Washington, D.C.
Jan. 30th, 1853

Dear Bro. Young:

I received your letter, dated in October, expressing a request for me to hasten the printing of the Book of Mormon, book of Covenants, and Hymn books. I immediately proceeded to New York and obtained the estimates of several printers and book binders. I find that book binding is much more expensive in New York than in England. Printing about the same with the same quality of paper. Stereotyping is more than double the cost English price. Such paper as is contained in the last English Edition of the Book of Mormon cannot be obtained in N. York without going to a much greater expense than in England. In bringing the stereotype plates from England duties must be paid upon them according to their valuation in this country. Moreover I was told by some of the printers that the English stereotyping would have to be remodeled or shaved before they could use them to advantage here. After carefully comparing the lowest estimates which I obtained, including the quality of paper and the expense of the transportation of the stereotype plates and the duties on the same, with the English prices, I am persuaded that there would be nothing gained by getting the job done in this country. There is a drawback on books [page break] or in other words, a certain per centage which the English custom houses refund on all books sent out of that country. what this per centage is I have forgotten although I received the benefit of it, when I shipped the seven thousand volumes of my Works from that country. The printing and binding can be done in England and the be transported to this country and the duties paid on the same, as cheap, if not cheaper, than to have it done in this country. The cheapest estimate for binding the hymn book in sheep imitation which I obtained was 9 cents, the same binding is done in Liverpool for 3 ¼ pence or 6 ½ cents which would make 250 dollars difference in an edition of 10000. Another binder gave his estimate at 11 cents, and another at 13 cents for the Hymn book. And taking all things into consideration, I have concluded to get both printing and binding done in England and ship them to New Orleans and St. Louis, and receive the benefit of the drawback in England and pay the duties in this country. By taking this course, I am in hopes to have the whole 30000 in St. Louis ready to cross the plains in the spring of 1854. I shall write immediately to S.W. Richards to set the printer at work at the hymn book, reserving the job of the other two books until I can make arrangements personally as I expect to go to England sometime in the spring. Just before I left Utah I wrote to the office at Liverpool to send me a supply of books, pamphlets, periodicals, etc. I have, through the mail received the [page break] invoice with a statement that the books were shipped on the 2nd of November on the ship “Intreped”; three months have passed and nothing has been heard of the ship. The wholesale value of the books amounts to upwards of seven hundred dollars. I hope the books are not lost, and yet if they were in this country, they would not before the Gentiles would buy them. “The Seer” has been placed in several of the principal book stores and periodical depots in this city and several dollars spent in advertizing them; in the course of six weeks some of the stores sold none; some sold two or 3 others a few more; among the whole between one and two dollars worth were sold. Several book stores would not take No. 2 Dr. Bernhisel placed a few books of Mormon in one of the principal book stores of the city. These I advertize in my public meetings; and I think it quite doubtful whether over one or two could be sold in a whole year. If the books, pamphlets, etc. should arrive, I shall probably take them back to England when I go, as they will not sell in this country. Bro. David Wilkin and the presiding elder in Philadelphia tried to get the Seer into the Book stores in that city, but they would not receive them. I believe they did succeed in getting a few left in one or two places, but it is very doubtful whether they would sell more than one or two dollars worth in a whole year. As to getting the Gentiles to buy our books, I am fully persuaded that it is a [page break] physical impossibility. I have preached some 15 times in this city, most of the time to nearly empty walls. Today being the Sabbath, I have over had 3 appointments in the Temperance Hall; two men were present in the forenoon this was my whole congregation; I set upon my seat and conversed with one of them an hour or two, and dismissed. In the afternoon there was one man and two boys who came about half an hour after the time. I conversed with them awhile and dismissed. When there has been a sufficient number out to deliver a lecture, the Lord has inspired me with greater power than I ever had before; but not withstanding all this it appears to be in vain. Their prejudices run high. I have advertized my appointments in all the principle papers in Washington besides publishing several hundred hand bills. I have But the people will not come to hear. I expect therefore, to be obliged to abandon my meetings for the want of heaven, although I have good respectable hall, the rent of which I paid quarter in advance for three months. What can be done with the people here? They will neither purchase our books and papers, nor come to hear our preaching. I sometimes think of giving them a few hundred dollars worth of our printed works, and then I remember the word of the Lord which says, (in speaking of His printed word) as follows; – “Wherefore a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the church, neither unto the word” (Covenants Sec 26.) I am really more and more impressed that the Lord intends speedily to bring not only his people out from among the Gentiles, but the printed word also containing the fullness of his gospel; therefore I should not mourn much if the seven hundred dollars worth which I sent for should be sunk in the depths of the sea; it may be a better place for them than among [page break]

Dear Bro. Young, If you have any counsel for me, I can assure you that it will be gratefully received. I endeavor to live just as faithful as I can. And I call upon the Lord continually to direct me in all things. My heart is joyful in the Lord though the people reject my testimony. for I feel as though I was doing that which is required at my hands. On Sunday evenings after I have finished preaching I endeavor to pray after the pattern of the priesthood and I believe that the prayers of the quorum are answered with great blessings upon my head yours in the covenant.

Orson Pratt

P.S. The whole number of subscribers through the U.S. for the Seer is a little over two hundred of which St. Louis provides 164.

[Transcribed by Nora Fowers, Jan Pratt, Sylvia Hill, and Pat Bishop; Apr. 2010]

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