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GOV. MOORE TO THE LORDS OF TRADE.
[ Lond. Doc. XL. ]
Fort George, New York, 12 Jany 1767.
My Lords—Having recd your Lordships5 commands in a letter dated the first of August last, in which I was directed to prepare and transmit as soon as possible an account of the Several Manufactures set up and carried on within this Colony since the year 1734,1 took the liberty of giving Mr Peter Hasenclaver a Letter of Introduction to your Lordships as he was then ready to sail for England, imagining that from his Character and Knowledge of the Country a more perfect Account might be obtained from him of what was required in the beforementioned Letter, than I could possibly give by that opportunity. I have since made ali the Inquiries I could, and the whole of the Information given to me may be reduced to the following Heads.
There is a Small Manufactory of Linen in this City under the Conduct of one Wells, and supported chiefly by the Subscriptions of a set of men who call themselves the Society of Arts and Agriculture. No more than fourteen Looms are employed in it, and it was established in order to give Bread to several poor families which were a considerable charge to the city and are now comfortably supported by their own daily Labour in Spinning of Flax. It does not appear that there is any established Fabric of Broad Cloth here; and some poor Weavers from Yorkshire, who came over lately in expectation of being engaged to make Broad Cloths could find no Employment. But there is a general Manufactory of Woolen carried on here and consists of two sorts, the first a coarse cloth entirely woolen § of a yard wide; and another a stuff which they call Linsey Woolsey. The Warp of this is Linen, and the Woof Woollen, and a very small quantity of it is ever sent to market. Last year when the Riots and Disorders here were at their height on the occasion of the Stamp Act, these manufactures were greatly boasted of, and the quantity then made greatly magnified by those who were desirous of distinguishing themselves as American Patriots, and would wear nothing else; They were sometimes sold for three times their value; but the manufacturers themselves shewed that they had more good sense than the persons who employed them; for they never cloathed themselves with the work of their own hands, but readily brought it to market, and selling it at an extravagant price there, bought English Cloths for themselves and their families. The Custom of making these Coarse Cloths in private families prevails throughout the whole province, and almost in every House a sufficient quantity is manufactured for the use of the Family, .without the least design of sending any of it to market. This I had an opportunity of seeing in the late Tour I made, and had the same Accounts given me by all those persons of whom I made any inquiry, for every house swarms with children, who are set to work as soon as they are able to Spin and Card, and as every family is furnished with a Loom, the Itinerant Weavers who travel about the Country, put the finishing hand to the Work.
There is a Manufactory of Hats in this City, which is very considerable; for the Hats are not so good as those made in England, and are infinitely dearer. Under such disadvantages as these it is easy to imagine with what difficulty it is supported, & how short the duration of it is like to be ; the Price of Labour is so great in this part of the World, that it will always prove the greatest obstacle to any Manufactures attempted to be set up here, and the genius of the People in a Country where every one can have land to work upon leads them so naturally into Agriculture that it prevails over every other occupation. There can be no stronger Instances of this, than in the Servants imported from Europe of different Trades ; as soon as the time stipulated in their Indentures is expired they immediately quit their masters, and get a small tract of land, in settling which for the fiist three or four years they lead miserable lives, and in the most abject Poverty; but all this is patiently borne and submitted to with the greatest cheerfulness, the satisfaction of being Landholders smooths every difficulty, & makes them prefer this manner of living to that comfortable subsistence which they could procure for themselves and their famitys by working at the Trades in which they were brought up.
The Master of a Glass-house; which was set up here a few years ago now a Bankrupt, assured me that his ruin was owing to no other cause than being deserted in this manner by the Servants, which he had Imported at a great expence; and that many others had suffered and been reduced as he was, by the same kind of misfortune.
The little Foundry lately set up near this Town for making Small Iron Potts is under the direction of a few private persons, and as yet very inconsiderable.
As to the Foundaries which Mr Hasenclaver has set up in the different parts of this Country, I do not mention them, as he will be able to give your Lordships a full account of them and of the progress he has already made; I can only say that I think this Province is under very great obligations to him for the large sums of money he has laid out here in promoting the Cultivation of Hemp, and introducing the valuable Manufacture of Iron and Pot Ash.
I have the honor to be &c.
GOY. MOORE TO LORD HILLSBOROUGH.
[ Lond. Doc. XLI. ]
Fort George, New York, 7 May. 1768.
My Lord—I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship the copy of a letter I wrote in the beginning of the last year to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in answer to a letter I received from their Lordships in consequence of the Address of the House of Commons to His Majesty concerning the Manufactures of this Country, dated March 27th 1766. Another copy of this Address has been inclosed to me in your Lordships Letter marked N° 3, to which I must make the same answer, as the Progress of Manufactures in this part of the world by no means corresponds with the pompous accounts given of them in the public papers.
No mention is made in the former Letter of the great quantities of Leather being tanned in this Country, as this branch of business has been carried on for many years; the leather is greatly inferior in quality to that made in Europe; and they are not yet arrived to the perfection of making Sbleleather. Your Lordship may be assured that I shall, from time to time, give every due information required in this address, and be particularly attentive to any new Establishment of which we have no instances since my last letter, except in the paper Mill begun to be erected within these few days, at a small distance from the Town.
I am &c. H. Moore.