Tag Archives: David Kyle

This Week in History: June 29 — July 5

Philadel­phia 4th July 1835.  Saturday
My Dear Robert
I arrived in safe­ty and in good health on day before yes­ter­day, after a pleas­ant tour of about eleven days from St. Louis, in com­pa­ny with Mary and her lit­tle broth­er David, who we brought on here for the pur­pose of plac­ing at school for a short time and oth­er­wise prepar­ing him for being use­ful to the fam­i­ly.  You can scarce­ly imag­ine how com­fort­able home feels to us after our tire­some jour­ney — I say tire­some because in addi­tion to the actu­al fatigue of trav­el­ing there was the anx­i­ety which must always be felt while trav­el­ing through a sick­ly coun­try — and such has been our lot since we left home — for the cholera pre­vails from Nashville to St. Louis and thence east­ward to Wheel­ing — but in some places to a greater extent than in others.
Per­haps it was part­ly owing to this cause that we did not enjoy the soci­ety of St. Louis.  Mary was there three weeks and I was there four days — and except our good and unchange­able friend Mr. Sub­lette no one offered us any hos­pi­tal­i­ty.  I con­fess I felt dis­ap­point­ed in this respect and so does Mary although she attrib­ut­es it to the unhealth­i­ness and gloom which pre­vailed while we were there.  It may be so but you will par­don me for repeat­ing a for­mer­ly expressed opin­ion.  I do not like St. Louis and I believe it defi­cient in the warm heart­ed soci­ety else­where found in the [?]____ (USA maybe?)
Enclosed you have Andrew’s last let­ter to any of us.  I was received before my depar­ture west­ward and I had laid it aside to take along but omit­ted it in pack­ing.  I then wrote Mary to send it, but she had left here before my let­ter reached her.  It will still be new to you how­ev­er and will reach St. Louis long before you are like­ly to return there.  You will see by the P.S. of Bet­ty that your very accept­able dona­tion had been received.  Andrew (poor fel­low) writes as he speaks — and if we could only per­suade him to adopt some sys­tem and care in his busi­ness there is no per­son of whom we would feel more proud as a broth­er.  What will become of his house full of daugh­ters?  I cer­tain­ly must take one of the young ones.  What think you? [End of pg 1]

[Side of first page] The fam­i­ly spoke most kind­ly of you in St. Louis.  I was grat­i­fied to hear so much said on the sub­ject and am sure you deserved it.  I think it like­ly they will soon remove to a coun­try town where their expens­es will be less­ened and the means of sup­port be pro­cured with less sac­ri­fices than in the extrav­a­gant city of St. Louis

[pg 2] My west­ern jour­ney as antic­i­pat­ed places it out of my pow­er to cross the Atlantic dur­ing the sum­mer.  At present I can­not say whether I will be at lib­er­ty to avail myself of the win­ter vaca­tion for we like school boys have our sea­sons of relax­ation.  My time is equal­ly the prop­er­ty of my part­ners and self.  Should they not object I will cer­tain­ly go and I intend propos­ing the trip after a few weeks.  Before your return from the moun­tains I will prob­a­bly be able to “see how the land lies” and I trust they will make no objec­tions to an absence which will cer­tain­ly not exceed four months — say betwixt Nov and March Next.
Mr. Gill has been on a vis­it to his broth­er Robert for some days and of course we have not seen him since our return.  The soci­ety of our lit­tle cir­cle is great­ly changed since we left here in May last.  Mr. Gill has bro­ken up house­keep­ing and sold out his fur­ni­ture.  Mr. and Mrs. Bak­er and Miss Har­ri­et Camp­bell have embarked for France (as I have already writ­ten you) and Mr. G and Arch are board­ing.  John is an [?]_____ (looks like inmate?) of my lit­tle fam­i­ly at the urgent request of Mr. G.  I con­sent­ed with much reluc­tance for I fear it will be no easy mat­ter to man­age him.  Should it prove so, I will not have him a sin­gle day after he becomes troublesome.
Mr. Sub­lette seemed desirous to obtain the store house in which K and Edgar did busi­ness but was dis­ap­point­ed.  He thinks it a good stand and so do I — yet it is only so for a retail busi­ness.  From all I have seen of St. Louis I would be inclined to pre­fer a dif­fer­ent loca­tion, either on Front street or high­er up on Main Street.  Should you enter into busi­ness in St. Louis, the only prospect of doing well is in sell­ing whole­sale for at the moment I do not believe that the retail is either more expen­sive or less prof­itable in Rich­mond (the worst point in the coun­try) than it is in St. Louis, owing to the great com­pe­ti­tion which now exists there.  My own opin­ion is that a stand is not impor­tant and that you can enter slow­ly and cau­tious­ly into busi­ness, with more advan­tage in a more retired house than that occu­pied by K and E. unit­ing of course with a gen­er­al whole­sale busi­ness, a good and com­mand­ing stock of Indi­an goods, in which you will have no for­mi­da­ble rival­ry. [End of pg. 2]

[Left side of 2nd page] Mary directs me to speak of her and says that I do not men­tion her half enough when writ­ing you.  This is all non­sense.  I beg you will sup­pose (and you can­not exag­ger­ate) that she val­ues you much.

[Pg. 3]
Per­haps you will not com­pre­hend the mean­ing of “slow­ly and cau­tious­ly” as con­nect­ed with a piece busi­ness.  The first year I would not wish to sell more than half the quan­ti­ty of goods you cal­cu­late on being your aver­age take.  The sec­ond year the sales may be mod­er­ate­ly increased and not untill the third year ought you to cal­cu­late on extend­ing ful­ly your busi­ness to its legit­i­mate extent.
I know you will be sur­prised at my con­tra­dict­ed views but they [?]_____ (dark spot and big crease) from expe­ri­ence and I felt muc reluc­tance at first in admit­ting them.  [?]______ (dark spot and big crease) not done so in this city.  Had we not declined sell­ing in many instances where oth­ers would have been glad to do so we should not have suc­ceed­ed in [?]______ (dark spot and big crease) oth­ers would have been glad to do so, we should not have suc­ceed­ed in this city.  I will at a future time explaine the caus­es which lead me to these con­clu­sions.  At present it suf­fices to say that I wish you to enter into busi­ness [?]_____ (dark spot) or dash and to make an exceed­ing small amount of cred­it sales the first year.
Mr. Sub­lette sent on an order which has been care­ful­ly sup­plied dur­ing my absence by my part­ners.  The goods had reached St. Louis on 20th June in less than 3 weeks from this city.  They are design[?]______ (dark spot and big hole) small out­fit which I fan­cy you will meet in your return.
Goods of every descrip­tion are scarce and high — Domes­tics par­tic­u­lar­ly.  It is believed that heavy orders have been sent out to Eng­land and France and [?]_____ (dark spot) the quan­ti­ty of import­ed goods will exceed the demand.  If so (but one can­not know in less than 60 to 80 days hence) there will be sac­ri­fices in many [?]_____ (dark spot) about the close of the full sales in Oct and Nov and I think it prob­a­ble that a [?]_______ (dark spot) assort­ment could then be laid in.  Domes­tic goods (a most impor­tant [?]_____ of every stock in St. Louis) I fear will be high and even advance on present price.  In short the mar­ket is in an unpleas­ant state just now, so far as prices are con­cerned — yet there appears to be a good demand for everything.
I have pur­pose­ly avoid­ed Irish news — for one of the best rea­sons — I have none to give!  The last date is the enclosed and I hope before my next I shall be enabled to say that I heard from some of them.  God bless you.
Hugh Campbell
[Left side of 3rd page] I had a let­ter from Hugh Reed dat­ed at New­berg (New York) where he was at work.  I pity the poor fel­low but can do noth­ing for him.  He has nei­ther a good trade, nor an edu­ca­tion to fit him for busi­ness and to crown all he will not go westward.

[Pg. 4]
[Left side of page] At my request Mr. Sub­lette put up and sealed two bot­tles of water from his sul­phur spring.  If I am not great­ly mis­tak­en it is pre­cise­ly the same as the cel­e­brat­ed white sul­phur of Vir­ginia.  Pro­fes­sor Rogers is under some oblig­a­tions and I will cause him to have the water [?]_____ (looks like armal­ized?)  His broth­er (pro­fes­sor in William and Mary Col­lege Vir­ginia) [?]______ the Vir­ginia springs last sea­son and has pub­lished a work on this subject.

[Right side of page]  I thank you for a num­ber of let­ters writ­ten imme­di­ate­ly before your depar­ture from the set­tle­ments.  Your sev­er­al favors of 4th 9th 16th 21st 26th April have been received the con­tents of which were par­tic­u­lar­ly accept­able.  As usu­al I will try to be punc­tu­al and it will go hard with me if you do not have quite as many to read on your return.  I only wish I could make my let­ters as amus­ing and enter­tain­ing to you as two of yours have been to me.

[Mid­dle] 4th July 1835

Mr. Robert Campbell
Care of Mr. Wm. L. Sublette
Saint Louis