[Robert Underwood] Johnson
Martinez, April 20, 1890.
Dear Mr Johnson,
I have just received yours of the 14th & make haste to answer it. I dont like Mack's last Times letter at all. The truth is, unless I am very much mistaken, he is with the adversary as an attorney. As long as he was dealing in generalities looking forward to what the present Yo. management wanted most of all, the extension of the grant, he did well. But as I knew all along that he was with the Washburn's or R.R. Co. I have been watching sharply for him to show his hand, as the gamblers say, & he has shown it in this letter oppossing the Vandever Bill. What he wants, & what the Stage & Hotel Co. want, & the R.R. Co want seems to me from Mack's letter to be just this, Let the grant be extended under promise of reformation of the management, & let the present management be their own reformers. The legislature meets next year Mack tells us & will be sure to grant any desired reformation of the "wicked sinful management." This may sound well in the east, but we know here that whatsoever the
R.R. Co. & Stage Co want that will the legislature controlled by Boss Buckley do, Hence as I have said they will be their own reformers. As for the reservation being controlled by the federal government, this is of all things what the present management most dreads. In the Alta clipping I sent you yesterday you will see that Irish has already commenced to combat this possibility by declaring against imaginary vandalism in Yellowstone Park under federal management. Federal control outside & state control inside would says Mack "lead to sure & endless confusion in the arrangements for the transportation & other accomodation of visitors," that is for the Stage Co & Hotel Co. monopoly. Wouldn't suit Washburn & Co. The whole letter is a mere jingling juggling mass of words in which a vain attempt is made to hid his motives, while seeking to secure both the valley and its surrounding region to the present company as a monopoly. What the present company is to gain by
the extension of the grant I can only guess in part. Washburn & co built a road into the valley from Wawona. Last year they made out to sell that portion of it that lies within the Yo. grant to the commission for a large sum $10,000 I think - should the grant be extended they would probably sell the rest of it for 30,000 or more while still retaining control of it. But anyhow, that Mack letter is traitorous unless I am blundering more than ever before in my life. Stand up for the Vandever bill & on no account let the extension be under state control if is can possibly be avoided. You perhaps noticed that in his reply to the Governor's charges Mack skipped the discussion of the Uncle Olmsted part entirely while elaborating in every other direction.
1890 Apr 20
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 1890 Apr 20." (1890). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1898.
Reel 06, Image 0443
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