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

Circa Date

[1868] Mar 3


Original letter dimensions: 20.0 x 25.5 cm

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1186

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

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

Owning Institution

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

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



3 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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