John Turnbull


John Turnbull


John Muir


Galashills, 23 Dec. 1894.

My dear Mr. Muir:
To my amazement and my shame, I find that it is almost exactly twelve months since I got your esteemed letter. I do not know how to apologize for leaving your letter so long unanswered. I meant to write, but time slipped on, and the earth has been allowed to complete almost a revolution in its orbit before I have finally made up my mind to perform a duty so long delayed.
I was proud to receive your letter. It was a pleasing remembrance of a pleasant time, the enjoyment of which was so greatly due to you. I shall always look back with pleasure on my Norwegian trip, from which I derived much information contributed mainly by yourself. To me your companionship was invaluable. Your intimate knowledge of glacial action contributed in what I regarded and still regard charming language, rendered the trip more than a pleasure to me. Without you the scenery we passed through would have been grand and awe-inspiring, but your eloquent descriptions of how the fjords had been scooped out and the rocks shown down by the mighty ice rivers gave the whole an interest and a meaning otherwise it would have been without. And what was one of the most enjoyable features of our trip was the fun and laughter in the saloon, Where we sat, at least.
And now I have to thank you for another proof of your friendship. Yesterday I received a copy of your work on the "Mountains of California." It is a graceful gift, gracefully made. Of course I have not had time to read it, but I have dipped in here and there, and I find it an exquisite piece of word painting. You possess rare descriptive powers. I anticipate great pleasure from the perusal, I have already read several of your contributions to the "Century," which I fortunately possess.
I do not suppose you have ever met with any of our old comrades of the St. Sunniva? It is not likely -- I have not. Of our two Kenwick friends, one only I have seen, and merely to nod to, Mr Lynne. By the way, you may be interested to know that Mr. Lynne and Mr. Turnbull have become brothers-in-law, the former having married a sister or the sister of the latter.
Last summer I went no further for my holidays than Inverness. I went there, however, by way of the Trossacks and Caledonian Canal, a charming trip.
I thank you much for your invitation. I am afraid, however, I shall never be able to accept it. Distance and increasing years are alike prohibitive. I should be delighted if I saw any prospect to meet you once more. I notice your trip had nearly a tragic end. I hope the shake has left no evil effects. I do not know if you passed through Kansas City on your way home, but I regretted afterwards I did not think of it, to ask you to call on my two sons who are employed there in Messrs. Swift & Co. establishment. They would, I know, have been delighted and I feel certain you would not have refused.
AS I am near the end of my paper, and I dare say [have] exhausted your patience, I will conclude by wishing you a very happy New Year, and many returns. I will be delighted to receive a letter from you again.
Your very sincere friend,

John Turnbull


Galashiels [Scotland]

Date Original



Original letter dimensions: 21 x 34 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 08, Image 0653

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.


3 pages


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



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