John Muir


John Muir


Duncan Sterling


[Page 1]

Yosemite Valley

Jan 30th 1870

Dear friend Duncan Sterling, I believe that it is a rule in epistolary intercourse in case of silence on the part of a correspondent who never corresponds from one January to another to strike him off the list. But do not think that you are going to get away so easily. I break all rules in this lawless kind of life.

I hear that you are very well and that you are a storekeeper-post master etc and moreover that you are a “better boy than ever” and are very fond of fish trout. I congratulate you upon all of these items of intelligence,

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"[Page 3]

and I must write sense upon the other half. I read a long letter from Hattie and William Trout a month ago. They were written about this first of November I think that Hattie is trying to accomplish far too much. She is working too hard. Her enthusiastic temperament prompts her to double work in her efforts to benefit others. She is sure to injure her health and you must try to teach her moderation. In teaching her, do not fail to take some of your own instruction to yourself. All the processes of nature however gigantic are carried on without any excitement or irregular grasping and straining….so also the Saviour in all of the last labors of his life on our world was ever mild and tranquil and worked without unhealthy excitement.

I wish that you and she could"

"[Page 4]

Come to taste the grandness of this glorious valley. I am sure it would do you good. I will act as guide if you come next spring.

There is about three feet of snow upon the mtns and some of it is melting. The water falls are uttering glorious things of purity and power. Their song is ever ascending and I enjoy it always by night and day.

I am making a sawmill for a man here. Upon a stream that has a mile of fall. My winter lives have fallen in pleasant places.

I hope Duncan that the Lord has a great many blessings in store for you in this new year of 70. Remember me to your father and to all of your family. Bid that little Luycock and Joseph Whitelan and all the Trouts Happy New Year for me. Also carry a kiss to each of these little joys. I suppose however that this last injunction will not be obeyed as you will give them to Harriet.

Goodnight Duncan – do not forget me. And at any time when you need a friend count on John Muir"


Yosemite Valley [Calif.]

Date Original

1870 Jan 30


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 13 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

MSS 307 Muiriana

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



4 pages


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



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