James Davie Butler
MArch 13, '05
My dear Friend
for a generation backward and for countless more to come.
Last week I read in the MArch No. of the Century of Burbank's Miracles which had before been hid from my eyes - At once I began to [blazon?] abroad the revelation which had flashed upon me like the lightening which unfolds heaven and earth ere one can say "it lightens" -
Others' eyes I soon found had sooner than mine felt the scales falling from their lids - yet no one had seen so much as not to make greater eyes as he opened the Century - and saw its promise of more.
Lancaster where Burbank I find was b. in 1845 - is not far from Andover, and I had preached there myself as early as 1841. - and in that village high school was all B's academics. - A new proof that genius as in Burns, Bunyan, and Shakespeare penetrates to truths deeper, higher, wider than can be taught. We cannot say "Pity it lacks instructions for it shows itself a master to all who teach" what humanitarian uses of Carnegie's bounty to make cactus the cure all of India famine.
Do write me of your relations to B. when you begin to know him. - How often you meet - what you judge his crowning achievement, - what new work he will explore? Who else is second only to him?
On March 15 is the 10th birthday since the loving cup and loving words - gave me such a glad surprise that has been musical in my soul ever since.
I was 1/2 inclined to shut my doors because Agnes who a year ago had a serious sickness - six weeks ago was doctor-driven to her brothers so far north that the debility which possessed her dares not follow but so many are eager to be with me - in communion of mourning the absence of so many who shared in the first convocation yet walk the earth no longer.
New friends have clustered around us. Anna is here - at no time have I lacked a daughter under my roof as "restorer of life and nourisher of age." Nor do I lack visits from both my boys in seasons better for household saneties and sweetness than the crowded hours of birthday festivities. - Not only shall I all day keep open house, heart, tongue and hand - but have a special call to be Senatorial Chaplain - on birth morning as the very oldest man (woman's age here a secret) - who has or three years found among us. If am killed by kindness what better death to die? Is it not the euthanasia of Moses who as Robbins translated Deut 34.5 died by the Kiss of God.
Yet aware that age has clawed me in his clutches and only grants me such a reprieve as the cat vouchsafe's a mouse I am impatient for your letter in the Sabbath of my years. Regardfully from Anna as well as me the patriarch of the place.
James Davie Butler
1905 Mar 13
Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 20.5 cm.
Butler, James Davie, "Letter from James Davie Butler to John Muir, 1905 Mar 13." (1905). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3300.
Reel 15, Image 0330
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