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Abelard Guthrie to Hiram Hill

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Quindaro, Kansas Territory, 11th Nov. 1858
Hiram Hill, Esqr.
Dear Sir, Your letter of the 23rd ult has been on my table a few days unopened, because, from what Mr. Chadwick said, I did not feel any anxiety to read it, but being confined to a sick room with little else to read, I opened your letter and do not know whether to regret it or not. But it at least, affords me the opportunity of correcting two or three errors of yours. I never told you that we would have Kansas Av. & P & R streets graded immediately but I doubtless told you we expected to grade Kansas Av. immediately, and P & R streets very soon, for such I was assured would be the fact, when most unexpectedly to myself the company was reported out of funds! You know what my suspicions are in regard to this matter – that we have been swindled out of thirty thousand dollars, I am confident of this, but no settlement has been had of the Co’s affairs.
But, whatever may be said of the Co’s. shortcomings in the matter of grading, it has done a great deal more than it was promised, or thought of promising, in other matters which I think of more importance than the grading, and time I think, will demonstrate what I say. And if we succeed in our projected plans, which will cost us ten times as much as the grading, you speak of, all our boasted hopes will be realized, and we will receive no more thanks, nor do we expect any more, than if our efforts had been confined to the grading, the neglect of which is so much complained of. I am

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not justifying the bad faith in regard to the grading, for I have no doubt that positive promises are made by some of the company that those streets would be immediately graded, but I never made any such promises, nor did I ever ask any one to buy my town property or any portion of it, nor have I ever offered it for sale except when first approached upon the subject. Your own recollections, so far as you are concerned, will bear me out in this.
In the matter of the land I did proffer my services and thought I could to you a favor. My will proved to be greater than my ability, and I failed. When you come out I will go with you to McCoy, the Commr who took the improvement from you, on the ground that it was no improvement! You remember the fable of the wolf and the lamb in which the former complains that the latter muddied the water which the other wanted to drink, although the lamb stood below in the stream. So it was in this land business. But you got a good tract of land, I think there is as many dollars in it as in the other – perhaps more. But I desired you to have the other because you encouraged me to hope that you would at some early day come and live among us.
I have never been so harassed for the want of money in my whole life as I have been for the last few months. My own debts alone, have given me no trouble, could I have been clear of the town company’s responsibilities, and those of [owing?] its members; but for the general good and the hope within me, I have to bear and struggle in silence. All whom I owe want pay – not one that owes me pays. Were you here but a few hours you would

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view things very differently from what you now do. and I hope you will avail yourself of the earliest opportunity to come.
Respectfully &c Abelard Guthrie
P. S. In regard to Mr. Morton I have no recollection whatever of you telling me he was a party to the purchase when I sold to you.

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