James M. Hay


James M. Hay


John Muir



classes, and the other painting away, furiously, Maria & baby teaching each other. We prize very much the photos of Wanda & Helen which you so kindly sent us--they are lovely. Uncle Hardie is well & Mrs. Hardie & Mrs. Jeffrey. The Dunbar friends are well too. My wife & baby were there for a few days some two months ago. By the way would it not be well to introduce more of the human element into those wonderful descriptions in picturesque California? I have been watching for the recital of that story of that regiment of squirrels that came to interview you on one occasion sitting down on their



27 April 1894

My dear Cousin John Muir

Mountains & valleys, cascades & waterfalls, gigantic trees & rocks & little snow flowers, birds and beasts and creeping things, what a wealth of grand and wonderful objects, all lighted up by the magic touch of a brilliant imagination! How you do revel in this panorama of Beauty, fresh & fair as it comes from the Divine Artist's hand! You seem to say, "My altars are the mountain & the Ocean, Earth, Air, Sky, all which spring from the Great Whole, of Him who hath produced and will receive the Soul." Let me drink in its grandeur and



& magnificence and make it a part of myself.
We duly received the First part of this grand work, and then we received the second part. Ah! this is our friend John Muir's doing. Then a third like unto the former--a fourth! start eyes, what! Will the line stretch out to the crack of doom! Another yet! a seventh! I'll surely see no more, and lo! behold! the Eighth appears. That bears a glass which shews one many more. Well, well, it is very good and very kind of you, and we shall prize them the more in that they are the work of our adventurous & enterprizing kinsman. I took the parts


over to the last meeting of our architectural society here, to exhibit them & show how things are done in America, chiefly by Scotchmen!
I duly received your letter of the 18th November last but dont think it was acknowledged. We were all interested in hearing your accounts of your return to your venerable mother and sisters and other dear ones whom for awhile you had left behind you. We always like to see your dear mother's letters which Mrs Sunam usually sends us to have a reading of. Your friends here are all moderately well & on the bakers list. My wife always busy--and the two boys--one at his medical


and dwell in Cities, among the chimney pots. We all in both households send our kindest love to you and all your dear ones. Not forgetting bonnie wee Wanda & Helen.

Your affecte cousin

James M. Hay

John Muir Esq



U. S. A.


hind legs deliberately in front of you and watching & taking stock of your every movement, regaled with your rehearsal of all the Scotch songs you could remember, and then hastily betraying their heterodoxy by instantly flying away the moment you struck up the Old Hundred. Or that other story--Crossing a Crevasse of one of the Glaciers upon a ledge or rider of ice sharp as a razor, & the poor doggie which after repeated protests found it was no use and was obliged to follow suit. These would give increased interest & would enhance your splendid discription of the scenery. A map of the District would also be of great value & would


enable the reader more closely to follow your steps & appreciate your remarks. Then there was that other story of the Lunar Rainbow of Silver light and the extraordinary manifestation of the Aurora Borealis such as few have witnessed but yourself. But you must have a thousand stories as good, all stowed away in that repertoir of thine. Marshall them all out. Then what an experience must be yours since you first penetrated those regions, and your footsteps were actually planted on virgin soil.--how you managed to live for days & weeks, sustaining your vital energies on


a little oatmeal, reminding one of those wise Scottish philosophers of Edinburgh who in their motto boasted that they cultivated Literature on the same good common but honest and nutricious cereal; your narrow & hairsbreadth escapes like those of Othello, by flood & field. You could deftly interweave a lot of this into your work. You may say that that would be too personal, well, what of that, why should it not be personal? Let it by all means be personal. & let yourself be identified with your work. Now may God bless you & have a charge over you as one of his darling children, missioned to reveal some of His grandest works unto us who stay at home



Liverpool, [England]

Date Original



Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 08, Image 0229

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

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.


4 pages


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



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