|Catalog Number||172.47 8 , 190|
|Scope & Content||
Mr. Robert Campbell
Care Messrs. A & G. W. Kerr & Co.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Philadelphia July 19th 1834
My Dear Robert
Yours of 8th June from "Teton river" was received two days ago. From Mr. George W. Kerr (now in this city) I have just learned that you were expected in St. Louis soon after 4th inst and therefore loose no time in writing you - although I am of opinion that you cannot reach there sooner than August.
The want of sufficient details respecting your late expedition puts it out of my power to form any estimate of the result. Indeed it must mainly depend on your settlement with the Am. Fur Co. and judging from the past, I anticipate difficulty I that quarter. It is not improbable that a course of procrastination & perhaps a lawsuit will precede a final settlement betwixt you & that overbearing monopoly.
Should a controversy arise I would strongly advise you to take no decisive steps until Mr. Sublette returns - unless your friends there consider delay as injurious to your claims. In the mean time take every preparatory measure which a skillful lawyer will advise, in order to be ready to act the moment you see Mr. S. Might it not be well too, to send an express to him. Having made the arrangement with the principals, he will doubtless succeed best in causing them to fulfill it.
I throw out these hints from a knowledge of McKensie's character & conduct towards you, and your party, after Mr. Sublette left the Yellow Stone. It may be that all has been amicably settled in accordance with the written contract; - but my doubts and anxiety lead me to opposite anticipations. In any event I need offer no further remarks - experience has taught you a good lesson, and you have kind friends & prudent advisors in St. Louis. [End page 1]
Late in the month of May, my partner Archibald Campbell left here on a collecting tour through VA & Tenn: to Ala. When we last heard from him he was at Nashville, & will probably be home again about a fortnight hence. Mr. Gill has been in New York during the last week & will return in the course of a day or two. I am therefore alone at present & too busy at the store to write at much length.
About a month ago I resumed housekeeping at 194½ Spruce Street (Between 5th and 6th Sts) where I hope to see you & hear all details of your late tour. Our house is a neat, small affair - just of a size to suit our family which consists at present of Bess Kyle, Mary & myself. We find the change from a boarding house very pleasant & enjoy all the comforts of life with double zest. We have only two servants - one of whom is your old acquaintance Nancy Divine who lived so long with my mother before she (Nancy) emigrated last year. She often speaks of you.
Amongst the arrivals from Ireland this season was a young man, Samuel Taggart, son to a highly respectable gentleman residing near N.T. Stewart. I took some interest in him & obtained him the promise of a situation in Nashville (where he has gone a few days ago) but on reflection I am at a loss to know why a young man of such a very respectable connection should come out here as an adventurer. He may have been wild perhaps. To me he appeared quite steady & sober.
Our business throughout the spring has been excellent & every prospect of continuance. In almost every respect I have reason to be pleased with Philadelphia - yet there is "a crook in the lot of all" and I cannot boast of being entirely without drawbacks. Our stock of goods is very fair, and our customers increasing in number & respectability. So far my share of profits during 18 months are equal to those made in Richmond during upwards of six years! [End page 2]
Should all my letters have reached you in safety, you will be in some measure in possession of my ideas respecting your proposed change of pursuits. Nothing, my dear brother, could gratify me more than to see you settled down as a man of business. You have had 10 years roving & seen enough of the reckless life of a hunter. It is time to quit & so soon as you can make arrangements with Mr. S. I hope you will determine at once on changing your future course to that of a merchant. Much depends on a location where goods can be sold at a fair profit & with your knowledge of the country I should suppose you will have no difficulty on that point. As to capital make yourself easy - get entirely clear of every incumberance before you come on here & I anticipate no obstacle to your buying any amount of goods you may want. It is too soon however to decide on any thing & I now advert to it merely for the purpose of drawing your attention to the matter. I like Mr. S. very much and were he to unite with you, there is no man I would rather see you connected with - but I fear he will never give up the Rocky Mts.
Hugh Reed is trading in cattle in this vicinity. John McFarland is in Washington, Gurnsey County, Ohio - practicing medicine very successfully. Andrew Dunn (son of Samuel) came here about two months ago & has gone westward. Perhaps you may meet him in St. Louis. He spoke of joining you. It is strange what a fancy they all have for that adventurous life.
I have not had a letter from home since I wrote you last. It is singular how very negligent they are in writing me. It is my intention to write them so soon as I hear you have safely reached St. Louis. It will be glad tidings to them. On 22nd inst there will be a sale of the furs of the Am. F. Co. in New York. I have taken measures to have the prices on the day following & will immediately forward them to you. At present there seems to be nothing doing in the article.
H. Campbell [End page 3]
[Page 1 - side of page]
Are you interested as a partner in the present expedition of Mr. Sublette? He spoke of returning in October next. At all events I suppose you cannot leave St. Louis until you see or again hear from him - yet as it is a long time to be idle might you not come on here when you get all settled with your men? You could dispose of your furs & what is still better for me I could see you & keep you quietly resting here until Mr. S. would join us. We could then determine on something or other mutually advantageous to all parties. I beg you to reflect on this plan of operations.
[Page 2 - side of page]
I write this at the store & am frequently interrupted. Mary would send messages if she knew I was writing you. For some days past I have not been quite well - yet still able to attend to business. It is likely I may make an excursion to the country for a few days.
[Page 3 - side of page]
Ira B Smith promised to send me the journal & a map left by his brother with a view to their arrangement for publication. He has gone to Santa Fe - and perhaps has left them in charge of some person. Gen. Ashley had the map which he said he would procure from him. Can you obtain them & are they worth sending on?