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My Dear Brother : I designed writing to you and sending you a package of newspapers by Captain Hull of San Francisco, but he left home sooner than I anticipated. California is so far away, and it requires so long a time for a letter to go, that it seems like writing for futurity. This, with the press of engagements, will account for me not answering sooner your letter from New Orleans.
In your new undertaking, you encounter some risks, but I think from the statement of your letter I should have had no hesitation in adopting your course. The spirit of the age is progressive and commercial, and soldiers have not that opportunity for distinction which is the strongest inducement in favor of that profession. From your business habits and experience, you ought in a few years to acquire a fortune which will amply compensate you for the loss of the title of colonel. Besides, officers of the army must either be in large cities, where their pay is insufficient to meet current expenses, or on the borders of civilization, where their families must either be separated from them or share their banishment.
If we can do anything to advance your business, of course you can command us in any way.
Your affectionate brother,
- John Sherman