Annie K[ennedy] Bidwell


John Muir


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[5]fess to a joy experienced in again breathing the free air of heaven, and beholding the light of the sun. We went through the Ophir & Consolidated Virginia, and I presume you know what we saw as well as I could tell you; There were seven of us, Prof. Gun- ning being of the party. And here I want to ask you your opin- ion of that gentleman. I promise not to betray confidence, for I am really anxious to know something about him. He had letters to General and myself, and expects to visit Chico ere returning east. Is merry and amusing, but I do not believe a word he says, scientifically, and I will tell you why. First, because he con- fessed to having deceived persons rather than confess his ignor- ance. Second – because he always evaded, or deliberately im- povised answers which I knew incorrect – when cornered. An instance – He insisted that “the whole scientific world with- out exception, admits that man is evolved out of a lower ani- mal”. I replied that Dr Gray does not, [underlined: for he had so told] me. (Prof Gunning at first declared Dr Gray does, but when I added “he told me he does not”, then Prof. Gunning replied “ Well Gray does not, but he is the only one”.) To prove his theory he would constantly twist everything [underlined: twistable] into harmony with his theory. A passing drove of hogs was turned to the same account, but seemingly un- intentionally. “I notice that in California and Nevada the white hogs are giving way to the black, the black are evolved from the white: (you can see it in these hogs, they have mostly become black”. I replied “yes, but in the cause you are mistaken: The Chester white is too delicate a hog for this country’s mode of treatment, requiring great care; while the Essex & Berkshire, both black hogs naturally, [deleted: would] thrive under the hearding system and grow fat on grass, & can bear exposure to the weather, hence are the only hogs which our people can afford to keep.” This annoyed Prof. Gunning and he replied


Rancho Chico, [Calif]

Date Original

1878 Jan 21


Original letter dimensions: 21 x 27 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0673

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Page Number

Page 4


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle