George Hansen


George Hansen


John Muir


[illegible]Jackson, Amador Co. , Cal.
Oct. 16th. /96.

John Muir Esq.

Dear Sir,

I receivedyesterday your kind note of the 12th., I hasten toaccept the acquaintanceship with you, which is offered in such warmness of expression, that it ranks high with a man removed from this world's activity and achievements.
But as to the business proposition of your communication, may I beg of you to give me instructions to the limit of your generosity after you have had an insight in the list which I send by even mail? - You learn from it , that my collection amounts to about 1600 numbers of which but, say, one hundred lack the perfection of preparation attributed by former subscribers to the specimens I supply. This set of exssiccatae embrace everything discovered by me in the"Flora of the Sequoia gigantea Region " ( as I title my edition ), and it is with you, to say and limit me to so and so many hundred of this collection. — (I leave this my recluse - as many as six and more miles from even a post office-, by the first of next month, waiting only to cast my vote. I then intend to settle in Oakland , and establish myself as landscape-architect, a profession, which I very much fear, will not supportmy wants, modest as they are. The trying change will be tied over by the distribution of my sets ordered up the present. I have on hand orders for full sets for Buda-Pest and. for Weimar. Aside from that several small orders from scientists here and there. May this information tell you. that whatever you may be good enough to order from me , it can be suplied only after my settlement below? It will not take me longto get out whatever is desired , as those full sets for the old country

do not call for haste.
And now as to the invitation to join your"Sierra Club.". Believe me, Dear Sir, it wounds my pride to confess: I could, for the coming year, anyhow, not afford the contribution such membership calls for. Last night was passed in tortuous struggle with muscular rheumatism. I am not able to perform manual labor, and. scientific work -? It is but eight years since I passed the door of the then growing up building of the Academy of Sciences perched on load of stable-manure day after day, for months. The money for the ticket to come up here was purchased from borrowed money. For three years have I endeavoured tocreate an establishement which in its outline, in its arrangement for utility and. beauty seeks its rival. After that, I soon found out that is was idle to seek and apply for rise with those employing me. I fear that once again, my prospects, once bright and associated with men of standing in England and on the Continent, were doomed to utter failure. I branched out to seek reputation which would lift me above the sphere-sursounding me, and I started to explore my region for flowery treasures. I am held up as having done well, indeed so well, that it has been said that no region of this state, outside of the Bay-Region,has be en explored so systematically as I have done such here. Yet, what is the result? My own State, our glorious California, it does not offer a finger, not to speak of half a hand to a man who swore allegiance to its fields and its flags. In Berkeley: no funds for purchase; Stanford, after purchasing my first fascicle, can, anyways not this year, afford to subscribe for the supplementing fascicles. And the Academy of Sciences: Miss Eastwood, simply points to the fact, that the help of her temporary assistant has been cut off. As to Old-World subscribers, no issue of my little book "Where the Big Trees grow" was necessary, There, I would have received what orders I received (coming as they did by return of mail upon receipt of a paltry postal card) without such effort. But my desire to at least create something adequate to my trifling means, to have something this world would call me in mind by after this struggle would be over: that anxiety of my troubled mind made me write that booklet, about which Mr. Arthur Mac Ewen, then and now, a total stranger to me, could pay what he did. Indeed, it is not tain of wasting goods, which promted me to spend the one hundred and odd dollars which that booklet costs me. Nor was it a, desire to create revenue which spurned me to issue my monograph "The Orchid Hybrids". I was aware that but few well-off people engage in culture of such treasures of flora's realm. And more so, their of their limited number but few have the patience to wait for returns when a seedling Cypripedium takes at the least 5 years to reach a flowering state, a Cattleya as many as seventeen. And yet, I, or rather we, for I have a dear wife as poor and as rich as I am, dared to put almost six hundred dollars into that volume and its supplies.


If it is with a heavy burdened heart that I have boxed my more than one hundred volumes of each more than 6 inch thickness of herbaria I have no fear nor regret at leaving where I find my individuality unacknowledged. What troubles me, is the fact that my promised annual supplement to my Orchid Book is due ere Christmas comes, and I do not see where to receive the funds from to get it out. Not that I then was any more sure of sale - I have disposed of just 66 copies/ -, but because I pledged my word, to get those annual supplements out, and every one of those purchasers looks for it Employment, that is all I seek I have applied to two parties for subscription to my exsiccatae mentioning that their support would enable me to get such book out And still, I am openhanded, and void of elbow-room to work my share with brain and hand in this world is line of toilers.
Ere I had heard as much as the sound, or rather seen the print of your name, then already, from the bottom of my conviction was I preaching the preservation of our forests Sorry, that the print of my booklet is so small I did not know then as much as I know now about issuing books. But if you can spare time for perusal of my booklet, know that I would gladly be a soldier in the ranks of those struggling with force of right and conviction and prayer: rescue our forests My youth was spent where trees are planted in forests, my boyish time passed where forests are the nation's gardens And what there is of love and devotion in my aching heart, it turns its affection towards those creatures we call trees and shrubs Ere I wrote to you, I had in mind a series of articles I was going to offer the "Overland Monthly" respecting the forests on our Sierras. That was before I read of your and Prof. Sargent's, and others mission May be, I find rest for my

thoughts in Oakland,and gather them for such paragraphs. Feel v for me, when I have to force myself to decline your kind invitation for membership in yourr or may I say, our -Sierra Club. If it is the Creok-Route, I ferry over with from Oakland, I will be there and attend every meeting. I long to see men, I long to speak my mind, I long to be listed where progress is possible. Here, I do not see a man within a week, it be then the only man I employ or the ditchtender passing through. If you can, forgive after reading about such circumstances the man who can not but open his heart to those he feels attracted, to.
In love for, our forest, more especially our Sierra Nevada

faithfully yours



Jackson, Cal

Date Original

1896 Oct 16


Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 09, Image 0442

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.


4 pages


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



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