Notes about the Documents
The following pages contain primary source documents pertaining to Asylum, Pennsylvania, and the Asylum Company. Each document was chosen because of its importance to understanding the goals of the colony and the difficulties it faced. The economic goals of the colony are demonstrated through its plan of association, and its inability to meet these goals can be seen in the Catalogue of the Lands and Stocks of the Asylum Company. Personal letters between investors and settlers display the hardships faced by the first settlers of this colony during its construction.
“Catalogue of the Lands and Stocks of the Asylum Company” (published 1819)
This catalogue lists the lands and stocks of the Asylum Company that were not sold by 1809. According to the twenty-first article of the “Plan of Association of the Asylum Company,” the company would be dissolved after fifteen years and sold at public auction after six months of advertisement in a prominent Pennsylvania newspaper. This document displays the failure of the Asylum Company to sell many of shares it created or acquired between 1794 and 1795.
“Plan of Association of the Asylum Company” (1794): On April 22, 1794, Robert Morris and John Nicholson created the Asylum Company, created for the purpose of selling lands in north central Pennsylvania. The plan contains articles of agreement describing how the lands should be divided and sold. An amendment to the plan was added on April 25, 1795, making John Nicholson the soul owner of shares (except for those previously sold) after Robert Morris overextended his finances, and eventually went to debtor’s prison.
Letter from Robert Morris to Judge Hollenback (Summer 1793): This letter indicates to Judge Hollenback that Robert Morris would like his assistance in bringing supplies to Asylum for building.
Letter from Robert Morris to Judge Hollenback Fall 1793: This letter displays concerns regarding building as winter approaches. Although the settlement with Connecticut colonists was not yet official, Morris and Boulogne wanted to begin as soon as possible.