Extracts of a Letter from Prf O. Pratt to a friend in this city.
March 4th 1853.
Dear Bro. Young,
(I am happy to inform you that I am in the enjoyment of good health, and all things go as well with me as I could have expected. During the past two or three months, I have been, for the most of the time,) shut up in a small room, (writing upon the subject of Marriage, & the Pre–existence of Man; And during the time I have delivered about twenty lectures in the Temperance Hall, upon almost every subject, pertaining to the kingdom of God; but few, however, have attended my lectures & I have been obliged to close them for the want of hearers. Not one soul have I found in Washington who seems to manifest the least disposition of enquiry. I think that I never enjoyed greater liberty of speech than I have in these lectures; the Spirit has rested upon me mightily, but the hearts of the people are sealed against the truth; and I marvel exceedingly at their unbelief & hardness of heart.) You will realize that I have been very diligent when you learn that (I have already published the first 6 Nos. of the Seer, and shall, have the proof sheet of the seventh No. tomorrow. Every item yet admitted into the Seer has been new matter of my own composition. It is no small task to write 112 pages of printed matter as large as the Seer. I am confident that I will have to rest my mind a little, and exercise my body more in order to preserve my health.) My object has been to hurry out the whole twelve Nos. of the Seer as soon as possible in order <that> the evidences and arguments in relation to Plurality may be set before the minds of the people before other works shall appear in opposition; and also that they may be led to investigate while this subject is fresh before their minds. I am satisfied that
(Washington is the place above all others for us to publish a Periodical.) If I had commenced this paper in Philadelphia, on N. York, not one quarter of the notice would have been taken of it, that there is now. Almost every paper in the union now seems to notice us: (the whole press is thundering down upon us; and this has been better than several million of advertisements. (I get letters constantly from all parts of the United States and British provinces, stating that they had seen in the public prints that we had started a paper at the capital and wishing to see a speciman copy. The seer is doing great good among the scattered saints: half-hearted Mormons are awaking out of a deep sleep and are beginning to take fresh courage, and the great enquiry by letter is “how shall we get to Utah: many old apostates are also beginning to rub open their eyes, and becoming more favorable and really begin to think that “Mormonism” is true. Wm E. McLellin is a subscriber, and has also procured several other subscribers. Several of the prominent Apostates in Liverpool are saying that if they had seen the revelation before, they would not have left the church. Bro. Miles writes from Cincinnati stating that the Seer is doing great good there <among the saints,> and also among the world. My subscription list is gradually on the increase:) I have now between four & five hundred subscribers in all. I still keep the Seer in five of the most prominent Book stores in Washington:) but it is unsaleable or nearly so. (The Seer is not without <honor> save it be in its own native city, where it is published.) The sale of the Seer is so limited, and the expense of board & printing so great, that I shall lose probably lose a few hundred dollars the first year, but should you consider it wisdom for me to continue the publication, it may in the course of a year or two cover expenses & perhaps more. (I have some
forty or fifty letters a week to attend to, which requires much of my time. My writing has kept me so confined, that I have scarsely set foot within the Capitol to hear Congressmen spout and blow. So far as I have information, I verily believe that Bro. J. M. Bernhisel has used his very best endeavors in behalf of Utah;) and considering the prejudices and circumstances, I think he has succeeded far beyond that which could have been expected; and I also believe that if there is any man in our society who could command any respect from those in “high places,” it is our worthy delegate. His age – his sincerity, his modesty – his gentlemanly deportment, are calculated to win the esteem of all discerning candid men. It is true, he has not made as many flaming speeches as some others would have done; but even this may have been a wise policy; for eloquent speeches in Congress are very sure to meet with opposition from some rival orator, or from the prejudiced party. Bro. Bernhisel’s policy has been more unobserved, but perhaps surer in its results: he has when any matter, touching the welfare of the Territory, has been under consideration bro. Bernhisel (has been at his post, visiting the committees and ingratiating himself into their good graces, and has, no doubt, obtained many favors in this way, that would have been utterly denied, had they been sought in a more public way.) Upon the whole (Bro. Bernhisel is a man of integrity and wisdom, and his name will be had in honorable remembrance among the saints from generation to generation.) Bro. Bernhisel is the man who should be sent as our next delegation, unless your wisdom should otherwise [page break] direct. I wrote to you a lengthy letter on the subject of the printing of the Book of Mormon, Cov., &c. which, I presume, you have received. (I expect in April or May to visit England to expedite their printing & binding, I shall probably be absent about two months. Bro. Orson Spenser & Houtz have been expelled from Prussia. Bro. Carns from from Germany. The four who went to the West Indies were, about the same as expelled: they are now laboring in the states. Bro. Turpin will preach in the middle states and will, during my absence to England, occasionally call and take my letters from the post office at Washington, and forward the Seer to those who may send further back Nos., and answer such letters as may be of importance. I have counselled brother Farr to labor in the New England States. Bro. Lambson in Michigan & Indiana. They will no doubt forward to you an account of their mission to the West Indies. I forward each No. of the Seer to each of the first presidency & the Twelve. I also send one thousand of each No. to Mrs Sarah M. Pratt, to supply the calls in Utah. I shall direct her in my next letter to pay me tenth of them as tithing.) I also wish that one tenth of the calves which I have in Tooelle valley may be received as tithing. (I have been to day to hear the inaugural address of President Pierce. This evening I shall accompany our Delegate to attend a levee at the president’s mansion. I expect after I return from England to give Washington another thorough trial by pla-carding the town for I dislike the idea of giving up beat. I want to establish a church here; if there is any thing fit to me [unreadable] a church of. I must close for my sheet is full. from your bro. in Christ
P.S. I shall be most happy to carry out any counsel which you may have for me. O.P.
[Transcribed by Sylvia Hill, Nora Fowers, Brandon Hull, Heather Hoyt, Apr. 2010]