George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas McCabe, 21 July 1790

From Thomas McCabe

Belfast [Ireland] 21st July 17901


your Homble deportment makes me hope, that you will forguive the Intrusion of An Irish tradesman, on your Importent minnets; from A general wish for the happyness of all Societys, but pertickulerly those whose Actions make them stand foremost in this Circle—I am indusced to inform you of An Invention which I have within this few days perfected by An English Artist2 whome I indusced to come to this countrey: it is A Loom which waves two pieces of Cottens Callecoes or demmeteys &c. at the same time,3 with the same Ease and Eaqualy well as one is done in the Common way next to its yousfullness is its Simplisity—About A Elliven years Ago I sent A 30 spindle Jenney working moddel of A carding Machine fly Shuttel &c. to your Countrey by Mr John Hay who I Understand presented it to they then Governer of Virginia—I mean to send you one of those looms which I hope will be yousfull to your Countrey at least it will gratify me in An Atempt to send it.

I am most thankfull to you for your frindly Attention to my Son Thos who wated on you last year.4 wishing you all true happyness & honor I am most Respectfully your Obt Sevt

Thos McCabe

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

For GW’s abiding interest in the transfer of British textile technology to the United States, see Thomas Howells to GW, 14 July 1789, Christian Febiger to GW, 5 Dec. 1789, Edmund Randolph to GW, 10 Jan. 1791, and Beverley Randolph to GW, 11 Jan. 1790.

1The letter’s cover is postmarked Baltimore, 2 September.

2McCabe’s associate, Manchester artisan William Pearce, came to America in July 1791 bearing a letter of introduction from Thomas Digges to the president. GW later visited Pearce’s Philadelphia cotton manufactory with the First Lady and members of his cabinet in June 1792 (Thomas Digges to GW, 1 July 1791, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; GW to Thomas Jefferson, 12 July 1791, ALS, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers; Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 20:242, 318, 321).

3For more on Pearce’s “multiplier” or “double-loom” and the model, parts, and drawings of which he smuggled from Ireland in 1791, see Elias and Finch, Letters of Digges, description begins Robert H. Elias and Eugene D. Finch, eds. Letters of Thomas Attwood Digges (1742–1821). Columbia, S.C., 1982. description ends 423, 425, 429–30, 432–34; Syrett, Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 9:86, n.2.

4For Thomas McCabe, Jr.’s December 1789 meeting with GW, see Febiger to GW, 5 Dec. 1789 and note 4.

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