Abner Cheney Goodell (1831-1914), lawyer and historian of Salem Mass. wrote to Sam, responding to his article, “A Greeting from the 19th Century to the 20th Century” the same day it ran in the N.Y. Herald.
Dear Sir: / Will you forgive a stranger for obtruding upon your scant leisure this expression of gratitude for your “Salutation” to the incoming century.
In my opinion it is, so far as I know, the best thing you ever did. Indeed, I rank it with Lincoln’s immortal speech at Gettysburg.
It has done me good. I have stopped taking medicine, now that somebody has done something effectual to rouse the public from their chronic apathy in this universal reign of terror.
It is a great strain upon one’s self-confidence to continue to harbor the conviction that he is right, and all the “powers that be” of Christendom are wrong in their fearful onslaughts upon human beings.
And if wrong, how appalling the magnitude of the error of crime!
You have cheered me. You reassure me against the depressing doubt of my own sanity, and you encourage me to believe there is yet hope that old Waller’s sentiment, echoed by Charles Sumner in the title-page of his first great plea for universal peace, may prevail throughout the world…[Cohen 29].
December 31 Monday – At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam replied to Abner Cheney Goodell in Salem, Mass., who had written praise of his N.Y. Herald “salutation” of Dec. 30.
I think you are right: it is a “universal reign of terror.” There seems to be a universal reign of error also—
a strange indifference to that formidable fact, in pulpit, press & people. The standard of honor is shrinking pretty fast every where, I think,—among individuals—& has fairly disappeared from Governments. I find but few men who disapprove of our theft of the Phillipines [sic] & of our assassination of the liberties of the people of the Archipelago [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Y. MacAlister:
Yours of ten days ago, with cheque for £14.12.4. just received—very glad to hear from you, old man! I’ve posted the cheque to my bank. I am very glad you are rid of the Exploration & are now on what I conjecture to be an unwatered basis. Most certainly a business which can make such an 11-months’ showing as yours could have but little difficulty in securing all the capital it needed.
Cook has forwarded to me Bergheim’s letter, with copy of the new labels—just the thing, I think. I shall look in on Cook presently—if ever I get the time. I have called on Mr. Rogers only three times in 2 months, & this shows that I’m a crowded man. I declined 7 banquets yesterday (which is double the daily average), & answered 29 letters. I have slaved at my mail every day since we arrived, in mid-October. But Jean is learning to type-write, & presently I’ll dictate & thereby save some scraps of time. I seem to have made many speeches, but it is not so. It is not more than 10, I think; & after Jan. 4 I do not intend to speak again for a year. This time the matter concerns reform of the city government, otherwise I should stay away.
We were very lucky to get this big house—furnished. There was not another one in the town— procurable—that would answer us. But this one is all right—space enough in it for several families, & the rooms all of old-fashioned great size.
Don’t work your godliness too hard. I have tried it; it butters no parsnips.
Are you sure you mailed that prospectus? I want to see it, & it hasn’t come.
Oh, the Phillipine [sic] mess! I wish I had been here two months before the Presidential election, I would have gone on the stump against both candidates, b’gosh! McKinley’s war is as discreditable as Chamberlain’s. I wish to God the public would lynch both of those frauds.
We are jining in warmest best wishes for all the family—with many God bless you’s! [MTP]. Note: Sam enclosed the following clipping:
A MOTHER SENT HER YOUNG HOPEFUL INTO THE COUNTRY, AND AFTER A WEEK OF ANXIETY RECEIVED THIS
LETTER: “I GOT HERE ALL RIGHT, BUT FORGOT TO WRITE BEFORE. A FELLAR AND I WENT OUT IN A BOAT AND THE BOAT TIPPED OVER AND A MAN GOT ME OUT. I WAS SO FULL OF WATER THAT I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING FOR A LONG TIME.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.