Fredericksbg 12 Jan ’06
Not for 22 days after the date of Your highly esteemd favour with which You were pleased to honor me of the 15th Ultimo did I receive it; to which I endeavourd tho’ in haste with all due regard to reply, & instantly forwarded to the Post Office at this place; to which if come to hand, pray be pleased, to do me the honor, to be referr’d; I continue to be of the Mind, that I can not possibly avail my Self of the benefits held out to me respecting the Old Furnace & Iron Mine on the Potomac. especially for this Year, what aid I might procure, or what influence I might have on Some Person or Persons more wealthy and disengaged time alone could discover to me; perhaps in a few months; there is men of that description; particularly John Tayloe esqr. of Mont Airy, who has Slaves of his Own, Complete Artizans, in some branches of that business; haveing broke up and discontinued his Smelting Furnace at Neabsco, a little way from Colchester, it is possible He might engage in the business or hire to me or some other adventurer hands sufficient to carry it on; Once, Some Years Since, during a former administration some Letters past between Him & me on a Subject some thing Similar; there is another person or company,* Very wealthy, who not long Since, made me very great Offers. if I would Join with them, and manage for them, a great General Ironworks which they were then about to purchase of Mr David Ross; whether it would be proper for me to disclose the Matter to either of those, or to Some others of the Same or Nearly the Same description, is more than I without further advice dare Venture to presume; but this I well know, that I am not able or prepared for Such a large undertaking of my Self—the more especially as I am involved in much other business, fully to the extant of my Capitol; and altho’ I have Security enough of the best kind to give; do not know where I could get any Money On Loan! as Soon as I arrive at home I will take the liberty of Writing the Secretary of War more fully on this very important Subject
Yesterday, as I came down to this place I Saw the Father of Mr. Hoomes Freeman; who assured me that His sd. son had very advantageously Accomplishd the hiring of Slaves for Monticello, & gone On with them; I think as many as Seven Brothers, all handsome healthy strong fellows of One Man; two more I believe of the Same man & Same family, and another of Some other person, all gone on Cheerfully together; of that Young Mans conduct I persage every good!
With all due regard I am Worthy Sir Yr. very hble Servt
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.