Our steamship “Sylvan Shore” sailed a few hours in the open sea, but most of the time threaded her way among the lagoons, the home of alligators and countless ducks and waders. On board had civilized conversation with a southern planter upon topics that are found floating in the mind of every white man here who has a single thought. I also met a brother Scotchman, who was especially interesting and possessed ideas outside of southern politics. Altogether my half day and night on board the swampy shore were very pleasant and took me past a very sickly, entangled, overflowed, and unwalkable piece of forest. Of the people of the states which I have now passed I best like the Georgians. They have charming manners, and their dwellings are mostly larger and better than those of adjacent states. However costly or ornamental their homes or their manners, they do not, like those of New Englander, appear as the fruits of intense and painful sacrifice and training, but are entirely divested of all artificial weights and measures, and seem to twine about their characters as spontaneous growths with the durability and charm of living Nature. Georgians, even the commonest, have a most charmingly cordial way of saying to strangers, as they proceed on their journey, “I wish you well, Sir.” The negroes of Georgia are the most mannerly and polite I have ever seen. They invariably lift the hat on meeting a white man, and are greatly delighted to find opportunities for obliging anybody.
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist