1778-11-09 Daniel Roberdeau to Nathaniel Owings

The Dispatch

Philada. Novr. 9th 1778

Kind Sir,
I have been unwearied in my Endeavours to serve your Interest and that of the other Gentlemen concerned with me, as was my duty, and could I do more, I should not beg[r]udge my labour, as I should not doubt it’s issuing in an ample reward to us all.
You may yet depend on my utmost exertions, but be assured without the cooperation of both yourself and Mr. Cockey, one of you to be constantly at the Works,. until they are fairly put a going, and in the necessary supplies of Provisions &c way without a vigorous cooperation of you both in so arduous a business, I plainly foresee they will come to nothing, or the profits which would arise with ceconomy will be absorbed with Expence. I believe it is the loss of many thousands that Mr. Bedwell did not accept my first offer and superintend the building of the first furnace, but by every account he is now acting with great deligence, but he must be kept in his sphere and one of the Owners, at least, constantly employed in procuring live Stock, Wiskey, Flour &c &c &c and in seeing them transported, otherwise it is too obvious to need any argument to prove it that his being employed in any other way than in the Business more immediately committed to him, would be ruinous to our Scheme. A second furnace (a blast furnace) is building, or built by this time and [whether] it will not be ruined thro ignorance, as the first was, I cannot say, as Mr. Bedwell does not pretend to understand working one of that Construction, besides if there is at present sufficient skill on the spot to direct the Construction, they have no Mason but Fox, therefore anxious for the success I have again sent up Mr. Glen, and taken measure to get a Wm. Steer an old German who lives next adjoining a Mr. Trindle living about 8 or 10 miles from Carlisle to go up, which one of the Owners must see is effected, as the most probable means of success I can think of, next to getting a Mason and Smelters from Chizels work, this I have also repeatedly attempted, and have received encouragement from Governor Henry, to whom I have wrote and sent my Letter open to Mr. Bedwell as my last effort desiring him, if one of the owners will be on the spot to supply his place in any manner, to proceed to Govr. Henry himself and to the lead Works in that State, if encouraged by the Governor, as the want of Company may have hitherto disappointed our expectations of any Artificer from thence, my reason for wishing Mr. Bedwell to go is, that failing of getting the men, he may pick up some knowledge himself, but if it should prove out of his power to go, then I think you or Mr Cockey should undertake the Journey. Besides these measures I have sent 40 prisoners from fort Frederick, they proving British instead of Germans which I intended, all have proved discontented, and been sent back, except twelve. These I hope we shall retain as I have sent up a worthy Officer Capt. Danl. Topham entirely to manage this department. I shall in day or two send off between 3 & £400 of Cloaths for the prisoners and our other people to prevent their starving with Cold, to be charged to them, these are ready packed and wait only a Waggon to Transport them to Carlisle from thence they must be sent on pack horses to our Works, and have given orders to have them properly packed in convenient packages. I recommend that you call upon the Qr. master at Carlisle, who has orders for this purpose, and see that the goods be sent forward under the care of a proper person & that the Stamp heads and all the other things and persons I have ordered up, are accordingly gone or sent. I wish that you would look out for & recommend a proper person to superintend and carry on the Business of farming for the future supply of our men, for the expence of transportation besides the difficulty of obtaining produce by purchase renders another mode of supply necessary. I am thus particular as my last to you was in general terms refering to what I at the same time wrote to Mr. Cockey, who I expected would go up and take charge of the things in general recommended now, but as you and he are very loath to soil paper and I am left for weeks before I know what is-done in consiquence of my much writing or wether my letters get to hand, therefore I choose to be particular at present that you may be acquainted with the state of things. My last Letter inclosed £100 for Mr. Cockey did he receive it? and is he gone up? The Cloaths except you should be of [. . . m]y directions to the Qr. master will be sufficient. I think it is [too grea]t a risque not only on accott. of the money, but [. . . ] in danger of loosing the men for want of Cloaths. I am, Sir, Yr. most ob hum Sev,
Danl. Roberdeau

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 11 October 1, 1778 – January 31, 1779