St. Louis Sept 23rd 1856,
Elder Orson Pratt
Millennial Star Office Liverpool
Dear Brother /
I arrived home from Council Bluffs on the 18th last, and same day received your letter of the 29th [illegible] Informing me of the number and amount of Chaff’s which you have neglected to honor. This information would have reached me quite as soon had you folded your Arms in your easy chair and not written at all, for each return mail brings regularly to me as the first endorser, the protested drafts with a Bill of damages, interest, exchange , and fee for payment and each person or house through whose hands they have passed of course has to refund the money and damages claimed, or their reputation would be compromised.
The Law allows 10 percent damages in addition to the Notarial fees, interest at 10 per cent exchange and [illegible] Anderson can claim it if he will.
I have just to day taken up one £1000 Bill for which I had to pay all told $5595.53 and the two Bills amounting to £2250 now in Andersons hands have over $2200.00 damages appended which I have not yet been able to redeem. A few holders are willing to waive damages and I hope to be able to settle for part of the drafts with only adding fees, interest, Exchange etc. I have paid the £1000 holders by Enoch Travis of Boston with the addition of only $112.16 to the
originally paid father Bill. This is generious. These two bills which I have taken up with I debit you have exhausted the amount placed in my hands to your Credit by Daniel Spencer (unreadable) offers my receipt sent you from Florence and I have been compelled in addition to draw this day or you may draft in favor of Charles Hulasenkamp for say seven hundred pounds payable 90 days after sight. And expect to have to take up two other Bills this week £1000 and £500 which he had (unreadable) and negociated for Bro D. Spencer’s use and when these three came back upon him, he could not redeem them and bring a small (unreadable) he was on the eve of being sold out by the bankers. As he has befriended us I could not and will not suffer him to be broken up on our account.
I have applied for help to D. Bernhisel and expect assistance daily with which I shall protect Mr..Hulasenkamp and what I lack I shall do as I have done today I have time billed on you as the only alternative and if you choose to sit and philosophise on the Planetary Worlds and silence them to be protected for non acceptance.the consequences will rest opon you. Your advice is quite correct on in future no drafts should be drawn on your Office except on Letters of Credit. The drafts however which you have protested were all drawn on L. of C. from F. D. Richards. I had one authorizing me to draw to [page break]my account with your office which was due [unreadable] office on account of European Emigration of last year, and D. Spencer had a open Letter of Credit to draw as he needed. He did not exceed his instructions. It is clear that the first error committed (if one it be) by Prest. Richards making his estimates to low and shipping too many emigrants and secondly in permitting Bro Spencer to draw so largely on so short time. But if all these drafts had been drawn on longer time the probability is they would have been protested for on acceptance. I have this coming learned (from your Letter of Sept. 5th (just received) to my great astonishment that his draft for £385.9 in favor of D. A January 6th at Sixty days sight was also dishonored, which swells the amount of dishonored drafts to £6336.91 and you conclude your last wish the hope “that the way will open for my deliverance”, for which I thank you, but would like a little of your Works as well as faith in my behalf. Which I am certain I should have if you could once occupy my place and take the execrations which are heaped upon me by disappointed Creditors.
Besides more than $23000.00 which I have raised and paid for fitting out A. O. Smoots train, I have received by last official orders and drafts from Prest.B. Young for the payment of about $8000.00 more which are more daily being pressed upon me together [page break] with Several thousand of notes of last Year, and the Pres. expects his former instructions to draw on your office for help if I need.
But if you will pick up and drop off the load which Pres. Richards has left on you I will try not to increase it if I can avoid it. I would here suggest that possibly the Sixty day Bill which you have rejected may be holden until it matures in a payment demanded, in which Case you can pay it and save damages, other than [unreadable] fees [unreadable] time if you would learn its whereabouts (for this has not yet been returned) and make some sort of apology for non-acceptance and request it again sent us for acceptance, perhaps it would help the matter a little at all events inform the holder you will pay it on maturity.
I have had nothing to do directly in the Emigration business this year, only in aiding Bro S in negotiating his paper and shipping his supplies. But even if I had done it all, it would still be manifestly unjust and thrown back upon me the onus of the indebtedness which originated in your office. If you say that it initiated with your predecessor it will not relieve you from the obligation of at least making an effort to help me carry the load which he has piled upon you. I had forgotten to mention that the note adopted between your Office and mine, for our reciprocal entries has been $4.84 prepayment at which rate I charge all matters of federal money, and the Same rule should govern your entry of the amount named in my receipt sent from Florence. I will hereafter advise you definitely of the amounts which I debit you for redressing these drafts including damages. Hoping soon to have something more cheerful to write you and to see the funds dispose from our financial sheet.
I remain your fellow Labourer in Zion’s cause. E. Snow
[Orson Pratt Letter Sep. 23, 1856]
[Transcribed by Erin T. McAllister, Marlene Peine and Sylvia Hill; April 2010]