Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie
[Robert Underwood] Johnson
Raymond, Cal., Feb. 13.
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Yours of the 13[th?] rec’d yesterday. I am now in communication with Robinson from whom I rec’d a letter on Saturday, asking me to come to San Francisco, with the prospect of getting work on the Call in the Yosemite business and perhaps permanently. The request struck me when “dead broke”, or I would have been in the city by this time, although I have been preparing, and am all ready, to publish a little country paper here, the first number to appear either this or next week. I would have my printing done at Madera, so that I am not stocked up with a plant, and therefore could abandon or postpone the project if necessary, although I would feel the sacrifice to be more than I ought to make, as I have now an opportunity to do something for myself. We have won our new county fight, and I can easily take the journalistic lead in influencing our county matters. Still, I made a
proposal to Robinson, asking him to reply by wire tomorrow, which proposal may possibly result in my going to the city. If not I will take up the Yosemite subject in the first or second number of the Raymond Helen [Blazes?], and the matter might be more effective, coming from this locality than stuff in a much greater paper elsewhere. As my own editor, I will have a free hand with which to smite. And wouldn’t I enjoy it? Oh, no – not at all! Being in communication with Robinson, I have not thought it necessary to write to Mr. Elliott McAllister, as Robinson is probably in touch with those folks. And, between you and me, I lay no great stress on the efforts of the Sierra Club people, judging by what [scant?] and vague knowledge of their doings has come to my ears. You allude to a bill of recession, as if such a bill had been prepared but I can learn nothing about it from the papers. I, however, prepared the draft of an Act over a week ago, and yesterday sent it to Senator Goucher, with a carefully made up
letter, appealing to him to solve the Yosemite difficulty in a way that seemed to me to be graceful, without actually bringing up the points of the long controversy. As drafted by me, the bill has a preamble relating in substance that a national park now surrounds the grant; is much larger than the grant, and covers all proximate approaches thereto; that one uniform system of control would be more effective and economical than two and that so would be avoided danger of clashes between two sets of rules. In the succeeding clauses the draft of a bill recedes the grant to the U.S. Govt; instructs the governor to inform the President of the fact; provides that all contracts already made by the commission shall continue in force until their legal expiration; but no new ones shall be made, that the Commission shall turn over its effects, funds included, to the Controller, who shall settle all accounts, and shall turn over all balances to the Secretary of the Interior, with the understanding that such funds shall be used for the preservation and improvement of the Valley; that the [Guardian?]
shall remain in immediate charge of the Valley until the Sec. of the Interior shall appoint a Superintendent, when the office of guardian shall cease to exist; repealing all former Acts for the management of the grant; the Act to take effect immediately. Besides the preamble there are 4 or 5 short clauses, and I think the bill is pretty well drawn as to soundness, but I told Goucher that I offered it not as a finished product, but as material for others to elaborate, correct, or discard for something better having the same seed in view. I am pretty sure to hear from him before long, and will advise you. I held my letter to him and the bill for over a week, hoping to learn something about action by others, and partly from fear that another bill might be underway and that one might kill the other, should Goucher approve of my suggestion. The Sierra Club people ought to have kept me informed, and if I were inclined to be punctilious in this business, I might present a very excellent apology for declining
to inconvenience myself now to assist them. But I’m not troubling about punctiliousness just now, if, as Robinson says, there is really a prospect of getting at results. I would, however, attach a hundred times more weight to one line from Goucher, saying “I’ll push the bill,” than to the work of all the clubs of California. The chances are (although I only speak from my general knowledge of California characteristics) that there are about one dozen fellows each of whom is figuring to make himself the central figure in the fight, and thinking a good deal more of what a fine appearance he will make than of contrivances by which the Legislature can be captured, that is California all over. I meant to send you copies of the bill and my letter to Goucher, but on getting Robinson’s letter I sent the only copies I had to him, thinking it more important that our San Francisco friends should be advised as to my proposal. This bill, however, and my letter to Goucher are confidential, as I told him that if he would take
hold, such action must come as from his own motion, and that he would get heaps of praise for his broad-minded and public spirited course. Selah! But I don’t count that chicken as quite borned just yet. I have not yet been able to learn if Irish wrote that Expositor article, but will set machinery in motion very soon, if I don’t go to San Francisco. Meantime, there is much talk in the papers about Irish being appointed Secretary or something, and of his being a bosom friend of Cleveland, and being likely to control much of the California “patronage.” All this will be dead against us in the Legislature. Can you give me, and quickly, an assurance that Cleveland is not now suffering from his former delusion about Irish. I could use it with much benefit, and there need not be the slightest suggestion as to how or whence the information came. It would not appear as coming from me, and could be introduced in such a way as not to be unpleasant to anybody. I append clippings from the Chronicle suggestive of very
many others. Depend upon it, that it is of the first importance that we should do something to offset these claims of Irish and his friends. If not publicly, then at least vigorously in private through your friends in San Francisco and Sacramento. You did express to me your disbelief [illegible] Irish’s present influence with Cleveland, but I have not felt free to use such intimation. The time is growing short for action in the Legislature. I would not expect good results, anyway, from another investigation by that body. I hope, therefore, that Goucher will follow my counsel. If so, I can get the matter handled in the Assembly. Could I get to Sacramento, I would have strong hopes of doing good. As it is, the matter is a case of [guien sabe?] – if you know what that means. And I hope Robinson’s high hopes will be fully justified.
Geo. G. Mackenzie.
Should I go on with the Raymond Bloody Warwhoop I will send you specimens.
1893 Feb 13
Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 18 cm.
Mackenzie, George G., "Letter from Geo[rge] G. Mackenzie to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 1893 Feb 13." (1893). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 237.
Reel 07, Image 0798
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