Thomas Jefferson Papers

Contract between the State of Virginia and Peter Penet, Windel & Company, 22 July 1779

Contract between the State of Virginia and Peter Penet, Windel & Company

[Williamsburg] 22 July 1779. Contract entered into by the Governor and Council of Virginia on the one part and Peter Penet, Windel [or Wendel] & Company on the other part, by which the company pledges to establish “a Manufactory of Arms and Foundery of Cannon … on James river,” to import artisans therefor, and to furnish 10,000 stand of arms annually to the state, while the state on its part pledges to obtain a proper site and water rights for the foundry, to exempt the artisans from military service, to secure supplies of iron, copper, and coal, and to purchase the arms made. Signed by TJ on the part of the state and by P. Penet “pour moy et Wendel & Co.”; witnessed by Savarit (given name unknown) and Meriwether Smith.

Tr (Vi); 7 p.; in an unidentified hand but containing one insertion in TJ’s hand; endorsed (in part) by TJ: “Penet Windel & c[o.] Articles of agreement (Copy) 1779”; the signatures are not in autograph. Another Tr is in Board of War Letter Book (MiU-C). Copies of a preliminary form of the contract and a series of “Observations” and “Answers” exchanged thereon between the company and the Governor and Council from 30 June to 16 July 1779, are also in Vi; 20 p. The contract of 22 July is printed in Official Letters description begins Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , ii, 23–8, but is only summarized here because it is given in full in the Bill for Establishing a Manufactory of Arms and Extending Navigation through the Falls of James River, printed below under date of 30 Oct. 1779.

For the history of attempts to establish a foundry to supply arms for the state, and to extend navigation around the Falls of the James, see TJ to Benjamin Harrison, Speaker of the House of Delegates, 30 Oct. 1779 (in which copies of all these papers were enclosed), with notes and references there, and also TJ’s bill printed under that date.

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