P.T. Barnum to Moses Kimball,

Letter 7, August 18, 1844


Bristol (England) Sunday August 18th 1844

My dear Moses,

I could not possibly get time to write you by the Great Western, and have but a little chance to do so now. So I must go right into the merits of the case. I am sorry to hear that your "numerous and complicated businesses" are proving too hard for you, and hope that your rusticating in the country will be of advantage to you. As for my own part, the more business I have the better I like it. I now have got the Indians under full blast, and what with them, and Tom Thumb, my automaton writer exhibiting at the Adelaide Gallery the Bell Ringers -- Am. Museum and Peales -- Giants, dwarf etc. I guess I have about enough on hand to keep one busy. But for fear I might get out of business (notwithstanding I cautioned you about getting too many irons in the fire) I am thinking very seriously of buying out the Adelaide Gallery in London and carrying it on in company with the nephew of Catlin -- a regular roarer. The chance for success is great -- indeed it is sure -- and by that arrangement he could send me novelties to America and I could occasionally send him a fat nigger girl or something else. Besides he is at home with the press and could glorify in advance anything sent to America -- as we could also that sent to England. These inducements have great weight with me and the whole investment required -- is only about $6000 -- With every prospect of clearing $20,000 per annum. I may not go into this arrangement -- but it is perfectly feasible. That "Yankee Dwarf" calling himself Tom Thumb will only help the real critter -- there are at least 20 General Tom Thumbs now exhibiting in various parts of England -- but that only paves the way for the approach of the "Conquering Hero.”

The enclosed letter for Bridgeport you will please mail for Bridgeport and you will confer a particular favor by paying postage on it and charging me. I am exceedingly vexed to hear that you have trouble and law (which is next to death) about your buildings. That is too bad and I hope that if they do beat you -- you will have Yankee enough about you to look out for No.1. I'm afraid though that it may prove a bad case. You appear to have the deuce to pay with that drunken Smith. I hope that ere this you have got the outang and that Hitchcock has had a try at it. I am afraid the bitch is dead though. I shall want very much to talk to you a day or two on my return, and to hear your experience also during my absence. We shall not get to Paris with the General before February -- if at all -- at present. We are going through the best towns in England -- average receipts $300 per day and I guess they will get over that before we reach L

Your business $600 to $700 per week, takes the wind out of the sails of the Museum. However neither you nor me, need complain at present -- for both of our stars are in the ascendant. If the General keeps his health a few months longer (and he is as fine as ever) and if I keep my health, I guess I shall be able to take home enough to pay me for the trouble of coming over here!

I am half afraid that you had trouble getting that "wardrobe" of the Queen's through the Custom House - but hope not. Ain't it magnificent? That pigeon arrangement ought to pay you a thundering profit by and by and I trust it will -- I want you to hear those Bell Ringers and if you can suggest any new kink to Hitchcock do so. I can't help fancying that they will carry all before them -- though unfortunately Wilbur and Smith in their zeal to serve me, announce that I had hired them. I hope however that ere that "erroneous impression" has been removed, Corlis has been offered $2000 for his alleys and if he don't take it -- I'll get them for nothing when his lease runs out, and I "calculate" we can possibly stand it till then. By the way I gave Olmsted a plumper by steamer of the 4th Aug., advising him to let his Museum for offices, (his own suggestion) and let me know his determination in time, so that I could have a better building erected on a place which I had in my eye. I am anxious to see what he will write me in return for I know it scared him.
 
I am very sorry that you hear nothing of the Saunders’s. I fear that they sucked you. I have not seen your painter since I wrote you last and now being so much in the country probably shall not see him very soon. The General's sales of books (lives) and pictures average him $30 per day -- or $9000 per annum -- more than half of which is profit and their perquisites -- not verry bad! His Carriage ponies and servants in livery will be ready in a fortnight and will kill the public dead -- they can't survive it! It will be the greatest hit in the universe -- see if it ain't! God bless you my dear friend -- remember me to wife and friends and believe me
  
As ever thine
P.T.Barnum
 
Mr. Moses Kimball
Boston Museum, Boston
U.S., America
 
PR Halifax steamer
 


P.T. Barnum Letters To Moses Kimball - August 18, 1844 - Boston Athenaeum - Disability History Museum, www.disabilitymuseum.org  (March 04, 2009)

 

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