J. E. Calkins
if it could be offered the press of the country, daily and periodical, would receive instant attention and arouse general interest, and, I am sure, set in motion a general protest against the proposed iniquity that would squelch it and the other like schemes that depend upon it.For, as I see the matter, it is vastly larger than the confines of the Hetch-Hetchy. If the program now laid out goes through Hetch-Hetchy will be only the starting point in a general campaign of commercialisation that will lay waste the finest things in the whole Sierra region, if indeed it stops at the door of that sanctuary, the Yosemite itself. If Hetch-Hetchy can be grabbed away from the people in the manner proposed, then Kings river, and the Kern, and the rest of them can be taken, and even the Merced, defended by the boundaries of a national park, may not be safe. The whole fight is to be won or lost right on this initial point. If Hetch-Hetchy goes, then all the rest of them will follow in swift procession.Again, we have in the White House at this time a president who is a personal friend of yourself, and a warm defender of the wilderness as a thing so necessary to the welfare of nature loving men that it is bread and meat for them. But he says this is to be his last term, whether or no. Will his successor care anything whatever for the sweet wild things of the high mountain valleys? Or will he even know who John Muir is, or care to learn? In short, Mr. Pynchot to the contrary notwithstanding, it seems to me that things lie right to defeat this whole unrighteous plot just at this time, and that there is no time to be lost. I can see it only this way, that now is the accepted time, and that there is no other man who can do so much as you, and thatwhat is done now in this matter will govern the whole situation, both now and to come. This is not to say that you are to do it all; only to say that you must show yourself as mainly and unselfishly interested---interested in behalf of the best interests of the people---and let your name be used wherever it will have influence. After that you must use whomsoever and whatever can be found that may be of assistance. I will do whatever I can, though at the best it cannot be much. I am too small a figure in every way to do anything great.It has seemed best for us, on several accounts, to spend the winter in this city. We are getting into comfortable shape, and as soon as we can get a few more things arranged we shall be delighted to have you come to us, in case you find it convenient to do so. This means the two of you. You have other Los Angeles friends who can make it very much more endurable here for you than we can. We have no automobile, for03984[illegible]instance, and a big auto' really is a very comfortable adjunct to the home establishment in a region where the weather and the roads and the company are good. I have some work on hand, but if those old notes of yours seem to you to be in a state of ferment, and you want to do something with them, and think that I can do the mechanical part of the work to your liking, we might make an arrangement of some kind, might we not, whereby we could make use of our house down here and get that work done? It is a good thing to do, and it ought to be done. And there is no other man but yourself to do it. I simply hate to think of all that beautiful stuff being lost to the nature lovers of this country, for I know that they are hungry for it, and the record is one that should be made for the sake of keeping alive the truth. If you and Miss Helen do not go fossil hunting somewhere away from here, but decide to come here and see what can be done in these ways, I have no doubt that all can be conveniently arranged. And if the end of the adventure should be another book by John Muir the winter would have been well spent beyond telling. I am not trying to tickle you by simply saying nice things, but am speaking the words of truth and soberness, as I myself feel them.Have you put "Stickeen" into book form yet? I suppose not, but when you do please consider one copy sold to me, for my own personal use. After that I shall buy at will as the need arises to confer favor or pleasure on some friend, of whom I have several who are bound to be delighted with that book when they get it.I have ambled and rambled through four pages to very little purpose. You understand that I am ready for anything I can do in the Hetch-Hetchy campaign, under your generalship, and that our door stands open to you, and we will do the best we can for you in whatever way. I hope you can be with Macbride in Hetch-Hetchy next summer, and if I might go along, somewhere in hearing distance, and carry the bag of bread crumbs and the blankets and do other useful and unpoetic things, I should be too deeply delighted to sleep at the end of the day. We both send our warmest regards to Miss Helen, and should be delighted to have her here as long as she might find it agreeable to stay. For yourself you need no assurance of your welcome. Keep me notified of anything that I must do to take care of the valley, and believe me.faithfully yours,[illegible]03984
Los Angeles, Calif.
Original letter dimensions: 23 x 18 cm.
Reel 16, Image 1235
Copyright status unknown