John Muir


John Muir


[J. B.] Mc Chesney


[Original letter returned to Mrs. J. B. McChesney].

Yosemite. July 11th, [1871].

Dear McChesney:

I owe you thanks for the ladies you sent me, although I can hardly claim that I made their acquaintance, having been so busy in this confounded mill.
You told me to show them to front seats, and I pointed out the High Altar and offered to lead them up the aisle, but alack! they were ladies and could not go. Some rocks were in the way, and perhaps a snake, and the aisle was crooked and long, and lay at a steep angle, and the whole walk was perhaps slightly outlandish. Of course you know that I am speaking of the upper fall at night. I did so little for your friends that I am anxious you should fully understand the magnitude of this one good intention towards them.
Never was Yosemitic ramble more elaborately planned or more comprehensively complete in all of its appointments. Notwithstanding the black shadows and the moonshine we should have had all the civilized benefits of .Reverence, Royalty, and Law, for to speak plainly I engaged a military escort (Lieut. Smeade) and also a San Fran. Rev. serious in texture and doctrine, and above all we had a King, in imperial purple and all the other colors, while I claimed all the difficult wisdom of road-master.
in two days 1 start for the high Sierra, taking a most unfeminine walk to Mt. Dana and through the Bloody Canon to the craters and lavas of Mono. I wish that you could go with us.
Mr. Edwards, an enthusiastic entomologist, has been here a week among our unfortunate bugs, and occasionally he glanced upwards towards the falls and rocks when no midge or moth was in sight or hoped for. He has made a disciple of me, and I go to the mountains armed with bottle, box, and gauze-bag...
I had a magnificent chase last Sabbath week after a dead glacier, and was successful beyond my best faith. I will tell you the results as far as science is concerned some other time. I went up Indian cañon and 'round to the top of the Yosemite Palls, and followed the stream, after a good, faith-giving baptism in the irised spray, northward to its snows back of Mt. Hoffman. I felt sure that there was a writing for me on the rook somewhere in the basin, and I had not gone four miles from the wall of the Valley ere I found a magnificent chapter of glacial hieroglyphics in clear unmistakable graving, and I ran on, finding whole volumes of history, and when I reached my nest in the mill at midnight I was the happiest of all masculine mortals.
I will tell you about the size and depth of my new glacier some other time. My kindest regards to the Misses Brigham. Tell them that I cannot procure a copy of the upper fall picture which they wished.

Ever most cordially yours,
John Muir.

["John Muir, June 1871" written on first page of letter. This supplied year seems to be correct]



Circa Date

[1871] Jul 11


Original letter dimensions: 33 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0483

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



1 page


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



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