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Report of John McDonald to New-York Committee of Safety


To the Honourable Provincial Congress or Committee of Safety for the Province of NEW-YORK.

I, John McDonald, Miner, who was appointed by your Honours, with the most punctual instructions relative to lead-mines, accordingly have proceeded, in compliance with the request contained in said instructions, with all convenient despatch, to the Little Nine Partners; and repaired myself, with all sincerity, in working and examining for lead and copper, in order to bring the true information of the state and quality of the same, which is at large reported as specified, in the following manners Jonathan London, Esq˙, to whom I was recommended for directions, conducted me to a limestone hill, where, at random, took the dimensions from the northeast to the southwest, being one mile in length, included from both fallings, in the ground in each end of said hill. The breadth is half a mile, and about forty rods height. There I found said mines, the veins of ore in which appear inclining or lying west and east, in ledges of limestone, mixed with white flint. Some years ago a company of adventurers had sunk several pits, or shafts, in pursuit of lead and copper; and that amongst the trials are two pits, one of which is fifteen feet deep, the other is fifty feet deep; and in the bottom of said pits left a promising discovery of about seven inches diameter solid ore, and that of a continued vein. Unfortunately the company were under the necessity of giving up their proceedings on account of the under-water rising, anent which we are fully informed of all the particulars by Mr˙ Harris. The principal method of preventing the damage done by the water is, to drive a level from its advantageous situation


to the discoveries made, which will clear away the water. The timber which supported the pits from the beginning of sinking, broke by the age and want of repairing, thereby is filled to the top with rubbish, &c˙ Mr˙ Harris undertook cheerfully to make discovery of lead; therefore the said Jonathan London, Esq˙, applied to one Mr˙ Fish (on whose property Mr˙ Harris has made a prosperous discovery of lead) for leave to open and search the ground; but he refused the freedom of breaking the ground, so that Mr˙ Harris' s best discovery was not explored. I made trials in several places, and discovered a small quantity of lead ore in each vein. The bounds wherein the mines lie are extraordinarily well situated for pursuing the necessary trials according to minery. The above-mentioned length, breadth, and height, will be a sufficient declaration to any person that professes to have a particular skill and knowledge in conducting lead-mines regularly in all its branches. My sincere advice to your Honours is, to employ some hands, and provide them with tools, in order to clear and draw the rubbish, &c˙, out from the said two pits, and support them well with timber; and by accomplishing the clearings of rubbish from these shafts, will make your Honours to have the satisfaction to know the truth of Mr˙ Harris' s description. If it appears to be depended on, the workmen must prepare to prosecute the discovery of the said lead-mines according to the directions of the inspector appointed; and if it be carried on properly, they will follow my aforesaid directions. I surveyed some mines near Martown, which is not worthy to report. I am fully informed by several, that there is a good mine explored in Rochester Patent, in Ulster County, which a company of adventurers wrought at about fifty years ago, and that they raised some hundred tons of lead ore. The full truth of which mine, Colonel Pawling, Chairman to the Committee Board of Marbletown, was to acquaint your Honours. The common report of the neighbouring inhabitants was declaring their seeing two feet diameter of solid ore, and great many trials made. Your Honours may or may not carry on these trials to execution. All that can be said is, that such promising discoveries for the publick good ought not to remain dead and useless in the bowels of the earth, without trials to be properly executed.

All which is humbly submitted, by your Honours' most obedient and humble servant,