1809.018: A View of Establishment & Operations of Manufactory of Arms.

Published: 1809

Full Title: [A compendious view of the establishment & operations of the Manufactory of arms, and of the late public investigation, from the commencement to the expulsion of the officers in February, 1809. By Henry Banks].

Author: Banks, Henry (1761-1833).

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Samuel Pleasants

Description: 220 p. 20 cm. (12mo).


The General Assembly conducted investigations into the conduct of the state's manufactory of arms during its December 1807 and December 1808 sessions in response to problems with the quality of the various arms made there exposed in the militia mobilization following the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair of June 1807; the resultant Report of Committee on State of the Manufactory of Arms (1809.011), issued on February 9, 1809, led directly to the dismissal of the manufactory's superintendent, John Clarke (1766-1844); Clarke immediately launched a newspaper crusade defending his conduct (largely in Thomas Ritchie's Enquirer), spawning a defense of the Assembly committee by Banks (largely in Samuel Pleasants's Virginia Argus); the vituperative exchange lasted into May 1809, before culminating in the publication of this lengthy commentary interspersed with the official documents consulted by the committee. Only known copies are mutilated with loss of title page; thus press and location have been reported as uncertain, though the title is known from newspaper advertising; Banks was a former legislator who was long a part of the Republican leadership circle in Richmond, as well as a brother to Gerard Banks, the Republican editor, and Linn Banks, future Speaker of the House of Delegates; Pleasants then conducted the journal of record for both the state and the party, and published the many letters Banks wrote on this controversy in the spring of 1809, content which reappears in the text herein; so it is almost certain this book issued from his press, hence the attribution here.

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