John Muir


John Muir


William Trout


[Page 4]
I most devoutly disbelieve. This so-called development theory yet it is far from being necessarily absurd or ridiculous there is a great deal of misapprehension and confused misunderstanding among people in general concerning it.
I perceive in Chas Darwin not a visionary enthusiast nor malicious enemy to revealed religion but a profound and righteous philosopher an earnest seeker after truth at the un[ ]gled fountains of pure nature. The mind of Darwin is not itself satisfied with his own theory. He has had excellent opportunities for observation. This great intellect is brooding over the vast ocean of organic farms the he has beheld striving after comprehensive generalizations, in short striving with honest scientific ardor to read the laws under which the Lord creates them. If I had time I might set forth a great many facts in favor of Darwin’s theory but a far greater number against it as far however as our Christian religion is concerned I cannot see that it injures it in the least.
I am sorry for the dead religion so prevalent in your town but in striving to make people see religious truth as you see it remember that all have equal accountability and may well enjoy their own opinions however much they may differ from your own. I have to confess that I am more liberal than ever and less likely to agree with you on these points from when with you.
My sawmill works well. I am working here in a kind of half independent way for $70 per month in gold with board etc., right in the spray of grand falls. Remember me with great respect to your wife, and to all your family in general. I am as ever most cordially your friend, John Muir
[Page 1]
Yosemite Valley May 28th 70
Dear Friend William
I am sorry that I have neglected your October letter so long. Your having married a wife gives ample covering to all your epistolary omissions but I who am not pressed by a single practical care ought to be more attentive when an old and tried friend speaks. Well you are married yet it seems difficult for me to remember you as anything than the most mechanical of all the Trouts. One by one, you have as Lord Bacon says, given pledges to fortune as a family you were always much united thinking and doing alike under all circumstances and it is not strange that the summer season of matrimony should break upon all your family at the same time & some philosophers speculate

[Page 2]
about the time America after having fully populated shall lose her grand civilization and become savage and solitary again but I fear no such thing for the settlements about the shores of the Georgian bay. There will always be shoals and schools of Trout and flocks of Jays. What thickets and clumps of strangers shall have grown up in the old family plantation ere I see you again. On reaching home after being with you I had difficulty in recognizing some well known trees, they were so thickly surrounded with small ones that had grown up in my absence and so William I fear it will be with you. But now to change this ramble in the Trout woods let us have a word on the Darwinian theory of origin of species mentioned in your last. You ought to be among the last to find fault with the development theory for I can prove that you were derived from a fish from the lack of fixity in species.
[Page 3]
You cling to the shores of that bay of yours as if you belonged to its waters. You are always dabbling in water not with fins to be sure but with wheels, which essentially are nothing but a circle of fins though you call them buckets and add to this your fondness for swimming and also the conclusive philological argument of your name. I am not a swimmer at all. I am a wader my broad feet prove it. I naturally took to wading the swamps of Florida and also waded for weeks on your Canada marshes. Clearly I am not derivable from any animal species. I sprang as my name and instinct and habits indicate directly from the Muir from a Scottish bog or bank of heather bushes. But akin to draw a long face my page is half done and nothing said I must do better in speaking to a married man so here is a broad line and not a bit of nonsense comes this [illegible]


Yosemite Valley [Calif.]

Date Original

1870 May 28


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 13 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

MSS 2 M953t Trout

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

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



2 pages



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