from its municipalities, and to encourage this vote it called for a voluntary contribution sufficient to extinguish private titles, which at the appraised value of that date he found to aggregate about $300,000. This contribution took the form of a pledge, the payment of which was conditional upon the vote being favorable.
So large a tax on so small a thing as private or disinterested public enterprise did not promise the success his plan deserved; but the practical politicians to whom Mr. Wright
had appealed, though unanimous in applauding his object, still echoed the governmental hopelessness which eleven years earlier had met the same appeal from H. W. S. Cleveland
, and in overcoming this hopelessness, Mr. Wright
knew the worth of his plan.
Its social and educational force under the wit of his pen, and the inspiring influence of his direction, were factors that had been found effective in the working out of problems far more hopeless.
When Sylvester Baxter
in his “Boston Park Guide” wrote of it, “The public sentiment aroused by this agitation finally led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Park System
,” he was writing history, not politics; but whether history in the future will fully realize the forestal grandeur and vital benefits sown by Mr. Wright
in that public sentiment depends, to my thinking, on a different treatment of the woods than they have thus far received.
A generous public sentiment and a tree are things far easier to destroy than to make grow; and the practical politicians whose wishes enter into the present park's control know just how to do it. Had the Fells park been established under Mr. Wright
's plan nothing in the mutability of human affairs could have furnished a surer safeguard to its permanency, or that of its most important benefit, the forest, than the private ownership feature of that part voluntary purchase; but let us hope that enough of the public sentiment and of the woods
may be spared, that the former growing yearly stronger on the increasing worth and beauty of the latter may still work to the same good end.