John Muir


John Muir


[Daniel H. Muir]



Near La Grange Nov 15th

Dear Doctor

Your first from the stinking halls of surgery found me here in the sunshine of the sweet autumn days of our foothills I suppose that I should write now of what most concerns you - not of mountains & flowers & waterfalls, not of the walks of a botanist but of the walks & pathways of epi- dermics of the provinces of king- doms of fevers, mortuary re- ports & all manner of diseases & sickness among the people Well let me see what can I say upon these sickly themes which I have catalogued here The small pox came this far last year. It radiated from San Fran- cisco in all directions like the spokes of a wheel. Fevers


follow the rivers in level place here, wending along among reed & willows like a snake in the gra[ss?] [&?] their pathways are narrow & crooke[d?] here but in Florida they occupy broad sheets of districts notched & dotted like prairies & islands upon a map. I have a sore throat always sorest when I swallow. The parotid or carotid or some other glands are swollen. I had a debate with a man who lives over the Tuolumne river upon the causes of insanity, he hild that all forms of insanity p[illegible]ded directly from a disorder- ed stomach, nerves & brains had nothing to do with it. He have it as his experience that the stomach was the first to feel bad news & fear of death also that the ole factory & optic nerves connected directly with the same important [sack?] as proof of these original views he made his wife bring Camphor & Amonia


for me to smell & asked me if I did not feel these vapors go tickling & tingling downward rather than upward I admitted that the stomach was the great centre of gravity - the recover & dispenser of our daily bread to all the other organs. At once master & store house of the com[illegible]ssary department but that the brain was more than a watch man over its dispensations Well I suppose now you are saying that this is a mixing a has[illegible] of medical questions without any law or science Perhaps it is better to have your knowledge of medicine meas- ured & weighed, but [push?] is all I can give you. the room is full of noisy people, suffering from the most malignant & loudest forms of lingual disease some are narrating thrilling stomach stir- ing [illegible] adventures with Piute Ute Indians. Others are trading horses, making [illegible], & courting the ladies [illegible] [illegible]. Therefore


Address Snellings as before

I pray [thee?] have me excused Postscriptum. I have the toothache

Your letter reached me in eight or nine days with your everlasting shades. I think that you look [their?]. Do not allow your efforts to cure others bring disease upon yourself Do not study too hard. Now that you have a sweetheart advise of this kind is necessary Why did you not send her photo also I would like to see her give her my best wishes & tell her to veto all overexertion & haste on your part to go into business. I am not going to leave Cala.' till the spring. Tomorrow I start for the Mountains Yo Semite I am enchanted & cannot leave them. I want to hear some of the winter sermons preached their. Farewell Tomorrow I will be trudging up the mountains burdened like Christian in pilgrims progress. Success for you brother Goodbye JM



Near La Grange, [Calif. ]

Circa Date

[1869] Nov 15


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0175

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

The Huntington 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



4 pages


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



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