Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie
R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson
Raymond, Fresno Co., Cal.
Dec. 22, '90
Dear Mr. Johnson:
I congratulate you on the success in the House of the Simonds bill. I have just written a brisk note to Senator Hearst, soliciting his vote and interest in favor of the prompt passage of the bill by the Senate. Would that I could do more for so just a cause! But, while my present ability to help doesn't amount to anything, I have the pleasant remembrance that as long as 20 years ago I was a pen-warrior against the piracy business, and so may flatter myself with the notion that I helped to educate the country up to its present improved status of opinions. I am in the dark as to what may be done by the Legislature about Yosemite, although I have no doubt that the subject will be brought up. My intention was to urge in the
press, in advance of the Legislature's meeting, that no more money be given by the State to be expended by the present sort of management - at least no more than would very economically pay for keeping roads, etc., from going to ruin. I would also urge that a sufficient sum should be appropriated to employ an expert to draw up a detailed plan of future operations in the Valley, and to report on the cost of putting such plan in operation. There will be no difficulty in getting one or more Senators and as many Assemblyman to present and back such a programme. The difficulty is that scarcely anybody in California is sufficiently informed of the details of matters around Yosemite to be able to present them in the most forcible shape. There are some of these details which would not be pertinent in appeals to Congress or the public of the whole country, but
which will be both pertinent and forcible if rightly presented to the Legislature. In some manner or other I will certainly get the matter put before the public; but I judge it best to wait until I get word from you about the recommendation of which you wrote. I am, indeed, in something of a quandary about that subject. Should I accept employment in the Nat'l Park, I would in a manner debar myself from pitching into the Valley management, and I cannot help thinking that a lot more pitching in will be necessary in order to fix things up nicely. On the other hand, I might be able to do more good, in a different way, than if I were to continue to simply whack away at the commissioners in the press. I have been questioning myself whether I ought not to write to you that I would not entangle myself in any official
position that might interfere with full liberty of comment concerning Yosemite; but the conclusion I have reached is that while I ought not to stir a finger to obtain such employment I might properly accept it if it came to me unsolicited - if for no other reason, because my doing so might shut out somebody who might play into the hands of those who have so badly abused Yosemite.
A Happy New Year to you!
Geo. G. Mackenzie.
1890 Dec 22
Original letter dimensions: 23 x 13.5 cm.
Mackenzie, George G., "Letter from Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie to R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson, 1890 Dec 22 ." (1890). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1983.
Reel 06, Image 0767
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