hubbard was recoverable, no pains should be spared to effect it.2 If this is to be despaired of, some efficient man of clear integrity, ought without delay to be sought in his place.
The Cashier ought also to be of a character and in a situation to inspire the most thorough confidence.
No time ought to be lost in determining upon the place and contracting for the land and commencing the buildings. Under present circumstances I would advise that the latter be begun upon a moderate scale yet so as to be capable of extension.
I would also advise that the Society confine themselves at first to the cotton branch. The printing business to commence as early as possible. A complication of objects will tend to weaken still further a confidence already too much impaired.
If a loan should be wanted I would if requisite cooperate to endeavour to procure one on favourable terms.
Means should be taken to procure from Europe a few essential workmen; but in this too there ought to be measure and circumspection. Nothing should be put in jeopardy.
The lottery must be postponed to a better opportunity.3
At my present distance, I can only offer these general suggestions. I am not sufficiently apprised of particulars to enter into detail. I will only add this general observation that nothing scarcely can be so injurious to the affairs of the Society as a much longer suspension of operation.
With great consideration I remain Gentl: Your Obed ser
The Governor & Directors
of the Society for establishing useful Manufactures
ALS, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
1. The governor of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures was William Duer, who had been imprisoned for debts on March 23, 1792. At this time the society’s affairs were being conducted by Archibald Mercer, the deputy governor.
An entry in the minutes of the directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures for April 17, 1792, reads: “The Deputy Governor laid before the board a letter from Colo. Hamilton in answer to the letter written by order of the Board” (“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 25). For the “letter written by order of the Board,” see Mercer to H, April 6, 1792.
2. On January 21, 1792, the directors of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures had elected Nehemiah Hubbard of Middletown, Connecticut, superintendent general of the works of the society. See Mercer to H, April 6, 1792.
3. On January 21, 1792, the directors of the society had resolved “That a Committee of five, (to be appointed by ballot) be empowered, with the concurrence of the Governor, to form and carry into execution a Plan for raising by Lottery or Lotteries the Sum of One Hundred thousand dollars, granted to the Society by the Act of Incorporation …” (“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 17).