George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Beverley Randolph, 11 January 1790

From Beverley Randolph

Richmond [Va.] January 11th 1790


Immediately on the receipt of your letter Covering a proposal for establishing a Woollen Manufactory in this state I laid it before the General Assembly taking care not to communicate the name or residence of the person from whom the proposal Came.1 I have now the honour to inclose you the Resolutions of the Senate and House of Delegates on that Subject. I am, with the highest respect your Obedient servant

Beverley Randolph

LS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, Vi: Executive Letter Books.

For background to this letter, see Thomas Howells to GW, 14 July 1789, and Edmund Randolph to GW, 10 Jan. 1791.

1The enclosure, a copy of a resolution of the Virginia house of delegates dated 17 Dec. 1789, reads: “Mr Edmund Randolph reported from the Committee, to whom was referred a letter from the Governor, with its inclosures, respecting the Establishment of a woollen Manufactory, that the Committee had according to Order had the same under their Consideration, & had agreed upon a Report, and come to several Resolutions thereupon, which he read in his Place and afterwards delivered in at the Clerks Table, where the same were again twice read, amended, and agreed to by the House as followeth.

“Your Committee esteem the patriotic Communication of the president of the United States, as presenting an Opportunity which the actual Circumstances of this Commonwealth forbid to be neglected; By these actual Circumstances your Committee mean, an absolute necessity arising from the Nature of the property in Virginia to endeavour to make the coarse cloathing at least; the intervals which the Hands employed in Agriculture occasionally find; and the Ability of the young and old who are disqualified for the severe Toils of the Field to be useful in manufactures.

“How far Schemes of this Kind ought to be extended, your Committee undertakes not to decide; but they conceive that the Establishment of a Woollen Manufactory highly deserves the public encouragement.

“It seems to be an indispensable Condition of such a Work, that the raising of Wool should be encouraged if possible by Legislative provisions, but those which have occurred to your Committee, from the practice of those Countries where population is thick and there are proper ranges for large flocks, do not appear applicable to this Commonwealth; nothing therefore remains in the power of the General Assembly, but to exhort the several farmers and Planters, to pay strict Attention to the increase of Sheep.

“Your Committee collect from the Communication aforesaid, that machines, which facilitate the manufacture of Woollens are probably attainable: Until the Truth of this Opinion be ascertained, or the plan projected shall be examined your Committee are unable to say what Stipulations ought to be made on the part of the Commonwealth.

“In Consideration of the premises your Committee have come to the following Resolutions thereupon.

“Resolved that it be earnestly recommended to the Good people of this Commonwealth, to attend to the raising of Wool by every possible Means, and to enter into associations for the forming of Rules to be observed & for other purposes adapted to this End.

“Resolved that the Executive open a correspondence with the president of the United States on the foregoing Subject, and that it be lawful for them to bind this Commonwealth in the Sum of ⟨one⟩ thousand pounds, and the further Sum of five hundred pounds per Annum for three years for the prosecution of a Woollen Manufactory on such Terms as they shall approve.

“Resolved that the Executive be requested also to correspond with the president of the United States concerning the lands required from this Commonwealth and to report their proceedings in the Premises to the next Session of Assembly.

“Ordered that Mr Edmund Randolph do carry the Resolutions to the Senate & desire their Concurrence” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). See also Virginia House of Delegates Journal, October 1789 sess., 114, 134.

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