Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin H. Latrobe, 13 March 1803

From Benjamin H. Latrobe

Philadelphia March 13th. 1803

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of the 6th with the most grateful sentiments. It did not reach me till the 11th. I cannot better express the sense I have of your kindness, than by setting off for Washington as soon as I can leave my business with convenience, & safety. This will be in 2 or 3 days at furthest. I have already made my principal arrangements.—The failure of my partners Messrs. Bollmann, has thrown the weight of our Iron concern upon my shoulders, & renders it impossible for me at this moment to say that I shall be able to accept of your generous offer.—But I will devote myself to the compleat organisation of the business of the Season with the same zeal and activity, as if I could go through with it: and as I shall have the honor to see you at Washington, I will give you my decission then. My sincere wish is to be employed near you, & under your direction.—In the mean time, I beg you to believe me with the truest respect

Yours faithfully

B Henry Latrobe.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 21 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.

Justus Erich and Lewis bollmann were the principal investors in the rolling mill that Latrobe and Nicholas James Roosevelt had devised to draw extra power from the engines of Philadelphia’s waterworks. After the failure of the brothers’ merchandising business, they were forced to auction off their share of the mill (Fritz Redlich, “The Philadelphia Water Works in Relation to the Industrial Revolution in the United States,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877- description ends , 69 [1945], 243–56; Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 10 Mch. and 16 May 1803; TJ to James Dinsmore, 3 Jan. 1803).

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