MESSRS. EDITONS—I think that one very important feature in the local history of East Tennessee might ask a place in the columns of your scientific journal. I allude to our massive metallic deposit; not, however, to our copper, but, I refer to our almost inexhaustible beds of iron, which I regard ns of greater value than any other metal, inasmuch as its use is so much more extensive and practical. Heretofore, comparatively, we had little use for iron ; but since it has been found necessary to bind the world together with " iron hoops"—to build iron houses, iron vessels, &c., IRO" has become more valuable than gold or silver. From my cottage, in the town of Kingston, at the juncture of the Clinch and Tennessee riYers, I look oat on a place designed by nature for a great manufacturing city. East, west, north and south, we have hills and even mountains of superior iron. Indeed, we have iron enough to iron all the roads of the United States; and after that to build cities of iron. In connection with our iron mines, we have in East Tennessee, and within range of sixtcen miles of Kingston, plenty of coal of a superior quality. In addition to this, we have excellcnt forests of convenient timber—oaks, ash, hickory, sugar-tree, pine, elm, poplar, &c. Yet our excellent and extensive resources for manufacturing purposes remain almost wholly undeveloped. 'Tis true, thousands of tons of iron (pig-metal) have been shipped from East Tennessee to Cincinnati and elsewhere, (at a profit to them, our iron men say,) much of which has been re-shipped in the form of nails &c., for which we pay a handsome price. But why not have our iron worked into the many valuable articles of commerce at home ? It would be not only to our advantage, but to that of the great public. The question is, why ? Here is the answer : We have not only the aforesaid valuable mineral resources, but along our winding rivers, and around our mountains of iron, we have superior agricultural districts. yielding grain sixty to one hundred bushels of corn per acre, and other grains in comparative proportion. Men of capital have invested their means in lands which yield immense profits, and therewith they are content. The mechanics of our country, on the other hand, are men of limited means ; and hence, our mammoth treasure is allowed peacefully to slumber in'its bed, and whilst it thus slumbers, thousands of well-balanced mechanical heads—so to speak—are rusting, waiting for the sound of a hammer to arouse them. The inhabitants of our mountain home have, it is true, grown wealthy by tilling the soil, and are yet adding rapidly to their handsome fortunes by that noble pursuit—agriculture ; but as a great portion of their success is the result of aid extended by inventive genius and mechanical skill, it is desirable that the field for those valuable auxiliaries shall be fully opened—a field (the mechanic'S) in East Tennessee in which has been deposited, by nature's hand, the choicest seed. N. A. PATTERSON. Kingstou, East Tennessee, Dec., 1857. [The above communication exactly hits the right nail on the head, namely, that men will not spend their time and labor in an unprofitable pursuit, and so long as agriculture is more profitable than mining, so long will the vast iron resources of our country be unwork-ed; but when agriculture moves away from those localities where metalliferous deposits are found, then will they -begin to be worked and their true value appreciated. When that time comes, and not until then, will the riches of Tennessee be developed.—ED.
This article was originally published with the title "Tennessee Iron" in Scientific American 13, 18, 139 (January 1858)