Mr. Davis was a man of profound religious feeling. He said little of it, but it was a large part of his life. On his desk was a volume of Dr. Stebbins’ prayers, the daily use of which had led to the reading again and again of the book he very deeply cherished.
He was the most loyal of friends—patient, appreciative beyond deserts, kindly, and just. The influence for good of such a man is incalculable. One who makes no pretense of virtue, but simply lives uprightly as a matter of course, who is genuine and sound, who does nothing for effect, who shows simple tastes, and is not greedy for possessions, but who looks out for himself and his belongings in a prudent, self-respecting way, who takes what comes without complaint, who believes in the good and shows it by his daily course, who is never violent and desperate, but calmly tries to do his part to make his fellows happier and the world better, who trusts in God and cheerfully bears the trials that come, who holds on to life and its opportunities, without repining if he be left to walk alone, and who faces death with the confidence of a child who trusts in a Father’s love and care—such a man is blessed himself and is a blessing to his fellow-men.
In 1871 Ralph Waldo Emerson visited California. He was accompanied by his daughter Ellen, and seemed thoroughly to enjoy the new scenes and new experiences. He visited the Yosemite Valley and other points of interest, and was persuaded to deliver a number of lectures. His first appearance before a California audience was at the Unitarian church, then in Geary Street near Stockton, on a Sunday evening, when he read his remarkable essay on “Immortality,” wherein he spoke of people who talk of eternity and yet do not know what to do with a day. The church was completely filled and the interest to hear him seemed so great that it was determined to secure some week-day lectures if possible. In company with Horace Davis, who enjoyed his acquaintance, I called on him at the Occidental Hotel. He was the most approachable of men—as simple and kindly in his manner as could be imagined, and putting one at ease with that happy faculty which only a true gentleman possesses.