509 | To the Board of Trade


    Boston, Novr 15th, 1766.

    My Lords,

    I have received your Lordships letter, dated Aug 1st, commanding me to transmit to your Lordships, a particular account of the sevral Manufactures which have been set up & carried on in this Province since the Year 1734, & of the public Encouragements which have been given thereto.1 As this Enquiry lay for the most part out of the reach of my knowledge, I ordered the Secretary to search the Books for public Encouragements, & make enquiry of Manufactures set up without them. For my own part, I could have immediately answered, that since I have been Governor, I have known of no new Manufactures set up here, except Potash, which I presume is not an Object of the present Enquiry.

    The Secretary has now made his report to me, which consists of a very few Articles, & really shows the impracticability of carrying on Manufactures here to any purpose, & is as follows.

    The greatest Manufactory which has been attempted here was set up at Boston in the year [blank] by a subscription of the principal Gentlemen there, for spinning & weaving Linnen: they built a large Brick Building for that Purpose, & in the year 1753, the General Court granted the sum of £1500 to pay for the Building, to be raised by a tax upon Coaches, Chaises, &c, for 5 years. The tax did not raise half the Mony; the Manufactory entirely failed; & the General Court has since paid the rest of the £1500 with Intrest, to indemnify the Creditors of the Building, & have taken it to themselves.2 They have lately put it up for Sale, but cannot find a Purchaser.3

    In the year [blank] a Manufactory for making Glass Bottles was set up at Germantown, a place so called, by Germans settled there under English Taskmasters. In the Year 1754, upon a petition that some of their Buildings had been destroyed by fire or otherwise, the General Court granted them £1215 to be raised by Lottery.4 The Bottle manufactory is now quite at an end: & a Stocking Manufactory, which was set up at the same Place, has had little better success.

    In the Year 1754, upon the Petition of Franklin & others, that they had introduced foreign protestants, & settled them within the Province for carrying on sevral Manufactures, & particularly Potash, the General Court granted them 1500 Acres of Land upon Condition, that they carried on the same Manufactures, which they were engaged in in Germantown. This came to Nothing but the acquiring 1500 Acres of Land, which probably would have sold for no more than so many Shillings.5

    In the Year 1763, upon the Petition of the Owners of a Paper Mill at Milton, the General Court lent them £400, to be paid again at stated Times without Intrest. All this Grant, which cost the Province nothing, by Intrest at 6 p Cent, amounts only to 60 guineas.6

    These are all the Encouragements that I can learn have been granted to Manufactories, since 1734: & these discouragements, & perhaps some others, which had no Bounty, & have not come to my Knowledge, seem to have put a stop to attempts of this kind, & to have disposed People to pursue those Businesses, which are sure to make them better Returns than Manufactories are like to do. And it is remarkable that the Opposers of the Stamp Act in this Province, among their sevral Practises to obtain a repeal, did not threaten Great Britain with setting up Manufactories against Her, in the Manner some others Provinces did: for they knew that the futility of such a threat was too open. They threatned to be more sparing in the use of British manufactures; but did not pretend to rival them.

    I am, with great respect, My Lords, Your Lordships most obedt & most humble Servant,

    Fra Bernard.

    The Rt Honble, The Lords Commrs for Trade, &c.

    dupALS, RC      CO 5/892, ff 152-154.