James Stewart, San Francisco, U.S.A. to Mr. Coulter, Belfast.
1011 Pierce Street, San Francisco, September 22/84 Dear Friend, Mr Coulter, After a long interval of silence (let me bear the blame) I had the great pleasure of receiving your letter dated August 29th. I am much pleased to know that I still retain a place in your memory, for I acknowledge, with regret, that I alone am responsible for this protracted silence. I have read your letter with a great deal of interest, and I see that the same friendly feeling still pervades your mind as of old, not the least changed I believe since you and I were fellow-lodgers at 36 Great Edward Street. - You allude to the death of Mrs Coulter some 16 months ago and I sincerely sympathise with you in your great bereavement I remember seeing the announcement of her death in a Belfast paper. You will probably wonder when I tell you that for several years I had many enquiries regarding the welfare of yourself & Mrs Coulter._ Captain Dodd who left here for a visit to Ireland sometime after I came back to San Francisco, and who called on you when in Belfast, was unceasing in his enquiries about you. After his return here he expressed himself warmly & gratefully on the subject of his kind treatment at your hands, and time & again has he told me that he would never forget it. The Captain, as you are no doubt-aware, got married to a County Down girl brought his wife here with him; they are still living in San Francisco, have three children (2 boys & a girl) and are all well. Dodd is a good, true-hearted man, & is highly respected by all who know him. _ He is still running his own vessel on this Coast, & is doing well. _ I am glad to know that Mrs Harvey and family are well _ please give them all my kind regards at the first opportunity. It would seem from your letter that Harriet is the only member of the family who has married so far, but no doubt the others will follow her example in due time. It is singular that Thomas Wm's [William's?] letter to me was returned to him; it was probably addressed simply to San Francisco without having the name of the street, and if so, it no doubt fell into the hands of some of the other dozen or so of James Stewarts who reside here, Several of whom have on various occasions carried letters intended for me in their pockets for weeks together, before returning them to the post office._ And now a word or two about myself. _ I believe it is 13 years since I saw you last _ in the Autumn of 1871 (how the years do rush past us!). In 1873 I met with a very severe accident by an explosion of gas, which laid me up helpless for about six weeks, & which I believe undermined my Constitution, as I have never wholly recovered from its' effects. The year following I got caught on the top of one of the big mining excitements which have so long cursed this community, and was financially cleaned out. In the course of about two months in that year I saw the greater part of my hard earnings melt away in the speculative craze. _ Fortunately I held a good situation, and after coming to my senses, I came also to the conclusion that speculation was not my forte. Since then I have plodded steadily along in the daily routine of business life, trying to regain by hard work what I foolishly lost. _ I recognize the fact, however, that my life has been a failure. I remain a Bachelor, and that word is sufficient to express as much as I could write in a whole page. My sister who came here in 1875, has kept house for me ever since My Mother is still living in Belfast, in her 86th year, & the latest account I heard was that she was well, and in wonderfully good spirits._ Your Brother I see is still following his business in this City as Contractor & Builder, I have not of late years had any chance to talk to him, and I question very much if he now recollects me. Business in that line is at present flourishing, but in most other departments is rather stagnant. There are other local subjects on which I could write, and which no doubt would be of interest to you, but must forego this pleasure at present, so I will conclude, hoping this will find you well, and with many thanks for your kind letter which I duly appreciate, I remain Your Sincere friend James Stewart. I shall expect to hear from you some time again before the end of the year, or at all events whenever your convenience permitsClose