R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson
April 25, 1903.My dear Muir:I have just returned to my desk from Europe, and am delighted to find that you are going to the Yosemite with the President, in accordance with the understanding of last year. I know what a great pleasure awaits him in seeing this wonderland under your competent guidance and I heartily wish I could be of the party. I suppose Burroughs will also go to California. Please give him my love, and remember me with respect and regard to the President. I found his admirers among Italians of all classes and especially among government officials, and I had many questions concerning him to answer.I hope the President will be impressed with the desirability of the merging of the old Yosemite into our National Park. Considering our relations to the latter I think we might fairly be entitled to present to him the advantages of such a merger, which, however, he will doubtless see himself. I believe that an intimation from him that this would be desirable would lead to the passage of the necessary bill.Will you say to the President that I had a conference with Zanardelli, Prinetti, and particularly with Baron Sonnino, leader of the opposition in the lower Italian house, concerning the great advantages to Italy of cultivating more intimate relations with us so that our large capital which is seeking investment might be of use to their country at this moment, when it is entering upon a period of great prosperity. The southern half of Italy needs development, and with their splendid backbone of the Apennines they have all the water power they need, if only they reinforce their present policy of saving their forests and planting others. Sonnino was particularly interested in our new forest policy and begged me to send him documents concerning it.I had a delightful time- good weather and many interesting experiences. We were presented in private audience to the Dowager Queen Margaret and to Queen Elena, went to a court ball and to three impressive papal functions, including the great one in St" Peters on the 3d of March. With all these and other agreeable experiences I am glad to be back again in "God's country."With best wishes to all of the Yosemite party,Faithfully yours,[illegible]John Muir, Esq.
1903 Apr 25
Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 20.5 cm.
Reel 13, Image 0452
Copyright status unknown