Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie
[Robert Underwood] Johnson
Raymond, Fresno Co., Cal.
Jan. 30, ’93.
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Yours of the 23d received. I have lately mailed to you a couple of articles from Fresno papers – one by the enemy and one by myself. Nothing better could have happened than this latest blackguardly attack on you, if the movement to rescue the Valley is now to be seriously pushed. I wrote to the editor of the Republican (which is the chief newspaper in the San Joaquin Valley south of Stockton) that I would send him something more about the Valley, which he could dispose of as he might see fit, and when I got your letter today I was considering what points to take up. I will send him something in a day or two. I happen to be on very good terms with State Senator Goucher, who represents
this county, Mariposa county, and some over the range. He was for a short time a Yosemite Comm’sr’ but was crowded out by Waterman, Pixley and that set. He is at bitter war with the Fresno Expositor, and I guess there’s no love lost between him and Irish. I will write to him, and see what I can do with him. He has been a personal friend of Coffman, the Yosemite stable-keeper, and, I suspect, on that account may be a little hard to manage. Still, his political status is such that he cannot afford altogether to pass over what I shall say. Our Assemblyman, a Mr. G. W. Mordecai is, I believe, superior to the average Assemblyman, and, while I have not his personal acquaintance, I shall try to do something with him. The thin I’m afraid of is ‘the fixing
of the committees, that, however, is merely a presentiment, incited by a name or two, of the owners of which I have little knowledge. Don’t be worried about my having any difficulty in getting along with Robinson if we should meet. I have no shadow of ill-will in that direction, although sometimes his mulishness is provoking. I would be very glad if he would handle the business to success. It would please me mightily to have done with the whole thing – if it were done when ‘tis done. As to a scheme of management, I think the Paddock bill would cover it in a general way. That bill, I believe, authorizes the Secretary to use soldiers as reservation guards, and perhaps with reason, for some of the new forest reserves can perhaps for a time be controlled well enough by such force – altho’ only as a stepping stone to something better. But in the Yosemite
something better is wanted right away. Why should not the Secretary appoint a Superintendent, provided Congress will give him money, and let him manage the place, subject to the Secretary’s orders. There’s nothing complicated about the business. As for the leases, privileges, and so on, any honest and sensible man can do all that is wanted. It don’t require a lot of useless money-spending commissioners. A Superintendent, a clerk, and a force of laborers according to money income, would be enough – the laborers to include half a dozen or eight patrols for the Park at large, they have Deputy Marshal’s powers, or something of that kind. Of course the chief would require to be a man of some special adaptability, but he need not be an ol[illegible]shed, if he should be furnished with a working plan by some such authority. As the National Park system would develop, the whole thing would arrange itself.
The main thing now is to get the place in the hands of somebody who would take interest in his charge, be careful of public interests, and would be ambitious to make the charge his life-work – not merely a side-show to his real vocation. Surely there ought not to be insuperable difficulty about finding such a man among 65,000,000 people. As a stranger, he would of course have to go slow and cautiously at first, but a man with open eyes and ears would quickly learn enough. I recognize distinctly that Mr. Noble had no choice in the matter of using soldiers. What I object to is, the idea of using them in permanency in a place where they have no business, and where they are only in the road of people who would have business. I see very few papers now, and don’t know a thing about what may be happening at Sacramento concerning Yosemite beyond
the introduction of a bill to give $75,000 to Mariposa to build the free road. I have been occupied almost wholly in our fight to make a new county, and, luckily, I have been rather prominent in the contest, which promises to be successful, and which is favored by both Goucher and Mordecai. That may help when I bring my guns to bear on them in [re?] Yosemite. Trust me to do all I can in my ignorance of what lines are being followed by others. As to public feeling, I don’t doubt that it is generally in favor of recession, but probably the efforts of the sheep-men to stir up feeling against the big reservation south of the Yosemite park have had some effect. Just how much I am not prepared to say. I mean feeling in opposition to the Yosemite park, and a kind of contra[illegible]ness that might vent itself by objecting to recession of the Valley, just out of pure cussedness. I don’t apprehend
much real opposition from that source, for even the objectors have come to the conclusion that the Park has come to stay, and they cannot help seeing the benefits of combining the grant and the Park. I would like to know who, if anybody, in the Legislature has the matter in charge. If that special report of Mr. Noble’s can be had, send it to me as soon as possible.
Yours Very Truly
Geo. G. Mackenzie.
The internal evidence of that Expositor article convinces me that Irish wrote it. It may be possible for me to get proof of that after a time. The hand of Irish is discernible all through it, and not the hand of Baker, the Expositor writer.
1893 Jan 30
Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 18 cm.
Mackenzie, George G., "Letter from Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 1893 Jan 30." (1893). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 230.
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