In 1892, as president of the San Francisco Typothetae, I had the great pleasure of cooperating with the president of the Typographical Union in giving a reception and dinner to George W. Childs, of Philadelphia. Our relations were not always so friendly. We once resisted arbitrary methods and a strike followed. My men went out regretfully, shaking hands as they left. We won the strike, and then by gradual voluntary action gave them the pay and hours they asked for. When the earthquake fire of 1906 came I was unfortunately situated. I had lately bought out my partner and owed much money. To meet all my obligations I felt obliged to sell a controlling interest in the business, and that was the beginning of the end. I was in active connection with the printing business for forty-seven years.
I am forced to admit that it would have been much to my advantage had I learned in my early life to say “No” at the proper time. The loss in scattering one’s powers is too great to contemplate with comfort. I had a witty partner who once remarked, “I have great respect for James Bunnell, for he has but one hobby at a time.” I knew the inference. A man who has too many hobbies is not respectable. He is not even fair to the hobbies. I have always been overloaded and so not efficient. It is also my habit to hold on. It seems almost impossible to drop what I have taken up, and while there is gain in some ways through standing by there is gross danger in not resolutely stopping when you have enough. In addition to the activities I have incidentally mentioned I have served twenty-five years on the board of the Associated Charities, and still am treasurer. I have been a trustee of the California School of Mechanical Arts for at least as long. I have served for years on the board of the Babies Aid, and also represent the Protestant Charities on the Home-Finding Agency of the Native Sons and Daughters. It is an almost shameful admission of dissipation. No man of good discretion spreads himself too thin.
When I was relieved from further public service, and had disposed of the printing business, it was a great satisfaction to accept the field secretaryship of the American Unitarian Association for the Pacific Coast. I enjoyed the travel and made many delightful acquaintances. It was an especial pleasure to accompany such a missionary as Dr. William L. Sullivan. In 1916 we visited most of the churches on the coast, and it was a constant pleasure to hear him and to see the gladness with which he was always received, and the fine spirit he inspired. I have also found congenial occupation in keeping alive The Pacific Unitarian. Thirty years is almost venerable in the life of a religious journal. I have been favored with excellent health and with unnumbered blessings of many kinds. I rejoice at the goodness and kindness of my fellow men. My experience justifies my trustful and hopeful temperament. I believe “the best is yet to be.”