Letter - from San Francisco to Brother Morgan

San Francisco, Cal.

Oct. 10th, 1880

Rev. R. D. Morgan;

Dear Bro: We left Kiukiang the last day of August, and reached this place on the 4th, having crossed the Pacific in sixteen days. God has preserved us from all the dangers of the deep, and permitted us to set foot on our native land once more. And sorry as I was to leave China, no one on shipboard rejoiced more than I to see the shores of America heave in sight again. The voyage was very monotonous, and almost wore me out. I have been terribly weak and prostrated since coming on shore, not having had time yet to recruit. Bro. O. T. Gibson has kindly looked after my freight. He is one of the heroes of modern times. A man of fine physique and powerful frame, of indomitable pluck and energy, he has fought his way singlehanded through difficulties and dangers which would have appalled any one but a man of the Parson Brownlow stamp. He has been abused, anathematized, vilified, caricatured, threatened, mobbed, burnt in effigy, and openly insulted in the State Legislature, as "the most obnoxious man in all California, who had the audacity to contaminate that floor with his presence." The religious press has been afraid to support him. And all because he is the friend of the heathen Chinee. I wish you could have sat with me in his parlor the other afternoon and heard him talk for two hours in his inimitable style about his experiences here during the last five years.

Well, I attended services this morning in Dr. M. C. Briggs's church, and enjoyed them exceedingly. I have not attended an English Methodist service previously for more than seven years. You may fancy what a treat it was. But I had no voice to join in the singing; I could not speak to any one except in a whisper. Will I ever recover my voice? I fear not. It is a sore trial to bear the loss of it. I meet with ministers here to whom I want to talk so much, but my lips are sealed. I cannot articulate a sound (except in coughing) to save my life. But I have been noisy enough day and night with my cough for the last three years. I have thrown up whole bucketsful of phlegm this summer -- without having taken any cold either. You can thus imagine what progress this disease is making. Yet I feel no worse than I did four or five months ago. Perhaps the climate of Colorado will arrest the malady in its present stage. Perhaps my lungs are too far gone for any climate to benefit, and I shall only find in Colorado a grave to lay my wasted body in. A very few weeks of residence there may decide the matter for life or death. But I think I am prepared for either event. I know I sincerely devoted my life to God and the missionary work when I went to China, and that it almost broke my heart to abandon the field forever and return to America. And much as I may long to live and work for the elevation of humanity, I do not think my life is of such value as to make it anything but presumption in me to pray for a continuance of it.

It is night, and my wife has gone to Dr. Briggs's church, while I stay with the children. They are both in perfect health, and so is their mother. If I am taken away from them, I am glad to know that they are left in good hands. Their mother can support them if any mother can. Indeed she has taken care of them all along, the only thing I have been able to do being to wait on myself.

We leave on the 12th for Denver. Write to me about the Conference. God bless you and yours.Fraternally, A. Stritmatter