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Fort William July 8th 1834
Mr. William L. Sublette
I was on my way down to meet you when I met the steam boat about a days travel above the little Missouri and found Andrew W. Sublette on board who handed me your letters on 8th June which gave me the first intelligence of your transactions with Pratte, Chouteau, & Co. I had taken a mackinaw boat down in which was 55 packs robes, 9 packs Beaver and some fox & wolf skins. Mr. Tebo steered it and had 4 hands at the oars - After perusing your letter I asked Mr. McKenzie what prices he was disposed to offer for our furs and peltries and he submitted to me a written offer of 250 for best robes, [1?] $ for yearlings, 25 c. for red calves, 375 c. per pound for Beaver and other peltries at similar prices.
These prices of course I rejected and next morning started down the Boat and Andrew and Glenday to go as far as little Missouri and there send down Solomon with Tebo and put in 10 packs of robes more at that place, and having done this for Andrew, Glenday & Sebille to come on to the mouth of the Yellowstone - I wrote the Messrs. Kerr to pay the hands and to receive the furs and peltries and retain them until my arrival - We were detained by low water and did not get the to the Mandans until the 19th; an express had gone up from the little Missouri and gave the news there and Mr. Doughterty had come down to Kepps Fort with all the merchandise etc. consequently I was not long delivering over what we had there. The Gro Vents [Gros Ventre] were displeased at our leaving there and at first made some noise with Doughterty but it soon was quelled and they permitted him to leave them in peace. Sandford made considerable presents to both Gro Vents [Gros Ventre] and Mandans.
[Pg. Break] The evening of the same day we left the Mandans Andrew Glenday and Sebille arrived on the opposite side the river but while they were preparing to cross a party of Indians rushed on them and took the three Horses, and after exchanging a few shots with the Mandans they retired. We supposed that it was Yanktoneys [Yanktons] but afterwards turned out to be Assinaboines [Assiniboines] and I have now Almond, Manchester, and Tom Kipland started 4 days pack in search of the village to endeavor to find them and if possible get the Horses although with little hopes of recovering them but I did not like the idea of leaving the country without making a trial - Andrew and the others came on board at the Gro Vent [Gros Ventre] Old Village and continued on up here. I arrived here on the 25th June and immediately set to building a boat and preparing matters for going off. The men all wanted to go out to the Platte but not knowing your views at the present I preferred sending only a few and as I was obliged to send to raise the Cache at the Crow fort I was induced to send the party in that direction as I believe it to be as safe as the other route and we were compelled to send to the Crows to raise the Cache there. On the last day of June I commenced transferring the merchandise and in two days got pretty much through except some articles that have to be valued which at the commencement was to be left to disinterested persons. Sanford, Mitchel, Wheaton (from New York) and Capt. Bennett were proposed to me and I selected Bennett as being most likely to do us justice and act impartially, but owing to the low stage of water he has gone up to Buffalo on the MIssouri and is about to remain until a run takes place - and I was in consequence obliged to leave some few articles to the valuation of Mitchel which have been taken so low that it would appear incredible. I shall send you a copy of the invoice here and at the Gro Vent as I calculate leaving here tomorrow or day after should Mr. Almond return in time. I endeavoured to get Pierre Garro to go out but could not prevail on him. He has remained at the Mandans.
[Pg. Break] I cannot yet make any calculation of what our business may turn out here but in any case you will know any of your actions meets with my approbation - indeed be it as it may I am pleased with the arrangement altogether and I think if we make nothing we will lose little.
Your trip to the mountians was I think the only way of saving our credits there and even after all, I have sme fears we will lose by that company who have certainly acted anything but honorably with us for whilst they made no scruple of drawing on us for money they were using their best efforts to injure us. You are well aware I made no engagement for either Christy or Harrison - on the contrary I showed them our arrangements with them and left it entirely with them how to act. Harrison was coming down with me until Fitzpatrick and Milton made the arrangements to sell mules and furnish men to him. With both Christy and Harrison I showed the letters we had from their friends and allowed Fitz and Milton to judge for themselves and you well know I took Christy's receipt to exonerate us altogether from any responsibility - and besides in selling out to the Rocky Mt. Fur Co. I had them bound to fulfill our contract with Christy if he preferred joining them - I write thus far to explain although unnecessary as you are well aware I settled with both Harrison & Christy and took Harrison's draft & Christy's note for the balance due us and settled finally with them. I assumed nothing for [them?]
As respects our continuation of the business in the section of the country reserved for us I shall leave it entirely to your better judgement as you are now at the place and can determine the prospects - if you think the prospects will justify us I am quite willing to continue it and if you think that it would be hazardous to the Capital invested far be it from me to wish you to risk it on my account, but I am ever ready to perform any part that is in my power. Do therefore as you consider most to our interest and make any calculations on me that I can perform.
[Pg. Break] I sent Andrew and Glenday out with Manchester, Tom Kipland, Redmond, Beckert, Vancourt, Julian, & Billy Maxwell all of whom are hired. With Manchester I entered into a new engagement for three Hundred Dollars to commence 1st Sept next he is the best hunter I have ever met with and very careful of animals and so far I have found him trustworthy - he is anxious to trap if you can so arrange it. Tom Kipland is the most faithful half breed I have ever found and is to either be furnished to trap on the shares or any other way you think proper - he speaks Sioux and is good amongst Indians. I had entered into a new engagement with him for 600$ per annum to commence 20th August but it is agreed that without your wish it that is to be of no effect. I have made no promises to any of the other men either as to equipping or anything else. Jno [John] Rusha has equipped Jock [Jacques] Bourdon and himself and is but very little indebted. Lajoness [Lajeunesse] is also equipped bound to reman with the company until paying his debt. Bob Manion has turned in 6 traps to me at this place and is to get of you 6 traps on the Platte he paying five dollars each difference and he running the risk of your having a supply. I send Billy & Julian as the only two men who know where the Cache is at the Crow.
I think Glenday might wish to take an equipment but I have tried him here and I think he is more desirous of his wages running on - but I believe it would be better to equip him should to hire him as he could in the latter case be of very little service to us. Andrew goes out to be governed by your views when he arrives.
Vancourt offers to make a good trapper but I think there is not much dependence to be placed there. Saddler is a good fellow -