8th Feb. 1888.
My dear Sir:
Thanks for your kind and characteristic letter. Thanks also for your paper on the "Big Trees" which I have read with much interest. You may be interested to know exactly how it grows in Auld Scotia. I give you the most favorable example I am acquainted with in our neighborhood (Ayrshire). One was planted at Laufine (about 400 feet above sea-level) in 1856. It was in 1884, when I measured it, 28 1/2 feet in height, was a close mass of foliage from tip to the ground, was 10 feet 11 inches in girth at the base, and 5 feet 3 inches in firth five feet from the ground. Is that not well for Scotland. Could California beat it? I doubt not that in California it might grow faster; but would its proportions be better? But what of the many thousands of years that the old trees have grown. If the Laufine plant grown on as it has begun it will be a hundred feet in girth in less than three hundred years.
Perhaps you may wish to know how the Gum trees grow in Scotland. I sowed the seed of the White Gum (Eucalyptus grandiflora) in the spring of 1879 and in the autumn of 1886 the tree was 21 feet in height and 9 l/2 inches in girth at five feet from the ground, and is now growing yearly 3 l/3 feet in height and adding 2 1/2 inches to its girth. It thus grows more than three times faster than the Sequoia gigantea in height and slightly faster in girth, the gum adding 2 l/2 inches yearly, the "Big Tree" 2 l/3.
I was much interested in the measurements of the Fig tree you so kindly sent. I doubt much if it has its equal in the whole world -- age being taken into consideration. How grateful must be its shade in a scorching day! It leads us to think of the text, "I sat under the shade with great delight." May Christ be increasingly precious to us!
With kindest regards to you and yours, I am,
1888 Feb 8
Original letter dimensions: 18 x 23 cm.
Landsbonah, David, "Letter from David Landsbonah to [John Muir], 1888 Feb 8." (1888). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1747.
Reel 05, Image 0980
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