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James Stewart to the People of Virginia



Williamsburgh, September 15, 1775.

The subscriber, who is an inhabitant of Virginia, and just returned from England (where he has been for these eighteen months past, on purpose to make himself acquainted with the culture and preparation of several dyes) has brought in with him the seeds and roots of madder, woad, and welde, (commonly called dyer' s weed,) which are the fundamental dyes of all colours, either in the linen, cotton, or woollen manufactures, with a view to propagate them, and makes no doubt of being able to afford them full as cheap as they are sold in England. He has likewise brought in the seeds and roots of the aranatto, which dyes yellow and pompadour colours; also, the genuine rhubarb and licorice plants, with some thriving olive trees, &c˙, &c. But as the cultivation of them all is too much for him to undertake, he offers to supply any gentleman, or company of gentlemen, in Virginia, with seeds and roots, and to instruct them how to prepare them for the manufacturers; and as the utensils for preparing the different articles for market are to be had in the Country, at a small expense, nothing else is required but the labour of one hand for every five acres. Madder sells in England, according to the quality, from ten pence to two shillings and five shillings per pound; woad from eighteen pounds to twenty pounds a ton, four or five crops of which may be made yearly in Virginia; and welde is worth five shillings a sheaf, but, for the convenience of exportation, it is intended to manufacture it as they do indigo.

He also offers to instruct one or two ingenious spinning wheel makers, that may be appointed by any County Committee, to make a machine, or wheel, for spinning cotton, with which one hand may spin from fifteen to thirty threads at a time; and he expects no further recompense than as the merit of the machine may appear to deserve.

All persons who intend applying to him must be expeditious, as the land for the cultivation of the above articles ought to be prepared this fall. He may be spoke with at Mrs˙ Vobe' s, for these eight or ten days; afterwards at Winchester, in Frederick County; and all letters for him may be left at the constitutional post-office in this City, directed to the care of Mr˙ Alexander Woodrow, merchant in Falmouth.