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Title: The Letters of Franklin K. Lane, Personal and Political

Author: Franklin K. Lane

Editor: Anne Wintermute Lane

Louise Herrick Wall

Release date: July 1, 2003 [eBook #4206]
Most recently updated: December 27, 2020

Language: English


This etext was produced by Robert Rowe, Charles Franks

and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Personal and Political



Prom the thousands of typewritten letters found in his files, and from the many holograph letters sent to me from his friends in different parts of the country, we have attempted, in this volume, to select chiefly those letters which tell the story of Franklin K. Lane's life as it unfolded itself in service to his country which was his passion. A few technical letters have been included, because they represent some incomplete and original phases of the work he attempted,—work, to which he brought an intensity of interest and devotion that usually is given only to private enterprise.

In editing his letters we have omitted much, but we have in no way changed anything that he wrote. Even where, in his haste, there has been an obvious slip of the pen, we have left it. Owing to his dictating to many stenographers, with their varying methods of punctuation and paragraphing, and because the letters that he wrote himself were often dashed off on the train, in bed, or in a hurried five minutes before some engagement, we found in them no uniformity of punctuation. In writing hastily he used only a frequent dash and periods; these letters we have made agree with those which were more formally written.

With the oncoming of war his correspondence enormously increased— the more demanded of him, the more he seemed able to accomplish. Upon opening his files it took us weeks to run through and destroy just the requests for patronage, for commissions, passports, appointments as chaplains, promotions, demands from artists who desired to work on camouflage, farmers and chemists who wished exemption, requests for appointments to the War Department; letters asking for every kind of a position from that of night- watchman to that of Brigadier-General. For his friends, and even those who had no special claim upon him, knew that they could count on his interest in them.

One of his secretaries, Joseph J. Cotter, a man he greatly trusted, in describing his office work says: "Whatever was of human interest, interested Mr. Lane. His researches were by no means limited to the Department of the Interior. For instance, I remember that at one time, before the matter had been given any consideration in any other quarter, he asked Secretary of Agriculture Houston to come to his office, in the Interior Department, and went with him into the question of the number of ships it would take to transport our soldiers to the other side. And as a result of this conference, a plan was laid before the Secretary of War. I remember this particularly because it necessitated my looking up dead-weight tonnage, and other matters, with which I was entirely unfamiliar. …

"I have never known any one who could with equal facility follow an intricate line of thought through repeated interruptions. I have seen Mr. Lane, when interrupted in the middle of an involved sentence of dictation, talk on some other subject for five or ten minutes and return to his dictation, taking it up where he left it and completing the sentence so that it could be typed as dictated, and this without the stenographer's telling him at what point he had been interrupted."

His letters are peculiarly autobiographical, for whenever his active mind was engaged on some personal, political, or philosophical problem, his thought turned naturally to that friend with whom he would most like to discuss the subject, and, if he could possibly make the time, to him he wrote just what thoughts raced through his mind. To Ambassador Page he wrote in 1918, "I have a very old-fashioned love for writing from day to day what pops into my mind, contradicting each day what I said the day before, and gathering from my friends their impressions and their spirit in the same way." And in another letter he says, "Now I have gossiped, and preached, and prophesied, and mourned, and otherwise revealed what passes through a wandering mind in half an hour, so I send you at the close of this screed, my blessing, which is a poor gift."

At home on Sunday morning before the fire, he would often write many letters—some of them twenty pages in length and some mere scrappy notes. He wrote with a pencil on a pad on his knee, rapidly stripping off the sheets for me to read, in his desire to share all that was his, even his innermost thoughts.

To the many correspondents who have generously returned to me their letters, and with no restrictions as to their use, I wish particularly to express here my profound gratitude. The limits of one volume have made it possible to use only a part of those received, deeply as I have regretted the necessity of omitting any of them. In making these acknowledgments I wish especially to thank John H. Wigmore, since to him we owe all the early letters— the only ones covering that period.

For possible future use I shall be grateful for any letters that I have not already seen, and if in the preparation of these letters for publication we have allowed any mistakes to slip in, I hope that the error will be called to my attention.

Anne Wintermute Lane

March, 1922





Politics—Newspaper Work—New York—Buying into Tacoma News
—Marriage—Sale of Newspaper

To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore


Law—Drafting New City Charter—Elected as City and County Attorney—
Gubernatorial Campaign—Mayoralty Campaign—Earthquake
—Appointment as Interstate Commerce Commissioner

To P. T. Spurgeon
To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore
To Lyman Naugle
To John H. Wigmore
To John H. Wigmore
To William R. Wheeler
To Orva G. Williams
To the Iroquois Club, Los Angeles, California
To Isadore B. Dockweiler
To Edward B. Whitney
To Hon. Theodore Roosevelt
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler
To William E. Smythe
To John H. Wigmore
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler
To William R. Wheeler
To John H. Wigmore
To William R. Wheeler


Increased Powers of Interstate Commerce Commission—Harriman
Inquiry—Railroad Regulation—Letters to Roosevelt

To Edward F. Adams
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler
To Elihu Root
To E. B. Beard
To George W. Lane
To Charles K. McClatchy
To Lawrence F. Abbott
To John H. Wigmore
To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane
To Theodore Roosevelt
To John H. Wigmore
To William R. Wheeler
To Lawrence F. Abbott
To Charles K. McClatchy
To Charles K. McClatchy
To John Crawford Burns
To Theodore Roosevelt
To Samuel G. Blythe
To Sidney E. Mezes
To John H. Wigmore
To George W. Lane
To Carl Snyder
From Oliver Wendell Holmes
To Oliver Wendell Holmes
To John H. Wigmore
To Daniel Willard
To John McNaught


Politics—Democratic Convention—Nomination of Wilson —Report on
Express Case—Democratic Victory—Problems for New Administration
—On Cabinet Appointments

To Albert Shaw
To Curt G. Pfeiffer
To George W. Lane
To Oscar S. Straus
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler,
To George W. Lane.
To John H. Wigmore.
To Timothy Spellacy.
To Adolph C. Miller.
To William F. McComba,
To Hugo K. Asher.
To Francis G. Newlands.
To Woodrow Wilson.
To William J. Bryan.
To James D. Phelan.
To Herbert Harley.
To Charles K. McClatchy.
To Ernest S. Simpson.
To Fairfax Harrison.
To James P. Brown.
To Adolph C. Miller.
To Edward M. House.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To Sidney E. Mezes.
To John H. Wigmore.
To John H. Wigmore.
To Joseph N. Teal.
To Edward M. House.
To Mitchell Innes.


Appointment as Secretary of the Interior—Reorganization of the
Department—Home Club—Bills on Public Lands


To John H. Wigmore.
To Walter H. Page.
To Edwin A. Alderman.
To Theodore Roosevelt.
To Lawrence F. Abbott.
To William M. Bole.
To Fairfax Harrison.
To Frank Reese.
To Mark Sullivan.
To Edward M. House.
To James H. Barry.
To Edward F. Adams.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson,
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To Albert Shaw.
To Charles K. Field.
To Frederic J. Lane.
To Edward E. Leake.
To William R. Wheeler.
To his Brother on his Birthday.
To Cordenio Severance.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Theodore Roosevelt.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Lawrence F. Abbott.


Endorsement of Hoover—German Audacity—LL.D. from Alma Mater
—England's Sea Policy—Christmas letters

To William J. Bryan.
To John Crawford Burns.
To Alexander Vogelsang.
To John H. Wigmore.
To John Crawford Burns.
To Edward J. Wheeler.
To John Crawford Burns.
To William P. Lawlor.
To William G. McAdoo.
To John Crawford Burns.
To E. W. Scripps.
To George W. Wickersham.
To Frederic J. Lane.
To John Crawford Burns.
To Eugene A. Avery.
To John F. Davis.
To Dick Mead.
To John Crawford Burns.
To Sidney E. Mezes.
To Cordenio Severance.
To Frederick Dixon.
To Robert H. Patchin.
To Francis R. Wall.
To John H. Wigmore.
To Mrs. Adolph C. Miller.
To Mrs. Magnus Andersen.
To Mrs. Adolph C. Miller.


On Writing English—Visit to Monticello—Citizenship for Indians—On
Religion—American-Mexican Joint Commission

To William M. Bole.
To Mrs. Adolph C. Miller.
To Edward F. Adams.
To Carl Snyder.
To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane.
To Will Irwin.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Frederic J. Lane.
To Frank L Cobb.
To George W. Wickersham.
To H. B. Brougham.
To Frederic J. Lane.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane.
To Mrs. Adolph C. Miller.
To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane.
To William R. Wheeler.
To James S. Harlan.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Alexander Vogelsang.
To Frederic J. Lane.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To R. M. Fitzgerald.
To James K. Moffitt.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To Roland Cotton Smith.
To James H. Barry.


Cabinet Meetings—National Council of Defense—Bernstorff—War—Plan for Railroad Consolidation—U-Boat Sinkings Revealed—Alaska

To George W. Lane.
To George W. Lane.
To George W. Lane.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To George W. Lane.
To George W. Lane.
To Edward J. Wheeler.
To George W. Lane.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To George W. Lane.
To George W. Lane.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To Will Irwin.
To Robert Lansing.
To Henry Lane Eno.
To George B. Dorr.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To John O'H. Cosgrave.


Notes on Cabinet Meetings—School Gardens—A Democracy Lacks
Foresight—Use of National Resources—Washington in War-time—The
Sacrifice of War—Farms for Soldiers

To Franklin K. Lane, Jr.
To George W. Lane.
To Albert Shaw.
To Walter H. Page.
To John Lyon.
To Frank Lyon.
To Miss Genevieve King.
To John McNaught.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Allan Pollok.
To E. S. Pillsbury.
To William Marion Reedy.
Notes on Cabinet Meetings.
To Daniel Willard.
To James H. Hawley.
To Samuel G. Blythe.
To George W. Lane.
To Edgar C. Bradley.


After-war Problems—Roosevelt Memorials—Americanization—Religion
—Responsibility of Press—Resignation

To E. C. Bradley.
To George W. Lane.
To George W. Lane.
To William Boyce Thompson.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To E. S. Martin.
To George W. Lane.
To Van H. Manning.
To E. C. Bradley.
To Mrs. Louise Herrick Wall.
To M. A. Mathew.
To Herbert C. Pell, Jr.
To Henry P. Davison.
To George W. Lane.
To C. S. Jackson.
To John Crawford Burns.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To Mrs. Louise Herrick Wall.
To Mrs. M. A. Andersen.
To George W. Lane.
To Daniel J. O'Neill.
To Hamlin Garland.
To Hugo K. Asher.
To Admiral Gary Grayson.
To Herbert C. Pell, Jr.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson.
To Frank W. Mondell.
To Robert W. De Forest.


Suggestions to Democratic Nominee for President—On Election of
Senators—Lost Leaders—Lincoln's Eyes—William James's Letters

To William Phelps Eno.
To Roland Cotton Smith.
To James M. Cox.
To Timothy Spellacy.
To Edward L. Doheny.
To Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To Mrs. George Ehle.
To Isadore B. Dockweiler.
To Hall McAllister.
To Mrs. George Ehle.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To John W. Hallowell.
To John W. Hallowell.
To Robert Lansing.
To Carl Snyder.
To William R. Wheeler.
To George Otis Smith.
To George W. Wickersham.
Lincoln's Eyes.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To Lathrop Brown.
To Timothy Spellacy.
To Frank I. Cobb.
To John G. Gehring.
To John W. Hallowell.
To John G. Gehring.


To Mrs. Ralph Ellis.


Need for Democratic Program—Religious Faith—Men who have Influenced
Thought—A Sounder Industrial Life —A Super-University for Ideas
—"I Accept"—Fragment

To Mrs. Philip C. Kauffmann.
To Benjamin Ide Wheeler.
To Lathrop Brown.
To Mrs. George Ehle.
To Mrs. William Phillips.
To James H. Barry.
To Michael A. Spellacy.
To William R. Wheeler.
To V. C. Scott O'Connor.
Letter sent to several friends.
To John G. Gehring.
To Lathrop Brown.
To Lathrop Brown.
To Adolph C. Miller.
To John G. Gehring.
To John W. Hallowell.
To Curt G. Pfeiffer.
To John G. Gehring.
To D. M. Reynolds.
To Mrs. Cordenio Severance.
To Alexander Vogelsang.
To James S. Harlan.
To Adolph C. Miller.
To Lathrop Brown.
To John G. Gehring.
To John H. Wigmore.
To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To John W. Hallowell.
To John G. Gehring.
To Hall McAllister.
To Mrs. Frederic Peterson.
To Roland Cotton Smith.
To John G. Gehring.
To Adolph C. Miller.
To Robert Lansing.
To James D. Phelan.
To Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hertle.
To Alexander Vogelsang.
To John Finley.
To James H. Barry.
To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To friends who had telegraphed and written for news.—"I accept."
To Alexander Vogelsang.
To John W. Hallowell.
To Robert Lansing.



FRANKLIN K. LANE With his younger brothers, George and Frederic.

FRANKLIN K. LANE At eighteen.

FRANKLIN K. LANE As City and County Attorney.


FRANKLIN K. LANE WITH Ethan Allen, Superintendent of Rainier
National Park, Washington

In Lafayette National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine.

FRANKLIN K. LANE IN 1917 Taken in Lafayette National Park.

"LANE PEAK," Tatoosh Range, Rainier National Park


1864. July 15. Born near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. 1871-76. Taken to California. Went to Grammar School at Napa, California. 1876. Went to Oakland, California. Oakland High School. 1884-86. University of California, Berkeley, California. Special student. 1885. Reporting on Alta California in San Francisco for John P. Irish. 1887. Studied Hastings Law School. 1888. Admitted to the Bar. 1889. Special Newspaper Correspondent in New York for San Francisco Chronicle. 1891. Bought interest in Tacoma News and edited that paper. 1892. Campaigned in New York for Cleveland. 1893. Married. 1895. Returned to California. Practiced law. 1897-98. On Committee of One Hundred to draft new Charter for San Francisco. 1898. Elected City and County Attorney to interpret new Charter. 1899. Reelected City and County Attorney. 1901. Reelected City and County Attorney. 1902. Nominated for Governor of California on Democratic and Non-Partisan Tickets. 1903. Democratic vote in Legislature for United States Senator. 1903. Nominated for Mayor of San Francisco. 1905. December. Nominated by President Roosevelt as Interstate Commerce Commissioner. 1906. June 29. Confirmed by Senate as Interstate Commerce Commissioner. 1909. Reappointed by President Taft as Interstate Commerce Commissioner. 1913. Appointed Secretary of the Interior under President Wilson. 1916. Chairman American-Mexican Joint Commission. 1918. Chairman Railroad Wage Commission. 1919. Chairman Industrial Conference. 1920. March 1. Resigned from the Cabinet. 1920. Vice-President of Pan-American Petroleum Company. 1921. May 18. Died at Rochester, Minnesota.


Franklin K. Lane was the eldest of four children.
Father: Christopher S. Lane.
Mother: Caroline Burns.
Brothers: George W. Lane.
          Frederic J. Lane.
Sister: Maude (Mrs. M. A. Andersen).
He was married to Anne Wintermute, and had two children:
Franklin K. Lane, Jr. ("Ned").
Nancy Lane (Mrs. Philip C. Kauffmann).





Although Franklin Knight Lane was only fifty-seven years old when he died, May 18, 1921, he had outlived, by many years, the men and women who had most influenced the shaping of his early life. Of his mother he wrote, in trying to comfort a friend, "The mystery and the ordering of this world grows altogether inexplicable. … It requires far more religion or philosophy than I have, to say a real word that might console one who has lost those who are dear to him. Ten years ago my mother died, and I have never been reconciled to her loss." Again he wrote of her, to his sister, when their brother Frederic—the joyous, outdoor comrade of his youth—was in his last illness, "Dear Fritz, dear, dear boy, how I wish I could be there with him, though I could do no good. … Each night I pray for him, and I am so much of a Catholic, that I pray to the only Saint I know, or ever knew, and ask her to help. If she lives, her mind can reach the minds of the doctors. … I don't need her to intercede with God, but I would like her to intercede with men. Why, Oh! why, do we not know whether she is or not? Then all the Universe would be explained to me."

From those who knew him best from childhood, no word of him is left, and none from the two men whose strength and ideality colored his morning at the University of California—Dr. George H. Howison, the "darling Howison" of the William James' Letters, and Dr. Joseph H. Le Conte, the wise and gentle geologist. "Names that were Sierras along my skyline," Lane said of such men. To Dr. Howison he wrote in 1913, when entering President Wilson's Cabinet, "No letter that I have ever received has given me more real pleasure than yours, and no man has been more of an inspiration than you."

The sealing of almost every source of intimate knowledge of the boy, who was a mature man at twenty-two, has left the record of the early period curiously scant. Fortunately, there are in his letters and speeches some casual allusions to his childhood and youth, and a few facts and anecdotes of the period from members of his family, from school, college, and early newspaper associates. In 1888, the story begins to gather form and coherence, for at that date we have the first of his own letters that have been preserved, written to his lifelong friend, John H. Wigmore. With many breaks, especially in the early chapters, the sequence of events, and his moods toward them, pour from him with increasing fullness and spontaneity, until the day before he died.

All the later record exists in his letters, most of them written almost as unconsciously as the heart sends blood to the remotest members of the body; and they come back, now, in slow diastole, bearing within themselves evidence of the hour and day and place of their inception; letters written with the stub of a pencil on copy-paper, at some sleepless dawn; or, long ago, in the wide- spaced type of a primitive traveling typewriter, and dated, perhaps, on the Western desert, while he was on his way to secure water for thirsty settlers; or dashed off in the glowing moment just after a Cabinet meeting, with the heat of the discussion still in his veins; others on the paper of the Department of the Interior, with the symbol of the buffalo—chosen by him—richly embossed in white on the corner, and other letters, soiled and worn from being long carried in the pocket and often re-read, by the brave old reformer who had hailed Lane when he first entered the lists. This is the part of the record that cannot be transcribed.

Franklin Knight Lane was born on July 15, 1864, on his father's farm near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, the eldest of four children, all born within a few years. The low, white farmhouse that is his birthplace still stands pleasantly surrounded by tall trees, and at one side a huge, thirty-foot hedge of hawthorn blooms each spring. His father, Christopher S. Lane, was at the time of his son's birth a preacher. Later, when his voice was affected by recurrent bronchitis, he became a dentist. Lane speaks of him several times in his letters as a Presbyterian, and alludes to the strict orthodoxy of his father's faith, especially in regard to an active and personal devil.

In 1917, when in the Cabinet, during President Wilson's second term of office, Lane wrote to his brother, "To-night we give a dinner to the Canadians, Sir George Foster, the acting Premier, and Sir Joseph Polk, the Under-Secretary of External Affairs, who, by the way, was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and says that he heard our father preach."

But it was from his mother, whose maiden name was Caroline Burns, and who was of direct Scotch ancestry, that Franklin Lane drew most of his physical and many of his mental traits. From her he derived the firmly-modeled structure of his face; the watchful Scotch eyes; a fine white skin, that weathered to an even brown, later in life; remarkably sound teeth, large and regular, giving firm support to the round contour of the face; and the fresh line of his lips, that was a marked family trait. A description of him, when he was candidate for Governor of California, at thirty-eight, was written by Grant Wallace. Cleared of some of the hot sweetness of a campaign rhapsody it reads:—

"Picture a man a little above the average height … with the deep chest and deep voice that always go with the born leader of men; the bigness and strength of the hands … the clear eye and broad, firm, and expressive mouth, and the massive head that suggests irresistibly a combination of Napoleon and Ingersoll."

These two resemblances, to Napoleon and to Robert Ingersoll, were frequently rediscovered by others, in later years.

The description concludes by saying, "That Lane is a man of earnestness and vigorous action is shown in … every movement. You sit down to chat with him in his office. As he grows interested in the subject, he kicks his chair back, thrusts his hands way to the elbows in his trouser pockets and strides up and down the room. With deepening interest he speaks more rapidly and forcibly, and charges back and forth across the carpet with the heavy tread of a grenadier." As an older man this impetuosity was somewhat modified. What an early interviewer called his "frank man-to-manness" became a manner of grave and cordial concentration. With the warm, full grasp of his hand in greeting, he gave his complete attention to the man before him. That, and his rich, strong laugh of pleasure, and the varied play of his moods of earnestness, gayety, and challenge, are what men remember best.

Lane's native bent from the first was toward public life. His citizenship was determined when his father decided to take his family to California, to escape the severity of the Canadian climate. In 1902, Franklin Lane was asked how he became an American. "By virtue of my father's citizenship," he replied, "I have been a resident of California since seven years of age, excepting during a brief absence in New York and Washington."

In 1871, the mother, father, and four children, after visiting two brothers of Mrs. Lane's on the way, finally reached the town of Napa, California.

"They came," says an old schoolmate of Napa days, "bringing with them enough of the appearance and mannerisms of their former environment to make us youngsters 'sit up and take notice,' for the children were dressed in kilts, topped by handsome black velvet and silk plaid caps. However, these costumes were soon discarded, for at school the children found themselves the center of both good—and bad-natured gibes, until they were glad to dress as was the custom here." The "Lane boys," he says, were then put into knee-trousers, "and Franklin, who was large for his age and quite stout, looked already too old for this style," and so continued to be annoyed by the children, until he put a forcible end to it. "He 'licked' one of the ringleaders," says the chronicler, and won to peace. "As we grew to know Franklin … his right to act became accepted … . There was always something about his personality which made one feel his importance."

The little California community was impressed by the close intimacy of the home-life of the Canadian family—closer than was usual in hurriedly settled Western towns. The father found time to take all three boys on daily walks. Another companion remembers seeing them starting off together for a day's hunting and fishing. But it was the mother, who read aloud to them and told them stories and exacted quick obedience from them, who was the real power in the house. There were regular family prayers, and family singing of hymns and songs.

This last custom survived among the brothers and sister through all the years. Even after all had families of their own, and many cares, some chance reunion, or a little family dinner would, at parting, quicken memory and, with hats and coats already on, perhaps, in readiness to separate to their homes, they would stand together and shout, in unison, some song of the hour or some of their old Scotch melodies with that pleasant harmony of voices of one timbre, heard only in family singing.

Lane had a baritone of stirring quality, coming straight from his big lungs, and loved music all his life. In the last weeks of his life he more than once wrote of his pleasure in his brother's singing. At Rochester, a few days before his operation, he reassured an anxious friend by writing, "My brother George is here, with his splendid philosophy and his Scotch songs."

His love and loyalty to past ties, though great and persistent, still left his ideal of loyalty unsatisfied. Toward the end of his life he wrote, "Roots we all have and we must not be torn up from them and flung about as if we were young things that could take hold in any soil. I have been—America has been—too indifferent to roots—home roots, school roots. … We should love stability and tradition as well as love adventure and advancement." But the practical labors of his life were directed toward creating means to modify tradition in favor of a larger sort of justice than the past had known.

Resignation had no part in his political creed. "I hold with old Cicero 'that the whole glory of virtue is in activity,'" comes from him with the ring of authentic temperament. And of a friend's biography he wrote, "What a fine life—all fight, interwoven with fun and friendship."

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE WITH HIS YOUNGER

All the anecdotes of his boyhood show him in action, moving among his fellows, organizing, leading, and administering rough-and- tumble justice.

From grammar school in Napa he went, for a time, to a private school called Oak Mound. In vacation, when he was eleven years old, he was earning money as messenger-boy, and at about that time as general helper to one of the merchants of the little town. He left in his old employer's mind the memory of a boy "exceedingly bright and enterprising." He recalls a fight that he was told about, between Lane "and a boy of about his size," "and Frank licked him," the old merchant exults, "and as he walked away he said, 'If you want any more, you can get it at the same place.'"

It was in Napa—so he could not have been quite twelve years old— that Lane started to study Spanish, so that he might talk more freely to the ranchers, who drove to town in their rickety little carts, to "trade" at the stores.

In 1876, the family moved from the full sunshine of the valley town, with its roads muffled in pale dust, and its hillsides lifting up the green of riotous vines, to Oakland, cool and cloudy, with a climate to create and sustain vigor. In Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco, Lane entered the High School. Again his schoolmates recall him with gusto. He was muscular in build, "a good short-distance runner." His hands— always very characteristic of the man—were large and well-made, strong to grasp but not adroit in the smaller crafts of tinkering. "He impressed me," an Oakland schoolmate writes, "as a sturdy youngster who had confidence in himself and would undoubtedly get what he went after. Earnest and straightforward in manner," and always engrossed in the other boys, "when they walked down Twelfth Street, on their way to school, they had their arms around each other's shoulders, discussing subjects of 'vast importance.'"

His capacity for organized association developed rapidly. He had part in school orations, amateur plays, school and Sunday school clubs. Many of these he seems to have initiated, so that, with his school work, his life was full. He says somewhere that by the time he was sixteen he was earning his own way. His great delight in people, and especially in the thrust and parry of controversial talk, held him from the solitary pleasures of fishing and hunting, so keenly relished by his two younger brothers. One of them said of him, "Frank can't even enjoy a view from a mountain-peak without wanting to call some one up to share it with him." He writes of his feeling about solitary nature to his friend George Dorr, in 1917, in connection with improvements for the new National Park, near Bar Harbor, "A wilderness, no matter how impressive or beautiful does not satisfy this soul of mine (if I have that kind of a thing). It is a challenge to man. It says, 'Master me! Put me to use! Make me more than I am!'" About his "need of a world of men," he was equally candid. To his wife he writes, "I am going to dinner, and before I go alone into a lonesome club, I must send a word to you. … The world is all people to me. I lean upon them. They induce thought and fancy. They give color to my life. Thrown on myself I am a stranded bark."…

His love for cooperation and for action, "dramatic action," some one says, never left him. In his last illness, in apolitical crisis, he rallied the energy of younger men. He wrote of the need of a Democratic program, suggested a group of compelling names, "or any other group," he adds, "put up the plan and ask them what they think of it—tentatively—just a quiet chat, but START!" And about the same matter he wrote, "The time has come. Now strike!"

To a friend wavering over her fitness for a piece of projected work, he said drily, "There is only one way to do a thing, and that is to do it." Late in life, the summation of this creed of action seemed to come when he confessed, "I cannot get over the feeling that we are here as conquerors, not as pacifists."

And words, written and spoken words, were to him, of course, the instrument of conquest. But the search for the fit and shining word for his mark did not become research. In a droll letter, about how he put simpler English into the Department of the Interior, he tells of finding a letter written by one of the lawyers of the Department to an Indian about his title to land, that was "so involved and elaborately braided and beaded and fringed that I could not understand it myself." So he sent the ornate letter back and had it put into "straightaway English."

His own practicable English he believed he had learned through his newspaper training. He first worked in the printing office of the Oakland Times, then became a reporter for that paper. He went campaigning and made speeches for the Prohibition candidate for Governor in 1884—before he was twenty-one. The next year he was reporting for the Alta California, edited by Colonel John P. Irish, himself a fiery orator, of the denunciatory type. Colonel Irish recalls that he was at once impressed with the "copious and excellent vocabulary" of his ambitious reporter, who was, even then, he says, "determined upon a high and useful career." In a letter to Colonel Irish, in 1913, Lane wrote, "That simple little card of yours was a good thing for me. It took me for a minute out of the maelstrom of pressing business and carried me back, about thirty years, to the time when I was a boy working for you—an unbaked, ambitious chap, who did not know where he was going, but was trying to get somewhere."

It is interesting to notice that in youth he did not suffer from the usual phases of revolt from early teachings. His father was a Prohibitionist, and Lane's first campaign was for a Prohibition candidate for Governor; his father had been a preacher and Lane, when very young, thought seriously of becoming a minister, so seriously that he came before an examining board of the Presbyterian church. After two hours of grilling, he was, though found wanting, not rejected, but put upon a six months' probation —the elders probably dreaded to lose so persuasive a tongue for the sake of a little "insufficiency of damnation" in his creed. One of his inquisitors, a Presbyterian minister, went from the ordeal with Lane, and continued to try to convert him to the tenets of Presbyterianism. Then suddenly, at some turn of the talk, the clergyman abandoned his position and said carelessly, "Well, Lane, why not become a Unitarian preacher?"

The boy who had been walking the floor at night in the struggle to reconcile the teachings of the church with his own doubts—knowing that Eternal Damnation was held to be the reward for doubt of Christ's divinity—was so horrified by the casuistry of the man who could be an orthodox minister and yet speak of preaching as just one way to make a living, that he swung sharply from any wish to enter the church.

The strictness of the orthodoxy of his home had not served to alienate his sympathies, but he was chilled to the heart by this indifference. He remembered the episode all his life with emotion, but he was not embittered by it. He was young, a great lover, greatly in love with life.

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE AT EIGHTEEN]

In 1884, when he entered the University of California, it was as a special not as a regular student. "I put myself through college," he writes to a boy seeking advice on education, "by working during vacation and after hours, and I am very glad I did it." He seems to have arranged all his college courses for the mornings and carried his reporting and printing-office work the last half of the day.

College at once offered a great forum for debate, and a richer comradeship with men of strong mental fiber. Lane's eagerness in discussion and love of large and sounding words made the students call him "Demosthenes Lane." In his letters it is easy to trace the gradual evolution from his early oratorical style into a final form of free, imaginative expression of great simplicity. Meanwhile, as he debated, he gathered to himself men who were to be friends for the rest of his life. The "Sid" of the earliest letters that we have is Dr. Sidney E. Mezes, now President of the College of the City of New York, to whom one of his last letters was addressed. His friendship for Dr. Wigmore, Dean of Law at the Northwestern University, in Chicago, dates almost as far back.

In college, Lane seized what he most wanted in courses on Philosophy and Economics. "His was a mind of many facets and hospitable in its interest," says his college and lifelong friend, Adolph C. Miller, "but his years at Berkeley were devoted mainly to the study of Philosophy and Government, and kindred subjects. He was a leading figure in the Political Science Club, and intent in his pursuit of philosophy. Often he could be seen walking back and forth in a room in the old Bacon library, set apart for the more serious-minded students, with some philosophical book in hand; every line of his face expressing deep concentration, the occasional light in his eye clearly betraying the moment when he was feeling the joy of understanding."

In two years, not waiting for formal graduation, Lane was back in the world of public affairs that he had scarcely left. In the same short-cut way he took his Hastings Law School work, and passed his Supreme Court examination in 1888, in much less than the time usually allowed for the work.

By the time he left the law school, "a full fledged, but not a flying attorney," his desire for aggressive citizenship was fully formed. In fact, the whole active campaign, that was his life, was made by the light of early ideals, enlarged and reinterpreted as his climb to power brought under his survey wider horizons.

The sketchiest summary of his early and late activities brings out the singleness of the central purpose moving through his life. His first fight, in 1888, for Ballot Reform was made that the will of the people of the State might be honestly interpreted; later, in Tacoma, Washington, he sided with his printers, against his interest as owner, in their fight to maintain union wages; once more in San Francisco, he took, without a retaining fee, the case of the blackmailed householders whose titles were threatened by the pretensions of the Noe claimants, and with his brother, cleared title to all of their small homes; he joined, with his friend, Arthur McEwen, in an editorial campaign against the Southern Pacific, in the day of its tyrannous power over all the shippers of California; later he drafted into the charter of San Francisco new provisions to improve the wages of all city employees; as its young city and county attorney, he aggressively protected the city against street railway encroachments, successfully enforcing the law against infractions; as Interstate Commerce Commissioner, he disentangled a network of injustices in the relations between shippers and railroads, exposed rebating and demurrage evils; formulated new procedures in deflating, reorganizing, and zoning the business of all the express companies in the country; as Secretary of the Interior, he confirmed to the people a fuller use of Federal Lands, and National Park Reserves, laid the foundation for the development, on public domain, of water powers, and the leasing of Government oil lands, and built the Government railroad in Alaska; during the War, he contributed to the Council of National Defense his inexhaustible enthusiasm for cooperation, with definite plans for swift action, to focus National resources to meet war needs; and finally, his last carefully elaborated plan—killed by a partisan Congress—was to place returned soldiers upon the land under conditions of hopeful and decent independence. These were some of the "glories" of activity into which he poured the resources of his energy and imagination.

But no catalogue of the work or the salient mental characteristics of Franklin Lane gives a picture of the man, without taking into account his temperament, for that colored every hour of his life, and every act of his career. The things that he knew seized his imagination. Even when a middle-aged man he sang, like a troubadour, of the fertility of the soil; he was stirred by the virtue and energy of what he saw and touched; his heart leaped at the thought of the power of water ready to be unlocked for man's use—most happy in that the thing that was his he could love.

"To lose faith in the future of oil!" he cries, in the midst of a sober statistical letter, "Why! that is as unthinkable as to lose faith in your hands. Oil, coal, electricity, what are these but multiplied and more adaptable, super-serviceable hands? They may temporarily be unemployed, but the world can't go round without them." A man who feels poetry in petroleum suffers from no wistful "desire of the moth for the star." To his full sense of life the moth and the star are of one essential substance, parts of one glorious conquerable creation—and the moth just a fleck of star- dust, with silly wings.

In truth, both then and throughout most of the days of his life he was completely oriented in this world, at home here, with his strong feet planted upon reality. He liked so many homely things, that his friendly glance responded to common sunlight without astigmatism.

That his sympathies should have outrun his repugnances was of great practical moment in what he was able to achieve in a life shortened at both ends, for though he had to lose time by earning his own professional equipment, he lost little energy in friction. He wrote to a political aspirant for high office, in 1921, "Pick a few enemies and pick them with discretion. Chiefly be FOR things." To a man who was making a personal attack on an adversary of Lane's, while in 1914, as Secretary of the Interior, he was engrossed in establishing his "conservation-by-use" policy, in opposition to the older and narrower policy of conservation by withdrawal, Lane wrote, "I have never seen any good come by blurring an issue by personal conflict or antagonisms. … I have no time to waste in fighting people … to fight for a thing the best way is to show its advantages, and the need for it … and my only solicitude is that the things I care for should not be held back by personal disputes." …

This lesson he had learned more from his own temperament than from political expediency. It was bound up in his love of efficiency and also in his sense of humor. During this same hot conservation controversy he writes to an old friend, "I have no intention of saying anything in reply to Pinchot. He wrote me thirty pages to prove that I was a liar, and rather than read that again I will admit the fact."

This preoccupation with the main issue, in getting beneficial results was one thing that made him glad to acclaim and use the gifts of other men. Through his sympathies he could follow as well as lead, and he caught enthusiasms as well as kindled them. He believed in enthusiasm for itself, and because he saw in it one of the great potencies of life. In writing of D'Annunzio's placing Italy beside the Allies, he rejoices in the beautiful spectacle of the spirit of a whole people "blown into flame by a poet-patriot." But "the ideal," he urges, "must be translated into the possible. Man cannot live by bread alone—nor on manna."

His gay and challenging attitude toward life expressed only one mood, for he paid, as men must, for intense buoyancy of temper by black despairs. "Damn that Irish temperament, anyway!" he writes. "O God, that I had been made a stolid, phlegmatic, non-nervous, self-satisfied Britisher, instead of a wild cross between a crazy Irishman with dreams, desires, fancies—and a dour Scot with his conscience and his logical bitterness against himself—and his eternal drive!"

His exaggerations of hope and his moods of broken disappointment, his ever-springing faith in men, and in the possibility of just institutions, were more temperamental than logical. Moods of astonished grief, when men showed greed and instability, gave place to humorous and tolerant analysis of characters and events. Even his loyalty to his friends was subject to the slight magnetic deflections of a man of moods. He was true to them as the needle to the pole; and with just the same piquing oscillations, before the needle comes to rest at the inevitable North.

Because he had caught, in its capricious rhythms, the subtle movements of human intercourse he trusted himself to express to other men the natural man within his breast, without fear of misconstruction. He contrived to humanize, in parts, even his government reports. They brought him, year by year, touching letters of gratitude from weary political writers. The patient, logical Scot in him that said, "I am going to take this thing up bit by bit without trying to get a whole philosophy into the work," anchored him to the heaviest tasks as if he were a true- born plodder, while the "wild Irishman" with dreams and desires lighted the way with gleams of Will-o'-the-Wisp. The quicksilver in the veins of the patient Mercutio of railroad rates and demurrage charges lightened his work for himself and others. Just as in the five years when he served San Francisco, as City and County Attorney, he labored to such effect that not one of his hundreds of legal opinions was reversed by the Supreme Court of the State, so he toiled on these same Annual Reports, so immersed that, as he says, "I even have to take the blamed stuff to bed with me." Fourteen and sixteen hours at his official desk were not his longest hours, and sometimes he snatched a dinner of shredded biscuit from beside the day's accumulations of papers upon his heaped-up desk. He laid upon himself the burden of labor, examining and cross-examining men for hours upon a single point of essential fact—quick to detect fraud and intolerant of humbug,— but infinitely patient with those who were merely dull, evading no drudgery, and, above all, never evading the dear pains of building-up and maintaining friendship.

MARCH, 1922





FRANKLIN K. LANE'S earliest political association, in California, after reaching manhood, was with John H. Wigmore. Wigmore had returned from Harvard, in 1883, with a plan, already matured, for Civic Reform. The Municipal Reform League, created by Wigmore, Lane, and several other young men, was to follow the general outline of boss control, by precinct and ward organization, the difference being that the League members were to hold no offices, enjoy no spoils, and work for clean city politics. Each member of the inner circle was to take over and make himself responsible for a definite city district, making a card index of the name of each voter, taking a real part in all caucus meetings—in saloon parlors or wherever they were held—and studying practical politics at first hand. "Blind Boss Buckley" was the Democratic dictator of San Francisco, and against his regime the initial efforts of the League were directed.

It was a giant's task, an impossible task, for a small group of newspaper writers and college undergraduates. The short career of the Municipal Reform League ended when Wigmore went East to study law, leaving Lane determined to increase his efficiency by earning his way through college and the Hastings Law School.

The first letters of this volume follow the theme of the political interests of the two young men.


Oakland, February 27, 1888

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—I am thinking of getting back in your part of the world myself, and this is what I especially wanted to write you about. I desire to see the world, to rub off some of my provincialisms, to broaden a little before I settle down to a prosaic existence. So, as I say, I want to live in Boston awhile and my only possibility of so doing is to get a position on some Boston paper, something that will afford me a living and allow some little time for social and literary life. However I don't care much what the billet is. I can bring letters of recommendation from all the good newspaper men in San Francisco, both as to my ability at editorial work (I have done considerable for the San Francisco NEWS LETTER and EXAMINER), and at all kinds of reportorial work. …

I passed the law examination before the Supreme Court last month, so I am now a full-fledged—but not a flying, attorney. I have not determined definitely on going into law. …

Politically speaking we Mugwumps out here are happy. … California has been opposed to Cleveland on every one of his great proposals (civil service reform, silver question, tariff reform), and yet the Republicans must nominate a very strong man to get this State this year. The people admire old Grover's strength so much, he is a positive man and an honest man, and when the people see these two exceptional virtues mixed happily in a candidate they grow to love and admire him out of the very idealism of their natures.

But I must not bother the Boston attorney any longer. Write me all you know of opportunities there and believe me always your friend,



Oakland, May 9, 1888

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—Of course I would have to stand my chances in getting a position. Newspaper men, perhaps more than any other class, are rated by ability. Civil Service Reform principles rule in every good newspaper office to their fullest extent. When I wrote you, I was unsettled as to my plans for the coming year. My brother desired to spend a year or so in Boston and I thought of accompanying him. He has changed his plans and so have I. … I am regularly on the Chronicle staff, chiefly writing sensational stories. I get a regular salary of twenty-five dollars a week besides some extras, and have as easy and pleasant a billet as there is on the paper, though editorial work would be more to my liking.

These arrangements do not interfere, however, with my Boston plan, for sooner or later I shall breathe its intellectual atmosphere, that I may outgrow provincialism and become intellectual by force of habit rather than will. How long it will be before the wish can be gratified I cannot tell. Probably next year. You see the law is not altogether after my taste. I feel it a waste of time to spend days quarreling like school-boys over a few hundred dollars. I feel all the time as if I must be engaged in some life work which will make more directly for the good of my fellows. I feel the need which the world manifests for broader ideas in economics, politics, the philosophy of life, and all social questions. Feeling so, I cannot coop myself in a law library behind a pile of briefs, spending my days and nights in search of some authority which will save my client's dollar. I am unsettled, however, as to my permanent work. …

Oakland, September 20, 1888

… The copies of the Massachusetts law have been duly received and put to the best of use. On my motion our Young Men's League appointed a Committee to draft a law for presentation to the Legislature. Judge Maguire, Ferd, [Footnote: Ferdinand Vassault, a college friend. ] and two others, with myself, are on that Committee and we are hard at work. I send to-day a copy of the Examiner containing a ballot reform bill just introduced by the Federated Trades. It is based on the New York law but is very faulty. We are working with that bill as a basis, proposing various and very necessary amendments. We hope to get our bill adopted in Committee as a substitute for the one introduced, and believe that the Federated Trades will be perfectly willing to adopt our measure. …

Tell me, please, how you select your election officials in your large cities. Our mode of selection is really the weak point with us, for no matter how good a law we might procure, its enforcement would be left to "boss" tools—corruptionists of the worst class. …

Oakland, December 2, 1888

… Your letter breathes the sentiments of thousands of Republicans who voted against Cleveland. They are now "just a little" sorry that so good a man is beaten. I never quite understood your political position. Your letter to Ferd giving your reason was, I must say, not conclusive, for I cannot believe that you can find a greater field of usefulness or power in the Republican than in the Democratic party, surely not now that the new Democracy—a party aggressive, filled with the reform spirit, and right in the direction it takes, now that such a party is in the field.

You surely ought to join us on the tariff fight, but then I wish you the best of fortune whatever your choice. Ferd and several others with myself are now organizing what will some day be a great state, if not a great national institution. We call it the Young Men's Democratic League [Footnote: This plan seems to have been to enlarge the influence of the League mentioned in a former letter.]—it is to be made up of young men from twenty-one to forty-five; its scope—national politics, election of President and Congressmen, and its immediate purpose to inform the people on the tariff question. When our Constitution is published you shall have one. We expect to organize branches all over the State and in a year or two will be strong in the thousands.

Your election article was of a singular kind but VERY good. I have loaned it out among the old crowd. I spoke of it to Judge Sullivan, who is compiling authorities on the "intention of the voter" as governing, where the spelling is wrong on a ballot. Sullivan ran for Supreme Justice and ran thousands ahead of his ticket (the Democratic) but thinks that he was defeated by votes thrown out in Alameda and Los Angeles counties because of irregularities in the ballot—in one case his initials were printed "J. D." instead of "J, F."—in another instance, his name was printed a little below the title of the office, because of the narrowness of the ticket. If these ballots were counted for him he thinks he would have won. …

Fourteen years later, when the electoral count was made of Franklin K. Lane's ballots for Governor of the State of California, between eight and ten thousand ballots were thrown out on similar ground of "irregularities," and he was counted out, "the intention of the voter" being again frustrated.

To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, California, January 29, 1889

My dear Wigmore,— … I want to report progress. We now have our bill complete. … The bill I send has been adopted by the Federated Trades and will be substituted by them for their bill now before the House. …

On Saturday evening there will be one of those huge "spontaneous" mass meetings (which require so much preparation) in support and endorsement of the bill. The most prominent men in both Houses of the Legislature will speak. …

San Francisco, February 17, 1889

… I never have been busier in my life than in the last two weeks. Ballot Reform has taken up a very great portion of my time. I have just returned from a lobbying trip to Sacramento. The bill will not pass, though the best men in both Houses favor it. I went up on the invitation of the chairman of the Assembly Committee to address the Committee. I spoke for an hour and a half. At the end of that time only one man in the group openly opposed the scheme, and he confessed that the bill would do just what I claimed for it, and made this confession to the Committee. "But," said he, "it tends to the disintegration of political parties and as they are essential to our life we must not help on their destruction." …

The Committee of the Senate decided without any debate on the bill to report adversely to it. I got them to reconsider their vote, and we will have a hearing at any rate before the bill is killed. The Legislature is altogether for boodle. …

Your book has been of the greatest assistance to me. I virtually made my speech from it and left the book with the chairman of the Committee at his special request. … If it had come out a month sooner we would have stood fifty per cent better chance of getting the bill through, because the papers would have come to the front so much sooner and we would have been thirty days ahead with our bill. I tell you I felt quite proud in addressing the distinguished legislature to refer to "my friend Wigmore's book." …

San Francisco, May 10, 1889

… I am coming nearer to you. On Monday I leave to take up my residence in New York, as correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. I do not know where I will be located, but mail addressed to me at the Hoffman House will reach me when I arrive, which will be in about ten days.

My purpose is to breathe a new atmosphere for a while so that I may broaden. We must make arrangements soon to meet. I want to know your New York reform friends. …

New York, June 21, 1889

… This lapse of a couple of weeks means that I have been enjoying the delights of a New York summer, in which only slaves work and many of these find refuge in suicide. …

Not a single reformer, big or little, have I yet met. Your friend Bishop [Footnote: Joseph Bucklin Bishop, editor of Theodore Roosevelt and His Time.] I have not called on, though I have twice started to do so, and have been switched off. … I will go within a couple of days for the spirit must be revived. One day early in this week I had an intense desire to visit you immediately and was almost on the verge of letting things go and rush off, but duty held me. …

I see that Bellamy has captured Higginson, Savage, and others and that they are going to work over the Kinsley-Maurice business. Well, I would to God it would work. Something to make life happier and steadier for these poor women and men who toil and never get beyond a piece of meat and a cot! There is justification here for a social-economic revolution and it will come, too, if things are not bettered.

If you have a stray thought let me know it and soon.

Your friend,

F. K. L.

Lane's desire for stimulating companionship in New York was quickly gratified. A spontaneous association of friendships, based upon a young delight in life and a vast curiosity of the mind, sprang up among a little group of men of very diverse types. All were strangers in New York with no immediate home ties. "Women played no part in our lives," one of them recalls. "We came together to discuss plays, poetry, politics, anything and everything—the great actors, comic operas, the songs of the streets, science, politics." John Crawford Burns, Lane, Brydon Lamb, Curt Pfeiffer formed the nucleus of what spread out irregularly into larger groupings.

John Crawford Burns, who was slightly older than the rest, a purist, and something of a "dour Scot," was a man of conservative and cultivated tastes and the dean of the group. He was in a business house that imported linens, and lived in a "glorious room with two outside windows, and ample seating capacity," so the friends often met there and learned something of Gothic architecture and of the abominations of slang, in spite of themselves. With Burns, and of his firm, was Brydon Lamb, "also of Scotch descent, but born in America, a delightful combination of strength, sweetness and light. The simple grace of his manner, his unhurried speech, his urbanity, captivated us all. We loved him for what he was, and we considered him our arbiter elegantiarum" Of Lane at that period the same friend writes, "I remember a fine, stocky, muscular presence with a striking head. A massive, commanding man, he was, a persuasive and compelling leader." But none of the men had any sense of anything but complete friendly, boyish equality. "Lane was," Pfeiffer says, "interested in human beings, not problems, excepting as their solution might be made serviceable to the needs of individuals. He had great tolerance for the most unusual opinions. I don't think Lane ever had much interest in the dogmas of science, religion, or philosophy; he lived by the spirit of them, that cannot be expressed in formulae. He had the peculiar sensitiveness of a poet for words, for colors and sounds, and for moral beauty, and blended with it the statesman's observant awareness of conditions in the world of affairs."

At the beginning of their friendship, in 1889, Curt Pfeiffer himself was only nineteen years old, a youth whose family had come from Holland and Germany. He appeared in the boarding-house on 32nd near Broadway, where Burns lived, fresh from three months at the Paris Exposition, a vacation that had followed a course of scientific study at Zurich, Switzerland. The wonders of Paris, a-glitter with the blaze of undreamed-of electrical beauty, and the greater wonder of the scientific discoveries and speculations, of the eighties, as taught at the University of Zurich, gave the young traveler an instant place among the others. Because of his love for exact statement and his scientific approach in discussion, young as he was, he contributed something very real to the group whose chief preoccupation—aside from the joy of living- was with art, government, and literature.

They read separately, and when a book seemed intolerably good to the discoverer, he brought it in and insisted on their reading parts of it together. Browning, Darwin, the Vedic Hymns, Stevenson, Taine, Buckle, Spencer, Kipling, Sir Henry Maine, on primitive law, and Emerson! The relation of the men was almost impersonal in the fervor of their explorations into life. Differences of blood and tradition were not only easily bridged but welcomed, because they assured, to the group as a whole, sharper angles of mental refraction—breaking the ray of truth they sought into more of its component colors.

Pfeiffer recalls that "one Saturday night, under the influence of reading from the Vedic Hymns, and a talk on astronomy, we went up on the roof of our boarding-place, and observed a complete revolution of the starry heavens, from dusk to dawn. We drifted into talk, … and when we finally descended to our beds on Sunday morning, we found ourselves drenched to the skin from the drizzling dew. We never forgot that experience, but we never repeated it either."

His political interests brought Lane into the Reform Club where
Progress and Poverty, Henry George's new book, was the center for
discussion upon the whole problem of the distribution of taxation.
Lane and Henry George established a cordial friendship.

John Crawford Burns says that in 1889 "Lane's chief hero was Cleveland, and his oracle Godkin, of the EVENING POST"—later, the NATION. "When I knew him in New York he represented a San Francisco newspaper, the CHRONICLE, I think, as correspondent. He was not whole-heartedly in sympathy with his proprietor, nor indeed with the sensational aspect of journalism, and he always scoffed at the idea of newspaper writers constituting a modern priesthood. He laughingly justified his association with the CHRONICLE by saying he gave tone to it. For this and other services, he received, I think, two thousand dollars a year, which even thirty years ago did not admit of luxury and riotous living."

Lane's whole stay in New York was less than two years in length, but the vital ideas that he shared with disinterested minds made of this period the seed-bed for future intellectual growth.

In 1891, in spite of the delights of personal friendships, in New York, Lane grew increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of newspaper corresponding. He wanted a paper of his own, in which he could express without reserve the ideals of social and political betterment with which his mind was teeming. In this mood, the first acclaim of the rapid growth of the pioneer towns of the far Northwest reached him. He saw in this his opportunity, and acted quickly and decisively. He gathered together his own savings, borrowed from his friend, Sidney Mezes, a few more thousand dollars and went to Tacoma, Washington, to buy the Tacoma Evening News.

As soon as the transfer was well made, Lane threw himself enthusiastically into the politics of the new town, already suffering from boss rule. By his editorials he succeeded in stirring up the City Hall, and drove into Alaskan exile the Chief of Police—who, by the way, was said to have become immensely rich in Alaska while Lane's paper was running into bankruptcy in Tacoma. But Lane's misadventure was not wholly due to his civic virtue. He had "bought in" at just the moment when the instruments were tuning up for the prelude to the great panic crash of 1893. Tacoma, and the whole Northwest, had been mainly developed by casual investments of speculative Eastern capital, and this capital, sensitive to change, was being withdrawn to meet home needs. Investors, to protect real interests, were willing to sacrifice their "little Western flyers," at almost any discount.

As the terminal of the new Northern Pacific Railroad, Tacoma— lying on the bluffs overlooking the great inland sea of Puget Sound, guardianed by the vastness of its mountain—was backed by forests whose wealth could scarcely be exaggerated, even by promoter's advertisements. She was noisily proclaimed to be the "Gateway to the Orient," but trade was not yet firmly established with the Orient, and, indeed, what was Washington's wealth of uncut timber when the capital to develop it was slowly ebbing Eastward?

No paper without heavy capitalization, could have sustained a policy of political reform, when, in the picturesque vernacular of the time and place, "the bottom had dropped out of the town." A rival newspaper, the LEDGER, in order to retrench, began a war on the Printers' Union, to break wages. Lane repudiated the effort made to "rat" his paper and to force the Union out. He sustained his men in their fight to keep the Union rate, and lent them his presses to carry on their propaganda. In after years he said, "As to my labor record, it is a consistent one of thirty years length, ever since I stood by the Union in Tacoma, and went broke." Again he wrote to an acquaintance, "I often think of the old days in Tacoma. We were a fighting bunch, and I think most of us are fighting for the same things that we fought for then; a little bit more decency and less graft in affairs, and a chance for a man to rise by ability and not by pull alone."

In April, 1893, Lane had married Anne Wintermute—he needed all he could find of cheer in those depressing days. The whole town was beaten to its knees by loss and fore-closure. Lane was struggling to hold together his paper, and save his friend's investment and his own little stake. The one bright interlude of that time for him lay in reading, and in his new friendships. He loved to chant aloud to a group of stranded young fellows gathered in his rooms, in his gay trumpeting way, brave passages from the Barrack-Room Ballads, of Kipling, that were lifting the spirits of the English-speaking world with their freshness and daring. Stevenson, too, with his polished optimism delighted Lane. "I can remember," says one of the group, "just how I heard him read aloud the last words from Stevenson's essay, Aes Triplex, in those melancholy Tacoma days—'those happy days when we were so miserable!'":—

"All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. … Does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas? When the Greeks made their fine saying that those whom the Gods love die young, I cannot help believing they had this sort of death also in their eye. For surely, at whatever age it overtake the man, this is to die young. Death has not been suffered to take so much as an illusion from his heart. In the hot-fit of life, a-tip-toe on the highest point of being, he passes at a bound on to the other side. The noise of the mallet and chisel is scarcely quenched, the trumpets are hardly done blowing, when, trailing with him clouds of glory, this happy- starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the spiritual land."

Still believing in the good work he had meant with his whole heart, Lane turned from the bankruptcy of his paper, sold at auction, to write to his friend of new adventures.

To John H. Wigmore

Tacoma, October 25, 1894

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—I have not heard from you for a year. You are in my debt at least one, and I think two, letters. I have sent you an occasional paper, just to let you know I was alive and I am hazarding this letter to the old address. …

My affairs here have not prospered and I am thinking of going somewhere else. … Do you think Japan has anything to offer a man such as myself? Would there be any chance there for a newspaper run by an American? Are there any wealthy Americans there who would be likely to put up a few thousands for such an enterprise? … Life is not the "giddy, reeling dream of love and fame" that it once was, and I have decided on gathering a few essential dollars. Now Japan may not be the place I am looking for, … but unless I am greatly mistaken, a man who is up on American affairs and alive to business opportunities could do well in Japan. But then this is all a guess, and I want you to put me right …

Yours very truly,




Law—Drafting New City Charter—Elected as City and County
Attorney—Gubernatorial Campaign—Mayoralty Campaign—Earthquake
—Appointment as Interstate Commerce Commissioner

Late in the fall of 1894 Lane returned to San Francisco and for some months associated himself with Arthur McEwen, on Arthur McEwen's Letter, a lively political weekly which attacked various forms of civic corruption in San Francisco, and made an especial target of the Southern Pacific Railroad, then in practical control of the State.

He also formed a law partnership with his brother, George W. Lane, under the firm name of Lane and Lane. In 1895 a curious case, estimated as involving about sixty million dollars worth of property, was brought to the young attorneys. The Star, of San Francisco, described the issue at stake by saying, "One Jose Noe and four alleged grand-children of Jose Noe appear, who pretend that they can show a clear title to an undivided one-half interest in nearly forty-five hundred acres within the city, on which land reside some five thousand or more owners, mostly men of small means."

Upon investigation Lane and his brother became convinced that the suit had been instituted as a blackmailing scheme, in an attempt to force the owners to pay for quit-claim deeds; they took and energetically fought the case for the defendants, without asking for a retainer. Their clients formed themselves into what they called the San Miguel Defense Association. In a year the title of the householders to their little homes was established beyond peradventure.

With the warmth of Latin gratitude this service was remembered. In 1898 when Lane ran for his first political office, as City and County Attorney, the San Miguel Defense Association revived its energies, formed a Franklin K. Lane Campaign Club and sent out vivid circulars about Franklin K. Lane, "who nobly fought for us. … It is now our turn to stand by him and see that he is elected by a very large majority." Their proclamation ended with the appeal, "Vote for Franklin K. Lane, the Foe to Blackmailers."

As Lane's plurality in this first election was eight hundred and thirty-two votes, there is little doubt that his grateful clients played a real part in that success.

The Tacoma printers had also sent a testimonial, which was widely distributed in the campaign, as to Lane's friendship to labor, saying that they, in gratitude, had made him an honorary member of their Typographical Union. The campaign was made on the rights of the plain people, for its chief issue.

In the letter that follows, Lane, in 1913, tells of his formal entry into politics, in 1898.

To P. T. Spurgcon Herald, McClure Newspaper Syndicate

Washington, December 30, 1913

DEAR MR. SPURGEON,—In reply to your inquiry of December 29, permit me to say that I got into politics in this way:—

One day, while on my way to lunch, I met Mayor Phelan, of San Francisco, who asked me if I would become a member of the committee to draft a charter for the city. I said I would, and was appointed. At that time I was practising law and had no idea whatever that I would at any time run for public office, or take any considerable part in public affairs. I helped to draft the charter, and as it had to be submitted to the people for ratification, I stumped the city for it. Later, when the first election was held under it, my friends on the charter committee insisted that I should accept the Democratic nomination for City Attorney. Under the charter, the City Attorney was the legal adviser of all the city and county officials, and it was his business to define and construe this organic law, and the friends of the charter wished some one who was in sympathy with the instrument to give it initial construction.

I was nominated by the Democratic party by an independent movement and was elected; later re-elected, and elected for a third term. After an unsuccessful candidacy for the governorship, I was appointed a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission by President Roosevelt.

Cordially yours,


To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, November 14, 1898

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—This is a formal note of acknowledgment of the service rendered me in the campaign, which has just closed successfully. There were only three Democrats elected on the general ticket, the Mayor, Assessor, and myself. I ran four thousand five hundred votes ahead of my ticket. It was a splendid tribute to worth! I never before realized how discriminating the American public is. A man who scoffs at Democratic institutions must be a tyrant at heart, or a defeated candidate. I tell you the people know a good man when they see one.

My opponent was the present Attorney General of the State, W. F. Fitzgerald, a very capable man, and probably the best man on the Republican ticket. He has been steadily in office for thirty years, in Mississippi, Arizona, and California, and this is his first defeat; and I sincerely regret that I had to take a fall out of such a gentleman.

Now, the perplexing problem arises as to how long I shall hold office. The term is for two years. The new charter comes up before the coming Legislature for approval in January, and that instrument provides for another election next fall, to fill all City and County offices. …

I don't want to stay in politics, two years in the office will be long enough for me. I hope that I shall make a creditable record. I can foresee that strong pressure will be brought to bear upon me to act with the Examiner in making things disagreeable for the corporations, and I will have no easy task in gaining the approval of my own party, and of my conscience and judgment at the same time.

Let me thank you again very earnestly for what you did, and believe me. Yours sincerely,


The City Charter that Lane had helped to draft, with its many new provisions, never before adjudicated, made his first term as City and County Attorney one requiring an especial amount of laborious legal study. To meet the pressing need, Lane organized his corps of assistants to include several men of marked legal ability and the industry that the task demanded, appointing his brother, George W. Lane, as his first assistant.

It was partly due to the good team-work of the office that his opinions rendered in four years were as "numerous as those heretofore rendered by the department in about sixteen years," and that during one of the years of his incumbency "snot a dollar of damages was obtained against the city."

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE AS CITY AND COUNTY

To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, September 25, [1899]

MY DEAR WIGMORE,— … As an evidence of what I am doing I sent you a brief three or four days ago in the Charter case. I have another just filed on the question of county officers holding over under the Charter, a third on the new primary law which is a grand thing if we can make it stick, and a fourth on the taxation of bonds of quasi-public corporations, and a fifth on the taxation of National Bank stock.

I have hardly seen my baby for six weeks; have been at the office from nine A.M. to eleven P.M. regularly. And now that I am nearly dead a new campaign is on and I must run again. And, of course, I have enemies now which I hadn't last year.

Thank you once again for so kindly remembering me.

Yours sincerely,


Lane's first child, a son, was born in the spring of 1898. He is the "Ned" of the letters—Franklin K. Lane, Jr. Lane's attitude toward children is shown in many of his letters. His own boy gave a strong impetus to his most disinterested social ideals. In writing of the birth of a friend's baby he said, "For the child we act nobly, its call to us is always to our finer side.

To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, November 10

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—This is to be a mere bulletin. I am elected once again—10,500 majority, the largest received by any candidate. You expected me to run for Mayor I know. Well, it was offered me—the nomination, I mean—and all my campaign expenses promised. But I couldn't accept, having told the Labor Union people that I was a candidate for City Attorney and not for Mayor. This Labor Union Party is a new one, the outgrowth of the recent strike. They have elected their Mayor, a musician named Schmitz, a decent, conservative young man, who will surprise the decent moneyed people and anger the laboring people with his conservatism.[Footnote: Lane lived to smile at his too charitable characterization of this San Francisco Mayor.] I didn't have one single word of praise from a newspaper in the campaign. They hardly mentioned the fact that I was a candidate. It was jolly good therefore to win as I did.

And my congratulations to you, my honored friend, Dean Wigmore. Next year I am to publish my Opinions, a copy of which, of course, will go to you, but not by virtue of your office, old man. You are arriving, of course, but there is something better in store. A Federal Judgeship is the thing for you; and when I get into the Cabinet you shall have it. But don't wait till then. I'm gray and bald now and my boy patronizes me. So don't wait, but get your lines out, and one of these days you'll make it. Where next I shall land I don't know, probably in a law office, praying for clients. … Always yours,

F. K. L.

Lane's first majority in 1898 of 832 votes was increased to 10,500 in 1899, when he was re-elected; and two years later he won by a still larger majority. A number of his opinions, as City Attorney, were collected and bound in a volume, as none of them had been reversed by the Supreme Court of the State.

He took much pleasure in a dinner club that he helped to form. The members were University professors, lawyers, newspaper men, and a few business men. "But," says one of them, "in spirit they were poets, philosophers and prophets. They were aware that their solutions of problems vexing to the brains of other men, would be Utopian, but as they were not willing to be classed with ordinary Utopians they named their club Amaurot, after the capital of Utopia, thus signifying that while they dwelt in Utopia, they were not subject to it but were lords of it—the teachers of its wisdom and the makers of its laws."

His home life absorbed much of his leisure. He and his family had moved into a modest house on Gough Street, in San Francisco, with a view of the bay, Alcatraz Island, and the Marin Hills from the upstairs living-room window—for no house was a home to Lane that had no view—and in the back-yard, among its red geraniums and cosmos bushes, he played Treasure Island and Wild West with his boy.

In the summer of 1902, Lane was nominated as the Democratic and Non-Partisan candidate for Governor of California. At the Democratic Convention at Sacramento, an onlooker described the excitement among the delegates before a selection was made, "Throughout the night until late afternoon of the second day, without any clear solution of the problem, came the roll-call of the counties, then a wild stampede for the young City and County Attorney of San Francisco, who was borne to the platform. …

"It was Franklin K. Lane who stood a goodly and confident figure, waving a palm-leaf fan for quiet. He said:—

"'I was in the rear of the hall when Governor Budd made his speech and voiced the call of the party for a winner, and, in response to his call, I have taken this platform.'"

This note of joyous truculence, with the little out-thrust of the underlip, brought, as so often before and since, laughter and applause.

A hot and spirited campaign followed. California is naturally Republican, and Lane had many times challenged and attacked the great powers of the State. He made as his chief issues, Irrigation, Prison Reform, and a fairer share in the world's goods for all the people. He traveled far and fast, often speaking six times in a day, at different places, and sometimes riding a hundred and fifty miles in twenty-four hours, over the rough roads of remote counties.

While campaigning he outlined his notion of public service in this way, "No man should have a political office because he wants a job. A public office is not a job, it is an opportunity to do something for the public. Once in office it remains for him to prove that the opportunity was not wasted. …" And again he said,—"There is nothing that touches me so, in the little that I have seen in political life, as this, that while it is a game in which men can be mean, contemptible and dastardly, it is a game also that brings out the finer, better, and nobler qualities. I know why some men are in politics to their own financial loss. Because they find it is a great big man's game, which calls for men to fight it, and they want to stand beside their fellows and do battle."

In regretting that he could not attend a Democratic meeting, at
Richmond, California, he sent this letter,—


MY DEAR MR. NAUGLE,— … The cause of Democracy is being given more sincere and thoughtful interest this campaign than for many years. One of its cardinal principles is that the individual is more important to the State than mere property, and that the welfare of the majority of our citizens must always be paramount and their rights prevail, no matter what the weight of influence in the other side of the balance. It is work and personal worth which make a State great both politically and industrially, and in my estimation they are to be found in largest proportions in the Democratic party. For these reasons I believe there will be a very large change in the vote of this State in our coming election. Reports have reached me from many parts of the State, and I am entirely satisfied that we shall win this fight provided that we do our full share of earnest work, if that be lacking we don't deserve it. … Yours for honest victory,


At first Hearst's powerful paper, the San Francisco Examiner, took a negative tone toward Lane's candidacy but soon became dangerously, if covertly, antagonistic. Of Hearst's methods of attack Lane wrote, in detail, on July 3, 1912, to Governor Woodrow Wilson, then Democratic nominee for the Presidency. After enumerating one specific count after another against the Examiner Lane said:—

"When a boy putting myself through college I was business manager of a temperance paper which advocated prohibition. He [Hearst] published extracts from this paper and credited them to me, and on the morning of election day sent a special train throughout the whole of Northern California containing an issue of his paper, appealing to the saloon-keepers and wine-growers for my defeat.

"… No editorial word of his disfavor appeared, but in every news article there was in the headline a cunning turn or twist, calculated to arouse prejudice against me. I notice in this morning's issue of the American the same policy is being pursued regarding you.

"Now the great mistake I made was in not boldly telling the public just what I knew. … I felt that it was a personal matter with which the public was not concerned, but I know now, as I have gotten older and seen more of politics, that it was a public matter of the first importance, as to which the public should have had knowledge.

"Later when he [Hearst] budded as a candidate for President, in 1904, he sought an interview with me and said that he was not to blame for the policy that had been pursued. Our interview closed with this dialogue:—

"'Mr. Lane, if you ever wish anything that I can do, all you will have to do will be to send me a telegram asking, and it will be done.'"

"To which I responded, 'Mr. Hearst, if you ever get a telegram from me asking you to do anything, you can put that telegram down as a forgery.'"

In a State like California, one of whose chief industries was the growing of wine-grapes, and where the Examiner was the farmer's paper, at least one phase of the attack upon Lane bore heavy fruit. Upon election day the count between Lane and Dr. George Pardee, the Republican candidate, was found to be close. In the end several thousand votes, unmistakably intended for Lane, were thrown out upon technicalities. Lane was defeated, and Dr. Pardee took office. It was a bitter blow.

The night when the final bad news was brought to Lane in his home, he called his son, of four, to him, leaning down he put his arm around the boy very gravely and tenderly, and said, "Ned, it isn't my little son, it is Dr. Pardee's little boy that is going to have that white pony."

The boy caught the emotion in his father's voice, and said cheerily, "O, that's all right, Dad. That's all right."

Lane found that in spite of the loss of the Governorship his circle of personal contacts had been greatly widened by his campaign. He had come to know, and be known by, the men most prominent in California public affairs and he had made, and confirmed, many friendships with men who had given themselves whole-heartedly to his advancement. Of these friendships he wrote, in 1920, to his friend Timothy Spellacy, "Eighteen years I have known you and never a word or act have I heard of, or seen, that did not make me feel that the campaign for Governor was worth while because it gave me your acquaintance, friendship, affection. … When I get mad, as I do sometimes, over something that the Irish do, I always am tempted to a hard generalization that I am compelled to modify because of you and Mike and Dan O'Neill, in San Francisco—and a few more of the Great Irish."

Lane's second child, Nancy, was born January 4, 1903.

Early in that year Lane was given the complimentary vote of his party in the California Legislature for United States Senator.

He was chosen in April to go to Washington to argue the case of the need of the City of San Francisco for a pure water supply from the Hetch-Hetchy Valley, an unused part of the Yosemite Park.

A curious opposition to this measure had been worked up in the East by a small group of well-intentioned nature lovers who did not, perhaps, realize that this was one of many thousand valleys in the Sierras, and one not, in any sense, unique in its beauty. The plan proposed to convert a remote, mosquito-haunted marsh, dreaded even by hunters because of the "bad-going" into a large lake-reservoir to feed the city of San Francisco. This was the first of Lane's fights to assure to man the use of neglected resources, and at the same time, by great care, to protect natural beauty for his delight.

While in Washington on this errand, he met President Roosevelt several times. Their informal talks served to increase Lane's strong liking for the vigorous man of action, then at the height of his powers.

To his friend he writes of all this.

To John H. Wigmore San Francisco, May 9,1903

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—My trip East was a great success. After leaving you I stayed three or four days in Washington, where I found the Department of the Interior pretty well stacked against me; I, however, succeeded in having a day fixed upon which an argument would be listened to, and after this victory went to New York, where I met many old friends and made some new ones. …

Upon my return to Washington I had several days of argument before the Department, saw the President [Roosevelt] twice and lunched with him, and then went South; was invited by the Legislature of Texas to speak before them, which I did with much satisfaction, especially as there were but two Republicans in both houses.

I stopped with my old friend Mezes, in Austin, who is the dean of the University, … and easily the most influential man socially, politically, and educationally in the institution. …

I am having an extremely disagreeable time. The Democrats here insist upon my running for Mayor, urging it as a duty which I owe to the party, because they say I am the only man who can be elected; and as a duty to the city, because they say that the scoundrels who are now in office will continue, and worse ones come in, unless we can elect some clean Democrat. I urge everything against the thing, that comes to my mind, including my poverty, the fact that I made four campaigns in five years, my personal aversion to the office of Mayor, the inability of any one to please the people of San Francisco as Mayor, the conspiracy of the newspapers that exists against a government that is not controlled by them, and the fact that to insist upon my taking this office would be an act of political murder on the part of my friends. … Yours as always,


Heavy and continued pressure, through the spring and summer, was brought, by his party, to bear upon Lane to accept the nomination for Mayor of San Francisco. His letters show his reluctance and distress. The appeal was made personal, with reminders of sacrifices made for him. He at last agreed to run. His judgment of the situation was fully confirmed in the final event. His defeat was unequivocal. San Francisco had no idea of accepting a Democratic mayor with a leaning toward reform. Lane analysed the political situation in this letter:—

To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, January 26, 1904

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—What the effect of my defeat for Mayor will be, it is of course impossible to say. Its immediate effect has been to throw me into the active practice of law, and thus far I have not starved. It will, of course, not lead to my retirement from politics, but it will postpone no doubt, the realization of some ambitions. I think I wrote you just what my state of mind was previous to the nomination. I did not wish to make the fight, did everything that was in my power to avoid the nomination, and even went so far as to hold up the convention in a formal letter which I addressed to it, telling them that I did not wish to be Mayor of San Francisco and begging them to get some one else.

The fight was along class lines entirely; the employers on one side and the wage earners on the other. The Republican nominee represented the employers, the Union Labor nominee, the wage earners. I stood for good government, and in the battle my voice could hardly be heard. It was a splendid old fight in which every interest that was vicious, violent, or corrupt was solidly against me. And while I did not win the election, I lost nothing in prestige by the defeat, save among politicians who are always looking for availability. It was not, in the nature of things, up to me to run for Mayor, but my people all believed that I was assured of election and felt that I was the only man who could possibly be elected. I acted out of a sense of loyalty to my party and a desire to do something to rid the city of its present cursed administration. However, it may in the end be a very fortunate thing, for I know no career more worthless than that of a perpetual office-seeker.

I received a letter from a friend in New York yesterday telling me that Senator Hill [Footnote: In campaigning New York for Cleveland, Lane had met David B. Hill.] had told him that the New York delegation would cast its vote for me for Vice-President at the Democratic National Convention, and that he regarded me as the most available man to nominate; but, of course, I sent back word that that was not to be considered.

I should judge from the EXAMINER here, that Hearst was making a very strong fight for a delegation from Illinois. His boom seems to me to be increasing. That it is possible for such a man to receive the nomination, is too humiliating to be thought of. … Very sincerely yours,


The day after his defeat Lane had written to thank a generous friend:—


San Francisco, Wednesday [November, 1908]

MY DEAR WILL,—I can't go to the country without saying to you once more that your self-sacrifice and manliness throughout this campaign have endeared you to me to a degree that words cannot convey.

I had hoped the last day or two that I would be able to make your critics ashamed to look you in the face, and that they would in time come pleading to you for recognition. But now you must be content with knowing that you did a man's part, and set a standard in friendship and loyalty which my boy shall be taught to strive for.

I earnestly hope that your business relations will not be disturbed by this trouble into which I got you. Had I been out of it Crocker couldn't have won. My vote would largely have gone for Schmitz.

Give my love to Mrs. Wheeler and believe me, always your friend,


Wheeler, himself a Republican, belonged, at the time, to a firm of irreconcilable Republicans, who had expressed sharp disapproval of his activity in Lane's behalf.

Out of office and back to the practise of the law, Lane soon built his private practise on a firmer basis than before. His close identification with the Democratic Party was not impaired, but the frequent demands for attendance at public conventions and meetings he could not leave his practise to accept. In declining one of these invitations he replied:—


San Francisco, April 7, 1904

… Permit me to say that we of the West look to you who are closer to the center of things for leadership. … This means only that we must be true to the principles that make us Democrats. … The law must not be severe or lenient with any man simply because he is rich nor because he is poor. It must not become the tool of class antagonism for either the persecution of the well-to-do or for the repression of the masses of the people.

… We must resist the base opportunism which would abandon our strong position of devotion to these fundamental principles of good government for the sake of gaining temporary strength from some passing passion of the hour. To identify our party with an idea which springs from class distrust or class hatred is to gain temporary stimulation at the expense of permanent weakness. If we are to heed the voice which bids us cease to be Democrats in order that we may win, we shall find that we have lost not only the victory of being true, but also the victory at the polls, which can be ours only in case we are true.

… Our creed is simple and clear, but it cannot be recited by those who would make our organization an annex to the Republican party by catering to that conservatism which seeks only to bring greater benefit to the already wealthy, nor by those who would make it an annex to the Socialist party by joining in every attack, no matter how unjust, upon the wealthy. Sincerely yours,


To the Iroquois Club of Los Angeles on the same day he wrote,—"It becomes us to consider well the meaning of the signs of the times. Miracles may not be worked with these waves of prosperity. It is in no man's power to say 'Peace, be still' and quiet the troubled sea of panic. But we may make sure that men of steady nerve, of clear head and highest purpose are at the helm. I expect to see the time when the Democratic party will, by fixed adherence to a well-defined course, gain and hold the approval and support of the majority of our people, not for a single election but for a long series of elections, and if we begin now with this end in view we certainly will be prepared for whatever may happen—victory or defeat; and in both alike we will be proud of our party and give a guarantee for the future."

While campaigning California for Governor, in 1902, Isadore B.
Dockweiler ran on Lane's ticket, for the office of Lieutenant
Governor, and Dockweiler still looked to him for counsel.


San Francisco, April 16, 1904

MY DEAR DOCKWEILER,—You ask in your favor of the 14th whether
California will send a delegation to St. Louis pledged to Mr.
Hearst and if this program has been agreed upon, as is the report
in Los Angeles.

I cannot tell what the Democrats of California will do, but I know what they should do. A delegation should go from this state that is free, unowned, unpledged, made up of men whose prime interest is that of their party and whom the party does not need to bind with pledges. To pledge the delegation is to make the delegates mere pawns, puppets, counters, coins to trade with,—so much political wampum.

The object in holding a national convention is not to please the vanity nor gratify the ambition of any individual, but to select a national standard bearer who will proudly lead the party in the campaign and be a credit to the party and an honor to the nation, if elected. Surely the Democracy of California can select candidates who can be depended upon to be guided by these considerations. To tie the delegates hand and foot, toss them into a bag, and sling them over the shoulder of one man to barter as he may please, is not consistent with my notion of the dignity of their position, nor does it appeal to me as the most certain manner of making them effective in enlarging and emphasizing the power of the state. …

As to your suggestion of a program to deliver this state to one candidate—if there is such a program—I am not a party to it, never have been, and never will be. … The Democrats of California … will do much for the sake of harmony so long as party welfare and public good are not sacrificed; but they must be permitted to make their own program irrespective of the personal alliances, affiliations, or ambitions of politicians.

Personally, I am not in active political life. My views upon party questions I do not attempt to impose upon my party, yet I know of no reason why I should hesitate to give them expression. I cannot but believe that if many a man were more indifferent to his future, he would be more certain to have a future.

There is one reason which to my mind should forbid my active direction of any organized movement against Mr. Hearst, namely the attitude of his paper during my recent campaign for the governorship. I do not wish it to be said or thought that I am seeking to use our party for purposes of personal retaliation. Whatever reasons for bitterness I may have because of that campaign I am persuaded it does not affect my judgment that it is the part of wisdom to send an unpledged delegation to the national convention.

The Democrats of California should determine with calmness and without passion what course will be most likely to prove a matter of pride to themselves, their state, and the nation, and in that sober judgment act fearlessly.

Sincerely yours,


The Pacific Coast, in 1904, still suffered from transportation problems of great complexity. The railroads, whose terminals were here, were few and extraordinarily powerful and had, heretofore, controlled rail traffic, to a large extent, in their own interest. They wanted no regulation or interference from the Interstate Commerce Commission and no Pacific Coast representative on that Commission. The fruit, wheat, and lumber producers of the Western Coast, on the other hand, felt the need of a strong representative to protect their interests against the railroads, and to stabilize freight rates. Lane's record for independence of sinister control, his legal training and energy made him the natural choice of the shippers for this position.

Benjamin Ide Wheeler, President of the University of California, was a friend of Lane's and also a friend of President Roosevelt's. While in the East, in the spring of 1904, Wheeler had a talk with Roosevelt, about Lane's qualifications for the Interstate Commerce appointment. He told Roosevelt why the producers in California needed a man that they could trust to be fair to their interests on the Commission. Roosevelt heartily concurred, and promised to name Lane for the next vacancy.

When the vacancy occurred, however, just after an overwhelming Republican victory, Roosevelt impulsively gave the appointment to an old friend—Senator Cockrill of Missouri, a Democrat. Wheeler at once telegraphed the President reminding him of the oversight, and to this Roosevelt telegraphed this reply:—

"Am exceedingly sorry, had totally forgotten my promise about Lane and have nothing to say excepting that I had totally forgotten it when Senator Cockrill was offered the position. I can only say now that I shall put him in some good position suitable to his great talents and experience when the chance occurs. Of course when I made the promise about Lane the idea of getting Cockrill for the position could not be in any one's head. This does not excuse me for breaking the promise, which I should never have done, and of course, if I had remembered it I should not have offered the position to Cockrill. I am very sorry. But as fortunately I have another term, I shall make ample amends to Lane later."

In September, 1905, while matters were in this position, Lane went to Mexico, as legal adviser for a western rubber company. In October, Roosevelt announced his intention to place Lane on the Interstate Commerce Commission, to fill the annual vacancy that occurred in December. The announcement caused much newspaper comment, especially in the more partisan Republican press, as the coming vacancy would leave two Republicans and two Democrats on the Commission.

When Lane reached the United States he wrote:—


San Francisco, November 13,1905

MY DEAR WHITNEY,—I have just returned from a two months' trip through Mexico, from the Rio Grande to Guatemala, and from the Gulf to the Pacific, and know nothing whatever concerning the Interstate Commerce Commissionership, save what I have seen in the papers since my return. … I have not put myself in the position of soliciting, either directly or indirectly, this appointment; I have never even stimulated to a slight degree the activity … of my friends on my behalf. There is some misgiving in my own mind as to whether acceptance of the position would be of benefit to me either politically, or otherwise. I have no doubt the nomination for Governor can be mine next year without effort, and what the outcome of an election would be in 1906, even in a Republican State, is not now to be prophesied, in view of the somersaults in Ohio and Pennsylvania of a week ago. Of course, … it is a great opportunity to prove or disprove the capacity of this government to control effectively the corporations which seem determined to be its master.

It does look to me as if the problem of our generation is to be the discovery of some effective method by which the artificial persons whom we have created by law can be taught that they are not the creators, the owners, and the rightful managers of the government. The real greatness of the President's policy, to my notion, is that he has determined to prove to the railroads that they have not the whole works, and the policy that they have followed is as short-sighted as it can be. It will lead, if pursued as it has been begun, to the wildest kind of a craze for government ownership of everything. Just as you people in New York City were forced, by the delinquency and corruption of the gas combine, to undertake the organization of a municipal ownership movement, so it may be that the same qualities in the railroads will create precisely the same spirit throughout the country.

I appreciate thoroughly your position in New York. … [Hearst] knows public sentiment and how to develop it very well, and will be a danger in the United States, I am afraid, for many years to come. He has great capacity for disorganization of any movement that is not his own, and an equal capacity for organization of any movement that is his personal property. He feels with the people, but he has no conscience. … He is willing to do whatever for the minute the people may want done and give them what they cry for, unrestrained by sense of justice, or of ultimate effect. He is the great American Pander.

Reverting again to the Interstate Commerce Commissionership, I think the railroads here are determined that no Pacific Coast man shall be appointed. That has been the policy of the Southern Pacific since the creation of the Commission. …

One of the amusing reports that has come to me is that the railroad feels friendly toward me. I think probably the extent of their friendliness is in acknowledging that I am not a blackmailer. They know that I would not hold them up, just as well as they know that I could not be held up. In the various campaigns that I have made, it has never been suggested that the railroads had any more influence with me than they ought to have, or that anybody else had, and in my fight for the Governorship they did not contribute so much as a single postcard, nor did an individual railroad man contribute a dollar to the campaign fund. I say this because I heard yesterday that word had gone to the President that I was something of a railroad man, which is about the most amusing thing that I have heard for sometime. The charge never was made in any of my five campaigns, and certainly is made only for foreign consumption, end not for home consumption.

Do not in any way put yourself out regarding this matter. I am satisfied that the President will do just what he wants to do and just what he thinks right, without much respect to what anybody says to him, and I don't want to bring pressure to bear upon him; but, of course, I want him to know that I have friends who think well of me. I am very appreciative of your offer and efforts, and hope that, whether I am given this position or not, I shall before very long have the opportunity of seeing you in New York. Very sincerely,



San Francisco, December 9, [1905]

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I have not written you before because of my expectation that I would see you soon, but as there now seems some doubt as to immediate confirmation I will not longer delay expressing the deep gratification which the nomination gave me. You gave the one answer I could have wished to the whispered charge that I was bound by obligation of some sort to the railroads—a charge never made in any form here, not even in the hottest of my five campaigns. My honor stood pledged to you—by the very fact of my willingness to accept the post—that I was free, independent, self-owned, capable of unbiased action. And that pledge remains.

As to my confirmation, it has been suggested that it was the customary and expected thing for me to go to Washington and help in the fight. This I feel I should not do and have so written to Senator Perkins and others. I do not wish to appear indifferent in the slightest degree to the honor you have done me, or to the office itself, but I feel that you will appreciate without my setting them forth on paper the many reasons which hold me here. This is no time for an Interstate Commerce Commissioner to be on his knees before a United States Senator or to be thought to be in that position. Very respectfully yours,


To Benjamin Ide Wheeler President, University of California

San Francisco, December 15, 1905

MY DEAR MR. WHEELER,—I enclose copy of a letter sent this morning to Mr. Smythe of San Diego, who is temporarily with Senator Newlands in Washington.

I wanted to tell you last night that I had written to the President thanking him for the confidence he had shown in me, and telling him that I did not think it was the right thing for me to go to Washington under present circumstances. He may have a different notion in this respect, and of course I should be guided by his judgment … I have no doubt that many of the Senators would be quite willing to let the President have the law if they could have the Commission …

Personally I should be most pleased to meet these critical gentlemen of the Senate and give them a very full account of my eventful career. But the fact that I am a Democrat could not be disproved by my presence in Washington, and I am not likely to apologize for what one of my kindly Republican critics calls "this error of his boyhood." I am concerned in this matter because I do not wish to cause the President any embarrassment. He is fighting for far larger things than this appointment represents. He knows his own game, and I am quite willing to stand on a side line and see him play it to a finish, or get in and buck the center if I am needed. I must apologize for troubling you with this matter, but I do not wish you to regard me as indifferent or unappreciative. And if you think that I am too far up in the clouds I want you frankly to tell me so. Sincerely yours,


To William E. Smythe

San Francisco, December 15,1905

MY DEAR MR. SMYTHE,—I have been out of town for a few days, else I would have acknowledged your kind letter of congratulation sooner. I sent a note the other day to our friend Senator Newlands in recognition of the effort he has been making to secure action upon my appointment, and I certainly regard myself as very fortunate in having one who knows me upon that Committee. [Footnote: The Interstate Commerce Committee.]

According to the press despatches here I am regarded as something of a monster by the more conservative Senators, a sort of cross between Dennis Kearney and Eugene Debs with a little of Herr Most thrown in … I wish for confirmation, but not at the price of having it thought that I in any way compromised myself to obtain the Senate's favorable action. I know that you are not alone in this view as to the wisdom of my going on, for I have received other messages to the same effect. But, as you know, the President made this appointment upon grounds quite superior to those of political expediency and upon recommendations not at all political in their nature … Very truly yours,


To John H. Wigmore

San Francisco, December 21, [1905]

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—Your letter bore good fruit … As for confirmation it is not as likely as I could wish. However, I am enjoying the situation hugely, and if the fight is kept up I may enlarge into a national issue.

The Press of California (notice the respectful capital) is practically a unit for me … My information is that the President will stand pat. But the fight with the Senate is growing so large that no one can tell what will happen. I have been urged to go to Washington and meet the Senators, but I have refused. … Am I not right?

Remember me very kindly to your wife, and to you both a Merry
Christmas. As always yours,


To Benjamin Ide Wheeler President, University of California

San Francisco, December 22, [1905]

MY DEAR MR. WHEELER,—It was mighty good of you to bring me that message of good cheer last night. I have not told you, and cannot now tell you the very great pleasure and gratification you have given me by the many evidences of your personal friendship. To me it is better to have that kind of friendship than any office.

I have just received a letter from the President [Roosevelt] that is so fine I want you to know of it at once—but the original I keep for home use. Here it is:—

"… I thank you for your frank and manly letter. It is just the kind of a letter I should have expected from you. You are absolutely right in refraining from coming here. I shall make and am making as stiff a fight as I know how for you. I think I shall carry you through; but of course nothing of this kind is ever certain. …"

Please remember me most kindly to Mrs. Wheeler and believe me always, faithfully yours,


The California earthquake, of April 18, 1906, occurred at about five o'clock in the morning. Lane was living in North Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco. His house built of light wood and shingles, rocked, and his chimneys flung down bricks, in the successive shocks, but with no serious damage. Meanwhile San Francisco sprang into flames from hundreds of broken gas mains. Lane reached the city early in the morning, and was at once put, by the Mayor, upon the Committee of Fifty to look to the safety of the City.

Will Irwin wrote this picturesque story of the episode after having heard his friend describe this adventure:—

"Lane has said since that, although he was brought up in the old West, his was a city life after all. He had never tested himself against primitive physical force, tried himself out in an emergency, and he had always longed for such a test before he died. When the test came it was a supreme one: the San Francisco disaster. …

"On the last day but one of this visitation the fire, smoldering slowly in the redwood houses, had taken virtually all the district east of Van Ness Avenue, a broad street which bisects the residence quarter. … By this time the authorities had given up dynamiting. Chief Sullivan, the one man among them who understood the use of explosives in fire fighting, was dead. The work had been done by soldiers from the Presidio, who blew up buildings too close to the flames and so only scattered them. Lane stood on the slope of Russian Hill, watching the fire approach Van Ness Avenue, when a contractor named Anderson came along. 'That fire always catches at the eaves, not the foundations,' said Lane. 'It could be stopped right here if some one would dynamite all the block beyond Van Ness Avenue. It could never jump across a strip so broad.' 'But they've forbidden any more dynamiting,' said Anderson. 'Never mind; I'd take the chance myself if we could get any explosive,' replied Lane. 'Well, there's a launch full of dynamite from Contra Costa County lying right now at Meigs's Wharf,' said Anderson. Just then Mr. and Mrs. Tom Magee arrived, driving an automobile on the wheel rims. Lane despatched them to Meigs's Wharf for the dynamite. He and Anderson found an electric battery, and cut some dangling wires from a telephone pole. By this time the Magees were back, the machine loaded with dynamite; Mrs. Magee carrying a box of detonators on her lap. Lane, Anderson, and a corps of volunteers laid the battery and strung the wires. 'How do you want this house to fall?' asked Anderson, who understands explosives. 'Send her straight up,' replied Lane.

"'And I've never forgotten the picture which followed,' Lane has told me since. 'Anderson disappeared inside, came out, and said: "All ready." I joined the two ends of wire which I held in my hands. The house rose twenty feet in the air—intact, mind you! It looked like a scene in a fairy book. At that point I rolled over on my back, and when I got up the house was nothing but dust and splinters.'

"They went down the line, blowing up houses, schools, churches. Then came bad news. To the south sparks were catching on the eaves of the houses. Down there was a little water in cisterns. Volunteers under Lane's direction made the householders stretch wet blankets over the roofs and eaves. Then again bad news from the north. There the fire had really crossed the avenue. It threatened the Western Addition, the best residence district. The cause seemed lost. Lane ran up and looked over the situation. Only a few houses were afire, and the slow-burning redwood was smoldering but feebly. 'Just a little water would stop this!' he thought. The whole water system of San Francisco was gone, or supposedly so, through the breaking of the mains. 'But I had a hunch, just a hunch,' said Lane, 'that there was water somewhere in the pipes.' He had learned that a fire company which had given up the fight was asleep on a haystack somewhere in the Western Addition. He went out and found them. They had been working for thirty-six hours; they lay like dead men. Lane kicked the soles of the nearest fireman. He returned only a grunt. The next fireman, however, woke up; Lane managed to get him enthusiastic. He found a wrench, and together he and Lane went from hydrant to hydrant, turning on the cocks. The first five or six gave only a faint spurt and ceased to flow. Then, and just when the fireman was getting ready to go on strike, they turned a cock no more promising than the others, and out spurted a full head of water. No one knows to this day where that water came from, but it was there! They shut off the stream. 'It will take three engines to pump it to that blaze,' said the fireman. He, Lane, and Anderson scattered in opposite directions looking for engines. When twenty minutes later, Lane returned with an engine and company two others had already arrived. But they had not yet coupled the hose up. The companies were quarreling as to which, under the rules of the department, should have the position of honor close to the hydrant! Lane settled that question of etiquette with speed and force. They got a stream on the incipient fire, and the water held out. The other side of Van Ness Avenue gradually burned out and settled down into red coals. The Western Addition was saved, and the San Francisco disaster was over."

A few days later Lane started to Washington in an attempt to raise money for the rebuilding of San Francisco. When he found that Congress would not act in this matter, he, with Senator Newlands, of Nevada, and some others, went to the President and the Secretary of the Treasury to see if Federal help could be secured for the ruined city.

To William R. Wheeler

New York, June 23, [1906]

MY DEAR WILL,—I have just returned from Washington, where I hope we have accomplished some good for San Francisco, although it was mighty hard to move anyone except the President and the Secretary of the Treasury. But I did not intend to write of anything but your personal affairs. Yesterday, on the train, I discovered that you had met with another fire. This is rubbing it in, hitting a man when he is down. The Gods don't fight fair. The decent rules of the Marquis of Queensberry seem to have no recognition on Olympus, or wherever the Gods live. I can quite appreciate the strain you are under and the monumental difficulties of your situation, dealing as you are with dispirited old men and indifferent young ones, I hope this last blow will have some benefit which I cannot now perceive, else it must come like almost a knock-out to the concern. Brave, strong, bully old boy, no one knows better than I do what a fight you have been making these last few years and how many unkindnesses fortune has done you. There is not much use either in preaching to one's self or to another, the advantages of adversity. I don't believe that men are made by fighting relentless Fate, the stuff they have is sometimes proved by struggle,—that is the best that can be said for such philosophy.

More power to you my dear fellow! I took occasion to give M … a warm dose of Bill Wheeler. He is an old sour-ball who thinks he is alive but evidently has been in the cemetery a long time. He talked all right about you, but all wrong about San Francisco …

Give my regards to the dear wife whose heart is stout enough to meet any calamity, and remember me most warmly to the Boy. Sincerely and affectionately yours, FRANKLIN K. LANE

The Hepburn Bill provided for seven men on the Interstate Commerce Commission, instead of five. Roosevelt intimated that he would appoint two Republicans. All opposition to Lane was then withdrawn.

To John H. Wigmore

New York, June 27, [1906]

MY DEAR WIGMORE,—Thanks, and again thanks, for your letter to Senator Cullom and yours to me. It looks now as if with a seven man Commission the objection to my Democracy would cease. Senator Cullom's letter is very reassuring, and I wish that I had met him when in Washington. …

Before another week this business of mine will have come to a head, and I hope soon after to start West, via Chicago.

If the report to-day is true that Harlan of Chicago is to go on the Commission, you will have two friends on the body. I personally think most highly of Harlan and would be mighty proud to sit beside him. His political fortune seems to have been akin to mine, and we have one dear and cherished enemy in common.

Remember me most kindly to your wife and believe me, faithfully yours,


Telegram. To John H. Wigmore

New York, June 30, [1906]

Confirmation has to-day arrived thanks to a friend or two like


To William R. Wheeler

Washington, July 2, [1906]

MY DEAR BILL,—I have waited until this minute to write you, that I might send you the first greeting from the new office. I have just been sworn in and signed the oath, and to you I turn first to express gratitude, appreciation, and affection.

My hope is to leave here tomorrow and go to Chicago at once on your affair, and then West.

Remember me most affectionately to your wife, and believe me always most faithfully yours,


At the same time an affectionate letter of appreciation went to
Benjamin Ide Wheeler.




Increased powers of Interstate Commerce Commission—Harriman
Inquiry—Railroad Regulation—Letters to Roosevelt

During the late summer of 1906, Lane was in Washington or traveling through the South and West to attend the hearings of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Hepburn Act of 1906, among other extensions of power to the Commission, brought the express companies of the United States under its jurisdiction, and the Commission began the close investigation into the rates, rules, and practises, that finally resulted in a complete reorganization and zoning of the companies. The new powers given the Commission, by this Act, inspired fresh hope of righting old abuses, associated with railroad finance, over-capitalization and stock- jobbing. The Commission set itself to finding a way out of the ancient quarrel between shippers and railroads in the matters of rebating and demurrage charges.

In the latter part of the year, President Roosevelt called an important meeting at the White House, for the purpose of deciding whether an inquiry should not be made into the merging of the Western railroads, then under the control of E. H. Harriman. Elihu Root, then Secretary of State; William H. Taft, Secretary of War; Charles Bonaparte, Attorney General, were present; Chairman Martin A. Knapp and Franklin K. Lane of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the special Counsel for the Commission—Frank B. Kellogg. The matter of the proposed inquiry was discussed, each man being asked, in turn, to express his opinion. Root and Knapp were not in favor of beginning an investigation of the railroad merger, Bonaparte, Kellogg, and Lane favored an immediate inquiry. Lane declared that, in a few weeks, when the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission was published, it would be impossible to avoid making the inquiry.

At this point, President Roosevelt turned to William H. Taft, who as yet had expressed no opinion, saying, "Will, what do you think of this?" Mr. Taft said quietly, "It's right, isn't it? Well, damn it, do it then." And the plans for the famous Harriman Inquiry, the first real step taken toward curbing the power of public utilities, were then taken under consideration.

During the inquiry, when E. H. Harriman was on the stand for hours, the Commissioners trying to extract, by round-about questioning, the admission from him that he would like to extend his control over the railroads of the country, Lane, who had been silent for some time, suddenly turned and asked Harriman the direct question. What would he do with all the roads in the country, if he had the power? With equal candor and simplicity, Harriman replied that he would consolidate them under his own management. This answer rang through the country.


Washington, February 16, 1907

MY DEAR ADAMS,— … I think the standpoint taken by our railroad friends in 1882 is that which possesses their souls to-day. I am conscious each time I ask a question that there is deep resentment in the heart of the railroad official at being compelled to answer, but that he is compelled to, he recognizes. The operating and traffic officials of the railroads are having a very hard time these days with the law departments. They can not understand why the law department advises them to give the information we demand, and I have heard of some most lively conferences in which the counsel of the companies were blackguarded heartily for being cowards, in not fighting the Commission. You certainly took advanced ground in 1882, … —there can be no such thing as a business secret in a quasi-public corporation. … Very truly yours,



Washington, March 31,1907

MY DEAR MR. WHEELER,— … I have taken the liberty of giving Mr. Aladyin, leader of the Group of Toil in the Russian Duma, a note of introduction. He's an immensely interesting young man, a fine speaker and comes from plain, peasant stock. He will talk to your boys if you ask him. During these days of panic in Wall Street the President [Roosevelt] has called me in often and shown in many ways that he in no way regrets the appointment you urged. I have been much interested in studying him in time of stress. He is one of the most resolute of men and at the same time entirely and altogether reasonable. No man I know is more willing to take suggestion. No one leads him, not even Root, but no one need fear to give suggestion. He lives up to his legend, so far as I can discover, and that's a big order. The railroad men who are wise will rush to the support of the policies he will urge before the next Congress, or they will have national ownership to face as an immediate issue, or a character of regulation that they will regard as intolerable.

You will be here again soon and I hope that you will come directly to our house and give us the pleasure of a genuine visit. … Sincerely yours,



Washington, February 14, 1908

My DEAR MR. SECRETARY,—I have lately been engaged in writing an opinion upon the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission over ocean carriers engaged in foreign commerce, and it has occurred to me that an extensive American merchant marine might be developed by some legislation which would permit American ships to enjoy preferential through routes in conjunction with our railroad systems. The present Interstate Commerce Law, as I interpret it, gives to the Commission jurisdiction over carriers to the seaboard. It is the assumption of the law that rates will be made to and from the American ports and that at such ports all ships may equally compete for foreign cargo.

Might it not be possible to extend the jurisdiction of the Commission over all American vessels engaged in foreign trade, and with such ships alone—they alone being fully amenable to our law —permit the railroad which carries to the port to make through joint rates to the foreign point of destination? There is so vast a volume of this through traffic that the preference which could thus be given to the American ship would act as a most substantial subsidy. There may be objections to this suggestion arising either out of national or international policy which render it unworthy of further consideration. It has appealed to me, however, as possibly containing the germ of what Mr. Webster would have termed a "respectable idea." Faithfully yours,



Washington, December 19, 1908

MY DEAR MR. BEARD,—I have not seen the article in the CALL, to which you refer, but have heard of it from a couple of Californians, much to my distress. Of course I appreciate that at a time of strain such as that which you shippers and business men of California are now undergoing, it is to be expected that the most conservative language will not be used. … The trouble is with the law. … It is only upon complaint that an order can be made reducing a rate, and I understand that such complaints are at present being drafted in San Francisco and will in time come before us but such matters cannot be brought to issue in a week nor heard in a day, and when I tell you that we have on hand four hundred cases, at the present time, you will appreciate how great the volume of our work is, and that you are not alone in your feeling of indignation or of distress. If you will examine the docket of the Commission, you will find that the cases of the Pacific Coast have been taken care of more promptly within the last two years than the cases in any other part of the United States. I have seen to this myself, because of the long neglect of that part of the country. …

I want to speak one direct personal word to you. You are now protesting against increased rates. I have outlined to you the only remedy [a change in the law] that I see available against the continuance of just such a policy on the part of the railroads, and I think it might be well for you to see that the Senators and Representatives from California support this legislation. It is not calculated in any way to do injustice or injury to the railroads. … This is a plan which I have proposed myself, and for which I have secured the endorsement of the Commission. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has endorsed it. The whole Pacific Coast should follow suit enthusiastically.

Please remember that I am not the Commissioner from California; that I am a Commissioner for the United States; and that it is not my business to fight the railroads, but to hear impartially what both sides may have to say and be as entirely fair with the railroads as with the shippers. I am flattered to know that the railroad men of the United States do not regard me as a deadhead on this Commission. My aggressiveness on behalf of the shipping public has brought upon my head much criticism, and it would be the greatest satisfaction for those who have been prosecuted for rebating or discovered in illegal practises to feel that they were able in any degree to raise in the minds of the shippers any question of my loyalty to duty.

I expect to be in California during January, for a few days, and hope that I may see you at that time. Very sincerely yours,



Washington, February 13, 1909

MY DEAR GEORGE,—… I suppose you haven't seen my interview on the Japanese question. I gave it at the request of the President [Roosevelt], because he said that the Republican Senators and Congressmen would not stand by him if it was going to be a partisan question in California politics. So I said that I would give the value of my name and influence to the support of his policy, so that Flint, Kahn, ET AL., could quote me as against any attack by the Democrats. The President has done great work for the Coast. Congress never would have done anything at this time, and by the time it is willing to do something the problem will practically be solved. I am expecting to be roasted somewhat, in California, but I felt that it was only right to stand by the man who was really making our fight without any real backing from the East, and without many friends on the Pacific—so far as the "pollies" are concerned.

… The Harriman crowd seems to think that they will all be on good terms with Taft, but unless I'm mistaken in the man they will be greatly fooled. …

Have you noticed that nice point of constitutional law, dug up by a newspaper reporter, which renders Knox ineligible as Secretary of State? He voted for an increase in the salary of the Secretary of State three years ago. They will try to avoid the effect of the constitutional inhibition by repealing the act increasing the salary. Technically this won't do Knox any good, altho' it will probably be upheld by the Courts, if the matter is ever taken into the Courts.

Roosevelt is very nervous these days but as he said to me the other day, "They know that I am President right up to March fourth." I took Ned and Nancy to see him and he treated them most beautifully. Gave Ned a pair of boar tusks from the Philippines and told him a story about the boar ripping up a man's leg just before he was shot, and to them both he gave a personal card.

F. K. L.

With this letter he sent a copy of a verse written by his daughter, not yet seven.

    "On through the night as the willows go weeping
    The daffodils sigh,
    As the wind sweeps by
    Right through the sky."


Washington, March 20, 1909

My Dear McClatchy,—I am just in receipt of your letter of March 15th, with reference to my running for Governor next year.

There is nothing in this rumor whatever. I have been approached by a good many people on this matter, and perhaps I have not said as definitely as I should that I had no expectation of re-entering California politics. When I was last in California some of my friends pointed out to me the great opening there would be for me if I would become a Republican and lead the Lincoln-Roosevelt people. There does not seem to be any line of demarcation between a Democrat and a Republican these days, so that such a change would not in itself be an act of suicide. My own personal belief is that the organization in California on the Republican side could be rather easily beaten, and we could do with California what La Follette did with Wisconsin. But I am trying not to think of politics, and I told those people who came to me that I thought my line of work for the next few years was fixed.

… No one yet knows from Mr. Taft's line of policy what kind of a President he will make. Everybody is giving him the benefit of the doubt. The thing, I find, that hangs over all Presidents and other public men here to terrify them is the fear of bad times. The greatness of Roosevelt lay, in a sense, in his recklessness. These people undoubtedly have the power to bring on panics whenever they want to and to depress business, and they will exercise that power as against any administration that does not play their game, and the "money power," as we used to call it, allows the President and Congress a certain scope—a field within which it may move but if it goes outside that field and follows policies or demands measures which interfere with the game as played by the high financiers, they do not hesitate to use their "big stick," which is the threat of business depression. …

There are a lot of things to be done in our State yet before we both pass out. … As always, very truly yours,



Washington, September 22, 1909

MY DEAR ABBOTT,— … President Taft's suggestion of a Commerce Court is a very sensible one. We suggested the institution of such a Court some years ago, so that the question of nullifying our order will be brought up before men who have special experience. … The trouble with the Courts is that they know nothing about the question. Fundamentally it is not … law but economics that we deal with. The fixing of a rate is a matter of politics. That is the reason why I have always held that the traffic manager is the most potent of our statesmen. So that we should have a Court that will pass really upon the one question of confiscation—the constitutionality of the rates fixed—and leave experienced men to deal with the economic questions. …

I have long wanted to see you and have a talk about our work. At times it is rather disheartening. The problem is vast, and we pass few milestones. The one great accomplishment of the Commission, I think, in the last three years, has been the enforcement of the law as against rebating. We have a small force now that is used in this connection under my personal direction, and I think the greatest contribution that we have made, perhaps, to the railroads has been during the time of panic when they were kept from cutting rates directly or indirectly and throwing each other into the hands of receivers.

The great volume of our complaints comes from the territory west of the Mississippi River and practically all of the larger cities in the inter-mountain country have complaints pending before us attacking the reasonableness of the rates charged them, and it is to give consideration to these that the Commission, as a body, goes West the first of the month. …

I have just returned from a trip to Europe, and I find that what I said two or three years ago about the United States being the most Conservative of the civilized countries is absolutely true.

By the way, at the Sorbonne at Paris they are exhibiting the chair in which President Roosevelt will sit when he comes to deliver his address and I am thinking that he will have quite as hearty a reception in Paris as in any of our cities.

Very truly yours,



Washington, December 3, 1909

MY DEAR DOCTOR,—… I think there is but little doubt that De Vries will receive the appointment, though of course everything here is in absolute chaos. … The best symptom in my own case is that I have been called in twice to consult over proposed amendments to the law, and the President's [Taft's] reference thereto in his forthcoming message. He seems to think my judgment worth something—more than I do myself, in fact—for down in my heart, though I do not let anybody see it, I am really a modest creature.

Since my return from the West we have had one merry round of sickness in the house … but all are on their feet once more and as gay as they can be with a more or less grumpy head of the household in the neighborhood, (assuming for the nonce that I am the head of the household).

The President is going to appoint Lurton. [Footnote: To the Supreme Bench.] He should have said so when he made up his mind to do it, which was immediately after Peckham's death. He would have saved himself an immense amount of trouble. Lurton seems to have been very hostile to the Interstate Commerce Commission, and is too old, but otherwise I hear nothing said against him. I really would like to see Bowers put on the bench very much. He has made a very favorable impression here, and is a clear lawyer, a very strong man, and in sympathy with Federal control that's real.

By the way, I had a talk the other day with Attorney General Wickersham regarding the treatment of criminals, and I believe you can secure through him the initiation of an enlightened policy in this matter. He told me that he was going to make some recommendations in his report, and perhaps the President may deal with the matter slightly in his message. Wickersham is a thoroughly modern proposition, and as he has charge of all the penitentiaries, and his recommendations, with relation to parole and such things, absolutely go with the President, I believe you could do more good in an hour's talk with him than you could effect in a year otherwise. If you could run down, during the holiday vacation, I would bring you two together for a talk on this matter, and you, also, might take up the very live question with the President of cutting off red-tape in the courts. Give my love to Mrs. Wigmore, and tell her, too, that we would be most delighted to see her here. Faithfully yours,


On December 9,1909, President Taft reappointed Franklin K. Lane as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission.


En route to California, Monday, March [1910]

… I have spent a rather pleasant day reading, and looking at this great desert of New Mexico and Arizona. No one on board that I know or care to know, but the big sky and my books keep me busy. Do you remember that picture in the Corcoran Gallery with a wee line of land at the bottom and a great high reach of blue sky above, covering nine-tenths of the canvas? I have thought of it often to-day—"the high, irrepressible sky." It is moonlight and the rare air gives physical tone, so that I feel a bit more like myself, as was, than is ordinary. …

I have thought of a lecture to-day and you must keep this letter
as a reminder and make me do it one of these days: THE PROBLEMS OF

And another: THE NEED OF A WORLD BANK: INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL AUTHORITY, which shall fix standards of value, based on no one metal or commodity, but on a great number of staples.

I have thought much of the farm. It will be so far away and so impracticable of use! But such an anchor to windward, for two most hand-to-mouth spendthrifts! …


Washington, April 29, 1910

MY DEAR MR. ROOSEVELT,—Mr. Kellogg tells me that he expects to see you in Europe, and I avail myself of his offer to carry a word of welcome to you, inasmuch as I must leave for Europe the day after your arrival in New York, the President having appointed me as a delegate to the International Railway Congress at Berne.

The country is awaiting you anxiously—not out of mere curiosity to know what your attitude will be, but to lead it, to give it direction. The public opinion which you developed in favor of the "square deal" is stronger to-day than when you left, and your personal following is larger to-day than it ever has been. There is no feeling (or if there is any it is negligible) that the President [Taft] has been consciously disloyal to the policies which you inaugurated or to his public promises. He is patriotic, conscientious, and lovable. This was your own view as expressed to me, and this view has been confirmed by my personal experience with him. It is also, I believe, the judgment of the country at large. But the people do not feel that they control the government or that their interests will be safeguarded by a relationship that is purely diplomatic between the White House and Congress. In short we have a new consciousness of Democracy, largely resulting from your administration, and it is such that the character of government which satisfied the people of twenty years ago is found lacking to-day. Practically all the criticism to which this administration has been subjected arises out of the feeling of the people that their opinions and desires are not sufficiently consulted, and they are suspicious of everything and everybody that is not open and frank with them.

Outside of a few of the larger states the entire country is insurgent, and insurgency means revolt against taking orders. The prospect is that the next House will be Democratic, but the Democrats apparently lack a realization of the many new problems upon which the country is divided. Their success would not indicate the acceptance of any positive program of legislation; it would be a vote of lack of confidence in the Republican party because it has allowed apparent party interest to rise superior to public good. The prospect is that every measure which Congress will pass at this session will be wise and in line with your policies, but the people do not feel that THEY are passing the bills.

I have presumed to say this much, thinking that perhaps you would regard my opinion as entirely unbiased, and in the hope that I might throw some light upon what I regard as the fundamental trouble which has to be dealt with. Whether you choose to re-enter political life or not, men of all parties desire your leadership and will accept your advice as they will that of none other.

Pardon me for this typewriting, but I thought that you might prefer a letter in this form which you could read to one in my own hand which you could not read. Believe me, as always, faithfully yours.


From Berlin, Lane received from Theodore Roosevelt, dated May 13, 1910, these lines,—

" … I think your letter most interesting. As far as I can judge you have about sized up the situation right. With hearty good wishes, faithfully yours,



Washington, March 2, 1911

MY DEAR JOHN,—No other letter that I have received has done me as much good or given me as much pleasure, or has been as much of a stimulus, as has yours. The fact that you took the time to go through the REPORT so carefully is an evidence of a friendship that is beyond all price, and of which I feel most unworthy. I have had the figures checked over, resulting in some slight changes, and will send you a revised copy as soon as it is printed. The newspaper criticisms are generally very friendly, although the FINANCIAL CHRONICLE, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, and other railway organs are extremely bitter. The Western papers do not seem to have been very much elated over the decision. It has appeared to me from the beginning as if they had been "fixed" in advance and that their reports were always biased for the railroads, but the country at large will realize, I think, before long, that the decisions are sound, sensible, and in the public interest. Some of the least narrow of the railroad men also take this view. The best editorial I have seen is in the New York EVENING POST. Sincerely yours,


P. S. I got this note from Roosevelt this morning, headed THE

"Fine! I am really greatly obliged to you, and I shall read the REPORT with genuine interest. More power to your elbow! Faithfully yours."

"This report was known," Commissioner Harlan explains, "as the Western Advance Rate Case. It was one of the first of the great cases covering many commodities and applying over largely extended territories. In his opinion denying the rate advances proposed by the carriers, Commissioner Lane discussed the Commission's new powers of suspending the operation of increased rates pending investigation and the burden of proof in such cases. He marshalled a vast array of facts and figures and announced conclusions that were accepted as convincing by the public at large. He then pointed out that the laws enforced by the Commission sought dominion over private capital for no other purpose than to secure the public against injustice and thereby make capital itself more secure."


Washington, June 27, 1911

DEAR SIR,—Adverting to yours of June 22, IN RE express rates, I beg to advise that nothing can be added to my previous letter unless it is the expression of my personal opinion that a rate should not be made for the carriage of 20,000 pound shipments by express.

We are receiving daily similar complaints to yours, respecting the nonadjustment of express rates, and if you will call at this office we shall be pleased to reveal the reason for our failure, hitherto, to grant the relief desired. It is extremely warm in Washington at the present time, but if anything could add to the disagreeableness of life in the city it is the unreasoning insistence on the part of the traffic bureaus of the country that express rates shall be fixed overnight.

I desire to say that I have given some year or two of more or less profane contemplation to this question, and have now engaged a large corps of men, under the direction of Mr. Frank Lyon as attorney for the Commission, to seek a way out of the inextricable maze of express company figures. Whether we will be able to find the light before the Infinite Hand that controls our destinies cuts short the cord, is a question to which no certain answer can be given. Would you kindly advise the importunate members of a most worthy institution, that express rates to San Francisco possess me as an obsessment. My prayer is at night interfered with by consideration of the question—"What should the 100 pound rate be by Wells Fargo & Co. from New York to San Francisco?" And at night often I am aroused from sleep, feeling confident in my dreams that the mystic figure of "a just and reasonable rate," under Section One, on 100-pound shipments to San Francisco, had been determined, and awaken with a joyous cry upon my lips, to discover that life has been made still more unhappy by the torture of the subconscious mind during sleep.

No doubt your shippers are being treated unfairly, both by the express companies and by the Interstate Commerce Commission. This is a cruel world. Congress itself adds to the torture, by almost daily referring to us some bill touching express rates or parcels post, or some such similar service, and while the thermometer stands at 117 degrees in the shade we are requested to advise as to whether express companies should not be abolished. It has only been by the exercise of a rare and unusual degree of self-control on my part, and by long periods of prayer, that I have refrained from advising Congress that I thought express companies should be abolished and designating the place to which they should be relegated.

As perhaps you may have heard, I shall visit the Pacific Coast in person during the next few weeks, and there I trust I may have the pleasure of meeting you and your noble Governing Committees, to whom I shall explain in person and in detail the difficulties attaching to the solution of this problem. … Sincerely yours,



Washington, December 4, 1911

MY DEAR ABBOTT,— … We are making history fast these days, and at the bottom of it all lies the idea, in the minds of the American people, that they are going to use this machine they call the Government. For the centuries and centuries that have passed, government has been something imposed from above, to which the subject or citizen must submit. For the first century of our national life this idea has held good. Now, however, the people have grown in imagination, so that they appreciate the fact that the government is very little more than a cooperative institution in which there is nothing inherently sacred, excepting in so far as it is a crystallization of general sentiment and is a good working arrangement. And the feeling with relation to big business, when we get down to the bottom of it, is that if men have made these tremendous fortunes out of privileges granted by the whole people, we can correct this by a change in our laws. They do not object to men making any amount of money so long as the individual makes it, but if the Government makes it for him, that is another matter.

I have been meeting … with some of the committees, in Congress and out, that are drafting bills regulating trusts, and I expect something by no means radical as a starter.

You ask as to leadership in both Houses. There is not much in the Lower House that can be relied upon to do constructive work, so far as I can discover. Our Democratic leaders all wear hobble skirts. But in the Senate there is some very good stuff.

I expect to be in New York in January, and then I hope to see you.
Very truly yours,


When he was running for Governor in 1902, Lane made prison reform one of the foremost issues of his campaign. Several years later when a movement was started petitioning the Governor to parole Abraham Ruef, who had served a part of his term in the penitentiary for bribery in San Francisco, Lane signed the petition. This brought a letter of remonstrance from his friend Charles McClatchy, editor and owner of the Sacramento Bee, who felt that such a movement was ill-timed and not in the interest of the public good.


Washington, December 12, 1911

MY DEAR CHARLES,—I have your letter regarding the paroling of Abraham Ruef, and, far from taking offense at what you say, I know that it expresses the opinion of probably the great body of our people, but I have long thought that we dealt with criminals in a manner which tended to keep them as criminals and altogether opposed to the interests of society. I am not sentimental on this proposition, but I think I am sensible. We are dealing with men convicted of crime more harshly and more unreasonably than we deal with dogs. Our fundamental mistake is that we utterly ignore the fact that there is such a thing as psychology. We are treating prisoners with the methods of five hundred years ago, before anything was known about the nature of the human mind. … There are, of course, certain kinds of men who should for society's sake be kept in prison as long as they live, just as there are kinds of insane people that should be kept in insane asylums until they die. …

I think if you will get the thought into your mind that our present penal system is Silurian and unscientific—the same to-day as it was 10,000 years ago—you will see my stand-point. Our penitentiaries develop criminals, they make criminals out of men who are not criminals to begin with—boys, for instance. They debase and degrade men. The state by its system of punishment reaches into the heart of a man and plucks out his very soul. I am speaking of men who are when they enter responsive to good impulses. …

I thoroughly appreciate the spirit in which you have written me, and I hope that you will get my point of view. I have known Abe Ruef for over twenty-five years. He was a perfectly straight young man and anxious to help in San Francisco. I do not know the influences that turned him into the direction that he took, but I am absolutely certain that that man has suffered mental tortures greater than any that he would have ever suffered if he had gone to a physical hell of fire. He may appear brave, but he is in fact, I will warrant you, a heart-broken man, because he has failed of realizing his own decent ideals. … He never was my friend, politically, socially, or otherwise, but my judgment is that society will be better off if he is allowed the limited freedom that a parole gives and given an opportunity to live up to his own ideal of Abe Ruef.

Regards to Val, your wife, and family. As always, faithfully yours,



[Washington, January, 1912]

MY DEAR CHARLES,—I have your note regarding Ruef. … It seems to me you have made one good point against me, and only one,—that there are poor men in jail who ought to be paroled at the end of a year. Very well, why not parole them? If they are men who have been reached by public opinion and are subject to it, I see no reason why they should be kept in jail. Every case must be dealt with by itself and to each case should be given the same kind of treatment that I give to Ruef. You will be advocating this thing yourself one of these days, calling it Christian and civilized and denouncing those who do not agree with you as being barbarians. It may be that Ruef fooled me when he was just out of college, but I was a member of the Municipal Reform League which John H. Wigmore, now Dean of the Northwestern University Law School, Ruef and myself started. It did not last very long, but I think that Ruef was as zealous as any of us for good government.

With many wishes for the New Year, believe me always, my dear
Charles, yours faithfully,



December 13, 1911

MY DEAR BURNS,—I have felt grievously hurt, at hearing from Pfeiffer several times, that you had written him, and nary a word to me. The idea that I should write to you when you had nothing in the world to do but write me, never entered my head. I want you to understand distinctly the position which you now occupy in the minds of your friends. You are a gentleman of leisure, traveling in Europe with an invalid wife, necessarily bored, and anxious to meet with anything that will give you an interesting life. Under the circumstances, you may relieve your mind at any time, of any intellectual bile, by correspondence. … If you wish something serious to do, I will formally direct you to make a report upon Railway Rates and Railway Service in Europe. This will give you some diversion in between your attacks of religion and architecture.

Pfeiffer, I presume, has returned from the Far West, but so far I have not heard from him. The last letter I got was from the Yosemite. He seems to have been enchanted with that country. He says there is nothing in Europe to compare with it. It is splendid to see a fellow of his age, and with all of his learning, keep up his enthusiasm. It seems to me that he is more appreciative and buoyant than he was twenty years ago, and he is really very sane. His sympathies, unlike yours, are with the present and not with the dead past.

You will be interested in knowing that Mr. T. Roosevelt is likely to be the next Republican nominee for President. Within the last six weeks it has become quite manifest that Taft cannot be elected. … And so you see, the whirligig of time has made another turn. Big Business in New York is looking to Roosevelt as a statesman who is practical. The West regards him as the champion of the plain people. He is keeping silent, but no doubt like the negro lady he is quite willing to be "fo'ced."

On the Democratic side all of the forces have united to destroy Wilson, who is the strongest man in the West. The bosses are all against him. They recently produced an application which he had made for a pension, under the Carnegie Endowment Fund for Teachers, which had been allowed to lie idle, unnoticed for a year or so after its rejection, but owing to campaign emergencies was produced, at this happy moment, to show that Wilson wanted a pension. As a Philadelphia poet whom you never heard of says:—

    "Ah, what a weary travel is our act,
    Here, there, and back again, to win some prize,
    Those who are wise their voyage do contract
    To the safe space between each others' eyes."

This line is in keeping with my reputation as an early Victorian. … Do write me some good long letters. You have a better literary style than any man who ever wrote a letter to me, and I love you for the prejudices that are yours. Give my love to your wife. As always yours,



Washington, December 10, 1911

MY DEAR COLONEL,—I have been thinking over what I said yesterday, and I am going to presume upon my friendship and, I may say, my affection for you to make a suggestion:

Even though the call comes from a united party and under circumstances the most flattering, do not accept it unless you are convinced of two things: (1) that you are needed from a national standpoint and not merely from a party standpoint; (2) that you are certain of election.

Sacrifice for one's country is splendid, but sacrifice for one's party is foolish. You must feel assured before acceding to the call, which I believe will certainly come, that it is more than party-wide, and that it is sufficiently strong to overcome the trend toward Democratic success. If I were asked I would say that I think both of these conditions are present—that the desire to have you again is much broader than any party, and so large that it would insure your victory;—but no man is as wise a judge of these things as the man himself whose fortunes are at stake.

Thanking you again for the pleasure of a luncheon, believe me, as always, faithfully yours,


Roosevelt in a letter marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL replied:— … "That is a really kind and friendly letter from you, and I appreciate it. Now I agree absolutely with you that I have no business under any circumstances to accept any such call, even in the greatly improbable event of its coming, unless I am convinced that the need is National, a need of the people and not merely a need of the Party. But as for considering my own chances in any such event, my dear fellow, I simply would not know how to go about it. I am always credited with far more political sagacity than I really possess. I act purely on public grounds and then this proves often to be good policy too. I assure you with all possible sincerity that I have not thought and am not thinking of the nomination, and that under no circumstances would I in the remotest degree plan to bring about my nomination. I do not want to be President again, I am not a candidate, I have not the slightest idea of becoming a candidate, and I do not for one moment believe that any such condition of affairs will arise that would make it necessary to consider me accepting the nomination. But as for the effect upon my own personal fortunes, I would not know how to consider it, because I would not have the vaguest idea what the effect would be, except that according to my own view it could not but be bad and unpleasant for me personally. From the personal standpoint I should view the nomination to the Presidency as a real and serious misfortune. Nothing would persuade me to take it, unless it appeared that the people really wished me to do a given job, which I could not honorably shirk. …"


Washington, January 6, 1912

MY DEAR SAM,—… I, too, have been reading William James. His VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE is the only philosophic work that I was ever able to get all the way through. This thing gave me real delight for a week.

Have just read Mr. John Bigelow's REMINISCENCES, or bits thereof, and find that the aforesaid John is much like another John that we know in this city, the fine friend of the Pan-American Bureau. He seems to have been a dignified and solemn gentleman who carried on correspondence with a great many men for a number of years, without … having indulged in a flash of humor in all his respectable days. …

Will you support me for Supreme Court Justice? I see that I am mentioned. Between us, I am entirely ineligible, having a sense of humor. As always yours,



Washington, February 15,1912

MY DEAR SID,—Your weather has been no worse than ours, I want you to understand; in fact, not so bad. I think the glacial period is returning and the ice cap is moving down from the North Pole.

The Supreme Bench I could not get because I am a Democrat, and the President could not afford to appoint another Democrat on the Bench. I do not know when McKenna goes out, and I am not going to be disturbed about it anyway. If I had not been unlucky enough to be born in Canada I could be nominated for President this year. Things are in a devil of a condition. We could have elected Wilson, hands down, if it had not been for Hearst's malevolent influence. He is at the bottom of all this deviltry. His aim is to kill Wilson off and nominate Clark, and Clark is in the lead now, I think. God knows whether he can beat Taft or not. It looks to me as if Taft will be nominated. I have a feeling somehow that the Roosevelt boom won't materialize.

My love to the Missis and to Mr. House. As always yours,



Washington, February 19, 1912

MY DEAR JOHN,—For two weeks there has been standing on my desk a most elegantly bound set of your CASES ON TORTS sent to me by Little, Brown & Co. at your request. You do not need to be told, I know, how much I appreciate a thing that comes from you and how poverty stricken I am when it comes to making adequate return. I can prove that I have been working hard, but my work does not crystallize into anything which is worth sending to a friend.

The fact is that I have never worked as hard in my life as I have lately. I get to my office about nine, and without going out of my room (for I take my lunch at my desk), stay until six, and work at home every night until half past eleven, and then take a volume of essays or poems to bed with me for half or three-quarters of an hour, and so to sleep.

If the man in the White House had as much sense as I have, he would name you for the Supreme Bench without asking, and "draft" you, as Roosevelt says. By the way, I gave the suggestion of "draft" in a talk I had with him a month or so ago.

The political situation is interesting, but altogether un-lovely.
… It looks as if Clark might be the nominee on the Democratic
side. Taft is gaining in strength, and somehow I cannot feel that
Roosevelt will ever be in it, although you know how I like him.
The situation seems a bit artificial.

Give my love to Mrs. John. As always yours,



Washington, February 23, 1912

MY DEAR GEORGE,— … Yesterday I delivered an address before the University of Virginia on A Western View of Tradition—which when it is printed I will send out to you—and in the afternoon was taken up to Jefferson's home, Monticello. It is on a mountain, the top of which he scraped off. It overlooks the whole surrounding country, most of which at that time he owned. He planned the whole house himself, even to the remotest details, the cornices and the carvings on the mantels, the kind of lumber of which the floors were to be made, the character of the timbers used, the carving of the capitals on the columns, the folding ladder that was used to wind up the clock over the doorway, the registers on the porch that recorded the direction in which the wind was coming, as moved by the weather-vane on the roof, the little elevator beside the fireplace … and a thousand other details.

… I would like nothing better if I had any kind of skill in using my hands than to take a year off and build a house. It is a real religion to create something, and you do not need a great deal of money to make a very beautiful little place. You must have one large room, and the house must be on some elevation, and you must get water, water, and water. … It is water that makes land valuable in California or anywhere else. Affectionately yours,

F. K. L.


Washington, March 6, 1912

MY DEAR CARL,—I have this minute for the first time seen the copy of COLLIER'S, for February 24, 1912, and therefore for the first time my eyes lighted upon your most delicious roast of the Commerce Court. …

I do not know what the outcome of this movement will be. The only settled policy of government is inertia. The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, I believe, proposes to abolish the appropriation for the Court, which looks like a cowardly way to get at the thing, but perhaps it is most effective. However, I really doubt if they will have the nerve to do this. It is a mighty critical year, I think, in our history. It looks to me as if the reactionaries were going to get possession of both parties, and that a third party will be needed and nobody will have the nerve to start it. Roosevelt has got everything west of the Mississippi excepting Utah and Wyoming, in my judgment. That he will be able to get the nomination I am not so sure; but he does not care a tinker's damn whether he gets it himself or not. That is the worst of it because the people won't give anything to a man that he does not want. … Well, we are living in mighty interesting times anyway.

As always yours,


On February 22, 1912, Lane delivered the annual address at the University of Virginia. He spoke on American Tradition, saying that as Americans are physically, industrially, and socially the "heirs of all the ages" our supreme tradition is a "hatred of injustice." That one of the great experiments that a Democracy should make is to find a more equitable distribution of wealth "without destroying individual initiative or blasting individual capacity and imagination." This address brought a letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Justice of the Supreme Court.


March 17, 1912

MY DEAR SIR,—Let me thank you at once for your Virginia address, which I have just received and just read—read with the greatest pleasure. I admire its eloquence, its imagination, its style. I sympathize with its attitude and with most of its implications. I gain heart from its tone of hope. I am old—by the calendar at least—and at times am more melancholy, so that it does me good to hear the note of courage. One implication may carry conclusions to which I think I ought to note my disagreement,—the reference to unequal distribution. I think the prevailing fallacy is to confound ownership with consumption of products. Ownership is a gate, not a stopping place. You tell me little when you tell me that Rockefeller or the United States is the owner. What I want to know is who consumes the annual product, and for many years I have been saying and believing that to think straight one should look at the stream of annual products and ask what change one would make in that under any REGIME. The luxuries of the few are a drop in the bucket—the crowd now has all there is. The difference between private and public ownership, it seems to me, is mainly in the natural selection of those most competent to foresee the future and to direct labor into the most productive channels, and the greater poignancy of the illusion of self-seeking under which the private owner works. The real problem, under socialism as well as under individualism, is to ascertain, under the external economic and inevitable conditions, the equilibrium of social desires. The real struggle is between the different groups of producers of the several objects of social desire. The bogey capital is simply the force of all the other groups against the one that is selling its product, trying to get that product for the least it can. Capital is society purchasing and consuming— Labor is society producing. The laborers unfortunately are often encouraged to think capital something up in the sky which they are waiting for a Franklin to bring down into their jars. I think that is a humbug and lament that I so rarely hear what seem to me the commonplaces that I have uttered, expressed. Your fine address has set me on my hobby and you have fallen a victim to the charm of your own words. Very truly, yours,


P. S. Of course I am speaking only of economics not of political or sentimental considerations—both very real, but as to which all that one can say is, if you are sure that you want to go to the show and have money enough to buy a ticket, go ahead, but don't delude yourself with the notion that you are doing an economic act. I make the only return I can in the form of the single speech I have made for the last nine years.


Washington, March 20, 1912

MY DEAR MR. JUSTICE,—I sincerely thank you for the warmth and generosity of your comment on my Virginia speech. Your economic philosophy is fundamentally, I think, the same as mine—that the wealth produced is a social product. And men may honestly differ as to how best that stream of foods and other satisfactions may be increased in volume, or more widely distributed. May I carry your figure of the stream further by suggesting that the riparian owner in England has the superior right, but in an arid country the common law rule is abandoned because under new conditions it does not make for the greatest public good? The land adjoining feels the need of the water, and society takes from one to give to the other.

The last century was devoted to steaming up in production. This century, it appears to me, will devote itself more definitely to distribution. It is nonsense, of course, to say that because the rich grow richer the poor grow poorer; but the poor are not the same poor, they, too, have found new desires. Civilization has given them new wants. Those desires will not be satisfied with largesse, and with the machinery of government in their hands the people are bound to experiment along economic lines. They will certainly find that they get most when they preserve the captain of industry, but may it not be that his imagination and forethought may be commanded by society at a lower share of the gross than he has heretofore received, or in exchange for something of a different, perhaps of a sentimental nature? … Please pardon this typewritten note, but my own hand, unlike your copper-plate, is absolutely illegible. I have been raised in a typewriter age.

Again thanking you for your letter, believe me, with the highest regard, faithfully yours,



Washington, April 3, 1912

MY DEAR JOHN,—You overwhelm me. … You have no right to say such nice things to an innocent and trusting young thing like myself. The flat, unabashed truth is that I appreciate your letter more than any other that I have received concerning that speech. By way of indicating the interest which it has excited I send you copies of some correspondence between Mr. Justice Holmes and myself.

Our plans for the summer are very unsettled. The probability is that we will go up to Bras D'Or Lakes, in Cape Breton, where we can have salt-water bathing and sailing and be most primitive. I should like greatly to run over with you to Europe, and, by way of making the temptation harder to resist, let me know how you expect to go, and where.

Give my love to the Lady Wigmore. As ever yours,

F, K. L.


Washington, June 19, 1912

MY DEAR MR. WILLARD,—That was a warm cordial note that you sent me regarding my University of Virginia address, and what you say of my sentiments confirms my own view that property must look to men like yourself for protection in the future—men who are not blind to public sentiment and whose methods are frank. The worst enemy that capital has in the country is the man who thinks that he can "put one over" on the people. An institution cannot remain sacred long which is the creator of injustice, and that is what some of our blind friends at Chicago do not see. Very truly yours,



Washington, March 23, 1912

MY DEAR JOHN,—I am very glad indeed to hear from you and to know that you are in sympathy with my "eloquent" address at the University of Virginia. You give me hope that I am on the right track. As for Harmon and representative government, you won't get either. … Please see Mr. R. W. Emerson's Sphinx, in which occurs this line:

    "The Lethe of Nature can't trance him again
    Whose soul sees the perfect, which his eye seeks in vain."

Fancy me surrounded by maps of the express systems of the United States, digging through the rates on uncleaned rice from Texas to the Southeast, dribbling off poetry to a man who sits in a tall tower overlooking New York, who once had poetry which has per necessity been smothered! Dear John, read your Bible, and in Second Kings you will find the story of one Rehoboam, that son of Solomon, who was also for Harmon and representative government.

I am looking out of the window at the funeral procession for the Maine dead, and it strikes me that our dear friend Cobb has overlooked one trick in his campaign against T. R. Of course he has other arrows in his quiver, and no doubt this one will come later, but why not charge T. R. with having blown up the Maine? No one can prove that he did not do it. He then undoubtedly was planning to become President and knew that he never could be unless he was given a chance to show his ability as a soldier- patriot. He stole Panama of course, and is there any reason to believe that a man who would steal Panama would hesitate at blowing up a battleship?

I hope you … are giving over the life of a hermit—not that I would advise you to take to the Great White Way, but the side streets are sometimes pleasant. As always, devotedly yours,





Politics—Democratic Convention—Nomination of Wilson —Report on
Express Case—Democratic Victory—Problems for New Administration
—On Cabinet Appointments


Washington, April 30, 1912

MY DEAR DOCTOR,— … You certainly are very much in the right. Everything begins to look as if the Republican party would prove itself the Democratic party after all. Our Southern friends are so obstinate and so traditional, and so insensible to the problems of the day, that while they are honest they are too often found in alliance with the Hearsts and Calhouns. The Republican party, on the other hand, seems to have courage enough to take a purgative every now and then.

We must find ways of satisfying the plain man's notion of what the fair thing is, or else worse things than the recall of judges will come to pass. Every lawyer knows that the law has been turned into a game of bridge whist. People are perfectly well satisfied that they can submit a question to a body of fair-minded and honest men, take their conclusion, and get rid of all our absurd rules of evidence and our unending appeals.

And as to economic problems, people are going to solve a lot of these along very simple lines. I think I see a great body of opinion rising in favor of the appropriation by the Government of all natural resources.

We saw a lot of the Severances while they were here. Cordy made a great argument in the Merger Case, but if he wins, we won't get anything more than a paper victory—another Northern Securities victory.

Please remember me very kindly to Mrs. Shaw, and believe me, as always sincerely yours,



Washington, May 21, 1912

MY DEAR PFEIFFER,—I am acknowledging your note on the day when Ohio votes. This is the critical day, for if T. R. wins more than half the delegation in Ohio, he is nominated and, I might almost say, elected. But I find that the Democrats feel more sure of his strength than the Republicans do. Have you noticed how extremely small the Democratic vote is at all of the primaries, not amounting to more than one-fourth of the Republican vote?

… The Democrats are in an awkward position. If Roosevelt is nominated, one wing will be fighting for Underwood, to get the disaffected conservative strength, while the other wing will be fighting for Bryan, so as to hold as large a portion of the radical support as possible. Oh, well, we have all got to come to a real division of parties along lines of tendency and temperament and have those of us who feel democratic-wise get into the same wagon, and those who fear democracy, and whose first interest is property, flock together on the tory side. As always, yours,


Washington, July 2, 1912

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I am off tomorrow for Baddeck, Cape Breton, where
I shall probably be until the 1st of September or thereabouts—if
I can endure that long period of country life and absence from the
political excitement of the United States.

It looks, as I am writing, as if Wilson were to be nominated at Baltimore. If he is he will sweep the country; Taft won't carry three states. [Footnote: Taft carried Vermont and Utah.] Wilson is clean, strong, high-minded and cold-blooded. To nominate him would be a tremendous triumph for the anti-Hearst people. I have been over at the convention several times. Hearst defeated Bryan for temporary chairman by making a compact with Murphy, Sullivan and Taggart. … Bryan has fought a most splendid fight. I had a talk with him. He was in splendid spirits and most cordial. The California delegation headed by Theodore Bell has been made to look like a lot of wooden Indians. Bell himself was shouted down with the cry of "Hearst! Hearst!", the last time he rose to speak. The delegation is probably the most discredited one in the entire convention. …

My summer, I presume, will be put in chiefly in sailing a small yawl with Gilbert Grosvenor, rowing a boat, fishing a little, and walking some. My diet for the next two months will consist exclusively of salmon and potatoes, cod-fish and potatoes, and mutton and potatoes.

I have just completed my report in the Express Case, a copy of which will be sent you. It has been a most tremendous task, and the work has not yet been completed for we have to pass upon the rates in October; but I am in surprisingly good condition— largely, perhaps, because the weather has been so cool for the last month …

All happiness, old man! Affectionately yours,


"Lane had a long look ahead," says James S. Harlan, "that often
reminded one of the extraordinary prevision of Colonel Roosevelt.
One striking instance of this was in connection with this Express

"Early in the progress of the investigation of express companies undertaken by him in 1911, at the request of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Lane warned a group of high express officials gathered around him that unless they promptly coordinated their service more closely to the public requirements, revised their archaic practices, readjusted and simplified their rate systems so as to eliminate discriminations, the frequent collection of double charges and other evils, and gave the public a cheaper and a better service, the public would soon be demanding a parcel post.

"The suggestion was received with incredulous smiles, one of the express officials saying, apparently with the full approval of them all, that a parcel post had been talked of in this country for forty years and had never got beyond the talking point, and never would. As a matter of fact, there was little, if any, movement at that time in the public press or elsewhere for such a service by the government. But Lane's alert mind had sensed in the current of public thought a feeling that there was need of a quicker, simpler, and cheaper way of handling the country's small packages, and he saw no way out, other than a parcel post, if the express companies stood still and made no effort to meet this public need.

"Within scarcely more than a year Congress, by the Act of August 24, 1912, had authorized a parcel post and such a service was in actual operation on January 1, 1913. It was not until December of the latter year that the express companies were ready to file with the Commission the ingenious and entirely original system Lane had devised for stating express rates. The form was so simple that even the casual shipper in a few minutes' study could qualify himself for ascertaining the rates, not only to and from his own home express station but between any other points in the country. But by that time the carriage of the country's small parcels had permanently passed out of the hands of the express companies into the hands of the postal service, by which Lane's unique form for stating the express rates was adopted as the general form of showing its parcel post charges."

TO Oscar S. Straus

Washington, July 8, 1912

MY DEAR MR. STRAUS,—I thank you heartily for your appreciative note regarding my University of Virginia talk. I wanted to say something to those people, especially to the younger men, that would make them doubt the wisdom of staying forever with systems and theories not adapted to our day.

As I write, word comes that Woodrow Wilson has been nominated. I do not know him, but from what I hear he promises if elected to be a real leader in the war against injustice. The world wants earnest men right now—not cynics, but men who BELIEVE, whether rightly or wrongly; and the reason that the East is so much less progressive as we say, than the West, is because the East is made up so largely of cynics.

Thanking you once more for your appreciative words, believe me, sincerely yours,


Baddeck, Nova Scotia, July 81, [1912]

MY DEAR MR. WHEELER,—Your letter followed me here, where at least one can breathe. This really is a most beautiful country filled with self-respecting Gaelic-speaking Scotch from the islands of the north—crofters driven here to make place for sheep and fine estates on their ancestral homes in the Highlands.

I am proud of your words of commendation. The express job is the biggest one yet. I believe we've done a real service both to the country and to the express companies. The latter will probably live if their service and their rates improve. Otherwise the Government will put them out of business, requiring the railroads to give fast service for any forwarder, as in Germany.

Politically, things look Wilson to me. Taft won't be in sight at the finish. It will be a run between Wilson and T. R. I can't name five states that Taft is really likely to carry. My friends in Massachusetts say Wilson will win there, and so in Maine. Well, I suppose you and I are in the same sad situation—eager to break into the fight but bound not to do it. Do you know I believe that T. R. has discovered, and just discovered, that it is our destiny to be a Democracy. Hence the enthusiasm which Wall Street calls whiskey. … Sincerely yours,



Washington, September 17, 1912

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I am mighty glad to get your Labor Day letter, but sorry that its note is not more cheerful and gay. I can quite understand your position though. We are all obsessed with the desire to be of some use and unwilling to take things as they are. I do not know a pair of more rankly absurd idealists than you and myself, and along with idealism goes discontent. We do not see the thing that satisfies us, and we can not abide resting with the thing that does not satisfy us. We are of the prods in the world, the bit of acid that is thrown upon it to test it, the spur which makes the lazy thing move on.

This summer I saw a great deal of a man … [who was] perfectly complacent. … And I noticed that he took no acids of any kind— never a pickle, nor vinegar, nor salad—but would heap half a roll of butter on a single sheet of bread and eat sardines whole. And I just came to the conclusion that there was something in a fellow's stomach that accounted for his temperament. If I ever get the time I am going to try and work out the theory. The contented people are those who generate their own acid and have an appetite for fats, while the discontented people are those whose craving is for acids. A lack of a sense of humor and a love for concrete facts, as opposed to dreams, goes along with the first temperament. You just turn this thing over and see if there is not something in it. I am long past the stage of trying to correct myself; I am just trying to understand a lot of things—why they are. …

F. K L.


Washington, July 3, 1912

MY DEAR JOHN,—Of course you may keep the Napoleon book. It is intended for you. Your criticism of T. R.'s literary style is appreciated, and no doubt he lacks in precision of thought.

Now we shall have a chance to see what a college president can do as President of the United States. I believe Wilson will be elected. What a splendid jump in three years that man has made! They tell me he is very cold-blooded. We need a cold-blooded fellow these days …

September 21, 1912

… You will by this time have picked up all the politics of the time. Wilson is strong, but not stronger than he was when nominated. T. R. is gaining strength daily, that is my best guess. He has the laboring man with him most enthusiastically but not unanimously, of course. The far West—Pacific Coast—is his. All the railroad men and the miners …

I am not sure of Wilson. He is not "wise" to modern conditions, I fear. Tearing up the tariff won't change many prices. Doesn't he seem to talk too much like a professor and too little like a statesman? Hearst is knifing him for all he is worth. He has fixed in the workingmen's minds that Wilson favors Chinese immigration.

Well, when am I to see you again? And how is Mrs. John? How I do wish you were here! As always,

F. K. L.

To Timothy Spellacy

Washington, September 30, 1912

MY DEAR TIM,—I have your fine, long letter of September 23, and this is no more than just an acknowledgment. I am glad to know that you are taking so hearty an interest in the campaign. It is really too bad that you did not stay longer in Baltimore and see Bryan win out all along the line.

I don't want a position in the Cabinet. I am not looking for any further honors, but I want to help Wilson make a success of his administration, for I think he will be elected. I am afraid that he will become surrounded by Southern reactionaries—men of his own blood and feeling, who are not of the Northern and more progressive type. We have got to cut some sharp corners in doing the things that are right. By this I don't mean that we will do anything that is wrong; but from the standpoint of the Southern Democrat it is illegal to have a strong central government—one that is effective—and we have got to have such a government if we are going to hold possession of the Nation. The people want things done. Wilson is a bit too conservative for me, but maybe when he realizes the necessity for strength he will be for it.

I am sorry for B—. Poor chap! His alliance with Hearst undid years of good work … As always yours,


To Adolph C. Miller

Washington, October 18, 1912

MY DEAR ADOLPH,—I have postponed until the last minute writing you regarding my proposed visit in California. I see now clearly that it is impossible for me to get out there this fall. The Express Case … is still on my hands, and with all of my energy I shall not be able to get rid of it until the first of the year at least … Moreover (and this is a personal matter that I wish you would not say anything about) … I am doing my work in a great deal of pain, and have been for the last three or four weeks … I cannot work as hard as I did some time ago …

I rebel at sickness as much as I do at death. The scheme of existence does not appeal to me, at the moment, as the most perfect which a highly imaginative Creator could have invented. My transcendental philosophy seems a pretty good working article when things are going smoothly, but it is not quite equal to hard practical strain, I fear.

Politically things look like Wilson, though I suppose T. R. will get California and a lot of other states. I think he will beat Taft badly. The new party has come to stay, and it will be a tremendous influence for good. I don't take any stock in the talk about T. R's personal ambition being his controlling motive. I think that he has found a religious purpose in life to which he can devote himself the rest of his days, not to get himself into office but to keep things moving along right lines.

Remember me most kindly to your wife and President Wheeler. As always yours,


To William F. McCombs Chairman, Democratic National Committee

Washington, October 19,1912

Dear Mr. McCombs,—I cannot go to California and make speeches for Governor Wilson without resigning from the Commission. Four years ago two Republican members of the Commission were strongly urged at a critical time in the campaign to get into Mr. Taft's fight so as to help with the labor vote. I insisted that they should not do it, and the matter was brought before the Commission, and we then decided that no member of the Commission should take part in politics. So you see when the telegrams began to come in this year, urging that I go out to California and the other Pacific Coast states, I was compelled to say that I was stopped by my position of four years ago.

I have never wanted to get into a campaign as much as I have this one. Governor Wilson represents all that I have been fighting for, for the last twenty years in my State; but I think that it would be almost fatal to the independence and high repute of this Commission for its members to take part in a national campaign. We have so much power that we can exercise upon the railroads and upon railroad men that any announcement made by a member of this Commission could properly be construed as a threat or a suggestion that should be heeded by the wise. I know that this view of the matter will appeal to you as entirely sensible when you reflect upon it, and to my impatient friends in California, to whom it has been very hard to say no.

I am glad to see that you are holding the fight up so hard at the tail end of the campaign. That is when Democratic campaigns have so often been lost. Governor Wilson is maintaining himself splendidly, and our one danger has been over-confidence. Sincerely yours,


About the political situation he wrote to one of his former
Assistants in the City and County Attorney's office in San

To Hugo K. Asher

Washington, October 22,1912

MY DEAR HUGO,—I have your long letter which you promised in your telegram. Now, old man, I want to have a perfectly open talk with you. I understand your attitude of affectionate ambition for me, and I am mighty proud of it, that after the years we were associated together, the ups and downs we had, you feel the way you do.

Wilson is going to be elected unless some miracle happens, and I would tremendously like to get out to California and speak to the people once more. You do not know just how the old lust for battle has come over me. Following your telegram came a letter from McCombs, the Chairman of the National Committee, saying that he had received a lot of telegrams urging him to have me go and that Governor Wilson would like me to. But I wrote him precisely as I have you. If the members of this Commission once get into politics, the institution is gone to hell, for we can make or unmake any candidate we wish. This is the most powerful body in the United States, and we must act with a full sense of the responsibility that is on us …

As for being a member of Wilson's Cabinet, I don't want to be. In the first place I can't afford it. There is no Cabinet man here who lives on his salary, and as you know, I have got nothing else. I save nothing now out of the salary that I get, and if the social obligations of a Cabinet position were placed upon me I would have to run in debt …

Furthermore, I am doing just as big work and as satisfactory work as any member of the Cabinet. The work that a Cabinet officer chiefly does is to sign his name to letters or papers that other people write. There is very little constructive work done in any Cabinet office. While the glamour of intimate association with the President—the honor that comes from such a position—appeals to me, for I still have all my old-time vanity and love of dignity and appreciation; yet the position that I occupy is one of so much power, and I am conscious so thoroughly of its usefulness, that I do not want to change it. I should be more or less close to the President anyway, I presume. His friends are my friends, and I shall have an opportunity to help make his administration a success by advising with him, if he desires my advice.

Now, old man, I have talked to you very frankly, and I know that you will understand just what I mean. If I were out of office I would have been in Wilson's campaign a year ago. If I wanted a Cabinet position now I would resign from the Commission and go out to help him. I think probably if I felt that California's vote was necessary to Wilson's success and that I could help to get it, I would take the latter course, although it is not clear that that would be my duty, in view of conditions in the Commission.

With warmest regards, believe me, as always, faithfully yours,


To Francis G. Newlands Reno, Nevada

Washington, October 28, 1912

MY DEAR SENATOR,—I am delighted at the receipt of your long letter, for I have been very anxious to know how you felt about your own State. Of course it has been a foregone conclusion for some time that Wilson would carry the United States, but I was desirous that you should carry Nevada for your own sake …

In my judgment the Interstate Trades Commission needs all of your concentrated energy for the next year. The bill should be your bill, and you should be the leading authority upon the matter.

Wilson should look to you for advice along this line of dealing with the trust problem. He will, if you have the greater body of information upon the subject. Of course Roosevelt did not know where he was going as to his Trades Commission, and he would not have had any opportunity were he elected to go any farther, … because that Commission has got to feel its way along. Wilson, you can see from his speeches, has swallowed Brandeis' theory without knowing much about the problem, but he certainly has handled himself well during the campaign … What he does will very largely depend, I think, upon those who surround him. He must have access to sources of information outside of the formal administrative officers who make up his Cabinet. This is a very delicate way of saying that he must have a sort of "kitchen cabinet" made up of men like you and myself who will be willing to talk frankly to him, and whom he will listen to with confidence and respect. If he can get the Southerners into line with the Northern Democrats he can make over the Democratic Party and give it a long lease of life. If he cannot do this, and his party splits, Roosevelt's party will come into possession of the country in four years, and hold it for a long time …

I am glad to see that you have been able to take so personal and direct an interest in the campaign. Faithfully yours,


Following the news of the Democratic victory, in the election of
Woodrow Wilson to the Presidency, Lane sent these letters:—

To Woodrow Wilson Trenton, N. J.

Washington, November 6, 1912

MY DEAR GOVERNOR,—The door of opportunity has opened to the Progressive Democracy. I know that you will enter courageously. The struggle of the next four years will be to persuade our timid brethren to follow your leadership, "gentlemen unafraid." I am persuaded from my experience here that no President can be a success unless he takes the position of a real party leader—the premier in Parliament as well as a chief executive. The theoretical idea of the President's aloofness from Congress—of a President dealing with the National Legislature as if he were an independent government dealing with another—is wrong, because it has been demonstrated to be ineffective and ruinous. We need definiteness of program and cooperation between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. There is generally one end of the Avenue that does not know its own mind, and sometimes it is one, and sometimes the other.

Your friends have been made happy through the campaign by the manner in which you have conducted yourself. You spoiled so many bad prophecies.

With heartiest of personal congratulations, believe me, faithfully yours,


To William Jennings Bryan Washington, November 6, 1912

MY DEAR MR. BRYAN,—The unprecedented heroism of your fight at Baltimore has borne fruit, and every man who has fought with you for the last sixteen years rejoices that this victory is yours. Now comes the time when it is to be proved whether we are worthy of confidence. We shall see whether Democrats will follow a wise, aggressive, modern leadership. Faithfully yours,


To James D. Phelan Washington, November 6, 1912

DEAR PHELAN,—Hurrah! Hurrah! and again Hurrah! You have done nobly. The victory in California came late, but it was none the less surprising and gratifying. We can dance like Miriam, as we see the enemies of Israel go down in the flood.

I shall expect to see you here before long. With warmest congratulations to you personally. As always, sincerely yours,


To Herbert Harley

Washington, November 18, 1912

MY DEAR MR. HARLEY,—… There are many hopeful signs, as you say, not the least of which is that the Supreme Court has at last been moved to amend its equity rules. The whole agitation for judicial recall will do good because it will not lead to judicial recall but to the securing of a superior order of men on the bench and to simplified procedure. I find that it is better to decide matters promptly and sometimes wrongly than to have long delays. The people have very little confidence in our courts, and this is because of one reason: Our judges are not self-owned; either they are dominated by a political machine or by associations of an even worse character. Few men on the bench are corrupt; many of them are lazy, and others are chosen from the class who feel with property interests exclusively. I am heartily in sympathy with a movement such as that you are promoting. It is in my opinion a very practical way—perhaps the only practical way—of heading off universal judicial recall. This is a Democracy and the people are going to have men and methods adopted that will give them the kind of judicial procedure that they want. They are not going to be unfair unless driven to be radical by intolerable conditions. …

Sincerely yours,


Immediately after Woodrow Wilson's election in November, telegrams and letters from different parts of the country, and especially from his many friends in California, began to reach Lane asking that he should consider himself available for a Cabinet position, offering support and requesting his permission for them to make a strong effort in his behalf. This he emphatically refused, saying that he was not a candidate, but in spite of his refusals, editorials began to appear in many Western papers.

To Charles K. McClatchy Sacramento Bee

Washington, November 25, 1912

MY DEAR CHARLES,—I received your note and this morning have a copy of the paper containing the cartoon on "Unfinished Business," the original of which, by the way, I should like to have for my library. …

I know absolutely nothing about the suggestion made by the Call as to my being appointed to the Cabinet. I rather think that it was Ernest Simpson's friendly act, though I have not heard from him at all. Three men have been to me from the Coast who wanted to be in the Cabinet, and I have told each one the same thing:—That I was not a candidate; that no one would speak to the President for me with my consent; but that I would not say that I would not accept an appointment, because I would do almost anything to make Wilson's administration a success, for I believe that he has faced the right way and the only difficulty that he will have will be in securing strong enough support to carry out his own policies. I think he lacks somewhat in adroitness and that his campaign was much less radical than he would voluntarily have made it. I do not know him and shall not go near him unless he sends for me. If he does send for me I shall tell him the truth regarding anybody of whom he speaks to me. I shall advocate nobody. I am not going to be a job peddler or solicitor. My present position makes all the demand upon my imagination, initiative, and capacity that my abilities justify. I could not work any harder or do any better work for the people in any position that the Government has to give. I am not at all enamored of the honor of a Cabinet place.

Now, I am talking to you in the utmost frankness as if you were sitting just across the table from me. Of course what I am saying to you is absolutely private and personal. …

We will just let this matter rest "on the knees of the gods," and I shall try to serve with as little personal ambition moving me as is possible with a man who has some temperament.

Sincerely yours,


To Ernest S. Simpson San Francisco, Cal.

Washington, November 26, 1912

MY DEAR SIMPSON,—How it ever entered into your head to give me so splendid a boom for a position in Wilson's Cabinet I do not know. Someone suggested that the tip came from Ira Bennett at this end, and I see that the Sacramento Bee suggests that the railroads wish to remove me from my present sphere of troublesomeness; but my own guess is that your own good heart and our long-time friendship was the sole cause of this most kindly act.

Some of the California papers, I notice, have had editorials saying I should stay where I am (which is not a disagreeable fate to be condemned to, barring a slight surplus of work), but of course Wilson is not going to appoint anyone to his Cabinet because of pull. He has a more difficult job than any President has ever had since Lincoln, because he has to reconcile a progressive Northern Democracy with a conservative Southern Democracy, and satisfy one with policies and another with offices. My guess is that he will have to turn over the whole question of patronage practically to his Cabinet and that he will become the actual leader of his party and attempt to formulate the legislative policies of the party. He has a distinct ideal of what the Presidency may be made. Whether he can make good under conditions so apparently irreconcilable is a question that time only can answer. His political family he will choose for himself. They ought to be the very largest men that our country can produce, and I am not fool enough to think that I am entitled to be in such a group.

With the warmest thanks, my dear Simpson, for your kindness, believe me, as always, cordially yours,


To Fairfax Harrison

Washington, November 26, 191L

MY DEAR MR. HARRISON,—That is an exceedingly interesting and philosophical presentation of your reason for adherence to the Progressive Party. I understand your point of view and I sympathize with it thoroughly. I had the hope that Colonel Roosevelt would carry several of the Southern states. The Democratic party of the North is distinct from the Democratic party of the South, at least I fear that it is. The next four years will demonstrate the possibility of these two elements living together in effective cooperation. If Governor Wilson is a mere doctrinaire the present victory will be of no value to the Democratic party, but may be of great value to the country, for the horizontal cleavage in the two parties will become manifest, unmistakable, and open, and out of the breaking up will come a re- alignment upon real lines of tendency. If President Wilson attempts to do anything which satisfies the reasonable demand of the progressive North he will run counter to the traditional policy of the South; that is to say, effective regulation of child labor, of interstate corporations—railroad and industrial—flood waters, irrigation projects. [These,] and a multitude of other matters make necessary the wiping out of state lines to the extent that a national policy shall be supreme over a state policy. As our good Spanish friend said some centuries ago, "Where two men ride of a horse one must needs ride behind."

This fact is stronger than any written word, and facts are the things which statesmen deal with. If the South is large enough to see this—if it has grown to have national vision—the hope of the Northern Democrat can be realized. Otherwise the traditionalists of both North and South will make a party by themselves, and the rest of the country will follow in your lead into THE new party or A new party.

With warm regards, believe me, cordially yours,


To James P. Brown

Washington, November 27, 1912

MY DEAR JIM,—I see your point of view and am glad you have taken the position that you have, because you can demonstrate whether there is anything excepting a sawed-off shot-gun that will compel some editors to tell the truth. …

I shall not read your pamphlet because I have too much other reading that I am compelled to do. My own guess, being totally ignorant on the subject, is that you have violated the Sherman Law, but everybody knows that the Sherman Law should be amended and the conditions stated upon which there may be combination. Do get out of your head, however, the idea that a railroad corporation and an industrial corporation are subject to the same philosophy, as to competition. One is necessarily a monopoly and therefore must be regulated; the other is not necessarily a monopoly, and the least regulation that it can be subjected to the better. We have let things go free for so long that we have created a big problem that sane men must deal with sensibly; not admitting all there is to be right, but recognizing every natural and legitimate economic tendency. With warm regards, believe me, as always,



Washington, December 4, 1912

MY DEAR ADOLPH,—Hon. J. J. London, Minister from the Netherlands to the United States, left last night for San Francisco and will be there about the ninth of the month. I have told him somewhat of you and I want you to call on him. He is one of the most charming men in Washington, really a poet in nature. He loves the beautiful and good things of the world and is totally unspoiled by success and position. …

It is very good to know that you and President Wheeler have a sort of mutual agreement on me for a Cabinet position, but I don't think of it for myself. … I find that I do not have the ambition that I once had, excepting to do the work in hand just as well as possible, and I am altogether impatient with the way I do it. I should like to see you Secretary of the Treasury. There is to be some change made in our currency laws during the next four years, and a man of perfectly sane, level mind is tremendously needed to guide Wilson in this matter, for I guess he is very ignorant upon the subject. Especially is this true if Bryan goes into the Cabinet. E. M. House, who is Sid Mezes' brother-in-law, is as close to Wilson as any other man, and I will drop him a note, telling him something about you, for I know that he is interested in selecting Cabinet officers as he has been talking to me about possible Attorney Generals. I have told him that I wanted nothing. …

Mezes is the same adroit diplomat that he has always been, since receiving the Presidency at Texas. He is doing big things for his University and says that in two or three years he will be in a position to retire, and will retire and spend the most of his time in Europe; but unless my guess is wrong, his ambition has at last been fired and he will look for other worlds to conquer if he achieves what he is after in Texas. Cordially yours,



Washington, December 13, 1912

MY DEAR MR. HOUSE,—Another suggestion as to the Attorney Generalship. … Have you ever heard of John H. Wigmore who is now Dean of the Law Department of the Northwestern University? He is one of the most remarkable men in our country. … He has written the greatest law book produced in this country in half a century, WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE, besides several minor works. There is no lawyer at the American bar who is not familiar with his name and his work. …

… Wigmore is a Progressive democrat with a capital P. and a small d; can give reason for his faith based on his philosophy of government. He has national vision and has rare good common sense. The man who can write a good law book is rarely one who would make a good lobbyist, although Judah P. Benjamin was this sort of genius. So with Wigmore. He is practical, wise, in the sense that this word is used by the boys on the street; knows men and knows how to deal with them; never lets theory get the better of judgment; commands as much respect for his strength as for his reasonableness; has the enthusiasm of a boy for all good things; and has infinite capacity for hard work; can say "No" without developing personal bitterness; and is above all a gentleman in face, manner, and nature. All this I have said with enthusiasm, but every word of it is true. I have known him for thirty years. …

He would not thank me for writing this letter, I know. The only way he could be had to serve would be by persuading him that he is absolutely needed. …

You have brought this long letter upon your own head by the gracious nature of your invitation to me to advise with you. Very truly yours,



Washington, December 23, 1912

DEAR DR. WHEELER,—What you say regarding the President-to-be is extremely interesting. That he is headstrong, arbitrary, and positive, his friends admit. These are real virtues in this day of slackness and sloppiness. I have just returned from New York where I have talked with McAdoo and House who are extremely close to him, and advising him regarding his Cabinet, and they tell me he is a most satisfactory man to deal with. He listens quite patiently and makes up his mind, and then "stays put." His Cabinet will be his advisers but no one will control him.

I heard him make that speech at the Southern Society dinner, which was really much larger than the audience could understand. It was a presentation of the theory that the thought of the nation determined its destiny and that we could only have prosperity if our ideal was one of honor. His warning to Wall Street, that an artificial panic should not be created, was done in a most impressive way. …

I was asked to give the names of men from California who would make good Cabinet material, and I named Phelan and Adolph Miller. The currency question will be the big problem in the next two or three years, and I should like Wilson to have the benefit of as sane a mind as Miller's; but I fancy that even if everything else was all right there might be some difficulty in getting a college professor to appoint another college professor.

I hope we shall see you here soon. With holiday greetings to Mrs.
Wheeler and the Boy, believe me, as always, faithfully yours,



Washington, December 23, 1912

MY DEAR SID,—I have your letter enclosing a telegram from Miller. I received a note from him acknowledging the telegram. He was evidently extremely delighted at being remembered. The sturdy, strong old Dutchman has a whole lot of sentiment in him; and he makes few friends, has drawn pretty much to himself, I think, and falls back upon those whom he has known in earlier days. I sent a note to Mr. House regarding him. He would be a splendid man to have here in some capacity connected with the Government, now that we are to deal with currency matters. I told Mr. House that he could find out all about Miller from you.

I saw House a couple of times in New York. He certainly is an adroit and masterful diplomat. The fact is I do not know that I have seen a man who is altogether so capable of handling a delicate situation. By some look of the eye or appreciative smile at the right moment he gives you to understand his sympathy with and full comprehension of what you are saying to him. They tell me in New York that he is really the man closest to Wilson, and he tells me that Wilson is a delightful man to deal with because he has got a mind that is firm as a rock. …

I send my Christmas greetings to you both. We have a sick little girl on our hands, but she is coming along all right now. As always yours,


To John H. Wigmore

Washington, January 8,1913

MY DEAR JOHN,—… You may not know it, but I suggested your name
to Mr. House, an intimate of President-elect Wilson, for Attorney
General. … He told me that he gave the letter to Governor
Wilson. …

Like so many of the Southerners, I fear that Wilson's idea is that he can declare a general policy and be indifferent as to the men who carry it out. There is a certain lack of effectiveness running through the South which makes for sloppiness and a lack of precision. I have found that generalizations do not get anywhere. The strength of any proposition lies in its application. The railroads and the trusts and the packers, and all the others who are violating the statutes, are indifferent as to how big the law is and upon what sound principles it is based, provided they have a lot of speechmakers to enforce the law. They don't care what the law is; their only concern is as to its enforcement. I am going to give the Democratic Party four years of honest trial, and then if it has not more precision, definiteness, and clearness of aim, am going to call myself a Progressive, or a Republican, or something else.

Wilson is strong, capable of keeping his own counsel, and capable of making up his own mind. In these three respects he differs materially from our present President whose last flop on the arbitration of the Panama Canal proposition is characteristic. …

Now, old man, let me say to you that you must take the very best of care of yourself, for we need you more than anybody else in this country, right at this time. As always yours,


To John H. Wigmore Washington, January 20, 1913

MY DEAR JOHN,—I have received both of your letters, and I am very glad that you made that mistake regarding my address for it brought me two letters instead of one. I received your Continental Legal History months ago and thought that I had acknowledged it with all kinds of appreciation, but perhaps I only thought the things. … I turned the book over to Minister Loudon of the Netherlands who knew the Dutch professor who had written one of the articles, and the rascal has not returned the book, but I shall get it from him one of these days. … Washington is now greatly stirred because Wilson has frowned upon the Inaugural Ball—a very proper frown, to my way of thinking—but inasmuch as all of the merchants who advance money for the inaugural ceremonies recoup themselves from the receipts from the Inaugural Ball, there is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and Wilson will enter Washington, in my judgment, a very unpopular president, locally. The fact is, I think, he is apt to prove one of the most tremendously disliked men in Washington that ever has been here.

He has a great disrespect for individuals, and so far as I can discover a very large respect for the mass. His code is a little new to us; and I feel justified in proceeding upon the theory that every man should help him, and that it is within his (Wilson's) proper function to throw Mr. Everyman down whenever public good requires it, and that his silence never estops him from interfering at any time. Perhaps you cannot make out just what this means. I am dictating, sitting in my room at home with a very bad cold, and perhaps I do not know precisely what I mean myself; but I am trying to say that under all circumstances Wilson regards himself as a free man, and that he is bound by no ties whatever to do anything or to follow any course; that he recognizes no such thing as consistency, or logic, or gratitude, as in the slightest embarrassing him. …

I do hope that the President will get some capable effective administration officers who will take the burden of patronage off his shoulders and give him a chance to think on the money question, which is his big problem. I like his Chicago speech, I like his New York speech, but I do not find many people who understand him, because he is really a sort of philosopher. He teaches the psychology of new thought, the influence and effect of thought upon government.

I have written an article for the World's Work which is to appear in March, entitled What I Am Trying To Do, but it is really sort of an answer to one or two articles that they have had upon the railroad side of the question of regulation—a demonstration of the chaotic condition of things that existed prior to the establishment of the Commission; and that the effect of regulation has been to increase railroad earnings and put things upon a stable and more satisfactory basis. … I find that I have a copy of the proofs in the office and I am going to send it to you and ask you to criticise it. …

With my love to your good wife, believe me, as always,


To Joseph N. Teal

Washington, January 20, 1913

MY DEAR JOE,—… You know we practically have the power now to make a physical appraisement. … We should not ourselves attempt to arrive at cost. That is a very hard thing for the railroads to furnish. They have taken good care to destroy most of the books and papers that would show cost.

Politically, I hear of no news. Wilson is able to keep his own counsel more perfectly than anybody I have ever known, and nobody comes back from Trenton knowing anything more than when he went. … The money question is going to be the big one, and it looks to me as though certain gentlemen were preparing to intimidate him with a panic, which they won't do because he will appeal to the country. He has got splendid nerve, and while Washington won't like him a little, little bit, the country, I think, will put him down as a very great President. As always,


To Edward M. House

Washington, January 22, 1913

DEAR MR. HOUSE,—You ask me what is the precise political situation on the Pacific Coast as to various candidates for the Cabinet.

As I have told you, I am to be eliminated from consideration. California has but one candidate, one who was in Governor Wilson's primary campaign and who made the fight for him in that state, in the person of James D. Phelan whom you have met. … Recognition given to Phelan will be given to the foremost man in the progressive fight in California. … He is a brilliant speaker and a man of excellent business judgment. … He has fine social quality and sufficient money to maintain such a position in proper dignity. Not to recognize him in some first-class manner would be a triumph for his enemies—and his enemies are the crooks of the state.

Joseph N. Teal who is spoken of from Oregon as a possible Secretary of the Interior, is a good lawyer and a most public- spirited man who has been identified with every sane movement for progress in that state. He is a man of means and is deeply interested in questions of conservation and the improvement of our waterways. …

… As a matter of party politics I do not think that any Pacific Coast state can be made Democratic by the appointment of a member of the Cabinet from it; as a matter of national politics, it seems to be necessary that that part of the country should have a voice in the council of the President.

Now, I want to say a word or two on a more important matter. You realize, I presume (and Governor Wilson evidently does) that there is talk of a probable panic in the air. He dealt with this matter masterfully in his New York speech. Worse things than panic can befall a nation. We must preserve our self-respect as a self- governing people. But what is the cause of this loose talk? Apprehension. The business interests of the country do not know what they are to expect. As a party we are too much given to generalization; we have too little precision of thought. You will notice how the New York papers of yesterday speak of Governor Wilson's bill regarding the regulation of trusts. This is something definite, and does not frighten because it is known. The problems we have to deal with—the tariff, currency, and trusts— should all be dealt with in this same manner. The Administration should have a definite program on each one of these questions; and I mean by that, bills framed in conference between the leaders which should be presented as party measures at the very first possible moment. I have information that the banks are already saying that they will stop loans until these questions are dealt with. This is the way by which panic can be produced. The country is too prosperous to allow a widespread industrial panic if the measures favored by the Government commend themselves to the people as sane and necessary. Why can't we, as the boys on the street say, "beat them to it"? If Congress is called by the middle of March, and the tariff is quickly put out of the way, and a currency bill promptly follows, we can restore the mind of the country to its normal state by midsummer. You know that this problem of government is largely one of psychology. The doctor must speak with definiteness and certainty to quiet the patient's nerves, and the doctor is the party as represented in the President and Congress.

With warm regards to Mrs. House, believe me, as always, cordially yours,


To Mitchell Innes

Washington, February 26, 1913

MY DEAR MR. INNES,—I received your pamphlet and have read it through with the deepest interest. These young men [Footnote: A group of young men organized for social and political betterment, who sought advice.] are deserving of the strongest encouragement. I have no criticism whatever to make of their prospectus—for that word, I presume, without slight, can be properly used.

My conviction is that we can find no solution for the problems of social, political, economic, or spiritual unrest. "The man's the man" philosophy has taken hold of the world. We have lost all traditional moorings. We have no religion. We have no philosophy. Our age is greater than any other that the world has seen. We have been lifted clear off our feet and taken up into a high place where we have been shown the universe. The result has been a tremendous and exaggerated growth of the ego, and we have regarded ourselves as masters of everything, and subject to nothing. Agnosticism led to sensualism, and sensualism had its foundation in hopelessness. We are materialists because we have no faith. This thing, however, is being changed. We are coming to recognize spiritual forces, and I put my hope for the future, not in a reduction in the high cost of living, nor in any scheme of government, but in a recognition by the people that after all there is a God in the world. Mind you, I have no religion, I attend no church, and I deal all day long with hard questions of economics, so that I am nothing of a preacher; but I know that there never will come anything like peace or serenity by a mere redistribution of wealth, although that redistribution is necessary and must come.

If I were these young men and wished to concentrate upon some economic question, I should put my time in on the cost of distribution. … That is the economic problem of the next century—how to get the goods from the farm to the people with the lowest possible expenditure of effort; how to get the manufactured product from the factory to the house with the least possible expense. I have an idea that we have too many stores, too many middlemen, too much waste motion. So that I have only two thoughts to suggest: The first is that the ultimate problem is to substitute some adequate philosophy or religion for that which we have lost; and the second is to concentrate on the simple economic problem. Have we the cheapest system of distribution possible? … Sincerely yours,




Appointment as Secretary of the Interior—Reorganization of the
Department—Home Club—Bills on Public Lands

His appointment, as Secretary of the Interior, came to Lane in a letter from President-elect Wilson, stating that he was being "drafted" by the President for public service in his Cabinet. The letter was written about the middle of February, 1913. The urgent manner of the appointment was caused by Lane's frankly-expressed reluctance to leave his work on the Interstate Commerce Commission, where opportunity for yet fuller accomplishment had been assured by his recent appointment as Chairman of the Commission. Seven years of application to the intricate problems of adjustment between the conflicting claims of the public, the shippers, and the railroads, did not solve all the issues involved in new and profoundly interesting cases coming up for adjudication. In addition to this natural desire to expand and perfect the technique of administration of his Commission, Lane dreaded the great increase in social and financial demands involved in a Cabinet position. In addition to these reasons, the change in service would mean work with men that he knew only slightly, if at all, and under a President whom he had never met. Perhaps the consideration that weighed more heavily than any of these, in his feeling of reluctance, was that the portfolio of the Department of the Interior, with its congeries of ill-assorted bureaus was in itself unattractive to a man with Lane's love of logical order. His liking for strong team-work and for the building of morale among a force of mutually helpful workers seemed to have no possible promise of gratification among bureau chiefs as unrelated as those of the General Land Office, the Indian Office, the Bureau of Pensions, Patent Office, Bureau of Education, Geological Survey, Reclamation Service, and Bureau of Mines.

It was, therefore, with something of the spirit of a drafted man that Lane set his face toward his new work. Members of his immediate family recall days of depression after the appointment first came, but the cordial response of the press of the country to his appointment, the flooding in of many hundreds of letters and telegrams of congratulation, and President Wilson's own cordiality—lifted Lane's mood to its normal hopefulness.

In relating the history of the appointment itself, Arthur W. Page, of the World's Work, writes, after talking with E. M. House of the matter, "House recommended Lane, as perhaps the one man available, adapted to any Cabinet position from Secretary of State down. At one time Lane was slated for the War Department, at another time another department and finally placed as Secretary of the Interior because being a good conservationist, as a Western man he could promote conservation with more tact and less criticism than an Eastern man."

Confronted by a complex and definite task, Lane's mind quickened to the attack. The situation of the Indian seized his sympathy. In his first official report he wrote, "That the Indian is confused in mind as to his status and very much at sea as to our ultimate purpose toward him is not surprising. For a hundred years he has been spun round like a blindfolded child in a game of blindman's buff. Treated as an enemy at first, overcome, driven from his lands, negotiated with most formally as an independent nation, given by treaty a distinct boundary which was never to be changed while water runs and grass grows,' he later found himself pushed beyond that boundary line, negotiated with again, and then set down upon a reservation, half captive, half protege."

With this at heart Lane wrote a letter of vigorous appeal to John
H. Wigmore to become his First Assistant.

To John H. Wigmore

Washington, March 9,1913

MY DEAR JOHN,—I want you as my First Assistant. It is absolutely essential that I should have you!! I am aiming to gather around me the largest men whom I can secure and to form a cabinet of equals. Four years of this life here would bring a great deal of satisfaction to you. You would meet the distinguished men of the world. It is the center of all the great law movements of the world,—for peace, international arbitration, reform in procedure, and such matters. Beside that, we have two or three of the greatest problems to meet and solve that have ever been presented to the American people. First in the public mind is the land problem. How can we develop our lands and yet save the interest of the Nation in them? Second, and I think perhaps this should be first, is the Indian problem. Here we have thousands of Indians, as large a population as composes some of the States, owning hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property which is rapidly rising in value. I am their guardian. I must see that they are protected. They have schools over which we have absolute control— the question of teachers that they are to have, the question of the kind of education that they are to be given, the question of industry that they are to pursue. Their morals, I understand, are in a frightful state, largely owing to our negligence and the lack of enforcement of our laws. We can save a great people; and the First Assistant has this matter as his special care. I do not know of any place in the United States which calls for as much wisdom and for as great a soul as this particular job. I will give you men under you over whom you will have entire control and who will be to your liking. I will give you men to sit beside you at the table who will be of your own class. You can do more good in four years in this place than you can possibly do in forty where you are now. There are a lot of men who can teach law, and lots of men who can write the philosophy of the law, but there are few men who can put the spirit of righteousness into the business, social, and educational affairs of an entire race. Think of that work! Beside that you have the constructive work in framing and helping to frame a line of policy as to the disposition of our national lands—the opening of Alaska.

Now, John, I have looked over the entire United States and you are the only man that I want. The salary is five thousand a year. You can live on that here without embarrassment. The President will be delighted to have you, and you will find him treating you with the same consideration and giving you the same dignity that he does all the members of his Cabinet; all the Supreme Court. I have never seen a man more considerate, more reasonable. Dr. Houston, who has become Secretary of Agriculture, left Washington University in St. Louis, under an arrangement by which he can return at the end of his term. You, doubtless, could make a similar arrangement, and if you wish to, you will have plenty of opportunity to give one or two courses of lectures in the University during the year,

I have thought seriously of going out to see you, but with Cabinet conditions as they are it is impossible, for we are passing upon important questions now that prevent that. I am very selfish in urging you to this, but I am also giving you an opportunity to do work that will be more congenial than any you have ever done, and to be with a more congenial lot of people. If there is any doubt in your mind let me know, but don't say "No" to me. The country needs you. You have done a great work. There is nothing higher to be done in your line. Now come here and help in a great constructive policy. Sincerely and affectionately,


To Walter H. Page Worlds Work

Washington, March 12, 1918

MY DEAR PAGE,—I have just now seen your letter of March 2nd, else it would have had earlier recognition.

The President is the most charming man imaginable to work with. Most of us in politics have been used to being lied about, but there has been a particularly active set of liars engaged in giving the country the impression that W. W. was what we call out West a "cold nose." He is the most sympathetic, cordial and considerate presiding officer that can be imagined. And he sees so clearly. He has no fog in his brain.

As you perhaps know, I didn't want to go into the Cabinet, but I am delighted that I was given the opportunity and accepted it, because of the personal relationship; and I think all the Cabinet feel the way that I do. If we can't make this thing a success, the Democratic Party is absolutely gone, and entirely useless.

I hope next time you are down here I shall see you. Cordially yours, FRANKLIN K LANE

To Edwin Alderman President, University of Virginia

Washington, March 17,1913

MY DEAR DR. ALDERMAN,—Your letter of the 14th gives me exceptional satisfaction, … because it brings with it extremely good news. You say you will win in your fight [Footnote: After a long serious illness Dr. Alderman was regaining health.] and that rejoices me even more than it does to be told of the real satisfaction that you get out of my appointment.

It was a surprise to me. It came at the last minute. I had to introduce myself to the President-elect the day before the inauguration. I find him consideration itself in Cabinet meetings and he never seems to be groping. In my mental processes I find myself constantly like a man climbing a mountain, pushing through belts of fog, but his way seems clear and definite.

You certainly would feel at home around the Cabinet table, and all of us would rejoice to see you there. … I shall take your note home to Mrs. Lane and show it to her with much pride. … Sincerely yours, FRANKLIN K. LANE

To Theodore Roosevelt

Washington, March 24, 1913

MY DEAR COLONEL,—I have received a great many hundred letters, but I think I can honestly say that no other one has given me the pleasure that yours has. I am struggling hard to get the reins of this six-horse team in my hands and every day I feel more acutely the weight of the responsibility that I bear. The last few weeks have been put in being interviewed by Senators and Congressmen, who wish to name men for the few positions in the office. It has been rather enjoyable, and they have been fair and by no means peremptory. The hardest place I have to fill is that of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. How absurd to try to get a man to handle the interests of an entire race, owning a thousand million dollars' worth of property, and have to offer a salary of $5,000 a year!

I hope that you will feel free to give me the benefit of any advice as to the conduct of my department that may happen to come to you out of your great experience. As always, faithfully yours,



Washington, April 9, 1913

MY DEAR LAWRENCE,—The Japanese are reducing the value of California lands by buying a piece in a picked valley, paying any price that is demanded. They swarm then over this particular piece of property until they reduce the value of all the adjacent land. No one wishes to be near them; with the result that they buy or lease the adjoining land, and so they radiate from this center until now they have possession of some of the best valleys. Really the influx of the Japanese is quite as dangerous as that of the Chinese. The proposed legislation in California is not to exclude Japanese alone, but to make it impossible for any alien to own land, at least until he declares his intention to become a citizen. Inasmuch, of course, as Orientals can not become citizens, this disbars them from owning land.

There is, of course, as in all things Californian, a good deal of hysteria over this matter, and I think your Progressive friends are trying to put the Democrats in a bit of a hole by making it appear that the Democrats are being influenced by the Federal Government to take a more conservative course than the Progressives desire.

My information is that some restrictive legislation will be passed by the legislature, no matter what Japan's attitude may be, but Japan's face will be saved and every need met if the legislation is general in terms. …

April 20, 1913

… I do not like the sudden turn that Johnson seems to have taken in the last day or two but I still have faith that those people out there will do the sensible thing and allow us to save Japan's face while very properly excluding the Japanese from owning land in California; and I have no objection whatever to excluding all the Englishmen and Scotchmen who flock in there without any intention of becoming citizens. As always, yours,



Washington, May 26, 1913

MY DEAR MR. BOLE,—That is just the kind of a letter that I want and that is helpful to me. As to the settler, I have one policy— to make it as easy as possible under the law for the bonafide settler to get a home, and to make it just as difficult as possible for the dummy entryman to get land, which he will sell out to monopolies. These Western lands are needed for homes for the people, not as a basis of speculation.

As to the Reclamation Service … There really was a very bad showing made by the Montana projects. It was disheartening to feel that we had spent so many million dollars and that the Government was looked upon as a bunko sharp who had brought people into Montana where they were slowly starving to death. The Government has returned to Montana almost as much as her public lands have yielded, whereas in other states, like Oregon and California, less than a quarter of the amount they have yielded has been returned to them.

Ever since I came here Senators and Congressmen have been overwhelming me with curses upon the Reclamation Service, and I thought I ought to find out for myself just what the facts were. I gave every one a chance to tell his story. Now I am being overwhelmed with protests against the discontinuance of this work. Every state is insisting that I shall now start up some new enterprises or continue some old ones, and I do not know where the money is going to come from. We are bound to be short of funds even to continue existing work, if we can get no money out of projects that are really under way, and there seems to be a unanimity of opinion among Western Senators and Congressmen that payment by the settlers must be postponed, because they are having a hard enough time as it now is. I certainly am not going to be a party to gold-bricking the poor devil of a farmer who has been told by everybody that he is being charged twice as much as he ought to be charged by the Government … Cordially yours,


To Fairfax Harrison

Washington, June 10, 1913

MY DEAR MR. HARRISON,—I have not had a minute for a personal letter in a month. Hence my shabbiness toward you. Condorcet's Vie de Turgot, I am sorry to say, I have not read. Does he say anything as to how to make a reclamation project pay, or as to what is the best method of teaching Indians, or how much work a homesteader should do on his land before being entitled to patent? These are the great and momentous questions that fill my mind.

I had thought perhaps that as a member of the Cabinet I would have an opportunity, say once a month or so, to think upon questions of statecraft and policy, but I find myself locked in a cocoon—no wings and no chance for wings to grow.

As to my inability to get to you of a Sunday, let me tell you that that is the one day when somewhat undisturbed I catch up with the week's work. "Ah, what a weary travel is our act, here, there and back again to win some prize."

I hope some of these nights to be able to make you acquainted with some of my colleagues. They are a charming lot. Every one has a sense of humor and as little partisanship as possible, and still bear the title of Democrat. You would enjoy every one of them, including Bryan, who is fundamentally good.

With kindest regards, cordially yours,


To Frank Reese

Washington, July 2, 1913

MY DEAR FRANK,—I am delighted to get your letter and to know that I still stand well with my California friends, especially yourself, but I am not going to run for United States Senator. Of course, I am not making a virtue of not running, and I certainly am gratified to know that you at least think that I could be elected. My work here is just as interesting as any work that a Senator has. Under this primary system I do not believe there is any chance for a man who has not got a great deal of money. The candidate must devote practically a year of his time to make the race, must be able to support his family and himself in the meantime. … Now, when I knew you first I had no money. I have the same amount to-day, so that you see there is no possibility of my getting into such a fight. Furthermore, we have Phelan as a candidate, and it seems to me he ought to be acceptable. There was also some talk of Patton getting into the race, and he is a good man.

Thankfully and cordially yours,


Early in July, 1913, Lane started on a tour of investigation of National Reclamation projects, Indian reservations and National Parks. With him went Adolph C. Miller, who had become the Director of the Bureau of National Parks in May. They turned to the Northwest, beginning in Minnesota and then proceeding to Montana, Wyoming, and Washington. That he might be thoroughly informed as to conditions in each place, Lane sent ahead of him an old friend and trusted employee, William A. Ryan, whose part it was to go over each project or reservation and find what the causes for complaint were, where poor work had been done, what groups and individuals were dissatisfied, and why. In no way was William Ryan to let it be suspected that he was in any way identified with the Department of the Interior. Traveling in this way, two weeks ahead of the Secretary, Ryan was able to put a complete report of each project in Lane's hands some time before he arrived, so that the Secretary was thoroughly familiar with all complaints and conditions before he was met on the train by the representatives of the Department, who naturally wished to show him only the best work. In addition to this, Lane everywhere held public meetings, inviting all settlers to meet him and make their complaints.

This plan enabled him to cover the ground touched by his Department in a comparatively short time. He traveled by night, wherever possible, and interviewed all those who wished to see him upon business from seven in the morning until twelve or one at night. Sometimes, in a day, he went a hundred and fifty miles in an automobile, spoke to many groups of farmers in different places, heard their complaints against the Department, and told them what the Government was trying to do for them.

During this first tour of inspection Lane reached Portland, Oregon, the latter part of August, and received a telegram from the President asking him to go directly to Denver, there to represent the President and address the Conference of Governors, on August 26th.

Lane left the completion of the proposed itinerary of investigation, in Oregon, to Miller and turned back to Colorado. He made the opening address at the Governors' Conference and then rejoined his party in San Francisco, the first of September. Here, after several days of conferences and speeches, while standing in the sun reviewing the Admission Day parade of the Native Sons, he collapsed. This proved to be an attack of the angina pectoris which, several years later, returned with violence. For three weeks he was ill, but at the end of that time, against the doctor's orders, he insisted upon returning to Washington to his work.

To Mark Sullivan Collier's Weekly

Washington, November 6, 1913

MY DEAR SULLIVAN,—I want to thank you for your sympathetic notice regarding my hard luck out in California, and to let you know that I am in just as good shape now as I have been for twenty years.

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE, MRS. LANE, MRS.

At the end of your little comment you spoke of conditions in the lower grades of the Department as being almost as bad as if they were corrupt. I have not your article before me, but I think this is the meat of it. I wish you would tell me just what you mean by this. I know that lots of things come to men like you that do not reach my ears, although I have retained pretty well my old newspaper faculty of smoking things out.

If we have anything here that is almost rotten, I want to know it before it gets thoroughly rotten. I have found a lot of things that were wrong, and have set most of them right. There has already been a great improvement; for instance, in Indian affairs. Under the last Administration, for example, the highest bid on 200,000 acres of Indian oil lands was one-eighth royalty and a bonus of one dollar an acre. We recently leased 10,000 of these same acres at one-sixth royalty and a bonus of $500,000.

I have had an examination made into probate matters, in Oklahoma, and found an appalling condition of things. In one county where there are six thousand probate cases pending, all involving the interests of Indian minors, the guardians in three thousand cases were delinquent in filing reports, and otherwise in complying with the law. This week I have arranged with the Five Civilized Tribes to institute a cooperative method of checking up all of these accounts and giving them personal consideration; especially appointing an attorney to look after the interests of these minors in each of the counties in eastern Oklahoma. We are to aid the Oklahoma courts in cleaning up the State.

Let me have any facts that will be of help. Cordially yours,


To Edward M. House

Washington, November 19, 1913

MY DEAR COLONEL,—I had a call last Sunday morning from Mr. Blank of New York, who came to feel me out on the reorganization of the Democratic party in New York City, with particular reference to the question of how to treat one William R. Hearst …

… [He] has been working for some years, evidently in more or less close but indirect alliance with Hearst, through Clarence Shearn and a man named O'Reilly, who is Hearst's political secretary. In re-creating the Democratic organization in New York, he felt it necessary to take Hearst's assistance.

I was perfectly frank with him, saying that Hearst would be pleased no doubt to reorganize a new Tammany Hall, or any other Democratic organization, provided he could run it. He would stand in with anybody and be as gentle as a queen dove for the purpose of destroying the existing organization, but that he was a very overbearing and arbitrary man, with whom no one could work in creating a new organization, unless he regarded himself as an employee of Hearst. Moreover, I did not see how it was possible to take Hearst and his crowd, even on a minority basis, so long as they were fighting the Administration, and that I understood Hearst had recently more emphatically than ever read himself out of the Democratic Party. I told Blank that … I should not expect any cooperation between the Federal Government and an organization in which Hearst was a factor. However, I said that I knew nothing whatever as to the feeling of any member of the Cabinet or the President respecting the matter, because I had not discussed the matter with them.

… I am writing this because I want you to know what is going on. Evidently Blank came over from New York on the midnight train and had no other business here except to see me, and perhaps others, on this matter. … Cordially yours,


When President Wilson took Franklin K. Lane from the Interstate Commerce Commission to put him in his Cabinet there arose the question of his successor, on the Commission. After consulting Lane, the President appointed in his place, John Marble, also of California. A few months after his appointment Mr. Marble died suddenly, and Lane lost one of his closest friends.

To James H. Barry San Francisco Star

Washington, December 1, 1913

MY DEAR JIM,—I didn't get your telegram until Monday, but I had taken care of you in the same way that I took care of myself, in regard to flowers. I bought three bunches, one for you, one for Mrs. Lane, and one for myself.

The most surprising thing, my dear Jim, is the manner in which Mrs. Marble has taken John's death. We took her to our house, where the morning after his death she told me that she had talked with him; that he had chided her on breaking down constantly. Since then, both morning and evening, she says she has seen him and talked with him. The result is a spirit on her part almost of gayety, at times. She is really reconciled to his going, because he has told her that it was best and that he has other work to do.

I don't know what to say of all this. It mystifies me. It has tended greatly to support me against the depth of sorrow which I felt at the beginning. There is no evidence of hysteria on her part, whatever. She dictated to Mrs. Lane, who was sitting beside her, some of the things that John said to her. It certainly is a glorious belief, at such a time, and I am not prepared to say that it is not so, and that its manifestations are not real.

… It is an impossible thing to get a man to take his place, either on the Commission or in our hearts. I believe that he worked himself to death … Affectionately yours,

F. K. L.

To Edward F. Adams

Washington, January 10, 1914

MY DEAR MR. ADAMS,— … Our most difficult problem is that of water. Colorado, for instance, claims that all of the water that falls within her borders can be used and should be used exclusively for the development of Colorado lands. Southern California has made a protest against my giving rights of way in the upper reaches of the Colorado for the diversion of water on to Colorado lands saying that Imperial Valley is entitled to the full normal flow of the Colorado. The group of men who hold land in Mexico south of the Imperial Valley make the same claim. Arizona wishes to have a large part of this water used on her soil, and the people of Colorado are divided as to whether the water should be carried over on to the eastern side of the Rockies or allowed to flow down in its natural channel on the western side.

We have a similar trouble as to the Rio Grande, which rises in Colorado, where the Coloradans claim all the water can be used and can be put to the highest beneficial use. New Mexico, Texas, and Old Mexico all claim their right to the water for all kinds of purposes. If we recognize Colorado's full claim there is probably enough water in Colorado to irrigate all of her soil, but portions of Wyoming, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah would remain desert.

If you can tell me how to solve this problem so as to recognize the right that you claim Colorado has, and to maintain the rights that the Federal Government and the adjoining States have, I shall certainly be deeply grateful.

With all good wishes for the New Year, believe me as always, affectionately yours,


The Hon. Woodrow Wilson The White House

Washington, March 11, 1914

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I have your note of yesterday referring to me the correspondence between yourself and the Civil Service Commission on the question of the participation of women Civil Service employees in woman suffrage organizations. I think perhaps I am a prejudiced partisan in this matter for I believe that the women should have the right to agitate for the suffrage. Furthermore, I think they are going to get the suffrage, and that it would be politically unwise for the administration to create the impression that it was attempting to block the movement. I should think it the part of wisdom for you personally to make the announcement that women Civil Service employees will be protected in the right to join woman suffrage organizations and to participate in woman suffrage parades or meetings. This is practically what the Civil Service Commission says, but in a more careful, lawyer-like manner, whereas whatever is said should be said in a rather robust, forthright style. The real thing that we are after in making regulations as to political activity is to keep those who are in the employ of the Government from using their positions to further their personal ends or to serve some political party. What they may do as individuals outside of the Government offices is none of our business, so long as they do nothing toward breaking it down as a merit service, do not discredit the service, or render themselves unfit for it …

The spoils system is a combination of gratitude and blackmail. The merit system is an attempt to secure efficiency without recognizing friendship or fear. We can safely allow the participation of merit system employees in an agitation so long as they do not go to the point where official advantage may be had through the agitation by securing a reward through party success …

I believe you might well make a statement of two or three hundred words in which you could state your decision with the philosophy that underlies it, in such a manner as to make the women understand that you are taking a liberal attitude and yet protecting the full spirit of the Civil Service idea. Cordially yours,


In March 1914, for the second time, Lane was invited to the University of California to receive a degree. This was an honor from his Alma Mater that he greatly desired. The previous year, the reorganization of his Department and the pressure of new work, had made it impossible for him to leave Washington. But this year he had promised to go.

To Benjamin Ide Wheeler President, University of California

Washington, 13 [March, 1914] [The day I was to be with you.]

MY DEAR DOCTOR,—I was prepared to leave last Friday—tickets, reservations all secured. I had made a mighty effort. My conservation bills were not all out of Committee but I had arranged to get them out. The House was to caucus and the Senate to confer, and I had written pleading letters and made my prayers in person that my bills should be included in the program. On Thursday, the War Department refused the use of an engineer for the Alaskan railroad. In one day I drafted and secured the passage of a joint resolution giving me the man I wanted. The war scare had subsided and I had seen the Mediators who said that nothing would be doing for two weeks. So I went to the Cabinet meeting prepared to say goodbye. Then came a bomb—two European powers served notice that they would hold us responsible for what was likely to happen in Mexico City upon the incoming of Zapata and Villa, and wanted to know how prepared we were. We left the Cabinet divided as to what should be done. A group of us met in the afternoon and decided to ask for another meeting. I carried the message. The reply was that the matter must be held over till the next meeting, and meanwhile we were asked to suggest a program. Then I sent my message to you. I have told this to no one but Anne. You deserve no less than the fullest statement from me. Please treat it as the most sacred of secrets. Always gratefully yours,


The following letter, written about a year after Lane's entry into the Cabinet, shows what, in the course of a year, he had been able to accomplish in building the men of his heterogeneous department into a cooperative social unit by means of what he called his "Land Cabinet" and the Home Club.

To Albert Shaw Review of Reviews

Washington, April 8,1914

MY DEAR MR. SHAW,—Of course I saw the Review for April before your copies arrived, for somebody was good enough to tell me that there was a good word in it for me, and no matter how busy I am I always manage to read a boost …

You ask what I am doing to bring about team-work in the Department. Many things. As you probably don't know, this has been a rather disjointed Department. It was intended originally that it should be called the Home Department, and its Secretary the Secretary for Home Affairs. How we come to have some of the bureaus I don't know. Patents and Pensions, for instance, would not seem to have a very intimate connection with Indians and Irrigation. Education and Public Lands, the hot springs of Arkansas, and the asylum for the insane for the District of Columbia do not appear to have any natural affiliation. The result has been that the bureaus have stood up as independent entities, and I have sought to bring them together, centering in this office.

One of the first things I did was to form what is called a Land Cabinet, made up of the Assistant Secretaries, the Commissioner of the Land Office, and the Director of the Geological Survey. We meet every Monday afternoon and go over our problems together. The Reclamation Commission is another organization of a similar sort, and we have constant conferences between the heads of bureaus which have to do with different branches of Indian work, lands, irrigation, and pensions.

Some time ago in order to develop greater good feeling between the heads of the bureaus we organized a noonday mess, at which all the chiefs of bureaus and most of their assistants take their luncheon …

But the largest work, I think, in the way of promoting the right kind of spirit within the Department was the organization of the Home Club. This is a purely social institution, which the members themselves maintain. We have now some seventeen hundred members, all pay the same initiation fee and the same dues, and all meet upon a common ground in the club. Our club house is one of the finest old mansions in this city, formerly the residence of Schuyler Colfax … It is a four-story building in LaFayette Square, within a half a block of the White House. This house we have furnished ourselves in very comfortable shape without the help of a dollar from the outside, and we maintain it upon dues of fifty cents a month. Each night during the week we have some form of entertainment in the club—moving pictures, or a lecture, or a dance, or a musicale.

I organized this club for the purpose of showing to these people of moderate salaries what could be done by cooperation. It is managed entirely by the members of the Department. There is no caste line or snobbery in the institution, and for the first time the people in the different bureaus are becoming acquainted with each other, and enjoy the opportunities of club life. The idea should be extended. We should have in the city of Washington a great service club, covering a block of land, containing fifteen or twenty thousand members, in which for a trifle per month we could get all of the advantages of the finest social and athletic club that New York contains. In the Home Club we have a billiard room, card rooms, a library, and a suite of rooms especially set aside for the ladies. We are fitting up one of the larger rooms as a gymnasium for the young men and boys, and expect to have bowling alleys, and possible tennis courts on a near-by lot. In this way I meet many of those who work with me, whom I never would see otherwise, and from the amount of work that the Department is doing, which is increasing, I am quite satisfied that it has helped to make the Department more efficient. Cordially yours,


To Charles K. Field Sunset Magazine

Washington, April 18, 1914

MY BEAR CHARLES,— … My picture on the cover of the May Sunset is altogether the best one I have had taken for some time, and the Democratic donkey is encouragingly fat.

I wish in some way it were possible to impress upon our Western Senators and Congressmen the advisability of putting through the bills that I have before Congress in line with my report—a general leasing bill, under which coal, oil, and phosphate lands could be developed by lease, and a water power bill. As it is now, a man runs the risk of going to jail to get a piece of coal land that is big enough to work; and the very bad situation in the oil field in California is entirely due to the inapplicability of our oil land laws. We have a couple of million acres of good phosphate lands withdrawn, totally undeveloped because no one can get hold of them, and no capital will go into our Western power sites because we can give at present only a revocable permit, whereas capital wants the certainty of a fixed term.

I have tried to draft laws, copies of which I inclose, that are the best possible under the circumstances. I mean by that, that they are reasonable and will be passed by Congress if the West can only show a little interest in them, but so far the men who have been fighting them are Westerners. Why? For no better reason than that these gentlemen are in favor of having all of the public lands turned over to the states. It is useless to argue this question as to whether it is right or wrong, because Congress would never do it, so that opposition to these bills is simply opposition to further development of the West.

Now if you can punch these people up a bit in some way and make them understand that the West should want to go ahead, rather than block development for all time, … you will be rendering a public service.

With these few remarks I submit the matter to your prayerful consideration. As always, cordially yours,


To Frederic J. Lane

Washington, April 27, 1914

MY DEAR FRITZ,—I have just received your letter in relation to Stuart. I sent you a letter on Saturday saying that Daniels was going to recommend him. Of course, if he can't pass the physical examination that is the end of it, but I would let him try …

Ned is a great deal like Stuart—smart and lazy, but you know that all boys can't be expected to come up to the ideal conduct of their fathers at sixteen and eighteen. They go through life a damn sight more human. I don't see any reason why a fellow should work if he can get along without it, and the trouble is that your boy is spoiled by you, and my boy is spoiled by his mother! You have raised Stuart on the theory that he was a millionaire's son and, as such, he can't take life very seriously.

I am figuring now on getting Ned off to some boarding-school where he will have more discipline than I can give him. The truth is that both of us, having had rather a prosaic Christian bringing up, have cultivated the idea in our youngsters that it is a good thing to be a sport, and the aforesaid youngsters are living up to it. If there was a school in the country where they taught boys the different kinds of trees, and the different rocks and flowers, birds, and fish, with some good sense, and American history, I would like to send Ned to it … Affectionately yours,


To Edward E. Leake

Treasury Department

San Francisco, California

Washington, May 26, 1914.

MY DEAR ED,—I have yours of the 21st. I know that you are sincere, old man, when you tempt me with the governorship, and you write in such a winning manner that my blood quickens, but really it is quite out of the question. I want to see California lined up strongly on the Democratic side. I also want to see Phelan come to the Senate and I am ready to do all that I can to help out the old State, but my work is cut out for me here and until I have put over some of the things that I believe will benefit the West as a whole, I do not believe I should relinquish the reins of this particular portfolio. It is an honor to me, a big one, to be considered by my friends for the governorship and I know that they would stand gallantly behind me, and when I send this negative answer, you must believe me when I say that I send it with considerable regret.

I shall be very glad to see you at this end, when you are here, and you need no excuse to camp on my doorstep.

Cordially yours,


To William R. Wheeler

Washington, June 6, 1914

MY DEAR BILL,—I am extremely sorry to hear of your being robbed. That comes from being wealthy. Poor Lady Alice Isabel! How outraged and disconsolate she must be! If that diamond tiara I gave her is gone tell her I will replace it the first time I visit Tiffany's. Of course this only holds good as to the one I gave her. … You know, I have often wondered if a burglar should get into our house what he would find worth taking away. I have some small burglary insurance on my house, but this was so I could turn over and sleep without coming down stairs with a shotgun. What were you doing, going to Sacramento, anyway? Any fellow who goes to Sacramento gets into trouble. That is the home of Diggs, Caminetti, and Hiram Johnson. I see that Johnson is going to be re-elected Governor, and that the other two are going to jail. I hope that all three will lead better lives in the future.

Well, old man, if you need a new suit of clothes or anything in the line of underwear, let me know. I have gotten to the point where I have been wearing what Ned does not take, and I will pass some of them along to you. …

There is nothing new here. I fear that I shall not get up to Alaska, as I promised myself, for Congress will be in session for some time, and I am striving desperately to get my conservation bills through. Moreover, just what phase the Mexican situation will take cannot be foreseen, from day to day. I was broken- hearted at not being able to get out to California, but just at that particular time—while I was about to go, tickets and everything purchased—the President called upon me to do something which held me back. The toll bills will probably pass next week, by a majority of nine. Then the trust bills will come up in the Senate and every man will have to make a speech. …

Cordially yours,

F. K. L.

The next letter has been included because it shows Lane's direct and unequivocal method when defending a subordinate whom he thought unfairly criticized. He quoted, and in office practised, Roosevelt's maxim of giving a man his fullest support as long as he thought him worthy to be entrusted with public business. The names are omitted here for obvious reasons.


Washington, June 10, 1914

MY DEAR BILLY,—I have your letter of June 9th, relating to summer residence homesteads, and referring sneeringly several times to Blank. I wonder if you realize that Blank is my appointee and my friend. [He] has done you no wrong, and he intends to do the public no wrong. He is as public-spirited as you are, but you differ with him as to certain phases of our land policy, though not so widely as you yourself think. Is that any reason why you should discredit him? Is it not possible for men to differ with you on questions of public policy without being crooks? Your talk has started Chicago talking; nothing definite, just whispers. Is this fair to Blank? Is it fair to me? … Is the test of a man's public usefulness decided by his views as to whether the desert lands should be leased or homesteaded?

I am saying this to you in the utmost friendliness, because I think that your attitude is not worthy of your own ideal of yourself, and it certainly does not comport with my ideal of you, which I very much wish to hold. Surely honest men may differ as to whether grazing lands should be leased, and if Blank is not honest then it is your duty to the public service and to me to show this fact.

At the bottom of your letter you say, "This report will introduce you to Mr. Blank." Now it just so happens that that line should read "This report will introduce you to Mr. Lane," for I am responsible for that report. It was not written until after he had consulted with me, and I dictated an outline of its terms. … As always, cordially yours,


To his Brother on his Birthday

Washington, [August, 1914]

… This is somewhere around your birthday time, isn't it? Well, if it is, you are about forty-nine years of age and I look upon you as the one real philosopher that I know. I'd trade all that I have by way of honors and office for the nobility and serenity of your character. You feel that you have not done enough for the world. So do we all. But you have done far more than most of us, for you have proved your own soul. You have made a soul. You have taught some of us what a real man may be in this devilish world of selfishness. What other man of your acquaintance has the affection of men who know him for the nobility of his nature? I don't know one. You know many who are lovable, like—sympathetic like myself, brilliant, sweet-tempered,—lots of them. But who are the noble ones? Who look at all things asking only, "What is worthy?" And doing that thing only. You tell the world that you will not conform to all its littlenesses. That, I haven't at all the courage to do. You tell the world that you are not willing to feed your vanity with your everlasting soul. Where are the rest of us, judged by that test?

Ah, my dear boy, you have inspired many a fellow you don't know anything about, with a desire to emulate you, and always to emulate something that is genuine and big in you—not a trick of speech or a small quality of mind or manner. I envy you—and so do many. Nancy could tell you why you are worth while. She knows the genuine from the spurious. She knows the metal that rings true when tests come.

So there, … put all this inside of your smooth noddle and take a drink to me—a drink of "cald, cald water."

And I just want you to understand that I am in no self- deprecatory mood right now, for I am in my office at eight o'clock of a Saturday evening, working away with all my might on some damned land cases, having had a dinner at my desk, consisting of two shredded-wheat biscuits with milk, and one pear. Now you can realize what a virtuous, self-appreciative mood I am in. No man denies himself dinner for the sake of work without being really vain.

And what is this I hear about your having neuritis and going to the hospital? Damn these nerves, I say! Damn them! I have to swelter here because I can't let an electric fan play on my face, nor near me, without getting neuralgia. And swelter is the word, for it has been 104-5 degrees, with humidity, to boot, this week.

Nerves—that means a wireless system, keen to perceive, to feel, to know the things hidden to the mass. I look forward to years of torture with the accursed things. The only thing that relieves, and of course it does not cure, is osteopathy, stimulating the nerve where it enters the spine. But never let them touch the sore place. That is fatal. It raises all the devils and they begin scraping on the strings at once.

Well, by the time this reaches you I hope you will be quite a bit fitter. Avoid strain. Don't lift. Don't carry. If you stretch the infernal wires they curl up and squeal.

May the God of Things as they Are be good to you. … Mother may know all about us. How I wish I could know that it was so. You have the philosophy that says—"Well, if it is best, she does." I wish I had it. My God, how I do cling to what scraps of faith I have and put them together to make a cap for my poor head. With all the love I have.


To Cordenio Severance

Washington, September 24,1914

My dear Cordy,—I have just received your note. Why don't you come down here and spend three or four days resting up? Nancy and Anne will be delighted to cart you around in the victoria and show you all the beautiful trees and a sunset or two, and we will give you some home cooking and put you on your feet, and then you will have an opportunity to beg forgiveness for not having gone up to Essex. I am mighty sorry that you have been ill. If we had had the faintest notion that you were, we would have stayed in New York to see you, but as it was we came down on the Albany boat and we went directly from the boat to the train. I think that we would have stopped over two or three hours and seen you anyway if it had not been for the presence of our dog, who was regarded by the women as the most important member of the family.

Did you ever travel with a dog? We came down through Lake George, and the Secretary of the Interior sat on a beer box in the prow of the steamship, surrounded by automobiles and kerosine oil cans and cooks and roustabouts, because they would not let a dog go on the salon deck. Only my sense of humor saved me from beating my wife and child, and throwing the dog overboard. On the train some member of the family had to stay with the dog and hold his paw while he was in the baggage car. The trouble with you and me is that we are not ugly enough to receive such attention. If we had undershot jaws and projecting teeth and no nose, we probably would be regarded with greater tenderness and attention.

Ned is at Phillips-Exeter and is the most homesick kid you ever heard of. He writes two letters a day and has sent for his Bible, and tells us he is going to church. If that is no evidence, then I am no judge of a psychological state.

Come on down. Faithfully yours,


To Hon. Woodrow Wilson

The White House

Washington, October 1, 1914

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—Mother Jones called on me yesterday and I had a very interesting and enjoyable chat with her. During our talk some reference was made to the sterling qualities of your Secretary of Labor, for whom she entertains the highest regard. She told me this little story about him:—

One evening sometime ago, when there was a strike of some workmen in Secretary Wilson's town, she was in the Secretary's home waiting to see him. The Secretary was engaged in another room with representatives of those opposed to the strikers, and she overheard their talk. One of the men said, "Mr. Wilson, you have a mortgage on this house, I believe."

The reply was in the affirmative.

"Then," said the speaker, "if you will see that this strike is called away from our neighborhood—we don't ask you to terminate it, but merely to see that the strikers leave our town—if you will do this, we will take pleasure in presenting you with a large purse and also in wiping off the mortgage on your home."

Mr. Wilson arose, his voice trembling and his arm lifted, and said, "You gentlemen are in my house. If you come as friends and as gentlemen, all of the hospitalities that this home has to offer are yours. But if you come here to bribe me to break faith with my people, who trust me and whom I represent, there is the door, and I wish you to leave immediately."

Mother Jones concluded by saying, "Mr. Wilson never tells this story, but I heard it with my own ears, and I know what a real man he is."

I wish that you could have heard the story yourself. I am telling it to you now, for I know how pleased you will be to hear of it, even in this indirect way. Faithfully yours, FRANKLIN K. LANE

On November 30, 1914 Colonel Roosevelt wrote to Lane saying,—

"That's a mighty fine poem on Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving! I wish you would give me a chance to see you sometime.

"I do not know Mr. Garrison and perhaps he would resent my saying that I think he has managed his Department excellently; but if you think he would not resent it, pray tell him so. I hear nothing but good of you—but if I did hear anything else I should not pay any heed to it. …"

To Theodore Roosevelt

Washington, December 3, 1914

MY DEAR COLONEL,—I have just received your note of November 30th, and I am very much gratified at your reference to my Thanksgiving lines. You may be interested in knowing that the Home Club, before which I read these lines, is an institution that I organized since becoming Secretary, for the officers and employees of my Department. …

You may rest assured that I shall convey your message to Mr. Garrison, and I know that he will be just as pleased to receive it as I am in being able to carry it.

… The work of the Department keeps me pretty closely to my desk, so that I have few opportunities of getting away from Washington. I certainly shall not let a chance of seeing you go by without taking advantage of it.

Cordially yours,


To Hon. Woodrow Wilson

The White House

Washington, January 9, 1915

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—That was a bully speech, a corker! You may have made a better speech in your life but I never have heard of it. Other Presidents may have made better speeches, but I have never heard of them. It was simply great because it was the proper blend of philosophy and practicality. It had punch in every paragraph. The country will respond to it splendidly. It was jubilant, did not contain a single minor note of apology and the country will visualize you at the head of the column. You know this country, and every country, wants a man to lead it of whom it is proud, not because of his talent but because of his personality,—that which is as indefinable as charm in a woman, and I want to see your personality known to the American people, just as well as we know it who sit around the Cabinet table. Your speech glows with it, and that is why it gives me such joy that I can't help writing you as enthusiastically as I do. Sincerely yours,


To Lawrence F. Abbott


Washington, January 12, 1915

MY DEAR MR. ABBOTT,—I enclose you two statements made with reference to our public lands water power bill and our western development bill. The power trust is fighting the power bill, although as amended by the Senate Committee it is especially liberal and fair and will bring millions of dollars into the West for development of water power. There seems to be no real opposition to the western development bill, generally called the leasing bill, excepting from those who believe that all of our public lands should be turned over to the States.

These are non-partisan measures. They have been drafted in Consultation with Republicans and Progressives, as well as Democrats, and I regard them as the ultimate word of generosity on the part of the Federal Government, because all of the money produced is to go into western development. If these bills are killed, I fear that the West will never get another opportunity to have its withdrawn lands thrown open for development upon terms as satisfactory to it.

It is easy to understand why men who already have great power plants on public land should be opposing such a bill as our power bill, and equally easy to understand why the coal monopolists should be fighting off all opportunity for any competitor to get into the field. The oil men are anxious for such legislation. Of course this legislation is not ideal, because it is the result of compromise between minds, as to methods. The power bill is vitally right in one thing; that the rights granted revert at the end of fifty years to the Government, if the Government wishes to take the plant over. The development bill is right, because it sets aside a group of archaic laws under which monopoly and litigation and illegal practices have thrived. Both of these bills have passed the House, and are before the Senate. I trust that the fixed determination of those who are hostile to them will not prevail.

Cordially yours,


This letter, duplicated, was sent to several editors of magazines, to inform the public as to pending legislation.




Endorsement of Hoover—German Audacity—LL.D. from Alma Mater
—England's Sea Policy—Christmas letters


Washington, November 17, 1914

MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY,—If it is true that the State Department is not informed regarding Mr. Hoover and his entire responsibility, I can send to you to-day his attorney, Judge Curtis H. Lindley, of San Francisco, who stands at the head of our bar.

I know of Mr. Hoover very well. He is probably the greatest mining engineer that the world holds to-day, and is yet a very young man. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

I suppose that you do not wish to make any statement regarding Mr. Hoover, but I should fancy that there is no objection to Mr. Fletcher making any statement that he desires. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States to-day who are anxious to know how the things that they are preparing for the different European countries, especially for the Belgians, can be sent to them. Some information along this line might be very helpful.

Cordially yours,




Washington, January 22, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—I have often thought of you during these last few months, and wished for a good long talk so some of the kinks in my own brain might be straightened out. It looks to me very much as if the war were a stalemate. Even if England throws another million men into the field in May I can't see how she can get through Belgium and over the Rhine. Germany is practically self- supported, excepting for gasoline and copper, and no doubt a considerable amount of these are being smuggled in, one way or another. The Christians are having a hard time reconciling themselves to existing conditions. … England is making a fool of herself by antagonizing American opinion, insisting upon rights of search which she never has acknowledged as to herself. If she persists she will be successful in driving from her the opinion of this country, which is ninety per cent in her favor, although practically all of the German-Americans are loyal to their home country. We have some ambition to have a shipping of our own, and England's claim to own the seas, as Germany puts it, does not strike the American mind favorably. No doubt this will be regarded by you as quite an absurdity, that we should have any such dream, but I find myself from day to day feeling a twinge or two of bitterness over England's stubbornness, which seems to be as irremovable a quality as it was in some past days. …

Your little Nancy is no longer little. She is up to my ear, has gone out to several evening parties, is at last going to school like other girls, keeps up her violin, and is very much of a joy. …

I knew that you would like our Ambassador. Cultivate him every chance you get.

Affectionately yours,


On February 20, 1915, Lane went to San Francisco and formally opened the Panama Pacific Exposition, as the personal representative of the President. He spoke on "That slender, dauntless, plodding, modest figure, the American pioneer, … whose long journey … beside the oxen is at an end."


En route, near Ogden, Utah, February 22, 1915

MY DEAR ALECK.—You are the best of good fellows, and I don't see any reason why I should not tell you so, and of my affection for you. Don't mind the slaps and raps that you get, regarding the high duty you perform. The people respect you as an entirely honest and efficient public servant. It did my heart good to hear the men I talked with speak so appreciatively of you. I enjoyed my two days with you as I have not enjoyed any two days for many years. The best thing in all this blooming world is the friendship that one fellow has for another. I would truly love to have the President know our Amaurot crowd, but I can't quite plan out a way by which it could be done. … As always, affectionately yours,



En route to Chicago, February 25, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—I have read your preface with great satisfaction. It will, no doubt, renew your self-confidence to know that it has my approval. You make some profound suggestions which would never in the world have occurred to me. The American believes that the doctrine of equality necessarily implies unlimited appeal. This is my psychological explanation for the unwillingness to give our judges more power. Another explanation is that the American people are governed by sets of words, one formula being that this is a government by law, hence the judge must have no discretion and rules must be arbitrary and fixed.

I had a roaring good time in San Francisco. Spoke to fifty thousand people, and more, who could not hear me. Made a rotten speech and met those I loved best, so I am not altogether displeased with having taken the trip after all.

Hope your arm is doing finely. Give my love to your dear wife.
Affectionately yours,

F. K. L.



Washington, March 3, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—All things are so large these days that I can not compress them within the confines of a letter. I mean, don't you know, that there is no small talk. We are dealing with life and death propositions, life or death to somebody all the time.

I suppose if you were a few years younger you would be over in the trenches, or up in England getting ready. From all we hear, the Scotchmen are the only fellows that the Germans really are afraid of or entirely respect. The position of a neutral is a hard one. We are being generously damned by the Germans and the aggressive Irish for being pro-British, and the English press people and sympathizers in this country are generously damning us as the grossest of commercialists who are willing to sell them into the eternal slavery of Germany for the sake of selling a few bushels of wheat. Neither side being pleased, the inference is reasonable that we are being loyal to our central position. …

I went out recently and opened the San Francisco Fair, parading at the head of a procession of a hundred thousand people. The Fair is truly most exquisitely beautiful. There are many buildings that would even, no doubt, please your most fastidious eye.

We have tried to get a Shipping Bill through which would allow us to get into South American and other trade, but the Republicans have blocked us, not because they feared we would get mixed up with the war but because they don't want us to do a thing that would further Government ownership of anything.

The Administration is weak, east of the Alleghanies; and strong, west of the Alleghanies. Bryan is a very much larger man and more competent than the papers credit him with being. The President is growing daily in the admiration of the people. He has little of the quality that develops affection, but this, I think, comes from his long life of isolation.

We regard ourselves as very lucky in the men we have in the foreign posts, notwithstanding the attacks made upon us by your press. …

I wish you would convey my hearty respects to His Excellency, the Ambassador, and to your wife, of whose return to health I am delighted to hear. Cordially yours,




Washington, March 4, 1915

DEAR MR. WHEELER,—I am extremely obliged to you for your appreciative letter regarding my speech, [Footnote: On the American Pioneer.] but don't publish it in the Poetry Department or you will absolutely ruin my reputation as a hard working official. No man in American politics can survive the reputation of being a poet. It is as bad as having a fine tenor voice, or knowing the difference between a Murillo and a Turner. The only reason I am forgiven for being occasionally flowery of speech is that I have been put down as having been one of those literary fellows in the past. Cordially yours,




Washington, March 13, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—I have received three letters from you within the last two weeks, greatly to my joy. Your first and longest letter, but not a word too long, I thought so very good that I had it duplicated on the typewriter and sent a copy to each member of the Cabinet, excepting Bryan, whom you refer to in not too complimentary a manner. On the same day that I received this letter I received one from Pfeiffer, presenting the American merchants' point of view, who desire to get goods from Germany, a copy of which I inclose. So I put your letter and his together, and told them all who you both are. Thus, old man, you have become a factor in the determination of international policy. Several members of the Cabinet have spoken with the warmest admiration of your letter, one scurrilous individual remarking that he was astonished to learn that I had such a learned literary gent as an intimate friend.

We are just at present amused over the coming into port of the German converted cruiser Eitel, with the captain and the crew of the American bark, William P. Frye, on board. The calm gall of the thing really appeals to the American sense of humor. Here is a German captain, who captured a becalmed sailing ship, loaded with wheat, and blows her up; sails through fifteen thousand miles of sea, in danger every day of being sunk by an English cruiser, and then calmly comes in to an American port for coal and repairs. The cheek of the thing is so monumental as to fairly captivate the American mind. What we shall do with him, of course, is a very considerable question. He can not be treated as a pirate, I suppose, because there can not be such a thing as a pirate ship commanded by an officer of a foreign navy and flying a foreign flag. But he plainly pursued the policy of a pirate, and I am expecting any day to find Germany apologizing and offering amends. But there may be some audacious logic by which Germany can justify such conduct. Talking of Belgium, I was referred the other day to the report of the debates in the House of Commons found in the 10th volume of Cobbett's Parliamentary Reports, touching the attack on Copenhagen by England in 1808, in which the Ministry justified its ruthless attack upon a neutral power in almost precisely the same language that Von Bethmann Hollweg used in justifying the attack on Belgium, and Lord Ponsonby used the sort of reasoning then, in answer to the Government, that England is now using in answer to Germany. I was distrustful of the quotations that were given to me and looked the volume up, and found that England was governed by much the same idea that Germany was—just sheer necessity. Of course, your answer is that we have traveled a long way since 1808.

Doesn't it look to you an impossible task for England and France to get beyond the Rhine, or even get there? England, of course, has hardly tried her hand in the game yet and if the Turk is cleaned up she will have a lot of Australians and others to help out in Belgium. Sir George Paish told me they expect to have a million and a half men in the field by the end of this summer.

Pfeiffer comes here to-day to spend a couple of days trying to do something for the State Department; I don't know just what, but I shall be mighty glad to see the old chap. I haven't seen anything of Lamb since his return.

Do write me again. Affectionately yours,


On the sixteenth of March Lane again started for San Francisco, crossing the continent for the third time within a month. Vice- President Marshall, Adolph C. Miller, now of the Federal Reserve Board, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, assistant Secretary of the Navy, who were going out to visit officially the Exposition, were the principal members of the party. In Berkeley, on March twenty- third, 1915, Lane received his degree from the University of California. In conferring this degree President Wheeler said:—

"Franklin K. Lane,—Your Alma Mater gladly writes to-day your name upon her list of honour,—in recognition not so much of your brilliant and unsparing service to state and nation, as of your sympathetic insight into the institutions of popular government as the people intended them. An instinctive faith in the righteous intentions of the average man has endowed you with a singular power to discern the best intent of the public will. Men follow gladly in your lead, and are not deceived.

"By direction of the Regents of the University of California I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws:—

"Creative statesman in a democracy; big-hearted American." On December 7, 1915, upon receiving a copy of the diploma Lane wrote in acknowledgement to Dr. Wheeler,—"I have the diploma which it has taken all the talent of the office to translate. I had one man from Columbia, another from the University of Virginia, one from Nebraska, and one at large at work on it. Thank you. It takes the place of honor over my mantel."



Washington, April 13, 1915

MY DEAR JUDGE,—I have read Eddy O'Day's poem with great delight. Along toward the end it carries a sentiment that our dear old friend John Boyle O'Reilly expressed in his poem Bohemia, in which he speaks of those,

"Who deal out a charity, scrimped and iced, In the name of a cautious, statistical Christ."

I have never been able to write a line of verse myself, although I have tried once in a while, but long ago my incapacity was proved. Pegasus always bucks me off.

I am sorry you took so seriously what I had to say of the wedding invitation, but you know I am one of those very sentimental chaps, who loves his friends with a great devotion, and when anything good comes to them I want to know of it first, and no better fortune can come to any man than to marry a devoted, high-minded woman.

Your rise has been a joy to me, because neither you nor I came to the bar nor to our positions by conventional methods. The union spirit is very strong among lawyers, and if a man has ideas outside of law, or wishes to humanize the law, he is regarded with suspicion by his fellows at the bar. You have proved yourself and arrived against great odds. No man that I know has ever had such a testimonial of public confidence as you received in the last election. I hope that with the hard work much joy will come to you.

Mrs. Lane has just dropped in and wishes me to send you her warm regards. Always sincerely yours,




Washington, April 27, 1915

MY DEAR MAC,—Here is a man for us to get next to. He is a Harriman, a Morgan, a Huntington, a Hill, a Bismarck, a Kuhn Loeb, and a damn Yankee all rolled into one! Can you beat it? His daughter also looks like a peach. I do not know the purpose of this financial congress in which these geniuses from the hot belt are to gather; but unless I am mistaken you are looking around for some convenient retreat to go to when this Riggs litigation is over and you are turned out scalpless upon a cruel world. Here is your chance! Tie up with Pearson. He has banks, railroads, cows, horses, mules, land, girls, alfalfa, clubs, and is connected with every distinguished family in North and South America.

This man, Dr. Hoover, is a genius. When I knew him he was giving lessons in physical training; but, now, like myself, he is an LL.D., and, of course, as a fellow LL.D. I have got to treat his friend properly. So I pass him along to you. Please see that he has the front bench and is called upon to open the congress with prayer, which, being a Yankee and a pirate, he undoubtedly can do in fine fashion.

When he comes, if you will let me know, I shall go out to meet him in my private yacht; take him for a drive in my tally-ho; give him a dinner at Childs', and take him to the movies at the Home Club.

I shall also ask Redfield to invite him to the much-heralded shad luncheon, to which I have received the fourth invitation. Do you think he would like to meet my friend, Jess Willard?

Cordially yours,


A letter from John Burns, from Rome, spoke sarcastically of the American attitude of neutrality toward the European war, and of what he called the "new American motto—'Trust the President.'"



Washington, May 29, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—I saw Pfeiffer, Lamb, and Mezes the other day up in New York. Mezes lives among Hebrews, Lamb is broken-hearted that he can not get into the war, and Pfeiffer is trying to get England to let his German goods through Holland. Lamb and Pfeiffer do not agree as to England's duty to allow non-contraband on neutral ships to pass unmolested.

England is playing a rather high game, violating international law every day. … England's attempt to starve Germany has been a fizzle. Germany will be better off this summer than she was two years ago, have more food on hand. There are no more men in Germany outside of the Army. Practically every one has been called out who could carry a gun, but the women are running the mills and the prisoners are tilling the farms. Von Hindenburg will come down upon Italy, when he has lured the Italians up into some pass and given them a sample of what the Russians got in East Prussia.

You see I am in quite a prophetic mood this afternoon.

Tell me if you understand Italy's position—just how she justifies herself in entering the war? I have seen no authoritative justification that I thought would hold water.

The Coalition ministry in England is weaker than the Liberal ministry. Lord Northcliffe, who is the Hearst of England, has become its boss. Inasmuch as you object to our new motto, "Trust the President," I offer as a substitute, "Trust Lord Northcliffe, Bonar Law, and the Philosopher of Negation." The dear bishops won't give up their toddy, so England must go without ammunition. Germany is standing off Belgium, England and France, with her right hand; Russia with her left, and is about to step on Italy. Germany has not yet answered our protest in the Lusitania matter. Neither has England answered our protest, sent some three months ago, against the invasion of our rights upon the seas. I was very glad to read the other day that while only eighty per cent of English-made shells explode, over ninety per cent of American-made shells explode.

Cordially yours,




Washington, June 1, 1915

MY DEAR MR. SCRIPPS,—I am extremely glad to get your letter—and such a hearty, noble-spirited letter. It came this morning, and was so extraordinary in its patriotic spirit that I took it to the White House and left it with the President.

I am sure that great good will come of the effort you are making to gather the people in support of the President. The poor man has been so worried by the great responsibilities put upon him that he has not had time to think or deal with matters of internal concern. … He is extremely appreciative of the spirit you have shown. I have a large number of matters in my own Department— Alaskan railroad affairs and proposed legislation—that I ought to take up with him; but I can not worry him with them while international concerns are so pressing.

I feel that at last the country has come to a consciousness of the President's magnitude. They see him as we do who are in close touch with him. … My own ability to help him is very limited, for he is one of those men made by nature to tread the wine-press alone. The opportunity comes now and then to give a suggestion or to utter a word of warning, but on the whole I feel that he probably is less dependent upon others than any President of our time. He is conscious of public sentiment—surprisingly so—for a man who sees comparatively few people, and yet he never takes public sentiment as offering a solution for a difficulty; if he can think the thing through and arrive at the point where public sentiment supports him, so much the better. He will loom very large in the historian's mind two or three decades from now.

In the fall I am going to ask you to lend a hand in support of my conservation bills, which look like piffling affairs now in contrast with the big events of the day.

Once more I thank you heartily for your letter. Cordially yours,



Washington, July 18, 1915

MY DEAR AND DISTINGUISHED SIR,—I once knew a vainglorious chap who wrote a poem on the Crucifixion of Christ. The refrain was,—

"Had I been there with three score men, Christ Jesus had not died."

All of us feel "that-a-way" once in a while when we think of Germany, Mexico, and such. I shall have a few words to say upon the German note next Tuesday. [Footnote: Day of Cabinet meeting.] They will be short and somewhat ugly Anglo-Saxon words, utterly undiplomatic, and I hope that some of them will be used.

There is no man who has a greater capacity for indignation than the gentleman who has to write that note, and no man who has a sincerer feeling of dignity, and no man who dislikes more to have a damned army officer, filled with struttitudinousness, spit upon the American Flag—a damned goose-stepping army officer!

This morning comes word that they tried to torpedo the Orduna, but failed by a hair. This does not look like a reversal of policy. Of course those chaps think we are bluffing because we have been too polite. We have talked Princetonian English to a water-front bully. I did not believe for one moment that our friends, the Germans, were so unable to see any other standpoint than their own.

I saw ex-secretary Nagel here the other day. We were at the same table for lunch at the Cosmos Club. One of the men at the table said, "I think Lane ought to have been appointed Secretary of State." Nagel's usual diplomacy deserted him, and with a face evidencing a heated mind replied, "Oh, my God, that would never do, never do; born in Canada." So you see I am cut out from all these great honors. Is this visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children?

I wish you joy in your work and I wish I could lay some of my troubles on your shoulders. Mrs. Lane and I are going up to see you just as soon as we get the chance. I had to decline to address the American Bar Association because I did not want to be away from here for a week. This is Sunday, and I am trying to catch up some of my personal mail which has been neglected for six weeks. Thus you may know that I am in the Government Service.

I send you by this mail a copy of my speech in San Francisco, which has been gotten up to suit the artistic taste of my private secretary. As always,


Washington, July 21, 1915

MY DEAR FRITZ,—I wish I could think of something I could do for you dear people back there. I haven't heard from George for a long while, but I hope he is getting something in mind that makes him think life worth living. It is strange that every lawyer I know would like to be situated just as George is, with a little farm in a quiet dell. Last night I talked with Senator Sutherland. It is his hope sometime to reach this ideal. And the other night I talked with Justice Lamar, and told him of George's life, and he said that he had dreamt of such an existence for fifty years but has never been able to see his way to its realization.

There is no chance of our getting out to the Coast this year. The President expects us to be within call, and I am very much interested in the Mexican question, as to which I have presented a program to him which so far he has accepted. These are times of terrible strain upon him. I saw him last night for a couple of hours, and the responsibility of the situation weighs terribly upon him. How to keep us out of war and at the same time maintain our dignity—this is a task certainly large enough for the largest of men.

Conditions politically are very unsettled, and much will turn I suppose on what Congress does. More and more I am getting to believe that it would be a good thing to have universal military service. To have a boy of eighteen given a couple of months for two or three years in the open would be a good thing for him and would develop a very strong national sense, which we much lack. The country believes that a man must be paid for doing anything for his country. We even propose to pay men for the time they put in drilling, so as to protect their own liberties and property. This is absurd! We must all learn that sacrifices are necessary if we are to have a country. The theory of the American people, apparently, is that the country is to give, give, give, and buy everything that it gets.

Hope things are going well with you. Drop me a line when you can.




Washington, July 30, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—Things have come to such a tension here that I doubt the wisdom of my discussing international politics with you; nevertheless, I want you not to be weary in well-doing, but continue to give me the views of the Tory Squire. I hope that your admiration for Balfour will prove justified. Of course, our press, which can not be said to sympathize strongly with the conservative side, makes it appear that Lloyd George is now bearing a great part in the work of securing ammunition. This is the inevitable result of allowing the people to vote. The man who has the people's confidence proves to be the most useful in a time of emergency. However, it may be that Balfour is himself directing all that Lloyd George does.

This morning's papers contain an official statement from Petrograd suggesting that the English get to work upon the west line. This seems to me extremely unkind, inasmuch as the English have already lost over 300,000 and have furnished a large amount of money to Russia, I understand.

Pfeiffer sent me an article the other day from a German professor, in which he said that the three million men that Kitchener talked about was all a bluff. Pfeiffer keeps sending me long protests against England's attitude regarding our trade, which seem to me to be fair statements of international law.

The word that I get rather leads me to believe that the war will last for at least another year and a half, which is quite in line with Kitchener's prophecy, but where will all these countries be from a financial standpoint at the end of that time? I fancy some of them will have to go into bankruptcy and actually repudiate their debt, and what will become by that time of the high-spirited French, who are holding three hundred and fifty miles of line against eleven held by the British and thirty by the Belgians?

Yesterday I received a request from a German Independence League for my resignation, as I was born under the British flag and was supposed to be influential with the President, who has recently sent a very direct and business-like letter to Germany. My answer was that they had mistaken my nationality. My real name was Lange and my father had stricken out the G.! Affectionately yours,



Washington, August 2, 1915

MY DEAR AVERY,—I am very glad to hear from you and to get your verse. I had a glorious time at Berkeley. I could have received no honor that would have given me greater satisfaction, but oh! as I look over that old list of professors and associate professors! I don't know a tenth of them, and I never heard of half of them. How far I am removed from the scholastic life, and how far we both are from those old days when you used to sit with your pipe in your mouth, in front of your cabin, and discourse to me upon God and men!

Well, we don't any of us know any more about God, but we know something more about man. But after all is said and done, I guess I like him about as much, as I did in the enthusiastic days when we used to quiz old Moses. The streak of ideality that I had then I still retain. The reason that I have remained a Democrat is because I felt that we gave prime concern to the interests of men, as such, and had more faith that we could help on a revolution.

These are times of trial. The well we look into is very deep. The stars are not very bright. It is hard to find our way, but the pilot has a good nerve. I know the trouble that Ulysses had with Scylla and Charybdis.

Thank you, old man, very heartily for your word of cheer.
Cordially yours,



Washington, August 2, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,—I am very glad to get your letter of July 28, telling me your views regarding the last note. I believe the paragraph to which you refer was absolutely essential to make Germany understand that we meant business; that she could not have taken our opposition seriously is evidenced by her previous note, and which, I think, was as insulting as any note ever addressed by one power to another. Think of the absurd proposition, that we should be allowed a certain number of ships to be prescribed by Germany upon which our people could sail! Of course, if we accepted her conditions, we would have to accept the conditions that any other belligerent, or neutral, for that matter, might impose. What becomes of a neutral's rights under these conditions?

The Leenalaw case shows that Germany can do exactly what we have been asking her to do; namely, give people a chance to get off the ship before they blow her up. This is good sense and good morals; and the whole neutral world is behind us. If, in response to our note, Germany had said, "We regret the destruction of American lives, and are willing to make reparation, and have directed our submarines that they shall not torpedo any ships until the ship has been given an opportunity to halt," there would have been no trouble; but Germany evidently did not take us seriously. Our English was a bit too diplomatic.

I am writing you thus frankly, and in confidence, of course, because I respect your opinion greatly. Cordially yours,


In the middle of August, Lane joined his family at Essex-on- Champlain, New York, for a few days. While there he went with Mr. and Mrs. James S. Harlan to Westport, some miles further south on the lake, to see the summer boat races and water sports. Mr. Harlan's motor-boat, the Gladwater, which had been built on his dock by Dick Mead, won the race, and that evening on their return Lane gave the following letter to the successful builder:—

August 21, 1915

To "Dick" Mead on winning the race at Westport in the Gladwater.

We wonder sometimes why man was made, so full is life of things that terrorize, that sadden and embitter. This life is a sea; tranquil sometimes but so often fierce and cruel. And you and I are conscript sailors. Whether we will or no we must sail the sea of life, and in a ship that each must build for himself. To each is given iron and unhewn timber, to some more and to some less, with which to fashion his craft. Then the race really starts.

Some of us build ships that are no more than rafts, formless, lazy things that float. Fair weather things for moonlight nights. But others, high-hearted men of vision, will not be satisfied to drift with the current or accept the easy way. They know that they can do better than drift, and they must! The timber and the iron become plastic under their touch. The dreams of the long night they test in the too-short day. They make and they unmake; they drop their tools perhaps for a time and drift; they despair and curse their impatient and unsatisfied souls. But rising, they set to work again, and one day comes the reward, the planks fit together, and feeling the purpose of the builder, clasp each other in firm and beautiful lines; the unwilling metal at last melts into form and place and becomes the harmonious heart of the whole —and so a ship is born that masters the cruel sea, that cuts the fierce waves with a knife of courage.

To dream and model, to join and file, to melt and carve, to balance and adjust, to test and to toil—these are the making of the ship. And to a few like yourself comes the vision of the true line and the glory of the victory. Sincerely yours,


Washington, August 31, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,— … I met three friends of yours in New York the other day, Lamb, Fletcher, and Pfeiffer, to whom I told in my dismal way, the correspondence that we have been carrying on, and all sympathized with me very sincerely.

Things look brighter now. The President seems to have been able to make Germany hear him at last. I am very much surprised that you think we ought to enter the war. Now that you have secured Italy to intervene, what is the necessity? What have you to offer by way of a bribe? I see that you are distributing territory generously. Or do you think that we should go in because we were threatened as England was—although she says it was Belgium that brought her in? Fletcher is very much for fighting; Lamb says that the Allies will win in the next two weeks. Pfeiffer thinks that nobody will win. I can't tell you what I think. If I were only nearer I would have more fun with you. Affectionately yours,


Washington, September 7, 1915

MY DEAR SID,—I enclose a more formal letter for presentation to your friend, Baron de—. Why in hell you should plague me with this thing, except that I am the only real good-natured man connected with the Government, I don't understand. Speaking of good nature reminds me that you are a clam; in fact, a clam is vociferous alongside of you.

As you know I have been guiding the affairs of this Government for the past three months, and have received advice from every man, woman, and child in the country, including the German-American Union, the Independent Union, the Friends of Peace, the Sons of Hibernia, and all the other troglodytes that live; and yet, you alone have not thought me of sufficient consequence to advise me as to what to do with the Kaiser or Carranza or Hoke Smith or Roosevelt.

Before you go back to work why don't you come down here and spend a day or two? We can have a perfectly bully time, and I will tell you how to run your University and you can tell me how to run the Government. …

I have not seen House nor heard from him, though I have wanted to talk with him more than with any other human being, these three months gone. Yours as always,

F. K. L.

Washington, September 13, 1915

MY DEAR CORDY,—I envy you very much the opportunity that you have to entertain Miss Nancy Lane. [Footnote: Born January 4, 1903.] When she is herself, she is a most charming young lady. She has powers of fascination excelled by few. If she grows angry, owing to her artistic temperament, and throws plates at you or chases you out of the house with a broom, you must forgive her because you know that great artists like Sarah Bernhardt often have this failing.

Perhaps you do not know it, but she used to be a great violinist in her younger days. I doubt if she knows one string from another now. The only strings that she can play on are your heart strings, or mine, or any other man's that comes into her neighborhood. I shall rely upon your honor not to propose to her, because she is already engaged to me; in fact, we have been engaged nearly twelve years, and if she should become engaged to you, I will sue you for stealing her affections and will engage the firm of Davis Kellogg and Severance to prosecute my suit. If she says anything about a desire to get back to school, you can put it down as a bluff, and I trust that you will not swamp her with attentions and with company lest it should turn her head. She is accustomed to the simple life—a breakfast of oatmeal porridge, a luncheon of boiled macaroni, and a dinner of hash—these are the three things that she is used to. If she shows any disposition to be affectionate toward you or Aunt Maidie, I trust that you will repress her with an iron hand. The young women of this day, as you know, are very forward, and these new dances seem to be especially designed to destroy maiden modesty.

… You may tell her that her brother seems to be very anxious to hear from her, being solicitous two or three times a day as to the mail. I judge from this that he is expecting a letter from her—or someone else.

You are very good to be giving my little one such a fine time. My love to Maidie. Cordially yours,

F. K. L.

Washington, October 7, 1915

DEAR MR. DIXON,—I have your letter of October 1st. You have asked me a very difficult question, which is really this:—How to get into a man's nature an appreciation of our form of government and its benefits?

I cannot answer this question. There are certain natures which do not sympathize with the exercise of or the development of common authority, which is the essence of Democracy. They are instinctively monarchists. They love order more than liberty. They do not see how a balance can be struck between the two. By force of environment and education their sons may see otherwise. I know of no other way of making Americans, than by getting into them by environment and education a love for liberty and a recognition of its advantages. Cordially yours,


Washington, November 27, 1915

MY DEAR PATCHIN,—Mrs. Lane and I would be delighted to join in your fiesta to Mrs. Eleanor Egan, but we just can't. Why? Because we have a dinner on December 2nd, also because we are neutral. …

We can not countenance any one who has been in jail. To have been in jail proves poverty. Nor do we regard it as fitting that a young woman should have been torpedoed and spent forty-five minutes in the water splashing around like Mrs. Lecks or Mrs. Aleshine. If she was torpedoed why didn't she go down or up like a heroine? Then she would have had an atrocious iron statue erected in her honor among the other horrors in Central Park. After her experience she will doubtless be more sympathetic toward those of us who are torpedoed daily and weekly and monthly and have to splash around for the amusement of a curious public.

I hope your dinner of welcome and rejoicing will be as gay as the cherubic smile of the Right Honorable Egan. Cordially,


Washington, November 27, 1915

MY DEAR WALL,—I wish that I had time for a long letter to you, such as yours to me. But I am only to-day able to get at my personal correspondence which has accumulated in the last six weeks. These have been times of annual reports and estimates, and we have a large number of internal troubles which need constant attention.

I am afraid that we are going to have a great deal of trouble in getting our preparedness program through, because of dissension in our own ranks and because the Republicans are so anxious to take advantage of this emergency to raise the tariff duties and to gain credit for whatever is done in the way of preparation. We are too much dominated by partisanship to be really patriotic. This is a very broad indictment, but it seems to be justified. Of course, the people like Bryan and Ford, and the women generally, are moved by a philosophy that is too idealistic, and some of them are only moved, I fear, by an intense exaggerated ego. If I would have to name the one curse of the present day, I would say it is the love of notoriety and the assumption by almost everyone that his judgment is as good as that of the ablest. Of course, the trouble with the ablest people is that they are so largely moved by forces that do not appear on the surface, that one does not know that the views they express are really their own judgment. Democracy seems to be government by suspicion, in large part. We have faith in ourselves, but not in each other. A man to be a good partisan seems called upon to believe that every man of different view is a crook or a weakling. This is the Roosevelt idea. And half of it is the Bryan idea.

I wish that I could see you, old man, and have one of our old time talks. …

I shall bear in mind what you say as to the availability of your service, but I hope it may not be necessary to take you from that land of sunshine and dreams that seems so remote from this center of intrigue and trouble. Affectionately yours,



Washington, December 8, 1915

MY DEAR JOHN,— … Things are not looking at all nice as to Germany and Austria. I know that the country is not satisfied, at least part of it, with our patience, but I don't see just what else we can do but be patient. Our ships are not needed anywhere, and our soldiers do not exist. To-day brings word of the blowing up of an American ship. Of course, we do not know the details but the thing looks ugly.

Wasn't the President's message on the hyphenated gentlemen bully? You could not have beaten that yourself. And your dear friend T. Roosevelt, did certainly write himself down as one large and glorious ass in his criticism of the message. He hates Wilson so, that he has just lost his mind. I wish I didn't have to say this about Roosevelt, because I am extremely fond of him (which you are not), but a poorer interview on the message could not have been written. … As always yours,

F. K. L.

The following letter was written to Mrs. Adolph Miller when she was in a hospital in New York.


Washington, December 12, [1915]

MY DEAR MARY,—We have just returned from Church and all morning I have been thinking of you and Adolph—praying for you I suppose in my Pagan way.

Poor dear girl, I know you are brave but I'd just like to hold your hand or look steadily into your eyes, to tell you that you have the best thing that this world gives—friends who are one with you. I can see old Adolph with his grimness and his great love, which makes him more grim and far more mandatory, what a sturdy old Dutch Calvinist he is! He really is more Dutch than German—Dutch modified by the California sun—and Calvinist sweetened by you and Boulder Creek, and Berkeley and William James and B. I. Wheeler and his Saint of a Mother. Well, let him pass, why should I talk of him when you really want me to talk of myself!

Last night we had the GRIDIRON dinner, and the President made an exalted speech. He is spiritually great, Mary, and don't you dare smile and think of the widow! We are all dual, old Emerson said it in his ESSAY ON FREE WILL, and Adolph can tell you what old Greek said it. And this duality is where the fight comes in, and the two people walk side by side, to-day is Jekyll's day, and tomorrow is Hyde's, and so they alternate.

Well, the GRIDIRON was a grind on Bryan and Villard and Ford, and a boost for preparedness and Garrison and the Army and Navy. Tell Adolph they had a Democratic mule, two men walking together under a cover, the head end reasonable, the hind end kicking—the front end of course represented the Wilson crowd and the hind end the Bryan-Kitchin,—and the two wouldn't work together. The whole thing was splendidly done and was a lesson to the few Democrats who were there—which they won't learn.

Nancy went to her second party last night—a joyous thing in a new evening cloak of old rose, which made her feel that Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba and Mrs. Galt and all other exalted ladies had nothing on her. What a glorious thing life would be if we could remain children, with all the simple joys and none of the horrors that age brings on. There is certainly a good fifty per cent chance that this fine spirit will marry some damn brute who will worry and harass the soul out of her. For so the world goes. I hope she'll be as fortunate as you have been.

To-night we go to the Polks to see Mrs. Martin Egan who was on a torpedoed ship in the Mediterranean, and although she couldn't swim floated forty-five minutes till rescued. You must know the Polks well. She has very real charm and your old Mormon of a husband will desert his other fairies for her.

Now I have gossiped and preached and prophesied and mourned and otherwise revealed what passes through a wandering mind in half an hour, so I send you, at the close of this screed, my blessing, which is a poor gift, and I would send you the parcel post limit of my love if it weren't for Anne and Adolph, who are narrow- minded Dutch Calvinists. May good fortune betide you and bring you back very soon to the many whose hearts are sympathetic.



Washington, D.C., December 24, [1915]

MY DEAR MAUDIE,—It is Christmas eve, and while Nancy and Anne are filling the mysterious stockings, I am writing these letters to the best of brothers and sister. It has been a long, a disgracefully long time since I wrote you, but I have kept in touch pretty well through George and Anne. … So you have now a philosophy—something to hang to! I am glad of it. The standpoint is the valuable thing. There are profound depths in the idea that lies under Christian Science, but like all other new things it goes to unreasonable lengths. "Be Moderate," were the words written over the Temple on the Acropolis, and this applies to all things. This world is curiously complex, and no one knows how to answer all our puzzles. Sometimes I think that God himself does not. There is a fine poem by Emerson called, THE SPHINX, which is the most hopeful thing that I have found, because it recognizes the dual world in which we live, for everything goes not singly but in pairs—good and evil, matter and mind. Then, too, you may be interested in his essay on FATE.

Dear Fritz—dear, dear boy, how I wish I could be there with him, though I could do no good. … Each night I pray for him, and I am so much of a Catholic that I pray to the only Saint I know or ever knew and ask her to help. If she lives her mind can reach the minds of the doctors just as surely as there is such a thing as transmission of thought between us, or hypnotism. I don't need her to intercede with God, but I would like her to intercede with man. Why, oh why, do we not know whether she is or not! Then all the universe would be explained to me. The only miracle that I care about is the resurrection. If we live again we certainly have reason for living now. I think that belief is the foundation hope of religion. Anne has it with a certainty that is to me nothing less than amazing. And people of noble minds, of exalted spirits, not necessarily of greatest intellects have it. George has it in his own way, and he is certainly one of the real men of the earth. The President has it strongly. He is, in fact, deeply, truly religious. The slanders on him are infamous.

… We are to have the quietest possible Christmas. No one but ourselves at dinner—I give no presents at all—for financially we are up to our eyebrows. I probably will work all day except for an hour or two which I shall use in playing with Nancy, for her gay spirit will not allow anything but the Christmas spirit to prevail. She is so like our Dear One, so determined, cheerful, hopeful, courageous, yet very shy. Ned will be out all night at dances and tomorrow too, for he is a most popular chap and very well-behaved indeed. His manners are excellent and he has plenty of dash. He is learning these things now which I learned only after many years, the little things which make the conventional man of the world.

I hope that you will find the New Year one of great peace of mind and real serenity of soul. May you commune with the Spirit of the Infinite and find yourself growing more and more in the spiritual image of the Dear One.

My tenderest love to you and to your good high-hearted man, and to the Boy.



Washington [1915]

This is a Christmas letter and is addressed:—"To a Brave Young Woman." I am afraid it is not just as cheery and merry as it should be because, you see, it's like this, I am poor—very, very poor, and I have very good taste—very, very good taste. Now those two things can't get on together at Christmas. Then, too, I am busy—very, very busy, so I don't have time to shop. Now if you were very, very poor and had very, very good taste and were very, very busy and couldn't shop—how in heaven could you buy anything for anyone?

I did take half an hour or so to look at things, and things were so ugly that were cheap that of course I couldn't buy them without confessing poor taste, or they were so very expensive that I couldn't buy them without confessing bankruptcy. Now there you are! So what could a poor boy do but come home empty-handed, nothing for Anne or Nancy or Ned or you—not even something for myself! And I need things, socks and pipe, and better writing paper than this, and music and toothpaste and some new clothes, and a house near your palace, and a more contented spirit and another job and Ahellofalotof things. Don't get nervous about me, because I'm not going to kill myself for lack of all these things, although a true-born Samurai, loyal to Bushido might do so. For it is dishonor not to be rich at Christmas time; not to feel rich, anyway. But then let me see what I've got! There's Anne! I expect if sold on the block, at public auction, say in Alaska, where women are scarce, she would bring some price; but her digestion isn't very good and her heart is quite weak and her hair is falling out. But these things, of course, the auctioneer wouldn't reveal. She would make a fine Duchess, but the market just now is overstocked with Duchesses. And she is a good provider when furnished with the provisions.

Now there is Ned—he could hire out as a male assistant to a female dancer and get fifty a week, perhaps. Nancy couldn't even do that. They are both liabilities. So there you are, with Duchesses on the contraband list, and Nancy not old enough to marry a decayed old Pittsburg millionaire, I will be compelled to keep on working. For my assets aren't what your noble husband would call quick, though they are live. I really don't know what to do. I shall wait till Anne comes home and then, as usual, do what she says.

I really did look for something for you. But the only thing I saw that I thought you would care for was a brooch, opal and diamonds for seven hundred and seventy-five dollars, so I said you wouldn't care for it. But I bought it for you A LA Christian Science. You have it, see? I think you have it, that I gave it to you. And that Adolph doesn't know it, see?

Well you have the opal and I am happy because you are enjoying it. Such fire! What a superb setting! And such refined taste, platinum, do you notice! oh, so modest! No one else has any such jewel. How Henry will admire it—and how mystified Adolph is! Tell him you bought it out of the money you saved on corned beef. How I shall enjoy seeing you wear it, and knowing that it bears in its fiery heart all the ardent poetry that I would fain pour out, but am deterred by my shyness. But you will understand! Each night you must take it out just for a glimpse before saying your prayers. The opal is from Australia, the platinum from Siberia, the diamonds from Africa, the setting was designed in Paris. And here it is, the circle of the world has been made to secure this little thing of beauty for you. What symbolism!

I hope it will make you happy, and cause you to forget all your pain and weakness. It has given me great happiness to give you this little gift. And so we will both have a merry Christmas.





On Writing English—Visit to Monticello—Citizenship for Indians—On
Religion—American-Mexican Joint Commission



Washington, December 29, 1915

DEAR BOLE,—I am very much gratified by the manner in which you treated my annual report. Certainly my old newspaper training has stood me in good stead in writing my reports. In fact it always has, for while I was Corporation Counsel in San Francisco, and a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, I wrote legal opinions that were intelligible to the layman, and I tried to present my facts in such manner as to make their presentation interesting. The result was that the courts read my opinions and sustained them, but whether they were equally impressive upon the strictly legal mind, I have my doubts, because you know inside the "union" there is a strong feeling that the argot of the bar must be spoken and the simplest legal questions dealt with in profound, philosophic, latinized vocabulary.

I remember that after I was elected Corporation Counsel, when I was almost unknown to the bar of San Francisco, I began to hear criticism from my legal friends that my opinions were written in English that was too simple, so I indulged myself by writing a dozen or so in all the heavy style that I could put on, writing in as many Latin phrases and as much old Norman French as was possible. This was by way of showing the crowd that I was still a member of the union.

I find that all our scientific bureaus suffer from the same malady. These scientists write for each other, as the women say they dress for each other. One of the first orders that I issued was that our letters should be written in simple English, in words of one syllable if possible, and on one page if possible.

Soon after I came here I found a letter from one of our lawyers to an Indian, explaining the conditions of his title, that was so involved and elaborately braided and beaded and fringed that I could not understand it myself. I outraged the sensibilities of every lawyer in the Department, and we have five hundred or more of them, by sending this letter back and asking that it be put in straightaway English. … Cordially yours,



Washington, [January 1, 1916]

Having just sent a wire to you I shall now indulge myself in a few minutes talk with that many-sided, multiple-natured, quite obvious-and-yet-altogether-hidden person who is known to me as Mary Miller.

The flash of brilliant crimson on the eastern side of the opal, do you catch it? Now that is the flash of courage, the brilliant flame that will lead you to hold your head high. … I like very much what you say as to wearing our jewel "discreetly but constantly." No combination of words could more perfectly express the relationship which this bit of sunrise has established between us—devotion, loyalty, telepathic communication without publicity. I am sure you are belittling yourself. … you are a game bird,— good, you understand, but with a tang, a something wild in flavor, a touch of the woods and mountain flowers and hidden dells in bosky places, and wanderings and sweet revolt against captivity. …

This is my first line of the New Year. Anne is a true daughter of Martha this morning—her heart is troubled with many things, getting ready for the raid of the Huns this afternoon. She says she will write when she repossesses herself of her right arm. Good health!

Some days later

… I have been receiving your wireless messages all week, my dear Mary, and not one was an S. O. S. Good! The fair ship MARY MILLER is safe. Hurrah! She never has been staunch, but she was the gayest thing on the sea, and when her sails were all set from jib to spanker she made a gladsome sight, and some speed.

Of course, being so gay she was venturesome. That's where the Devil comes in. He is always looking about for the gay things. He hates anything that doesn't make medicine for him. If you are gay you are likely to be venturesome, and if venturesome, you can be led astray. So the good ship MARY MILLER instead of hugging the shore took a try at the vasty deep and got all blown to pieces. Then she sent out a cry for help. The wireless worked and now with a little puttering along in the sunshine and a lazy sea, she will be her gay self once more, and like Kipling's Three Decker will "carry tired people to the Islands of the Blest."

That was a most charming letter you sent me, a real bit of intimate talk. Anne read it first. She is very careful as to my reading. And I was glad to know that she could discover nothing in it which might injuriously affect my trustful young mind. Anne is really a good woman. I don't believe in husband's abusing their wives, publicly. Good manners are essential to happiness in married life. We are short on manners in this country, and that explains the prevalence of divorce. How much better, as our friend L. Sterne once said, "These things are ordered in France."

F. K L.



Washington, January 11, 1916

MY DEAR ADAMS,—I have yours of the 2nd. Of course, you can not sue the United States to get possession of its property without the consent of the United States; but I will forgive you for all your peculiar and archaic notions regarding government lands and schools and sich, because I love you for what you are and not because of your inheritance of old-fashioned ideas.

As I am dictating this letter I look up at the wall and discover there the head of a bull moose, and that bull moose makes me think of all the things you said four years ago about Roosevelt. And now he is to be again the master of your party—perhaps not a candidate, because he may be guilty of an act of self-abnegation and put away the crown, or take it in his own hands and place it upon some one else's brow.

I remember the manner—the scornful, satirical, sometimes pitiful and sometimes abusive manner—in which you treated the Bull Moose; and so we are going to have a great spectacle, the Bull Moose and the Elephant kissing each other at Chicago; and seated on the Elephant's shoulders will be the crowned mahout with the big barbed stick in his hand, telling you which way to turn and when to kneel!

Of course, you will abuse us all for our land policies, but overlook the fact that the brutalities of these policies were committed in other days—those good, old Republican days. It really is a wonder that you are not cynical and that you still have enthusiasm. I should not be surprised if you said your prayers and had belief in another world, where all the bad Democrats would sizzle to the eternal joy of the good Republicans. In those days I shall look up to you and I know that you will not deny me the drop of cold water.

I shall be very much interested in seeing what kind of a fist our man Claxton makes out of your school system, and I hope you can use him as a means of arousing interest in the schools. That is one trouble with the public school system, because we get our education for nothing we treat it as if it was worth nothing—I mean those of us who are parents. We never know that the school exists except to make some complaint about discipline or taxes.

May you live long and be happy. Always yours,


From time to time as vacancies occurred on the Supreme Bench, letters and telegrams came to Lane from friends that begged him to allow them to urge his appointment to this office. In 1912, 1914, and 1916 the newspapers in different parts of the country mentioned him as a probable appointee. While, as a young lawyer, this office had seemed to him to be one greatly to be desired, after he came to Washington and knew more of the nature of the cases that necessarily formed the greater part of the work passed upon by the Supreme Court, his interest waned. As early as 1913 he wrote of the decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission, "If we are wise, we are not to be terrorized by our own precedents." An office in which there was little opportunity for constructive or executive work grew to have less and less attraction for him.

To Carl Snyder

Washington, January 22, 1916

MY DEAR CARL,—I am your most dutiful and obedient servant; the aforesaid modest declaration being induced by your letter of January fifth, offering to place me on the Bench. I regret greatly that you are not the President of the United States, but he seems to have a notion that it would be a shame to spoil an excellent Secretary of the Interior.

Talking of robes, there is an idea in Chesterton that is not bad, that all those who exercise power in the world wear skirts—the judge, who can officially kill a man; the woman, who can unofficially do the same thing; and the King, who is the State; likewise the Pope, who can save the souls of all.

Garrett was in to-day, and if you haven't seen him since his return, edge up next to him. He is full of facts, some of which are new to us.

I guess I am to credit you with that little editorial in
Collier's, eh? Cordially yours,


To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane

Atlantic City

Washington, February 5, 1916

MOST RESPECTED LADY,—Having just returned from luncheon and being in the enjoyment of a cigar of fine aroma I sit me down for a quiet talk. I am visualizing you as by my side and addressing you in person.

First, no doubt, you will care to hear of the reception given at the White House last evening. According to your directions, I first dined with the Secretary of Agriculture, his wife, and a lady from Providence. … Going then to the White House we socialized for a few minutes before proceeding down stairs. The President expressed himself as regretting your absence, and the President's lady, having heard from you, expressed solicitude as to your health. I loitered for a few minutes behind the line and then betook me to the President's library, where I spent most of the evening hearing the Postmaster General tell of the great burden that it was to have a Congress on his hands. Bernard Shaw writes of the Superman, and so does, I believe, the crazy philosopher of Germany. I was convinced last night that I had met one in the flesh. …

The President is cheerful, regarding his Western tour as one of triumph. His lady still wears the smile which has given her such pre-eminence. Mrs. Marshall was in line, looking like a girl of twenty. Those absent were the Wife of the Secretary of War, the wife of the Secretary of the Interior, and the wife of the Secretary of Labor. …

You have two most excellent children, dear madam—a youth of some eighteen years who has a frisky wit and a more frisky pair of feet. Your daughter is a most charming witch. I mean by this not to refer to her age … but to that combination of poise, directness, tenderness, fire, hypocrisy, and other feminine virtues which go to make up the most charming, because the most elusive, of your sex. I am inclined to believe that Mr. Ruggles, of Red Gap, would not regard either your son or your daughter as fitted for those high social circles in which they move by reason of the precision of their vocabulary or their extreme reserve in manner, both being of very distinct personality. One is flint and the other steel, I find, so that fire is struck when they come together. While engaged, however, in the game of draw poker, these antipathetic qualities do not reveal themselves in such a manner as to seriously affect domestic peace. I have spent two entire evenings with your children, much to my entertainment. That I will not be able to enjoy this evening with them is a matter of regret, but I am committed to a dinner with the Honorable Kirke Porter, and tomorrow evening I believe that I am to dine with the lady on R. Street, the name of the aforesaid lady being now out of my mind, but you will recall her as having a brilliant mind and very slight eyebrows.

Neither the President nor myself alluded to the late lamented oversight on his part, and on meeting the members of the Supreme Court I did not find that by the omission to appoint me on said Court the members thereof felt that a great national loss had been suffered. No one, in fact, throughout the evening alluded to this miscarriage of wisdom. …

… Much solicitude was expressed by many of those present regarding your health. I told them in my off-hand manner that I was enjoying your absence greatly. …

Having now had this most enjoyable talk with you, I shall delight myself with an hour's discussion of oil leases upon the Osage Reservation with one Cato Sells.

Believe me, my dear madam, your most respectful obedient, humble, meek, modest, mild, loyal, loving, and disconsolate servant,



Washington, February 11, 1916

DEAR WILL,—So you are off for the happiest voyage you have ever made, with the girl of your heart, to see the whole world being changed and a new world made. What a joy! Don't put off returning too long. Remember that books must be timely now, and after you have a gizzard full of good chapter headings, come back and grind.

Nancy entirely approves of your wife and her books. As always yours,



Washington, February 29, 1916

… It is none of my business, but I have just seen an article coming out over your name respecting Pinchot, the wisdom of which I doubt. I have never found any good to come by blurring an issue by personal contest or antagonisms. You asked me when you left if you might not come in once in a while and talk with me, and I am taking the liberty in this way of dropping in on you, for I am deeply interested in water power development and want to see something result this Session.

I have no time to waste in fighting people, and I have found that by pursuing this policy I can promote measures that I favor. To fight for a thing, the best way is to show its advantages and the need for it, and ignore those who do not take the same view, because there is an umpire in Congress that must balance the two positions, and therefore I can rely upon the strength of my position as against the weakness of the other man's position. If those who are in favor of water power development get to fighting each other, nothing will result.

I am giving you the benefit of this attitude of mine for your own guidance. It may be entirely contrary to the policy that you, or your people, wish to pursue and my only solicitude is that the things I am for, should not be held back any longer by personal disputes. Cordially yours,


Washington, March 13, 1916

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I shall be pleased to go to the San Diego Exposition, on my way to San Francisco, and say a word as your representative at its opening.

I hope that you may find your way made less difficult than now appears possible, as to entering Mexico, My judgment is that to fail in getting Villa would ruin us in the eyes of all Latin- Americans. I do not say that they respect only force, but like children they pile insult upon insult if they are not stopped when the first insult is given. If I can be of any service to you by observation or by carrying any message for you to anybody, while I am West, I trust that you will command me. I can return by way of Arizona and New Mexico. … Faithfully yours,


Lane re-opened the California International Exposition at San Diego, where, voicing the President's regret that he could not himself be present, Lane said,—"He had intended to make this trip himself; but circumstances, some to the east of him and some to the south of him, made that impossible. … Pitted against him are the trained and cunning intellects of the whole world, … and no one can be more conscious than is he that it is difficult to reconcile pride and patience. I give you his greeting therefore, not out of a heart that is joyous and buoyant, but out of a heart that is grave and firm in its resolution that the future of our Republic and all republics shall not be put in peril."

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE WITH ETHAN ALLEN,

From San Diego he went north to San Francisco, to see his brother Frederic J. Lane, who had been ill for some months. After a few days with him Lane returned to his desk, in Washington.


Washington, April 26, 1916

MY DEAR FRITZ,— … I certainly will not despair of your being cured until every possible resource has been exhausted. The odds, it seems to me, are in your favor. Whenever Abrams and Vecchi say that they have done all that they can, if you are still in condition to travel, I want you to try the Arkansas Hot Springs and I will go down there to meet you. …

I wrote you from the train the other day on my way to Harpers Ferry, where I took an auto and went down through the Shenandoah Valley and across the mountains to Charlottesville, where the University of Virginia is. I went with the Harlans. Anne joined us at Charlottesville. … We visited Monticello, where Jefferson lived, and saw a country quite as beautiful as any valley I know of in California, not even excepting the Santa Clara Valley, in prune blossom time. Those old fellows who built their houses a hundred years ago knew how to build and build beautifully. We have no such places in California as some that were built a hundred and fifty years ago in Virginia, and they did not care how far they got away from town, in those days.

Jefferson's house is up on the top of a hill, as are most of the others,—there are very few on the roads. Most of them are from a mile to five miles back, and although the land is covered with timber they built of brick, and imported Italian laborers to do the wood-carving. When I think of how much less in money and in trouble make a place far more magnificent in California, I wonder our people have not lovelier places. Of course, the difference is that in Virginia there were just three classes of people—the aristocrat, the middle class, and the negroes. The aristocracy had the land, the middle class were the artisans, and the negroes the slaves. The only ones who had fine houses were the aristocracy, whereas with us the great mass of our people are business and professional men of comparatively small means and we have few men who build palaces.

Things have blown up in Ireland, I see, and the Irish are going to suffer for this foolish venture. This man Casement who is posing as the George Washington of the Irish revolution, has held office all his life under the English Government and now draws a pension. His last position was that of Consul General at Rio de Janeiro. I got a pamphlet from him a year or so ago, in which he proposed an alliance between Germany, the Republic of Ireland, and the Republic of the United States, which should control the politics of the world. …

Doesn't the thought of Henry Ford as Presidential candidate … surprise you? It looks to me very much as if the Ford vote demonstrates Roosevelt's weakness as a candidate. Last night I went to dinner at old Uncle Joe Cannon's house, and as I came out Senator O'Gorman pointed to Uncle Joe and Justice Hughes talking together and said, "There is the old leader passing over the wand of power to the new leader." …

Well, old man, I know that I do not need to tell you to keep your spirits up and your faith strong. Give me all the news, good as well as bad. Affectionately yours,




Washington, May 8, 1916

MY DEAR COBB,—Here is a memorandum that has been drafted respecting the leasing bill, that we are now pushing to have taken up by the Senate. This bill, as you know, covers oil, phosphate, and potash lands. … There are three million acres of phosphate lands, two and a half million acres of oil lands, and a small acreage of potash lands, under withdrawal now, that cannot be developed because of lack of legislation. …

The situation here is tense. Of course, nobody knows what will be done. I favor telling Germany that we will make no trade with her, and if she fails to make good her word we will stop talking to her altogether. I am getting tired of having the Kaiser and Carranza vent their impudence at our expense, because they know we do not want to go to war and because they want to keep their own people in line. … Cordially yours,



Washington, May 17, 1916

MY DEAR WICKERSHAM,—I am just back from a trip to South Dakota, where I, by ritual, a copy of which is inclosed for your perusal, made citizens out of a bunch of Indians who never can become hyphenates, and for this reason your letter has remained unanswered.

And just because we love you, and love ourselves even better, we will break all rules, precedents, promises, appointments, agreements, and covenants of all kinds whatsoever, and steal over to see you a week from Saturday. Just what hour I will wire you, and what time we can stay depends upon things various and sundry. But you may depend upon it that it will be as long a time as a very flexible conscience will permit.

Remember me, in terms of endearment, to that noble lady who desolated Washington by her departure. As always,



Washington, May 20, 1916

DEAR MR. BROUGHAM,— … I recently returned from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota where I admitted some one hundred and fifty competent Indians to full American citizenship in accordance with a ritual. … The ceremony was really impressive and taken quite seriously by the Indians. Why should not some such ceremony as this be used when we give citizenship to foreigners who come to this country? Surely it tends to instil patriotism and presents the duties of citizenship in a manner that leaves a lasting impression. Here is a story that should be interesting to all, if properly presented. Cordially yours,


The Secretary stands before one of the candidates and says:—

"Joseph T. Cook, what was your Indian name?"

"Tunkansapa," answers the Indian.

"Tunkansapa, I hand you a bow and arrow. Take this bow and shoot the arrow."

The Indian does so.

"Tunkansapa, you have shot your last arrow. That means you are no longer to live the life of an Indian. You are from this day forward to live the life of the white man. But you may keep that arrow. It will be to you a symbol of your noble race and of the pride you may feel that you come from the first of all Americans."

Addressing Tunkansapa by his white name.

"Joseph T. Cook, take in your hands this plough." Cook does so. "This act means that you have chosen to live the life of the white man. The white man lives by work. From the earth we must all get our living, and the earth will not yield unless man pours upon it the sweat of his brow.

"Joseph T. Cook, I give you a purse. It will always say to you that the money you gain must be wisely kept. The wise man saves his money, so that when the sun does not smile and the grass does not grow he will not starve."

The Secretary now takes up the American flag. He and the Indian hold it together.

"I give into your hands the flag of your country. This is the only flag you ever will have. It is the flag of free men, the flag of a hundred million free men and women, of whom you are now one. That flag has a request to make of you, Joseph T. Cook, that you repeat these words."

Cook then repeats the following after the Secretary.

"Forasmuch as the President has said that I am worthy to be a citizen of the United States, I now promise this flag that I will give my hands, my head, and my heart to the doing of all that will make me a true American citizen."

The Secretary then takes a badge upon which is the American eagle, with the national colors, and, pinning it upon the Indian's breast, speaks as follows:—

"And now, beneath this flag, I place upon your breast the emblem of citizenship. Wear this badge always, and may the eagle that is on it never see you do aught of which the flag will not be proud."


Washington, June 6, 1916

MY DEAR FRITZ,—We have a letter from Mary this morning saying you are holding your own pretty well, which is mighty good news, and that Abrams is still convinced that he is right, which is also good news. By the same mail I learn that Hugo Asher was hit by a train and nearly killed. Whether he will recover or not is a question. Asher is a most lovable fellow and loyal to the core. It would break my heart to have him go. I got into my fight with Hearst over Asher. His people demanded that I should fire Asher, and I refused to do it.

I guess you are beaten on Roosevelt, old man. The word that we get here is that he is done for at Chicago. Of course before this gets to you the nomination will be made. My own thought has been that he laid too much stress on the support of big business. To have Gary, and Armour, and Perkins as your chief boomers doesn't make you very popular in Kansas and Iowa. Hughes may be the easiest man to beat, after all, because he vetoed the Income tax amendment in New York, a two-cent fare bill, and other things which are pretty popular. He is a good man, honest and fine, but not a liberal. The whole Congressional push has been for Hughes for months, but I haven't believed that he would accept the nomination. I made the prophesy to some newspaper men the other day that Roosevelt would get in and endorse Hughes with both fists. They were inclined to doubt this, but I still believe that I am right. …

To-day, comes word that Kitchener has been drowned and Yuan Shi Kai poisoned. Heaven knows whose turn comes next. Just think of three such events within a week as that sea battle off Denmark, the greatest naval battle of the world; the torpedoing of the Secretary of War and all of his staff; and the poisoning of the Emperor of China. I doubt if there ever was a period in the whole history of the world when things moved as fast and there was as much that was exciting. Of course now we have it all thrown onto a screen in front of our faces, whereas a hundred years ago we would have had to wait for perhaps a year before knowing that the Emperor of China had been killed. Nevertheless I think there is more passion and violence on exhibition to-day than at any time in a great many years.

I had a talk with the President the other day which was very touching. He made reference to the infamous stories that are being circulated regarding him with such indignation and pathos that I felt really very sorry for him. I suppose that these stories will be believed by some and made the basis of a very nasty kind of campaign. But there is no truth in them and yet a man can't deny them. It is a strange thing that when a man is not liable to any other charge they trump up some story about a woman. …

Now my dear boy, may you have a continuance of courage, for there is no telling what day the tide may turn and things swing your way. We know so damned little about nature yet. Affectionately yours,




Washington, June 8, 1916

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I see by the papers that it is repeatedly announced that you are writing the platform. Now I want to take the liberty of saying that this is not altogether good news to me. Our platform should contain such an appreciation of you and your administration, that you could not write it, much less have it known that you have written it. It should be one long joyful shout of exultation over the achievements of the Administration, and I can't quite see you leading the shout.

The Republican party was for half a century a constructive party, and the Democratic party was the party of negation and complaint. We have taken the play from them. The Democratic party has become the party of construction. You have outlined new policies and put them into effect through every department, from State to Labor. Therefore, our platform should be generously filled with words of boasting that will hearten and make proud the Democrats of the country; a plain tale of large things simply done.

If there is any truth at all in the newspaper statement and any purpose in making it, perhaps the end that is desired might be reached by a statement that you are not undertaking to write the platform, but that at the request of some of the leaders you are giving them a concrete statement of your foreign policy. Faithfully yours,




Washington, June 22, 1918

MY DEAR ANNE,—I am just back this minute from Brown [University] where I had a right good time. I arrived in the morning early and kept the Dean waiting for me for a half an hour. …

After breakfast I went over to the University grounds, which are very quaint, on the crest of a hill with fine old buildings, and there found that Hughes was the hero of the day, of course; every step he took he was cheered. He was very genial about it. We marched in our robes, down through the winding streets of this old New England town to a meeting house one hundred and seventy-five years old, and there we sat in pews, while the President of Brown, Mr. Faunce, gave the degrees in Latin. I have not heard so much Latin since I left school. There were a pretty good looking lot of boys, about half of them New Englanders and about half of them Westerners. We heard some orations by the students and then marched up the hill again where we had lunch, and then went over to a great tent on the campus where William Roscoe Thayer—who wrote the life of Hay—President Faunce, Judge Brown, Mr. Hughes, and I spoke.

I spoke for about half an hour. My speech fitted in very well, because Thayer preceded me, and he spoke of the lack of an American spirit; I had already prepared a speech upon the abundance of American spirit, [Footnote: Speech published in book entitled, The American Spirit.] so that I answered Thayer, and answered him with scorn. I told him that if New England was growing weak in her American pride or her vigor that we would take these boys and carry them out West where there was not any lack of virility or hardiness or red blood, and that if they wanted to know whether the American was willing to fight or not, to go to any recruiting office of the United States to-day and see how crowded it was. I told them about our pioneers, who were taking up ten or twelve million acres of land, the men who had gone to Alaska, and then turned upon the real proposition which was that there was a difference between national spirit and martial spirit.

War used to be the only opportunity for glory or romance or achievement, while there are a million other opportunities now open, because man's imagination has grown. In the morning the College had given honorary degrees of LL.D. to Brand Whitlock and Herbert Hoover. So when I came to the close of my talk I told them about Hoover's Belgian work, and that Brand Whitlock had refused to leave Brussels; and while there was no English and no French and no Italian and no Spanish and no other flag in Brussels, the Stars and Stripes in front of the American Legation had never come down, and the Belgian peasant when he went to his work in the morning took his hat off in honor of our flag, and I asked those people to stand with me in front of that peasant to take their hats off and take heart.

Well, I had the crowd with me right along. Then Hughes came and he took American Spirit as his text, and he made it quite evident what his campaign is going to be; that it is going to be a charge, veiled and very poorly supported by facts, that we have not known where we were going, that we were vacillating, that we did not have any enthusiasm, that we did not arouse the people and make them feel proud that they were Americans. How in the mischief he is going to get away with this, I do not understand. Whom were we to be mad at—England, or Germany, or everybody in the world? Were we to war with the entire outfit? He seems to be able to have satisfied the Providence Journal, which is run by an Australian who has been running the spy system for the British Embassy, and has been printing a lot … about Germany and all the German press. If he can get away with this he is some politician. I see that Teddy has had an understanding with him. Von Meyer was there yesterday to hold a conference with him.

But I do not think that we lost anything in the discussion of yesterday. There were not any Democrats there who were not on their toes at the end of the meeting; but, of course, practically everybody in Rhode Island is a Republican. It is the closest thing to a proprietary estate that I have ever seen.

… I left at 6 o'clock and on my way back met President Vincent, of Minneapolis, and George Foster Peabody. You knew that Frank Kellogg was nominated, [Footnote: For the United States Senate.] didn't you, Clapp running third? …



Washington, July 4, 1916

… I see you with blooming cheeks and star-lit eyes peeping out from under a sun-bonnet, enshrined in all the glories of the mountain redwoods, and I long to be with you if only to get some of the freshness and joy of the California mountains into my rather desolate soul.

How is the old clam? Do his lips come together in that precise Prussian way, and does he order the universe about? Or does a new spirit come over him when he gets with nature? Is she a soothing mistress who smooths his stiff hair with her soft hand, and pats his cheek and nestles him in her arms, and with her cool breath makes him forget a federal, or any other kind, of reserve?

Why has nature been so unkind to me as to make me a lover but always from afar, never to come near her, never to compel me to a sweet surrender, never to give me peace and contentment, never to so surround me as to keep out the world of fools and follies and pharisees?

You know, I would like to write some servant girl novels. I believe I could do it. My love-making would either be rather tame and stiff or too intensely early Victorian. But I should like to swing off into an ecstasy of large turgid words and let my mind hear the mushy housemaid cry, "Isn't that just too sweet!" …

I enclose a copy of my speech made at Brown University. Perhaps it will interest that old farmer potato bug. He does not deserve to have it said, but I miss him very much. Please obey him an you love me. Cut out all social activities, giving yourself up to the acquisition of a few more of the right kind of corpuscles in your too-blue blood. As always, yours,


To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane


Washington, July 4, 1916

… There is no news that I can give you. The weather is very warm. Politics is growing warmer. I think Heney will run for Senator in California, probably against Hiram Johnson. Will Crocker is also said to be a candidate for the Republican nomination. I could get the nomination by saying that I would accept. Phelan told me yesterday that he would see that all the necessary money was raised,—that I could win in a walk. Dockweiler says the same thing. The latter is here and we have seen much of each other. What do you say if I run for Senator? I really feel very much tempted to do it at times because things have been made so uncomfortable by some of my fool colleagues who have butted in on my affairs; and then I feel I would like the excitement of the stump and to make the personal appeal once more. You could go round with me over the State in an automobile. While I would not insist upon your making speeches for me, I know that your presence would add greatly to my success.

There is no telling what way this campaign may go. It may be a landslide for Wilson, it may be a landslide the other way. We have the hazards because we have the decision of questions. There is bound to be a lot of objection to whatever course we take with regard to Mexico. I fear from what Benjamin Ide Wheeler told me the other day that Germany any day may decide to put her submarines into active service again on the old lines, especially if things on land go as they have been going lately against the Teutons.

… I shall not decide in favor of accepting the nomination until I hear from you. In the meantime don't lose any sleep over it. And so my Nancy has a beau? Well, the little rascal must be given some good advice now. So I shall turn my attention to her …


Washington, July 24, 1916

… To-day I have spent most quietly,—had Bill Wheeler up for
breakfast and then went to the Cosmos Club for lunch with
Dockweiler. He is very anxious to get a Catholic on the Mexican
Commission and so am I. I want Chief Justice White, but I fear the
President won't ask him …

Dear old Dockweiler is an awfully good man … From youth he has gauged every act by his conception of the will of God, and in doubt has asked God's representative, the priest. What a comforting thing to have a church like that; it makes for happiness, if it does not make for progress. Why is it that progress must come from discontent? The latter is the divine spark in man, no doubt,

    "O to be satisfied, satisfied,
    Only to lie at Thy feet."

is a hymn we used to sing in church. We yearn to be satisfied and yet we know because we are not satisfied we grow . …

"The mystical hanker after something higher," is religion, and yet it should not be all of religion; for man's own sake there should be some cross to which one can cling, some Christ who can hear and give peace to the waves. I wish I could be a Catholic, and yet I can not feel that once you have a free spirit that it is right to go back into the monastery, and shut yourself up away from doubts, making your soul strong only through prayer. There are two principles in the world fighting all the time, and the one makes the other possible. There is no "perfect," there is a "better" only. And in this fight one does not become better by prayer— prayer is only the ammunition wagon, the supply train, where one can get masks for poison gas and cartridges for the guns.

Pfeiffer said a good thing the other day, quite like him to say it, too. We were talking of churches and he said he never went to one because he did not believe in abasing or prostrating himself before God, he saw no sense in it; God didn't respect one for it, and moreover he was part of God himself and he couldn't prostrate himself before himself. I asked him if he didn't recognize humility as a virtue, and he said, "No, the higher you hold your head the more God-like you are."

Humility, to me, seems to be the basis of sympathy. We stoop to conquer in that we are not self-assertive and self-assured, for if we "know" that we are right we can not know how others think or feel. We can not grow.

You know there are two great classes of people, those who are challenged by what they see, and those who are not. Now the only kind who grow are the former. But what is it to grow? If we "evermore come out by that same door wherein we went" surely there is no object in being curious. Can there be growth when we are in an endless circle? …

Now after all my struggle, I fall back not on reason but on instinct, on a primal desire, and perhaps this is my rudimentary soul, the mystical hanker after something higher. That is a real thing. The purpose of nature seems to be to put it into me and make it very important to me. That being so I can not overlook it, and must obey it. The thing that pleases me as I look back upon it, is the thing I must do; that sets the standard for me; that is morals and religion. If there is any chap who the day after sings with joy over being a devil—that man I never heard of—but if he takes delight in what he did that was fiendish, then he must follow and should follow that bent until he SEES that it is fiendish. He has to have more light. But I really don't believe there is any such fellow, who clearly sees what he did and rejoices in it. All of us sing, "I want to be an angel." THERE is the whole of revelation, and all things that tend to make us gratify that desire are good. I guess that is pragmatism, in words of one syllable.

You see that all religion comes from a desire to know something definite. We prayed logically, in the old time, to the devil and tried to propitiate him, so that harm would not come to us. That is stage number one in our climb. Then we find the good spirit and pray to him to whip the devil, which is stage number two. Then we ask the good spirit to give us strength to whip the devil ourselves. That is stage number three. Buddha and Christ come in the number three stage, and that is where we are. We may find, as stage number four, that the good spirit is only a muscle in our brain or a fluid in our nerves, which we strengthen, and become masters of ourselves—greater, stronger, more clear-sighted— without any OUTSIDE Great Spirit. That we are all things in ourselves, and that we are, in making ourselves, making the God. I fancy that is Pfeiffer's idea. It is Mezes', I believe. Then comes in the mystery of transmitting that highly developed spirit. A woman of such a super-soul may marry a man of most carnal nature whose children are held down to earth and gross things, and her fine spirit is lost, unless it lives elsewhere. So we come back to the question, how is the good preserved? "Never any bright thing dies," may be true, but if so it means an immortality of the spirit. This is all confusion and despair. We do not see where we are going. But we must climb, we must grow, we must do better, for the same reason that our bodies must feed. The rest we leave with all the other mysteries …

July 28, 1916

I am going to dinner … and before I go alone into a lonesome club, I must send a word to you. Not that I have any particular word to say, for my mind is heavy, nor that you will find in what I may say anything that will illumine the way, but why should we not talk? What! may a friend not call upon a friend in time of vacancy to listen to his idle babble? O these pestiferous dealers in facts and these prosy philosophers, the world must have surcease from them and wander in the great spaces. To idle together in the sweet fields of the mind—this is companionship, when thoughts come not by bidding, and argument is taboo; to have the mind as open as that of a child for all impressions, and speak as the skylark sings, this is the mood that proves companionship.

I shall be lonely to-night, going into a modern monastery and driving home alone. The world is all people to me. I lean upon them. They induce thought and fancy. They give color to my life. They keep me from looking inward, where, alas! I never find that which satisfies me. For of all men I am most critical of myself. Others when they go to bed or sit by themselves may chuckle over things well done; or find satisfaction in the inner life, as George does; but not so with me. Thrown on myself I am a stranded bark upon a foreign shore. And this I know is not as it should be. Each one should learn to stand alone and find in contemplation and in fancy the rich material with which to fashion some new fabric, or build more solidly the substance of his soul.

I like to have you talk, as in your latest letter, of the making of yourself. It seems so much more possible than that I could do the same. But I am a miserable groping creature, cast on a sea of doubt, rejecting one spar to grasp another, and crying all the time against the storm, for help. I do not know another man who has tortured himself so insistently with the problems that are unsolvable. You are firmer in your grasp, and when you get something you cling to it and push your way like a practical person toward the shore, that shore of solid earth which is NOT, but by the pushing you realize the illusion, or the reality, of progress.

Here I am talking loosely of the greatest things, and perhaps pedantically; well, we agreed to talk, didn't we, of anything and everything? You have the birds, the lake, the mountains beyond, the children next door, and the Fairy all our own, and I have my desk to look at and outside brick blocks and the sky. If I ever do hypnotize myself into any kind of faith, or find contentment in any one thing, it will be the sky. The reason I like the water is because it is so much like the sky. There is an amplitude in it that gives me chance for infinite wanderings. The clouds and the stars are somehow the most companionable of all things that do not walk and talk.

Well, we have walked a bit together and have come to the edge of the field where we look off and see the unending stretch of prairie and the great dome. …


To William R. Wheeler

Washington, August 21, 1916

MY DEAR BILL,—Owing to your departure I have been laid up in bed, ill for a week. You left on Thursday and on Friday night I went to bed … The doctors don't know what I had, excepting that I had things with "itis" at the end of them. I have had allopaths, Christian Scientists, osteopaths, and Dockweilers. The latter has been my nurse at night, his chief service being to keep me interested in the variety of his snoring. I really have had one damn hell of a time. The whole back and top of my head blew out, and I expected an eruption of lava to flow down my back. The only explanation of it is a combination of air-drafts and a little too much work and worry. I am now somewhat weak, but otherwise in pretty good condition …

I have no intention of saying anything in reply to Pinchot. He wrote me thirty pages to prove that I was a liar, and rather than read that again I will admit the fact.

My regards to the Lady Alice Isabel. As always affectionately yours,


To James Harlan

[August, 1916]

MY DEAR JIM,—I am writing you from my bed where I have been laid up for a few days with a hard dose of tonsillitis. Don't know what happened but the wicked bug got me and I have suffered more than was good for my slender soul.

I am so glad to hear of your Mother's improvement. Bless her noble heart! I hope she lives a long time to give you the inspiration of that beautiful smile.

The Mexican business does not hasten as I had hoped. Brandeis' withdrawal was a great surprise to us and I can't quite understand it. Meantime the railroad situation engrosses our attention fully, and Mexico can wait …

Hughes' speeches have been a surprise and disappointment to me … One might fancy a candidate for Congress doing no better but not a man of such record and position. I think your dear old party relies upon holding the regular party men out of loyalty and protection, and buying enough Democrats and crooks to get the majority. But I don't believe it can be done. The Republican organization is perfect, but the people are not as gullible as once they were.

Tell me some more about the Latin-American. How much form should I put on? Can you warm up to them? How do you get the truth out of them? And how do you get them to stay by their word? What are they suspicious of, silence or volubility? Do they expect you to ask for more than you expect to get? Do they appreciate candor and fair dealing, or must you be crafty and indirect? If they expect the latter I am not the man for the job, but I can be patient and listen. My love to the Lady Maud.


To Hon. Woodrow Wilson

The White House

Washington, August 28, 1916

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I have had talks this morning with three men, all of them Democrats, all of them strongly for you under any circumstances. None of them are related to railroads or to labor unions. Two of them have recently been out of this city and believe that they have a knowledge of the feeling of the country. All express the same view and I want to tell it to you in case you write a message to Congress.

They say that the people do not grasp the meaning of your statement that society has made its judgment in favor of an eight- hour day. This, the people think, is a matter that can be arbitrated. They ask why can't it be arbitrated? They say that the country feels that you have lined yourself up with the labor unions irrevocably for an eight-hour day, as against the railroads who wish to arbitrate the necessity for putting in an eight-hour day immediately, and irrespective of the additional cost to the railroads. They say that the men are attempting to bludgeon the railroads into granting their demand which has not been shown to the people to be reasonable. This demand is that the men should have ten hours pay for eight hours work or less. They say that if this question cannot be arbitrated, the railroads must yield on every question and that freight rates and passenger rates instead of going down, as they have for the past twenty years, must inevitably increasingly go up. They say that the people do not realize that you have been willing to entertain any proposition made by the railroads, but that you have stood steadfastly for something which the men have demanded.

Now, all of this indicates a lack of knowledge of what your position has been. I am giving you the gist of these conversations because they represent a point of view so that if you desire you may meet such criticism.

You must remember, Mr. President, that the American people have not had for fifty years a President who was not at this period in a campaign bending all of his power to purely personal and political ends. Your ideality and unselfishness are so rare that things need to be made particularly clear to them. Faithfully yours,


In the beginning of September Lane was appointed Chairman of the
American-Mexican Joint Commission, the other Americans being Judge
George Gray, of Delaware, and John R. Mott, secretary of the Young
Men's Christian Association. The Mexican members were Luis
Cabrera, Minister of Finance, Alberto Pani, and Ignatio Bonillas,
afterward Ambassador to Washington.

It was the hope of the Administration that this Commission would lay the foundation for a better understanding between America and Mexico. The Commission started its work in New London, but later as the hearings dragged on, they went to Atlantic City.

Just before this Commission was named, Lane wrote to his brother, "I have been turned all topsy turvy by the Mexican situation. I have suggested to the President the establishment of a commission to deal with this matter upon a fundamental basis, but Carranza is obsessed with the idea that he is a real god and not a tin god, that he holds thunderbolts in his hands instead of confetti, and he won't let us help him."

To Alexander Vogelsang

Acting Secretary of the Interior American-Mexican Joint Commission

September 29, 1916

MY DEAR ALECK,—Don't worry about yourself. Don't worry about the office. You will be all right, and so will the office. I am not worrying about you because I haven't got time to. I'll take your job if you will take mine. The interpreting of a city charter is nothing to the interpreting of the Mexican mind. Dealing with Congress is not so difficult as dealing with Mexican statesmen. I have had some jobs in my life, but none in which I was put to it as I am in this. Now I have not only a question as to what to do in the making of a nation, the development of its opportunity, the education of its people, the establishment of its finances, and the opening of its industries in the establishment of its relations with other countries, but also the problem as to where the men can be found that can carry out the program, once it is made. If I were only Dictator I could handle the thing, I think, all right. The hardest part of all is to convince a proud and obstinate people that they really need any help.

… Remember me to the noble bunch of fellows who add loyalty to pluck, pluck to capacity. Cordially yours,


To Frederic J. Lane

American-Mexican Joint Commission

September 29, 1916

MY DEAR FRITZ,—I sent you a wire the other night just to let you know that I was thinking of you. I am now steaming down Long Island Sound in the midst of a rainstorm and with fog all around us, in the Government's boat Sylph. We are on our way to Atlantic City where the conference will continue, the hotel at New London having been closed. …

It looks to me at long range as if Johnson would surely carry California. Whether Wilson will, or not, is a question. I hope to God he may. Whether I shall get an opportunity to get out and stump for him depends entirely upon this Commission, which is holding me down hard. We are working from ten in the morning till twelve at night, and not making as rapid progress as we should because of the Latin-American temperament. They want to start a government afresh down there; that is, go upon the theory that there never was any government and that they now know how a government should be formed and the kind of laws there should be, disregarding all that is past, and basing their plans upon ideals which sometimes are very impracticable. They distrust us. They will not believe that we do not want to take some of their territory.

I despair often, but I take new courage when I think of you, of the struggle you are making and the brave way in which you are making it. What a superbly glorious thing it would be if you could master the hellish fiend that has attacked you! …

My best love to you, dear Fritz, affectionately yours, F. K. L.

To Frank I. Cobb New York World

American-Mexican Joint Commission Atlantic City, November 11, 1916

MY DEAR COBB,—My very warm, earnest, and enthusiastic congratulations to you. You made the best editorial campaign that I have ever known to be made. I would give more for the editorial support of the New York World than for that of any two papers that I know of. The result in California turned, really as the result in the entire West did, upon the real progressivism of the progressives. It was not pique because Johnson was not recognized. No man, not Johnson nor Roosevelt, carries the progressives in his pocket. The progressives in the East were Perkins progressives who could be delivered. THE WEST THINKS FOR ITSELF. Johnson could not deliver California. Johnson made very strong speeches for Hughes. The West is really progressive. …

Speaking of the election, there are two things I want you to bear distinctly in mind, my dear Mr. Cobb. One is that the states which the Interior Department deals with are the states which elected Mr. Wilson. … And the second is that we kept the Mexican situation from blowing up in a most critical part of the campaign, which is also due to the Secretary of the Interior, damn you! In fact, next to you, I think the Secretary of the Interior is the most important part of this whole show! Cordially yours,


To R. M. Fitzgerald American-Mexican Commission

Atlantic City, November 12, 1916

DEAR BOB,—I am very glad to get your telegram. I know that it took work, judgment, and finesse to bring about the result that was obtained in California. What a splendid thing it is to have our state the pivotal state! The eastern papers are attempting to make it appear that the state turned toward Wilson because of the slight put upon Johnson by Hughes. These people in the East are not large enough to understand that the people think for themselves out West, and are not governed by little personalities, that we don't play "Follow the leader," as they do here. The real fact is that Roosevelt undertook to deliver the progressives and could not do it in the West. Now we must hold all these forward- looking people in line with us and make the Democratic party realize the dream that you and I had of it when we were boys, thirty years ago, and took part in our first campaign. There is room for only two parties in the United States, the liberal and the conservative, and ours must be the liberal party. Cordially yours,

Franklin K. Lane

To James K. Moffitt

Atlantic City, November 12, 1916

My dear Jim,—It was fine of you to send me that telegram, and I am not too modest to "allow" as Artemus Ward used to say, as how the Interior Department is rather stuck up over the result. The Department certainly had not been very popular in the West. … All of us will be taken a bit more seriously now, I guess. I wired Cushing and the others who led in the fight and I am going to write a note to Benjamin Ide Wheeler, who from the first, be it said to his credit, claimed California for Wilson. Wheeler is certainly a thoroughbred. I wish I could get your way soon and see you all, and rejoice with you.

I have just received a telegram from Bryan, reading:—

"Shake. Many thanks. It was great. The West, a stone which the builders rejected, has become the head of the corner." Cordially yours,

Franklin K. Lane

To Benjamin Ide Wheeler

Atlantic City, November 14,1916

Dear Mr. Wheeler,—I know that you rejoice with all of us. You were the first man to tell me that Wilson would carry California, and I never believed it as truly as you did, but I have taken many occasions lately to say that you were a true prophet. And speaking of prophets, what a lot have been unmade! Did you see that I wanted to bet a hat with George Harvey that he could not name four states west of the Alleghenies that would go for Hughes? The truth about the thing, as I see it, is that you can't deliver the Western man and you can't deliver the true progressive, anyhow. The people of the East are in a far more feudal state than the people of the West. Here they live by sufferance, by favor; they are helpless if they lose their jobs. Out there hope is high in their hearts and they feel that there is a fair world around them, in which they have another chance. The resentment was strong against Roosevelt undertaking to turn over his vote. Of course I am glad of Johnson's election, as he is a strong, stalwart chap, capable of tremendous things for good. He will probably be a presidential candidate four years from now, and I see no man now who can beat him, nor should he be beaten unless we have a good deal better material than our run of … rank opportunists.

I am working on a treadmill here. Perhaps by the time you come on in December I will be able to report something accomplished. But oh! the misery of dealing with people who are eternally suspicious and have no sense of good faith!

We went with the Millers to the James Roosevelt place up at Hyde Park on the Hudson, just before election, and had an exquisite time. I put in four or five days campaigning, and this was the end of my trip. My speeches were all made in New York where I thought they might count, but the organizations were too perfect for us.

President Wilson will leave a mere shadow of a party, unless he takes an interest in reorganizing it. He has drawn a lot of young men to him who should be tied together, as we were in the early Cleveland days. Of course, we must have a cause, not merely a slogan.

Mrs., Lane is here while I am writing this and she sends her love to both you and your wife, as do I. As always, cordially yours,


To Roland Cotton Smith

Sunday, [January 7? 1917]

MY DEAR DR. SMITH,—I know that you are human enough to like appreciation and so I am sending you this word,—no more than I feel!

Your address of this morning was a bit of real literature. It produced the effect you desired without making a bid for it. It was as subtle and full of suggestion as Jusserand's book on France and the United States. You gave an atmosphere to the old building as an institution, which made every one of us feel something more of ennobling standards and traditions. You touched emotion. Many an old chap there felt called upon suddenly and apologetically to blow his nose. And the crowning bit of fine sentiment was asking us all to rise, as you read the list of the distinguished ones who had worshipped there. You have the art of making men better by not preaching to them. So here is my hand in admiration and in gratitude. Sincerely,


To James H. Barry San Francisco Star

Washington, [January 9, 1917]

MY DEAR JIM,—That card of yours spoke to me so directly and warmly from the heart, that it revived in my memory all the long years of our friendship, and made me feel that the world had been good to me beyond most men, in that it had brought a "few friends and their affection tried." These are to be trying years—these next four—and it will take courage and rare good sense to keep this old ship on her true path. You have a part and so have I. We take our turn at the wheel. May God give us strength and steadiness!

Please give my greetings to your fine boys, and to all the old group that are still with you, and know that always I hold you in deep affection. Sincerely,





Cabinet Meetings—National Council of Defense—Bernstorff—War—
Plan for Railroad Consolidation—U-Boat Sinkings Revealed—Alaska

To George W. Lane

Washington, February 9,1917

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I am going to write you in confidence some of the talks we have at the Cabinet and you may keep these letters in case I ever wish to remind myself of what transpired. A week ago yesterday, (February 1st), the word came that Germany was to turn "mad dog" again, and sink all ships going within her war zone. This was the question, of course, taken up at the meeting of the Cabinet on February 2nd. The President opened by saying that this notice was an "astounding surprise." He had received no intimation of such a reversal of policy. Indeed, Zimmermann, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, had within ten days told Gerard that such a thing was an "impossibility." At this point Lansing said that he had good reason to believe that Bernstorff had the note for fully ten days before delivering it, and had held it off because of the President's Peace Message to Congress, which had made it seem inadvisable to deliver it then. In answer to a question as to which side he wished to see win, the President said that he didn't wish to see either side win,—for both had been equally indifferent to the rights of neutrals—though Germany had been brutal in taking life, and England only in taking property. He would like to see the neutrals unite. I ventured the expression that to ask them to do this would be idle, as they could not afford to join with us if it meant the insistence on their rights to the point of war. He thought we might coordinate the neutral forces, but was persuaded that an effort to do this publicly, as he proposed, would put some of the small powers in a delicate position. We talked the world situation over. I spoke of the likelihood of a German-Russian-Japanese alliance as the natural thing at the end of the war because they all were nearly in the same stage of development. He thought the Russian peasant might save the world this misfortune. The fact that Russia had been, but a short time since, on the verge of an independent peace with Germany was brought out as evidencing the possibility of a break on the Allies' side. His conclusion was that nothing should be done now,—awaiting the "overt act" by Germany, which would take him to Congress to ask for power.

At the next meeting of the Cabinet on February 6th, the main question discussed was whether we should convoy, or arm, our merchant ships. Secretary Baker said that unless we did our ships would stay in American ports, and thus Germany would have us effectively locked up by her threat. The St. Louis, of the American line, wanted to go out with mail but asked the right to arm and the use of guns and gunners. After a long discussion, the decision of the President was that we should not convoy because that made a double hazard,—this being the report of the Navy,— but that ships should be told that they MIGHT arm, but that without new power from Congress they should not be furnished with guns and gunners.

The President said that he was "passionately" determined not to over-step the slightest punctilio of honor in dealing with Germany, or interned Germans, or the property of Germans. He would not take the interned ships, not even though they were being gutted of their machinery. He wished an announcement made that all property of Germans would be held inviolate, and that interned sailors on merchant ships could enter the United States. If we are to have war we must go in with our hands clean and without any basis for criticism against us. The fact that before Bernstorff gave the note telling of the new warfare, the ships had been dismantled as to their machinery, was not to move us to any act that would look like hostility.

February 10

Yesterday we talked of the holding of Gerard as a hostage. Lansing said there was no doubt of it. He thought it an act of war in itself. But did not know on what theory it was done, except that Germany was doing what she thought we would do. Germany evidently was excited over her sailors here, fearing that they would be interned, and over her ships, fearing that they would be taken. I said that it seemed to be established that Germany meant to do what she said she would do, and that we might as well act on that assumption. The President said that he had always believed this, but thought that there were chances of her modifying her position, and that he could do nothing, in good faith toward Congress, without going before that body. He felt that in a few days something would be done that would make this necessary.

So there you are up to date—in a scrappy way. Now don't tell what you know. Ned is flying at Newport News. He sent me a telegram saying that the President could go as far as he liked, "the bunch" would back him up. Strange how warlike young fellows are, especially if they think that they are preparing for some usefulness in war. That's the militaristic spirit that is bad. Much love to you and Frances. Give me good long letters telling me what is in the back of that wise old head.

F. K.

To George W. Lane

February 16, [1917]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—That letter and proposed wire were received and your spirit is mine—the form of your letter could not be improved upon—and you are absolutely sound as to policy.

At the last meeting of the Cabinet, we again urged that we should convoy our own ships, but the President said that this was not possible without going to Congress, and he was not ready to do that now. The Navy people say that to convoy would be foolish because it would make a double target, but it seems to me the right thing to risk a naval ship in the enforcement of our right.

At our dinner to the President last night he said he was not in sympathy with any great preparedness—that Europe would be man and money poor by the end of the war. I think he is dead wrong in this, and as I am a member of the National Council of Defense, I am pushing for everything possible. This week we have had a meeting of the Council every day—the Secretary of War, Navy, Interior, Commerce, and Labor—with an Advisory Commission consisting of seven business men. We are developing a plan for the mobilization of all our national industries and resources so that we may be ready for getting guns, munitions, trucks, supplies, airplanes, and other material things as soon as war comes—IF NOT TOO SOON. It is a great organization of industry and resources. I think that I shall urge Hoover as the head of the work. His Belgian experience has made him the most competent man in this country for such work. He has promised to come to me as one of my assistants but the other work is the larger, and I can get on with a smaller man. He will correlate the industrial life of the nation against the day of danger and immediate need. France seems to be ahead in this work. The essentials are to commandeer all material resources of certain kinds (steel, copper, rubber, nickel, etc.); then have ready all drawings, machines, etc., necessary in advance for all munitions and supplies; and know the plant that can produce these on a standard basis.

The Army and Navy are so set and stereotyped and stand-pat that I am almost hopeless as to moving them to do the wise, large, wholesale job. They are governed by red-tape,—worse than any Union.

The Chief of Staff fell asleep at our meeting to-day—Mars and
Morpheus in one!

To-day's meeting has resulted in nothing, though in Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Europe we have trouble. The country is growing tired of delay, and without positive leadership is losing its keenness of conscience and becoming inured to insult. Our Ambassador in Berlin is held as a hostage for days—our Consuls' wives are stripped naked at the border, our ships are sunk, our people killed—and yet we wait and wait! What for I do not know. Germany is winning by her bluff, for she has our ships interned in our own harbors.

Well, dear boy, I'm not a pacifist as you see. Much love,


To George W. Lane

Washington, February 20, [1917]

DEAR GEORGE,—Another Cabinet meeting and no light yet on what our policy will be as to Germany. We evidently are waiting for the "overt act," which I think Germany will not commit. We are all, with the exception of one or two pro-Germans, feeling humiliated by the situation, but nothing can be done.

McAdoo brought up the matter of shipping being held in our ports. It appears that something more than half of the normal number of ships has gone out since February 1st, and they all seem to be getting over the first scare, because Germany is not doing more than her former amount of damage.

We were told of intercepted cables to the Wolfe News Agency, in Berlin, in which the American people were represented as being against war under any circumstances—sympathizing strongly with a neutrality that would keep all Americans off the seas. Thus does the Kaiser learn of American sentiment! No wonder he sizes us up as cowards! …

F. K. L.

To Frank I. Cobb

Washington, February 21, 1917

MY DEAR COBB,—I have told Henry Hall that he should come down here and give the story of how Bernstorff handled the newspaper men, and thus worked the American people, … He ought to get out of the newspaper men themselves, and he can, the whole atmosphere of the Washington situation since Dernberg left,—Bernstorff's little knot of society friends, chiefly women, the dinners that they had, his appeals for sympathy, the manner in which he would offset whatever the State Department was attempting to get before the American people. He would give away to newspaper men news that he got from his own government before it got to the State Department. He would give away also the news that he got from the State Department before the State Department itself gave it out, and he had a regular room in which he received these newspaper men, and handed them cigars and so on, and carried on a propaganda against the policy of the United States while acting as Ambassador for Germany, the like of which nobody has carried on since Genet; and worse than his, because it was carried on secretly and cunningly. …

Hall will be able to get a ripping good story, I am satisfied,—a good two pages on "Modern Diplomacy," which will reveal how long- suffering the United States has been. Cordially yours,


To George W. Lane

Washington, February 25, 1917

MY DEAR GEORGE,—On Friday we had one of the most animated sessions of the Cabinet that I suppose has ever been held under this or any other President. It all arose out of a very innocent question of mine as to whether it was true that the wives of American Consuls on leaving Germany had been stripped naked, given an acid bath to detect writing on their flesh, and subjected to other indignities. Lansing answered that it was true. Then I asked Houston about the bread riots in New York, as to whether there was shortage of food because of car shortage due to vessels not going out with exports. This led to a discussion of the great problem which we all had been afraid to raise—Why shouldn't we send our ships out with guns or convoys? Daniels said we must not convoy— that would be dangerous. (Think of a Secretary of the Navy talking of danger!) The President said that the country was not willing that we should take any risks of war. I said that I got no such sentiment out of the country, but if the country knew that our Consuls' wives had been treated so outrageously that there would be no question as to the sentiment. This, the President took as a suggestion that we should work up a propaganda of hatred against Germany. Of course, I said I had no such idea, but that I felt that in a Democracy the people were entitled to know the facts. McAdoo, Houston, and Redfield joined me. The President turned on them bitterly, especially on McAdoo, and reproached all of us with appealing to the spirit of the Code Duello. We couldn't get the idea out of his head that we were bent on pushing the country into war. Houston talked of resigning after the meeting. McAdoo will— within a year, I believe. I tried to smooth them down by recalling our past experiences with the President. We have had to push, and push, and push, to get him to take any forward step—the Trade Commission, the Tariff Commission. He comes out right but he is slower than a glacier—and things are mighty disagreeable, whenever anything has to be done.

Now he is being abused by the Republicans for being slow, and this will probably help a bit, though it may make him more obstinate. He wants no extra session, and the Republicans fear that he will submit to anything in the way of indignity or national humiliation without "getting back," so they are standing for an extra session. The President believes, I think, that the munitions makers are back of the Republican plan. But I doubt this. They simply want to have a "say"; and the President wants to be alone and unbothered. He probably would not call Cabinet meetings if Congress adjourned. Then I would go to Honolulu, where the land problem vexes.

I don't know whether the President is an internationalist or a pacifist, he seems to be very mildly national—his patriotism is covered over with a film of philosophic humanitarianism, that certainly doesn't make for "punch" at such a time as this.

My love to you old man,—do write me oftener and tell me if you get all my letters.

F. K L.

To George W. Lane

Washington, March 6, [1917]

Well my dear George, the new administration is launched—smoothly but not on a smooth sea. The old Congress went out in disgrace, talking to death a bill to enable the President to protect Americans on the seas. The reactionaries and the progressives combined—Penrose and La Follette joined hands to stop all legislation, so that the government is without money to carry on its work.

It is unjust to charge the whole thing on the La Follette group; they served to do the trick which the whole Republican machine wished done. For the Penrose, Lodge people would not let any bills through and were glad to get La Follette's help. The Democrats fought and died—because there was no "previous question" in the Senate rules.

The weather changed for inauguration—Wilson luck—and the event went off without accident. To-day, we had expected a meeting of the Cabinet to determine what we should do in the absence of legislation, but that has gone over,—I expect to give the Attorney General a chance to draft an opinion on the armed ship matter. I am for prompt action—putting the guns on the ships and convoying, if necessary. Much love.


To Edward J. Wheeler Current Opinion

Washington, March 15, 1917

MY DEAR MY. WHEELER,—I wish that I could be with you to honor Mr. Howells. But who are we, to honor him? Is he not an institution? Is he not the Master? Has he not taught for half a century that this new and peculiar man, the American, is worth drawing? Why, for an American not to take off his hat to Howells would be to fail in appreciation of one's self as an object of art—an unlikely, belittling, and soul-destroying sin.

I do not know whether Howells is a great photographer or a great artist; but this I do know, that I like him because he sees through his own eyes, and I like his eyes. If that be treason, make the most of it. Cordially yours,


To George W. Lane

Washington, April 1, 1917

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I took your letter and your proposed wire as to our going into war and sent them to the President as suggestions for his proposed message which in a couple of days will come out— what it is to be I don't know—excepting in spirit. He is to be for recognizing war and taking hold of the situation in such a fashion as will eventually lead to an Allies' victory over Germany. But he goes unwillingly. The Cabinet is at last a unit. We can stand Germany's insolence and murderous policy no longer. Burleson, Gregory, Daniels, and Wilson were the last to come over.

The meetings of the Cabinet lately have been nothing less than councils of war. The die is cast—and yet no one has seen the message. The President hasn't shown us a line. He seems to think that in war the Pacific Coast will not be strongly with him. They don't want war to be sure—no one does. But they will not suffer further humiliation. I sent West for some telegrams telling of the local feeling in different States and all said, "Do as the President says." Yet none came back that spoke as if they felt that we had been outraged or that it was necessary for humanity that Germany be brought to a Democracy. There is little pride or sense of national dignity in most of our politicians.

The Council of National Defense is getting ready. I yesterday proposed a resolution, which was adopted, that our contracts for ships, ammunition, and supplies be made upon the basis of a three years' program. We may win in two years. If we had the nerve to raise five million men at once we could end it in six months,

The first thing is to let Russia and France have money. And the second thing, to see that Russia has munitions, of which they are short—depending largely, too largely, upon Japan. I shouldn't be surprised if we would operate the Russian railroads. And ships, ships! How we do need ships, and there are none in the world. Ships to feed England and to make the Russian machine work. Hindenburg is to turn next toward Petrograd—he is only three hundred miles away now. I fear he will succeed. But that does not mean the conquest of Russia! The lovable, kindly Russians are not to be conquered,—and it makes me rejoice that we are to be with them.

All sides need aeroplanes—for the war that is perhaps the greatest of all needs; and there Germany is strongest. Ned will go among the first. He is flying alone now and is enjoying the risk, —the consciousness of his own skill. Anne is very brave about it.

This is the program as far as we have gone: Navy, to make a line across the sea and hunt submarines; Army, one million at once, and as many more as necessary as soon as they can be got ready. Financed by income taxes largely. Men and capital both drafted.

I'm deep in the work. Have just appointed a War-Secretary of my own—an ex-Congressman named Lathrop Brown from New York, who is to see that we get mines, etc., at work. I wish you were here but the weather would be too much for you, I fear. Very hot right now!

Sometime I'll tell you how we stopped the strike. It was a big piece of work that was blanketed by the Supreme Court's decision next day. But we came near to having something akin to Civil War. Much love, my dear boy.

F. K. L.

Grosvenor Clarkson, Director of the Council of National Defense, in recording the activities of that body says:—

"It is, of course, well known that Secretary Lane, as a member of the Council of National Defense, played a dramatic and successful part in the settlement of the threatened great railroad strike of March, 1917. By resolution of the Council of National Defense of March 16, 1917, Secretary Lane and Secretary of Labor Wilson, as members of the Council, and Daniel Willard, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Samuel Gompers of the Advisory Commission, were designated to represent the government, at the meeting in New York with the representatives of the railroad brotherhoods and railroad executives—the meeting that stopped the strike."


Washington, April 13, 1917

MY DEAR FRANK,—I have your note and am thoroughly in sympathy with it. The great need of France at this moment is to get ships to carry the supplies across the water. It is a secret, but a fact, that France has 600,000 tons of freight in New York and other harbors waiting to ship. I am in favor of taking all the German ships under requisition, paying for their use eventually, but this is a matter of months. Immediately, I think we should take all the coastwise ships, or the larger portion of them. The Navy colliers and Army transports can be put into the business of carrying supplies to France.

We are to have a meeting of the Council of National Defense to-day, and I am going to take this matter up. I have been pushing on it for several weeks. As to the purchasing of supplies, I think we ought to protect the Allies, especially Russia, but, of course, we cannot touch their present contracts. …


Washington, April 15, 1917

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I enclose a couple of confidential papers that will interest you. The situation is not as happy in Russia as it should be. The people are so infatuated with their own internal reforms that there is danger of their making a separate peace, which would throw the entire strength of Germany on the west front, and compel us to go in with millions of men where we had thought that a few would suffice.

My work on the National Council of Defense lately has been dealing with many things, chiefly mobilization of our railroads and the securing of new shipping. At my suggestion to Mr. Willard he called together the leading forty-five railroad presidents of the United States, and I addressed them upon the necessity of tying together all of the railroads within one unit and making a single operating system of the 250,000 miles. They met the proposition splendidly and appointed a committee to effect this. It will require some sacrifice on the part of the railroads, and considerable on the part of the shippers; for free time on cars will have to be cut down, some passenger trains taken off, and equipment allowed to flow freely from one system to the other under a single direction, no matter who owns the locomotives or the cars. I put it up to them as a test of the efficiency of private ownership.

On the shipping side we are not only going about the task of building a thousand wooden ships, under the direction of Denman and Goethals, but we are going to take our coastwise shipping off, making the railroads carry this freight, and put all available ships into the trans-Atlantic business. We want, also, to get some steel ships built. The great trouble with this is the shortage of plates and the shortage of shipyards. In order to effect this, I expect we will have to postpone the building of some of our large dreadnaughts and battle cruisers, which could not be in service for three years anyhow. Whether we will succeed in getting the Secretary of the Navy to agree to this is a question, but I am going to try.

We, of course, are going to press into service at once the German and Austrian ships, such of them as can be repaired and will be of use in the freight business, but we will not confiscate them. We will deal with them exactly as we will deal with American ships, paying at the end of the war whatever their services were worth. This spirit of fairness is to animate us throughout the war. Of course enemy warships were seized as prizes of war, but there are very few of these, and of no considerable value. I do not believe they can be of any use.

England is sending over Mr. Balfour with a very high Commission. These gentlemen will arrive here this week, and I expect with them Viviani and Joffre, from France. We will have intimate talks with them and gain the benefit of their experience. I expect Mr. Balfour to make some speeches that will put England in a more favorable light, and the presence of Joffre will stimulate recruiting in our Army and Navy. He is the one real figure who has come out of the war so far.

We are raising seven billions; three billions to go to the Allies, largely for purchases to be made here. Money contributions pass unanimously, but there is to be trouble over our war measures respecting conscription and the raising of an adequate army. Some pacifists and other pro-Germans are cultivating the idea that none but volunteers should be sent to Europe. Some are also saying Germany can have peace with us if she stops her submarine warfare. I doubt if that line of agitation will be successful before Congress. Certainly it will not be successful with the President or the Cabinet. We are now very happily united upon following every course that will lead to the quickest and most complete victory.

The greatest impending danger is the drive on the east front into Russia, possibly the taking of Petrograd, and the weakness on the part of the Russians because of so large a socialistic element now in control of Russian affairs. We offered Russia a commission of railroad men to look over their railroad systems and advise with them as to the best means of operating them. At first Russia inclined to welcome such a commission, but later the offer was declined because of local feeling. We intend to send a commission ourselves to Russia, possibly headed by McAdoo or Root, and on this commission we will have a railroad man with expert knowledge who can be of some service to them, I hope. The Russian and the French governments have ordered hundreds of locomotives and tens of thousands of cars in this country, a large part of which are ready for shipment, but which cannot be shipped because of lack of shipping facilities. Affectionately yours,


Grosvenor Clarkson, who was first Secretary and then Director of the Council of National Defense, writes in February, 1922, this account of the work of the Council:—

"As early as February 12, 1917, or nearly two months before we went into the war, Secretary Lane presented resolutions at a joint meeting of the Council of National Defense and its Advisory Commission, to the effect that the Council 'Call a series of conferences with the leading men in each industry, fundamentally necessary to the defense of the country in the event of war.' The resolutions also proposed that the Council at once proceed to confer with those familiar with the manner by which foreign governments in the war enlisted their industries and, further, that the Council should establish a committee to investigate and report upon such regulations as to hours and safety of labor as should apply to all war labor.

"Secretary Lane's resolution was referred to the Advisory Commission, and on February 13, at a joint meeting of the Council and Commission, the matter was thoroughly discussed. Out of this resolution grew the famous cooperative committees of the Advisory Commission. Here was the inception of the dollar-a-year man.

"This organization, set up by the Advisory Commission, furnished for the first eight or ten months of our participation in the war, almost the only thing in the way of a war machine under the government on the civilian or industrial side.

"In the first week of May, 1917, the Council of National Defense called to Washington representatives of each state in the Union, to confer with the federal government as to the common prosecution of the war. The state delegates, consisting of many Governors and in each case of leading citizens of the respective commonwealths, were received by the six Cabinet officers, forming the Council, in the office of Secretary Baker in April.

"Secretary Lane thought that the most effective way to wake the country up out of its dream of security was to tell the truth about the submarine losses, the country up to that time not having really appreciated what the losses amounted to. He said, 'The President is going to address the State representatives at the White House, and I am going to urge him to cut loose on the submarine losses,' and he asked me to prepare a memorandum for him to give to the President. This I did. The President, however, apparently decided not to go into the subject, and Secretary Lane, with a courage that can only be appreciated by those who knew the atmosphere of official Washington at that time, decided to take the bull by the horns himself, and at the next meeting with the representatives with the Council in Secretary Baker's office, Secretary Lane … cut loose and told the actual truth about submarine losses at that time. … The next morning it was the story of the day in the newspapers and it did as much to arouse the country as a whole as to what we were up against as any one thing that occurred during this period, save only the President's war message itself.

"Secretary Lane became chairman of the field division of the Council of National Defense toward the end of the war. This was the body that guided and coordinated the work of the 184,000 units of the state, county, community, and municipal Councils of Defense, and of those of the Woman's Committee of the Council—no doubt the greatest organization of the kind that the world has ever known."

To George W. Lane

Washington, May 3, 1917

These are great days. Their significance will not be realized for many years. We are forming a close union with France and England. The most impressive sight I have ever seen was that at Washington's tomb last Sunday. We went down on the Mayflower—the French and the English commissions and the members of the Cabinet. Viviani and Balfour spoke. Joffre laid a bronze palm upon Washington's tomb, then stood up in his soldierly way and stood at salute for a minute, Balfour laid a wreath of lilies upon the tomb, and leaned over as if in prayer. Above the tomb, for the first time, flew the flag of another country than our own, the Stars and Stripes, and on either side, the British Jack and the French Tricolor. This is a combination of the Democracies of the world against feudalism and autocracy.

I heard a story from one of Joffre's aides. Joffre, by the way, is the quietest, sweetest, most naive, and babylike individual I ever met. All of the women, as well as the men, are in love with him. When he met Nancy, at a garden party, he kissed her on both cheeks. Nancy, as you may imagine, was ecstatically delighted. This simple, grave, kindly soldier sat in his room while the Germans came marching upon Paris, saying nothing. Every few minutes an aide would come in and move the French markers back upon the map, and the German markers forward, toward Paris. Day after day he saw this advance, but said nothing. At last when they came to the valley of the Marne, an aide came in and marked the map, showing that the Germans were within thirty miles of Paris. Then Joffre quietly said, "This thing has gone far enough," and taking up a pad of paper he called to his troops to stand fast and die upon the Marne, if necessary, to save France. There is nothing finer than this in history.

Joffre has a skin like a baby. He has the utmost frankness and simplicity of speech. When McAdoo asked him at the White House if the present drive was satisfactory, he said in the most innocent way, "I am not there." Viviani, who is the head of the French Commission, is as jealous as a prima donna, terribly jealous of Joffre, (which makes Joffre feel most uncomfortable) because, of course, Joffre is the hero of the Marne.

I spoke at the Belasco Theatre the other day for the benefit of the French war relief fund, introducing Ambassador Herrick and the lecturer, a young Frenchman. Joffre and Viviani were in a box. Every mention of the name of Joffre brought the people to their feet. Yesterday I spoke again at a meeting of the State Councils of Defense and I enclose you what the New York Post had to say.

Last night I dined with Balfour. I have seen quite a little of him. He is sixty-nine years old and stands about six feet two. He is a perfect type of the aristocratic Englishman, with a charming smile. His real heart is in the study of philosophy. Anne sat next to him at dinner and he told her that he believed in a personal God, personal identity after death, and answer to prayer, which is a remarkable statement of faith for one who has lived through our scientific age. I think at bottom he is a mystic.

On all sides they are frank in telling of their distress. We did not come in a minute too soon. England and France, I believe, were gone if we had not come in. It delights me to see how much sympathy there is with England as well as with France. The Irish alone seem to be unreconciled with England as our ally.

Ned got your letter, and I suppose in time will answer it, I had the question put to me by Baker yesterday as to whether I wished him to go to the other side, and I had to say frankly that I did. It was to me the most momentous decision that I have made in the war. He has passed his final test, and I hope that he will get his commission in a few days.

To-night we give a dinner to the Canadians, Sir George Foster, the
acting Premier, and Sir Joseph Polk, the Under Secretary of
External Affairs, who, by the way, was born in Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island, and says he heard our father preach.

The country's crops are going to be short, I fear, and we have had little rain. Ships and grain—these are the two things that we must get. Ships, to carry our grain and our locomotives and rails, and grain to keep the fighters alive. The U-boats are destroying twice as much as the producing tonnage of the world. We need every bushel that California can produce. With much love, affectionately yours,


To Frank I. Cobb New York World

Washington, May 5, 1917

MY DEAR COBB,—I had a long talk with Hoover yesterday. He tells me that the U-boat situation is really worse than I stated it. There is no question but that the actual sinkings amounted to more than 300,000 tons in a week, and if we add those put out of business by mines, they will exceed 400,000 tons. The French are absolutely desperate. One of the French ministers told Hoover that they had fixed on the first of November as their last day, if the United States had not come in. Admiral Chocheprat told me, with tears in his eyes, three nights ago, that they felt themselves helpless. They were absolutely at the mercy of the submarines because of their lack of destroyers, and they had feared we were preparing to defend our own shores rather than fight across the water. I know that the latter has been the policy of the heads of the Navy Department.

Do not, I beg of you, minimize the immediate danger. This is the time to defend the United States; and the United States is woefully indifferent to its dangers and to the needs of the situation. We have been carrying on a ship-building program with reference to conditions after the war. It is only within ten days that we have realized that the end of the war will be one of defeat unless we build twice as fast as we proposed to build. You know that I am not pessimistic. It is not my habit to look upon the gloomy side of things. It is no kindness to the American people or to France or England to give them words of good cheer now. This war is right at this minute a challenge to every particle of brains and inventive skill that we have got.

Please treat this as entirely confidential. Cordially yours,


May 8

The only dissension in the Council is over the use that will be made of Hoover. Houston, I think, is rather making a mistake, though it may work out all right. I hope it will.

Don't "bat" us; we are a nervous lot right now. …

"Lane was among the first to grasp the bigness of the danger to the allied cause," James S. Harlan says, "in Germany's underwater attack on the merchant marine of the world. He also realized the magnitude of the task of frustrating the new peril and the need of prompt measures to save the situation. Lane had no anxieties or hesitations in his personal contact with big men; but he had a genuine fear of small men when big things were doing. And so in this great emergency he naturally thought of Schwab. How well I recall the fine force and vigor in his expression when, rising from his chair and standing with clenched fist pointed at me, he said in substance:—'The President ought to send for Schwab and hand him a treasury warrant for a billion dollars and set him to work building ships, with no government inspectors or supervisors or accountants or auditors or other red tape to bother him. Let the President just put it up to Schwab's patriotism and put Schwab on his honor. Nothing more is needed. Schwab will do the job.'

"This was a full year before Schwab was called down to Washington to talk over the question of building ships."

To Will Irwin Paris, France

Washington, July 21, 1917

MY DEAR WILL,—I have just received your letter. Thank you very much for what you say of my speech. I am doing my damndest to keep things going here but it is awfully hard work, because the minute my head raises above the water some neighboring ship plugs it.

I think you are dead right in staying with the Post. The feeling here is that we are not getting real facts regarding the desperateness of the U-boat situation. We need to be told facts in order to have our minds challenged. We are not cowards, and I hope you will give us realistic pictures of just what is happening if you can. …

My boy is the youngest lieutenant in the Army—nine-teen. He goes next week to Illinois as an instructor in aviation, and I suppose in a little while when he gets the machines, he will be crossing over.

With warm affection, my dear Will. Always yours,


To Robert Lansing Secretary of State

Beverly, Massachusetts. [August, 1917]

MY DEAR LANSING,—I had lunch yesterday with Colonel House who asked me what I thought should be done as to the Pope's appeal for peace. I told him I thought it should be taken seriously. He agreed and asked what the President should say. I answered that, inasmuch as all the evidence pointed to the conclusion that the German Centerists and Austria were responsible for this appeal, that we could not afford to have them feel that we were for a policy of annihilation,—for this would be playing the War Party's game and would place the burden on us of continuing the war. And this we could neither afford [to do] at home or abroad. This opportunity should be seized, I said, to make plain not so much our terms of peace as the things in Germany that seemed to make peace difficult,—Germany's attitude toward the world, the spirit against which we are fighting. That we wished peace; that we had been patient to the limit; that we had come in in the hope that we could destroy the idea in the German mind that it could impose its authority and system, by force, upon an unwilling world; that we were not opposed to talking peace, provided, at the outset, and as a SINE QUA NON, the Central Powers would assume that Government by the Soldier was not a possibility in the 20th century.

The Colonel said that he had written the President to this same effect. That he had written you, or not, he did not say. So I am telling you the Colonel's view for your own benefit. He thought that the Allies would strongly insist upon concerted action, putting aside the Pope's appeal, and that this had to be resisted, for we should play our own game. I find all I meet here strong for the war, but of course I only meet the high-spirited. There is much feeling that we are going about it too mechanically, with too little emotion and passion. … As always,


Toward the middle of August, Lane started for Mount Desert to inspect the proposed National Park created there through the public-spirited devotion of George B. Dorr. This northern trip was taken to decide whether he would accept, as Secretary of the Interior, this addition to the National Parks. Two years later in writing to Senator Myers, Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, of this National Park, the only one east of the Mississippi, Lane said, "The name Lafayette is substituted for that of Mount Desert, the name proposed by the former bill, and I consider it singularly appropriate that the name of Lafayette should be commemorated by these splendid mountains facing on the sea, on what was once a corner of Old France, and with it the early friendship of the two nations which are so closely allied in the present war."

[Illustration with caption: Franklin K. Lane and George B. Dorr in
Lafayette National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine]

To Henry Lane Eno Bar Harbori, Maine

Washington, Saturday, [September 2, 1917]

There are not many weeks in a man's life of which he can say that one was without a flaw, that it could not have been improved upon in company, comfort, or surroundings. And all these things, my dear Mr. Eno, I can affirm of the days spent with you. I have a better opinion of my fellows and of my country because of them. Perhaps, after all, that is as complete a test as any other. As I look back I think of but one thing that gives occasion for regret —we had too few good, mind-stretching talks, you, Dorr, and myself. But those we had were certainly not about affairs of small concern. We indulged ourselves as social philosophers, psychologists, war-makers, and international statesmen. The world was ours, and more—the worlds beyond. To do things worth while by day, and to dream things worth while by night, and to believe that both are worth while, that is the perfect life. If one can't get to Heaven by following that course, then are we lost.

I am sending a line to Dorr, noble, unselfish, high-spirited, broad-minded gentleman that he is. … Sincerely and heartily yours,


To George Dorr, Bar Harbor, Maine

Washington, [September 2,1917]

MY DEAR MR. DORR,—You do not know what good you did my tired politics-soaked soul by showing me, under such happy conditions, the beauties and the possibilities of your island. And I came to know two men at least, whose heads and hearts were working for a less pudgy and flat-footed world. … To have enthusiasm is to beat the Devil. So I have you down in my Saints' book.

You know a man in politics is always looking about for some place to which he can retire when the whirligig brings in another group of more popular patriots. Now I can frankly say that if I could have an extended term of exile on your island with you and your friends, I would feel reconciled to banishment from politics for life, provided however (I must say this for conscience' sake) that we had time and money to make the Park what it should be—a demonstration school for the American to show how much he can add to the beauty of Nature.

A wilderness, no matter how impressive and beautiful, does not satisfy this soul of mine, (if I have that kind of thing). It is a challenge to man. It says, "Master me! Put me to use! Make me something more than I am." So what you have done in the Park—the Spring House and the Arts Building, the cliff trails and the opened woods, show how much may be added by the love and thought of man. May the Gods be good to you, the God of Mammon immediately, that your dreams may come true, and that you may give to others the pleasure you gave to yours sincerely,



Washington, September 21, 1917

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—It will interest you to know that the Commission which I sent up this year to Alaska to look into the Alaskan Railroad matters has just returned. The engineer on this Commission was Mr. Wendt, who was formerly Chief Engineer of the Pittsburg and Lake Erie Railroad, and who is now in charge of the appraisal of eastern roads under the Interstate Commerce Commission. He tells me that our Alaskan road could not have been built for less money if handled by a private concern; that he has never seen any railroad camps where the men were provided with as good food and where there was such care taken of their health. They have had no smallpox and but one case of typhoid fever. No liquor is allowed on the line of the road. The road in his judgment has followed the best possible location. Our hospitals are well run. The compensation plan adopted for injuries is satisfactory to the men.

I have directed that all possible speed be made in connecting the Matanuska coal fields with Seward. This involves the heaviest construction that we will have to undertake, which is along Turnagain Ann, but by the middle of next year, no strikes intervening, and transportation for supplies being available, this part of the work should be done. Faithfully and cordially yours,


In Lane's Annual REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, dated November 20, 1919, he writes of the Alaskan railroad enterprise:— "One of the first recommendations made by me in my report of seven years ago was that the Government build a railroad from Seward to Fairbanks in Alaska. Five years ago you intrusted to me the direction of this work. The road is now more than two-thirds built and Congress at this session after exhaustively examining into the work has authorized an additional appropriation sufficient for its completion. The showing made before Congress was that the road had been built without graft; every dollar has gone into actual work or material. It has been built without giving profits to any large contractors, for it has been constructed entirely by small contractors or by day's labor. It has been built without touch of politics; every man on the road has been chosen exclusively for ability and experience."

This memorandum touching the early history of Alaska was found in
Lane's files.


Washington, December 29, 1911

Last night I dined with Charles Henry Butler, reporter for the Supreme Court and a son of William Alien Butler, for so long a leader of the New York bar.

In the course of the evening Mr. Charles Glover, President of the Riggs National Bank, told me this bit of history. That when he was a boy, in the bank one day Mr. Cochran came to him and handed him two warrants upon the United States Treasury, one for $1,400,000. and the other for $5,800,000. He said, "Put those in the safe." Mr. Glover did so, and they remained there for a week, when they were sent to New York. Mr., Glover said "These warrants were the payment of Russia for the Territory of Alaska. Why were there two warrants? I never knew until some years later, when I learned the story from Senator Dawes, who said that prior to the war, there had been some negotiations between the United States and Russia for the purchase of Alaska, and the price of $1,400,000. was agreed upon. In fact this was the amount that Russia asked for this great territory, which was regarded as nothing more than a barren field of ice.

"During the war the matter lay dormant. We had more territory than we could take care of. When England, however, began to manifest her friendly disposition toward the Confederacy, and we learned from Europe that England and France were carrying on negotiations for the recognition of the Southern States, and possibly of some manifestation by their fleets against the blockade which we had instituted, (and which they claimed was not effective and merely a paper blockade), we looked about for a friend, and Russia was the only European country upon whose friendship we could rely. Thereupon Secretary Seward secured from Russia a demonstration, in American ports, of Russian friendship. Her ships of war sailed to both of our coasts, the Atlantic and Pacific, with the understanding that the expense of this demonstration should be met by the United States, out of the contingent fund. It was to be a secret matter. "The war came to a close, and immediately thereafter Lincoln was assassinated and the administration changed. It was no longer possible to pay for this demonstration, secretly, under the excuse of war, but a way was found for paying Russia through the purchase of Alaska. The warrant for $1,400,000. was the warrant for the purchase of Alaska, the warrant for $5,800,000. was for Russia's expenses in her naval demonstration in our behalf, but history only knows the fact that the United States paid $7,200,000. for this territory, which is now demonstrated to be one of the richest portions of the earth in mineral deposits."



Washington, November 3, 1917

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—On April 7, 1917, the Council of National Defense adopted a report, submitted by the Chairman of the Executive Committee on Labor of the Advisory Commission of the Council, urging that no change in existing standards be made during the war, by either employers or employees, except with the approval of the Council of National Defense. …

The next step for producing efficiency must be no strikes.

The annual convention of the American Federation of Labor, consisting of international unions, will be held at Buffalo on November 12th. I would urge that about thirty executives of the unions, which more directly control essential war production, be invited to confer with you prior to that date, to determine on a policy which will prevent the constant interruption of production for war purposes. The Commissioners of Conciliation of the Department of Labor and the President's Commission have a wonderful record of accomplishments for settling strikes after they have occurred. Organized labor should give the Government the opportunity to adjust controversies before strikes occur.

At this conference it could safely be made plain that for the war, employers would agree not to object to the peaceable extension of trade unionism; that they would make no efforts to "open" a "closed shop"; that they would submit all controversies concerning standards, including wages and lockouts, to any official body on which they have equal representation with labor, and would abide by its decisions; that they would adhere strictly to health and safety laws, and laws concerning woman and child labor; that they would not lower prices now in force for piece work, except by Government direction; that if a union in a "closed" shop after due notice was unable to furnish sufficient workers, any non-union employees taken on would be the first to be dismissed on the contraction of business, and the shop restored to its previous "closed" status; that the only barrier in the way of steady production is the unwillingness of the unions to uphold the proposition of settlement before a strike, instead of after a strike.

The imminence of this convention seems to me to make some step necessary at this time. I would take the matter up with Secretary Wilson were he here, and have sent a copy of this letter to him. You undoubtedly can put an end to this most serious situation by calling on the international labor leaders to take a stand that will not be so radical as that taken in England, and yet will insure to the men good wages and good conditions, and make sure that our industry will not be paralyzed. Cordially yours,



Washington, December 21, 1917

MY DEAR JACK,—My spirit does not permit me to give you an interview on the moral benefits of the war. This would be sheer camouflage. Of course, we will get some good out of it, and we will learn some efficiency—if that is a moral benefit—and a purer sense of nationalism. But the war will degrade us. That is the plain fact, make sheer brutes out of us, because we will have to descend to the methods that the Germans employ.

So you must go somewhere else for your uplift stuff. Cordially yours,





Notes on Cabinet Meetings—School Gardens—A Democracy Lacks
Foresight—Use of National Resources—Washington in War-time—The
Sacrifice of War—Farms for Soldiers



February 25, 1918

As I entered the building this morning Dr. Parsons [Footnote: Of the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.] met me. I asked how the cyanide plant was getting on. His reply was to ask if he might request the War Department to allow us to make the contract —that he could have the whole thing done in two days. This is where we are at the end of more than six months of effort. It is hopeless! We find the process, everything!—but cannot get the contract, through the intricate, infinite fault-findings and negligence of the War Department.

Manning [Footnote: Of the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.] came to see me to say that he expected, after the Overman bill was passed, that the President would take over the gas work— order it into the War Department. He had been asked twice if he could be tempted by a uniform into that Department, and had said that he was freer as a civilian,—had planned the work and gathered the force as a civilian, and would not leave the Department. He felt damned sore and indignant, that a work so well done should be the subject of envy, and possibly be made less effective and useful. …

Everit Macy lunched with me and told me the sad story of the mishandling of labor affairs by the Shipping Board. He had gone to the Pacific Coast and with his colleagues, Coolidge and others, made an agreement with the shipbuilding trades. Five dollars and twenty-five cents for machinists, etc. In Seattle, however, because of one firm's bidding for labor, he felt that there would have to come a strike before this schedule would be accepted. Before he got back the threatened strike came, and then the demand of the men for a ten per cent bonus was acceded to, upsetting all other settlements in San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, etc. Result, ten per cent gain everywhere. And now the Eastern and Southern men ask the Pacific scale, and he can't see how it can be avoided, nor can I. They will have to standardize all wages.

Poor chap, his advice was scorned, for he protested against the bonus being given to Seattle, and as he said, "If it had not been war-time I would have resigned." To increase the men in the South, to this unprecedented scale, will not get more ships, he fears, but less, for they will not work if they have wages in four days, equal to seven days' needs. I advised for standardization. He said the Navy wouldn't hear of it, as it would demoralize their yards. …

Politics, politics, curse of the country! It has gotten into the whole war program. Hoover and McAdoo are at swords drawn. Hoover had a cable signed by the three Premiers, George, Clemenceau, and Orlando, crying for wheat and charging us with not keeping our word—and starvation threatening all three countries—in fact, almost sure, because we have not been able to get the wheat to the ships; and with starvation will come revolution, if it gets bad enough. … I asked Hoover about this on Sunday night, … and he said that a list of eight hundred cars had been on McAdoo's desk FOR A WEEK. …

(McChord said on the bench [Footnote: The Interstate Commerce Commission.] to-day that he thought Hoover seventy-five per cent right.)

March 1, [1918]

Yesterday, at Cabinet meeting, we had the first real talk on the
war in weeks, yes, in months! Burleson brought up the matter of
Russia, … would we support Japan in taking Siberia, or even
Vladivostock? Should we join Japan actively—in force?

The President said "No," for the very practical reason that we had no ships. We had difficulty in providing for our men in France and for our Allies, (the President never uses this word, saying that we are not "allies"). How hopeless it would be to carry everything seven or eight thousand miles—not only men and munitions, but food!—for Japan has none to spare, and none we could eat. Her men feed on rice and smoked fish, and she raises nothing we would want. Nor could the country support us. So there was an end of talking of an American force in Siberia! Yes, we were needed— perhaps as a guarantee of good faith on Japan's part that she would not go too far, nor stay too long. But we would not do it. And besides, Russia would not like it, therefore we must keep hands off and let Japan take the blame and the responsibility.

The question is not simple, for Russia will say that we threw her to Japan, and possibly she would rush into Germany's arms as the lesser of evils. My single word of caution was to so act that Russia, when she "came back," should not hate us, for there was our new land for development—Siberia—and we should have front place at that table, if we did not let our fears and our hatred and our contempt get away with us now.

Daniels whispered to-day that Russia had five fast cruisers in the Baltic, which could raid the Atlantic and put our ships off the sea. He had wired Sims to see if they couldn't be sunk. I hope it is not too late; surely England must have done something on so important a matter, though she is slow in thinking. And how is anyone to get there with the Baltic full of submarines and mines! The thought is horrible, the possibilities! We certainly have made a bad fist of things Russian from the start. They have deserted us because they were trying to drive the cart ahead of the horse, economical revolution before political revolution, socialism ahead of liberty with law. And they know we are capitalistic, because we do not approve of socialism by force.

March 12, (1918)

Nothing talked of at Cabinet that would interest a nation, a family, or a child. No talk of the war. No talk of Russia or Japan. Talk by McAdoo about some bills in Congress, by the President about giving the veterans of the Spanish war leave, with pay, to attend their annual encampment. And he treated this seriously as if it were a matter of first importance! No word from Baker nor mention of his mission or his doings. …



Washington, February 15, 1918

MY DEAR BOY,—… We are anxiously awaiting some word telling where you are, what you are doing, and how you got on in your trip. I thought your cablegram was a model of condensation, quite like that of Caesar, "Veni, vidi, vici." …

Sergeant Empey has just left the office with a letter to the Secretary of War, asking that he be given a commission. He has been lecturing among the cantonments and wants to get back to France. … He says that the boys in the cantonments are anxious to go across, and that they are beginning to criticise us because they do not have their chance. But they will all get there soon enough for them. Our national problem is to get ships to carry them, and to carry the food for the Allies. … We have undertaken to supply a certain amount of food to the other side, and our contract, so far, has not been fulfilled. During December and January, however, this was, of course, due to railroad conditions.

You are a long way off, but you must not visualize the distance. Nothing so breaks the spirit as to dwell upon unfortunate facts. Some one day or another you had to leave the nest, and this is your day for flying. Wherever you are, with people whose language you understand only imperfectly, with a civilization that is somewhat strange, and under conditions that often-times will be trying, don't adopt the usual attitude of the American in a foreign country and wonder "why the damn fools don't speak English." No doubt some of the French will pity you because of your delinquency in their language.

Another thing that differentiates us from other people is our lavishness in expenditure, and in what appears to us to be their "nearness." … From these same thrifty French have come great things. They have always been great soldiers; they have led the world in the arts, especially in poetry, painting and fiction— perhaps, too, I should add architecture. So that men who are careful of their pennies are not necessarily small in their minds. …

I have less doubt, however, of your ability to get on with the Frenchman than I have with the Englishman. … You will have difficulty—at least I should—in understanding the rather heavy, sober, non-humorous Englishman. … He is always a self-important gentleman who regards England as having spoken pretty much the last word in all things, and who will abuse his own country, his countrymen, and institutions, frankly and with abandon, but will allow no one else this liberty. He is not a "quitter" though, and he has done his bit through the centuries for the making of the world.

… See as many people as you can, present all your letters, accept invitations. Remember that while you are there and we miss you, we are not spending our time in moping. Every night we go to dinner and we chatter with the rest of the magpies, as if the world were free from suffering. Last night I talked with Paderewski for an hour on the sorrows of Poland, and it was one long tale of horror. …

To-day the Russians are calling their people back to arms to stop the oncoming Germans. Foolish, foolish idealists who believed that they could establish what they call an economic democracy, without being willing to support their ideal in modern fashion by force. The best of things can not live unless they are fought for, and while I do not think that their socialism was the best of anything, it was their dream. … With much love, my dear boy, your DAD

To George W. Lane February 16, 1918

MY DEAR GEORGE,—… Things are going much better with the War Department. My expectation is that this war will resolve itself into three things, in this order:—ships for food, aeroplanes, big guns. We must, as you know, do all that we can to keep up the morale of our own people. There is a considerable percentage of pacifists, and of the weak-hearted ones, who would like to have a peace now upon any terms, but the treatment that Russia is receiving, after she had thrown down her arms, indicates what may be expected by any nation that quits now.

… The prospects for democratization of Germany is not as good as it was a year ago, when we came in, because of their success in arms due to Russia's debacle. The people will not overthrow a government which is successful, nor will they be inclined to desert a system which adds to Germany's glory. It is a fight, a long fight, a fight of tremendous sacrifice, that we are in for. I said a year ago that it would be two years. Then I thought that Russia would put up some kind of front. Now I say two years from this time and possibly a great deal longer. Lord Northcliffe thinks four or six or eight years.

Ned writes me that things are very gloomy and glum in England and in Ireland, where he has been. He was out in an air raid, in several of them, in London, not up in the air, but from the ground could see no trace of the airships that were dropping bombs on the town. The Germans seem to have discovered some way by which they can tell where they are without being able to see the lights of the city, for now they have bombarded Paris when it was protected, on a dark night, by a blanket of fog, and London also under the same conditions. The compass is not much good, the deviations are so great. It may be that the clever Huns have found some way of piloting themselves surely. We are starting two campaigns through the Bureau of Education which may interest you. One is for school gardens. To have the children organized, each one to plant a garden. The plan is to raise vegetables which will save things that can be sent over to the armies, and also give the children a sense of being in the war. Another thing we are trying to do is educate the foreign born and the native born who cannot read or write English. If you are interested in either of these two things we will send you literature, and you can name your own district, and we will put you at work. …

Well, my dear fellow, I long very much for the sun and the sweetness of California these days, but I could not enjoy myself if I were there, because I am at such tension that I must be doing every day. Do write me often, even though I do not answer. Affectionately yours,




Washington, March 7, 1918

MY DEAR DR. SHAW,—I have your letter of March 4th. The thing that a democracy is short on is foresight. We do not have enough men like the General Staff in Germany who can think ten and twenty years ahead. We are too much embedded and incrusted in the things that flow around us during the day, and think too little of the future.

For five, long, weary years, I have been agitating for the use of the water powers of the United States. We estimate the unused power in tens and tens of millions of horse-power. Right in New York you have in the Erie Canal 150,000 horse-power, and on the Niagara river you have probably a million unused. If you had a great dam across the river below the rapids we should have water power in chains, like fire horses in their stalls, that could be brought out at the time of need. But we are thinking in large figures these days, and while we used to be afraid to ask for a few hundred thousand dollars we now talk in millions, and some day we may realize that to put the cost of a week's war into power plants in the United States would be money well invested. …

We have no law under which private capital feels justified in investing a dollar in a water power plant where public lands are involved, because the permit granted is revokable at the pleasure of the Secretary of the Interior, and capital does not enjoy the prospect of making its future returns dependent upon the good digestion of the Secretary. But if we get this bill, which I enclose, through, we will be able to handle the powers on all streams on the public lands and forests and on all navigable waters, and give assurance to capital that it will be well taken care of if it makes the investment. …

I am greatly pleased at the kind things you say about me. The longer I am in office the more of an appetite I have for such food. Hoover [Footnote: Hoover at this time was Food Administrator.] can only commit one fatal mistake—to declare a taflfyless day. Cordially yours,


To Edward J. Wheeler on February 1, 1917, he had written:—

"It is an outrage that we should have a total of nearly six million acres of land withdrawn for oil, three million for phosphates, and one million for water power sites, potash, etc., and allow session after session of Congress to pass without producing any legislation that will sensibly open these reserves to development. The extreme conservationists, who are really for holding the lands indefinitely in the Federal Government and unopened, and the extreme anti-conservationists, who are for turning all the public lands over to the States, have stood for years against a rational system of national development."

Although a great part of the energy of the Department of the Interior was, of necessity, diverted to forward war enterprises and to supply war necessities—chemical, metallurgical, statistical—Lane steadily pressed forward the conduct of the normal activities of the department. In his report for the year 1918, he briefly summarizes this work,—"The distribution, survey, and classification of our national lands; the care of the Indian wards of the Nation, their education, and the development of their vast estate; the carrying forward of our reclamation projects; the awarding and issuance of patents to inventors; the construction of the Alaskan railroad and the supervision of the Territorial affairs of Alaska and Hawaii; the payment of pensions to Army and Navy veterans and their dependents; the promotion of education; the custody and management of the national parks; the conservation of the lives of those who work in mines, and the study and guidance of the mining and metallurgical industries."

To Walter H. Page

Washington, March 16, 1918

My dear Mr. Ambassador,—I am the poorest of all living correspondents, in fact, I am a dead correspondent. I do not function. If it had not been so I would long since have answered your notes, which have been in my basket, but I have had no time for any personal correspondence, much as I delight in it, for I have a very old-fashioned love for writing from day to day what pops into my mind, contradicting each day what I said the day before, and gathering from my friends their impressions and their spirit the same way. For the first time in three months I have leisure enough … to acknowledge a few of the accumulated personal letters.

Let me give you a glimpse of my day, just to compare it with your own and by way of contrasting life in two different spheres and on different sides of the ocean. I get to my office at nine in the morning and my day is broken up into fifteen-minute periods, during which I see either my own people or others. I really write none of my own letters, [Footnote: This referred to routine letters.] simply telling my secretaries whether the answer should be "yes" or "no." I lunch at my own desk and generally with my wife, who has charge of our war work in the Department. We have over thirteen hundred men who have gone out of this Department into the Army. … My day is broken into by Cabinet meeting twice a week, meeting of the Council of National Defense twice a week, and latterly with long sessions every afternoon over the question of what railroad wages should be.

My office is a sort of place of last resort for those who are discouraged elsewhere, for Washington is no longer a city of set routine and fixed habit. It is at last the center of the nation. New York is no longer even the financial center. The newspapers are edited from here. Society centers here. All the industrial chiefs of the nation spend most of their time here. It is easier to find a great cattle king or automobile manufacturer or a railroad president or a banker at the Shoreham or the Willard Hotel than it is to find him in his own town. The surprising thing is that these great men who have made our country do not loom so large when brought to Washington and put to work. … Every day I find some man of many millions who has been here for months and whose movements used to be a matter of newspaper notoriety, but I did not know, even, that he was here. I leave my office at seven o'clock, not having been out of it during the day except for a Cabinet or Council meeting, take a wink of sleep, change my clothes and go to a dinner, for this, as you will remember, is the one form of entertainment that Washington has permitted itself in the war. The dinners are Hooverized,—three courses, little or no wheat, little or no meat, little or no sugar, a few serve wine. And round the table will always be found men in foreign uniforms, or some missionary from some great power who comes begging for boats or food. These dinners used to be places of great gossip, and chiefly anti-administration gossip, but the spirit of the people is one of unequaled loyalty. The Republicans are as glad to have Wilson as their President as are the Democrats, I think sometimes a little more glad, because many of the Democrats are disgruntled over patronage or something else. The women are ferocious in their hunt for spies, and their criticism is against what they think is indifference to this danger. Boys appear at these dinners in the great houses, because of their uniforms, who would never have been permitted even to come to the front door in other days, for all are potential heroes. Every woman carries her knitting, and it is seldom that you hear a croaker even among the most luxurious class. Well, the dinner is over by half past ten, and I go home to an hour and a half's work, which has been sent from the office, and fall at last into a more or less troubled sleep. This is the daily round.

I have not been to New York since the war began. I made one trip across the continent speaking for the Liberty Loan, day and night. And this life is pretty much the life of all of us here. The President keeps up his spirits by going to the theatre three or four times a week. There are no official functions at the White House, and everybody's teeth are set. The Allies need not doubt our resolution. England and France will break before we will, and I do not doubt their steadfast purpose. It is, as you said long ago, their fault that this war has come, for they did not realize the kind of an enemy they had, either in spirit, purpose, or strength. But we will increasingly strengthen that western gate so that the Huns will not break through.

We do things fast here, but I never realized before how slow we are in getting started. It takes a long time for us to get a new stride. I did not think that this was true industrially. I have known that it was true politically for a long time, because this was the most backward and most conservative of all the democracies. We take up new machinery of government so slowly. But industrially it is also true. When told to change step we shift and stumble and halt and hesitate and go through all kinds of awkward misses. This has been true as to ships and aeroplanes and guns, big and little, and uniforms. Whatever the government has done itself has been tied by endless red tape. It is hard for an army officer to get out of the desk habit, and caution, conservatism, sureness, seem even in time of crisis to be more important than a bit of daring. In my Department, I figure that it takes about seven years for the nerve of initiative and the nerve of imagination to atrophy, and so, perhaps, it is in other departments. It took five months for one of our war bureaus to get out a contract for a building that we were to build for them. Fifteen men had to sign the contract. And of course we have been impatient. But things are bettering every day. The men in the camps are very impatient to get away. But where are the ships to do all the work? The Republicans cannot chide us with all of the unpreparedness, for they stood in the way of our getting ships three years ago. The gods have been against us in the way of weather so we have not brought down our supplies to the seaboard, but we have not had the ships to take away that which was there; or coal, sometimes, for the ships.

From now, however, you will see a steadier, surer movement of men, munitions, food, and ships. The whole country is solidly, strongly with the President. There are men in Congress bitterly against him but they do not dare to raise their voices, because he has the people so resolutely with him. The Russian overthrow has been a good thing for us in one way. It will cost us perhaps a million lives, but it will prove to us the value of law and order. We are to have our troubles, and must change our system of life in the next few years.

A great oil man was in the office the other day and told me in a plain, matter-of-fact way, what must be done to win—the sacrifices that must be made—and he ended by saying, "After all, what is property?" This is a very pregnant question. It is not being asked in Russia alone. Who has the right to anything? My answer is, not the man, necessarily, who has it, but the man who can use it to good purpose. The way to find the latter man is the difficulty.

We will have national woman suffrage, national prohibition, continuing inheritance tax, continuing income tax, national life insurance, an increasing grip upon the railroads, their finances and their operation as well as their rates. Each primary resource, such as land and coal and iron and copper and oil, we will more carefully conserve. There will be no longer the opportunity for the individual along these lines that there has been. Industry must find some way of profit-sharing or it will be nationalized. These things, however, must be regarded as incidents now; and the labor people, those with vision and in authority, are very willing to postpone the day of accounting until we know what the new order is to be like.

Well, I have rambled on, giving you a general look—in on my mind. Don't let any of those people doubt the President, or doubt the American people. This is the very darkest day that we have seen. But we believe in ourselves and we believe in our own kind, and believe in a something, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness,—slowly, stumblingly, but, as the centuries go, surely.

I have not yet seen the Archbishop of York. He has not been here. But he has made a most favorable impression where he has been, and so have the English labor people.

Poor Spring-Rice did good work here. Washington felt very sad over his death, and is expecting that England will evidence her appreciation of the fact that he did nothing to estrange us by the way in which his widow is treated.

Reading has been received and fits in perfectly. With warm regards, as always, Cordially yours,


To John Lyon Machine Gun Company Camp McClennen, Alabama

Washington, March 15,1918

MY DEAR JOHN,—I know how you must feel. Every particle of my own nature rebels against the horror of this war, or of any war, and against the dragooning by military men. I had rather die now and take my chances of Hell, than doom myself and Ned and those who are to come after, to living under a government which is as this government is now and as all governments must be now,—autocratic, governed by orders and commands. But this is the game, and we have got to play it, play it hard and play it through. Manifestly we cannot quit as Russia did without getting Russia's ill-fortune. There was a great empire of a hundred and eighty million people. They mobilized twenty-five million men. Six million of them are dead. The Czar was overthrown, a new government was set up, one of conservative socialism, and that was swept aside and a group of impractical socialists put in its stead, and where is Russia now? Broken to bits, its population dying of hunger, its industries unworked, its soil untilled, and Germany coming on with her great feet, stamping down the few who are brave enough to interpose themselves between Germany and her end. If we were to quit, Germany would do to us, or try to do to us, what she has done to Russia.

If there ever was a real defensive war it is the one that we are engaged in, and we must sacrifice, and sacrifice, and sacrifice, not merely for the world's sake but for our own sake. Ned is in France. He went through England. He tells me that everybody is serious, solemn, purposeful. They would rather all die than live under Germany's mastery of the world.

The President is being bitterly criticized because he has taken every opportunity to talk of terms and of ways out, but I think he is right. He must make the people of the world feel that we are not foolishly, and in a headstrong way, fighting to get anything for ourselves or for anybody else, except the chance to live our own lives. And we will show these Germans something. Our capacity to produce aeroplanes is still altogether unrealized, and we will have great guns a few feet apart along the entire front. We can bomb German harbors where submarines are, and are made—that's the work that Ned is going in for,—and we will hold that western line until every resource is exhausted. And we will go through it one of these days, perhaps not this year. But we must go through it or else American ships will live on the sea by consent of Germany, and Canada will become German territory. This is no dream. Give Germany Paris and Calais and she can exact terms from England. Why should she not ask for Canada? And give Germany Canada and what becomes of the United States? An army of Germans on our border, 5,000,000 men in arms in the United States always, the army and navy budget taking thirty or forty per cent of every man's income. Who wants to live in such a country? We are fighting the greatest war that history has ever seen, not merely in numbers but in principle. We are fighting to get rid of the most hateful survivals from the past. The overlord, the brusque and arrogant soldier, is the dominating factor in society and the government, the turning of men's thoughts away from the pursuit of the things of art and beauty and social beneficence into the one channel of making everything serve the military arm of the nation.

This will be a better world for the poor man when all is over. We must forget our dreams, what our own individual lives would have been, and with dash, and cheer, and courage, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, set our jaws and go forward. The devil is in the saddle and we must pull him down, or else he will rule the world,—and you are to have a tug at his coat. And I envy you. I'd take your place in a minute, if I could. Remember that you are an individualist, not a collectivist naturally, but individuals are of no use now. The war can be made only by great groups who conform. The free spirit of man will have its way once more when this bloody war is done.

I am glad you wrote me, and I want you to feel that you always can write me, whatever is in your heart, and I will give you such answer as my busy days will permit. There is only one way to look at life and get any satisfaction out of it, and that is to bow to the inevitable. We all must be fatalists to that extent, and once a course has been determined upon, accept it and make the best of it. The life of the old gambler does not consist in holding a big hand but in playing a poor hand well. You and I are no longer masters of our own fortunes. All that we can do is to abide by the set rules of the game that is being played. I would change many things, but I am powerless, and because I am powerless I must say to myself each day, "All that God demands of me is that I shall do my best," and doing that, the responsibility is cast upon that Spirit which is the Great Commander. I like to feel at these times that there is a personal God and a personal devil, and there has been no better philosophy devised than that. God is not supreme, He is not omnipotent, He has His limitations, His struggles, His defeats, but there is no life unless you believe that He ultimately must win, that this world is going upward, not downward, that the devil is to be beaten,—the devil inside of ourselves, the devil of wilfulness, of waywardness, of cynicism, and the devil that is represented by the overbearing, cruel militarism and ruthless inhumanity of Germany. You are a soldier of the Lord, just as truly as Christ was.

I send you my affectionate regards, and with it goes the confidence that you will, with good cheer and resolution, play your part. Sincerely yours,


This boy died in France. Lane wrote to his father of him:—

To Frank Lyon

Washington, [November 16, 1918]

DEAR FRANK,—Have just heard. Dear, dear Boy! I was so fond of him. He had a brave adventurous spirit. Well, he has gone out gloriously. There could be no finer way to go and no better time.

I know your own strength will be equal to this test—and the wife, poor woman, she too is brave. My heart goes out to you both very really, wholly. With much affection.


To Miss Genevieve King

Washington, March 16, 1918

MY DEAR MISS KING,—These are times of terrible strain and stress, and we cannot easily fall back upon those sources of power which seem so distant and unavailing. I like to think of you as in our last talk in the Millers' drawing room, where you had a much better opportunity to express yourself than in the one that we later had out on the porch. You then seemed to live your thought and to have the capacity for its expression. I think of you, too, up on that beautiful mountainside, where things like war and guns and bandages and hospitals and men without arms and the lack of ships, the need for saying goodbye, are so remote.

We still keep up a semblance of social life by going to dinners every night. It is the one relief I have, and yet each time I go I feel ashamed at what appears like a waste of time, and yet I know is not, and the waste of good food which is needed by others so much more than by us. Still the people have come down to a strict and modest diet with surprising firmness. There is little evidence of what you would call luxury or extravagance, excepting in the way a few people live. The place is filled with soldiers of many colors, breeds, and uniforms.

… Anne is busy every day at her work, and I see little of anyone who does not come to me on business. The country seems strongly with the President, and while his spirits are not gay, his purpose is high and his determination is strong. We will do better, and increasingly better, as time goes on, I believe. With warm regards, as always sincerely yours,


Lane was a member of the Executive Council of the Red Cross, with whom his wife was working during the war. He characterized its symbol as,—"The one flag which binds all nations is that which speaks of suffering and healing, losses and hopes, a past of courage and a future of peace—the flag of the Red Cross."

To John McNaught

Washington, March 16, 1918

MY DEAR JOHN,—It is only now after a month's delay, that I have an opportunity even to acknowledge your letter of the 17th of February.

… The whole war situation seems to be so big that it overwhelms the minds of men. … But we are grinding on and going surely in the right way. Not everything has been done that could be done, but we are getting our step. This thing will be longer than we thought. But as the President says, it is our job—our job is cut out for us, and we are going to see it through. Russia has taught us what happens to a nation that is not self-respecting. We are hard at work, every one of us, big and little. The nation never was as united, and while we do not realize just what war is, yet we will realize it more from day to day and harder will our fibre grow.

My boy is in France. He hopes to fly an aeroplane over a German submarine base, and drop a ton of dynamite on it and put it out of business.

How the world has changed since we dreamed together in the Cosmos Club! How Paris has changed since we wandered through its boulevards together! The day of the common man is at hand. Our danger will be in going too fast, and by going too fast do injustice to him. But your kind of socialism and mine is to have its fling.

I was much pleased to meet your wife, very much indeed, and I hope we may see you here one of these days. With my affectionate regards, sincerely yours,


On May 31, 1918, Lane sent a long letter to President Wilson in relation to his plan for providing farms, from the public domain, for the returning soldiers. The letter is given at some length, because this plan was so dear to Lane's heart, and was one upon which he had put much earnest study. In addition to the phases of the subject printed here, he gave, in his signed letter to President Wilson, detailed consideration to several other aspects of the matter; such as, a comparison of his plan with land-tenure in Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia; the need for an extension of the method whereby land can be "developed in large areas, sub-divided into individual farms, then sold to actual bona fide farmers on long-time payment basis"; and also the part Alaska should be made to play in affording agricultural opportunity to our returned soldiers.

To Hon. Woodrow Wilson The White House

Washington, May 31, 1918

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I believe the time has come when we should give thought to the preparations of plans for providing opportunity for our soldiers returning from the war. Because this Department has handled similar problems I consider it my duty to bring this matter to the attention of yourself and Congress. …

To the great number of returning soldiers, land will offer the great and fundamental opportunity. The experience of wars points out the lesson that our service men, because of army life with its openness and activity, will largely seek out-of-doors vocations and occupations. This fact is accepted by the allied European nations. That is why their programs and policies of re-locating and readjustment emphasize the opportunities on the land for the returning soldier. The question then is, "What land can be made available for farm homes for our soldiers?"

We do not have the bountiful public domain of the sixties and seventies. In a literal sense, for the use of it on a generous scale for soldier farm homes as in the sixties, "the public domain is gone." The official figures at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1917, show this: We have unappropriated land in the continental United States to the amount of 230,657,755 acres. It is safe to say that not one-half of this land will ever prove to be cultivable in any sense. So we have no lands in any way comparable to that in the public domain when Appomattox came—and men turned westward with army rifle and "roll blanket," to begin life anew.

While we do not have that matchless public domain of '65, we do have millions of acres of undeveloped lands that can be made available for our home-coming soldiers. We have arid lands in the West, cut-over lands in the Northwest, Lake States, and South, and also swamp lands in the Middle West and South, which can be made available through the proper development. Much of this land can be made suitable for farm homes if properly handled. But it will require that each type of land be dealt with in its own particular fashion. The arid land will require water; the cut-over land will require clearing; and the swamp land must be drained. Without any of these aids, they remain largely "No Man's Land." The solution of these problems is no new thing. In the admirable achievement of the Reclamation Service in reclamation and drainage we have abundant proof of what can be done.

Looking toward the construction of additional projects, I am glad to say that plans and investigations have been under way for some time. A survey and study has been in the course of consummation by the Reclamation Service on the Great Colorado Basin. That great project, I believe, will appeal to the new spirit of America. It would mean the conquest of an empire in the Southwest. It is believed that more than three millions of acres of arid land could be reclaimed by the completion of the Upper and Lower Colorado Basin projects. …

What amount of land, in its natural state unfit for farm homes, can be made suitable for cultivation by drainage, only thorough surveys and studies can develop. We know that authentic figures show that more than fifteen million acres have been reclaimed for profitable farming, most of which lies in the Mississippi River Valley.

The amount of cut-over lands in the United States, of course, it is impossible even in approximation to estimate. … A rough estimate of their number is about two hundred million acres—that is of land suitable for agricultural development. Substantially all this cut-over or logged-off land is in private ownership. The failure of this land to be developed is largely due to inadequate method of approach. Unless a new policy of development is worked out in cooperation between the Federal Government, the States, and the individual owners, a greater part of it will remain unsettled and uncultivated. …

Any plan for the development of land for the returned soldier, will come face to face with the fact that a new policy will have to meet the new conditions. The era of free or cheap land in the United States has passed. We must meet the new conditions of developing lands in advance—security must to a degree displace speculation. …

This is an immediate duty. It will be too late to plan for these things when the war is over. Our thought now should be given to the problem. And I therefore desire to bring to your mind the wisdom of immediately supplying the Interior Department with a sufficient fund with which to make the necessary surveys and studies. We should know by the time the war ends, not merely how much arid land can be irrigated, nor how much swamp land reclaimed, nor where the grazing land is and how many cattle it will support, nor how much cut-over land can be cleared, but we should know with definiteness where it is practicable to begin new irrigation projects, what the character of the land is, what the nature of the improvements needed will be, and what the cost will be. We should know also, not in a general way, but with particularity, what definite areas of swamp land may be reclaimed, how they can be drained, what the cost of the drainage will be, what crops they will raise. We should have in mind specific areas of grazing lands, with a knowledge of the cattle which are best adapted to them, and the practicability of supporting a family upon them. So, too, with our cut-over lands. We should know what it would cost to pull or "blow-out" stumps and to put the lands into condition for a farm home.

And all this should be done upon a definite planning basis. We should think as carefully of each one of these projects as George Washington thought of the planning of the City of Washington, We should know what it will cost to buy these lands if they are in private hands. In short, at the conclusion of the war the United States should be able to say to its returned soldiers, "If you wish to go upon a farm, here are a variety of farms of which you may take your pick, which the Government has prepared against the time of your returning." I do not mean by this to carry the implication that we should do any other work now than the work of planning. A very small sum of money put into the hands of men of thought, experience, and vision, will give us a program which will make us feel entirely confident that we are not to be submerged, industrially or otherwise, by labor which we will not be able to absorb, or that we would be in a condition where we would show a lack of respect for those who return as heroes, but who will be without means of immediate self-support.

A million or two dollars, if appropriated now, will put this work well under way.

This plan does not contemplate anything like charity to the soldier. He is not to be given a bounty. He is not to be made to feel that he is a dependent. On the contrary, he is to continue, in a sense, in the service of the Government. Instead of destroying our enemies he is to develop our resources.

The work that is to be done, other than the planning, should be done by the soldier himself. The dam or the irrigation project should be built by him, the canals, the ditches, the breaking of the land, and the building of the houses, should, under proper direction, be his occupation. He should be allowed to make his own home, cared for while he is doing it, and given an interest in the land for which he can pay through a long period of years, perhaps thirty or forty years. This same policy can be carried out as to the other classes of lands. So that the soldier on his return would have an opportunity to make a home for himself, to build a home with money which we would advance and which he would repay, and for the repayment we would have an abundant security. The farms should not be turned over as the prairies were—unbroken, unfenced, without accommodations for men and animals. There should be prepared homes, all of which can be constructed by the men themselves, and paid for by them, under a system of simple devising by which modern methods of finance will be applied to their needs.

As I have indicated, this is not a mere Utopian vision. It is, with slight variations, a policy which other countries are pursuing successfully. The plan is simple. I will undertake to present to the Congress definite projects for the development of this country through the use of the returned soldier, by which the United States, lending its credit, may increase its resources and its population and the happiness of its people, with a cost to itself of no more than the few hundred thousand dollars that it will take to study this problem through competent men. This work should not be postponed. Cordially and faithfully yours,


The bill, incorporating this plan, was rejected by a Congress unwilling to accept any solution of any part of the after-war problem, if the plan came from the Wilson Administration.

In 1918, Colonel Mears, who had been Chief Engineer and later
Chairman of the Alaskan Commission, in charge of the construction
of the Alaskan railroad, went, with many others, to the front, and
Lane was obliged to find new men to carry on the Alaskan work.

To Allan Pollok

Washington, July 17, 1918

You certainly can have more time, because I want you, and it is not on my own account altogether, because I feel sure you will delight in the kind of creative job that it is. I found that Scotchmen had made Hawaii, and I would like to see some of that same stuff go into Alaska. You see we have a fine bunch of men there, practical fellows of experience, but not one of them looms large as a business man or as a creator. I would personally like to spend a few years of my life just dreaming dreams about what could be done in that huge territory, and if I only got by with one out of five hundred, I would leave a real dent in the history of the territory.

That coal must be brought out of Alaska for the Navy, if the Navy is going to use any coal, and we ought to be able to send a great many thousands of Americans, as stock raisers and farmers, into Alaska after this war. The climate is just as good as that of Montana, and in some places much better. Of course it is not a swivel-chair job. It is a challenge to everything that a fellow has in him of ambition, courage, imagination, enterprise, and tact, and if we can possibly get that road completed by the end of the war, and know that we have another national domain there for settlement, it would help out mightily on the returning soldier problem. You and I cannot fight and that is our bad luck. We were born about thirty years too early but I have a notion that we can make Alaska do her bit through that railroad. … If you want a great mining expert to go in with you I can get one. … Come on into the game.


To E. S. Pillsbury

Washington, July 30, 1918

MY DEAR MR. PILLSBURY,— … In these radical times when things are changing so quickly it does not do to be too conservative or things will go altogether to the bad. …

Pragmatic tests must be applied strictly and the way to beat wild- eyed schemes is to show that they are impracticable, and to harness our people to the land. Every man in an industry ought to be tied up in some way by profit-sharing or stock-owning arrangements, and we should get as large a proportion of our people on small farms as possible. If this is not done we are going to have a reign of lawlessness.

When a sense of property goes, it becomes more and more apparent to me, that all other conserving and conservative tendencies go, and the man who has something is the man who will save this country. So it is necessary that just as many have something as possible. … The one thing which the Bolsheviki do not understand is that the economic world is not divided between capital and labor, but that there is a great class unrepresented in these two divisions—the managing class which furnishes brains and direction, tact and vision, and no socialistic scheme provides for the selection and reward of these men … Cordially yours,


To William Marion Reedy Reedy's Mirror

Washington, September 13, 1918

MY DEAR MR. REEDY,—In the first place … as to the coal agreement, when coal was more than six dollars a ton and climbing, and it was nobody's business to reduce the price, I made an appeal to the coal operators to fix voluntarily a maximum price of one- half of what they were then getting. This they did, with the understanding that it would stand only until the Government fixed the price, if it chose to do so later. The price was three dollars in the East, and two dollars and seventy-five cents in the West, and there is not a coal mine in the country to-day, under Government operation, that is producing coal for as little as that price, which the operators themselves upon my appeal, fixed …

Some day or another we will meet, … and I am inclined to believe that you will think me less of a reactionary than a radical. I am against a standardized world, an ordered, Prussianized world. I am for a world in which personal initiative is kept alive and at work. There are a lot of people here who believe that you can do things by orders, which I know from my knowledge of the human and the American spirit can much more effectively be done by appeal.

Everything goes happily here these days, because we are winning the war, and the future of the world will soon be in the hands of a man who not so long ago was a school teacher. A great world this, isn't it? And the greatest romance is not even the fact that Woodrow Wilson is its master, but the advance of the Czecho-Slavs across five thousand miles of Russian Asia,—an army on foreign territory, without a government, holding not a foot of land, who are recognized as a nation! This stirs my imagination as I think nothing in the war has, since Albert of Belgium stood fast at Liege. Cordially yours,


Notes on Cabinet Meetings Found in Lane's Files

October 23, 1918

Yesterday we had a Cabinet Meeting. All were present. The President was manifestly disturbed. For some weeks we have spent our time at Cabinet meetings largely in telling stories. Even at the meeting of a week ago, the day on which the President sent his reply to Germany—his second Note of the Peace Series—we were given no view of the Note which was already in Lansing's hands and was emitted at four o'clock; and had no talk upon it, other than some outline given offhand by the President to one of the Cabinet who referred to it before the meeting; and for three-quarters of an hour told stories on the war, and took up small departmental affairs.

This was the Note which gave greatest joy to the people of any yet written, because it was virile and vibrant with determination to put militarism out of the world. As he sat down at the table the President said that Senator Ashurst had been to see him to represent the bewildered state of mind existing in the Senate. They were afraid that he would take Germany's words at their face value.

"I said to the Senator," said the President, "do they think I am a damned fool?" … Yet Senator Kellogg says that Ashurst told the Senators that the President talked most pacifically, as if inclined to peace, and that Ashurst was "afraid that he would commit the country to peace," so afraid that he wanted all the pressure possible brought to bear on the President by other Senators. At any rate, the Note when it came had no pacificism in it, and the President gained the unanimous approval of the country and the Allies.

But all this was a week ago. Germany came back with an acceptance of the President's terms—a superficial acceptance at least—hence the appeal to the Cabinet yesterday. This was his opening, "I do not know what to do. I must ask your advice. I may have made a mistake in not properly safe-guarding what I said before. What do you think should be done?"

This general query was followed by a long silence, which I broke by saying that Germany would do anything he said.

"What should I say?" he asked.

"That we would not treat until Germany was across the Rhine."

This he thought impossible.

Then others took a hand. Wilson said the Allies should be consulted. Houston thought there was no real reform inside Germany. McAdoo made a long talk favoring an armistice on terms fixed by the military authorities. Strangely enough, Burleson, who had voted against all our stiff action over the Lusitania and has pleaded for the Germans steadily, was most belligerent in his talk. He was ferocious—so much so that I thought he was trying to make the President react against any stiff Note—for he knows the President well, and knows that any kind of strong blood-thirsty talk drives him into the cellar of pacifism. …

One of the things McAdoo said was that we could not financially sustain the war for two years. He was for an armistice that would compel Germany to keep the peace, military superiority recognized by Germany, with Foch, Haig, and Pershing right on top of them all the time. Secretary Wilson came back with his suggestion that the Allies be consulted. Then Baker wrote a couple of pages outlining the form of such a Note suggesting an armistice. I said that this should be sent to our "partners" in the war, without giving it to the world, that we were in a confidential relation to France and England, that they were in danger of troubles at home, possible revolution, and if the President, with his prestige, were to ask publicly an armistice which they would not think wise to grant, or which couldn't be granted, the sending of such a message into the world would be coercing them. The President said that they needed to be coerced, that they were getting to a point where they were reaching out for more than they should have in justice. I pointed out the position in which the President would be if he proposed an armistice which they (the Allies) would not grant. He said that this would be left to their military men, and they would practically decide the outcome of the war by the terms of the armistice, which might include leaving all heavy guns behind, and putting, Metz, Strasburg, etc., in the hands of the Allies, until peace was declared.

I suggested that Germany might not know what the President's terms were as to Courland, etc., that this was not "invaded territory." He replied that they evidently did, as they now were considering methods of getting out of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. He said he was afraid of Bolshevism in Europe, and the Kaiser was needed to keep it down—to keep some order. He really seemed alarmed that the time would come soon when there would be no possibility of saving Germany from the Germans. This was a new note to me.

He asked Secretary Wilson if the press really represented the sentiment of the country as to unconditional surrender. Wilson said it did. He said that the press was brutal in demanding all kinds of punishment for the Germans, including the hanging of the Kaiser. At the end of the meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, he asked to be relieved of Departmental matters as he was unable to think longer. I wrote a summary of the position he took, and read it after Cabinet meeting to Houston and Wilson, who agreed. It follows:—

If they (the Allies) ask you (the President), "Are you satisfied that we can get terms that will be satisfactory to us without unconditional surrender?"

You will answer, "Yes—through the terms of the Armistice."

"By an armistice can you make sure that all the fourteen propositions will be effectively sustained, so that militarism and imperialism will end?"

"Yes, because we will be masters of the situation and will remain in a position of supremacy until Germany puts into effect the fourteen propositions."

"Will that be a lasting peace?"

"It will do everything that can be done without crushing Germany and wiping her out—everything except to gratify revenge."

November 1, 1918

At last week's Cabinet we talked of Austria—again we talked like a Cabinet. The President said that he did not know to whom to reply, as things were breaking up so completely. There was no Austria-Hungary. Secretary Wilson suggested that, of course, their army was still under control of the Empire, and that the answer would have to go to it.

Theoretically, the President said, German-Austria should go to Germany, as all were of one language and one race, but this would mean the establishment of a great central Roman-Catholic nation which would be under control of the Papacy, and would be particularly objectionable to Italy. I said that such an arrangement would mean a Germany on two seas, and would leave the Germans victors after all. The President read despatches from Europe on the situation in Germany—the first received in many months.

Nothing was said of politics—although things are at a white heat over the President's appeal to the country to elect a Democratic Congress. He made a mistake. … My notion was, and I told him so at a meeting three or four weeks ago, that the country would give him a vote of confidence because it wanted to strengthen his hand. But Burleson said that the party wanted a leader with GUTS—this was his word and it was a challenge to his (the President's) virility, that was at once manifest.

The country thinks that the President lowered himself by his letter, calling for a partisan victory at this time. … But he likes the idea of personal party-leadership—Cabinet responsibility is still in his mind. Colonel House's book, Philip Dru, favors it, and all that book has said should be, comes about slowly, even woman suffrage. The President comes to Philip Dru in the end. And yet they say that House has no power. …

Election Day. November 5, [1918]

At Cabinet some one asked if Germany would accept armistice terms.
The President said he thought so. …

The President spoke of the Bolsheviki having decided upon a revolution in Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland, and that they had ten million dollars ready in Switzerland, besides more money in Swedish banks held by the Jews from Russia, ready for the campaign of propaganda. He read a despatch from the French minister in Berne, to Jusserand, telling of this conspiracy. Houston suggested the advisability of stopping it by seizing the money and interning the agitators. After some discussion, the President directed Lansing to ask the Governments in Switzerland and Sweden to get the men and money, and hold them, and then to notify the Allies of what we had done and suggest that they do likewise. Lansing suggested a joint Note, but the President vetoed this idea, wanting us to take the initiative. He spoke of always having been sympathetic with Japan in her war with Russia, and thought that the latter would have to work out her own salvation. But he was in favor of sending food to France, Belgium, Italy, Serbia, Roumania, and Bulgaria just as soon as possible; and the need was great, also in Austria.

He said that the terms had been agreed upon, but he did not say what they were—further than to say that the Council at Versailles had agreed to his fourteen points, with two reservations:—(1) as to the meaning of the freedom of the seas, (2) as to the meaning of the restoration of Belgium and France. This word he had directed Lansing to give to the Swiss minister for Germany—and to notify Germany also that Foch would talk the terms of armistice. … He is certainly in splendid humor and in good trim—not worried a bit. And why should he be, for the world is at his feet, eating out of his hand! No Caesar ever had such a triumph! …

November 6, 1918

Yesterday we had an election. I had expected we would win because the President had made a personal appeal for a vote of confidence, and all other members of the Cabinet had followed suit, except Baker who said he wanted to keep the Army out of politics. The President thought it was necessary to make such an appeal. He liked the idea of personal leadership, and he has received a slap in the face—for both Houses are in the balance. This is the culmination of the policy Burleson urged when he got the President to sign a telegram which he (Burleson) had written opposing Representative Slayden, his personal enemy, from San Antonio, and, in effect, nominating Burleson's brother-in-law for Congress. We heard of it by the President bringing it up at Cabinet. Burleson worked it through Tumulty. The President said that he did not know whether to write other letters of a similar nature as to Vardaman, Hardwick, ET AL. I advised against it, saying that the voters had sense enough to take care of these people. Burleson said, "The people like a leader with guts." The word struck the President's fancy and although Lansing, Houston, and Wilson also protested, in as strong a manner as any one ever does protest, the letters were issued. … Even before the Slayden letter was one endorsing Davies, in Wisconsin, as against Lenroot. … Then came the letter to the people of the whole country, reflecting upon the Republicans, saying that they were in great part pro-war but not pro-administration.

November 11, 1918

On Sunday I heard that Germany was flying the red flag, and postponed my promised visit to the Governors of the South, to be held at Savannah. At eleven yesterday word came that the President would speak to Congress at one, and that he would have no objection if the Departments closed to give opportunity for rejoicings. I went to a meeting of the Council of National Defence and spoke, welcoming the members. It was a meeting called by Baruch to plan reconstruction—but the President had notified him on Saturday that he could not talk or have talking on that subject. So all I could do was to give a word of greeting to men who are bound to be disappointed at being called for nothing.

The President's speech was, as always, a splendidly done bit of work. He rose to the occasion fully and it was the greatest possible occasion. … Lansing says that they (he and the President) had the terms of Armistice before election—terms quite as drastic as unconditional surrender.


Washington, November 7, 1918

DEAR MR. WILLARD,—I am extremely sorry to receive word that you are leaving us, but of course you are going into a sphere of action much larger than the one you are in here, and we must yield you with every grace, no matter how unwillingly. You will be gone from us only a short time, I trust, and then I shall have the opportunity of seeing more of you and continuing a friendship which has been of very real value to me.

All that you say about the Advisory Commission is true, and more. If the history of the Council of National Defence and of the Advisory Commission is ever written it will be seen that you gentlemen, who gave your time and experience freely, gave the first real impulse to war preparation, and we missed out only because we did not have more authority to vest in you. I am very proud of the first six months of the Council's work and of the Commission's work.

I received your letter telling me of the death of your son and daughter-in-law, and I did not have the heart to write you another line. The mystery and the ordering of this world grow altogether inexplicable when the affections are wrenched. It requires far more religion or philosophy than I have, to say a real word that might console one who has lost those who are dear to him. Ten years ago my mother died, and I have never become reconciled to her loss. This is a wrong state of mind, and I hope that you are sustained by that unfaltering trust of which Bryant spoke. Sincerely yours,


To James H. Hawley

Washington, November 9, 1918

MY DEAR GOVERNOR,—… To my great surprise we have lost both Houses. We felt sure that we would carry both, and did not appreciate the extent to which the Republicans would be consolidated by the President's letter, which, from what I hear was one of the inducing causes of the result; although not by any means the only one, for the feeling in the North and West was strong that the South in some way was being preferred. I am fresh from a talk with Senator Phelan who, to my surprise, tells me that these were the factors in the New England States from which he has just come. …

The Wilson administration may be judged by the great things that it has done—the unparallelled things—and the election of last Tuesday will get but a line in the history of this period, while the Versailles conference and the Fourteen Points of Wilson's message will have books written about them for a century to come. Cordially yours,


To Samuel G. Blythe London, England

Washington, November 13, 1918

MY DEAR SAM,—I had not seen the review of my little book of speeches [Footnote: The American Spirit.] made by the Daily Mail until you sent it to me. I guess we are a nation of idealists and it won't do any harm to have a little of this leaven thrown into the European lump. I am amused when I read the reviews on this book to see myself regarded as the rather imaginative interpreter of the national attitude, after these twenty years of quiet, stiff legal opinions on municipal law and rail-road problems.

Glad to hear of the boy! He is a poor correspondent, as most two- fisted young chaps are apt to be. I envy you your opportunity now to see the revolution in Germany, and it? possible spreading elsewhere. I think you might write an I article on how revolution comes to a country; a picture of just how the thing happens; what the first step was; what kind of organization there was and how they went about their business and got hold of the Government. There is I a whole book in this, but immediately there is a chance for a couple of mighty interesting articles.

Here we have gone wild over the victory and peace, and the fact that the election went against us means nothing, so far as international questions are concerned. We had not fixed the price on cotton while we had fixed the price on wheat, and that made the North feel that this is a Southern Administration. The Republicans were united for the first time in ten years. These are the big reasons for the shift. You see we have no idea here of Cabinet responsibility or votes of confidence or lack of confidence. I expect there will be some fun in Congress for the next two years. As always, cordially yours,



Washington, December 16, 1918

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I have your long letter, telling me of all your sad experiences with red tape and how you have settled down at last to do your bit at home. You have gone through the bitterness that most fellows have experienced in trying to do anything with the Government. I really am very sorry that you had to make such a financial sacrifice and break up your home and then be fooled, but probably it is all for the best. The war is over, the boys are coming home soon and this brings me to the main point.

Ned got home this morning. Nancy, Anne, and I went to Norfolk to meet him. He had no expectation of seeing us there and at eight o'clock on a very rainy foggy morning, we came up along side of his transport and he was taken by surprise. He had a fine lot of boys with him, but since May he had been at the Naval Aviation Headquarters as one of the General Staff.

He had many narrow escapes; had men killed standing beside him, torn to pieces by shrapnel; was knocked over by the concussion of shells; was over the lines in the battle of Chateau-Thierry in an aeroplane, flew across the Austrian-Italian lines and chased the German on his retreat through Belgium.

He seems to be in good health, though rather nervous. He very much admires the men who were his comrades and his superiors, but is glad to be out of it all. I think he would like to get on a big farm. My plan for getting farms for the soldier is making slow progress. I have got to put in all my effort now to get some decisive answer out of Congress—either yes or no. …

[Ned] has seen France very thoroughly, all the north of Italy from Rome up, England, and Ireland. In the latter spot, he was shot at three times, notwithstanding a general order that no Irishman is allowed to have a gun. He was challenged to a duel by a Frenchman who tried to get away with his seat in a car. He gave the Frenchman a good licking and then discovered that he was liable to court martial, but he got the seat and then told the French lieutenant he would throw him out of the car window if he talked any more about dueling. The following morning he offered the Frenchman a cigarette which was taken, and they shook hands and parted.

He went up in an aeroplane in Italy at one place and had a hunch, he said, that something was wrong with the machine and so he brought it down and landed. Another fellow took it up, an Italian. He got up about one thousand feet in the air and the gas tank exploded. The poor fellow came down burnt to a cinder, all within five minutes. He shot a German from the Belgian trenches and has been recommended four times for promotion, but hasn't got it yet. With much love to Frances and yourself, I am, affectionately yours,



Washington, [December 18, 1918]

MY DEAR BRADLEY,—You wouldn't let me close my sentence yesterday and I don't propose to close it to-day. Yet I am not going to let you drive westward toward the land and people we both love so much, without letting you carry a word of affection and greeting from me, which you can just throw to the winds when you get there, throw it out of the window to Tamalpais, it will sweep over those eucalyptus trees on the right, throw it up to the Berkeley hills, which now are turning green, I suppose, throw it up the long stretch of Market Street till it reaches Twin Peaks, and let it flow down over "south of the slot" that was, and up over Nob Hill, even to the sacred brownstone of the Pacific-Union.

Go with a heart that is full of rejoicing that peace has come, through our sacrifice as well as that of other of the nobler peoples of earth, and with a heart that is proud that you were able to help with your strength and sane judgment and great gentleness of speech and manner, in carrying on this nation's affairs in the day of its greatest adventure. We shall all miss you greatly, whether you are gone two weeks or two years! Do just what you think is right, just what she who is so much to you thinks you should do. There is no better test of a man's duty.

If you can't return we shall stagger on. I shan't stop climbing this ladder because a rung is gone—tho' many a rung is gone—and a damn hard old ladder this is sometimes. …





After-war Problems—Roosevelt Memorials—Americanization—Religion
—Responsibility of Press—Resignation


Washington, January, 1919

MY DEAR BRADLEY,— … I am terribly broken up over Roosevelt's death. He was a great and a good man, a man's man, always playing his game in the open. …

I loved old Roosevelt because he was a hearty, two-fisted fellow. … The only fault I ever had to find with him was that he took defeat too hard. He had a sort of "divine right" idea, but he was a bully fighter. I went to his funeral and have joined in mass meetings in his memory, which I suppose is all I can do. … Of course … he said a lot of things that were unjust and unjustifiable, but if a fellow doesn't make a damned fool of himself once in a while he wouldn't be human. The Republicans would have nominated him next time undoubtedly. They are without a leader now, and we are just as much up in the air as ever. … I am standing by the President for all I am worth. I talked to the Merchants' Association the other day and gave him a great send- off, but they didn't rise to their feet at all, which is the first time this has happened in two years. … Sincerely yours,


Washington, January 30, 1919

MY DEAR GEORGE,— … The one thing that bothers us here is the problem of unemployment. We have not, of course, had time to turn around and develop any plan for reconstruction. Our whole war machine went to pieces in a night. Everybody who was doing war work dropped his job with the thought of Paris in his mind, with the result that everything has come down with a crash, in the way of production, but nothing in the way of wages or living costs. Wages cannot go down until the cost of living does, and production won't increase while people believe prices will be lower later on. I to-day proposed to Secretary Glass that he enter upon a campaign to promote production, (1) by seeing what the Government could buy, (2) by seeing what the industries would take as a bottom price, (3) by getting the Food Administration at work to reduce prices. Perhaps it may do some good. …

I have always thought the President was right in going across, and I believe that he will pull through a League of Nations. When I get a copy of it I will send you my speech on this subject, which is rather loose but is a plea for dreams.

Ned is going West to. work for Doheny in some oil field, starting at the bottom. I rather think this is right, but of course he won't stay as a laborer very long. The boy is fine and gay, and did splendid work, and is anxious to get into the game and make money. Just where he gets this desire for making money I don't know. Certainly I never had it. But he was telling me the other day of his hope that by forty he would have made enough money to retire. I told him you were the only fellow I ever knew who had actually retired, and you had only done it half way. He will report at Los Angeles, but I expect he will get up to see you as soon as he can. He has a remarkable affection for California, considering he has seen so little of it, and so has Nancy. They both regard it as the golden land where all things smile, and people have hearts. I have not attempted to cure them of their illusion.

Do write me a good, long letter, for I am always eager to hear from you.

F. K. L.

To George W. Lane

Washington, May 1, [1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Well, what do you think of the Italian situation? I think the President right, that Fiume should not go to Italy. Certainly she has no moral claim, for by the Pact of London, Fiume was to go to Croatia. Orlando says that he is answering the call of the Italians in exile. Let them stay in exile, I say. They went into a foreign land to make money and now they wish to annex the land they are visiting, to the home country. How would we like it if the Chinese swamped San Francisco and then asked to be annexed to China? This is carrying the Fiume idea to its ultimate, a ridiculous ultimate, of course, as most ultimates are.

Whether he [President Wilson] gave out the statement as to the break too early, and without the consent of England and France, of course I don't know. Quite like him to do it if he thought the thing had hung long enough, and that Italy was too damn predatory. And she does seem to be. The New Idea seems to have less real hold in Italy—at least among the governing class—than in any other European country. Her present position will postpone peace. This will cause us trouble over the extra session of Congress for our appropriations will run out. And perhaps in England it may give a chance for labor troubles to rise. It will postpone the return of good times to this country. But ultimately Italy will have to come through. If economic pressure were put upon her she would be compelled to yield at once, for she depends on England and ourselves for all the coal she uses, and on us chiefly for her wheat. Of course this form of coercion will not be resorted to. She might think more kindly if she were given an extended credit, say of two hundred million dollars. But the people being aroused now over what they think is a matter of principle—loyalty to their compatriots in Fiume—they may not be able to compromise. Lord Reading rather fears that this is the situation and that it might have been avoided if the President had not issued his statement when he did. However, I have no doubt that the President will have his way. He nearly always does. Surely the God that once was the Kaiser's is now his.

To be the First President of the League of Nations is to be the crowning glory of his life. I believe in the League—as an effort. It will not cure, but it is a serious effort to get at the disease. It is a hopeful effort, too, for it makes moral standards, standards of conduct between nations which will bring conventional pressure to bear on the side of peace, to offset the old convention of rushing into war to satisfy hurt feelings. Sooner or later there will come disarmament—the pistol will be taken away and the streets will be safer.

The boy is having a tough time in his oil work. It is so dirty! But I hope he sticks out until he proves himself. I hear that the Dutch Shell people have bought out Cowdray in Mexico, and now are trying to get Doheny's lands. They bestride the earth, and as soon as their activities are known generally, this country will look upon the Standard Oil as the American champion in a big international fight.

… Well, dear old chap, I know that I could add nothing to your cure if I were there but I am not content to be so far away from you. … F. K. L.


Washington, May 20, 1919

MY DEAR MR. THOMPSON,—I told Mr. Loeb that I would feel greatly honored to be a member of a Memorial Committee, to do honor to Ex- President Roosevelt. To-day, I receive an agreement which I am asked to sign in which the members of the Committee are to pledge themselves to a memorial for the furtherance of Mr. Roosevelt's policies. I do not know what such a phrase means. With some of his policies I know I was in hearty accord but as to others, such as the tariff, I have my doubts. This might be turned or construed into a great machine for propaganda of a partisan character, and it seems to me that the Colonel's memory is altogether too precious a national possession to have that construction possibly given to any memorial to him.

There are hundreds of thousands of Democrats, like myself, who admired him and who would contribute toward a memorial, who should not be asked to do this if it was any more than a straight-out memorial to the man, the soldier, the naturalist, the historian, the President, the intense, vital American.

And all of your officers, so far as I am acquainted with them, are Republicans. This does not seem to convey quite the right suggestion.

I have already planned for a lasting Roosevelt memorial in the creation of a park in California, to bear Colonel Roosevelt's name. I expect this will have Congressional approval at the present session of Congress.

Last night I talked with Senator Frank Kellogg about this matter, and he agrees with my view. He says that he understood the memorial was to be something in Washington of a permanent and artistic character, and perhaps the home at Oyster Bay, and that the personnel of all committees was to be popular, including if possible as many Democrats as Republicans.

Under these circumstances I beg leave to withhold my signature to the agreement sent me. I would have no objection to asking Congress to provide for a memorial, though I think this should be deferred as a matter of policy until the public had subscribed generously. Cordially yours,



Washington, June 16, 1919

MY DEAR WHEELER,—I have seen your goodbye address at Berkeley, and I am very glad I did not hear it, for it must have been a sad day for Berkeley and for you. The address itself was a noble word. I hear that you have bought Lucy Sprague's home and are to remain in Berkeley. This is as it should be. You can ripen into the Sage of Berkeley, and be a center of influence, stimulating the best in others. A long, long life to you! Always sincerely and devotedly yours,



Washington, August 23, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MARTIN,— … It does not seem to me that this country will rise to a class war. We have too many farmers and small householders and women—put the accent on the women. They are the conservatives. Until a woman is starving, she does not grow Red, unless she is without a husband or babies and has a lot of money that she did not earn. … Cordially yours,



Washington, September 11, 1919

DEAR GEORGE,—You do not know how much of sympathy I send out to you and how many words of prayer I send up for you. You need them all, I expect. … What a long siege you have had!

I suppose you will not be able to hear the President speak when he is there. You will miss much. He is not impassioned nor a great orator, such as Chatham or Fox, or Webster or Dolliver, or even Bryan—but he has a keen, quick, cutting mind, the mind of a really great critic, and his manner is that of the gentleman scholar. He is first among all men to-day, which is much for America.

My Nancy has been having a splendid time, even if she only saw your ranch for a week—but she is the gayest thing alive—God grant she may continue so always. …

For the first time in twenty-five years we are living in an apartment, large and in a nice place, but somehow my sense of the fitness of things will not let me call the place "home"—altho' it is the most comfortable habitation I have ever lived in, elevator, whole floor to ourselves. … and they let me keep my dog. I wouldn't have come if they hadn't. We turned down a fine place with a more expansive view because Jack was not wanted. But surely in these days of doubt and disloyalty one must have some rock to cling to, why not a trusting-eyed dog? … But all this does not recompense me for the absence of a "home"—which is a house, anywhere. Yet we may have to do our own work. … The cooks are all too proud to work—I wish you would tell me just how this economic problem should be settled. How much do you believe in socialism or socialization? … Do you think there can be a partnership in business? I am inclined to think this can be worked out, along lines of cooperative ownership, but not until an enterprise is well standardized.

I expect bad times soon with labor. We are only postponing the evil day. The President seems less radical than he was. He is sobered by conditions, I suspect. The negro is a danger that you do not have. Turn him loose and he is a wild man. Every Southerner fears him.

… I am trying hard to believe something that might be called the shadow of a religion—a God that has a good purpose, and another life in which there is a chance for further growth, if not for glory. But when I bump up against a series of afflictions such as you have been subjected to, I fall back upon Fred's philosophy of a purposeless or else a cruel God. … I simply have a sinking of the heart, a goneness, a hopelessness—not even the pleasure of a resignation. Old Sid's cold mind has worked itself through to a decision that there is no purpose and no future, and finds solace in the ultimate; having reached the cellar he finds the satisfaction of rest. I can't get there for my buoyancy, the hold- over of early teachings or perhaps my naturally sanguine nature will not permit me to hit bottom, but forever I must be floating, floating—nowhere. Happy the man who strikes the certainty of a rock-bottom hell, rather than one who is kept floating midway— that is a purgatory worse than hell. I don't seem to have any capacity for anger, as against God or man, for anything that befalls me, but I get morbid over the injustices done to others. Now I shall stop philosophizing on this matter for it is three in the morning, and too hot to sleep, and such a time is made for wickedness and not for righteousness.

I am sorry you will not see the President. He is worth hearing, better than reading, and he always talks well. He can not pass his treaty without some kind of reservations and he should have seen this a month ago. The Republicans will not struggle to pass it in his absence and think that they have done a smart thing, but in the end Wilson and not Lodge would win by such a trick. The one greatest of vices is smart-aleckism. Sometime I shall write an essay on that subject. The burglar and the confidence operator and the profiteer and the profligate and the defaulting bank cashier are all victims of that disease—smart-aleckism. They will do a trick, to prove how clever they are. I believe that is the way ninety per cent of the boys and girls go wrong, and instead of teaching them the Bible, why not try reducing the size of their conceit and their disposition to boast. I just wonder how far wrong I am on this?

… Don't let the family worry you. Call for the police if they don't let you have your own way. … What a plague of women! But how did monks manage to live anyhow? Maybe they chose a hard death—perhaps that was the secret of the whole monkery game! Women let us down into the grave with much unction to our ego, I mean sweet oil of adoration … poured out upon the way down to Avernus. … Don't feel discouraged because you lie there. I feel much more discontented than you do, right here at the heart of the world. … Love to Maude and Frances, and mention me with proper respect and dignity to Miss Nancy Lane.

F. K.

Washington, September 24, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MANNING,—I have been intending for several days to write you a letter regarding the Petroleum Institute, but the opportunity has been denied me. Perhaps you will be good enough to say to the gentlemen, whom I understand you are to meet tomorrow, that I regard their work, if taken hold of whole-heartedly, as of the greatest national importance. It is quite manifest now that private enterprise must stand in the forefront in the development of this industry, and that what the government can do will be supplemental and suggestive. It is not an exaggeration to say that millions of dollars must be spent in experiment before we know the many services to which a barrel of oil can be put. There is almost an indefinite opportunity for research work along this line.

Petroleum is a challenge to the chemists of the world. And now the world is dependent upon it, as it is upon nothing else excepting coal and iron, and the foodstuffs and textiles. It has jumped to this place of eminence within twenty years, and the world is concerned in knowing how large a supply there is and how every drop of it can best be used. Practically, I think you should urge that there be cooperative effort to protect against waste. The oil men themselves should see the value of this and spend their money freely to keep their wells from being flooded, to keep their pipe lines from leaking, and to save their gas.

We are behind the rest of the world in the use of our oil for fuel purposes. We are spendthrifts in this as in other of our national resources. We can get three times as much energy as we do out of our oil through the use of the Diesel engine, yet we are doing little to promote development of a satisfactory type of stationary Diesel, or marine design. Instead of seeing how many hundred millions of barrels of oil we can produce and use, our effort should be to see how few millions of barrels will satisfy our needs. I say this although I am not a pessimist as to the available supply, which I believe has been underestimated rather than overestimated. I am satisfied that the man who has a barrel of oil has something which, if he can save, is better than a government bond. Throughout the Nation we must make a drive to increase production—that is the slogan of this time—but that does not mean that we should make a drive to exhaust resources which God alone can duplicate.

Then too, I think that Congress can be largely helped by the sane presentation of wise policies touching this industry. I have the belief that whatever the body of oil men would agree upon would be something that would make for the best use of petroleum, and for the protection over a long period of this fundamental resource in our industry. Congress has difficulty often in getting the large view of practical men who speak without personal interest, and such an Institute could speak not for the individual but for the industry and show how it may best be developed in the interest of the country.

To do these things, and to do them adequately, will require the men in the industry to take the attitude of statesmen and not of selfish exploiters. It means they must tax themselves liberally, generously. It means that they must think of themselves as trustees for a Public as wide as the world.

Please give my regards to the members of the Institute. Cordially yours,


Washington, October 2, 1919

MY DEAR BRADLEY,— … I have all along said that the treaty could not be ratified without some interpretive reservations. I think that the President will see that, although he sees clearly, as I do, that these interpretations are already in the treaty itself, but on a question of construction two men may honestly differ. The whole damn thing has gotten into the maelstrom of politics, of the nastiest partisanship, when it ought to have been lifted up into the clearer air of good sense and national dignity. …

Hoover can be elected. He came home modestly and made a splendid speech. We need a man of great administrative ability and of supreme sanity who can lead us into quiet waters, if there are any.

… We have imported, with our labor, their discontent, and the theories which are founded upon it to obtain the price. But the American workingman is a sensible fellow, when he can have the chance to think without being overwhelmed by fear, and he will realize that his betterment in a material way must come through his own individual growth and the growth of the conscience of the people who believe in a square deal. The serious thing in the whole situation, to my mind, is the fact that so many workingmen seem to accept the idea that they are of a fixed class; that they can not move out of their present conditions; that they want always to remain as employees and have no hope of becoming superintendents, employers, managers, or capitalists; and therefore think that their only prospect is in bettering their condition as a part of a class. Great propaganda should be carried on to show how false this is and how much demand there is for men of ability.

With warm regards, old man, I am cordially yours,


Washington, Friday, [October 10, 1919]

MY DEAR MRS. WALL,—We heard through Ned of the Commodore's death, and you can realize how shocked and terribly grieved we were, and still are.

Poor dear girl, there is nothing anyone can say that will help even a little bit. Every word of appreciation makes the loss more serious. And you need no one to tell you that he was loved by us, and every single person who really knew him. He was to me Christlike, beautiful, gentle, wise and noble. Since that first day, nearly thirty years ago on Grays Harbor, I have known him as one of the rare spirits of the world, and Anne and I have loved him deeply. Surely he must live on, and we must all see him again!

May strength come to you out of the Infinite resources of the Universe to bear this blow. The world was made better by him! In deep sympathy,



Wednesday, November, [1919]

MY DEAR OLD MAN,—I am sitting alone in my den having come down stairs to write a line on my report, but instead have been lured into an evening of delight with Robert Louis Stevenson, whose letters, in four volumes, I advise you to read for the spirit of the man. Much like your own, my brave fine fellow! He went through tortures with a smile and a merry imagination which made him great, and makes all of us, and many more to come, his debtor. I know how little you read. The birds have been yours and the trees and the dogs and fishes, but there are men in the world, or have been, whom one can know through their writings. Did you ever read Trevelyan's three volumes on GARIBALDI? No,—well get it before you are a week older and you will thank me for ever and a day.

All of this, however, I had not intended to write, rather to tell you … how emotional I have been all day with the old soldiers passing by on parade—the last that many of them will ever have.

Fifty years ago, Andrew Johnson received Grant's returned forces on the same spot. There were 180,000, or so, then—and 20,000 now —crippled, lame, one-legged, bent, halting most of them, but determined to make the long journey from the Capitol to the White House, and prove that they had lived this long time and were still good for a longer journey. There was little of gaiety among them, tho' some were swinging flags, torn, tattered, be-shot … and raised their hats to the President as they passed, tho' most of them, doubtless, were sorry that he was not a Republican. It was a time to remember.

… Nancy is back after her tour of glory—larger than ever but not less tender or playful. She is the brightest spirit I have ever met—and all her vanities are so dear and human and lie so frankly exposed. I thank you for your kindness to her, she loves you very much; yes, really recognizes those qualities which some cannot see, poor blind things! But I can, and she can, and Frances can, and many more when you give them a look in. May your grass grow and soul keep warm and your spirit lift itself in song at morning and at night. Affectionately always,



Washington, November 3, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MATHEW,—I have your letter of October 27th, and I appreciate very much its kind words. The Industrial Conference was not a success because we got into the steel strike at first, and people talked about their rights instead of talking of their duties. We will have another conference, however, which I think will do some real work and lay a foundation for the future. The coal strike is a bad one, but the people are not in sympathy with it, and sooner or later, in my judgment, it will come to an adjustment situation in which the President will be perfectly willing to participate. He, by the way, is getting along very well, but I expect it will be many weeks before he is himself again. … Cordially yours,



Washington, November 8, 1919

MY DEAR MR. PELL,—I wish you success with your Constitutional League. I have no objection whatever to my name being used in connection with it, providing the League is not an institution for denouncing people or denouncing theories of government or economic panaceas; but is a positive, aggressive institution for the presentation to our people of the fact that we have in this Democracy a method of doing whatever we wish done, which avoids the necessity for anything like revolutionary action. The objection to Bolshevism is that it is absolutism—as Lenine has said himself, the absolutism of the proletariat. It is an economic government by force, while our Democracy is a government by persuasion.

I find that no good comes from calling names. The men who are to be reached are the men who are not committed against us, but are disposed to be with American institutions. We must show them that we have a system that it is worth while betting on, and that if they have another way of doing things economical, machinery by which it can be instituted is in the people's hands. Our policy is to look before we leap, and to submit our methods to the judicial judgment of the people. This permits any doctrine to be preached that does not subvert our institutions. Where do our institutions come from? What have they been effective in bringing about? What is the condition of the United States as a whole compared with other countries? Can we hope to work out our salvation without civil war? These are legitimate questions, the answer to which is found in this other question—is not political Democracy the one practical way to eventual industrial Democracy? Cordially yours,



Washington, November 23, 1919

MY DEAR MR. DAVISON,—I wired you yesterday my conclusion, as to your very generous and patriotic offer, which was the same that I had come to before seeing you in New York. Your appeal was so strong and went so much to my impulse for public service that you made me feel that, perhaps, I was giving undue weight to the considerations I had presented to you. So I sought the judgment of others—all of them men of large distinction whom you know, or at least have confidence in, and without dissent I found them saying, voluntarily and unbidden, what I had said to you—that for me to undertake this work of arousing the best patriotic feeling of America, on a salary, would make seriously against the success of the work and against my own value in it, or in anything else I might undertake. If I were rich I would go into it with my whole heart. But a poor man can not be charged with making money out of the exploitation of the good opinion others have of his love of country. This is not squeamishness, it is a rough standard, arrived at by instinct rather than by any refined process of reasoning.

I say this to you because of my deep confidence in you and my very real confidence that you are my friend, and sought to do me a kindness and give me an opportunity. Now let me see if I can be of any help in this work. …

[Here followed a full detailed plan of an Americanization program, that concluded with the paragraph.]

These outline some methods of reaching the public with the idea that this is a land that is lovable, prosperous, good-humored, great, and noble-spirited. To carry it out will cost a great deal of money, I should say that not less than five million a year should be available. With warm regard, cordially yours,



Washington, November 28, [1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Do not be surprised if you hear that I am out of the Cabinet soon, for I have been offered two fifty thousand a year places, and another even more. I don't want to leave if it will embarrass the President, but I do want something with a little money in it for awhile. … But I must see the President before I decide … and I don't know when that will be, now that he is sick.

This life has a great fascination for everyone and I dread to leave it; for anything else will bore me I am sure. I deal here only with big questions and not with details—with policies that affect many, and yet I have but a year and a half more, and then what? Perhaps it is as well to take time by the forelock, tho' I do not want to decide selfishly nor for money only. I must go where I can feel that I am in public work of some kind. …

… I have served him [the President] long and faithfully under very adverse circumstances. It is hard for him to get on with anyone who has any will or independent judgment. Yet I am not given to forsaking those to whom I have any duty. However we shall see, I write you this, that you may not be misled by the thought that there has been or is any friction. Of course you won't speak of it to anyone.

I am so glad you are able to be out a little bit. "Ain't it a glorious feelin'?" The farm must look mighty good. Well, old man, goodnight, and God give you your eyes back! With my warmest love,



Washington, December 29, 1919 MY DEAR SAM,—I hear from Joe Teal that your boy has been lost at sea, and I write this word, not in the hope that I can say anything that will minimize your loss, for all the kindly words of all men in all the world could not do as much as one faint smile from that boy's lips could do to bring a bit of joy into your heart.

But you are an old, old friend of mine. It is more than thirty years since we dreamed a dream together which you were able to realize. We both have had our fortune in good and bad, and on the whole I think our lives have not added to the misery of men, but have done something toward making life a bit more kind for many people. And why should that boy be taken from you? There is the mystery—if you can solve it you can solve all the other mysteries. I hope you have some good staunch faith, which I have never been able to get, that would enable me to look upon these things in humility, in the confidence that this thing we call a body is only a temporary envelope for a permanent thing—a lasting, growing thing called a spirit, the only thing that counts. If we can get that sense we can have a new world. I do not believe we will change this world much for the good out of any materialistic philosophy or by any shifting of economic affairs. We need a revival—a belief in something bigger than ourselves, and more lasting than the world.

With my warmest sympathy, I am, yours as always,



Washington, December 29, [1919]

MY DEAR JOHN,—The manner in which you write assures me that you are very happy, notwithstanding your marriage and your new religion, for which I am glad. An even better assurance is the picture of the bride. By what wizardry have you been able to lure and capture so young, good, and intelligent-looking a girl? I presume she was fascinated by the indirectness of your speech, the touches of humor and your very stern manner. John, you are a humbug, you have made that aloofness and high indifference a winning asset. I shan't give you away. Only you fill me with a mortifying envy.

As for your religion, various of your friends think it odd. I think that you are a subject for real congratulation. A man who can believe anything is miles ahead of the rest of us. I would gladly take Christian Science, Mohammedanism, the Holy Rollers or anything else that promised some answer to the perplexing problems. But you have been able to go into the Holy of Holies and sit down on the same bench of belief with most of the saints—this is miraculous good fortune. I mean it. I am not scoffing or jeering. I never was more serious.

This whole damned world is damned because it is standing in a bog, there is no sure ground under anyone's feet. We are the grossest materialists because we only know our bellies and our backs. We worship the great god Comfort. We don't think; we get sensations. The thrill is the thing. All the newspapers, theatres, prove it. We resign ourselves to a life that knows no part of man but his nerves. We study "reactions," in human beings and in chemistry— recognizing no difference between the two—and to my great amazement, the war has made the whole thing worse than ever. John, if you have a religion that can get hold of people, grip them and lift them—for God's sake come over and help us. I know you can understand how people become Bolsheviks just out of a desire for definiteness and leadership. The world will not move forward by floating on a sea of experimentation. It gets there by believing in precise things, even when they are only one-tenth true. I wish I had your faith—as a living, moving spirit. Some day I pray that I may get with you where you can tell me more of it and how you got it.

I am leaving the Cabinet, tho' the precise date no one knows, for the President is not yet well enough to talk about it. He seems to be too done up to stand any strain or worry. But I must have some money, for my years are not many, Anne is far from well, and Nancy is a young lady, and a very beautiful one. She has just come out and is quite the belle of the season, tho' like her father, too anxious for popularity.

Great good luck of all kinds to you in 1920, old man—and do give me a line now and then.

F. K. L.


Washington, [1919]

MY DEAR FRANK,—I have read your speech on Prussianizing the Americans, and I concur. Of course repression … promotes the growth of error. We are not going to destroy socialism, or prevent it from coming strong by refusing to answer it.

But I have a notion that you have not expressed as directly as I should like:—That the newspaper is not influential enough to stop it and perhaps does not care to, sometimes. Where are the papers that are respected for their character? They are few. The most of them are believed to be the allies of every kind of Satan. "They are rich; their ads. run them; they pander to circulation, no matter of what kind, to get ads.", that is the answer of the plain people. If the papers were things of thought and not of passion, prejudice and sensation and interest, they could do the work that police and courts are called upon to do. They could effectively answer the agitator. But the people do not believe them when they cry aloud. Maybe I am wrong, but isn't there a grain, or a gram, of truth in this?

For a year and a half I have been bombarding Congress with a demand for a bill that would make a campaign, through the schools, against illiteracy. I have made dozens of speeches for it, written a lot, lobbied much, until Congress passed a law stopping my working up sentiment for it, by a joint resolution. How much sentiment has the press created? You had one or two editorials. The Times one. No one else in New York gave a damn. The Congressmen were not made to feel that those ignorant foreigners who were fifty-five per cent of the steel workers, must learn to read papers that were written in American, not in Russian or Yiddish or Polish or Italian.

I tell you seriously we are not a serious people except when we are scared. "Rights of free speech, O yes! they must be preserved. Democracy has its balancing of forces." All this is forgotten when the government is at stake—our institutions. These mottoes and legends and traditions presuppose someone who will enlighten the people and a people that can be enlightened. Otherwise you will get the strong arm at work. It is inevitable. Has there been any meeting of editors to map a course that will truthfully reveal what Bolshevism is? or how absurd the talk of wage-slavery is? or why the miners strike? or why this is the best of all lands?

Tell me why workmen don't believe what you print, unless it is some slander on a rich man, or some story that falls in with prejudices and hatreds?

Answer me that and you will know why the people sit indifferent while papers are suppressed, speakers harried, and espionage is king.

Mind you, I am not saying that you are alone to blame. Congress is. The States are. The cities are. The people are. They have let everything drift. What is our passion? What do we love? Do we think, or do we go to the movies? The socialist takes his philosophy seriously. The rest of us have no philosophy that is a passion with us.

But there, I have scolded enough. You are right, but you are not fundamental or basic or something or other, which means that you can't put out a fire unless you have a fire department that is on the job. Tenderly yours,

F. K L.

Lane never outgrew his passionate belief in the moral responsibility of the press. To Fremont Older, when he took charge of the SAN FRANCISCO CALL, Lane telegraphed:—

"There is no other agency that can serve our national purpose that is one-half as powerful as a free press, and no other that has one-half the responsibility. We need a press that will stand for the right, no matter whether its circulating or advertising is increased or not by such a position, and that means a press that includes in its understandings and sympathies the whole of society and serves no purpose other than the promotion of a happier and nobler people. Journalism is the greatest of all professions in a free country, if it is bent upon being right rather than being successful. I hope that you may be both."


Watkins Glen, New York, [December, 1919]

MY DEAR MRS. WALL,—I am reminded by your letter to Anne that I have said no word to you since that first word of attempt at support, which I threw out on the first day. I meant it all and more. Wall was always in my mind, as at heart, the truest Democrat I knew. He really lived up to the standard of the New Testament. He did love his neighbor as himself. He never did good or kindness out of policy, but always from principle, from nature—which can be said of very few in this world. He was without cowardice of any kind, and without hypocrisy. I believe he had no vanity. He had the pride of a noble man and lived as generously toward the world as I have ever known man to live. This might be said of one who was austere, but the dear, old Commodore was to me, and to us all, the very symbol of warmth. The one thing I criticised in him was his unwillingness that people should discover him for the fanciful, humorous, wise, and exquisitely tender man that he was. He did not leave an enemy, I know, unless that man was a scoundrel. And with all his reticence he impressed himself profoundly on hundreds. I know if there is another world that Wall and I will find each other, and he will be with the gladdest, gayest of the spirits. I hope you can look forward to such a meeting with the confidence that Anne has, which always astonishes me and makes me envious. He has gone to the one place, if any such place there is, where the greatest longing of his soul can be gratified—his love for justice.

If you have a picture of him, no matter how poor, won't you let me have it, that I may hang it beside my work desk, and looking at it find inspiration and be reminded of the sane, loving, lovable, high-hearted chap whom I held as a brother?

Dear lonely woman, I wish I could speak one word that would lighten your sense of loss, in him and in your mother. I know that you are not lacking in courage, but stoutness of heart does not bring comfort, I know. How exceptional your loss because how exceptional your fortune—such a man and such a mother. Very sincerely yours,



Sunday, [December, 1919]

… The whole of mankind is searching for affection, tenderness,— not physical love but sweet companionship. We could get along with fewer pianos and victrolas if we had a more harmonious society. We really don't like each other much better than Alaskan dogs. Now what is the reason for that? Are we afraid of them stealing from us—our houses, sweethearts, or dollars? Or are we so stupid that we don't know each other, never get under the skin to find out what kind of a fellow this neighbor is? Certainly we are self- centered and we wonder that people don't like us when we don't try to find what is likable about them—and keep stressing their unlikable qualities.

All of which homily leads up to the Holidays. I hope that you will enjoy them. Nancy is having no end of a gay time, and knows how really good a time she is having, I do believe. She is the rarest combination of old woman and baby I have ever known, cynically wise, almost, and soft innocence. She has a dozen beaux and is extravagant about, and to, each. …

The President is getting better slowly, but we communicate with him almost entirely through his doctor (Grayson). I shall be mighty sorry to leave here, where we have so many friends, but my hope is to get enough to buy a place in California, one of these days, and settle down to the normal life of digging a bit in the soil and then digging a bit in the brain.

Give my warmest regards to the Captain. You have ripened into a fine beauty and a great usefulness, and I hope that you will find serenity of mind and soul, which is all that the great have ever searched for. With much love,



[December, 1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Things are going well notwithstanding the President's illness. No one is satisfied that we know the truth, and every dinner table is filled with speculation. Some say paralysis, and some say insanity. Grayson tells me it is nervous breakdown, whatever that means. He is however getting better, and meantime the Cabinet is running things. …

Ned is here and having a good time with all his old girls, some of whom have married and are already divorced, so he feels an old man. Nancy is lovely and merry and quite a belle. She took with the Prince of Belgium, and was quite as happy as you would be with having caught a six-pound trout—just the same feeling, I guess.

Politically things do not look interesting. There are no big men in the line except Hoover. The country wants some manly, two- fisted administrator and it doesn't care where he comes from.

I hope your eye is better, dear old man. My love to Frances.

F. K. L.

The Dan O'Neill to whom the next letter was written, was a friend of early days. Lane always liked to recall this episode. O'Neill, a big elderly Irishman, was in the City employ, while Lane was City and County Attorney, and had formed for his "Chief"—as he lustily called him—a most disinterested affection. After Lane's defeat for Mayor of San Francisco, O'Neill came one day and asked for an interview. When greetings were over he stood hesitating and twirling his hat, until Lane said, "Well, Dan, what can I do for you?"

"You see, Chief," he answered, "The wife and I were talking it over last night. We know how these damned campaigns of yours have been taking the money. You see, we have two lots of land—out there," with a jerk of the hat toward the great outside, "and a little house—and we're well and strong, and all the children doing fine at school—and we can, easy as not, put a mortgage on the house, for two or three thousand. We'd like it fine if you'd take it, until you get going again."

Lane did not have to mortgage his friend's house, but it was these "sweet uses of adversity," more than anything else, that tempered, for him, the pain of defeat. This friendship lasted to the end of his life. In 1915, when going back from California on a hurried trip, Lane wrote to O'Neill, "I did not see much of you and I am sorry I didn't. It was my fault, I know. Your dear old Irish face is a joy to me every time I see it, and whenever I go out you must not fail to turn up, else I shall be brokenhearted."

When Lane was very ill in 1921, O'Neill came to pay his respects to the wife of his Chief. As she went out into the hallway of her friend's house, in San Francisco, the whole place seemed filled by O'Neills, for he stood there and all his three great sons—one a fire captain, and stalwart men all. It was a sad meeting and parting.


Washington, December 24, 1919

MY DEAR DAN,—I am delighted to get your nice letter. It is as charming a letter as I ever received, because you tell me of all the family and that they are doing well, and that you are in good health, and that you want me back with you—all of which makes me love you more and more. Give to the whole family my good holiday greetings. Make them earnest and hearty.

I haven't got money enough, Dan, to pay my fare back after living here so long, and I shall have to make some before coming back there, but I hope to do it some one of these days. …

Dan, I know you have been a bad man, and I know you have been a good man; and there will be a place in Heaven for you, old fellow. You have been an honest citizen, a credit to your country, and so have your children, and you will never know anyone who is fonder of you than I. Cordially yours,



December 3l, 1919

MY DEAR GARLAND,—I am going up to New York on the eleventh to talk to the moving picture people at the Waldorf-Astoria. I had them down here and had a resolution put through the Committees on Education of both House and Senate, asking the Moving Picture Industry to interest itself in Americanization, and I have been appointed at the head of a committee to take charge of this work. I have some schemes myself that I want very much to talk to you about regarding Americanization.

I do not know how much time I will be able to give to this work because I have got to make some money, but I am going to use my spare time that way. Suppose when I get to New York I telephone you and see if we can not get together. Cordially yours,


To one of the Moving Picture Weeklies, Lane contributed this paragraph on Americanizing the foreign born:—"The one sure way to bring the foreign born to love this land of ours is to show our pride in its present, faith in its future, and interpret America to all in terms of fair play and square dealing. America gives men nothing—except a chance,"


Rochester, Minnesota, January 3, 1920

MY DEAR HUGO,—I have not written you because my own plans must be determined by circumstances. I think, however, that I shall leave very soon. I hate to go because the work is so satisfactory. …

Bryan has come back. What strength he will develop, no one can tell. He evidently has determined that he will not be pushed aside or disregarded. He has been, and will continue to be as long as he lives, a great force in our politics. People believe that he is honest and know he is sympathetic with the moral aspirations of the plain people. They distrust his administrative ability, but on the moral question, they recognize no one as having greater authority.

… I hear there is talk among the business people of setting up a third party and nominating Hoover. Two things the next President must know—Europe and America, European conditions and American conditions. The President of the United States must be his own Secretary of State. We need administration of our internal affairs and wise guidance economically. Hoover can give these. He has the knowledge and he has the faculty. He has the confidence of Europe and the confidence of America. He is not a Democrat, nor is he a Republican. He voted for Wilson, for Roosevelt, and McKinley. But he is sane, progressive, competent. The women are strong for him and there are fifteen million of them who will vote this year. It would not surprise me to see him nominated on either ticket, and I believe I will vote for him now as against anybody else.

But I must quit talking politics because I am going out of it entirely, completely, and I really have been out of politics ever since I left California. I have tried to take a broad non-partisan view of things which is one of the reasons I have had hard sledding. But I am going without a grouch, without a complaint or a criticism—with a great admiration for Wilson and with a thorough knowledge of his defects; and with a more sympathetic attitude toward my colleagues than any can have who do not know the circumstances as well as I do. … Cordially yours,



Washington, January 5, 1920

MY DEAR ADMIRAL,—As you know, I am contemplating resigning. It has been my purpose to wait until such time as the President was well enough to see me and talk the matter over with him. I understand from Mr. Tumulty that the President is prepared to name my successor, and that it would not in any way add to his embarrassment to fill my place in the immediate future. I would like to know if this is the fact, for my course will be shaped accordingly. Two years ago I had an offer of fifty thousand a year which I put aside because I thought it my duty to stay while the war was on. When Mr. McAdoo resigned, this offer was renewed but I then thought that I should await the conclusion of formal peace, which all expected would come soon. While the President was West, I promised that I would take the matter up with him on his return, and since then I have been waiting for his return to strength. I need not tell you that I am delighted to know that he is in such condition now as to turn to matters that in the best of health are vexatious, if this is the fact.

My sole reason for resigning is that I feel that I am entitled to have assurance as to the future of my family and myself. I have been in public life twenty-one years and have less than nothing in the way of private means. … And having given the better part of my life to the public, I feel that I must now regard the interest of those dependent upon me. I wish you would be perfectly frank with me, for I would do nothing that with your knowledge you would think would make against the welfare of our Chief. Cordially,



Washington, January 31, 1920

MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN,— … It is our boast and our glory that we have a form of government under which men can make their conception of society into law, if they can persuade their neighbors that their dream is one that will benefit all. There is nothing more absurd than to contend that the last word has been spoken as to any of our institutions, that all experimenting has ended and that we have come to a standstill. … We are growing. But this does not mean that all change must be growth and that we can not test by history, especially by our own experiences and knowledge, the value of whatever is proposed as a substitute for what is. The dog that dropped the meat to get the shadow of a bigger piece is the classical warning. We are for what is, not because it is the absolute best but because it has worked well. It is sacred only because it has been useful. Until a system of government, or of economics, or of home life, can be demonstrated to be an improvement on what we have, we shall not hysterically and fancifully forsake those which have served us thus far.

Our Government is not our master but our tool, adaptable to the uses for which it was designed; our servant, responsive to our call. This makes revolution an absurdity. But it also makes a sense of responsibility a necessity. And while we may not have broken down in this regard we certainly have weakened. We have proceeded in the belief that automatically all men would come to see things as we do, have a sense of the value of our traditions and a consciousness of the deep meanings of our national experiences. The things we believed in we have not taught. Hence the need for such institutions as the Constitutional League which, however, can not do for each of us the duty that is ours of living the spirit of our Constitution. Cordially yours,



Washington, February 5, 1920

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—It is with deep regret that I feel compelled to resign the commission with which you saw fit to honor me, by appointing me to a place in your Cabinet, now almost seven years ago. If it will meet your convenience I would suggest that I be permitted to retire on the first of March.

With the conditions which make this step necessary you are familiar. I have served the public for twenty-one years, and that service appeals to me as none other can, but I must now think of other duties.

The program of administration and legislation looking to the development of our resources, which I have suggested from time to time, is now in large part in effect, or soon will come into effect through the action of Congress.

I return this Department into your hands with very real gratitude that you have given me the opportunity to know well a working force holding so many men and women of singular ability and rare spirit.

I trust that you may soon be so completely restored to health that the country and the world may have the benefit of the full measure of your strength in the leadership of their affairs. The discouragements of the present are, I believe, only temporary. The country knows that for America to stand outside the League of Nations will bring neither pride to us nor confidence to the world.

Believe me, my dear Mr. President, always, cordially and faithfully yours,



Washington, February 13, 1920

MY DEAR MR. MONDELL,—I wish to acknowledge, with the warmest appreciation, your letter of yesterday, and to say that I am literally forced out of public life by my lack of resources. The little property that I have been able to save is all gone in an effort to make both ends meet, and I find myself at fifty-five without a dollar, in debt, and with no assurance as to the future. I assure you that it is with the deepest regret that I leave public life for I like it, and the public have treated me handsomely, especially the men in Congress with whom I have had to deal, and not the least of these, yourself.

I should like to stay, especially so, that we could put into effect some of the legislation for which we have been fighting, such as the oil bill, the power bill, and the farms-for-soldiers bill. I shall leave a set of regulations as to the oil leases ready for operation. The power bill will come into effect soon, I hope. I am responsible for the three-headed commission, but it was the only chance I saw of getting any unity as between the different branches of the government.

Letters are still coming in from the boys who want to go on farms, and I hope that we will be able to lead Congress to see that this is a farsighted measure.

I thank you very much for your many courtesies to me. I trust that your career may be one of still greater usefulness and expanding opportunity. With the warmest regards, cordially yours,


Late in the year 1919, Lane wrote to James E. Gregg:—"… The soldier-farms bill has been reported favorably by the Committee on Public Lands to the House, but has not yet been taken up for consideration on the floor. … Of course, some of the opposition has been by those who say the plan does not do something for all of the soldiers, but this is hardly a good objection, as no other constructive suggestion seems to have been made by any one that would do anything for any of the soldiers, except the cash bonus, which I believe is altogether impossible, improvident, and not in the interest either of the country or the soldier."


Washington, February, 1920

MY DEAR MR. DE FOREST,—I do not know that I have received another letter which has made me feel as conscious of the gravity of the step I have taken as has yours. I have accumulated much in twenty years of public life that ought to be forever at the service of the public, and if I were alone in the world I would not think of going out. But I must think now for a time in a narrower field. Your own career shows that without holding office a man may do a great good and give wide public service. Perhaps this opportunity may be mine.

I shall be in New York soon and I hope very much to see you and see you often. Cordially yours,




Suggestions to Democratic Nominee for President—On Election of
Senators—Lost Leaders—Lincoln's Eyes—William James's Letters


Saugatuck, July 5, [1920]

Here I am at your desk looking out of your window into your trees, up the gentle rise of your formal garden into the brilliant crown of rambler roses above the stone gateway.

This is a very delightful picture. The sun is just beginning to pour into the garden. He is looking through the apple trees and having hard work to make even a splash of golden green upon the lawn, but the silver spruce and the tiara of roses get the full measure of his morning smile and are doing their best to show that they understand, appreciate, and are glad. Oh, it is a great morning!

And on the water side it has been even more stimulating, I have walked along the stone wall, the water is down, very low, the boat is stranded, like some sleeping animal, with its tether lying loose along the pebbly strand. The gulls are crying to each other that there is promise of a gulletfull. Nearer shore the fish are leaping—only one or two I think but they make just enough noise to make one realize that there is life in the smooth water, that it is more than a splendid silver mirror for the sun which streams across it. I disturbed a solitary king-fisher as I went out to the wharf. He rose from his perch upon the rope, circled about for a minute and then settled back, on his watch for breakfast.

It is altogether lovely, a quiet, gentle, kindly morning, such as you have often seen, no doubt, when Judah Rock is making its giant fight to rise triumphant from the sea.

But this is not a bit of geologic prophecy nor a Chapter I. to a love story, that I am writing. This is a bread-and-butter letter. I have been your guest and I am telling you that I have enjoyed myself. But you, of course, wish something more than the bald statement that I like your place and that your bread was good and your butter sweet. Yes, you deserve more, for this place is an expression of yourself. No one can be here and not see you at every turn, even though you may be right now in Paris "making the way straight." You have put your love of beauty, your restrained love for color, and your exceptional sense of balance into the whole establishment. It is a man's house—things are made for use; the chairs will stand weight; the couches are not fluff; one can lean with safety on the tables. But everywhere the eye is satisfied. My bed is beautiful, French I fancy, yet it is comfort itself. The lamp beside my bed is a dull bit of bronze which does not poke itself into your sleepy eye, yet you know that it fits the need, not only for light but for satisfaction to the eyes after the light comes. And the bath tub—may I speak of a bath tub in a bread-and-butter letter?—the bath tub is not too long—do you ever suffer from the long, long stretch into the cold water at your back and the imperfect support to the head which imperils your entire submergence?—your bath tub is not too long, and I grab it on both sides to get out. And as I dry myself I look down into that garden of precise, trimmed and varied green upon which the rambler roses smile.

It is well to have had money. No Bolshevism comes out of such a place as this. It makes no challenge to the envy of the submerged tenth. It has not ostentation. It gives off no glare, and it is all used. For men who can put money to such use, who do not over- indulge their own love for things of beauty, nor build for luxurious living, but mould a bit of seashore, some trees and a rambling house into an expression of their own dignified and balanced natures, for such men I am quite sure there is or will be, no social peril from the Red.

And may I close with a word, an inadequate and most feeble word, as to the Lady of the House who so perfectly complements the beauty and the refinement of her setting. She would make livable and lovable a shack, and she would draw to it those who think high thoughts. She has an aura of sympathy and companionability which makes her one with the healing earth and the warming, encompassing sunshine; May you and she give many more sojourners as much of the right stimulus as you have given yours affectionately,



New York, July 9, [1920]

MY DEAR PADRE,—Oh, that I could reply to you in kind, but alas and alack! the gift divine has been denied me. My Nancy comes to me tomorrow—Praise be to Allah! and I shall duly, and in appropriate and prideful language, I trust, present her with your mellifluous lines.

When the spirits Good and Bad will permit me to visit Ipswich I cannot say. Are Doctors of the carnal or the spiritual? They hold me. So soon as I was given a few ducats these banditti rose to rob me. Polite, they are, these modern sons of Dick Turpin, and clever indeed, for they contrive that you shall be helpless, that you may not in good form resist their calculated, schemed, coordinated blood-drawing. And I had as lief have a Sioux Medicine man dance a one-step round my camp fire, and chant his silly incantation for my curing, as any of these blood pressure, electro-chemical, pill, powder specialists. Give me an Ipswich witch instead. Let her lay hands on me. Soft hands that turn away wrath. Have you such or did your ancestors, out of fear of their wives, burn them all?

Well, this is no way for a sober, sick, sedate citizen to be talking to a Man of the Cloth, even tho' he be on vacation. Have you read any of Leonard Merrick's novels? CONRAD IN QUEST OF HIS YOUTH, for instance? If not, do so now. They are what you literati would designate as G. S.—great stuff.

Give me another cheering line, do! For I live in a world that is not altogether lovely.

F. K. L.


New York City, July 25, 1920

MY DEAR GOVERNOR,—I shall presume upon your flattering invitation to speak frankly, not in the hope that I may in any way enlighten a man of such experience and success, but that I may possibly accentuate some point that you may recognize as important, which in the rush of things, might be overlooked. If I should appear in the least didactic, I beg that you charge it to my desire for definiteness, and my inability to give the atmosphere of a personal conversation.


The unforgivable sin in our politics is a lack of generosity. Smallness, meanness, extreme partisanship, littleness of any kind —these are not in accord with the American conception of an American leader. A clever thing may gratify a man's own immediate partisan following, but the impression on the country at large is not good. We want a FULL, adequate appreciation of the fact that there is hardly more than a film that divides Republican from Democrat; indeed, in that fact lies our hope of success. We must win FIRST VOTERS and Independents.

Let me be concrete;—The war was won by Republicans as well as Democrats. … Therefore, I would say, give generously of appreciation to the Republicans, who raised Liberty Loans, who administered food affairs, who put their plants at the Nation's service, who directed the various activities, such as aeroplane making, and transporting and financing during the war. …

A day has come when partisanship with its personalities and bitterness does not satisfy the public. We have seen things on too large a scale now to believe in the importance of trifles, or in the adequacy of trifling men. We must have men who are large enough to be international and national at the same time, to be politicians and yet American statesmen, to subordinate always the individual ambition and the party advantage to the national good.


I feel that we have not tried to interpret the League of Nations to our people in terms of America's advantage. We Democrats are looked upon as International visionaries because we have not been willing to deal practically with a practical situation.

The League is not anti-national, it is anti-war; its aim is to defer war and reduce the chances of war between nations. This is to be effected, not by creating a super-nation, or by binding us to abide by the decisions of a super-national tribunal, but by establishing the method and machinery by which the opinion of the world may become effective as against those inclined toward war.

By adopting the League, we do not pledge ourselves to any war under any circumstances, without the consent of Congress. And because we have not been willing to say this, we are now in danger of losing the one chance the world has had to get the nations together.

Loyalty to the President's principles does not mean loyalty to his methods. They have been wrong as to the League, in my opinion. You could deal with Congress, even a Republican Congress, on this matter, I believe, and come out with the essentials. …

Don't let Bryan get away from you, if you can help it, because he really represents a great body of moral force and opinion. But don't pay the price to Bryan or Wilson or Hearst or Murphy or any one else, of being untrue to your own belief as to the wise and practicable national policy, that you may gain their support.

There couldn't be a better year in which to lose, for something real. You can not win as a Wilson man, nor as a Murphy man, nor as a Hearst man. The nation is crying out for leadership, not pussy- footing nor pandering. Be wrong strongly if you must be wrong, rather than be right weakly. You can only win as a Cox man, one who owns himself, has his own policies, is willing to go along, not with a bunch of bosses, but with any reasonable man, asks for counsel from all classes of men and women, does not fear defeat, and expects a victory that will be more a party victory than a personal one, and more a people's victory than a partisan one.


Pick a few enemies and pick them with discretion. Chiefly be FOR things. But be against things and persons, too, so that the nation can visualize you as leading in a contest between the constructive forces and the destructive critical forces.

And the thing to be against is the man who is looking backward, who talks of the "good old days," meaning (a) money in politics, buying votes in blocks of five; (b) human beings as commodities, Homestead strikes, and instructions how to vote in the pay envelop; (c) privately controlled national finances as against the Federal Reserve System; (d) taxation of the poor through indirect taxes on pretext of protecting industry; (e) seventy-five cent wheat; (f) dollar a day labor; (g) the saloon-bossed city; (h) no American Merchant Marine; all goods carried abroad under foreign flags—those were the "good old days," for which the Standpat Republican is sighing.

But the world has moved in the past twenty-five years, and America not only has moved it, but has kept in the lead. …


A greater America—that is our objective.

We want our unused lands put to use.

We want the farm made more attractive through better rural schools, better roads everywhere, more frequent connection between town and farm, better means of distribution of products.

We want more men with garden homes instead of tenement houses.

We want our waters, that flow idly to the sea, put to use; more stored water for irrigation, more hydroelectric plants to supply industries, railroads and home and farming activities. There should be electric lights upon the farm, and power for the sewing machine and the churn. It can be done because it is being done on the best farms of the far West.

We want our streams controlled so that they do not wash away our cities, farms, and railroads, and so as to redeem the submerged bottom lands for the next generation. …

We want fewer boys and girls, men and women, who can not read or write the language of our laws, newspapers, and literature, … that those who live with us may really be of us. …

We should dignify the profession of teaching as the foundation profession of modern democratic life. …

We want definite and continuing studies made of our great industrial fiscal and social problems. The framing of our policies should not be left to emotional caprice, or the opportunism of any group of men, but should be the result of sympathetic and deep study by the wisest men we have, irrespective of their politics. There should be industrial conferences, such as those recently inaugurated, to arrive at the ways by which those who furnish the financial arm of industry and those who furnish the working arm of industry may most profitably and productively be brought into cooperation. … Through the study of what has been done we can give direction to our national thought and work with a will toward a condition in which labor will have recognition and be more certainly insured against the perils of non-occupation and old age, and capital become entitled to a sure return, because more constantly and productively USED.

Then, too, we need a study made of the health conditions of our children,—of the reason for the large percentage of undeveloped and subnormal children who are brought to our schools, and the larger number who do not reach maturity. … Underfed boys and ignorant boys are the ones who turn to Bolshevism. We can not stand pat and let things drift without their drifting not to the "good old days" but to bad new days.

Why should not our system of taxation be subject for the profoundest study? … We must find ways by which the individual may have tools for production which his skill and foresight and thrift have created and yet take for society in taxes what society itself gives. … There must come to society an increasingly large portion of the wealth created by each generation through inheritance taxes. Thus all our boys and girls will start the race of life more nearly at the scratch. This will be for the making of the race and for the enriching of the whole of society. Yet there must be saved, surely, the call upon the man of talent for every ounce of energy that he has and every spark of imagination.

We want our soldiers and sailors to be more certain of our gratitude and to have an opportunity to realize their own ambition for themselves. We must not be driven into any foolish or impossible course by the pressure of a desire to win their votes. On the contrary, the pressure should come from us who had not the opportunity to risk our lives, that those who did take such risk shall be highly honored. For those who will identify themselves with the tilling of the soil, there should be farms, small yet complete, for which they can gradually pay on long time. For others there should be such education for professional or industrial life as they desire. For others, a home, not a speculation in real estate, but a piece of that American soil for which they fought. For these things we can pay without extra financial strain, if we dedicate to this purpose merely the interest upon the monies which other nations owe us. The extent of our willingness to help these men is not to be measured by their request but rather by our ability and their lasting welfare. …

We are to extend our activities into all parts of the world. Our trade is to grow as never before. Our people are to resume their old place as traders on the seven seas. We are to know other peoples better and make them all more and more our friends, working with them as mutually dependent factors in the growth of the world's life. For this day a definite foreign policy must be made, one that is fair; to which none can take exception. Our people shall go abroad for their good and the good of other lands, with their skilled hands and their resourceful minds, and their energetic capital, and they must be assured of support abroad, as at home, in every honest venture.


AMERICA's ambition is to lead the world in showing what Democracy can effect. This would be my conception of the large idea of the campaign. It involves much more than the League of Nations. This is our hour of test. We must not be little in our conception of ourselves, nor yet have a conceit that is self-destructive.

America must prove herself a living thing, with policies that are adequate to new conditions. … We wish an international settlement that will enable us to be more supremely great as nationalists. This is the significance of the League of Nations. It is a plan of hope. It is the only plan which the mind of man has evolved which any number of nations has ever been willing to accept as a buffer against devil-made war. … It is a monumental experiment which this century and other centuries will talk of and think of and write of because it involves the lives of men and women under it, and there is the possibility of giving our full thought and energy and wealth to making life more enjoyable and finer instead of more horrible and cruel. While other nations are in the mood, we should agree with them, that we may spend our lives and money in a rivalry of progress rather than in a competition in the art of scientific boy-murder. There are times when war is the ultimate and necessary appeal, but those times should be made fewer by American genius and sacrifice.

And our prestige and power should not be wasted at this critical time, because out of some fecund mind may come an abstract and legalistic plan for some other kind of League. Let us be practical. Let us go to the fullest limit with other nations who are now willing to join hands with us, yet never yielding the Constitutional Congressional control over our war making. … Let us take thought to-day of our opportunities else these may not exist tomorrow. … Cordially yours,



August 2, 1920

MY DEAR TIM,—Here you are, when you are sick yourself, worrying about me. Now, don't give any concern to any matter excepting getting thoroughly well, just as soon as possible. You are doing too much. You are not resting enough, and you are worrying. You have got enough to take care of yourself and your family for the rest of your lives, you have the respect of every one who knows you, and the affection of every one who knows you well; in fact, you have nothing to work for, and every reason to be contented. So I suggest that you learn, in your later years, how to bum. I have no doubt that Mike will come across something very good in Colombia, if he doesn't get the fever, or break his blooming neck. I have never seen so aggressive a group of old men as you fellows are. You will not admit that you are more than twenty-one. …

With my warmest regards, as always cordially yours, FRANKLIN K.

With the presentation of an Irish flag, August 10, 1920.

To Edward L. Doheny, with the cordial esteem of Franklin K. Lane.

This flag is a symbol. It stands for the finest thing in a human being—aspiration—the seed of the Divine. It represents the noblest hope of a thwarted and untiring people. It makes a call to the heart of every generous-minded man, and gives vivifying impulse to the home-loving of all faces. It is a symbol of a people to whom most of the arts were known when England and America were forest wastes, whose women have made the world beautiful by their virtue, and whose men have made the world free by their courage.

To Franklin D. Roosevelt New York, August, [1920]

DEAR OLD MAN,—This is hard work—to say that I can't be with you on this great day in your life. [Footnote: Notification ceremonies following Franklin D. Roosevelt's nomination as Vice-president by the Democratic party.] You know that only the mandate of the medical autocrats would keep me away, not that I could do you any good by being there, but that you might know that many men like myself take pride in you, rejoice in your opportunity, and keep our faith in Democracy because out of it can come men of ideals like yourself. I know/that you will not allow yourself to become cheap, undignified, or demagogical. Remember, that East and West alike, we want gentlemen to represent us, and we ask no man to be a panderer or a hypocrite to get our votes. Frankness, and largeness, and simplicity, and a fine fervor for the right, are virtues that some must preserve, and where can we look for them if not from the Roosevelts and the Delanos?

It is a great day for you and for all of us. Be wise! Don't be brilliant. Get plenty of sleep. Do not give yourself to the handshakers. For now your word carries far, and it must be a word worthy of all you stand for. I honestly, earnestly ask God's blessing on you. As always,


Our love to your dear Mother,—proud happy Mother,—and to

To Mrs. George Ehle

Katonah, September, 1920

TO THE EHLE,—Now this is a pleasure to have a minute's talk with you in the cool under an apple tree. You are gay, with Grouitches, and other festive creatures, while I am glum, gloomy and lugubrious. You know this is a novel experience for me to be in care of two nurses and a doctor, not to speak of a wife; but I am obedient, docile, humble, tractable, and otherwise dehumanized. The plan here is to follow my boy's statement of the modern prescription for women, "Catch 'em young; treat 'em rough; tell 'em nothing." Well, they don't catch me young, but otherwise the prescription is filled. They reduced me to weakness, dependence, and a sort of sour-mash, and now they say that on this foundation they will build me up. Tho' I am still to lose some weight, being only twenty-four pounds under my average for twenty years. I will emerge from this spot, if I emerge at all, a regular Apollo, and will do Russian dances for you on that lovely lawn under the mulberry tree. And what happy memories of that spot I do have, and they cluster about you, with your soft hand and your understanding eye and your sympathetic mouth. You don't mind my making love to you in this distant fashion do you? Well, this is a charming jail, but jail it is after all, for I can't flee, though all the leisure in the world were mine—and it irks an American eagle or eaglet.

Dear Anne has been improving here. She now is jolly, tho' it has been hot. Responsibility kills her, and I thrive on it.

I believe I will take that place we went to see on the Shepaug. Ryan, my friend, is to manage it. Well, we have a place of refuge, eh? where the wicked and the boring and the ununderstanding cannot pursue.

But oh! my dreams do not come true these days, the magic touch is lost, the Fairies have been hurt in their feelings, my Daemon has deserted, and instead of beauty and joy and power, sweet content and warm friendship, I am struggling merely to live—and to what end?

Please go into my room some morning early and look out to the gate, the cobwebs must be diamond-sprinkled on the circle at the doorway, the catalpa trees must stand like stiff, prim, proper, knickerbockered footmen, on either side of the hedge, the ground must rise in a very gradual swell and culminate in the rose- covered gate. Throw it a kiss for me—(I wonder if there could be any roses left?). All of it is a lovely bit of man's handiwork, and Mr. Eno should have been born poor so that his planning mind, conceiving things of beauty in regular and balanced form, could have been used by many.

Tell him I got his nice letter and will drop him a line one day.
With much love,



Washington, September 25, 1920

MY DEAR DOCKWEILER,—It is a great disappointment that I am not able to speak in California this year, I wished so much to say a word that might be helpful to Senator Phelan. I helped in his election six years ago, and I wanted to be able to say to those whom I then addressed, that Phelan had thoroughly made good in Washington. He has been strong, honest, courageous, loyal to California and the country, and at every minute he has been at the service of his constituents. That is much to say, isn't it? Well, every word is true. …

These things I know, for I have watched him through the past six years and for many years before. Indeed, it is more than thirty years now since we first joined with boyish enthusiasm in the activities of the Young Men's Democratic League, and always I have wondered at his willingness to make himself the target of so much criticism because of his loyalty to convictions that have not pleased those in political or social power. He thinks; he does not take orders. And you can rely on his being superior to the partisan phase of any real issue. This self-respecting, or self- owned individual is the sort of man we need to promote in our political life, or else we will soon find ourselves back in the pre-Roosevelt days of political invertebrates. I found in Washington the secret of the exceeding great authority which the older states carry in Congress, they return their Senators and Congressmen, term after term, and give them opportunity to rise to positions of eminence in the national legislature. The usefulness of a Senator is not to be measured by the roundness of his periods, nor even by the soundness of his ideas. He must pass through a period of impatient waiting before his status is such that he can really have the opportunity to have his ideas considered seriously. By returning men who have been faithful, the State strengthens itself in Washington and eventually gains greatly in prestige, as in the case of Julius Kahn. Senator Phelan has now passed through this initial period of gaining status, and his future will be one of an assured and much strengthened position among his colleagues. Not to return Phelan will mean a loss at Washington that California can ill afford at this critical time, for in the national mind he is identified with her prime concerns.

… These are to be most momentous times … Just where we are going no one knows, but clearly the people here, as elsewhere, are bent upon testing the value of Democracy as a cooperative organization of men and women, and are determined to make of it a fuller expression of human capacities and hopes. We must feel our way carefully at such a time, but we must act constructively, else there will surely come a dangerous radical reaction. Sympathy must be checked by wisdom, a wise knowledge of man's limitations and tendencies, that we do not take on burdens we cannot safely carry. Yet we must dare, and dare purposefully. What can this Democracy do for men and women—that is the super-question which rises like Shasta and follows one throughout the day, dominating every prospect. And the answer must be wrought out of the sober thought and the proved experience of our statesmen. … Cordially yours,


In September, 1920, he wrote,—"Things look dark to me politically. The little Wilson (as distinguished from the Great Wilson) is now having his day. Cox is making a manly fight on behalf of the President's League, but the administration is sullen, is doing nothing. Cox will be defeated not by those who dislike him but by those who dislike Wilson and his group. This seems mighty unjust."

To Hall McAllister

Katonah, September 25 [?], 1920

MY DEAR HALL,—This paper is a concession to my love for color, it is not yellow, but golden, and to make the touch truly Californian I should write with a blue pencil.

I cannot write as gaily or as bravely as you did, for I have been pretty well beaten down to my knees. My nights are so unforgivably bad—wakened up two or three times, always with this Monster squeezing my heart in his Mammoth hand—By God, it is something Dante overlooked …

Take my advice, dear Hall, and avoid doing any of the things which the 3793 Doctors I have paid tell me cause this thing—among them are;—smoking, eating, drinking, swearing, working.

You can recover partially—not wholly under any circumstances—if you arrive at a state of Nirvana before death. … Gay life this, my boy! I've been so wicked and fast and devilish and hoggish and gluttonous and always rotten and riotous that I needs must spend a few months in this agony by way of preliminary atonement before I may get even a chance at purgatory.

You know that sometimes in the most terrific crushing pain, I laugh, at the thought that my steady years of drive and struggle to help a lot of people to get justice, or a chance, should be gloriously crowned by an ironical God with an end that would make a sainted Christian, in Nero's time, regret his premature taking- off. …

Tell that most charming of all women, who is your sister, that her noble man was in great good fortune; and I envy him because the Gods showed their love for him even up to the last. The wicked, torturing devils respected his gay spirit as he passed along and forgot to fill him full of arrows, poisoned arrows, as he ran the gauntlet down to the River. Her letters are beauteous reflections of her thoroughbred soul, and they give delight to Anne and myself. … Yours as always,



Bethel, October [3], 1920

That is so charming and gracious a letter that it must be answered within the day, not that any word in kind can be returned, but the spirit may be echoed. We may be short in words but not in feeling. Let me tell you, Lady Ehle, about this place. It is Nirvana-in- the-Wilderness, the Sacred, Serene Spot. Beautiful, for it is a ridge surrounded by mountains—or "mountings"—of gold and green, russet and silver. Noiseless, no dogs bark or cats mew or autos honk. Peaceful—no business. Nothing offends. Isn't that Nirvana? No poverty. People independent but polite. Children smile back when you talk to them, and you do. And the sky has clouds that color and that cast shadows on purpling mountains and stretches of meadow. Yes, this is one lovely spot over which a man named Gehring presides, unofficially, modestly, gently; he has given it purpose for being, for here he does good by healing, and some of his wealthy patients have put up a handsome inn in his honor—and they have said so in a bronze tablet over the mantel.

How much good he can do me I cannot say, but he is trying, Oh, ever so hard to touch my trouble-centre, and I shall give him a full chance yet awhile.

Wouldn't it be splendid if Shepaug were assured, or any other place of simple beauty to which we could retire to commune with the things that, alas, one only discovers to be the really great things, the worth while things, late in life. Daily would we foregather beside that stream to build some kind of altar to the God of Things as we Hope they may sometime Be. …

Give my regards to the Duke of Saugatuck and tell him that his picture on horseback is good enough to enlarge—and then I want one.

And to you, The Ehle, may the peace that gay souls need and seldom get, and the joy that good souls long for, be with you always. And do write some more!

F. K. L.


Bethel, [October 28, 1920]

MY DEAR B. I.,—It has been along time since your letter came, but until now I have not felt that I could write. Most of the time I have been in pain and I have also been much discouraged over the condition of my health. No one wants to hear a man talk of his aches and I haven't much else on my mind. I am beginning to crawl a bit health-wards, I think; at any rate I am moving on that assumption.

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE IN 1917. TAKEN IN

What a hell of a condition the land is in politically. Cowardice and hypocrisy are slated to win, and makeshift and the cheapest politics are to take possession of national affairs. Better even obstinacy and ego-mania! Cox, I think, has made a gallant fight. He is to be beaten because Wilson is as unpopular as he once was popular. Oh! if he had been frank as to his illness, the people would have forgotten everything, his going to Paris, his refusal to deal with the mild Reservationists—everything would have been swept away in a great wave of sympathy. But he could not be frank, he who talked so high of faith in the people distrusted them; and they will not be mastered by mystery. So he is so much less than a hero that he bears down his party to defeat.

And after election will come revolt in the Republican party, for it is too many-sided for a long popularity.

I am sorry to be out of it all, but the Gods so willed. I did want to help Phelan. The country will think that what he has stood for, as to California matters, especially oil and Japan, has been repudiated if he is not returned. He was California incarnate in Washington.

Remember me to the Lady and the Soldier. Always your friend,


To John W. Hallowell

Bethel, November 3, 1920

MY DEAR JACK,—You have so much idle time hanging, dragging, festooning on round and about your hands that I want to give you a job, something to do. Eh, what!

I have taken it into my head, caput, cranium, that I will read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and as the only copy here is too poorly printed to read, and furthermore as I wish to own said work myself, I would that you make purchase of same and send it to me. Now, I do not wish an expensive copy, nor a large copy, nor a heavy copy. Therefore I think it would be best to buy a good second-hand set, say in half-leather—perhaps you can get it in six or eight volumes—and it must not be heavy, because I read in bed. About the size of an ordinary novel would be very good, and pretty good sized type—leaded not solid. Yes, the more I think of a second-hand set, the better I like the idea —old binding but strong, old paper but light, old type but clear. Twelve dollars I enclose for a second-hand set. By devoting twenty dollars worth of time to the search I know you can get a second hand set for twelve dollars. That is uneconomical, but think of the fun you will have. I suggest to you that this was the very thing you needed to do to bring perfect contentment into your life. Search for Gibbon, pretty backs, good type, light in weight for twelve dollars. Oh what joy you will have! Really I should be selfish enough to do it myself but now that I have said so much about it I can't withdraw this boon. …

Well, get Gibbon and "with all thy getting get understanding."

F. K. L.


Bethel, November 12, [1920]

MY DEAR JACK,—I said nothing of the kind to myself. This is what I said, "Now I want a Gibbon. Not a show-off set but a useful one—light and small and well bound. How can I get it? Cotter in New York? What does Cotter know of learning and books of learning? What interest does New York take in such things anyway? There are second-hand stores there but they must be filled with novels and such trumpery. No one in New York ever read Gibbon—ninety-nine percent never heard of him. So why should I send to New York? No, Boston is the place. There is the city of the Erudite, the Home of Lodge, and incidentally of Parkman, Bancroft, Thayer, Morse, Fiske, and all others who have minds to throw back into the other days, and make pictures of what has been. Every house there has its Gibbon, of course, and some must, in the course of nature, fall into the hands of the dealers. So to Boston,—and who else but Jack Hallowell who knows what a book is, how in respectability it should be bound, and what size book is a pleasure and what a burden. A man of learning, identified with scholarship, through his athletic course in Harvard, and withal a man of business who will not pay more than a thing is worth. Ideal! Hence the letter and consequent trouble to good Jack Hallowell, who as per usual "done his damnedest for a friend," as Bret Harte says, in writing a perfect epitaph. …

The reason I sent twelve dollars needs explanation. I put that limit because a very handsome edition of eleven volumes sold for that price to a friend of mine. It was red morocco, tooled, etc., and I thought surely twelve dollars would buy something as good as I needed.

Now you have the whole mysterious story. Make the most of it as
Patrick Henry suggested to George III.

I have your dear Mother's book and will write her when I have read it. I also have a letter saying that Hoover has named me as treasurer of his twenty-three million or billion fund. …

Thank you for your kindness and write me as often as you can. …

F. K. L.


Bethel, Maine, November 10, [1920]

MY DEAR LANSING,—It is good to see that letter-head, but aren't you afraid to enter into competition with Mr. Tumulty, who has now, I see, bought the old Shepard mansion and will settle in Washington. How do they do it with the high cost of living what it is? … The transmutation of brass into gold is becoming a commonplace.

To-night's paper speaks of Knox as probable Secretary of State. … Tell me where the opposition is to come from—who are to lead us? … All possible leaders have been submerged, squelched, drowned out, in the past eight years. I wish the whole country had gone unanimously for Harding. Then we might have started on a fresh, clean footing to create two parties that represent liberal and conservative thought. As it is, I think you will see Hearst and Johnson and La Follette try to capture the radicals of both parties and make a new party of their own. Then I shall be with all the rascals I have been fighting since boyhood—the Wall Street rascals—as against the other group. But maybe the Lord cares a bit for us after all.

I mend very slowly, but I delight in your recovery and wonder at it. … I do beg you will give me all the gossip of Washington that you can, for I am here in a wilderness, beautiful but not exciting. As always,

F. K. L.

To Carl Snyder

Bethel, November 13, [1920]

Dear Carl,—This is extremely disagreeable business, this of repairs and restoration. I suppose I am doing fairly well considering that I have been more than half a century getting my gearings askew and awry. But I am taking orders now and say "Thank you," when I get them. Just when I shall be well enough to take hold again is not yet discoverable.

Strange how little news there is when you are above the clouds. One must be local to be interested in ninety percent of what the papers print. Make me a hermit for a year and I could see things in the large I believe, and ignore the trifles which obscure real vision. But a monk must be checked by a butcher. The ideal must be translated into the possible. "Man cannot live on bread alone"— nor on manna.

Outside it is snowing beautifully, across an insistent sun, the fire is crackling and I do not know that I am ill but for the staring bottles before me.

Give me a line when you have a free minute—and take to your
Beautiful Lady my warm regards.

F. K. L.

To William R. Wheeler

Bethel, 17 [November], 1920

My dear Bill,—…I am mighty sorry to hear about the Lady Alice Isabel. Funny that these women are like some damn fools, like myself, and do things too strenuously, and then go bang. Damn that Irish temperament, anyway! O God, that I had been made a stolid, phlegmatic, non-nervous, self-satisfied Britisher, instead of a wild cross between a crazy Irishman, with dreams, desires, fancies, and a dour Scot, with his conscience and his logical bitterness against himself,—and his eternal drive!

I can't tell you anything new about myself. I hope it is not a delusion that I am growing slowly better. I cultivate that idea anyway. …

It was a slaughter, the election, and properly did it come to us. Now be wise and you can have this land for many years. But foolish conceit will put you out in four. …I wish you Republicans had carried all the South. I am glad for Lenroot—very! … But Phelan's defeat has about broken my heart and for Henderson and Chamberlain and Thomas I am especially grieved. Well, it will be a changed world in Washington, and I'm sorry I can't be in it and of it.

Anne has gone to Washington to see Nancy who has not been well, so I am alone but not for long. I get on all right. God bless you, my dear old chap, and do rest awhile beneath your own fig tree. My love to Alice. Affectionately as always,

F. K. L.

To George Otis Smith

Bethel, [November] 18, [1920]

Dear George Otis,—I love this Maine of yours. It is beautiful, and its people are good stuff—strong, wholesome, intelligent young men. I like them greatly. I'd be content to sit right down here and wait for whatever is to come. It is a place of serenity. There is no rush, yet people live and the necessary things get done. It doesn't have any Ford factories, but I rather fancy it makes the men who go West and make the factories.

The autumn has been one long procession of gay banners on the hillsides, and now that the snow has come the pines are blue and the mountains purple; and mountains five thousand feet high are just as good, more companionable, than mountains fifteen thousand feet high. What is more lovely, stately and of finer color than a line of these receding hills which walk away from you, as if they continued clear across the continent?

I must get out against my wish, to have a lot more testing done— for this doctor differs with the others—and I rather think he is right. But I hope to get back here and enjoy this air. No wonder this stock was for prohibition, the air itself is an intoxicant, especially when the snow is on the ground and it comes to you gently; it is as bracing as a cocktail, not a sensuous wine like the Santa Barbara air—tell Vogelsang this—but I presume more like the High Sierras, where the fishing is good.

I shall read your speeches with the deepest interest. Keep up the publicity. It affects Congress and it justifies the good doctrine we have preached. Cordially,

F. K. Lane

Have read the speeches and they are everything they should be. Right theory, clear statement, conclusive facts. A few too many figures perhaps, you should keep your prime figures in the air longer so they can be visualized. This may be called juggling figures in the right sense.


To George W. Wickersham

Bethel, Maine, 18 [November, 1920]

My dear G. W.,—I have your good letter. By 'good' I mean many things—well done as a bit of sketchy composition, a welcome letter, kindly also in spirit, cheering, timely, telling of things that interest the receiver, one, too, having the flavor of the household whence it comes, altogether a good letter. I had one also from Her; which I brutally answered with a preachment—in pencil, too, for I can't write with comfort at a desk and, after all, what have white paper and ink in common with these woods? I am for harmony—a reconciler, like Harding. …

Root, as you say, would give a good smack to the meal. The country would at once say Harding knows how to set a good table. But tell me—will he be a Taft? a McKinley? a Hayes? or a Grant? Pshaw! why should I ask such a question? Who knows what a man will turn out to be! Events may make him greater than any, or less. A war, a bullet, a timely word of warning to a foreign power, a fierce fight with some unliked home group, the right sort of a deal on postal rates with newspapers and magazines—any one of these might lift him into a national hero; while a sneaking act revealed, a little too much caution, a period of business depression, would send him tumbling out of the skies.

These be indeed no days for prophesying—Wilson gone, Clemenceau gone, Venizelos gone,—Lloyd George alone left! The wise boy had his election at the right moment, didn't he? Surely statesmanship is four-fifths politics. Harding's danger, as I see it, will lie in his timidity. He fears; and fear is the poison gas which comes from the Devil's factory. Courage is oxygen, and Fear is carbon monoxide. One comes from Heaven—so you find Wells says,—and the other would turn the universe back into primeval chaos. Wilson, be it said to his eternal glory, did not fear. They send word to me from the inside that he believed in Cox's election up to the last minute, although the whole Cabinet told him defeat was sure. He "was right, and right would prevail"—surely such faith, even in oneself, is almost genius!

I am glad you put Lincoln first in your list of great Americans. I decided that question for myself when I came to hang some pictures in my library. Washington or Lincoln on top? And Lincoln got it. I have recently read all his speeches and papers, and the man is true from the first day to the last. The same philosophy and the same reasoning were good in 1861 as in 1841. He was large enough for a great day—could any more be said of any one?

Lincoln made Seward and Chase and Stanton and Blair his mates. He did not fear them. He wished to walk with the greatest, not with trucklers and fawners, court satellites and panderers. His great soul was not warm enough to fuse them—they were rebellious ore— but his simplicities were not to be mastered by their elaborate cogencies.

McKinley was simple in his nature, at bottom a dear boy of kind heart, who put his hand into the big fist of Mark Hanna and was led to glory.

Is Harding great and masterful in his simplicity, or trustful and yielding? and if the latter where is the Hanna? Well, I don't want to die in these next few months, anyway, till some questions are answered. This would be a part of my Cabinet if I were Harding:— Root, State; Hoover, Treasury; Warren of Michigan, Attorney- General; Wood, War; Willard (of Baltimore)

You enviously write of my opportunity to read and contemplate. I have done some of both. But that's a monk's life, and even a monk has a cell of his own, and a bit of garden to play with; and he can think upon a God that is his very own, an Israelitish Providence; and, in his egotism, be content. Yes, with a cell and a book and a garden and an intimate God, one should be satisfied to forego even health. But I hold with old Cicero that the "whole glory of virtue is in activity," and therefore I call my discontent divine.

You speak of great Americans, and have named all four from political life. I concur in your selection. Now what writers would you say were most distinctly American in thought and most influential upon our thought, men who a hundred years hence will be regarded not great as literary men but as American social, spiritual, and economic philosophers? It occurs to me that this singular trio might be selected—Emerson, Henry George, and William James. What say you?

Say "Hello" to the young Colonel for me.

F. K. L.

Lincoln haunted Lane's imagination, the humor, friendliness, loneliness, and greatness of the man. This—written for no formal occasion but to express part of his feeling—has found its way to others who, too, reverence the great American.

Lincoln's Eyes

I never pass through Chicago without visiting the statue of Lincoln by St. Gaudens and standing before it for a moment uncovered. It is to me all that America is, physically and spiritually. I look at those long arms and long legs, large hands and feet, and I think that they represent the physical strength of this country, its power and its youthful awkwardness. Then I look up at the head and see qualities which have made the American—the strong chin, the noble brow, those sober and steadfast eyes. They were the eyes of one who saw with sympathy and interpreted with common sense. They were the eyes of earnest idealism limited and checked by the possible and the practicable. They were the eyes of a truly humble spirit, whose ambition was not a love for power but a desire to be supremely useful. They were eyes of compassion and mercy and a deep understanding. They saw far more than they looked at. They believed in far more than they saw. They loved men not for what they were but for what they might become. They were patient eyes, eyes that could wait and wait and live on in the faith that right would win. They were eyes which challenged the nobler things in men and brought out the hidden largeness. They were humorous eyes that saw things in their true proportions and in their real relationships. They looked through cant and pretense and the great and little vanities of great and little men. They were the eyes of an unflinching courage and an unfaltering faith rising out of a sincere dependence upon the Master of the Universe. To believe in Lincoln is to learn to look through Lincoln's eyes.

To Benjamin Ide Wheeler

Bethel, 18 [November, 1920]

MY DEAR B. I.,—From both ends of this continent we talk to each other. We have both retired from active things and can with some degree of removal, and from some altitude, look upon the affairs of men. Frankly, it challenges all my transcendental philosophy to convince me that "deep love lieth under these pictures of time." And yet I must so believe or die. It is a disheartening time— Wilson, a wreck and beaten. Clemenceau, beaten and out. And now Venizelos gone. Only Lloyd George, the crafty, quick-turning, sometimes-lying, never-wholly-frank politician left, because he called his election when spirits had not fallen.

And little men take their places, while Bolshevism drives Wrangel into the sea, possesses all Russia and Siberia, and is a success politically and militarily, tho' a failure economically and socially. We have passed the danger of red anarchy in America, I think, tho' no one should prophesy as to any event of to-morrow. Communism, and socialism with it, have been made to pause. Yet nothing constructive is opened by the world for men to think upon, as a means of bettering their lot and answering the questions flung to them by Russia, Germany, England, and our own home conditions.

I can see no evidence of constructive statesmanship on this side the water, excepting in Hoover. The best man in Congress is Lenroot, and he writes me that unless the Republicans do something more than fail to make mistakes that the Democrats will take the power from them in another four years. But I am nothing for parties. I cannot wait for an opposition to come in. I would like to see the Republicans now address themselves to the problems of the world at large and of this land. If Knox is to be Secretary of State, as the rumor is, we will have Steel Trust Diplomacy,—which will give us safety abroad, which is more than we have had for some years—but it will be without vision, without love for mankind. Root would give the Republicans great assurance and confidence. He would make them smack their lips and feel that Harding was not afraid of the best near him. Hoover may or may not have a Cabinet place, but his brain is the best thing working in America to-day, on our questions. If Penrose and Co. beat him they will regret it,

If I were Harding I'd put Root, Lowden, Wood, Hoover, and Johnson if he wanted it, into my Cabinet and I'd gather all the men of mind in the country and put them at work on specific questions as advisors to me, under Cabinet officers. One group on Taxes and Finance, one on Labor and Capital, one on Internal Improvements, one on Education and Health. And have a program agreeable to Congress, which is sterile because it is a messenger-boy force for constituents.

The Democrats could do this if they had the men,—but look over the nation and see how short we are of talent of any kind. It may be an opposition party but it has no force, no will, no self- confidence. It hopes for a miracle, vainly hopes. It cannot gather twenty first-rate minds in the nation to make a program for the party. I tried it the other day—men interested in political affairs, outside Congress—try it yourself. Get twenty big enough to draft a national program of legislation for the party. I sent the suggestion to George White, chairman of the National Committee, and gave him a list, and at the head I put you and President Eliot, classing you both as Democrats, which probably neither of you call yourselves now, tho' both voted for Cox. …

If I get to California I must see you. But I shall play my string out here before trying the Western land. My best regards to the Lady. Yours always, LANE

To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Bethel, Maine, [November, 1920]

To THE DEAR ROOSEVELTS,—… You realized what was coming, but I fear Cox did not; could not believe that his star would not pull through. I wish Georgia and Alabama had gone, too. The American born did not like Wilson because he was not frank, was too selfish and opinionated. The foreign born did not like his foreign settlements. So they voted "no confidence" in his party. What we will do in this land of mixed peoples is a problem. Our policies now are to be determined by Fiume and Ireland—not by real home concerns. This is dangerous in the extreme. Demagogues can win to power by playing to the prejudices of those not yet fully American. … As always,

F. K. L.

To Lathrop Brown

Bethel, [November] 20, [1920]

MY DEAR LATHROP,—You are wrong, dead wrong, viciously, wilfully wrong. I do like this exact science business. I worked at it and in it on the railroad problems for seven years. There is only one thing that beats it, puts it on the blink, and that is inexact human nature which does wicked things to figures and facts and theories and plans and hopes. Prove, if you will, that there is no margin at all over wages, and a nominal return on capital, and you do not kill the desire of someone to run the shop. … Talking of business men, what about the Shipping Board? O, my boy, they have something to explain—these Hurleys and Schwabs! … How does this sound to you? They let their own tanks lie idle, commandeered those of Doheny and rented them to the Standard Oil—so that they could bid when Doheny couldn't—eh, what? …

F. K. L.

To Timothy Spellacy

Bethel, [November] 22, [1920]

MY DEAR TIM,—I hear from Mike that you are not in New York, and so I am writing you out of "love and affection," as I hope to see Mike but won't see you when I go to New York for Thanksgiving. It was my hope that we three could have a good talk over Mike's Colombia plans, but do not trouble yourself with these business concerns. Get well—that's the job for both you and me. We have been too extravagant of ourselves, and especially you, you big- hearted, energetic, unselfish son of Erin! Eighteen years I have known you and never a word or an act have I heard of or seen that did not make me feel that the campaign for Governor was worth while, because it gave me your acquaintance, friendship, affection. And Ned and George love you as I do. When I get mad, as I do sometimes, over something that the Irish do, I always am tempted to a hard generalization that I am compelled to modify, because of you and Mike and Dan O'Neill, in San Francisco—and a few more of the Great Irish—. …

Well, my dear fellow, drop me a line when you feel like it and be sustained in your weakness by the unfaltering affection of thousands who know you, among them—


To Frank I, Cobb New York World

New York, December 6, [1920]

DEAR FRANK,—You are right, but too far ahead. We must come to Cabinet responsibility, and I am with you as an agitator. Twenty years may see it.

This morning you chide the Republicans for not having a program. Good God, man, why so partisan? What program have we? Will we just oppose; vote "Nay," to all they propose? That way insures twenty years as "outs"—and we won't deserve to be in. What we lack is just plain brains. We have a slushy, sentimental Democracy, but don't have men who can concrete-ize feeling into policy, if you know what that means. A program—a practicable, constructive program—quietly drawn, agreeable to the leaders in both Houses, pushed for, advocated loudly! That's our one hope—Agree? Yours cordially,


To John G. Gehring

New York, December 9, [1920]

Well, my dear Doctor, here I am at another cross-roads. … I leave … in a day or two with a new dietary and some good advice. The latter in tabloid form being:—"Drop business for a time, go into it again slowly, and gradually creep into your job." All of which is wise, and commends itself greatly to my erstwhile mind, but is much like saying, "Jump off the Brooklyn bridge, "slowly." … I am not resigned, of course. Because I cannot see the end. Definiteness is so imperative to some natures. However, I think that I have done all that an exacting Deity would demand, and cannot be accused of suicide, if things go badly.

Our plan is to go to Washington to see some old friends thence south and so to California, for a couple of months. Delightful program if one had health, but in exchange I would gladly take a sentence to three months in a chain-gang on the roads.

One of my friends has suggestively sent me Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. To offset it I went out at once and bought a new suit of bright homespun clothes and a red overcoat—pretty red. In addition I have a New Thought doctor giving me absent treatment. I am experimenting with Hindu deep breathing, rhythmical breathing, in which the lady who runs this hospital is an adept. And what with an osteopath and a regular and a nurse and predigested food, I am not shirking. If melancholy gets the better of me now— Kismet!

Tell your dear Lady that it was infinitely good of her to write, (and she has, I may say, quite as brilliant a pen-style as speech.) And one day I shall write her when the world looks better. My best reading has been William James' Letters; and that which amused me most a new novel, entitled Potterism, by Rose Macauley, which cuts into the cant and humbug of the world right cruelly. I see your beautiful serene landscape and envy you. And I envy those who hear your hearty chuckle each morning in the Inn. As always,

F. K. L.

To John W. Hallowell

New York, December 9, [1920]

DEAR JACK,—I have tried out New York again and find it lacking as before. No help! They do not know. … So I am going to Californi…A. I wish I were to be near you—you really have a special old corner in all that is left of my heart. And one of these days well indulge ourselves in a good time—a long pull together again.

I have been reading William James' Letters—and real literature they are—far better than all your novels. What a great Man—a mind, plus a man. Not to have known James in the last generation is to have missed its greatest intellect; Roosevelt and James and Henry George were the three greatest forces of the last thirty years. Sometime when you come across a good photo or engraving or wood-cut, or something, of James, will you buy it and send it to me? I want a human one—not a professional one. I guess he couldn't be the pedantic kind anyway.

Billy Phillips has a new baby-boy born Monday.

My plan is to leave here in a week, go to Washington and see Nancy, and get a glimpse of some of my old people in the Department, thence to South Carolina and then probably California for two or three months. Ah me—most people would think this luxury—I think it hell! But it may be for my great spiritual good. Certainly if I could have you to walk with for these months, and more of William James to read, I could take a step or two forward.

Have also been reading a bit of Buddhism lately. It is too negative—that is almost its chief if not its only defect, as an attitude toward life. It won't make things move but it will make souls content. And I can't get away from the thought that we are here as conquerors, not as pacifists. I can't be the latter, save in the desire.

Peabody dropped in yesterday from Chicago. (I have forgotten whether you knew him well or not.) Able chap, fond of me, as I of him. My boy works for him. He sent me a gorgeous edition of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy which I have always wanted, largely because it is one of the curiosities of the world. …

Write me as often as your Quaker spirit moves you to utterance. Your dinner got quite a send-off in these papers, which is something, for New York to recognize Boston! Terribly tough job though. Poor babies! Hard to believe in a good God and a kind God, isn't it?

I hear talk of shoving Hoover outside the breastworks. Fools! Fools! Best for him but worse for the country. Whole question of Republican success turns on the largeness of Harding. I don't ask a Lincoln—much less will do. If he is only a smooth-footed politician he will fail. So far he has been the gentleman. …

My love to your whole circle, from Grandmother down.

F. K. L.

To John G. Gehring

Rochester, Minnesota, December 31, [1920]

MY DEAR PADRE,—It is the last night of an unhappy year. Never do I wish for such another. No joy—defeat, dreary waiting. These words describe not merely my personal history and attitude but fairly picture those of the world. It took guts to live through such an unillumined, non-productive, soul-depressing year. Did any good come out of it? Yes, to me just one thing good—I came to know you, your Lady and the beauteousness of Bethel. And after all a man does not do any better in any year than make a friend. No man makes seventy friends in a life-time, does he? So I must not repine nor let the year go out in bitterness. On the credit side of my account book I have something that can be carried over into 1921, whereas most people can only carry over Hope.

I hope there is something significant and more than suggestive in my turning up here on the last day of the year for examination— "Getting a ready on" for a New Year—that's what you would optimistically shout if you were here, I know. And that is my Goodbye word to 1920—"You haven't beaten me, and I have lived to take your brush."

I am being ground and wound and twisted and fed into and out of the Mayo mill, and a great mill it is. Of course they are giving me a private view, so to speak. Distinguished consideration is a modest word for the way in which I am treated—not because of my worth but because of my friends—. Those men are greater as organizers, I believe, than as workmen, which is saying much indeed, for they are the surgeons supreme. … Two to three hundred people, new people, a day pass through [their shop]. Sixty to seventy thousand a year received, examined, diagnosed, treated perhaps, operated on (fifty per cent), and cared for. The machinery for this is colossal and superbly arranged.

Dr. Mayo told me to come over at two o'clock and register. … I stood in line and was duly registered, telling name, and other such facts, non-medical. Then a special guide took me to Dr. Mayo, who had already heard my story at the hotel but who, wished it in writing. Accordingly, I was presented to a group of the staff and one man assigned as my escort. I answered him a thousand questions, touching my physical life for fifty-six years. Then to the tonsil man, who saw a distinct "focus," now there, a focus in the tonsils! Nose and ears without focus or focii or focuses. Down an elevator, through a labyrinth of halls, down an inclined plane, up a flight of steps, two turns to the left and then a group of the grumpiest girls I ever saw or heard or felt. They were good looking, too, but they didn't care to win favor with mere males. They had a higher purpose, no doubt. They openly sneered at my doctor escort. They lifted their eyebrows at my good-looking young son, and they told me precisely where to sit down. I was not spoken to further. My ear was punched and blood was taken in tubes and on slides by young ladies who did not care how much of my blood they spilled or extracted. They were so business-like, so mechanical, so dehumanized, these young ladies with microscopes! One said cryptically "57," another said "53." I was full of curiosity but I did not ask a question. They tapped me as if I were a spring—a fountain filled with blood—and gave me neither information, gaiety or entertainment in exchange. Each one I am convinced has by this life of near-crime, which she pursues for a living, become capable of actual murder.

Thus has my first day gone. It is cold here—slushy underfoot, snow dirty, sky dark. How different from a place we know!

There are one hundred and fifty physicians and surgeons in the clinic, and Heaven knows how many hundred employees. No hospitals are owned and run by the Mayos; all these are private, outside affairs. The side tracks are filled with private cars of the wealthy. Scores of residences, large, small, fine, and shabby are little hospitals. The town has grown 5,000 in five years, all on account of the Mayos, these two sons of a great country doctor who without a college education have gathered the world's talent to them.

I am tomorrow to be medically examined further, to the revealing of my terrible past, my perturbed present, and pacific future. The result of which necromancy I shall duly report. I am afraid that they will not find that an operation will do good, if so I shall truly despair. And if they decide for the knife, I shall go to the guillotine like the gayest Marquis of the ancient regime. Yes, I should do better for I have my chance, and he, poor chap, had none.

I received your Christmas present in the spirit that sent it. I can't say "No! No!"—for I preach mixing pleasure with business. Things are all wrong when we don't. I will never repay you. If I could, or did, you would receive none of the blessings that come from giving gifts. The truth is, we knew each other years ago, perhaps centuries ago, and you have done a good turn to an old friend for which the old friend is glad, because it makes the tie more binding.

I told you I would send Wells' history to you, and to it I have added one of the greatest of human documents, William James' Letters. I hope you love the largeness of the man, to be large and playful and useful, I say, man, can you beat that combination? I believe I know another beside James who meets the specifications. And strangely enough he, too, evolved from physician to psychologist, to philosopher.

Well, here's hoping that he and his High-Souled Partner meet with many joys and few sorrows in 1921.

F. K. L.



To Mrs. Ralph Ellis

[Camden, North Carolina, March, 1919]

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,—And so they call you a Bolshevik! a parlor Bolshevik! Well, I am not surprised for your talk gives justification for calling you almost anything, except a dull person. When one is adventurous in mind and in speech—perfectly willing to pioneer into all sorts of mountains and morasses—the stay-at-homes always furnish them with purposes that they never had and throw them into all kinds of loose company. I have forgotten whether or no there was a Mrs. Columbus, but if the Old Man on his return spoke an admiring word of the Indian girls he saw on Santo Domingo you may be sure that he was at once regarded as having outdone that Biblical hero who exclaimed, "Vanity of Vanities, all is Vanity!," after having run his personal attachees up into the thousand.

Yes, the very solemn truth is that adventuring is dangerous business, and mental adventuring most dangerous of all. We forgive those who do things that are strange, really more readily than those who talk of doing them. People are really afraid of talk, and rightly so, I believe. The mind that goes reaching out and up and around and through is a disturber, it bumps into every kind of fixed notion and takes off a chip here and there, it probes into all sorts of mysteries and opens them to find that they are hollow wind-bag affairs, tho' always held as holy of holies heretofore. To think, to speculate, to wonder, to query—these imply imagination, and the Devil has just one function in this Universe —to destroy, to kill, or suppress or to divert or prevent the imagination. Imagination is the Divine Spark, and old Beelzebub has had his hands full ever since that spark was born. "As you were," is his one military command. His diabolical energy is challenged to its utmost when he hears the words "Forward March!" There is not much—ANYTHING—of beauty or nobility or achievement in the world that he has not fought, and all of it has been the fruit of imagination, the working of the creative mind. You see I come very near to believing in that old personal Devil which my Presbyterian father saw so vividly, and which our friend Wells has recently discovered, Satan is smart, and that is a very dreadful thing to be, I never like to hear the Yankee called smart, it is a term of reproach. I don't like to think of a Smart Set. And my refuge is in the knowledge that there is just one thing that destroys smartness and that is, to put it in a very high-sounding word, Nobility. There is the test we can all put to ourselves—and it really is conscience and ethics and religion all in one—is the idea smart or is it noble? I'd take my chances of going to Heaven on the conformity of conduct to that criterion.

But all this seems a far way from Parlor Bolshevism—yet it is not so far. For it all comes down to this. The Lord he prompts us to think and to advance, and the Devil he urges us to be smart, to switch our thinkings, our very right thinkings, our progressive impulses, to side tracks that will serve his ends.

And that is just what is happening to a lot of the finest minds. Men and women who see clearly that things are wrong, who have enough insight and knowledge to get a glimpse into the unnecessary suffering of the world and who mentally come down with a slap-bang declaration that this must stop, are allowing themselves to be called by a name that history will execrate, and to smooth over and palliate and defend things that are bad, out of which good will not come.

You have no love for Czarism any more than you have for Kaiserism. You do not care to make the world righteous by dictatorship, because you know that it is not growth or the basis of growth, but the foundation of hate. Now the very cornerstone of Bolshevism is smartness—the get-even spirit. Because the Czars and the Dukes have oppressed the poor, because when this land was divided among the serfs the division was not what it pretended to be, and because the German business managers of Russian industry made wages and conditions that were brutal and brutalizing, the peasants and workmen have said, "Let us have done with the whole crew, and take all land and industry into our own hands, killing those who were our masters under the old economic system. Let us turn the whole world topsy-turvy in a night, and bring all down to where we are. In our aspiration for Beauty, let us kill what has been created. In our hunt for Justice, let us disregard fair dealing. In our purpose to level down, let us do it with the knife ruthlessly and logically," Thus disregarding the teachings of time, that men are not the creatures of logic, of passionless or passionate theses, but are the expression of an unfaltering Spirit. Whenever men have been the victims of logicalness they have been wrong. For instance, read the story of the Inquisition. They saw what they wanted clearly, those old Fathers of the Church. They knew their objective, which was to save men's souls. And they thought they knew the way. Logic told them that those who preached heresies were bringing men's eternal souls to everlasting hell fire. And they set about to stop the preaching. Had I believed as they did, I doubtless would have done as they did. But to be infallibly right is to be hopelessly smart. Thus it is with all who take a paper system and apply it to that strange thing called Life.

This is the defect of the Intellectuals, the "parlor" Bolsheviks. (Better by far be an outdoor Bolshevik, a Red Guard, if you please, one who is in and of the fighting, who acts, who lives the theory!) They do not think in terms of human nature, of natural progress, of real facts. They say, "all men are born free and equal," and at once conclude that the stable boy can step from the stable door to the management of a factory or into the legislature. Now experience teaches that this is a most dangerous experiment, both for stable boy and society. The true philosophy of Democracy teaches that the stable boy shall have, through school and the step-ladder of free institutions, the chance to rise to the management of industry or the leadership of the Senate. That is why the foundation of Democracy is political. For out of political freedom will come social and economic freedom. That is why I favor woman suffrage, it gives women a chance to grow, to think along new lines and grow into new capacities.

To feel acutely that things are badly ordered, and to feel that you know what opportunities men and women and boys and girls should have, is not a program of salvation, it is only the impulse toward finding one. Why then, because we do feel so, should we harness ourselves to a word that implies methods that we would not countenance, and give character to a movement that is at absolute defiance with America's spirit and purpose? There is danger, grave danger, in doing this. For we can upset our own apple-cart very easily these days. I have no more of this world's goods than the humblest workingman. No man is poorer than I am, measured by bank account standards. The education that I have, I fought for. Therefore I do not speak for a class. To defend the methods by which some men have made their money is not at all to my fancy. I see as clearly, I think, as one can, the necessity for the strong arm of society asserting itself, thrusting itself in where it has not been supposed to have any business. Yet I know that a Bolshevik movement, a capturing of what others have gained under the system which has obtained, and the brutal satisfaction of "getting even with the wage-masters" and making them feel to the depths of their souls and in the pain of their flesh every humiliation and torture, will permanently set nothing right. America is fair play. Is it a failure? Have you tried it long enough to know that it will not serve the world, as you think the world should be served? Is there any experiment that we cannot make? Are our hands tied? True, our feet may lag, our eyes may not see far ahead, but who should say that for this reason man should throw aside all the firmness and strength and solidity of order, forget all that he has passed through, and start afresh from the bottom rung of the ladder—from the muck of the primitive brute?

There are things that we would not hold, that we think unworthy of our philosophy, that must be changed or else our sympathies and abiding hopes will be forever offended. And this would be to live right on under the pointing finger of shame. So we know it cannot last, this thing that offends, the badness and brutality of injustice, of unfairness to the weak, their inability to get a squarer chance.

Yet this does not compel us to forsake the hopeful thing we have, for which all men have striven, these centuries through. Must we confess that revolution is still necessary? Are we no further ahead for all that Pym and Hampden and Sam Adams and Washington and all the rest of the glorified ones have done? This land is truly a land of promise because it may be a land of fulfilment. It shows the way by which without murder and robbery and class hatred and the burning up of what has been, men may go right on making experiments, and failing, making others and failing, and learning something all the time.

So, I'm for America, because, if nationalization of land and industry are wise experiments to make, no one can stop us from making them, if partial nationalization of either, or both, appeals to us as something that will right manifest wrongs, we can try that solution. And to cry quits on the best that civilization has done, because all that is wished for may not be realized or realizable today, is to lose perspective and balance, and jump out the window because the stairs go round and round.

There is really no use, and therefore no sanity, in being too gay or too grave over this old world of ours. That smart Devil, who is for the static life, is just now particularly active in his favorite old line of propaganda. He knows that the fruit of the tree will bring the millennium. Eat it and you will be happy. He knows the short cuts to freedom and justice. He knows that the curses that are promised for the breaking of the laws of the hunt will be turned into songs. So he is urging and urging, telling you, with your imagination and sensitiveness, that all is so bad that it is best to take the great risk, telling the poor sightless ones that their very primitive feelings and powers are the only safe guides, their last ultimate reliance and hope. And out of despair comes the bitter fruit we find in Russia, where they have wrought what they call an economic revolution, but have in fact produced nothing, for chaos is nothing. The wise Tinker who wrote of the Pilgrim's Progress was too true a Christian Scientist, a Christian and a Scientist, if you please, to picture his hero reaching the gate of gold by adopting Despair as his guide.

Progress means the discovery of the capable. They are our natural masters. They lead because they have the right. And everything done to keep them from rising is a blow to what we call civilization. Bolshevism is the supremacy of the least capable who have the most power, most physical power. The thing Democracy will do is to breed capacity, give capacity its "show." The premiums, the distinctions, must go to capacity to promote it, to bring it forth, to make it grow, to be its sunshine. A chance at the sunshine, that's the motto. Sincerely yours,


Washington, 20 [March, 1919]

You said, you will remember, that you did not mind such unconventional things as penciled letters—so here goes, Mrs. Radium.

This is to be a conventional letter, too, one of the bread and butter variety, the quail and dove, pigeon pie, creamed macaroni variety, for all of which much thanks, likewise for much stimulating talk, your help in planting my garden, many motor flights through brown woods, and some most charming company, including a man named Ellis and his celebrated son, the pigeon shooter.

We left you in the best possible hands, a lion and lioness [Footnote: Mr. and Mrs. John Galsworthy.] who through long years of civilized captivity came tamely to your bars to be tickled and patted, and, no doubt, when properly fed, purred back. If I were you, I would loot their typewriter. Therein are the secrets of the British government, copies of all unknown treaties, plans for the extermination of Bolsheviki generally and the female kind in particular; likewise, therein you will find, narrated with particularity, the details of all loose conversations had with hotel clerks, commercial travelers, teachers, chauffeurs, and others of the illuminati, in which "impressions" are given to foreign authors hunting for "copy." Mr. George Creel has these aforesaid gents of the illuminati staked out, so to speak, for this very purpose. Your dear friend Vera, the political Vamp, is no doubt conducting these sweet Innocents abroad, tho' not in person of course, being much too crafty and cunning for that. She has directed them by the wireless magic of her mind to Horsebranch on the Hill, there to discover a radiating and luminous Lady, hidden in the pine woods, who will reveal among other things the following: (1) The nature of Woodrow Wilson's personal character; (2) The full reasons for his conduct; (3) His occult international designs; (4) How he purposes to free Ireland; (5) The value of being House-broken; (6) The real name of the Man in the Iron Mask.

And much, much more—for she is a well, a fountain, a geyser, a Niagara, reversed, of information, misinformation, knowledge, ignorance, modesty, audacity, in captivating breeches or in modest demure caps or in flowing evening robe. Wise Vera, wise Creel— they know their business! The English snooper, with typewriter in hand, will have a generous swig of the Scotch whiskey of the vintage of '56, and his tied tongue will loosen, a confiding and tender and sympathetic hand will softly clasp his, and the Dark Flower will open to the world—rather mixed that figure! eh, what?

Now, of course, this is not what I took my pen in hand to write, not at all. I had intended after the formalities had been duly observed to tell you a few words about my wife. Excellent woman, that! But very jealous! very! No sense of her own place! Unwilling to subordinate herself. Since she "came into my life" she has walked around in it and otherwise behaved familiarly and at home. Never, never I beg of you, permit anyone to come into your life. It decidedly makes for clutter and disturbance. However, as I was saying, she is an excellent woman and has been to the Doctor who says that she has suffered much. (Charge for same $10.) As he wishes to make the same charge for many days the excellent wife will not go to Charleston but remain here, that the charge may lawfully be imposed. (This is where the Christian Scientists are more Scientific for they could make the charge in absentia.)

However and notwithstanding, the Peace Conference still lives. By wireless I have the news that Lloyd George is still doing politics, that Orlando is Fiuming (give that one to the Englisher), that Colonel House has not told all he knows to Lansing, and that Henry White dined last night with a Duchess who held his hand four minutes while telling him terrible things.

But this is too frivolous altogether for a statesman to be writing to one whose mind is interested only in serious things! I can see her steady, cold, stern eye of reproach. "And this to me," she says, "And 'twere not for thy hoary beard, etc., etc."

I tell you frankly, tho' you may not believe it, that I am not entirely in a sober mood. Yesterday I planted bulbs with a lady who was not bulbous. The day before I shot pigeons for a lark. And I am boastful! fair boastful, my Lady! My secretary and my confidential clerk and my many dark-hued messengers are solemnly impressed with my prowess with gun and spade. The truth shall not be heard in the land. I am my own talebearer and my own censor. I know more about agriculture than the Secretary of Agriculture, and I know more of Labor than the Secretary of the same. And for this, this glorious bursting into fruitfulness at so advanced an age— you and your good man are responsible and to be credited in the Golden Book in which is written, What the Plain People Do for Each Other.

Thanking you for the Bread and Butter, believe me yours for Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

F. K L.

Washington, Saturday, [January 19, 1980]

I am clothed in sackcloth and sitting in ashes. My head is bowed in humility and I am beating my breast in contrition. There is no joy in my face and my eyes look downward. Truly I am full of regret. Did she not write long, joyous, inquiring, curious, inviting pages to me? and I have not answered! And now will she ever make her face to shine upon me and give me peace?

I would fly to her—yes, fly to her in monoplane, biplane, or triplane—but many things deter me. A wife, who is busy with the Gods of the Elder Days; a daughter, who is busy with the God of the present day—to wit, a young man named Philip, surnamed Kauffmann, son of "The Star" six feet two in stockings or otherwise, late of His Majesty's Navy, Princeton, Football, etc., etc. The marriage is to be tied in April, God willing, Nancy ordering, Philip consenting, Father paying.

As if this were not enough to hinder, the desk must be cleared for exit—the office desk; for the place that knew me through seven long years of trouble, anxiety, insult, joy, humiliation, satisfaction, achievement, companionship, hope, shall soon know me no more, forever.

Verily, I say unto you, that if ever mortal man or mortal mind needed rest, recreation, recuperation, and other alliterative things, that same man is now writing to the Lady Elizabeth Ellis, of Terraced Garden, in Camden, by the Wateree. And he is writing without hope that he will see the Lady and her Lord and the Princeling, for moons and moons. This is a sad, sad word for him to write. But the whole world is skew-jee, awry, distorted and altogether perverse. The President is broken in body, and obstinate in spirit. Clemenceau is beaten for an office he did not want. Einstein has declared the law of gravitation outgrown and decadent. Drink, consoling friend of a Perturbed World, is shut off; and all goes merry as a dance in hell!

Oh God, I pray, give me peace and a quiet chop. I do not ask for power, nor for fame, nor yet for wealth. Lift me on the magic carpet of the Infinite Wish and lay me down on a grassy slope, looking out on a quiet sunny sea, and make me to dream that men are gentle and women reasonable. And forgive us our trespasses, Amen!

And again I pray—Give me patience. Let me not ask for today what may not come until tomorrow. Let mine eyes not be filled with visions of things as they would be in a world wherein men were Gods. Let mine ears be closed to Siren calls which lure to the rocks. Stiffen my soul to make the climb. Keep from my heart cynical despair. Make my mouth to speak slow words, and curb my tongue that it may not outrun the Wisdom taught by the years. Give surety to my steps, O Lord, and lead me by the hand for I know not the way.

Your telegram lures as your letter did. But such pleasures are not for us, because of our sins. "And those that are GOOD shall be happy!"

Work. Work. Work. It is the order of the One Supreme. It keeps us from being foolish, and doing as fools do. It is needed for the mastery of a world that has its Destiny written, as surely as we have ours. It is a chain and a pair of wings; it binds and it releases. It is the master of the creature and the tool of the Creator. It is hell, and it lifts us out of hell into heaven. It was not known in Paradise, but there could be no Paradise without it. A curse and a Savior! Our life-term sentence and the one plan of salvation! Work for the weary, the wasted, and the worn. Work— for the joyous, the hopeful, the serene. Work—for the benevolent and the malevolent, the just and the cruel, the thoughtful and the unheeding. Work—for things that life needs, for things that are illusions, for dead-sea fruit, for ashes; and work for a look at the stars, for the sense of things made happier for many men, for the lifting of loads from tired backs, for the smile of a tender girl, for the soft touch of a grateful mother, for the promise it brings to the boy of one's hopes.

Work! Why work? It is the order of the One Supreme.

So saying, at one o'clock of Sunday morning, he lifted up his hand and waved three times to the Southward—once for the Lady of the Troubled Heart, who flirts with the Angel of Destruction, thinking he may turn out to be a God, and once for the Lord of the Lady, serenely fatalistic, and the third, and this a very big one, for the Princeling who is making a manly battle, cheerfully, confidently. The Friend of the Three.

F. K L.

Washington, [February 5, 1920]

And so, again the Boy has been attacked by a strange enemy, and you are fighting. That is what you have been doing for years, fighting for that bit of life you love more than your own self. You did not think you could do it when you were a girl, did you? You have wondered at yourself many, many times. And wondered at the Fate which brought this long challenge to you. But it has been a splendid fight, hasn't it? A glorious fight against odds. There has been no justice in it. No justice, and our souls do so want justice, an even chance, something in front of us that we can see and know and fight. God knows why such tortures come to some, while others sail on such smooth seas. Can it be that there is no soul excepting the one we make for ourselves by fighting? Are those really blest who have such challenges given to their spirits? Or is this all by way of excusing God, or Nature, for the unexplainable?

There is no way to make the fight excepting to believe that the fight is the thing—the one, only, greatest thing. (To deny this is to leave all in a welter, and drift into purposeless cynicism, —blackness.) To determine that this is the way, the truth, and the life, is to get serenity. Then the winds may howl and the seas roll, but there can be no wreck.

I know you don't like to be coddled. You are not of the cotton- batting school. You can take and give. But "may I not" say a word of appreciation and perhaps of stimulation—give you a good masculine thump on the shoulder by way of saying that for one who lives in a mist you have lots of gimp. To love something better than oneself is the first step, I guess, toward making that soul.

Please read the note, in special envelop, to Ralphie, when he will be interested. By Jove, how fortunate that we could not leave. All my force is sick. Three of my assistants are laid up. Six hundred and eighty people in my Department are in bed. And I am struggling to get out and leave my job up to date. Good fortune!

F. K. L.

[Katonah, August, 1920]

… You know that I love you—yes, just as much as Ralph Ellis, who is a tough sailor man, and Anne Lane, who is a citizen of two worlds, will let me. But I would love you more, much more, if you did not have to be induced by my wife to write to me. Your love letter was all right, but it was procured. Do you get that word— procured—and my wife was the procuress. This may be de rigueur and comme il faut and umslopogass on Long Island, but it does not go in Katonah—peaceful, pure Katonah!

Here, in this sweet centre, if a lady wishes "for to make eyes" at a man, by way of a letter, she does it without being told to do it by the said man's wife. And then to open, "Dear Mr. Lane,"—Gosh Lizzie! isn't that pretty warm!

My anger is so great that I am now sitting up in bed at the weary hour of two to relieve myself—for otherwise I cannot sleep.

Your remarks upon the distraught condition of the public mind, the unfortunate fix into which the Polacks have fixed themselves, the heart-breaking cry that you send out for men to get together and be sensible, before they are sadder,—these things have no lodgement in my soul-center. For I am loved by a lady who speaks much of free speech and courage and candor and other virtues of prehistoric existence, but who talks of herself all through her letter and never of me at all. How can the fire be kept burning with a cold back-log like that? Talk about me! That's the first principle of all conversation—even not amorous. Well, you are a good woman, Mrs. Ellis, and I hope Mr. Ellis is well, and that you are not having trouble with the help. Goodbye, Mrs. Ellis!

Come, sweet Elizabeth, let us join hands and go for a gay climb over the piney hills—you can sing your minor note of sad distress—your miserere, if you can, in the face of the puffy clouds, and I will laugh at you for having too much of world concern in your heart. The blessings do not come to those who are "troubled about many things." The soul is an individual, you know. We are saved by units not en masse. Every individual is a species —isn't that what splendid Bergson says? So come away from responsibilities and let your poor heart, which is so unselfish that it cannot rest, indulge itself in the luxury of a peaceful forgetting, for a few days.

Practically, this seems like a good place—the process is to reduce you to a pulp and then gradually restore you to form. I am just emerging from the mash.

Do give my greetings—graduated calorically as your judgment suggests—to the many friends in your neighborhood who have forgotten me.

Devotedly, yet very sore,

F. K. L.


This is a sentimental letter from a sentimentalist to a sent—, for a sent—. It is by way of atonement, chiefly. I want to be forgiven for all the hard things I have said to you. I feel that I owe you much, at least a good word, for all the bad ones I have given you.

You are a health-giver. That's not such a bad name, is it? In fact I don't know a better. It doesn't sound sentimental, no husband would be alarmed by it, and yet it carries in it implications of gaiety and tenderness and rompishness with a touch of mysterious adoration. Altogether it is a very real large word that does not signify virtues but rather attractivenesses. Mind, I don't say that you have not the virtues—all of them, offensive and defensive, but the attractivenesses make life, don't they? And to be a health-giver is not merely to have charm. That is the spell- casting power, to be filled with witchery, to be a witch. Yes, I believe it is something like that—very much in fact, but the witchery must be balsamic, it must be radiant, it must go out in rays or circles or waves, because it can't help going out, not purposefully and selfishly, like the casting of a net—it must be balsamic and radiant, the outbreathing of pines.

Now this is a very nice name I have called you—you can put it into Latin or Greek or French and make it sound much better to the unimaginative. But you deserve it, and I hope my little girl will become one.


Katonah, Sunday, [September 25, 1920]

… We leave here on Wednesday (D. V.) for Bethel because you said to. Now how soon will you follow—a day—a week? Not more!

You made up your mind that you would go there, and there is now to be proof given whether your mind is weak or riding strong.

Anne is to have H. Beale there, and they move in circles barred to me. So I shall sorely need someone who knows my language. And I am not frivolous when I say that you and I need nothing more than a religious faith of some kind. Mohammedan, Christian Science, or what you will. We are both religious—deeply. We pray—we do things for the good of men and women,—but we do not relate ourselves properly to the Great Enveloping, Permeating Spirit. I have sought to, vainly, for many years, and yet I have not been persistent. "Seek and ye shall find!" I want to believe that the God of Things as They Are is not wilfully cruel. Is He indifferent?

Are we mastering something? Tell me! Do you know? What philosophy have you come to?

Well, all this we can talk over when we reach Bethel. Say, do you ever answer letters or is it your Queenly prerogative to drop your sweethearts down the public oubliette?

F. K. L.

Washington, 27 [December, 1920]

My wife won't let me call on you, "not now, anyhow," she says. Oh, you have so many enemies! Adolph and Mary, Senator and Mrs. Kellogg, Chief Justice and Mrs. White, Dr. and Mrs. Gehring. All are against you, and against me—all plotting, planning, and conspiring with my wife to keep us apart. They know the hold you have on me, that I had rather have you as my doctor than any one else in the whole vasty Universe—but why sigh? I am to be torn away on Wednesday and rushed to Rochester, where the Mayos will take me in hand, and do their worst. I have great hope that they may cut me into happiness, and carve me into health, and slice me into strength.

So, as Anne wired, we shall not see you in Camden, nor Ralph nor the Junior nor anything that is Ellis—not for some moons anyway.

… The reason for going to Mayos? To see if it is true that my stomach and my gall bladder have become too intimate. Rochester is the Reno where such divorces are granted.

I'd like to say I love you and the whole kit and caboodle, but my wife won't let me.

F. K. L.




Need for Democratic Program—Religious Faith—Men who have Influenced
Thought—A Sounder Industrial Life —A Super-University for Ideas
—"I Accept"—Fragment

To Mrs. Philip C. Kaujfmann

Rochester, Minnesota, January 1,1921

To that little Fairy with whom a young fellow named Frank Lane used to wander in the woods, hunting the homes of the Fairies,— Greetings on her birthday! Has she found where they live? I believe she has. They live where eyes are bright with love, and hands are gentle and kind, where feelings are not hurt and there is song hummed, and Play, a very real God, still lives,

… I think that we have got to see each other some how, somewhere, because life is passing awfully fast and there is one best thing in it—supremely, overwhelmingly best—and that is affection. I've chased around after fame and work for others, but I just wish I had spent pretty much all my time loving you and Mother and Ned, and let everything else come way down on the list. The people who really love us are so few, aren't they? Lots of them like us, lots of them are glad to be with us, but few can be counted on "world without end, Amen."

… This is surely a very uncertain and unsatisfactory world for me right now. How much we all do like definiteness and how few are willing to trust the future to the Great Spirit. We fuss and fume as if it would do good rather than ill. Happiness is the thing we all desire and it is to be had easily through a most simple philosophy; do your best and then have faith that things will come right. Happy people are those who live with happy thoughts; those who see good in people and by brave and cheerful thinking are superior to depression and bitterness.

The longer I live the more I am convinced that it is our duty to be gay; not reckless, never that; not boisterous, but light- hearted. It saves doctor's bills, brings success, and is the one method, the natural method, by which we become really big, and by that I mean superior to the evil forces that try to break us down. … To be gay one must see how very little some things are, and how very big other things are. And the big things are things like love and goodness and unselfishness; and the little things are the selfish mean things, self-indulgent things, things generally that come out of one's vanity, one's love of one's self. Get rid of that and life becomes a pretty good place. Envy, vanity, self- indulgence—these are devils.

… I wish you would really sink yourself into some religion. To start right is so important. You will miss much joy in life, I am convinced, by not having a faith; something to live by, something that explains the questions that rise each hour. Buddhism does not claim to be supernatural, is not founded on miracles, and yet Buddha taught the philosophy of Christ five hundred years before He came. The central note is getting above self—real self- mastery. Possessing, mastering your body and mind so that you do not allow envy or hatred to possess you, and do not hanker after "things," possessions, or fame or popularity, and keep strong hold on wilfulness and anger and your passions. Its fundamental maxim is that unhappiness and sorrow come from ignorance of Truth—and Truth is found by submerging self. The body is not bad, the lusts of the body and the mind are not bad, but the body is no more than an envelop for the soul, its master.

Good-night to you both, you are fast asleep by now. … In my long days and nights I think so much about you, wondering what the Gods have in store for her who has been so much to me. Much, much love little one.


To Benjamin Ide Wheeler

Rochester, Minnesota, January I, 19L1

To the Wheelers with the warmest greetings of the Lanes! A bonny year be this to you—a year of sunny faces—may you live surrounded by those whom you love and damned indifferent to all the rest!

I, Franklin K. Lane, am trying to find out if the last doctor in New York was right. He said my trouble came from an improper alliance between my gall-bladder and my pyloric orifice, and that here in Rochester they could be summarily divorced. (If you don't know where the pylorus is you may locate it as the N. W. 1/4 of the N. W. 1/4 of the stomach. Until you reach fame you never have a pylorus—and then it is most costly.) So here I am in a real Reno, hoping that a knife will be able to "put me to work anew," … and writing this as a proof of "love and affection," whatever the legally great may mean by the distinction. …

And talking of language, have you read what Wells has to say in his Outline of History on this subject? I found it very interesting; probably all old stuff to you, however. Can there be a science of language, or of anything that a human creates? I am rather Bergsonian in my idea of the individual man—each is a species.

Miller is very unhappy because [Governor] Harding may leave the Board. He [Miller] will go if the new man is not satisfactory. But I think he will be. For Harding will be conservative and a great respecter of wealth. And Miller while a radical in many things is a classicist as to Finance.

If Harding leaves out Hoover he will do himself and the country harm, and Hoover good. At last the sun shines!

F. K. L.

To Lathrop Brown

Rochester, Minnesota, January 3, [1921]

Well, my dear young Spirit of the Renaissance, I am not yet dead, not even dying. Slowly I am doing the stations of the Cross in this most thorough institution. I am delighted with my experience. Here is concentrated every form of torture and annoyance to which one can be legally subjected. Cruel and unusual punishments are forbidden by the Constitution, but I take it that one may yet take torture and punishment, if he pays for it. All that I have ever done, been or thought has been revealed—probed for, and found out. …

Truly, this is the most scientifically organized organization of scientists that ever was. Henry Ford could not improve upon it. Combine him with M. Pasteur, add a touch of one Edison, and a dose of your friend, Charlie Schwab, and you have the Mayo Clinic, big, systematized, modernized, machinized, doctorial plant, run by a couple of master workmen. I am seeing it all, and am prepared for any fate. Thus far I am no more than twenty-one years of age. My organs seem to be working union hours and to react with proper promptitude, self-respect and authority. Tomorrow I am to be photographed and fluoroscoped—and then will come the verdict. If it is the guillotine I shall go gaily, like one of your ancestors in those tumbril days of France. What I fear is an order to "rest," on a new diet. But I guess whatever is said will be the last word—the Supreme Court decision. Fine reputation, that, for two young chaps who never went to Harvard, eh, what?

Well, tell me the news. You have been silent too long. I long to know of your further adventures in politics with one G. White. …

And now, my dear Lathrop, may I extend to you the greetings of the New Year. May you have a continuous and abiding and keen sense that you are doing good, likewise doing well.

F. K. L.

To Mrs. George Ehle

Rochester, Minnesota, January, [1921]

It is only a little below freezing. The sky is grey. Snow, hard and frozen over, covers the ground, sleighs go through the streets, jingling their merry way. Boys throw each other down upon the encrusted snow. Girls in red woolen caps pick their way cautiously. Farm horses drawing sleds make their heavy way. And in these sleds, families sitting on the heaped straw in the bed of the wooden box, smiling mothers and happy babies, lined up together, warm, protected from the wind. Trees outlined against the sky, looking like dark coral rising out of a sea of snow into the dull light. An old man, gaunt, bewhiskered, trudges along confidently although he looks over eighty. A younger man, evidently a stranger, feels his cautious way over the slippery walk, covered with furs, hands, head, and body. After him a still younger man, without an overcoat—a postman.

Can you see it all? Do you recognize the picture? Was it once part of your life? This world is not so very bad when nature challenges every one to fight for life. Nothing doing for me now! That's the word. Too much risk. …

Bless you, Lady Dear of the Understanding Eye. May we yet meet upon the gentle banks of the Shepaug and there make medicine for our poetic souls.

Anne has been a trump through these ten days of anxiety. Yours affectionately,

F. K. L.

To Mrs. William Phillips

Rochester, Minnesota, January 11, [1921]

The black cat, yellow-eyes, came, dear Lady Caroline—came to me here in a hospital and I put him on my table alongside my tiny bust of Lincoln, which is the sacred place. I wish indeed those eyes could see within this shell of mine and tell what it is that twists my heart, physically turns it on its axis, so that its polarity is changed. From mystery to mystery we have traveled the past year, Anne, with her unfaltering trust, and I, a doubting Thomas. We came here for an operation, but the doctors somewhat doubt its wisdom at all, certainly not now, when pneumonia might befall. So after ten hard days of closest examination I go forth from this, the Supreme Court of Surgery in the Land, with no decision. "Wait and see what good it has done to live without tonsils, and in the California sunshine until spring." … But they live in the Land of Guess!

And so another baby has come to bless you and William! Truly you are a confident couple! Age would hesitate to bring into a world, so filled with shadow, an increasing number of our species. What a supreme act of faith the continuance of the race is. … Oh, the cunning of Nature—how empty the heart of man or woman who has not felt the clutch of a baby's hand, or drunk deep of the heaven- made perfume of a baby's breath. And the impulse that babies give to life, the challenge that they make to the father is always a noble one. It is not so as to women; less, as to ourselves. We are urged to courses that are petty, unworthy, selfish, debasing, supine, and brutal by our own natures or those of our mates. But for the child we act nobly, its call to us is always to our finer side, and so gradually we are lifted higher. Did any man in history ever do a cruel or wicked thing because of the appeal made to him by the smile of his child? He may have accredited his action to the prompting of love for his baby, but I believe it would be found that there was another motive, generally an overwhelming personal vanity; so great a lust for power, perhaps, that it would carry across the gulf of death.

I hardly believe that you need fear immediate expulsion from your new-found Eden. My expectation is that you will be treated with kindness by the new Administration, which will act most cautiously on all things. I shall know how to get a word, any word you wish, to the new President, I think, and my services as you know are at your order at any time. But if you are sent into the Limbo of private life you will be welcomed by a host who have preceded you and who will selfishly rejoice.

My gayest greetings to Sir William and, in cloudy Holland, may the sun shine in your hearts always.


To James H. Barry

San Francisco Star

Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, [1921]

DEAR JIM,—The Star has set—it goes the way of Nature—the circle must be completed. The only question one may ask is, "Was it useful?" I think it was, Jim, it held many to the true course, it was an honest guide in a bewildering world.

Do let us meet when I am West, and talk of Henry George and John Marble and Arthur McEwen, who have gone on, and left not their like. …

F. K. L.

To Michael A. Spellacy

Rochester, Minnesota, January 12, [1921]

MY DEAR MIKE,— … I shall await your re-coming with great interest. Truly you should write up what you see. Get good pictures and I will get it all in the National Geographic Magazine, and then we'll see what the Cosmos Club will say! I am in earnest about this—keep a diary in which you write, in your own gay style, what you see, and you will soon have fame as well as fortune.

The news from Mexico is not very encouraging. Obregon is sick so much, and without policy, without dependable friends. Cardinal Gibbons came near dying, but, thank God, pulled through! A very wonderful man. I am very fond of him and he likes me I know, for I handled the Indians for seven years and had no trouble, because he and I had a flat understanding that I should take my church troubles, if any arose, to him.

The old Chief Justice called on us in Washington. He is seventy- five and almost totally blind. And the greatest Chief since John Marshall.

De Valera has landed and I expect things to be doing pretty soon. The British are greatly mystified as to how he got over and back. You see you are not the only adventurer on the face of the globe. We used to think that these were prosey, stoggy, flat-footed days, but there is any amount of adventure—from the fields of Flanders to the mountains of Colombia—even the Spanish main has had its rebirth.

Mrs. Lane wants me to thank you for your thought of her. As you know no one holds a deeper, surer place in her heart than you and Tim.

Well, old chap, I am sitting in bed—four in the morning—with a devilish sore throat and without anything to eat or much sleep for thirty-six hours, so if this screed is not one of great illumination or information you will know that it was only a message of cheer and good-will from one who is fond of you, but who warns you to be careful for all of our sakes. As always,


To William R. Wheeler

Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, [1921]

DEAR BILL,—Off to see you eventually, I trust, tomorrow. Had my tonsils out, won't do anything else till Spring. Meantime I want to see no doctors. Having tried twenty, and come "out by that same door wherein I went." An osteopath, yes. Faith cure—Indian Medicine men—anything else, but no doctors! I turn from Esculapius to Zoroaster, from medicine to the sun. I want to "lie down for an aeon or two." (Alice knows where that comes from.) With much love to you both.


To V. C. Scott O'Connor

[Rochester, Minnesota], January 13, [1921]

MY DEAR SCOTT O'CONNOR,—It is a joy to get your letter and to know of your new book which I have not seen, for the very good reason that for five months I have been in hospitals. Angina pectoris they call it, but where it comes from they don't say, they don't know. Am off to California for a couple of months, then probably back to New York.

I have read Wells' History, which seems to me the most remarkable thing of the historical essay kind ever hit off; and therein I discovered your friend Asoka, but I have been able to learn little else about him.

Buddhism attracts me greatly, as perhaps the most perfect attitude on the negative side that has ever been developed and largely lived. It is not complete for a temperate zone people, who are and must be aggressive. Nor does it reveal, so far as I know, the spiritual possibilities that Christianity does. The constructive seems to be lacking. But it is so far ahead of the purely opportunist attitude that Christianity takes that I should like to be a Buddhist, I verily believe.

I see that Lord Reading goes to India. He is the greatest of diplomats, an oriental by nature, and will do good, if good can be done in that unhappy situation. I admire the cheerful way Lloyd George keeps. He is a great man. Each six months I have looked to see him fall, but he keeps up, even with Ireland, India, Egypt, South Africa on his back.

Tell me what you are doing now, anything beside writing, and writing what next? I wish that I had the literary endowment— ideas, plus style, plus energy. Good fortune to you always. Cordially yours,


Letter sent to several friends

Rochester, Minnesota, January 10, 1921

"And when they came upon the Snark, they found it was a Boojum—or words to that effect—and so, my dear Jack, they couldn't operate now.

There is the whole story. Details there are, of course. But Meissonier's style never did appeal to me. After peering into, and probing, all known and unknown parts of the Mortal Man, they found that the heart in one part changed its polarity,—turned over, by George, or tried to,—hence the Devil's clutch. But why did it do this vaudevillian act? Bugs, bugs, of course. But where? So they chased them to their lair in that wicked, nasty-named and most vulgar organ known as the gall-bladder. Damn the gall-bladder! Out it must come! On with the knifing! But soft, not so swift. Suppose the heart should try to play its funny stunt in the midst of the operation? Or suppose again in this icy weather, pneumonia should ensue and the naughty heart should take to turning? Eh, what then, my brave Bucko? "No," they said, "We are experts in eliminating this same appropriately named organ from the system—eight thousand times have we done it. It is a twenty-five minute job, A mere turn of the wrist and out the viper comes. And it never comes back! This is positively its last appearance, save as a memento for the morbid-minded in a bottle of alcohol. But hearts that do somersaults and lungs that choke up, fill us with fear. So out with the tonsils where bugs accumulate and men decay, and then off with you to California where bugs degenerate and men rejuvenate. Then come back when the sun shines and the trees begin to burgeon and the trick will be done. Hold yourself where you are, grow better if you can, and we'll have to take the risk of the tumbling heart, but the pneumonia risk will be gone."

Thus saith the Prophets! And this day, therefore, will be spent with the Master of the mysterious fluoroscope, who reverses Edward Everett Hale and looks "in and not out," and with the dentist who must fill a pesky tooth, and then with the surgeon who tears out tonsils. Rather a full day, eh? And after two days in hospital, or three, over the hills to 8 Chester Place, Los Angeles,—by no means a poor-house,—but alas! carrying the malevolent bugs and their nesting place with me. Then I shall rest, "and faith I shall need it, lie down for an aeon or two, till the Master of all good workmen shall put me to work anew."

I am disappointed. I would take the risk if it were left to me. But I shall go West—why did those soldier boys ever use that phrase with such sinister meaning, or did it signify a better land to them? I shall go West in good hope that I shall return, and meantime will try to develop a strong propaganda in favor of race suicide in the land of the bothering bacteria, Adios.

F. K. L.

To John G. Gehring

Rochester, Minnesota, January 13, [1921]

MY DEAR PADRE,—I wrote you an impressionistic sketch of what the politicians call the "local situation," a couple of days since. … It is subject to attack on every possible ground as to details, for no man can know from it what these doctors found. But it is a perfect picture from the artist's standpoint, because it produces the result on the viewer or reader that is truth, and that result is a large, purple befuddlement. I am whole, but I have a pain. …

After I had practically been declared one hundred per cent pluperfect I gave the electric cardiograph man a picture or exhibition performance under an attack. This revealed to him a change in polarity in the current passing through, which signified something, but what that something was, other than that I was having a spasm, I don't know. …

The smug, mysterious gentleman who made this picture was much pleased, apparently at nothing more than that he had proved that I had a clutch of the heart, which I had announced, by wire, before arriving here.

Am I impatient or am I a damn fool?

Well, with my tonsils out I am in Royal Baking Powder condition and tomorrow we start for California. I cannot hope to be out there till May or June, when you would come. But Heaven knows I'd like to introduce you to the Yosemite! …

Do you know I am beginning to admire myself. Now many have thought that that was my favorite sport. But I can assure you that no one ever felt more humble than I have, any appearance to the contrary being a bluff for success—effect. But now that I have been wisely and scrupulously and unscrupulously examined by the most exalted rulers of the Inner Temple, and they pronounce me all that man should be, why shouldn't I strut some? But, damn it, strutting brings that Devil's clutch—and a man cannot be anything more strutty than a dish-rag then. In William James you will find a questionnaire, "Why do I believe in immortality? 'Because I think I'm just about ready to begin to live.'" There speaks self- justifying age—I'm there, too.

I'd love to look on Bethel this morning, and see what your poet- partner calls the hills in their wine bath. Good luck.


To Lathrop Brown

Los Angeles, [January] 15, [1921]

MY DEAR LATHROP,—I have yours of the eleventh. First question, as to men and women for the Executive Committee,

Answer: Get men who can make a program, something that the party can push, outside Congress, if too cowardly in. People who don't want anything, if possible.

Think of these! (I don't say they will do, but they stand for something.)

Charles W. Eliot. Benjamin Ide Wheeler. (Ex-President of the
University of California. Ex-Chairman, Democratic Committee,
Elmira, New York.) E. M. House. Frank L Cobb. John W. Davis.
Robert Lansing. R. Walton Moore. (Congressman from Virginia, big
fellow.) Gavin McNab. Governor Parker, of Louisiana. James D.
Phelan. Van-Lear Black.

For solid thought I'd choose out of that bunch—Eliot and Moore.
For cleverness—Black and McNab. For diplomacy—House and Davis.
For progressiveness—House and Parker. For Conservative Democracy
—Wheeler and Lansing. For writing ability—Cobb and Eliot.

I know no women who think, particularly. …

The kind of publicity we need is the advocacy by the National Committee, and by Democrats in Congress of first class measures, known to be Democratic measures, part of a program.

I'll tell you how to get all the publicity you want when I see you—or White—a new kind, cheap, but requiring brains. …

F. K L.

To Lathrop Brown

Los Angeles, January, [1921]

DEAR LATHROP,—(1) You are right as to standardization. The Devil devised it as a highway to socialism. It is the Bible of the great Tribe of Flatfoot, not for artists like you and myself. And speaking of programs, please read what Wells says in his first volume of Outline of History, on David, Solomon, Moses. It will delight your anti-semitic soul. …

Yes, standardization is like all else, good—for a distance. The whole bally outfit of life is a matter of balance, maintained by war among the unintelligent bacilli and other primitives, and by will among men (goat feed for men, eh?) But do you get my point? Something to it!

(2) George White will be eaten up first thing he knows, unless he moves. Your friend McAdoo is here declining the next nomination daily, speaking much, and, I understand, well. … Why doesn't G. W. get Frank Cobb and Hooker, of the Springfield Republican, and Van-Lear Black, and Senator Walsh, and Phelan, and Congressman Walton Moore together, or any other group, and put up his plan and ask them what they think of it tentatively,—just a quiet chat, but start.

He doesn't need to resign, if he can get someone as a quiet organizer "who will give all his time" to take up that job under him, with sub-organizers. Who is this genius who can organize inorganic matter, and give it life? Thought He was dead sometime!

"Wanted—A Miracle Man who can overcome a majority of seven million votes with a hearty handshake and a warm brown eye. Need have no program, no money. Must be a hypnotist who can make the people forget a few things and believe a few things that are not true. Must be able by reciting poetry to make the cunning capitalist see that he is safer in the hands of the Democrats than elsewhere, and at the same time educate the worker by a pass of the hand to know that it is decent to stay bought. Must have received the Gift of Tongues on the Day of Pentecost, so as to talk Yiddish, in New York; Portuguese and Gaelic, in Massachusetts; Russian and German, in Chicago; Scandinavian, in the Northwest; Cotton and Calhoun, in the South; John Brown and wheat, in Kansas; gold and Murphy, on 14th Street; and translate Jesus Christ into Bolshevism, Individualism, Capitalism, Lodgeism, Wilsonism! Must be as honest as old Cleveland and as clear of purpose as Abraham Lincoln."

Put this want ad. in the papers and send me, by freight car, the replies. With my warmest,

F. K. L.

To Adolph C. Miller

Los Angeles, January 26, [1921]

DEAR ADOLPH,—I see that Harding [Footnote: Governor Harding of the Federal Reserve Board—a rumor of resignation.] is to leave you, and this is a note of sympathy. What will you do? Poor chap! I know the satisfaction you have had out of working with him and now he follows Warburg, Delano, and Strauss. By Jove, that's why we can't make things go as other countries do—because we can't give our people enough to live on. This is at once the meanest and most generous of Republics. Mean collectively, generous individually.

He will wait until after March 4th. "Right oh!" I expect you to have some say as to his successor, especially as to the new Governor. And if you can't work with the new man you can lift your skirts and skip! Freedom of movement, assured as to all by Adam Smith, is exclusively the prerogative of the fortunate few. Don't be downhearted! You can't be as badly off as you were for several years. Just think how unlucky I am as compared with you, and pat yourself on the back and take one of the old time struts. Good belly! Good brains! Good pocket-book! Good friends near you! Good dog to walk with in the woods—and woods in which you can walk! Good house, with your own books to look at you friendly-like. Oh boy, rejoice and be glad!

February 17, [1921]

We are most terribly disappointed. Your promised visit was a bright spot,—a sunshiny place—to which we have looked forward as to nothing else since we came here. Well, life is a series of such jars, and child-like I submit, but am not reconciled.

… Are you coming later? How is Mary? We really seem far away from our friends. The land is beautiful, but friends convert a shack into a palace, a desert into a heaven.

F. K. L.

To John G. Gehring

Pasadena, near Paradise, February 18

Before breakfast this morning, indeed before dressing, I sent you a message which was a combined confession, apologia, report, and appeal. I said, "I have done wrong, I apologize, I am slightly better, and I hope and pray you will not become downhearted." I also promised to write and here I am at it. But you would have had this letter just as early anyway, for this morning was to be yours and mine. All other mornings for two weeks and more have belonged to someone else. I have been pretending to work, by going to the office each day. And last night I said good-bye to the Napoleon of our institution, who took his private car and rolled away to Mexico, to Galyeston first, thence by private yacht to Tampico, there to see his properties and spend two or three weeks.

… They desired us to go greatly, and ours would have been every possible comfort that one can have while traveling, … but the tyrant Anne thought that as I was picking up a bit it was wrong to change conditions, and I yielded, hardly against my judgment, but strongly against my desire.

So here I am, the first hour after release, sitting on the porch of a villa, looking across a valley at amethyst mountains, crowned with a sprinkling of blue and white snow. The noises that come to me are not raucous;—the twitter of birds, a rooster crowing, a well-pump throbbing its heart out, the shouts of some children at play, a distant school bell, with no silver in its alloy, however, the swish of a wood-sawing machine in some back-yard. So my ears are not lonesome. Immediately before me is the gray-lavender bole of a tall eucalyptus, not a leaf or branch for fifty feet, and then a drooping cascade of blue-green feathers. Beyond it a few feet a red-blue eucalyptus, sturdy, branching almost at the ground and in blossom. These stand near the border of a drive which is marked by a cypress hedge, trimmed and proper, and beyond the drive, on the front of the terrace are magnolia and iron-wood and avocado and palm and spruce, rising up out of beds of carnations and geraniums, jasmine and pansies (all violet), and cherokee roses, five-petaled, white with golden centers, and rose colored— (the wild rose with a university education, a year or two in Italy, and the care of a good maid). While beyond this terrace are orange, and tangerine, and lemon, and grapefruit with their green, yellow, and deep red-golden fruit pendant; and still further on, a fringe of blossoming pear trees tell you that this is not the tropics after all. The breeze is a gentle woman's hand, a soft touch, kindly, tender, emotional, but not disturbing. It is not lotus-eating time. I don't know that that time ever comes here. Autos whisk through the woods, buildings are going up, the air is dry and has tang; it has challenge in it, but it does not give off the heady champagne of the air that the snow breathes out on your Millbrook hillside.

I remember as I looked from my window at the sunset at Bethel saying to myself, "Can there be any fairer spot than this?" And this morning as I saw the sun rise into the pink and blue of the sky, empurpling the shadowed hills and splashing rose leaves on the snowy mountains, I again said "Is there anything lovelier, anywhere?" Great blessing, these catholic eyes! Should the heart be equally catholic? There is a real problem in philosophy and sociology for you!

And now that you know how happily circumstanced I am as to environment your doctorial demand is for something as to the behavior of the organs and nerves which we call the physical man. Well, I can't tell you much. I do not rise and walk half a block without that trigger being pulled, but the explosion is not dynamite, rather poor black powder, I should say. If I walk half a dozen blocks I stop a half a dozen times, and once or twice nibble at a precious pellet of nitro. At night I am wakened as of yore, but the agonizing, crushing pains do not come every night. … I eat prunes and bran biscuit and coffee for breakfast; a bit of cooked fruit (and that in this land of oranges and alligator pears and ripe raspberries!), chicken and green peas, and bran biscuit and tea for lunch; a couple of green vegetables and bran biscuit and a small black, for dinner. And all this I write with a supreme sense of virtue, which Simon Stylites or St. Benedict could not more than parallel. As to smoking—a pipe, generous in size but of the mildest possible tobacco, after breakfast. A mild, large cigar after lunch, and pause here and worship—no cigar after dinner. (But this latter is a Lenten innovation. I would not have you think I am preparing for immediate ascension.)

As to treatment, an osteopath and a Christian Scientist are my present complement. Each morning the former, and each evening the latter. The former to gratify myself, the latter to gratify a dear friend who "believed and was saved." The osteo is rational, the C. S., with limitations and reservations. …

The C. S. is a woman, the sister of an artist I used to know. If she did not ask or expect that I believe certain things, we would get on better. I can believe in God as the Principle of Life, that seems scientific. I am willing to call Him Spirit, that is Christian. That He is Supreme in the Universe, I admit. That sin and sickness may with further light be overmastered I do not deny; physical death, of course, seems to me a thing not worth bothering about. But that God is all good, I cannot asseverate in the living presence of a few Devils whom I know, unless I deny that He is omnipresent and omnipotent, or unless I say that Bad is Good. God cannot be good and all powerful without being also responsible for Bad, and therefore be both Good and Bad. This I can believe, and it brings me to Emerson's transcendentalism, which is set forth in the Sphinx—"Deep Love lieth under these pictures of Time, which fade in the light of their meaning sublime." In a word we are growing into the Good. The Bad is not the ultimate, but is none the less real. This is better than Manicheism, the Miltonian contest between the Good Spirit and the Bad, which Wells also in his Invisible King presents; a simple theory, understandable but not to my mind subject to careful scrutiny. There is but one God, one Force, one Principle, one Spirit, and it is working its way through, expressing itself as best it can. And Evil is a partial view, one phase of undevelopment, the muck through which, by God's own law, we must come; and indeed He could not have sent us any other way. This means that He is bound, too. Is this supposable? Omnipresent? Yes! All pervading! In all! But Omnipotent? No, not in the sense that He could change the Order of Things, for He is the Order of Things Himself. Is there even in Him complete Freedom of Will, freedom to make a world other than this? One wishes, in a sense, to say so, but the horror of it! for then He is responsible for the cruelty of the ant-heap, the feeding of the carnivorous upon the vegetable eaters, the preying and persecution of the malevolent upon the kindly—and He could have made it all otherwise! With a Free Will He could have brought growth without pain, being omnipotent. Here we see God as a monster,—responsible for sweat shops and the Marne, in the sense that His will could have averted these things. So I say God is not Good, save in the sense that He is that sunrise this morning. But night cometh, when thieves break through and steal. More sunlight—that is the meaning of the phrase "God is Good"—a belief in a tendency, in the temporality of darkness, of night, a sureness that the day will come and "There will be no night there."

This is a long disquisition, but I just had to get it out of my system; yet I can't, it bothers, and confuses, and perplexes, and hinders, I believe. Better brush it away for practical purposes and have the Will to Believe, for thence cometh strength. Pragmatically C. S. works out with certain people; and to them it is Truth. I wish it were so with my doubting mind, that I could believe. I am willing to be cured tho' I do not understand and cannot believe, and this they say they can do. But it has not been done with me.

Lunch broke into this discourse, and then a walk. This time on the other side of the house, the other side of the hill. There I found a new world. Palms, huge ones, thirty feet across, with their dead branches strewing the ground, making a coarse woven carpet; and pines, large ones, yet not so gigantic as yours on the road beyond the creek; and acacia in full golden bloom, glorious, yet modest tree, a very rare, non-self-assertive tree, a truly Christian tree, beautiful but not prideful. Bamboo in great clumps, erect, yielding but not to be broken—wise, tenacious orientals! And I walked on the off-cast seed of the pepper, and beside cacti higher than my head with spears of crimson, and across a sweep of lawn over which oranges had been dropped, by the generosity of an up- hill row of trees that were saying, "We must make room for the next generation." The flowers (oxalis) and leaves I enclose made a mat, close clinging to the earth, a mat of white, red, and lavender resting on these clover-like leaves that rested in turn directly on the ground. And all about, a hundred plants I did not know, into which my footsteps sent quail and rabbit, that did not fear me really but could not quite say that Man is Love.

I have written you a long line, may it serve for a time as a word also to your dear Lady, whose letter and rare bit of verse I have also received. I do hope that you soon master whatever ails you. Don't lose faith in yourself, above all things. Believe that you are all that your friends believe you to be—a Civilized Medicine Man. Be as deluded as we are. Affectionately,


To John W. Hallowell

Los Angeles, February 21, 1921 MY DEAR JACK,—It is Sunday morning, very early; the sun is trying to get out of bed, a mocking bird is hailing its effort with great gurgling. I am sitting near an open window looking down into orange trees, which are a very dark shadow, and I am just as happy in my heart as I can be with a bum heart, and no home, and a scattered family. But —! Bad word that "but."

Roots we all have and we must not be torn up from them and flung about as if we were young things that could take hold in any soil. I have been, all America has been, too indifferent to roots—home roots, school roots, work roots. … We should love stability and tradition as well as love adventure and advancement.

Your new job interests me, but I wonder if you will go with the Secretary of Commerce [Hoover], … I guess he did right. But unless he gets to be the leading adviser he'll have to get out. For I'm afraid we are to see too much politics—Republican Burlesonism in the saddle. Government by unanimous consent is not practicable, and it looked as if this were Harding's motto until Hoover's appointment. Hoover will be the man to whom the country will look for some guidance along progressive lines, and the country will expect too much, more than any man can deliver.

Please tell your dear Mother that I have her book, and last night read two chapters. I know Bok and did not think him capable of such a literary work, or that he had such character as his book reveals. … My love to the Troop, and write just as often as you can.

F. K. L.

To Curt G. Pfeiffer

Pasadena, 22 [February, 1921]

MY DEAR OLD PFEIFFER,—I have treated you shamefully. Yes, I have, don't protest! But I have been pretending to be busy. Mr. Doheny wanted me to go to Mexico, and Anne did not want me to go, and I have had a hard time. They have gone and we have come out here with Mrs. Severance, in the loveliest hillside spot you ever saw. Flowers and trees all about and mountains in the distance. Wonderful land!

To-day I celebrated G. W.'s birthday by taking on a new doctor.
… Thought I had escaped from doctors but it is not so to be. …

This is all my news. I do wish I were there to talk politics with you. Poor Harding! He will suffer the politicians, I fear, till they undo him. …

The Germans seem to have recovered their audacity. They should have been driven into their own land and then some. I am not for revenge nor for their paralyzing, but just reparation they should pay. Perhaps things have been botched, I do not trust Briand. I'd trust Hoover to get all they could pay, and he's the only one I know who could be just and at the same time sensible in method, but he can't be used where he should be used. …

March 31

… You are a delight and joy to a thirsty man, a true water carrier, you give of the water of life. For you know that men shall not live by bread alone. Not only words of wisdom, sage counsel, come from you, but there is a heart behind which does not wane with the years, but on the contrary grows stronger and more generous. I look forward to returning to New York to be able once again to feel with you the pleasure of an intellectual companionship, wherein the mind is so refined as to be emotionally sympathetic. You would take the greatest joy out of the beauty in which I am living. … The night is fragrant (Do you remember telling me of that Japanese criterion?) with orange, wisteria, and jasmine. Oh, this is exquisite country, if I only had health! But there is little beauty where pain is, and my pain holds on even when I was with my brother on his farm, eighty acres, south of San Jose, tucked in the foothills—raises nothing but kindliness and a few vegetables and some hay. It is the sweetest place in its spirit I have ever felt, and lovely physically, too. I wish I could get you to go out there with me. Put up a comfortable adobe on the knob of a hill with a wide prospect and then make things grow, including our own souls. …

I'm going back there in a week or two, then East, I hope, to Ned's wedding. … The girl is all a girl should be, I believe. Smaller than he is, a tiny thing in fact, very gentle in voice and manner, sweet natured, musical, wholesome.

… I still dream of that place on the Shepaug river, in
Connecticut, where you think I would be lonesome. A winter here
with George and a summer there with you, would quite suit me. …
Well, write me, for books are not old friends after all, are they?
Forever and ever yours,

F. K. L.

Writing of the days of their youth Pfeiffer said later, "Friendships are inexplicable, they defy analysis, but whatever it was that we might be doing, we were usually in harmony about it. I can only explain it by saying that we liked each other. We liked each other just as we were, and we knew each other with intimacy that deepened with the years, and never disappointed us. The magic circle came later to include others, and they were accepted and appreciated with the same affection and trust. … It is a singular and beautiful thing that such a multiple and intimate relationship should have survived throughout all of our lives. Perhaps it was because we were friends without capitulation. …

"Some of us did not meet again, after that first period, for years, but whenever we did meet, it was always in the spirit of the early days. A few words would tell us what we knew of the latest doings of the rest, and we would then 'carry on' just as if there had never been a break in our intercourse. The strength of our joint memories, based on our youthful experiences in common and added to from time to time, grew with the years."

To John G. Gehring

Pasadena, February 24, [1921]

MY DEAR DOCTOR-AND-MORE,—This is a note of cheer written by a somewhat dolorous duffer who spent last night in pain, but this morning is rather comfortable. …

Am reading William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, and it is really the most helpful religious or philosophical work I have ever read. Nothing else anywhere near as good for the groping mind that wants to be led cautiously, reasonably, suggestively to the "Water of Life," but shown that there is water there. (Pretty poor figure, but perhaps understandable.) I must re-read his answer to the questionnaire in his Letters, and compare it with his conclusions in this book. You remember my thought that probably Emerson, William James, and Henry George had been the greatest writing minds we had produced. Probably you can improve on this.

Have been interested myself in thinking of a list of books that have made great movements in the world, Darwin's Descent of Man, for illustration. Books that have provoked the minds of men into action of one kind or another:—The Bible, Koran, in religions, of course! What started modern medicine? I mean in the way of a book?

What are, or have been, the great movements in history, anyway?
Wars, of course, don't count, when merely predatory.

    Man's relation to God.
    Man's relation to the World.
    Man's relation to Man.
    Man's relation to the Good.
    Man's relation to the True.
    Man's relation to the Beautiful.

These ought to cover Art, Science, Philosophy, Religion, Progress. Civilization of every kind. And this progress has come in waves, hasn't it? Did any book start, or give evidence of the starting of these waves? That's the question. Outside religion and philosophy books were the results not the causes of movements. How true is that? As always and always,

F. K. L.

To D. M. Reynolds

Pasadena, [February, 1921]

I'm writing this late at night and will mail it in the morning, for I'm going to Santa Barbara for a couple of days. Do with it what you will. Judge for me what it is wise to say. And be as condensed as possible.

What I've written is to be dropped in at the right places, it is not conservative. Will see you next week, I hope, perhaps Saturday.


Cooperation is the word of this century and we don't know what it means yet. We work together most imperfectly in things political, and we are just beginning to feel our way into the worlds of social and industrial life. I'm not afraid of socialism. I really don't know anyone who is. We're all afraid of blundering attempts at getting a thing called by that name, which is a mechanical method of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, without changing the human spirit.

The call for socialism or communism is generally a call for more of justice and of honesty and of fair dealing between men, rather than a demand for any particular and organized method of carrying on industrial life. If business is squarely conducted we won't try experiments in mechanicalizing and sterilizing business. But a few more years of profiteering, and Conservatives would have become Reds.

Now we should be studying and planning for a safer industrial life, one in which there will be fewer waves, a safer and more even sea. That we can have, if we are willing to be less greedy now, less venturesome and predatory.

The only people who have done much in the way of substantial thinking as to cooperative action, collective action, are those who think in terms of immediate and large fortunes for themselves, through plans of capitalizing combined brains and money. Their example is a good one to follow in lesser things, where the object is not great wealth but a more even measure of good living. Insurance is the right word for it, business life insurance through honest cooperation. You mark my word, that is the next big move in business affairs. Nationalization of things is not their socialization. Not at all. It may mean their deserialization, their withdrawal from the use of society altogether, or their more imperfect use. Calling things by nice names, popular alluring names, does not solve problems. Nevertheless such names evidence our social dreams. We all feel that there must be more of justice in the economic world. But we don't want it at the expense of society, that is at our own expense, for that means Bolshevism and Bolshevism is paralysis. …

Oil is one of the fine forms of Power that we know, for many purposes the handiest. Industrially it is as indispensable and staple as the soil itself. To lose faith in the future of oil— why, that's as unthinkable as to lose faith in your hands. Oil, coal, electricity, what are these but multiplied and more adaptable, super-serviceable hands? They may temporarily be unemployed but the world can't go round without them.

A slack time is always one of fear, never of confidence. And no policies should be adopted in such an atmosphere. For the man who can afford to take the long view these are great days. He can take up what others cannot carry. Better still he can prepare for the demand of to-morrow, or the day after to-morrow—find more oil, if you please, plan for its fuller use, as we are talking of oil, but the principle applies to everything. Take the railroads. Their car shortage is mounting and their out-of-order equipment is way up. This has always been so in hard times. But this is the very time when they should have plenty of money, to get road bed and equipment in perfect shape for to-morrow's rush. No, the nation would do no better if it had the roads. Congress doesn't think ahead two years. It is a reflector, not a generator. The fault is ours.

Right now the call in national affairs of every kind is for the long view; we have use for the men who can see this nation in its relation to other nations, next year and next generation, and for men in business who can think in terms of 1922, and 1925, and 1945. That's what really big business can do—hold its breath under water and watch the waves.

To Mrs. Cordenio Severance

[Pasadena, March, 1921]

DEAR MAIDIE,—It is six in the morning. The sun is a long streak of salmon pink in a gray skirt of fog. Chanticleer is very loud and conquering. The little birds are twittering all about, in wisteria, in oranges; and over on the hillside, by the cherokee roses, there was a mocking bird that hailed the dawn, or its promise, an hour ago.

And for all this beauty, this gay cheer, this soul-lifting day- breaking I have you to thank. It is the one most exquisite spot in which I have ever laid my head. And pity is that I have been so down-cast that I could not feel fully what was here, nor show what I did feel.

Forgive me for my many ungraciousnesses and credit yourself, I beg, with having done all and everything that human hands and heart could do to make me "come back."

You have spent a lifetime doing good, giving out of your heart, and the only reward you can get is the evidence of understanding in paltry words like these.

F. K. L.

To Alexander Vogelsang Assistant Secretary of the Interior

Los Angeles, March 4, [1921]

DEAR ALECK,—The end has come. We were identified with an historic period, one of the great days of the world. And none can say that our part, of relatively slight importance maybe, was not well played. We did not strut and call the world to witness how well we did. We did not voice indignation at injustice, and make heroes of ourselves at the price of unity. And some things we did, and more we tried to do, and all were good. So I look back over the eight years with some personal satisfaction, for not a thing was done or attempted … that was unworthy, ignoble, unpatriotic or little.

I am glad to get news of the force, and sorry that I cannot have them all round about me for the rest of my days. Had I been well I would have been with you this morning, to bid you all good cheer. It was my hope when I saw you in December that this might be.

I like your plans for the future and, by the starry belt of Orion, I'd like to join you. … I am stronger and look very well, but my damn pains are about as frequent and crunching as ever. … No one can say that I have not fought a good fight and stood a lot of punishment. Good luck, dear Aleck.

F. K. L.

To James S. Harlan

Pasadena, March 5, [1921]

MY DEAR JIM,—That was a fine long letter in your old-time style, and I am doing the unprecedented thing of answering it promptly. To this I am prompted by the near-by presence of a very handsome young woman formerly named Wyncoop, now Mays, who knows Mrs. Harlan well, having been much at the Crater Club. … Who would have thought such a thing possible—that here as I lie on a couch in a doctor's office with a rubber tube in my mouth, I should attract the curiosity of a baby who came to see the "funny tube," and that she should be followed by a nice-looking, blue-eyed, bright-cheeked girl who says, "I believe I saw you once at Lake Champlain. You know Mrs. Harlan."

Well now, as George Harvey might say—"One day After!" I want to help in any way I can to make this administration a success. … If Hoover can work with Harding, or the latter with him, all will be well. But I fear the politicians—especially … [those] ambitious for a great political machine. The country will be generous for a time to Harding. … But it will turn against him with anger unbounded if he turns the country over to the men who want office and the men who want privilege and favor. The politicians and the profiteers may be his undoing. I hope not!

… I cannot close without a special word to that most gracious, tender, and charming Lady who is your "sweet-heart." As I wander and see many, I find no limitation, no reservation, or modification to put to that declaration of admiration and devotion, which I made to Her now some fifteen years ago, nearly. Tell her that this old, sick troubled man thinks nice things about her often. My affectionate regards to you, dear Jim.


To Adolph C. Miller

Morgan Hill, March 9, [1921]

When my eyes opened this morning they looked out upon a hillside of vivid green, like the tops of Monterey cypress, flecked with bits of darker green embroiderings, and behind this was green, too, but very dark, and it had great splashes of a green so dark that they looked black—and my heart was glad. It was a common scene, nothing rarely beautiful about it. Fog enclosed the earth. There was no sky. But I had known it as a boy, this same kind of a picture, and it went to this poor tired heart of mine and was like balsam to a wound. By Jove, it is balsam! These hills are for the healing of men. I have been here three days and have taken more exercise than in three months—walking and climbing; beside the creek lined with great sycamores—alluvial soil, crumbles in your hand, and with our friend the gopher in it; and climbed up through a bit of manzanita—big fellows, twenty feet high some of them— and such a rich brown, near-burgundy red! I barked a bit of the bole to get that green beneath, spring green, great contrast!

And above the grove of manzanita was a flat top to the hill, from which I could see three ways, and all ending in cloud-wrapped mountains, that had shape and were blue of some kind, as far as you could see. Ah man, this is a glorious land—even the people! Along the road I talked to Lundgren, who used to be a ship- carpenter, but he had a prune orchard here "since the fire." I must "see his horses," great snuzzling monsters that he had raised himself (sold one of them once, and sneaked off and bought it back) and his calves, twins out of a three-year-old—and she had had one before. Oh shades of Teddy Roosevelt, there's your ideal! (Do you remember Kipling's line in the Mary Gloster, "And she carried her freight each trip"?)

And next to Lungren was the Frenchman—far up on the hill cultivating his grapes, for which he got $110 per ton last year— and this year he puts out five acres more. The Frenchman has indigestion and lives alone … that hillside of vines gives him something to love.

When we come to the turn in the road, where you cross the creek to climb the hill, there the "Portugee" lives. He always has lived there. He was found just there when the Padres came. And his name was Silva. John Silva, of Stevenson's Treasure Island—born in the Azores, of course—there are no other Portuguese in America.

And John has—how many children? Give you three guesses. All by one wife, too, and she is in evidence, and a native daughter. I saw her with my own eyes, black hair, dark skin, slight figure, voluble, smiling, large-knuckled hands and a flashy eye, oh! a long way from being uninteresting to John yet, or a merely "good woman." Well, how many children did they have, right there by the road?—eleven. Eight boys and three girls—and four dead, too. Fine boys and girls, one I saw plowing or cultivating straight up and down the vineyard, a sixty degree hill, I should say. I was struggling with a cane to get one foot before another on the sloping road and he was outdoing a horse, that he drove with his neck and shoulders, while with his hands he guided the little plow straight up toward the sky. I am not envious of such youth. I never had it. I was always lazy. But it is a real joy for me to be near such youth—just to know that such things can be done—by angels from the Azores. You remember Anne's story, "In future it is prohibited to refer to our beloved Allies as 'the God-damned Portuguese'"? Well, I feel the same way.

Yes, this land of yours is good. (All land is good, I believe.) And the stillness, and the birds, and the flowers! The simplicity of these two dear hearts—George and his wife—the little they need! A paper once a day for five minutes, a song to break day with, and a round of songs and piano pieces to end the day, every act one of consideration, and each word spoken with a tender look, a gay lilt to the voice, even in asking to pass the salt. "Better a dinner of herbs where love is," etc. Well, they have it, herbs and all,—beet tops and mustard leaves. … Good luck to you.

F. K. L.

P. S. You don't deserve this—you stingy, skimpy mollusk!

To Lathrop Brown

Morgan Hill, [March] 16, [1921]

MY DEAR LATHROP,—I wish I could be with you just to laugh away that cynical mood. I know that I do not see the world undressed, naked, in the raw, as you youngsters do. Illusions and delusions, let them be! I shall cherish them. For whatever it is inside of me that I call soul seems to grow on these things that seem so contrary to the results of experience. "If a lie works, it's the truth," says Dooley. So say I, in my pragmatism. I have "become" in the eyes of men and I want to "become" in the eyes of my better self, that ego must be gratified at least by an effort. And to "become" requires that there shall be some faith. We don't accomplish by disbelieving. That is your Mother's religion. It is my philosophy. She has capacity for faith which I have not, because she climbs, while I stand still.

Of course the inauguration business was commonplace. That is Ohio statesmanship, somehow. But good may come of it, and you and I want to help it, so far as it wants national food, to bear fruit. Damn all your politics and partisanship! Humbug—twaddle—fiddle- dee-dee, made for lazy louts who want jobs and bosses who want power. Well, we are out now for a long time, and we might as well forget bitterness, or rather submerge it in the bigger call of the nation. All of which you characterize as sentimentalism—so says Burleson, too.

I am beginning to despair of doctors and to say to myself, "Better get back to work, and go it as long as you can, then quit and live on rolled oats and buttermilk until the light goes out." … Well, goodnight, dear chap.

F. K. L.

To John G. Gekring

[March] 21, [1921]

And how are you, Padre? Do you find that there are those who can probe into the secrets within you and tell more than you as patient can tell yourself? Has a physician who follows the biblical advice, "Heal thyself," a Fool for a Doctor? What has been taught you in the ill-smelling center of darkness, dreariness and torture, where there is more need for beauty than in any other place, and less of it, more need for gaiety, and less of it, more need for wholesome suggestion and less of it? … All hospitals should have bright paper on the walls, or bright pictures. To hell with the microbe theory! There are worse things than microbes. All nurses should be good-looking. They should paint and pad, if necessary, to give an imitation of good looks. Now, honestly, do you not agree? And they should not have doors open, nor ask perfunctory silly questions, such as "Well, how are we today?"

On examination nurses should be rated largely for things that don't count—looks, cheerfulness, silliness, sympathy, softness of hand, willingness to listen to the victim-patient! …

I am going to Rochester, … my brother is going with me. Bless him! He'd be glad to take you back, and he can give you wood to chop, and a black-headed grosbeak to sing for you. Ever hear one? Better than Caruso.

May the Lord make his light to shine upon you and give you peace.

F. K. L.

To John H. Wigmore

Los Angeles, March 25, 1921

MY DEAR JOHN,—Hail to you brave leader of the Moral Forces! Isn't that an offensive title? You see I have been asked to join you in "Potentia." Isn't that word out of the Middle Ages?

I would like to join against crooks, thieves, and liars. But the American people don't like anyone to assume that he represents the Moral Forces. And "Potentia" sounds too mystic for any land this side of Egypt. Am I not right? Answer in one of your sane moments. You cannot go against ridicule in America. Bishops here are not the same as Lords in England. They cannot save from ridicule pretentious good things. Now Ross and you are wise things. How do you stand for "Moral Forces" and "Potentia"? No, no, dear John!— less hifalutism!

I write for information. Tell me—do you think good will come of it? My immediate judgment is against it, strongly. In purpose— good, in method, name,—impossible. It is as if one were to say, "Come let us gather together the Good and the Wise, and say who shall be called honest men." Cicero, I believe, formed government by the "boni." No one likes the good who advertise. I don't. Am I all wrong? …


To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

[Pasadena], March 25, [1921]

Your letters, my dear Mrs. Franklin, are refreshing breezes. They are quite what breezes should be—warm, kindly, stimulating; not hard, stiff, compelling things, off a granite Northern shore. Anne rejoices in them, without words.

I have been lately with my one brother on his ranch—a large name implying vast herds quietly grazing over infinite valleys and mountains. But all farms here are ranches, as you doubtless know, as all weather is fine. My brother's ranchita is eighty acres of beauty; a stream below, running up to manzanita crowns on good- sized hills, and oaks and sycamores and bays, and many other trees between. He has a house, all of which he planned in fullest detail himself, with as lovely a site as anywhere, and a pretty and artistic wife; a good saddle horse, a noble dog, a loyal and most excellent cook, many books—and what more could he have in heaven? Outside his dining-room window he has built a dining-table for the birds, and so as we dined within, they dined without. Each morning I saw the sun rise, and I whistled as I dressed. One morning I climbed the hills and found the cow and drove it in for the man to milk. But my only morning duty was to pick a golden poppy or a cherokee rose or a handful of wild forget-me-nots for my button- hole. All day I sat in the sun, or drove a bit or walked a little —talking, talking, talking; of law, and Plato, and Epictetus, and Harry Lauder, (whom we imitated, at a distance; for my brother sings Scotch songs); and we talked too of our old girls and the early days of good hunting in this semi-civilized land, and of Woodrow Wilson and H. G. Wells and Emerson and Henry George, and of Billy Emerson, the negro minstrel, and William Keith our great artist. And we planned houses, adobe houses, that should be built up above, over the manzanita bushes, and the swimming-pool that should just naturally lie between the two live-oaks hidden behind the natural screen of mountain laurel, but open clear up to the sun. Each night we closed with a round of songs, and maybe a hymn. And bed was early. Now wasn't that a good place to be?

Not so very different in atmosphere from Hyde Park! But what would Broadway say of such a life! Oh, the serenity of it all, the dignity, the independence, the superiority over so much that we think important. There one could get a sense of proportion, and see things more nearly in their natural color and size. Truly, I could have been religious if I lived in the country—and not been too hard driven for a living! (For one can't be anything good or great when pressed and bullied by necessity of any kind.)

So I grew in strength on the little ranch and unwillingly came back for treatment here, which was not half so good for soul or body as to sit in the sun and see the birds daintily pick their crumbs and know that the dog at my knee understood what I did not tell him.

Give to the Ducal lady at Hyde Park my spring greetings, and to the "young lord lover" who bears your name my respectful regards. I expect to go to Rochester, or elsewhere, in May, and in the meantime think me not silly because I like you and have written of what I like.

F. K L.

To John W. Hallowell

Los Angeles, March 31, 1921

DEAR JACK,—I went to your Church on Sunday. Now there! Real Friends. I wondered, "Why the two doors?" as I went up the steps, but I said, "I'll take the nearest." Someone was talking, so I plumped down in the backmost seat. Then I looked about and found that I was faced by three rows of sisters, in poke bonnets on a raised platform, at the end of the room. Around me were women, women, women, and children. Not a man!

My wits at last came to me. I discovered there were two rooms really, divided by pillars. And there were the men, the blessed, homely men. So up I lifted hat and coat and piled over on the man's side and breathed again.

The speaker looked like the late Senator Hoar and was intoning or chanting his speech or address or sermon. I had never heard it done and the cadence was charming. It adds to the emotionalism of what is said. When he sat down, there was a long pause, and then a sister, on the opposite side now, quoted, modestly, a psalm. Two more, a man and woman, spoke. Then a prayer and at twelve, with one accord, we all rose and went out.

It is the essence of Democracy and I fear the forward there, and not the most worthy of being heard, come to the front. Please tell your mother how good I was! And write me, you scoundrel!

F. K. L.

Postcard to John G. Gehring

April 20, [1921]

On the eastbound train, traveling toward a little man who carries a little knife in his hand and beckons me toward the north. I do not go gladly, because I am feeling so much better. Have had whole days and nights without pain, by the exercise of all kinds of care. Still that is living "on condition." Is there never again to be freedom? You see I am a natural Protestant. Good luck to you, dear man.


To Hall McAllister

R.R. Train, Minnesota, April 22

DEAR HALL,—I am now on the St. Paul road going to Lake City, where, it is said my son is to be married to a charming, little Irish girl, one generation away from Ireland.

Right now, I am sitting opposite Mrs. Franklin K. Lane who is, in turn, sitting beside my brother who has come East with me as secretary, nurse, doctor, mentor, spiritual advisor, valet, and companion. On my right is the Mississippi river, of which you may have heard. On Sunday I hope to go to Rochester again and then be cut in two, tho' I am not sure they will do it.

I left California last Tuesday. It was quite pleased with itself and full of pity for all the rest of the world. It surely has much to say for itself, and says it with frequency and normalcy. The only disappointment in dying will be the unfortunate contrast—eh, you Californian? But then you and I are not like those transplanted Iowans who fill Southern California, most of whom have never seen Mt. Tamalpais nor the Golden Gate and yet think they know California!

I look at the paper and see "Harding" at the top of every column. Then I think of W. W. looking at the paper and seeing the same headlines. Oh, what unhappiness! Not all the devices of Tumulty for keeping alive illusions of grandeur could offset those headlines. Ungrateful world! Un-understanding world!

I hope you like your new boss. He will be a good western Secretary, and is quite likely to get into a row with our eastern conservation friends. I am glad he is from the Senate, they care for their own.

I don't like Harrison jumping on Harvey after confirmation. Looks little, weakens his influence as "our" man, and is not sportsmanlike. We must take our medicine and let Harding have his own way, and it won't be such a bad way, but surely very different.

… I should like to get back to Washington and loaf for a time around Sheridan Circle. I know a woman there who intrigued me (as you writers say) long, long ago with various fascinations of spirit and mind and eye and voice. But I fear she would not know me any more.

Now do not be discouraged because you have a bit of sickness. You are youth, you can beat old whiskered Time. Life has many a laugh in it yet for you. Why you look forty years younger than Joe Redding—but don't tell him I told you.


To Mrs. Frederic Peterson

Rochester, Minnesota, April 26, [1921]

MY DEAR MRS. PETERSON,—… Once more I am going through the grinding of the Mayo mill, and this time I hope to some concrete purpose, and have an end to this coming out "by that same door wherein I went" The dear old meditative, contemplative Orientals threw up their hands in despair long years ago and found the figure of the unending wheel to symbolize all processes and procedures: a world, a universe, without termini. Sometimes I think them right, but then again my western mind will not have it that the riddle of the Sphinx may not be solved. Our assurance meets every challenge; mystery may make us humble; we may be baffled; but we do not despair because we know we are Gods to whom all doors must open eventually. That seems to be the real underlying strength of our position. Why men go on with research excepting out of some such philosophy I cannot see—nor why they go on with life.

Tell your good man that I long to look once more into the sweet face of the Shepaug, and that while I have been wandering in the delicious and rare places, I have not forgotten the fresh wholesomeness of the Hoosatonic. My first visit shall be to the meeting place of the Three Rivers. Why might not fortune lead us to have a summer in Connecticut and a winter in California? "I know a place where the wild thyme grows," many such places indeed, and high hillsides of wild lilac and a wee mountain crowned with the flowering manzanita. Oh, this world is a place to make souls grow if one can get an apple tree, a pine and an oak, a few lilies, a circle of crimson phlox, a stretch of moving water and a sweep of sky, that can be called one's own.

We saw Cordy Severance's place on Sunday—went there from the wedding of my boy to Catherine McCahill—and found a volume of the Chinese Lyrics [Footnote: By Dr. Frederic Peterson.] in the big room. Great chap Cordy, and a great room he has to play the organ in, and more people love him than anyone else I know, for he loves them with an aggressiveness that few men dare to show, that gives him distinction and is a glory.

How far away the war seems—way back yonder with the fight for
Independence and the French Revolution, almost back to Caesar.
Well, I must quit mental meanderings. With all good will,


To Roland Cotton Smith

Rochester, Minnesota, [April] 30

And you know that I cannot even write Spoon River! Vain man!
Strutting cock o' the walk! Knight of the Knickerbocker Club!
Gazer upon Fifth Avenue and the Foibles and Frivolities! Reveller
in things of life and Enjoyer of Gaiety!

Look thou upon me. To Minnesota driven. In a hospital-hotel. Punched and tapped by every stray Knight of the Golden Fleecers. Awaiting a verdict from puzzled doctors. … Bless you, I have been through years of watchful waiting but not of this kind, and a few weeks of this is enough. But I am a patient, long-suffering, Christian martyr upon whom the Pagans work their will.

And you, poor man. Tied to a woman's foot! Now that is what I call humiliating. Worse than being tied to her apron strings or to her chariot, (in the latter, they say, there is often much joy.) Why should people have feet anyway in these days of autos? A mere transportation convenience! Well, all our transportation facilities seem to be out of order these days. Fallen arches, in sooth! Reminds one of Rome. Very much more aristocratic than infected gall-bladder after all. And I do hope they can be restored, those arches, and the world once more put on its peripatetic way.

But you do not tell me of yourself. Can you chop wood or saw wood or play golf or do aught else that doth become a man of muscle, energy, life, vim, go, pep? Take a trip to the South Seas, a knock-about trip, casting off clerical garb and living in the open, mixing with the primitive peoples, seeing beauteous nature, climbing mountains, swimming in soft waters, not seeing newspaper or book. They tell me that in Burmah live a happy people who love beauty, are always smiling and follow the Golden Rule far nearer than those who live by trade and are blest by civilization. Ah, that I might see such a people! The nearest I ever came was at Honolulu, and there was the taint of the Christian, alack-a-day! The White Man's Burden is the weight of the load of sin, disease, death, and misfortune he has dropped on the happy ones who never knew a Christian creed. We have given them bath tubs in exchange for cheerful living!

I am as much in the air as to the future as I was in the russet days of Bethel. But one of these days, let us hope we may gather over a bottle of something sound and mellow, and laugh together over our adventure into the land of the woebegone. I do not take to it, tho' they say some people live in it by choice, for they find something to talk of there, and feel saintly because they suffer. Well, we will have more knowledge in that happy future and more of sympathy. What a lot one must endure to gain a wee bit of wisdom. And then to have it die with us. Maybe it does not, eh? Maybe it somehow, somewhere finds a corner into which it drops and carries someone over a hard place. I don't know what kind of theology this is that I am dripping from my pen, but I cannot yet be beaten to the point where I say it is all purposeless. And that is the faith that may not save a soul but does save souls, I guess.

I wish you the joy and elevation of spirit that you have many times given to my sick soul and to others. Did I tell you my boy is married—to a Catholic girl too, of much charm? They were married on the ancestral farm with the ancestor of ninety years present and in high spirits. A Dios, Padre mio,

F. K. L.

To John G. Gehring

Rochester, Minnesota, [April] 30, [1921]

Tomorrow will be May day—once, before the world became industrial, a day of gladness, now a day of dread, another result of mal-adjustment.

What ever would these doctors do if they had no cheeks in which to hold their tongues while telling sick folk what ails them, and the cure? You are learning, Sir, how much of wisdom some men lack who have certain knowledge. And wisdom is what we are after, we Knights of the Mystic Sign. Wisdom—the essence of lives lived; knocks, blows, pains, tortures reduced to fears, and these incorporated into a string or queue of people who have eyes, nerves, and powers of inference, and the initiative to experiment and the impulse to try, and try again. Result—a nugget no larger than a mustard seed of intellectual or spiritual radium, y-clept wisdom. It does not grow on ancestral trees or on college campuses, nor does it come out of laboratories or hospitals, tho' it is sometimes found in all these places. A Carpenter is known to have possessed more of it than any other man; tho' most of us don't possess enough wisdom to know that He did possess so much of it. An Indian Prince is also celebrated for the richness of his supply. These men have been followed by others who sometimes carried mirrors, but some had tiny grains of the real thing also. And those are called Optimists and Transcendentalists and Idealists and Fools who think that more and more of these grains will come into the hearts and minds of men; while those are called sensible, and shrewd, and sane, who assert that the supply is uniform, stationary in quantity but moved about from time to time, producing nothing but the illusion that something is worth while.

But you and I say, "Suffer the Illusion to come into me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." Emerson says each man is an "inlet" of the Divine Spirit—just a bit on the side, out of the infinite ocean. Thus all of us are connected up, and thus there is hope that some day doctors will be wiser than today. …

I should like to hold your hand for a time. It's the best service one man can give another. We are great hand-holders, we men, natural dependents, transfusers of sympathy and understanding and heartening stuff. They tell me here that your blood for purposes of transfusion is 1, 2, 3 or 4. The last is common denominator blood and will go into anyone safely, but is uncommon. All the other three will kill if not put into those of corresponding quality of blood. Well, you and I like each other because we have the same wave-length to our nerve current, perhaps, and we could hold hands without danger to the other fellow, and possibly with some benefit to the world,—for human sympathy makes good medicine.

Good fortune betide you! My brother, who is sitting by, wishes his affectionate regards to go with mine, and he hopes you will some day see him in that vale of Paradise where he lives.

F. K. L.

To Adolph C. Miller Federal Reserve Board

Rochester, Minnesota, May 1, [1921]

May Day, Glad Day, Day of Festival and Frolic,—once. Now Day of Portent, of Threats and the Evil Eye. Such is the miracle worked by Steam Engine, Mechanics, Quick Exchanges, Industry!

With this happy opening let me to your letter in which you love me a little, which I very much like, calling me baby,—child, anyway. And so I am. I laugh at myself. I cannot think of myself as Grandad or possible Grandad. In fact, I should not be Grandad or Dad, notwithstanding the beauty and noblemindedness and capacity of my dear kids. But I have always been a priest, married to things undomestic, and without the time which every father should have to train and educe the mind of his offspring; especially to give sound and substantial bread and meat to their subconscious mind when they are young. Then, too, a father should have a religion, a sense of relation between himself and the Master, and be able to instill this by gentle and non-didactive method into his bairns, so that they may steer by the North Star and not by shiftier, flashier stars.

Yes, altho' I am now tottering, bruised, battered, down on the floor like a prostrate prize-fighter "taking the count" and hoping for strength enough to rise, altho' an "aged man" as I was once described in my hearing, I am the youngest thing inside that I know; in my curiosity and my trustfulness and my imagination, and my desire to help and my belief in goodness and justice. I want to strike right out now and see the world, and having found the good bring it back and distribute it. And I see every day things that should be done which make me long to live, even tho' I only tell others that they should be done. And one thing that bothers me right now is our money scheme. I know I am far off from your standpoint, but there is something wrong when there is so great a variation in the purchasing power of things produced. Why is not Irving Fisher on the right road? I should like to lay a quieting hand upon the feverish desire for things which so possesses our people. So few things will do, rich, beautiful, solid things, but not many; and then to live with them, proud of them, revelling in them, and making them to shine like well-handled bronze—not glossily but deeply. The great luxury we will not allow ourselves is repose; that is because we are not essentially dignified. The soul is not respected sufficiently; it is not given that food on which it grows. Curious, the turn of my mind now, too. Having been thinking, and while I still am thinking, in large terms,—the city, the state, the nation, all peoples (I have grown through them all, never really thinking of the family unit)—I am now thinking of a nest, a roof of my own, a bit of garden, a tree of my planting—little things, indeed, on which the mind can rest, after casting an eye over the world and talking in terms of continents. (And I wonder if the gardens of the British—their week-ends at home with flowers and birds, may not bring them down to those little things which make for good sense, sanity, wisdom!) But I fear me I may never so indulge myself, and that is wrong— that a man should live for fifty-seven years and never thrust his hand into his own bit of his country's soil—such condition makes against loyalties that are essential.

Now I have talked with you for a long time, but not long enough. How I should like to sit in the big re-upholstered chair beside the lamp, beyond the fire, and throw a match into your brain stuff that would start it blazing. Yes, and I would like to gather around that fire a few whom I love. You and Aleck and Sid. and Pfeiffer and Jack Hallo well and John Burns and Brydon Lamb and Lathrop Brown and Cotton Smith and John Finley and Dr. Gehring and John Wigmore—the real world is very small, isn't it?

It just may be that the verdict here will be one of exile to California, to my brother George's farm; ah, yes he should be with the few great, and I say 'exile' for I wonder if I should ever see any of you then? My doctor in Pasadena said that I should live as a country gentleman, and I answered, "But that takes money." Yet I would not know where the farm should be, for climate is not all. So long, old man.


Many months later, writing to Mrs. Lane this friend of many years says, "I want also to recall the remark Frank made when you and Mary, and he and I, were rain-bound in the little chalet at St. Mary's in Glacier Park, nine years ago. That was an outstanding experience in my long friendship with Frank. We had many hours to discuss things, and no matter on what road we started, we always came back to a discussion of life; what it was all for, and what it was about, and what principle a chivalrous man should take in adjusting himself usefully to the going world. I remember late one night we sat in the dimly lighted room after a long discussion, he arose, and turning to me said: 'Doesn't it, after all, just come to this,—To spend and to be spent—isn't that what life is?' Every subsequent experience with Frank confirmed me in the belief that that was his personal philosophy. That is why he lived greatly while he lived, and died nobly when his life was spent."

To Robert Lansing

Rochester, Minnesota, May 2, [1921]

MY DEAR LANSING,—I am to be operated on on Friday and so send you this line that you may know that I have yours of April sixteenth, and have rejoiced very much at its good news, that you were better, and that you were not bitter because of the come-back campaign.

Really, I think Harding is doing well, or rather that the whole administration is being supported well by the country. Oh, these Republicans have the art of governing, and we do so much better at talking! No one knows just what his foreign policy is, but something will work through that will satisfy a very tired people. There seem to be comparatively few out of work now. We are not out of the woods yet. But the Lord will take care of them. He may even keep Johnson from bolting Harding. They will temporize through; that's my guess.

Good English the people don't know. Ideality they have had enough of for a time. They just want to get down to brass tacks and make some money, so that the Mrs. can have more new dresses. I do earnestly wish them luck. God gave us the great day, and you and I, anyway, are not ashamed of the parts we played. In fact, the party loomed pretty large those days—the whole country breathed lung-fuls and felt heroic. We shall not look upon such another time nor act for a people so nobly inspired.

Please give to Mrs. Lansing my very best regards—fine spirit, that she is—and to you, as always, dear Lansing, my affection and esteem.


To James D. Pkelan

Rochester, Minnesota, May 2, 1921

MY DEAR JIM,—Glad to hear from you and to get so cheerful a word, for surely you are justified in looking upon the world as very much of a friend of yours. You have a rare home, in which to gather your many friends, and you have had honors in abundance, and now may rest and write and speak and adjust yourself to things—terrestrial and celestial—and other service will call you. There must be some Democrats appointed to adjust European or other difficulties, even by a Republican, and you will be the prominent one. So I can look across the mountains to Montalvo and find you ripening into a fine old mellow age, conscious of usefulness, in health and in happiness. May it be so!

Just as soon as my boy gets here, I shall be operated on. … Ned is now on his honeymoon with his darling little bride, a Catholic Irish girl named Catherine McCahill, whose grey-whiskered grandfather of ninety quite took the shine off the bride at the wedding. He is a Democrat (State Senator for thirty years) a Sinn Feiner of the most robust sort, and a fanner of many acres.

Poor Anne, she is in for a bad time, with Nancy sick, but she has a good stout heart and a most adequate and comfortable religious faith, which throws things that are personal into a very minor place. The theory of relativity has more than one expression indeed, and things are small when looked at from a height. And it is good to find one who can be both religious and large.

The country seems to be liking Harding and his cabinet more and more. They do have a faculty for getting things done, those Republicans, and they are subjected to so little criticism. It is really good to see them do their work and get away with things so neatly. … As always,


To Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hertle Gunston Hall on the Potomac

Rochester, Minnesota, May 2

DEAR PEOPLE,—What good angel ever put it into your heart to wire us—and such a warm electric message!

I tell you this is not Gunston Hall—so few birds, flowers, trees —but I like the great sweep of the sky out here. There is nothing mean about this land of ours. It gives you something, and gives it to you generously, something lovable wherever you are.

The Doctors have not decided what to do with me. … But we'll be out of suspense this week, I expect.

I can see your garden now—fountain, hedge, roses, bird-boxes, pergola, box and all—with the dignified, stately Potomac way out yonder, beyond the cleared fields and the timber. Lucky people, and you deserve it all. No one, not even the Bolsheviks, would take it from you. Cordially yours always,


To Alexander Vogelsang

Rochester, Minnesota, May 4, 1921

DEAR ALECK,—I must pass under the knife, that is the verdict. On Friday morning the act takes place. And out will come gall- bladder, adhesions, appendix and all things appertaining thereto, including hereditaments, reversions, lives in posse, and sinecures. So that's that!

They say that my heart has grown much worse in the last three months, but that I probably have four chances out of five of pulling through, which is more chance than I ever had in politics in California. I believe I am to be operated on while conscious, as they fear to give ether. I trust my curiosity will not interfere with the surgeon's facility.

Ah well, this old shell is not myself, and I have never felt that the world's axis was located with reference to my habitat. But this is so interesting an old world that I don't want to leave it prematurely, because one does run the risk of not coming upon one equally interesting. So I shall think of you and try to see you later, in the new offices in the Mills Building. May clients come thick as dogwood in Rock Creek Park; and trout streams in hidden places be revealed unto you, within an hour's flight by aero. Affectionately,


P. S. Give my regards to the boys with you and in the office, when you see them—and to Wade Ellis and Ira Bennett and others who may be interested. Love to your dear Lady!

To John Finley New York Times

Rochester, Minnesota, May 4, [1921]

MY DEAR FINLEY,—I have your postal from London and it cheereth me—Yea, thou hast done a kindly act to one who is sore beset. …

When you and I can talk together I want to urge a new field upon your great paper. Perhaps you can take it up with Mr. Ochs and perhaps he can see how he can add to his usefulness and to the glory of his paper's name.

My thought is that there should be somewhere—and why not in New York?—a Place of Exchange for the New Ideas that the world evolves each year, a central spot where all that is new in science, philosophy, practical political machinery, and all else of the world's mind-products shall be placed on exhibition where those interested may see. Why should not the Times do this?

It would cost very little. All the plant needs would be a building which would contain one or two fine halls for public speaking, and a few properly appointed apartments. No faculty—but a super- university with all the searchers and researchers, inventors, experimenters, thinkers of the world for faculty. No students—but every man the world round interested in the theme under consideration, welcome, as student without pay. The only executive officer a Director, whose business would be to see that the great minds were tapped,—a high class impresario, who would know who had thought thoughts, developed a theory, found a new problem, or a new method of solving an old one, and [would] bring the thinker on the stage and present him to those who knew of what he talked; and could intelligently, quickly, distribute it to the ends of the earth.

Money? The lecturer would get his expenses from his home and back again, and be cared for appropriately in one of the apartments. Otherwise the incidental expenses of administration. Aside from the single and simple building the whole thing should not cost more than $100,000 a year.

To illustrate—it took years for the world to know what Rutherford was doing with radium. Why should he not have been brought to some central place and there, before all the students who might choose to come, tell his story? Pasteur, Einstein, Bergson, Wright Brothers, Wells (theory of Education). These names are suggestive. The great of the world could walk, as it were, in the groves with their pupils and critics, and we could have a new Athens. Whatever progress the world had made, in whatever line, would be reported at that time. And the world would know in advance that this was to be so. Germany has been the world thought center for forty years. England is now planning to take Germany's place. Why not America? But the government has not the imagination, and this must be done quickly.

Why not the Times? And why shouldn't you start it for the Times— be the first Director?

Then I want someone to take over another of my ideas—a sort of Federal Reserve Board on the good of the nation, an unofficial group of men with foresight, who would be a spur to government and suggest direction. Somebody whose business it would be to attend to that which is nobody's business and so waits, and waits, until sometimes too late. Why should we have had no plans for caring for our soldiers as to employment and giving them the right bent on their return?

There was no one to concentrate attention—the attention of Congress and the public—on any definite plan. I tried it with my scheme for making farms for soldiers, but Congress, as soon as it found that I was really agitating, passed laws making it impossible for me to use a sheet of paper or the frank for the purpose. I do not say my plan was the best possible. Then someone should have come forward with another, and pushed it against a Congress made up of Republicans who feared that Democrats would get the credit, and Democrats who feared Republicans would. Hence, deadlock, and a great opportunity lost! …

Seers, or see-ers, that's what these men should be. Elder
Statesmen, if you please, independent, away above politics.

Doesn't it seem to you that we are coming to be altogether too dependent on the President? That office will be ruined. Every one with a sore thumb has come into the habit of running to the President. This is all wrong, all wrong. He cannot do his job well now. And he is only nominally doing it, and only nominally has been doing it for years. But each month seems to add to his duties as arbiter of everything from clothes to strikes, from baseball to disarmament.

I see a tremendous field for a body of a few ripe minds who would talk so little, and so wisely, and so collectively, that they could get and hold the ear of the country, governmental and otherwise.

I outlined for Mezes, in your old job, a series of lectures by Americans who have done things on Why America is Worth While—and he has expanded it into a whole course on America, so that I believe he will have something new and great—teaching history, geology, art, everything, by the history of that thing in America, and how it came to come here, or be here, or what it means here.

Well, I have written you a book and must stop—I don't know where to address you but will send this to the Times. Please remember me to Mr. Ochs—who can see things, and here's hoping it won't be long before we meet. Yours always,


To James H. Barry San Francisco Star

Rochester, Minnesota, May 5, [1921]

MY DEAR JIM,—I have nothing of importance to say, except that I am to be operated on tomorrow and hope for the best, for Dr. Will Mayo is to do the operating, and I am not in a very run-down condition.

I find myself quite serene, for I can look forward even to the very worst result with the feeling that there is no one to meet me over there to whom I've done any wrong. And while I haven't done my best, my score hasn't been blank. I honestly believe I've added a farthing or two to the talent that was given me.

My brother George is here, with his splendid philosophy and his Scotch songs; and Ned, my boy, and his bride have just come back, so that Anne and I are very well content that things are just as they should be. I go to St. Mary's Hospital where they have nuns for nurses, and when time comes for recuperation I shall go to the near-by estate of my old friend, Severance, the big St. Paul lawyer, whom I have known these thirty years.

I hope, my dear old man, that you will find new occupation soon that will give you use for your pen, and sterling love of justice. My regards, sincere and hearty to your family, and my other friends.


To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Rochester, Minnesota, May 5, [1921]

Just because I like you very much, and being a very old man dare to say so, I am sending this line, which has no excuse in its news, philosophy or advice; has no excuse, in fact, except what might be called affection, but of course this being way past the Victorian era, no one admits to affections! I will not belittle my own feeling by saying that I have a wife who thinks you the best Eastern product—and probably she'd move to strike out the word "Eastern." At any rate, I think I should tell you myself that I am to be operated on tomorrow, by Dr. Will Mayo, and am glad of it. We shall see what we shall see.

I find myself quite serene about the matter, altho' I believe my heart is so bad that they fear giving ether and will keep me conscious if they can, applying only a local anesthetic.

I'd like to have Anne's perfect sureness as to the future, but lacking it, I do not look forward with fear, even if the worst should happen. I've never done a wrong to any man or woman or child that I can now recall—but maybe my memory is failing.

My boy and his bride came back this morning—happy! Oh, so happy! And my "best beloved" brother who sings Scotch songs is here—a great philosopher whom you would deeply admire—and our friends the Severances of St. Paul, thirty year-old friends, they come over tonight. So we will be a merry, merry company. I'd love to see you and the gay Cavalier, but let us hope it won't be long till we meet! Au revoir!

F. K. L.

To friends who had telegraphed and written urgently for news

May 11, 1921

It is Wednesday afternoon and I am now sitting up in bed talking to my good friend, Cotter. Until yesterday I did not clearly visualize any one thing in this room and did not know that it had a window, except that there was a place that noise came through, but I did know that it had a yellow oak door that stared at me with its great, big, square eye, all day and all night.

Last Friday, you see, about ten in the morning, I took the step that I should have taken months, yes, years ago. I was stretched on a stiff, hard table, my arms were clamped down and in three- quarters of an hour I had my appendix and my gall bladder removed, which latter was a stone quarry and the former a cesspool. Today, most tentatively, I crawled on to a chair and ate my first mouthful of solid food. But four days ago I managed to shave myself, and I am regarded as pretty spry.

I have seen death come to men in various ways, some rather novel and western. I once saw a man hanged. And I have seen several men shot, and came very near going out that way myself two or three times, but always the other fellow aimed poorly. I was being shot at because I was a newspaper man, and I should have been shot at. There must be public concern in what is printed, as well as its truth, to justify it. That is something that newspapers should get to know in this country. After the earthquake in San Francisco, I saw walls topple out upon a man. And I have had more intimate glimpses still of the picturesque and of the prosaic ways by which men come to their taking off.

But never before have I been called upon deliberately to walk into the Valley of the Shadow and, say what you will, it is a great act. I have said, during the past months of endless examination, that a man with little curiosity and little humor and a little money who was not in too great pain could enjoy himself studying the ways of doctors and nurses, as he journeyed the invalid's path. It was indeed made a flowery path for me, as much as any path could be in which a man suffered more humiliation and distress and thwarting and frustration, on the whole, than he did pain.

But here was a path, the end of which I could not see. I was not compelled to take it. My very latest doctor advised me against taking it. I could live some time without taking it. It was a bet on the high card with a chance to win, and I took it.

I undressed myself with my boy's help, in one of the hospital rooms, and then arraying myself in my best suit of pajamas and an antique samurai robe which I use as a dressing gown, submitted myself to being given a dose of dazing opiate, which was to do its work in about fifteen minutes. I then mounted a chair and was wheeled along the corridor to the elevator, stopping meantime to say "adieu" to my dear ones, who would somehow or other insist upon saying "good-bye," which is a different word. I was not to be given the usual anesthetic, because my heart had been cutting up some didos, so I must take a local anesthetic which Was to be administered by a very celebrated Frenchman. I need not tell you that this whole performance was managed with considerable eclat, and Doctor Will Mayo, probably the first surgeon of the world, was to use the knife; and in the gallery looking on were Doctor Finney, of Johns Hopkins, Doctor Billings, of Chicago, Doctor Vaughan of the Michigan University, and others. On the whole, it was what the society reporter would call a recherche affair. The local anesthetic consists of morphine and scopolamin. It is administered directly by needle to the nerves that lead to those particular parts which are to be affected by the operation. This I watched myself with the profoundest interest. It was painful, somewhat, but it was done with the niceness and precision that make this new method of anesthesia a real work of art. I should think that the Japanese, with their very rare power at embroidery, might come to be past masters in this work. There were some insertions very superficial and some extremely deep. Over the operator's head, there were a half dozen heads peering intently at each move he made, while the patient himself was free to lift his head and look down and see just what was being done. I did not test myself, as I should have, to see whether I was paralyzed in any part.

Just when this performance came to a head, Doctor Mayo came in and said, "Well, I am going in for something." I said, "That's right, and I hope you will get it."

His statement did not conclusively prove confidence that he would find the cause of my trouble by going in. … I knew there could be no such definiteness, but I said to myself, "He will get it, if it's there."

For two days I had had knowledge that this operation was to take place at this time, and my nerves had not been just as good as they should have been. Those men who sleep twelve hours perfectly before being electrocuted have evidently led more tranquil lives than I have, or have less concern as to the future. Ah, now I was to know the great secret! For forty years I had been wondering, wondering. Often I had said to myself that I should summon to my mind when this moment came, some words that would be somewhat a synthesis of my philosophy. Socrates said to those who stood by, after he had drunk the hemlock, "No evil can befall a good man, whether he be alive or dead." I don't know how far from that we have gone in these twenty-four hundred years. The apothegm, however, was not apposite to me, because it involved a declaration that I was a good man, and I don't know anyone who has the right so to appreciate himself. And I had come to the conclusion that perhaps the best statement of my creed could be fitted into the words, "I accept," which to me meant that if in the law of nature my individual spirit was to go back into the great Ocean of Spirits, my one duty was to conform. "Lead Kindly Light" was all the gospel I had. I accepted. I made pretense to put out my hand in submission and lay there.

"All through, doctor?"

"Yes, doctor."

"Very well, we will proceed."

And I was gradually pushed through the hall into the operating room. The process there was lightning-like. I was in torture.

"Lift me up, lift me up."

"What for?"

"I have one of those angina pains and I must ease it by getting up and taking some nitro."

That had been my practice, but I did not reason that never before had the pain come on my right side.

"Give him a whiff of ether." The tenderest arms stole around my head and the softest possible voice—Ulysses must have heard it long ago—"Now do take a deep breath." I resisted. I had been told that I would see the performance.

"Please do, breathe very deeply—just one good deep breath." That pain was burning the side out of me. I tried to get my hand up to my side. Of course it was tied down. I swore.

"Oh Christ! This is terrible."

"It will stop if you will reach for a big breath,"—and I resigned myself. Men who are given the third degree have no stronger will than mine. I knew I was helpless. I must go through. I must surrender to that Circean voice.

I heard the doctor in a commonplace monotone say, "This is an unusual case—"—the rest of this sentence I never heard.

There was a long ray of gray light leading from my bed to my door.
I had opened my eyes. "I had not died." I had come through the

"I wonder what he got."

In the broad part of the ray was my wife smiling, and stretching out to that unreachable door were others whom I recognized, all smiling. Things were dim, but my mind seemed definite.

"What did he get?" I had expected eternal mysteries to be unraveled. Either I would know, or not know, and I would not know that I would not know.

"He got a gall-bladder filled with stones and a bad appendix, and now you are to lie still."

Then to this the drama had come, the drama beyond all dramas—a handful of brownish secretions and a couple of pieces of morbid flesh!! Ah me!

I am doing well, cared for well, as happy as can be; have had none of my angina pains since the operation. And as I lie here, I contemplate [making] a frieze—a procession of doctors and nurses and internes, of diagnosticians and technicians and experts and mechanics and servitors and cooks—all, the great and the small, in profile. They are to look like those who have made their pretenses before me during the past year;—the solemn and the stupid; the kindly, the reckless; the offhand; the erudite, the practical; the many men with tubes and the many men with electrical machines. Old Esculapius must begin the procession but the Man with the Knife, regnant, heroic size, must end it.

What a great thing, what a pride, to have the two men of greatest constructive imagination and courage in surgery in the world as Americans, Dr. Charles and Dr. Will Mayo.

To Alexander Vogelsang

Rochester, Minnesota, May 14, [1921]

This is a line by my own hand, dear Aleck, just to show you that I am still this much master of myself. …

I am going through much pain. Inside I am a great boil. But Nature is doing all she can, and I am helping. They think me a right model sort of patient, for I made a showing of exceptional recovery. When T.R. shaved the day after, I said, "Hip Hip!" Well, I done it too! I guess as how I haven't been so very bad a boy all these fifty-seven years or I couldn't play as good as "par" at this game, and they say they have no better record than mine on the books.

The National Geographic Society did a nice thing. Today I got a resolution of the most sympathetic kind from them. Some gentlemen still alive, eh?

I dictated a bit of a thing about my experience the other day to Cotter—something to send off to the chaps who wrote or wired—and sent you one. I hope it wasn't soft or slobby. Did you think it was all right to come from a sick bed?

It will be three weeks or more yet of hospital, and then much of recuperation. But I have no complaint. I feel a faith growing in me, and I may yet draw my sword in some good fight. Affectionately,


To John W. Hallowell

Rochester, Minnesota, May 14, 1921

DEAR JACK,—I've been down into the Valley since I heard from you, but I'm up once more and with new light in my eye, new faith in my heart, more sense of the things that count and those that don't. And affection, love for the good thing of any kind; loyalty, even mistaken loyalty, these are the things that the Gods treasure. They live longest. So I turn to give you my hand, dear boy,

[Illustration with caption: LANE PEAK IN RAINIER NATIONAL PARK]

I was most badly infected, but I really never felt better than when I stepped out of the auto on to the hospital steps. And it took some nerve for me to say, "Go to it," under such circumstances. (I am patting myself on the back a bit now.)

Well, Glory be!—that step is taken and now I must fight to get fit. They say I am making as good a record as a boy, as to recovery, so all my Scotch whiskies, and big cigars and late nights with you politicians have not ruined me.

Say dear things to your Mother for me, Jack, and give greetings to all your family.

F. K. L.

To Robert Lansing

Rochester, 14 [May, 1921]

MY DEAR LANSING,—I am disturbed because you may be disturbed. As I lie in bed I read and am read to, and some of the papers do not treat you decently. The very ones that were loudest in their declarations against W. W. at every stage, now suggest that you might have quit his service if you didn't like it. I hope it will not get under your skin …

What comfort you would have given the enemy if you had resigned! Have they thought of that? I came to the brink when the President blew up my coal agreement to save three or four hundred million dollars for the people, But I was stopped by the thought, "Give no comfort to Berlin." … Good night and good luck.


Manuscript fragment written May 17, 1921, and found in his room.
Franklin K. Lane died May 18, 1921.

And if I had passed into that other land, whom would I have sought—and what should I have done?

No doubt, first of all I would have sought the few loved ones whose common life with me had given us matter for talk, and whom I had known so well that I had loved dearly. Then perhaps there might have [been] some gratifying of a cheap curiosity, some searching and craning after the names that had been sierras along my skyline. But I know now there would have been little of that. It would not have been in me to have gone about asking Alexander and Cromwell little questions. For what would signify the trifle which made a personal fortune, that put a new name up upon some pilaster men bowed to as they passed? Were Aristotle there, holding in his hand the strings and cables that tied together all the swinging and surging and lagging movements of the whole earth's life—an informed, pregnant Aristotle,—Ah! there would be the man to talk with! What satisfaction to see him take, like reins from between his fingers the long ribbons of man's life and trace it through the mystifying maze of all the wonderful adventure of his coming up. The crooked made straight. The 'Daedalian plan' simplified by a look from above—smeared out as it were by the splotch of some master thumb that made the whole involuted, boggling thing one beautiful, straight line. And one could see, as on a map of ocean currents, the swing and movements of a thousand million years. I think that I would not expect that he could tell the reason why the way began, nor where it would end. That's divine business, yet for the free-going of the mind it would lend such impulse, to see clearly. Thus much for curiosity! The way up which we've stumbled.

But for my heart's content in that new land, I think I'd rather loaf with Lincoln along a river bank. I know I could understand him. I would not have to learn who were his friends and who his enemies, what theories he was committed to, and what against. We could just talk and open out our minds, and tell our doubts and swap the longings of our hearts that others never heard of. He wouldn't try to master me nor to make me feel how small I was. I'd dare to ask him things and know that he felt awkward about them, too. And I would find, I know I would, that he had hit his shin just on those very stumps that had hit me. We'd talk of men a lot, the kind they call the great. I would not find him scornful. Yet boys that he knew in New Salem would somehow appear larger in their souls, than some of these that I had called the great. His wise eyes saw qualities that weighed more than smartness. Yes, we would sit down where the bank sloped gently to the quiet stream and glance at the picture of our people, the negroes being lynched, the miners' civil war, labor's hold ups, employers' ruthlessness, the subordination of humanity to industry,—