But perhaps the most tempting speculation is that of the mines. Our friend, Parsons, who is here looked upon as an agent to some english speculators, has lately received the enclosed, which I begged a copy of, for your perusal but should first inform you, the cheapest fuel you can burn in some parts of America, is english coal from Liverpool!
COPY OF A LETTER TO B. PARSONS.
“The coal mine, of which you requested, me to give you a description, is situate in the county of Hampshire, on a spur or arm of the Allegany mountains. At the foot of this, within the distance of one mile, is the river Patowmack, at the confluence of it’s north branch with the Savage river. To this point, the Patowmack Company, incorporated for this purpose, intend to extend their navigation, and have already perfected it within the distant of six or seven miles. The work is going forward, and I believe will be completed next summer. This being perfected, there will be a good navigation for large flat-bottomed boats, within one mile of the coal-bank, to which a good road may be had on the side of the mountain.
“This immense body of coal, which lies not above two or three feet under the surface of the earth, was discovered by the falling of a tree, the roots of which brought up some pieces of coal. It has been made use of for some years by the neighbouring blacksmiths, who have made a perpendicular opening, about ten feet on this side of the mountain. Intending to purchase this property, I employed a man about two years ago to dig about twelve feel lower down than the first opening, and found nothing but a solid body of coal, of an excellent quality. I am inclined to think it extends to the bottom of the mountain, and may be procured with so much ease, that one hand, as I am assured, could deliver three hundred bushels a day.
“From the information I have received, there is a body of iron ore within seven or eight miles of the coal-bank; and I expect a very advantageous situation for water-works might be found at the confluence of the North Branch and the Savage. Among the great objects contemplated by the Patowmack Company in clearing the navigation of that extensive river, was that of forming an easy communication between the eastern and western waters, which you know are divided by the Allegany Mountains. The space that separates them at present is about sixty miles; but when the obstructions to the navigation down the Patowmack, which, passing through an extensive and fertile country, leads to the seat[Footnote: The writer means intended seat of federal empire.] of federal empire; and thence widening by degrees to the width of twelve miles, empties itself into the bay of Chesapeak.
“Should any of your friends in England incline to form an establishment here, in the smaller branches of non manufactory, I should he glad to treat with them on terms mutually beneficial.