[Charles Sprague] Sargent
Martinez, Jan. 3. 1898
My dear Sargent.
I thank you for your kind wishes for the New Year & send you my best in return, congratulating you on the recovery of your daughter the healing of your broken ankle & on our good reviving Alaska trip. Of course I'm sorry to hear the doom of good park-loving - flower-loving forest-loving Forest & Garden, but we must just turn our love unto other channels. I am now pegging away on a description of the Yellowstone Park poking in as I can praise of the military management as compared with political. Next I will take up the Yosemite Park & then the Sequoia this will make fine forest articles for the Atlantic which Houghton Mifflin is to
bring out as a book. The whole leafy thing being due to you.
After Johnson got home he wrote that the Century Co. would like to bring out these forest articles in book form & when I replied that Houghton Mifflin had the promise of them & also of an Alaska book he wrote a six page letter of lamentation. - enough to make a fellow conceited. I told him I did not write enough to make a fuss about.
What are we to do about forest matters? The sky looks mighty black & blue and I have no plan system or trick to save them. You must know far better then me what is best to be done I mean simply to go on hammering & thumping as best I can at public opinion hoping & praying in the meantime that we may get soon a president, Sec of the Interior & Land Agent that love trees & will try
to save them.
Here is something from Pinchot which, had it comes from a deeper fountain would have lighted the gloom. He says in a letter to me dated Dec. 15, "Except for certain administrative clouds which darken the horizon, the general prospect for the forests seems never to have been so bright as now. I am not only confident of maintaining the present reserves, but full of hope that we shall be able, not only to protect them in the near future, but to increase their area to a notable extent." "Two alternatives" he says "present themselves for the treatment of the reserved public timber lands. One is to reserve all such lands at one blow by refusing to allow any forest lands of the U.S. to be disposed of hereafter. This course would probably require Congressional action, & it is by no means certain that such action could be obtained. The other course is to
secure the reservation of considerable bodies not now reserved, so as to include, as far as possible, all mountain ranges & any other considerable bodies of government timber land which may exist..... I shall recommend the general withdrawal of all lands as the best plan, but if it is out of reach, I wish to be in a position to describe accurately such large bodies of government forests, that with good will on the part of the President, we could secure essentially the same result. Of course, we can be said to have secured nothing so far except the chance to fight, but even that is a great thing". Draw what comfort you can from this. For my part I find nothing at all in it that is dependable. He says further, "I learned yesterday (Dec 14) that my direct connection with the Interior Department may terminate with this year". Draw what comfort you can from this. To me it seems all fog & mush. When shall we meet again? What do you say to a trip through the interior of Alaska next summer, we'll see Mugin & Patton, & [pecan?] [celba?] by the the time your glorious Silva is done I will be ready for most anything sylvan.
1898 Jan 3
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to [Charles Sprague] Sargent, 1898 Jan 3." (1898). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2053.
Reel 10, Image 0019
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