15 Wilton St., Liverpool, England
May 30th, 1853
Dear President Young,
I have written several letters to you since my departure from our delightful territory, but whether they have been able to penetrate the snows of the mountains and reach you in safety is, with me, uncertain. I received your letter, dated the last of October, requesting me to hasten the printing of the church books for the valley circulation. In accordance with the instructions, I went last winter to New York and made diligent enquiries of a number of printers & book binders, and obtained their lowest estimates; and on comparing them with the English prices, I was, at once, convinced that the job could be done in England to a better advantage than in America. With equal qualities of paper the printing prices of printing in the two countries does not differ materially, but in binding, the English prices are far cheaper. For instance, the different estimates for binding 10000 Hymn books in N. York were as follows $1400, $1200, & $900. Nine hundred dollars was the very lowest price. But in England we have made a contract for binding the 10000 for $485; thus making a saving, so far as the binding is concerned, of $415 on the hymn book alone. There will be another saving of $350 or $400 on the 30000 books, arising from the draw back on all books shipped from this country to foreign parts. The duties of 10 per cent in America will not probably amount to more than 7 or 800 dollars on the whole 30000 copies. The freight from England to St. Louis is about the same as from [page break] N. York to St. Louis. So upon the whole job, it is hoped that there will be a saving of some $500 or $600 by getting it done in this country.
The printing of the hymn book is now nearly finished. Estimates have been obtained from London and other places for the book of Mormon & book of Covenants. I have not yet decided when I shall get it done. These works will be forwarded to St. Louis in care of Horace S. Eldredge and will be ready to be sent over the plains next spring.
The 30000 books will weigh including the boxes between 8 and 9 Tons. It will require about <ten or> eleven waggons to take them to the valley, including provisions & luggage for the teamsters. All the cost of printing, binding, duties, and other expenses from this to St Louis, I do not think, will exceed $7000. It may be a few hundred dollars less.
I visited St. Louis in April where I waited some 3 weeks in order to see two brethren from Texas who I understood was willing to loan some money for the printing & binding of these books. I succeeded in loaning $2000 from them, and gave them my notes $500 is to be paid in one year and the other $1500 dollars in two years. I presume these brethren will wait still longer if required, as they have other means and are comfortable. These $2000 together with the $1000 received by your order from Bro. Bernhisel is are all that I have as yet been able to loan for that purpose. If I should not be able to make any further loans, I shall necessarily have to get out very small editions of the books of Mormon & Covenants, that is, go as far as the $3000 will permit. But as the plates of those 2 books are stereotyped it will not make any [page break] very great difference. It it <is> true, that in both printing and binding, large editions will come proportionally cheaper than small ones. I do not feel authorized to call upon the Liverpool office for funds, not knowing but you may base other appropriations of greater and more pressing importance for those funds. I landed in Liverpool 2 days since, having a passage of only 10 days and 4 hours from N. York. Dr. Bernhisel will, no doubt, have told you of my exertions to wake up the people of Washington. I labored hard to raise an excitement but could not do it: the people would not turn out to hear and after preaching some 18 or 20 times to the bare walls and empty benches with here & there a half-frightened-to-death stragler, I was obliged to give up my meetings for the want of hearers. I have not found even one solitary person in all Washington who has manifested the least spirit of candid inquiry to learn our doctrines. I have issued the first 9 Nos. of the Seer, and placed a plenty of each in 5 of the principal books stores in Washington. All these 5 stores sell from 30 to 40 cents worth of the Seers per month. Our other church works no sale at all. $5 worth might possibly be sold in one year, but even this amount would be very uncertain.
The scattered saints throughout the U.S. and in the British Provinces are greatly revived up in their feelings, by reading the Seer: The subscription list, including St. Louis & the Canadas, are <is> not far from 700.
I shall probably remain in England from 4 to 6 weeks and then return to Washington, where I expect to find some 3 or 400 letters awaiting my arrival. I shall answer such of them as needs answering and write & print the remaining Nos of the 1st Vol. of the Seer, and then travel & preach [page break] in those places where the door seems to open, if there are any such places, until I receive further counsel. It is my intention, however, to give Washington another thorough trial, after they have rested awhile: for I dislike very much to give up beat.
I shall be most happy to receive any counsel from you which you may have to impart to me.
Shall I continue the Seer for another year? (yes)
Shall I seek to establish book agencies where there are
apparently no prospects of sale? (use your judgement)
Shall I seek to convert empty rooms and benches to our faith? (act by the spirit)
I think I can anticipate the answers to the last two questions, but I am somewhat at a loss whether to continue the Seer for another year or not.
You will perceive that, instead of making selections for the Seer, I have written the whole of the compositions myself which has been very laborious, and has occupied every moment of my time, so much so, that I have not had time, as yet, even to get another wife, but as I am now a little more at liberty, I may possibly, if circumstances should favor, hunt up some one, and thus give a practical demonstation of the doctrine of “Celestial Marriage.” I may, perhaps, postpone this demonstration, until some future edition of the Treatise on that subject.
The present administration have made many changes of the officers in the different Territories, but I am not aware that any changes have been made in Utah. I think that they are controlled by the power of God for the good of his people. Yours in the covenant Orson Pratt
[Transcribed by Pat Bishop, Nora Fowers, Erin T. McAllister, and Brett Bolton, Apr. 2010]