Peter L. Trout
Hotel St John, San Jose Cal
March 11th 1907
Dear John Muir.
Your letter of March 7th has been received, also your response list. I had no idea that you had written so much for the press but then I never had an opportunity of knowing what you had done. Your criticism's of the M. S that I sent you will receive due respect and attention, and for which you have my sincere thanks. I have now got the whole of the M. S. in shape but it is not satisfactory, and will all have to be re-written; and among other things I intend to leave out the latter half of the first chapter, as it breaks the continuity of the story, and I may perhaps invert some of it near the last. This will include all that you refer to in your letter. I do not know just what I will do with it. I am not going to be in a hurry to get it out in book form. I shall probably try to publish some parts of it in some magazine, and
see how it is likely to take with the reading [public?]. This M. S. was sent you in the place of what you returned, and which I sent to William, and, of course, I do not wish it returned. I always had it in my head that you were a bug-ologist. I remember seeing an account of you, a long time ago, that said that you would spend hours or days, - I don't know which in watching a [butte?] or grasshopper. I think it was in the Century.
I did not know that flowers are plants and it seems to me somewhat doubtful if any but a high-grade botanist would notice anything seriously wrong in the statement "bugs, plants, and flowers". However, everything has to undergo revision, and I shall endeavor to make this and everything else right; and you can be assured that nothing that concerns yourself in any way will be put in print that I have any reason to think that you would be likely
to object to in any way
The reasons, that I have given, for going to Alaska are absolutely correct, as it was the desire for wealth and fame that caused me to go; and I would not have the least objection that my best friends should know it, although, as you intimate, it might be imprudent, and be the means of defeating my purpose: and for some such reason as this, I shall probably leave it out or modify it to some extent, but I do not imagine that I shall ever be able to look at things just as you do. The hard knocks in life that I have had, have convinced me that the first and most important thing for a man to learn is how to make a good living for himself. That is the first and most important thing that a man can think about who is not financially independent and if I should go to Alaska
just for the sake of studying the country, when I had not the means to afford such a luxury, I might well be called a crank.
I am afraid that you do not realize the fact that it is not every man that can afford the luxury of high principles. However the suggestion is a good and I am glad that you called my attention to it, as the more I think about it, the better I can realize that, although I did go to Alaska to acquire wealth and fame, there is nothing to be made by telling people about it.
I shall probably stay here about ten days longer. Then I will go to Sanfrancisco, and about the first of April I will start north for Seattle. I am glad I came down here as I feel that I have been very much benefitted. And the time has not seemed long.
Yours very truly Peter L Trout.
San Jose, Calif.
1907 Mar 11
Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14.5 cm.
Trout, Peter L., "Letter from Peter L. Trout to John Muir, 1907 Mar 11." (1907). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3663.
Reel 16, Image 0673
Copyright status unknown