I was not aware that old Sir Thomas had anticipated that story, and I am much obliged to you for furnishing me the paragraph [Phelps incoming not extant]. It is curious that the same idea would have entered two heads so unlike as the head of that wise old philosopher and that of Captain Ned Wakeman, a splendidly uncultured old sailor, but in his own opinion a thinker by divine right. He was an old friend of mine of many years standing; I made two or three voyages with him, and found him a darling in many ways. The Petroleum Story was not told to me; he told it to Joe Twichell, who ran across him by accident on a sea voyage where I think the two were the only passengers. … [MTP].
Note: Sam referred to Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), English author; this clarified in his Apr. 24 to Twichell. Wakeman had a stroke and was partially paralyzed in 1872. Wakeman took a “series of voyages…in an attempt to recover his heath. Between Jan. 16 and Mar. 21, 1874 he visited Baja California”;he died in 1875 [MTL 1 : 83]. This source does not list other voyages, but in Wakeman’s autobiography, The Log of an Ancient Mariner, p. 372-3, Wakeman describes leaving New York Harbor on Aug. 15, 1874 for a return to Oakland through Aspinwall on the Colon. In the same year Twichell went to Peru with Yung Wing to look into the living conditions of Chinese coolies there. On Oct. 5, 1874 Twichell’s journal includes an entry that he reached Hartford after a seven-week trip to Peru; his departure for Peru thus coincides with the first leg and August sailing of the Colon that carried the old Captain Wakefield.
Sam also replied to James B. Pond (incoming not extant).
Some day, but not now; for we are so driven that we don’t get time to attend to our unavoidable duties. And for this reason I don’t wish to see the manuscript; I should get no time to read it. Stanley’s is a noble
letter and its spirit does his great heart credit.
Mr. Statham wrote an admirable history of the troubles in South Africa, from the Boer point of view. He is not known here and I suppose you could hardly use him profitably in the lecture field…please return his letter to me as I must answer it [MTP]. Note: Francis Reginald Statham (1844-1908) wrote South Africa
as It Is (1897); Statham’s incoming is not extant. See also Gribben 659.
Sam also wrote to Henry Stockbridge in Baltimore, Md.
I thank you cordially for the sermon. I am to foregather with a company of clergymen a few days hence and I note this odd circumstance, to wit—that I have been meditating a text for a talk there, which text you have worded pretty exactly in your note to me: the inability of the clerical profession to either quote correctly or even speak the truth off-hand [MTP]. Note: likely Henry Stockbridge, Jr. (1856-1924), Congressman from Maryland (1889-91), who at this time was a judge on the Supreme bench in Baltimore (1896-1911). He had also served on the editorial staff of several Baltimore newspapers.
Sam also replied (typewritten) to Joe Twichell in Hartford. (Incoming not extant.)
Yes it was a slander. I am sound and well, but the report may have arisen from the fact that I am in the habit of telling people that I am sick. I know of no reason for doing this except that it is habit with me to say what is not so, as a usual thing. Libby is gouty but otherwise well and the report that she is regaining her youth, as to looks, is true.
Sam related failing to find a place in the Adirondacks to stay for the summer, and thought he might start for Vermont in “a day or two” to search there. He remarked that it was curious that only Joe and three others from Hartford had visited him in N.Y. He closed by relating Prof. William Phelps’ quotation of a passage from Sir Thomas Browne, which was the same accounting for miracles that Capt. Ned Wakeman used. “It is a pity old Wakeman could not have had the joy of knowing before he died, that he was in such distinguished company” [MTP].
Note: See notes after Apr. 23 to Phelps. Also Gribben, p. 90 on Browne. Sam signed a contract for a cabin on Saranac Lake, N.Y. on May 10 with George V.W. Duryee (d. 1912), real estate agent who came to Saranac in
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.