S. Hall Young
Wooster, Ohio Feb. 9, 1897.
Friend of my heart,
Your two letters have arrived almost together. This is a red letter day to me. I was a little fearful that my silence & neglect would render the reception of my tardy letter cool. You see my conscience is not altogether dead. And now to have you pour out your kindness and love before me in this way breaks me all up. God bless you! I know my feelings toward you have been growing deeper & warmer all these years, & now I see that friendship when it is true is not in the least degree dependent on mere propinquity. What are space & time to spirit or spiritual experience?
But as to the money, Muir; I have really had half a day of severe spiritual "exercise" over the question of accepting it.
I have been trying to recall what I said in my letter about my hard struggle with the world. If I thought that there was a word in that letter that could be construed into a request for that kind of assistance I would send the P.O. order back by next mail. But I think too much of myself to imagine that there was such a word; and I think too much of your opinion of us to imagine that there was a thought of charity in the gift; and so I accept thankfully, in the spirit in which it was given, looking fondly toward to a time when you and yours will all be our guests in Sitka and give us an opportunity to reciprocate. I shall apply this to the tuition & music lessons of my girls.
Now my dream is this: to get the appointment, and to start early next summer, go up with you early in July to Alaska & have six weeks of exploration with you before my term of office opens, Sept. 1st. How will that suit you? We will yet have some great times together. Then I
will stay four or eight years in Alaska, as the elections may go, and save enough to buy a little fruit ranch of you & build a house. Perhaps preach a few more years in some Cal. church, and then retire to my ranch & "we'll grow auld together." How is the dream?
I visited Maj. McKinly a week ago. My interview was all I could wish & more than I could expect. I was introduced by Pres. Scovel, of the University of Wooster, and two other men who are intimate friends of Maj. McKinley's & mine. Maj. McK. said I had already been introduced to his notice, & that he considered my appointment the "most suitable possible", and that unless some extraordinary opposition should cause him to change his mind, "which", he said"I do not consider possible", he would consider the application favorably. We had quite a conversation, and my friends felt that the matter was virtu-
ally settled. I don't feel as sure as they do, but have strong hopes. Your letter is very strong, and will have more influence than almost any other, for your name was mentioned in our interview and recognized by Maj. McKinley with enthusiasm. he said that he wished that kind of endorsements.
Your thought of writing to Senator Perkins is both kind and good. I need a "friend at court" some senator who will keep my affliation before the Pres. and put through the confirmation if I am appointed. I have been relying upon Sen. Mitchell of Or. but he is having a hard fight for reelection just now; and at present his success seems doubtful. If Sen. Perkins is connected with Goodall Perkins & Co who forward the Pacific Coast Steamship Co. (as I think is the case) he would be just the one to act. He owes me a kindness, for I have secured his Co. many a
passenger by my descriptions of the wonders & glories of the trip - in my lectures & articles. I hope you can secure his active aid.
Edward Marsden, a [Tsimpehean?] Indian from New [Mettahkahttah?], who has graduated at Marietta College and is now in the middle class at Lane Theol. Sem. Cincinnati, is with me just now. He is very intelligent and will make his mark. He has just been to see Maj. McKinley, - a delegate from his people to plead for their island which white miners are trying to get from them, and for such a settlement of the boundary question as will not give them back to British control. He tells me that [J?].G. Brady of Sitka is or will be an applicant for the governorship; also Mr. Johnson, former District Attorney. Both these men seem to me & to Marsden utterly unfit for the position.
Maj. McKinley said to me that no one else had applied for the office when I saw him. so that I am the first. I wrote lately to Rear Admiral
Beardslee, Commander of the Pacific Squadron, asking for an endorsement. I directed to Flagship Philadelphia, Mare Island, Cal. If the Philadelphia is lying there, perhaps a visit from you to the Admiral would be opportune. I know he thinks a good deal of you. If you know any other "strings to pull", pull them. Have all endorsements or petitions addressed to the Pres. & sent to me here.
Your book is a delight. Many thanks for it. The other never reached me. And as to the "litany of letters" I do not think that I failed to answer any that I received except the last one red'd in 1890, & the two rec'd last summer. But that was bad enough, & I have no adequate excuse. But I will not repeat the lame explanation of my last letter.
I shall look eagerly for the article in the Century about you & Stickine. I am glad if my sketch was
helpful. Certainly, publish it if you wish; - use it in any way you desire; - take any liberties with it.
I am sorry to say we never did a picture of Stickine. He lived before the day of the Alaska Camera Fiend. Mrs Young got him a present from Mr Healy, that Irish miner who lived in a cottage up the beach towards the Presbyterian Mission in Sitka.
Wait for me to go with you to Yakutat; and we must not slight [Lituya?] on the way.
You seem to think that you were to blame in some degree for my accident. My dear fellow, what an idea! There is no blame about it. It is one of my richest & most precious experiences; I am thankful all through for it - pain & all. And as to your conduct through it all: I do not know of anything more heroic or sublimely self-forgetful in all the range of my reading.
My time is so occupied now with this political office correspondence that my book must wait. After it is decided I'll go at it. If I go to Sitka I'll finish it there.
I'll remember about the photographs. I have a good many but they are eight years old. I don't think [Lowatt?] ever had his picture taken. Mr. Y. doesn't know anything of Stickine's ancestry. Mr. Healy will know.
What degree did you get from Harvard? I want to know so I can give you your proper title. You deserve the full set. Sorry you didn't know where we were last summer.
Give my warm regards to your good wife & daughters. Mrs. Y. & the daughters join in this. and thanks for your great kindness.
I'll write again soon.
Yours more than ever
S. Hall Young
1897 Feb 9
Original letter dimensions: 23 x 14 cm.
Young, S. Hall, "Letter from S. Hall Young to [John Muir], 1897 Feb 9." (1897). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2138.
Reel 09, Image 0697
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