John Muir


John Muir


Dav[id Gilrye Muir]



of noise. The side walks are in some places about a foot wide & so of course pedestrians of all colors & languages have to mix in the tide of mules & wheels. Their architecture is heavy & tasteless but some buildings have fine open halls, & and squares, decked with plants. These public squares are not in keeping with Spanish taste - they are the most beautiful by far that I ever beheld - large & cool with shade, & tastefully adorned with the brightest of flowers - I beg pardon Dave I did not know that I had gone among the "confounded weeds" again I start for California weeds & trees next Thursday on the steamship Santiago de Cuba, my health has improved since the cool winds of Cape Hatteras & Sandy Hook have fanned me, I will soon be able for long walks again & work

[in margin: NY not dated starting for Cal still weak]



New York March 3rd [1868]

Dear brother Dan,
I wish that my travel work was done, & that I was on my way home. since my Florida illness the labor of living among strangers is hard to bear, & lonesomeness & homesickness come oftener than ever - I arrived here from Cuba a few days ago, we had a rough passage, & I was glad it was so, for I was anxious to obtain a good view of the grand ocean both in storm & calm. I am surprised to find these measureless fields of water as richly pervaded with divine beauty as the land, our virgin prairies of the west

[in margin: Business is dull in New York. I suppose it is [illegible] in P[illegible]. I intended to visit B[illegible][illegible] but it was burned last night. My love to all. I will hope to hear from you & mother & the girls at San Francisco.]


with all their flowers are not more beautiful. - I must see more of it I was scare able to leave Cedar Keys & had five or six light attacks of fever in Havana I arrived there about the middle of January. Yesterday I sent you the plants which I collected there, by Adams Ex. Co please give them to Sarah to keep with the others & tell her that if she opens them to be very careful not to mix the note-billets, Not a shadow of winter is seen in Cuba, I culd wander about among the hills touching a flower at every step & in some places I could gather about a million in my arms at once, delightfully fragrant, & in all the pomp & glory of full bloom, The cocoa palm is magnif- icent plant with leaves 8 or 12 feet long with 5 or 600 leaflets - but enough I suppose of the "confounded weeds" as you call them


The winter which I was in Havana was intolerably hot equal to the sultriest days of our hottest summers. I did not like Havana - it is full of noise & confused bustle - a perfect babel of commerce - all quiet is effectually fenced out with common, brass bands, bells, bullfights, feast days, & ever lasting unnameable fandango - Havana has no Sunday - the commercial pulse is ever beating, & bull fighting is the most zeal- ously abserved of all Sabbath exercises, It is not surprising that Spaniards are cruel, & that their religion & morality are constantly in the market. The narrow slits through the yellow pillared buildings, I sup- pose are intended for streets, they are paved with small limestone blocks set so as to ensure the greatest amount


New York


Original letter dimensions: 20.0 x 25.5 cm

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1186

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

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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.

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Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



3 pages



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