Document 57: Letter from Eli Clark to Erastus Brainerd
Erastus Brainerd Papers, Box 2, Folder 8, Manuscripts and University Archives, University of Washington Libraries.
August 9, 1907
In regard to the complaints of the Alaska merchants...I met every merchant in Dawson and Alaska only a year ago, and my conclusion was that nine-tenths—perhaps a larger proportion—of the complaints against Seattle were tommyrot, and the other tenth...were well worthy of consideration by the Seattle interests....
Of course the Alaskans will continue to buy their stuff in Seattle, for I believe self-interest is the greatest living force in the world....but the Seattle merchants should not proceed on the doctrine that the Alaska trade is theirs by an sort of divine right. We may say what we will—transportation is one of the great elements in any trade situation, and the present transportation facilities happen to make it convenient for Alaskans to buy in Seattle....
As an after thought, it occurs to be that I found the Seattle jobbers last fall absolutely intolerant of all talk about dissatisfaction in Alaska...that was not the right attitude.