R[obert] U[nderwood]


John Muir



January 9th, 1896




John Muir, Esq.
Martinez, Cal.

My dear Muir:-

This is the third week of a tussle with a carbuncle.Most of the time I have been confined to my house, though I have not been wholly invalidated for work; but I want you to know that if it had not been for this I should have written to you to wish Mrs. Muir and you the compliments of the season, and to tell you that I am keeping an eye on the Public Lands Committee at Washington.
Did I tell you that we are to have a national forestry commission by a short cut? It will not be necessary to have a bill, but Secretary Hoke Smith will ask the National Academy of Science to undertake the investigation, and it becomes its duty to do so in accordance with its constitution, and all Congress will have to do will be to foot the bill by appropriation. By that time, if anybody wants to fight the appropriation we shall have a tussle.
Meantime, all the friends of forestry will concentrate themselves in support of the McRae Bill. McRae is still on the Public Lands Committee of the House, whose chairman is Mr. Lacey of Iowa. Bowers has got himself appointed to this

J.M.2.Committee, but I am warning people against him and keeping a lookout for him.Your friend (whose name I cannot remember) who is connected with the army, and who was recently in the Yosemite National Park, came to see me, and I took him to The Players and we had a talk. He said he would tell his story to Hoke Smith and the good Bowers (Edward A.) - formerly Assistant Land Commissioner - who, you remember, drafted the provision under which the national forest reservations are made. He is a very level-headed man. (Runcie - that's the name!)
What I now wish to know from you is whether you think it would be useful in the cause of recession if I were to have an editorial entitled "Plain Words to Californians", in which, without dwelling too harshly on the Yosemite scandals, I should advocate all friends of nature and of California uniting in favor of recession next winter. I do not wish to be a marplot in your plans. I hope you are organizing for recession. Four or five people in different parts of the state who were really in dead earnest could carry it through against twice as many heelers.I don't know how much of a Jingo you are on the Pacific Slope, but "The Century” does not give harbor to any sentiment of that sort.Faithfully yours,



New York

Date Original

1896 Jan 9

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 09, Image 0025

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.


2 pages


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



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