George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Clegg, 6 April 1784

From Edmund Clegg

At Thomas Francis: 2d street near Market street.
Philadelphia April 6 1784

May it please Your Excellency

I took the liberty to Address a Note to you when in this City, on the Subject of my Scheme, to establish the Weaving Manufactories of British Goods in these States1—I am happy to find the plan may be executed with greater Success than I did at first expect—I have got some Looms to Work & some Machines for Spining, and the Assembly have partly determin’d to Support the Undertaking—That is a Committe has been Appointed to Consider the Matter—and have brought in their Report to Assist with £400 Curency for 7 years, Intrest free 2—I mean to do every thing in my power to render this Country Independant of Europe for Manufactured Goods in my Line, & if powerfull exertions were made I really think in 7 Years this might be accomplished—nor Need I say to You how much political Good would accrue thereby to these States—But I am of Opinion that only a very few in this State have a true Idea of the Effects of Such a scheme being executed—some of the Members told me as much, & desired my thoughts in Writing which I laid before the House and it was much approved of—and produced the above Mentioned Report, which was not Confirm’d by the House, being deferr’d ’till next Session—cheifly owing to the Warm disputes which arose upon a Bill for Emitting a Paper Currency.3

As I esteem the Proposed aid inadequate to a Spirited push to Effect my design I hope you’ll pardon my freedom in sending You this Letter The object of which is to know if a more suitable support would be given under Your patronage.

If you honor me with Your reply please Inform me at what price Cacoons may be had per pound from the silk Worm & in what Quantities they might be had—I am—Hond sir Your Excellencys most obedient & very Humble sert

Edmund Clegg


1The “Note” from Clegg to GW, presumably written when GW was in Philadelphia in December 1783, has not been found, nor has any response from GW.

2The Pennsylvania house on 29 Jan. 1784 received and read “A petition from Edmund Clegg, late of the kingdom of Great-Britain, setting forth, that the petitioner is a manufacturer of the wares of Manchester, and Spittalfields, and proposing a plan for the establishing a manufacture of corduroys and fine jeans, to be carried on by the petitioner; therefore praying the encouragement of the House” (Minutes of the Pennsylvania Assembly. description begins Minutes of the First Session of the Eighth General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Which commenced at Philadelphia, on Monday, the Twenty-seventh Day of October, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-three. Philadelphia, 1783. description ends ) It was ordered that the petition “lie on the table.” The petition was read a second time on 6 Mar. and referred to a committee of three who reported on 15 March.

3The Pennsylvania house debated the proposed “Act for erecting and opening a Loan-office, and for emitting the sum of fifty thousand pounds in bills of credit . . .” on the last two days of the session, 31 Mar. and 1 April 1784 (ibid.). It voted to print the bill for public consideration.

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