Washington, D.C.
Sept. 19th, 1853

Dear President Young,

After an absence from Washington of about three months and a half, during which I have been upon the ocean and in England, I am again at Gentile head-quarters, and in the enjoyment of good health.

Upon my arrival I found three letters from you, bearing the following dates:–March 30th, June 1st, & June 30th.  (No letters from you by the May mail.)  The one of March 30th contained a power of Attorney, 2 orders from Dimisk B. Huntington, A copy of a letter to Franklin Pierce, and a letter directed to the Hon. Luke Laca.  Yesterday I presented the letter to the Indian Department, but did not inform them of the power of Attorney which I held.  As Dr. Bernhisel has received power of Attorney, & will most probably be here in a few weeks, I have concluded not to collect any funds, but turn over the whole business into his hands.  I am pleased to learn that Dr. Bernhisel will be returned as Delegate; for according to my judgment he has acted wisely & prudently, and is as much respected as any Latter-Day Saint can be by this wicked race of Gentiles.

Before I left for England I published the first nine numbers of the 1st vol. of the Seer.  In publishing the sealing ordinance, I was not aware that there was anything in relation to it, that was to be kept any more secret, than

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the subject of Plurality of Wives; and being authorized to publish the letter, I supposed that the sealing ordinance was so closely connected with it, that it was right to publish it.  I am not aware that I have ever received any injunctions of secrecy in regard to the method  of marriage any more than the marriage itself:  if you consider that I have erred in this thing, be assured that it was an error of ignorance, and I hope that I may be pardoned for this ignorance.  I wish to do right, and often feel to mourn that I have not more of the Spirit to direct me.  The article on Celestial Marriage will be closed in the 12th No.  I have occupied about 8 pages of each No. with it; and have endeavored to set forth the arguments in clearness & simplicity; but being obliged to break up new ground without the assistance of previous Authors, I have not arranged the arguments as systematically as I should do were I to rewrite upon the same subject.  You are well aware of the difficulties which attend the presentation, for the first time, of so delicate a subject before the public.  I cannot but flatter myself, therefore, that all errors, lack of wisdom, and other imperfections manifested in the article, will be overlooked and generously pardoned.  I am in hopes to be able to forward to you the 10th, 11th, & 12th Nos. of the Seer by the November mail.

I have made arrangements in England for the printing and binding of 10000 Hymn books, 3000 books of Mormon, and 3000 books of Covenants; and have left money with S. W. Richards to pay the expenses of the same; I have also directed him to keep an accurate account of all other contingent expenses attending them, such as making boxes, packing, cartage, &c., & c., which

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he will pay from the monies I left in his hands.  I have also directed him to ship them all to Horace L. Eldredge of St Louis.  I shall endeavor to have money funds in the hands of brother Eldredge to pay the freight from Liverpool to St Louis, also to pay the duties, cartage, storage, &c, at St Louis.  All of this will swallow up the <most part of the> 3000 dollars of funds which has been in my hands, <(and it may take still more)> namely the $1000 which Dr Bernhisel let me have by your order; <&> the $2000 which I borrowed last spring of two Texas brethren on their way to St Louis the valley and whom I met at St. Louis:  one of these brethren hold my note for $500 payable next spring; and the other, for $1500 payable one year from next spring: I directed them to present the notes to you, when due, & you would settle them; I think I have written to you in former letters, concerning the borrowing of this money.  The binding is so much cheaper in England than in the States, that I think there will be something saved notwithstanding the duties, by getting the job done in England.  The weight of the books, including that of the boxes, will be from three and a half to four tons.  Including the weight of the provisions and baggage of the drivers, it will require 4 strong waggons which will carry something over a ton each to convey them over the plains.  Where shall funds come from to purchase these waggons & teams?  I  If they are not forwarded next spring the bill of Storage will be pretty heavy.  All the public funds I have on hand with the exception of that which must be paid out for duties &c. is only about $20 tithing.  I have not as yet called on the office at Liverpool for the first farthing <of public funds,> but have borrowed money to pay my travelling expences, board, printing, &c.  I have $1000 [unreadable] of borrowed money which I

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must pay to Dr Bernhisel, one half next spring, and one half the spring following, besides several hundred in other places, but I am in hopes that through the increase of the stock cattle which I sent to the valley and through the sale of my own writings to meet every debt without calling on the public funds in Liverpool or elsewhere.

I have purchased from the Liverpool office, and already paid for upwards of seven hundred dollars worth of books, pamphlets, &c, intended for sale in the U.S.  They were packed in two cases and shipped on board the “Itrepid” for New York on the 2nd day of November 1852.  The ship was wrecked of the coast of Ireland and put in for repairs with a loss of part of her cargo. The books are said to be not damaged, but they are charged in proportion to the rest of the cargo for the damages sustained in the disaster; this charge or coverage bond is $141,88 besides the duties; this <$141,88> I lose in consequence of the books not being insured.  The books did not arrive till the last of spring, and they are now retained in the custom house with over $200 charges on them.  I shall pay the charges & take them out; but they will not sell to the world; I may be able to dispose of now & then one to the brethren who are scattered through the states: this loss comes quite heavy on me, considering my circumstances.  In your letter of the 30th of June, you request me to apply all the avails which may arise from the disposal of your publications to swell the funds of the P. Emigrating Com.  In reply, I would beg leave to state that I have ordered all of

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your publications to be shipped <from Liverpool> for St Louis as before stated, and consequently I have not had any of your publications on hand for sale; neither could I sell them, if I had them; indeed, I shall in all probability have to bring those I purchased last fall from the Liverpool office to the valley, or else leave them stored the most part of them stored for years somewhere in this country. I have tryed the volumes entitled O Pratts Works, and some few of the books of Mormon in Washington, and though placed in one of the principle Book stores, I co not even one single vol. <was> sold, yet they were on sale for weeks. I finally took them away and made a present <of some of them> to some of my acquaintances or relatives at a distance. There is no more use to <prospect in> offering <for sale> our publications in the eastern cities, than there would be in offering so many cobble stones. There must be a revolution or change of some kind among this nation, before they will buy our works.

As soon as I get my books from the custom house, I will, according to your order, supply Mr John L. Libley – the Librarian at Harvard University, with a copy of such works as I may have; and will write to L. W. Richards to supply such as I may not have. I do not think that the early volumes of the Star and other church periodicals, can be easily obtained for that purpose.

With regard to the Solar Microscope, I am satisfied that the instrument maker from whom I purchaced the microscope which is already in the valley, will be able

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to furnish a more excellent instrument than any who are in the States: the office at Liverpool has his name and address in London. I think his name is Ross. You will perceive by reference to a large volume on the “Microscope” in Utah Library that the maker of that instrument has introduced important discoveries on the formation of the Microscope which are highly spoken of. I will write to S. W. Richards to procure from him or from some of the other London instrument Makers, the most superior one that can be found, and forward the same to you.

Elder Orson Spencer was in the States last spring; I have not heard from him since, I suppose he has returned home. I have in my possession a large letter for him, mailed June 1st at S.L. City.

About 30 have lately been baptized by a young Elder in the State of Arkansas.

If I can procure a sufficient number of subscribers, I expect to continue the Seer for another year.

The exchange papers at the office of the “Deseret News,” will give you the general news of the day, therefore it is not necessary for me to write it.

I have not altered the fictitious names in the book of Covenants for the original ones, as it would interfere <too much> with the stereotype plates.

I should be happy to receive counsel from you upon any subject, and shall and trust that I shall not be forgotten in your prayers, and in the prayers of the Council. Yours in the gospel Covenant

Orson Pratt

To President B. Young

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[Transcribed by Shannon Devenport, Janean Hendrickson, Julia Winfield, Rebecca Staker, Apr. 2010]

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