Prest B. Young
Books &c &c
Washington City, D. C.
December 13th 1853
Dear Bro. Young:
Yours of the 1st of Nov. is at hand, requesting that the books, designed for the valley, should be insured from Liverpool to St. Louis. I have forwarded instructions to S. W. Richards to this effect. He will no doubt, see this attended to. I have also requested him to forward to me a full account of all the expense, attending the printing, binding, cartage, shipping, freight, insurance, &c. on that side of the water to this, I will add the duties and other expenses to St Louis. And as early as I can assertain all these items; I will forward the same to you by letter. It has been concluded to send to the valley now this present season 5000 Books of Mormon, & 5000 books of Covenants; & 10000 Hymn books. Should you want 5000 more of each of the first two works, they can, with a few months notice, be forth coming, as they are stereotyped. I shall forward to Horace S. Eldredge a check of several hundred dollars to pay duties & other expenses on the books; as my publishing business, and the numerous letters which are coming on ships, [page break] will not permit of my going to St. Louis to attend to these things myself. I have now between two and three hundred subscribers for the 2nd vol of the Seer, and the subscription list gradually increasing. The saints throughout the states are beginning to send for the various publications which I have on hand, and there seems to be an increasing desire among them to gather up to Utah. Some baptisms are taking place in various parts. In Texas the Elders are doing some good. Elder James Brown has baptized quite a number in Indiana. But in most of places there is a deadly hatred against us.
I am now getting the Seer published in Baltimore: it comes some cheaper. All my correspondence is at Washington and the Seer goes out as if published in Washington.
I have on hand, several hundred dollars worth of various publications of the Saints, to supply demands from all parts of the States but a few have yet been ordered. But since sending out to the various subscribers some 12 books & 500 circulars, containing catalogues prices, & rates of postage of these works, the demand seems to be increasing.
I feel very anxious to have a good house built on the lot; fronting, the tabernacle; but I can give no encouragement, that I shall be able to raise the means for that purpose very soon. And I dare not [page break] Ask any one to advance the means, and wait upon me a few years, lest I should not be able to meet my engagements. And furthermore, I feel anxious to keep out of debt, that my hands may be as free as possible. Having no farm, nor no other income in Utah, I sent on last season a few cattle, hoping that the increase of the same might supply some of the more minute necessities of my family. It may be that the sale of my writings, will in time, furnish me with means to build a house. I make these observations because I did not know, but you were expecting me to send means to build with; and I did not want you disappointed.
John H. Donnellon in the British army whom you wrote to me about some time ago, has lately procured means from the Saints by which he will be released in a few days. He expresses, by letter, much joy, in the prospect of being free.
My whole heart rejoices in the works which you have given me to do in these eastern lands. And I feel like doing with all my might, that, I may receive the reward of a faithful laborer. The press is a powerful engine, and I want to keep my pen busy for the benefit of this, nation and others, who may wish to inform themselves of the doctrines of the Saints.
Dr. J. M. Bernhisel is well & feels well. It gave me great joy to meet with him. The face of a saint is a rarity in this country. A donation of a box of Bibles, &c. [page break]has been sent to my care at Washington for you. It was sent by the N.Y. Bible Society. It will be forwarded to H. S. Eldredge, with a request for him to see it forwarded to Utah.
I believe I mentioned in some of my former letters that the history & genealogy of my ancestors were in the course of preparation for publishing. This work is being got up by my kindred, many of whom have occupied conspicuous stations in the government. The names, dates of Marriages, births, & deaths of several thousands of both the living and the dead have already been collected: all of whom descended from my ancestor Lieut. William Pratt, who formed the first settlement where now stands the city of Hartford, Conn. He came over from England with the pilgrims who fled from persecution to the wilderness of America. He was the first judge of the court in New London District and a member of the Legislature some 25 or thirty sessions. I am the seventh generation from him. One of my kindred of the Pratt family is now a member of the house at Washington from Conn. Another of them namely, Zadook Pratt was a member of the House from New York, but a short time since. It gives me great joy to get the names of so many thousands of my kindred who are dead, hoping that something may be done for them in the temple in a day to come. Also by this history I will get the present address of many hundred families of them by which means I hope to benefit them.
Yours in the Covenant, O. Pratt
[Transcribed by Julia Winfield, Dick Grigg, and Erin T. McAllister, Mar. 2010]