The Letters of Franklin K. Lane
by Franklin K. Lane
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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. Affectionately,




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."

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,

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