The Letters of Franklin K. Lane
by Franklin K. Lane
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Another thing that differentiates us from other people is our lavishness in expenditure, and in what appears to us to be their "nearness." ... From these same thrifty French have come great things. They have always been great soldiers; they have led the world in the arts, especially in poetry, painting and fiction— perhaps, too, I should add architecture. So that men who are careful of their pennies are not necessarily small in their minds. ...

I have less doubt, however, of your ability to get on with the Frenchman than I have with the Englishman. ... You will have difficulty—at least I should—in understanding the rather heavy, sober, non-humorous Englishman. ... He is always a self-important gentleman who regards England as having spoken pretty much the last word in all things, and who will abuse his own country, his countrymen, and institutions, frankly and with abandon, but will allow no one else this liberty. He is not a "quitter" though, and he has done his bit through the centuries for the making of the world.

... See as many people as you can, present all your letters, accept invitations. Remember that while you are there and we miss you, we are not spending our time in moping. Every night we go to dinner and we chatter with the rest of the magpies, as if the world were free from suffering. Last night I talked with Paderewski for an hour on the sorrows of Poland, and it was one long tale of horror. ...

To-day the Russians are calling their people back to arms to stop the oncoming Germans. Foolish, foolish idealists who believed that they could establish what they call an economic democracy, without being willing to support their ideal in modern fashion by force. The best of things can not live unless they are fought for, and while I do not think that their socialism was the best of anything, it was their dream. ... With much love, my dear boy, your DAD

To George W. Lane February 16, 1918

MY DEAR GEORGE,—... Things are going much better with the War Department. My expectation is that this war will resolve itself into three things, in this order:—ships for food, aeroplanes, big guns. We must, as you know, do all that we can to keep up the morale of our own people. There is a considerable percentage of pacifists, and of the weak-hearted ones, who would like to have a peace now upon any terms, but the treatment that Russia is receiving, after she had thrown down her arms, indicates what may be expected by any nation that quits now.

... The prospects for democratization of Germany is not as good as it was a year ago, when we came in, because of their success in arms due to Russia's debacle. The people will not overthrow a government which is successful, nor will they be inclined to desert a system which adds to Germany's glory. It is a fight, a long fight, a fight of tremendous sacrifice, that we are in for. I said a year ago that it would be two years. Then I thought that Russia would put up some kind of front. Now I say two years from this time and possibly a great deal longer. Lord Northcliffe thinks four or six or eight years.

Ned writes me that things are very gloomy and glum in England and in Ireland, where he has been. He was out in an air raid, in several of them, in London, not up in the air, but from the ground could see no trace of the airships that were dropping bombs on the town. The Germans seem to have discovered some way by which they can tell where they are without being able to see the lights of the city, for now they have bombarded Paris when it was protected, on a dark night, by a blanket of fog, and London also under the same conditions. The compass is not much good, the deviations are so great. It may be that the clever Huns have found some way of piloting themselves surely. We are starting two campaigns through the Bureau of Education which may interest you. One is for school gardens. To have the children organized, each one to plant a garden. The plan is to raise vegetables which will save things that can be sent over to the armies, and also give the children a sense of being in the war. Another thing we are trying to do is educate the foreign born and the native born who cannot read or write English. If you are interested in either of these two things we will send you literature, and you can name your own district, and we will put you at work. ...

Well, my dear fellow, I long very much for the sun and the sweetness of California these days, but I could not enjoy myself if I were there, because I am at such tension that I must be doing every day. Do write me often, even though I do not answer. Affectionately yours,




Washington, March 7, 1918

MY DEAR DR. SHAW,—I have your letter of March 4th. The thing that a democracy is short on is foresight. We do not have enough men like the General Staff in Germany who can think ten and twenty years ahead. We are too much embedded and incrusted in the things that flow around us during the day, and think too little of the future.

For five, long, weary years, I have been agitating for the use of the water powers of the United States. We estimate the unused power in tens and tens of millions of horse-power. Right in New York you have in the Erie Canal 150,000 horse-power, and on the Niagara river you have probably a million unused. If you had a great dam across the river below the rapids we should have water power in chains, like fire horses in their stalls, that could be brought out at the time of need. But we are thinking in large figures these days, and while we used to be afraid to ask for a few hundred thousand dollars we now talk in millions, and some day we may realize that to put the cost of a week's war into power plants in the United States would be money well invested. ...

We have no law under which private capital feels justified in investing a dollar in a water power plant where public lands are involved, because the permit granted is revokable at the pleasure of the Secretary of the Interior, and capital does not enjoy the prospect of making its future returns dependent upon the good digestion of the Secretary. But if we get this bill, which I enclose, through, we will be able to handle the powers on all streams on the public lands and forests and on all navigable waters, and give assurance to capital that it will be well taken care of if it makes the investment. ...

I am greatly pleased at the kind things you say about me. The longer I am in office the more of an appetite I have for such food. Hoover [Footnote: Hoover at this time was Food Administrator.] can only commit one fatal mistake—to declare a taflfyless day. Cordially yours,


To Edward J. Wheeler on February 1, 1917, he had written:—

"It is an outrage that we should have a total of nearly six million acres of land withdrawn for oil, three million for phosphates, and one million for water power sites, potash, etc., and allow session after session of Congress to pass without producing any legislation that will sensibly open these reserves to development. The extreme conservationists, who are really for holding the lands indefinitely in the Federal Government and unopened, and the extreme anti-conservationists, who are for turning all the public lands over to the States, have stood for years against a rational system of national development."

Although a great part of the energy of the Department of the Interior was, of necessity, diverted to forward war enterprises and to supply war necessities—chemical, metallurgical, statistical—Lane steadily pressed forward the conduct of the normal activities of the department. In his report for the year 1918, he briefly summarizes this work,—"The distribution, survey, and classification of our national lands; the care of the Indian wards of the Nation, their education, and the development of their vast estate; the carrying forward of our reclamation projects; the awarding and issuance of patents to inventors; the construction of the Alaskan railroad and the supervision of the Territorial affairs of Alaska and Hawaii; the payment of pensions to Army and Navy veterans and their dependents; the promotion of education; the custody and management of the national parks; the conservation of the lives of those who work in mines, and the study and guidance of the mining and metallurgical industries."

To Walter H. Page

Washington, March 16, 1918

My dear Mr. Ambassador,—I am the poorest of all living correspondents, in fact, I am a dead correspondent. I do not function. If it had not been so I would long since have answered your notes, which have been in my basket, but I have had no time for any personal correspondence, much as I delight in it, for I have a very old-fashioned love for writing from day to day what pops into my mind, contradicting each day what I said the day before, and gathering from my friends their impressions and their spirit the same way. For the first time in three months I have leisure enough ... to acknowledge a few of the accumulated personal letters.

Let me give you a glimpse of my day, just to compare it with your own and by way of contrasting life in two different spheres and on different sides of the ocean. I get to my office at nine in the morning and my day is broken up into fifteen-minute periods, during which I see either my own people or others. I really write none of my own letters, [Footnote: This referred to routine letters.] simply telling my secretaries whether the answer should be "yes" or "no." I lunch at my own desk and generally with my wife, who has charge of our war work in the Department. We have over thirteen hundred men who have gone out of this Department into the Army. ... My day is broken into by Cabinet meeting twice a week, meeting of the Council of National Defense twice a week, and latterly with long sessions every afternoon over the question of what railroad wages should be.

My office is a sort of place of last resort for those who are discouraged elsewhere, for Washington is no longer a city of set routine and fixed habit. It is at last the center of the nation. New York is no longer even the financial center. The newspapers are edited from here. Society centers here. All the industrial chiefs of the nation spend most of their time here. It is easier to find a great cattle king or automobile manufacturer or a railroad president or a banker at the Shoreham or the Willard Hotel than it is to find him in his own town. The surprising thing is that these great men who have made our country do not loom so large when brought to Washington and put to work. ... Every day I find some man of many millions who has been here for months and whose movements used to be a matter of newspaper notoriety, but I did not know, even, that he was here. I leave my office at seven o'clock, not having been out of it during the day except for a Cabinet or Council meeting, take a wink of sleep, change my clothes and go to a dinner, for this, as you will remember, is the one form of entertainment that Washington has permitted itself in the war. The dinners are Hooverized,—three courses, little or no wheat, little or no meat, little or no sugar, a few serve wine. And round the table will always be found men in foreign uniforms, or some missionary from some great power who comes begging for boats or food. These dinners used to be places of great gossip, and chiefly anti-administration gossip, but the spirit of the people is one of unequaled loyalty. The Republicans are as glad to have Wilson as their President as are the Democrats, I think sometimes a little more glad, because many of the Democrats are disgruntled over patronage or something else. The women are ferocious in their hunt for spies, and their criticism is against what they think is indifference to this danger. Boys appear at these dinners in the great houses, because of their uniforms, who would never have been permitted even to come to the front door in other days, for all are potential heroes. Every woman carries her knitting, and it is seldom that you hear a croaker even among the most luxurious class. Well, the dinner is over by half past ten, and I go home to an hour and a half's work, which has been sent from the office, and fall at last into a more or less troubled sleep. This is the daily round.

I have not been to New York since the war began. I made one trip across the continent speaking for the Liberty Loan, day and night. And this life is pretty much the life of all of us here. The President keeps up his spirits by going to the theatre three or four times a week. There are no official functions at the White House, and everybody's teeth are set. The Allies need not doubt our resolution. England and France will break before we will, and I do not doubt their steadfast purpose. It is, as you said long ago, their fault that this war has come, for they did not realize the kind of an enemy they had, either in spirit, purpose, or strength. But we will increasingly strengthen that western gate so that the Huns will not break through.

We do things fast here, but I never realized before how slow we are in getting started. It takes a long time for us to get a new stride. I did not think that this was true industrially. I have known that it was true politically for a long time, because this was the most backward and most conservative of all the democracies. We take up new machinery of government so slowly. But industrially it is also true. When told to change step we shift and stumble and halt and hesitate and go through all kinds of awkward misses. This has been true as to ships and aeroplanes and guns, big and little, and uniforms. Whatever the government has done itself has been tied by endless red tape. It is hard for an army officer to get out of the desk habit, and caution, conservatism, sureness, seem even in time of crisis to be more important than a bit of daring. In my Department, I figure that it takes about seven years for the nerve of initiative and the nerve of imagination to atrophy, and so, perhaps, it is in other departments. It took five months for one of our war bureaus to get out a contract for a building that we were to build for them. Fifteen men had to sign the contract. And of course we have been impatient. But things are bettering every day. The men in the camps are very impatient to get away. But where are the ships to do all the work? The Republicans cannot chide us with all of the unpreparedness, for they stood in the way of our getting ships three years ago. The gods have been against us in the way of weather so we have not brought down our supplies to the seaboard, but we have not had the ships to take away that which was there; or coal, sometimes, for the ships.

From now, however, you will see a steadier, surer movement of men, munitions, food, and ships. The whole country is solidly, strongly with the President. There are men in Congress bitterly against him but they do not dare to raise their voices, because he has the people so resolutely with him. The Russian overthrow has been a good thing for us in one way. It will cost us perhaps a million lives, but it will prove to us the value of law and order. We are to have our troubles, and must change our system of life in the next few years.

A great oil man was in the office the other day and told me in a plain, matter-of-fact way, what must be done to win—the sacrifices that must be made—and he ended by saying, "After all, what is property?" This is a very pregnant question. It is not being asked in Russia alone. Who has the right to anything? My answer is, not the man, necessarily, who has it, but the man who can use it to good purpose. The way to find the latter man is the difficulty.

We will have national woman suffrage, national prohibition, continuing inheritance tax, continuing income tax, national life insurance, an increasing grip upon the railroads, their finances and their operation as well as their rates. Each primary resource, such as land and coal and iron and copper and oil, we will more carefully conserve. There will be no longer the opportunity for the individual along these lines that there has been. Industry must find some way of profit-sharing or it will be nationalized. These things, however, must be regarded as incidents now; and the labor people, those with vision and in authority, are very willing to postpone the day of accounting until we know what the new order is to be like.

Well, I have rambled on, giving you a general look—in on my mind. Don't let any of those people doubt the President, or doubt the American people. This is the very darkest day that we have seen. But we believe in ourselves and we believe in our own kind, and believe in a something, not ourselves, that makes for righteousness,—slowly, stumblingly, but, as the centuries go, surely.

I have not yet seen the Archbishop of York. He has not been here. But he has made a most favorable impression where he has been, and so have the English labor people.

Poor Spring-Rice did good work here. Washington felt very sad over his death, and is expecting that England will evidence her appreciation of the fact that he did nothing to estrange us by the way in which his widow is treated.

Reading has been received and fits in perfectly. With warm regards, as always, Cordially yours,


To John Lyon Machine Gun Company Camp McClennen, Alabama

Washington, March 15,1918

MY DEAR JOHN,—I know how you must feel. Every particle of my own nature rebels against the horror of this war, or of any war, and against the dragooning by military men. I had rather die now and take my chances of Hell, than doom myself and Ned and those who are to come after, to living under a government which is as this government is now and as all governments must be now,—autocratic, governed by orders and commands. But this is the game, and we have got to play it, play it hard and play it through. Manifestly we cannot quit as Russia did without getting Russia's ill-fortune. There was a great empire of a hundred and eighty million people. They mobilized twenty-five million men. Six million of them are dead. The Czar was overthrown, a new government was set up, one of conservative socialism, and that was swept aside and a group of impractical socialists put in its stead, and where is Russia now? Broken to bits, its population dying of hunger, its industries unworked, its soil untilled, and Germany coming on with her great feet, stamping down the few who are brave enough to interpose themselves between Germany and her end. If we were to quit, Germany would do to us, or try to do to us, what she has done to Russia.

If there ever was a real defensive war it is the one that we are engaged in, and we must sacrifice, and sacrifice, and sacrifice, not merely for the world's sake but for our own sake. Ned is in France. He went through England. He tells me that everybody is serious, solemn, purposeful. They would rather all die than live under Germany's mastery of the world.

The President is being bitterly criticized because he has taken every opportunity to talk of terms and of ways out, but I think he is right. He must make the people of the world feel that we are not foolishly, and in a headstrong way, fighting to get anything for ourselves or for anybody else, except the chance to live our own lives. And we will show these Germans something. Our capacity to produce aeroplanes is still altogether unrealized, and we will have great guns a few feet apart along the entire front. We can bomb German harbors where submarines are, and are made—that's the work that Ned is going in for,—and we will hold that western line until every resource is exhausted. And we will go through it one of these days, perhaps not this year. But we must go through it or else American ships will live on the sea by consent of Germany, and Canada will become German territory. This is no dream. Give Germany Paris and Calais and she can exact terms from England. Why should she not ask for Canada? And give Germany Canada and what becomes of the United States? An army of Germans on our border, 5,000,000 men in arms in the United States always, the army and navy budget taking thirty or forty per cent of every man's income. Who wants to live in such a country? We are fighting the greatest war that history has ever seen, not merely in numbers but in principle. We are fighting to get rid of the most hateful survivals from the past. The overlord, the brusque and arrogant soldier, is the dominating factor in society and the government, the turning of men's thoughts away from the pursuit of the things of art and beauty and social beneficence into the one channel of making everything serve the military arm of the nation.

This will be a better world for the poor man when all is over. We must forget our dreams, what our own individual lives would have been, and with dash, and cheer, and courage, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, set our jaws and go forward. The devil is in the saddle and we must pull him down, or else he will rule the world,—and you are to have a tug at his coat. And I envy you. I'd take your place in a minute, if I could. Remember that you are an individualist, not a collectivist naturally, but individuals are of no use now. The war can be made only by great groups who conform. The free spirit of man will have its way once more when this bloody war is done.

I am glad you wrote me, and I want you to feel that you always can write me, whatever is in your heart, and I will give you such answer as my busy days will permit. There is only one way to look at life and get any satisfaction out of it, and that is to bow to the inevitable. We all must be fatalists to that extent, and once a course has been determined upon, accept it and make the best of it. The life of the old gambler does not consist in holding a big hand but in playing a poor hand well. You and I are no longer masters of our own fortunes. All that we can do is to abide by the set rules of the game that is being played. I would change many things, but I am powerless, and because I am powerless I must say to myself each day, "All that God demands of me is that I shall do my best," and doing that, the responsibility is cast upon that Spirit which is the Great Commander. I like to feel at these times that there is a personal God and a personal devil, and there has been no better philosophy devised than that. God is not supreme, He is not omnipotent, He has His limitations, His struggles, His defeats, but there is no life unless you believe that He ultimately must win, that this world is going upward, not downward, that the devil is to be beaten,—the devil inside of ourselves, the devil of wilfulness, of waywardness, of cynicism, and the devil that is represented by the overbearing, cruel militarism and ruthless inhumanity of Germany. You are a soldier of the Lord, just as truly as Christ was.

I send you my affectionate regards, and with it goes the confidence that you will, with good cheer and resolution, play your part. Sincerely yours,


This boy died in France. Lane wrote to his father of him:—

To Frank Lyon

Washington, [November 16, 1918]

DEAR FRANK,—Have just heard. Dear, dear Boy! I was so fond of him. He had a brave adventurous spirit. Well, he has gone out gloriously. There could be no finer way to go and no better time.

I know your own strength will be equal to this test—and the wife, poor woman, she too is brave. My heart goes out to you both very really, wholly. With much affection.


To Miss Genevieve King

Washington, March 16, 1918

MY DEAR MISS KING,—These are times of terrible strain and stress, and we cannot easily fall back upon those sources of power which seem so distant and unavailing. I like to think of you as in our last talk in the Millers' drawing room, where you had a much better opportunity to express yourself than in the one that we later had out on the porch. You then seemed to live your thought and to have the capacity for its expression. I think of you, too, up on that beautiful mountainside, where things like war and guns and bandages and hospitals and men without arms and the lack of ships, the need for saying goodbye, are so remote.

We still keep up a semblance of social life by going to dinners every night. It is the one relief I have, and yet each time I go I feel ashamed at what appears like a waste of time, and yet I know is not, and the waste of good food which is needed by others so much more than by us. Still the people have come down to a strict and modest diet with surprising firmness. There is little evidence of what you would call luxury or extravagance, excepting in the way a few people live. The place is filled with soldiers of many colors, breeds, and uniforms.

... Anne is busy every day at her work, and I see little of anyone who does not come to me on business. The country seems strongly with the President, and while his spirits are not gay, his purpose is high and his determination is strong. We will do better, and increasingly better, as time goes on, I believe. With warm regards, as always sincerely yours,


Lane was a member of the Executive Council of the Red Cross, with whom his wife was working during the war. He characterized its symbol as,—"The one flag which binds all nations is that which speaks of suffering and healing, losses and hopes, a past of courage and a future of peace—the flag of the Red Cross."

To John McNaught

Washington, March 16, 1918

MY DEAR JOHN,—It is only now after a month's delay, that I have an opportunity even to acknowledge your letter of the 17th of February.

... The whole war situation seems to be so big that it overwhelms the minds of men. ... But we are grinding on and going surely in the right way. Not everything has been done that could be done, but we are getting our step. This thing will be longer than we thought. But as the President says, it is our job—our job is cut out for us, and we are going to see it through. Russia has taught us what happens to a nation that is not self-respecting. We are hard at work, every one of us, big and little. The nation never was as united, and while we do not realize just what war is, yet we will realize it more from day to day and harder will our fibre grow.

My boy is in France. He hopes to fly an aeroplane over a German submarine base, and drop a ton of dynamite on it and put it out of business.

How the world has changed since we dreamed together in the Cosmos Club! How Paris has changed since we wandered through its boulevards together! The day of the common man is at hand. Our danger will be in going too fast, and by going too fast do injustice to him. But your kind of socialism and mine is to have its fling.

I was much pleased to meet your wife, very much indeed, and I hope we may see you here one of these days. With my affectionate regards, sincerely yours,


On May 31, 1918, Lane sent a long letter to President Wilson in relation to his plan for providing farms, from the public domain, for the returning soldiers. The letter is given at some length, because this plan was so dear to Lane's heart, and was one upon which he had put much earnest study. In addition to the phases of the subject printed here, he gave, in his signed letter to President Wilson, detailed consideration to several other aspects of the matter; such as, a comparison of his plan with land-tenure in Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia; the need for an extension of the method whereby land can be "developed in large areas, sub-divided into individual farms, then sold to actual bona fide farmers on long-time payment basis"; and also the part Alaska should be made to play in affording agricultural opportunity to our returned soldiers.

To Hon. Woodrow Wilson The White House

Washington, May 31, 1918

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—I believe the time has come when we should give thought to the preparations of plans for providing opportunity for our soldiers returning from the war. Because this Department has handled similar problems I consider it my duty to bring this matter to the attention of yourself and Congress. ...

To the great number of returning soldiers, land will offer the great and fundamental opportunity. The experience of wars points out the lesson that our service men, because of army life with its openness and activity, will largely seek out-of-doors vocations and occupations. This fact is accepted by the allied European nations. That is why their programs and policies of re-locating and readjustment emphasize the opportunities on the land for the returning soldier. The question then is, "What land can be made available for farm homes for our soldiers?"

We do not have the bountiful public domain of the sixties and seventies. In a literal sense, for the use of it on a generous scale for soldier farm homes as in the sixties, "the public domain is gone." The official figures at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1917, show this: We have unappropriated land in the continental United States to the amount of 230,657,755 acres. It is safe to say that not one-half of this land will ever prove to be cultivable in any sense. So we have no lands in any way comparable to that in the public domain when Appomattox came—and men turned westward with army rifle and "roll blanket," to begin life anew.

While we do not have that matchless public domain of '65, we do have millions of acres of undeveloped lands that can be made available for our home-coming soldiers. We have arid lands in the West, cut-over lands in the Northwest, Lake States, and South, and also swamp lands in the Middle West and South, which can be made available through the proper development. Much of this land can be made suitable for farm homes if properly handled. But it will require that each type of land be dealt with in its own particular fashion. The arid land will require water; the cut-over land will require clearing; and the swamp land must be drained. Without any of these aids, they remain largely "No Man's Land." The solution of these problems is no new thing. In the admirable achievement of the Reclamation Service in reclamation and drainage we have abundant proof of what can be done.

Looking toward the construction of additional projects, I am glad to say that plans and investigations have been under way for some time. A survey and study has been in the course of consummation by the Reclamation Service on the Great Colorado Basin. That great project, I believe, will appeal to the new spirit of America. It would mean the conquest of an empire in the Southwest. It is believed that more than three millions of acres of arid land could be reclaimed by the completion of the Upper and Lower Colorado Basin projects. ...

What amount of land, in its natural state unfit for farm homes, can be made suitable for cultivation by drainage, only thorough surveys and studies can develop. We know that authentic figures show that more than fifteen million acres have been reclaimed for profitable farming, most of which lies in the Mississippi River Valley.

The amount of cut-over lands in the United States, of course, it is impossible even in approximation to estimate. ... A rough estimate of their number is about two hundred million acres—that is of land suitable for agricultural development. Substantially all this cut-over or logged-off land is in private ownership. The failure of this land to be developed is largely due to inadequate method of approach. Unless a new policy of development is worked out in cooperation between the Federal Government, the States, and the individual owners, a greater part of it will remain unsettled and uncultivated. ...

Any plan for the development of land for the returned soldier, will come face to face with the fact that a new policy will have to meet the new conditions. The era of free or cheap land in the United States has passed. We must meet the new conditions of developing lands in advance—security must to a degree displace speculation. ...

This is an immediate duty. It will be too late to plan for these things when the war is over. Our thought now should be given to the problem. And I therefore desire to bring to your mind the wisdom of immediately supplying the Interior Department with a sufficient fund with which to make the necessary surveys and studies. We should know by the time the war ends, not merely how much arid land can be irrigated, nor how much swamp land reclaimed, nor where the grazing land is and how many cattle it will support, nor how much cut-over land can be cleared, but we should know with definiteness where it is practicable to begin new irrigation projects, what the character of the land is, what the nature of the improvements needed will be, and what the cost will be. We should know also, not in a general way, but with particularity, what definite areas of swamp land may be reclaimed, how they can be drained, what the cost of the drainage will be, what crops they will raise. We should have in mind specific areas of grazing lands, with a knowledge of the cattle which are best adapted to them, and the practicability of supporting a family upon them. So, too, with our cut-over lands. We should know what it would cost to pull or "blow-out" stumps and to put the lands into condition for a farm home.

And all this should be done upon a definite planning basis. We should think as carefully of each one of these projects as George Washington thought of the planning of the City of Washington, We should know what it will cost to buy these lands if they are in private hands. In short, at the conclusion of the war the United States should be able to say to its returned soldiers, "If you wish to go upon a farm, here are a variety of farms of which you may take your pick, which the Government has prepared against the time of your returning." I do not mean by this to carry the implication that we should do any other work now than the work of planning. A very small sum of money put into the hands of men of thought, experience, and vision, will give us a program which will make us feel entirely confident that we are not to be submerged, industrially or otherwise, by labor which we will not be able to absorb, or that we would be in a condition where we would show a lack of respect for those who return as heroes, but who will be without means of immediate self-support.

A million or two dollars, if appropriated now, will put this work well under way.

This plan does not contemplate anything like charity to the soldier. He is not to be given a bounty. He is not to be made to feel that he is a dependent. On the contrary, he is to continue, in a sense, in the service of the Government. Instead of destroying our enemies he is to develop our resources.

The work that is to be done, other than the planning, should be done by the soldier himself. The dam or the irrigation project should be built by him, the canals, the ditches, the breaking of the land, and the building of the houses, should, under proper direction, be his occupation. He should be allowed to make his own home, cared for while he is doing it, and given an interest in the land for which he can pay through a long period of years, perhaps thirty or forty years. This same policy can be carried out as to the other classes of lands. So that the soldier on his return would have an opportunity to make a home for himself, to build a home with money which we would advance and which he would repay, and for the repayment we would have an abundant security. The farms should not be turned over as the prairies were—unbroken, unfenced, without accommodations for men and animals. There should be prepared homes, all of which can be constructed by the men themselves, and paid for by them, under a system of simple devising by which modern methods of finance will be applied to their needs.

As I have indicated, this is not a mere Utopian vision. It is, with slight variations, a policy which other countries are pursuing successfully. The plan is simple. I will undertake to present to the Congress definite projects for the development of this country through the use of the returned soldier, by which the United States, lending its credit, may increase its resources and its population and the happiness of its people, with a cost to itself of no more than the few hundred thousand dollars that it will take to study this problem through competent men. This work should not be postponed. Cordially and faithfully yours,


The bill, incorporating this plan, was rejected by a Congress unwilling to accept any solution of any part of the after-war problem, if the plan came from the Wilson Administration.

In 1918, Colonel Mears, who had been Chief Engineer and later Chairman of the Alaskan Commission, in charge of the construction of the Alaskan railroad, went, with many others, to the front, and Lane was obliged to find new men to carry on the Alaskan work.

To Allan Pollok

Washington, July 17, 1918

You certainly can have more time, because I want you, and it is not on my own account altogether, because I feel sure you will delight in the kind of creative job that it is. I found that Scotchmen had made Hawaii, and I would like to see some of that same stuff go into Alaska. You see we have a fine bunch of men there, practical fellows of experience, but not one of them looms large as a business man or as a creator. I would personally like to spend a few years of my life just dreaming dreams about what could be done in that huge territory, and if I only got by with one out of five hundred, I would leave a real dent in the history of the territory.

That coal must be brought out of Alaska for the Navy, if the Navy is going to use any coal, and we ought to be able to send a great many thousands of Americans, as stock raisers and farmers, into Alaska after this war. The climate is just as good as that of Montana, and in some places much better. Of course it is not a swivel-chair job. It is a challenge to everything that a fellow has in him of ambition, courage, imagination, enterprise, and tact, and if we can possibly get that road completed by the end of the war, and know that we have another national domain there for settlement, it would help out mightily on the returning soldier problem. You and I cannot fight and that is our bad luck. We were born about thirty years too early but I have a notion that we can make Alaska do her bit through that railroad. ... If you want a great mining expert to go in with you I can get one. ... Come on into the game.


To E. S. Pillsbury

Washington, July 30, 1918

MY DEAR MR. PILLSBURY,— ... In these radical times when things are changing so quickly it does not do to be too conservative or things will go altogether to the bad. ...

Pragmatic tests must be applied strictly and the way to beat wild- eyed schemes is to show that they are impracticable, and to harness our people to the land. Every man in an industry ought to be tied up in some way by profit-sharing or stock-owning arrangements, and we should get as large a proportion of our people on small farms as possible. If this is not done we are going to have a reign of lawlessness.

When a sense of property goes, it becomes more and more apparent to me, that all other conserving and conservative tendencies go, and the man who has something is the man who will save this country. So it is necessary that just as many have something as possible. ... The one thing which the Bolsheviki do not understand is that the economic world is not divided between capital and labor, but that there is a great class unrepresented in these two divisions—the managing class which furnishes brains and direction, tact and vision, and no socialistic scheme provides for the selection and reward of these men ... Cordially yours,


To William Marion Reedy Reedy's Mirror

Washington, September 13, 1918

MY DEAR MR. REEDY,—In the first place ... as to the coal agreement, when coal was more than six dollars a ton and climbing, and it was nobody's business to reduce the price, I made an appeal to the coal operators to fix voluntarily a maximum price of one- half of what they were then getting. This they did, with the understanding that it would stand only until the Government fixed the price, if it chose to do so later. The price was three dollars in the East, and two dollars and seventy-five cents in the West, and there is not a coal mine in the country to-day, under Government operation, that is producing coal for as little as that price, which the operators themselves upon my appeal, fixed ...

Some day or another we will meet, ... and I am inclined to believe that you will think me less of a reactionary than a radical. I am against a standardized world, an ordered, Prussianized world. I am for a world in which personal initiative is kept alive and at work. There are a lot of people here who believe that you can do things by orders, which I know from my knowledge of the human and the American spirit can much more effectively be done by appeal.

Everything goes happily here these days, because we are winning the war, and the future of the world will soon be in the hands of a man who not so long ago was a school teacher. A great world this, isn't it? And the greatest romance is not even the fact that Woodrow Wilson is its master, but the advance of the Czecho-Slavs across five thousand miles of Russian Asia,—an army on foreign territory, without a government, holding not a foot of land, who are recognized as a nation! This stirs my imagination as I think nothing in the war has, since Albert of Belgium stood fast at Liege. Cordially yours,


Notes on Cabinet Meetings Found in Lane's Files

October 23, 1918

Yesterday we had a Cabinet Meeting. All were present. The President was manifestly disturbed. For some weeks we have spent our time at Cabinet meetings largely in telling stories. Even at the meeting of a week ago, the day on which the President sent his reply to Germany—his second Note of the Peace Series—we were given no view of the Note which was already in Lansing's hands and was emitted at four o'clock; and had no talk upon it, other than some outline given offhand by the President to one of the Cabinet who referred to it before the meeting; and for three-quarters of an hour told stories on the war, and took up small departmental affairs.

This was the Note which gave greatest joy to the people of any yet written, because it was virile and vibrant with determination to put militarism out of the world. As he sat down at the table the President said that Senator Ashurst had been to see him to represent the bewildered state of mind existing in the Senate. They were afraid that he would take Germany's words at their face value.

"I said to the Senator," said the President, "do they think I am a damned fool?" ... Yet Senator Kellogg says that Ashurst told the Senators that the President talked most pacifically, as if inclined to peace, and that Ashurst was "afraid that he would commit the country to peace," so afraid that he wanted all the pressure possible brought to bear on the President by other Senators. At any rate, the Note when it came had no pacificism in it, and the President gained the unanimous approval of the country and the Allies.

But all this was a week ago. Germany came back with an acceptance of the President's terms—a superficial acceptance at least—hence the appeal to the Cabinet yesterday. This was his opening, "I do not know what to do. I must ask your advice. I may have made a mistake in not properly safe-guarding what I said before. What do you think should be done?"

This general query was followed by a long silence, which I broke by saying that Germany would do anything he said.

"What should I say?" he asked.

"That we would not treat until Germany was across the Rhine."

This he thought impossible.

Then others took a hand. Wilson said the Allies should be consulted. Houston thought there was no real reform inside Germany. McAdoo made a long talk favoring an armistice on terms fixed by the military authorities. Strangely enough, Burleson, who had voted against all our stiff action over the Lusitania and has pleaded for the Germans steadily, was most belligerent in his talk. He was ferocious—so much so that I thought he was trying to make the President react against any stiff Note—for he knows the President well, and knows that any kind of strong blood-thirsty talk drives him into the cellar of pacifism. ...

One of the things McAdoo said was that we could not financially sustain the war for two years. He was for an armistice that would compel Germany to keep the peace, military superiority recognized by Germany, with Foch, Haig, and Pershing right on top of them all the time. Secretary Wilson came back with his suggestion that the Allies be consulted. Then Baker wrote a couple of pages outlining the form of such a Note suggesting an armistice. I said that this should be sent to our "partners" in the war, without giving it to the world, that we were in a confidential relation to France and England, that they were in danger of troubles at home, possible revolution, and if the President, with his prestige, were to ask publicly an armistice which they would not think wise to grant, or which couldn't be granted, the sending of such a message into the world would be coercing them. The President said that they needed to be coerced, that they were getting to a point where they were reaching out for more than they should have in justice. I pointed out the position in which the President would be if he proposed an armistice which they (the Allies) would not grant. He said that this would be left to their military men, and they would practically decide the outcome of the war by the terms of the armistice, which might include leaving all heavy guns behind, and putting, Metz, Strasburg, etc., in the hands of the Allies, until peace was declared.

I suggested that Germany might not know what the President's terms were as to Courland, etc., that this was not "invaded territory." He replied that they evidently did, as they now were considering methods of getting out of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. He said he was afraid of Bolshevism in Europe, and the Kaiser was needed to keep it down—to keep some order. He really seemed alarmed that the time would come soon when there would be no possibility of saving Germany from the Germans. This was a new note to me.

He asked Secretary Wilson if the press really represented the sentiment of the country as to unconditional surrender. Wilson said it did. He said that the press was brutal in demanding all kinds of punishment for the Germans, including the hanging of the Kaiser. At the end of the meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, he asked to be relieved of Departmental matters as he was unable to think longer. I wrote a summary of the position he took, and read it after Cabinet meeting to Houston and Wilson, who agreed. It follows:—

If they (the Allies) ask you (the President), "Are you satisfied that we can get terms that will be satisfactory to us without unconditional surrender?"

You will answer, "Yes—through the terms of the Armistice."

"By an armistice can you make sure that all the fourteen propositions will be effectively sustained, so that militarism and imperialism will end?"

"Yes, because we will be masters of the situation and will remain in a position of supremacy until Germany puts into effect the fourteen propositions."

"Will that be a lasting peace?"

"It will do everything that can be done without crushing Germany and wiping her out—everything except to gratify revenge."

November 1, 1918

At last week's Cabinet we talked of Austria—again we talked like a Cabinet. The President said that he did not know to whom to reply, as things were breaking up so completely. There was no Austria-Hungary. Secretary Wilson suggested that, of course, their army was still under control of the Empire, and that the answer would have to go to it.

Theoretically, the President said, German-Austria should go to Germany, as all were of one language and one race, but this would mean the establishment of a great central Roman-Catholic nation which would be under control of the Papacy, and would be particularly objectionable to Italy. I said that such an arrangement would mean a Germany on two seas, and would leave the Germans victors after all. The President read despatches from Europe on the situation in Germany—the first received in many months.

Nothing was said of politics—although things are at a white heat over the President's appeal to the country to elect a Democratic Congress. He made a mistake. ... My notion was, and I told him so at a meeting three or four weeks ago, that the country would give him a vote of confidence because it wanted to strengthen his hand. But Burleson said that the party wanted a leader with GUTS—this was his word and it was a challenge to his (the President's) virility, that was at once manifest.

The country thinks that the President lowered himself by his letter, calling for a partisan victory at this time. ... But he likes the idea of personal party-leadership—Cabinet responsibility is still in his mind. Colonel House's book, Philip Dru, favors it, and all that book has said should be, comes about slowly, even woman suffrage. The President comes to Philip Dru in the end. And yet they say that House has no power. ...

Election Day. November 5, [1918]

At Cabinet some one asked if Germany would accept armistice terms. The President said he thought so. ...

The President spoke of the Bolsheviki having decided upon a revolution in Germany, Hungary, and Switzerland, and that they had ten million dollars ready in Switzerland, besides more money in Swedish banks held by the Jews from Russia, ready for the campaign of propaganda. He read a despatch from the French minister in Berne, to Jusserand, telling of this conspiracy. Houston suggested the advisability of stopping it by seizing the money and interning the agitators. After some discussion, the President directed Lansing to ask the Governments in Switzerland and Sweden to get the men and money, and hold them, and then to notify the Allies of what we had done and suggest that they do likewise. Lansing suggested a joint Note, but the President vetoed this idea, wanting us to take the initiative. He spoke of always having been sympathetic with Japan in her war with Russia, and thought that the latter would have to work out her own salvation. But he was in favor of sending food to France, Belgium, Italy, Serbia, Roumania, and Bulgaria just as soon as possible; and the need was great, also in Austria.

He said that the terms had been agreed upon, but he did not say what they were—further than to say that the Council at Versailles had agreed to his fourteen points, with two reservations:—(1) as to the meaning of the freedom of the seas, (2) as to the meaning of the restoration of Belgium and France. This word he had directed Lansing to give to the Swiss minister for Germany—and to notify Germany also that Foch would talk the terms of armistice. ... He is certainly in splendid humor and in good trim—not worried a bit. And why should he be, for the world is at his feet, eating out of his hand! No Caesar ever had such a triumph! ...

November 6, 1918

Yesterday we had an election. I had expected we would win because the President had made a personal appeal for a vote of confidence, and all other members of the Cabinet had followed suit, except Baker who said he wanted to keep the Army out of politics. The President thought it was necessary to make such an appeal. He liked the idea of personal leadership, and he has received a slap in the face—for both Houses are in the balance. This is the culmination of the policy Burleson urged when he got the President to sign a telegram which he (Burleson) had written opposing Representative Slayden, his personal enemy, from San Antonio, and, in effect, nominating Burleson's brother-in-law for Congress. We heard of it by the President bringing it up at Cabinet. Burleson worked it through Tumulty. The President said that he did not know whether to write other letters of a similar nature as to Vardaman, Hardwick, ET AL. I advised against it, saying that the voters had sense enough to take care of these people. Burleson said, "The people like a leader with guts." The word struck the President's fancy and although Lansing, Houston, and Wilson also protested, in as strong a manner as any one ever does protest, the letters were issued. ... Even before the Slayden letter was one endorsing Davies, in Wisconsin, as against Lenroot. ... Then came the letter to the people of the whole country, reflecting upon the Republicans, saying that they were in great part pro-war but not pro-administration.

November 11, 1918

On Sunday I heard that Germany was flying the red flag, and postponed my promised visit to the Governors of the South, to be held at Savannah. At eleven yesterday word came that the President would speak to Congress at one, and that he would have no objection if the Departments closed to give opportunity for rejoicings. I went to a meeting of the Council of National Defence and spoke, welcoming the members. It was a meeting called by Baruch to plan reconstruction—but the President had notified him on Saturday that he could not talk or have talking on that subject. So all I could do was to give a word of greeting to men who are bound to be disappointed at being called for nothing.

The President's speech was, as always, a splendidly done bit of work. He rose to the occasion fully and it was the greatest possible occasion. ... Lansing says that they (he and the President) had the terms of Armistice before election—terms quite as drastic as unconditional surrender.


Washington, November 7, 1918

DEAR MR. WILLARD,—I am extremely sorry to receive word that you are leaving us, but of course you are going into a sphere of action much larger than the one you are in here, and we must yield you with every grace, no matter how unwillingly. You will be gone from us only a short time, I trust, and then I shall have the opportunity of seeing more of you and continuing a friendship which has been of very real value to me.

All that you say about the Advisory Commission is true, and more. If the history of the Council of National Defence and of the Advisory Commission is ever written it will be seen that you gentlemen, who gave your time and experience freely, gave the first real impulse to war preparation, and we missed out only because we did not have more authority to vest in you. I am very proud of the first six months of the Council's work and of the Commission's work.

I received your letter telling me of the death of your son and daughter-in-law, and I did not have the heart to write you another line. The mystery and the ordering of this world grow altogether inexplicable when the affections are wrenched. It requires far more religion or philosophy than I have, to say a real word that might console one who has lost those who are dear to him. Ten years ago my mother died, and I have never become reconciled to her loss. This is a wrong state of mind, and I hope that you are sustained by that unfaltering trust of which Bryant spoke. Sincerely yours,


To James H. Hawley

Washington, November 9, 1918

MY DEAR GOVERNOR,—... To my great surprise we have lost both Houses. We felt sure that we would carry both, and did not appreciate the extent to which the Republicans would be consolidated by the President's letter, which, from what I hear was one of the inducing causes of the result; although not by any means the only one, for the feeling in the North and West was strong that the South in some way was being preferred. I am fresh from a talk with Senator Phelan who, to my surprise, tells me that these were the factors in the New England States from which he has just come. ...

The Wilson administration may be judged by the great things that it has done—the unparallelled things—and the election of last Tuesday will get but a line in the history of this period, while the Versailles conference and the Fourteen Points of Wilson's message will have books written about them for a century to come. Cordially yours,


To Samuel G. Blythe London, England

Washington, November 13, 1918

MY DEAR SAM,—I had not seen the review of my little book of speeches [Footnote: The American Spirit.] made by the Daily Mail until you sent it to me. I guess we are a nation of idealists and it won't do any harm to have a little of this leaven thrown into the European lump. I am amused when I read the reviews on this book to see myself regarded as the rather imaginative interpreter of the national attitude, after these twenty years of quiet, stiff legal opinions on municipal law and rail-road problems.

Glad to hear of the boy! He is a poor correspondent, as most two- fisted young chaps are apt to be. I envy you your opportunity now to see the revolution in Germany, and it? possible spreading elsewhere. I think you might write an I article on how revolution comes to a country; a picture of just how the thing happens; what the first step was; what kind of organization there was and how they went about their business and got hold of the Government. There is I a whole book in this, but immediately there is a chance for a couple of mighty interesting articles.

Here we have gone wild over the victory and peace, and the fact that the election went against us means nothing, so far as international questions are concerned. We had not fixed the price on cotton while we had fixed the price on wheat, and that made the North feel that this is a Southern Administration. The Republicans were united for the first time in ten years. These are the big reasons for the shift. You see we have no idea here of Cabinet responsibility or votes of confidence or lack of confidence. I expect there will be some fun in Congress for the next two years. As always, cordially yours,



Washington, December 16, 1918

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I have your long letter, telling me of all your sad experiences with red tape and how you have settled down at last to do your bit at home. You have gone through the bitterness that most fellows have experienced in trying to do anything with the Government. I really am very sorry that you had to make such a financial sacrifice and break up your home and then be fooled, but probably it is all for the best. The war is over, the boys are coming home soon and this brings me to the main point.

Ned got home this morning. Nancy, Anne, and I went to Norfolk to meet him. He had no expectation of seeing us there and at eight o'clock on a very rainy foggy morning, we came up along side of his transport and he was taken by surprise. He had a fine lot of boys with him, but since May he had been at the Naval Aviation Headquarters as one of the General Staff.

He had many narrow escapes; had men killed standing beside him, torn to pieces by shrapnel; was knocked over by the concussion of shells; was over the lines in the battle of Chateau-Thierry in an aeroplane, flew across the Austrian-Italian lines and chased the German on his retreat through Belgium.

He seems to be in good health, though rather nervous. He very much admires the men who were his comrades and his superiors, but is glad to be out of it all. I think he would like to get on a big farm. My plan for getting farms for the soldier is making slow progress. I have got to put in all my effort now to get some decisive answer out of Congress—either yes or no. ...

[Ned] has seen France very thoroughly, all the north of Italy from Rome up, England, and Ireland. In the latter spot, he was shot at three times, notwithstanding a general order that no Irishman is allowed to have a gun. He was challenged to a duel by a Frenchman who tried to get away with his seat in a car. He gave the Frenchman a good licking and then discovered that he was liable to court martial, but he got the seat and then told the French lieutenant he would throw him out of the car window if he talked any more about dueling. The following morning he offered the Frenchman a cigarette which was taken, and they shook hands and parted.

He went up in an aeroplane in Italy at one place and had a hunch, he said, that something was wrong with the machine and so he brought it down and landed. Another fellow took it up, an Italian. He got up about one thousand feet in the air and the gas tank exploded. The poor fellow came down burnt to a cinder, all within five minutes. He shot a German from the Belgian trenches and has been recommended four times for promotion, but hasn't got it yet. With much love to Frances and yourself, I am, affectionately yours,



Washington, [December 18, 1918]

MY DEAR BRADLEY,—You wouldn't let me close my sentence yesterday and I don't propose to close it to-day. Yet I am not going to let you drive westward toward the land and people we both love so much, without letting you carry a word of affection and greeting from me, which you can just throw to the winds when you get there, throw it out of the window to Tamalpais, it will sweep over those eucalyptus trees on the right, throw it up to the Berkeley hills, which now are turning green, I suppose, throw it up the long stretch of Market Street till it reaches Twin Peaks, and let it flow down over "south of the slot" that was, and up over Nob Hill, even to the sacred brownstone of the Pacific-Union.

Go with a heart that is full of rejoicing that peace has come, through our sacrifice as well as that of other of the nobler peoples of earth, and with a heart that is proud that you were able to help with your strength and sane judgment and great gentleness of speech and manner, in carrying on this nation's affairs in the day of its greatest adventure. We shall all miss you greatly, whether you are gone two weeks or two years! Do just what you think is right, just what she who is so much to you thinks you should do. There is no better test of a man's duty.

If you can't return we shall stagger on. I shan't stop climbing this ladder because a rung is gone—tho' many a rung is gone—and a damn hard old ladder this is sometimes. ...





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


Washington, January, 1919

MY DEAR BRADLEY,— ... I am terribly broken up over Roosevelt's death. He was a great and a good man, a man's man, always playing his game in the open. ...

I loved old Roosevelt because he was a hearty, two-fisted fellow. ... The only fault I ever had to find with him was that he took defeat too hard. He had a sort of "divine right" idea, but he was a bully fighter. I went to his funeral and have joined in mass meetings in his memory, which I suppose is all I can do. ... Of course ... he said a lot of things that were unjust and unjustifiable, but if a fellow doesn't make a damned fool of himself once in a while he wouldn't be human. The Republicans would have nominated him next time undoubtedly. They are without a leader now, and we are just as much up in the air as ever. ... I am standing by the President for all I am worth. I talked to the Merchants' Association the other day and gave him a great send- off, but they didn't rise to their feet at all, which is the first time this has happened in two years. ... Sincerely yours,



Washington, January 30, 1919

MY DEAR GEORGE,— ... The one thing that bothers us here is the problem of unemployment. We have not, of course, had time to turn around and develop any plan for reconstruction. Our whole war machine went to pieces in a night. Everybody who was doing war work dropped his job with the thought of Paris in his mind, with the result that everything has come down with a crash, in the way of production, but nothing in the way of wages or living costs. Wages cannot go down until the cost of living does, and production won't increase while people believe prices will be lower later on. I to-day proposed to Secretary Glass that he enter upon a campaign to promote production, (1) by seeing what the Government could buy, (2) by seeing what the industries would take as a bottom price, (3) by getting the Food Administration at work to reduce prices. Perhaps it may do some good. ...

I have always thought the President was right in going across, and I believe that he will pull through a League of Nations. When I get a copy of it I will send you my speech on this subject, which is rather loose but is a plea for dreams.

Ned is going West to. work for Doheny in some oil field, starting at the bottom. I rather think this is right, but of course he won't stay as a laborer very long. The boy is fine and gay, and did splendid work, and is anxious to get into the game and make money. Just where he gets this desire for making money I don't know. Certainly I never had it. But he was telling me the other day of his hope that by forty he would have made enough money to retire. I told him you were the only fellow I ever knew who had actually retired, and you had only done it half way. He will report at Los Angeles, but I expect he will get up to see you as soon as he can. He has a remarkable affection for California, considering he has seen so little of it, and so has Nancy. They both regard it as the golden land where all things smile, and people have hearts. I have not attempted to cure them of their illusion.

Do write me a good, long letter, for I am always eager to hear from you.

F. K. L.

To George W. Lane

Washington, May 1, [1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Well, what do you think of the Italian situation? I think the President right, that Fiume should not go to Italy. Certainly she has no moral claim, for by the Pact of London, Fiume was to go to Croatia. Orlando says that he is answering the call of the Italians in exile. Let them stay in exile, I say. They went into a foreign land to make money and now they wish to annex the land they are visiting, to the home country. How would we like it if the Chinese swamped San Francisco and then asked to be annexed to China? This is carrying the Fiume idea to its ultimate, a ridiculous ultimate, of course, as most ultimates are.

Whether he [President Wilson] gave out the statement as to the break too early, and without the consent of England and France, of course I don't know. Quite like him to do it if he thought the thing had hung long enough, and that Italy was too damn predatory. And she does seem to be. The New Idea seems to have less real hold in Italy—at least among the governing class—than in any other European country. Her present position will postpone peace. This will cause us trouble over the extra session of Congress for our appropriations will run out. And perhaps in England it may give a chance for labor troubles to rise. It will postpone the return of good times to this country. But ultimately Italy will have to come through. If economic pressure were put upon her she would be compelled to yield at once, for she depends on England and ourselves for all the coal she uses, and on us chiefly for her wheat. Of course this form of coercion will not be resorted to. She might think more kindly if she were given an extended credit, say of two hundred million dollars. But the people being aroused now over what they think is a matter of principle—loyalty to their compatriots in Fiume—they may not be able to compromise. Lord Reading rather fears that this is the situation and that it might have been avoided if the President had not issued his statement when he did. However, I have no doubt that the President will have his way. He nearly always does. Surely the God that once was the Kaiser's is now his.

To be the First President of the League of Nations is to be the crowning glory of his life. I believe in the League—as an effort. It will not cure, but it is a serious effort to get at the disease. It is a hopeful effort, too, for it makes moral standards, standards of conduct between nations which will bring conventional pressure to bear on the side of peace, to offset the old convention of rushing into war to satisfy hurt feelings. Sooner or later there will come disarmament—the pistol will be taken away and the streets will be safer.

The boy is having a tough time in his oil work. It is so dirty! But I hope he sticks out until he proves himself. I hear that the Dutch Shell people have bought out Cowdray in Mexico, and now are trying to get Doheny's lands. They bestride the earth, and as soon as their activities are known generally, this country will look upon the Standard Oil as the American champion in a big international fight.

... Well, dear old chap, I know that I could add nothing to your cure if I were there but I am not content to be so far away from you. ... F. K. L.


Washington, May 20, 1919

MY DEAR MR. THOMPSON,—I told Mr. Loeb that I would feel greatly honored to be a member of a Memorial Committee, to do honor to Ex- President Roosevelt. To-day, I receive an agreement which I am asked to sign in which the members of the Committee are to pledge themselves to a memorial for the furtherance of Mr. Roosevelt's policies. I do not know what such a phrase means. With some of his policies I know I was in hearty accord but as to others, such as the tariff, I have my doubts. This might be turned or construed into a great machine for propaganda of a partisan character, and it seems to me that the Colonel's memory is altogether too precious a national possession to have that construction possibly given to any memorial to him.

There are hundreds of thousands of Democrats, like myself, who admired him and who would contribute toward a memorial, who should not be asked to do this if it was any more than a straight-out memorial to the man, the soldier, the naturalist, the historian, the President, the intense, vital American.

And all of your officers, so far as I am acquainted with them, are Republicans. This does not seem to convey quite the right suggestion.

I have already planned for a lasting Roosevelt memorial in the creation of a park in California, to bear Colonel Roosevelt's name. I expect this will have Congressional approval at the present session of Congress.

Last night I talked with Senator Frank Kellogg about this matter, and he agrees with my view. He says that he understood the memorial was to be something in Washington of a permanent and artistic character, and perhaps the home at Oyster Bay, and that the personnel of all committees was to be popular, including if possible as many Democrats as Republicans.

Under these circumstances I beg leave to withhold my signature to the agreement sent me. I would have no objection to asking Congress to provide for a memorial, though I think this should be deferred as a matter of policy until the public had subscribed generously. Cordially yours,



Washington, June 16, 1919

MY DEAR WHEELER,—I have seen your goodbye address at Berkeley, and I am very glad I did not hear it, for it must have been a sad day for Berkeley and for you. The address itself was a noble word. I hear that you have bought Lucy Sprague's home and are to remain in Berkeley. This is as it should be. You can ripen into the Sage of Berkeley, and be a center of influence, stimulating the best in others. A long, long life to you! Always sincerely and devotedly yours,



Washington, August 23, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MARTIN,— ... It does not seem to me that this country will rise to a class war. We have too many farmers and small householders and women—put the accent on the women. They are the conservatives. Until a woman is starving, she does not grow Red, unless she is without a husband or babies and has a lot of money that she did not earn. ... Cordially yours,



Washington, September 11, 1919

DEAR GEORGE,—You do not know how much of sympathy I send out to you and how many words of prayer I send up for you. You need them all, I expect. ... What a long siege you have had!

I suppose you will not be able to hear the President speak when he is there. You will miss much. He is not impassioned nor a great orator, such as Chatham or Fox, or Webster or Dolliver, or even Bryan—but he has a keen, quick, cutting mind, the mind of a really great critic, and his manner is that of the gentleman scholar. He is first among all men to-day, which is much for America.

My Nancy has been having a splendid time, even if she only saw your ranch for a week—but she is the gayest thing alive—God grant she may continue so always. ...

For the first time in twenty-five years we are living in an apartment, large and in a nice place, but somehow my sense of the fitness of things will not let me call the place "home"—altho' it is the most comfortable habitation I have ever lived in, elevator, whole floor to ourselves. ... and they let me keep my dog. I wouldn't have come if they hadn't. We turned down a fine place with a more expansive view because Jack was not wanted. But surely in these days of doubt and disloyalty one must have some rock to cling to, why not a trusting-eyed dog? ... But all this does not recompense me for the absence of a "home"—which is a house, anywhere. Yet we may have to do our own work. ... The cooks are all too proud to work—I wish you would tell me just how this economic problem should be settled. How much do you believe in socialism or socialization? ... Do you think there can be a partnership in business? I am inclined to think this can be worked out, along lines of cooperative ownership, but not until an enterprise is well standardized.

I expect bad times soon with labor. We are only postponing the evil day. The President seems less radical than he was. He is sobered by conditions, I suspect. The negro is a danger that you do not have. Turn him loose and he is a wild man. Every Southerner fears him.

... I am trying hard to believe something that might be called the shadow of a religion—a God that has a good purpose, and another life in which there is a chance for further growth, if not for glory. But when I bump up against a series of afflictions such as you have been subjected to, I fall back upon Fred's philosophy of a purposeless or else a cruel God. ... I simply have a sinking of the heart, a goneness, a hopelessness—not even the pleasure of a resignation. Old Sid's cold mind has worked itself through to a decision that there is no purpose and no future, and finds solace in the ultimate; having reached the cellar he finds the satisfaction of rest. I can't get there for my buoyancy, the hold- over of early teachings or perhaps my naturally sanguine nature will not permit me to hit bottom, but forever I must be floating, floating—nowhere. Happy the man who strikes the certainty of a rock-bottom hell, rather than one who is kept floating midway— that is a purgatory worse than hell. I don't seem to have any capacity for anger, as against God or man, for anything that befalls me, but I get morbid over the injustices done to others. Now I shall stop philosophizing on this matter for it is three in the morning, and too hot to sleep, and such a time is made for wickedness and not for righteousness.

I am sorry you will not see the President. He is worth hearing, better than reading, and he always talks well. He can not pass his treaty without some kind of reservations and he should have seen this a month ago. The Republicans will not struggle to pass it in his absence and think that they have done a smart thing, but in the end Wilson and not Lodge would win by such a trick. The one greatest of vices is smart-aleckism. Sometime I shall write an essay on that subject. The burglar and the confidence operator and the profiteer and the profligate and the defaulting bank cashier are all victims of that disease—smart-aleckism. They will do a trick, to prove how clever they are. I believe that is the way ninety per cent of the boys and girls go wrong, and instead of teaching them the Bible, why not try reducing the size of their conceit and their disposition to boast. I just wonder how far wrong I am on this?

... Don't let the family worry you. Call for the police if they don't let you have your own way. ... What a plague of women! But how did monks manage to live anyhow? Maybe they chose a hard death—perhaps that was the secret of the whole monkery game! Women let us down into the grave with much unction to our ego, I mean sweet oil of adoration ... poured out upon the way down to Avernus. ... Don't feel discouraged because you lie there. I feel much more discontented than you do, right here at the heart of the world. ... Love to Maude and Frances, and mention me with proper respect and dignity to Miss Nancy Lane.

F. K.


Washington, September 24, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MANNING,—I have been intending for several days to write you a letter regarding the Petroleum Institute, but the opportunity has been denied me. Perhaps you will be good enough to say to the gentlemen, whom I understand you are to meet tomorrow, that I regard their work, if taken hold of whole-heartedly, as of the greatest national importance. It is quite manifest now that private enterprise must stand in the forefront in the development of this industry, and that what the government can do will be supplemental and suggestive. It is not an exaggeration to say that millions of dollars must be spent in experiment before we know the many services to which a barrel of oil can be put. There is almost an indefinite opportunity for research work along this line.

Petroleum is a challenge to the chemists of the world. And now the world is dependent upon it, as it is upon nothing else excepting coal and iron, and the foodstuffs and textiles. It has jumped to this place of eminence within twenty years, and the world is concerned in knowing how large a supply there is and how every drop of it can best be used. Practically, I think you should urge that there be cooperative effort to protect against waste. The oil men themselves should see the value of this and spend their money freely to keep their wells from being flooded, to keep their pipe lines from leaking, and to save their gas.

We are behind the rest of the world in the use of our oil for fuel purposes. We are spendthrifts in this as in other of our national resources. We can get three times as much energy as we do out of our oil through the use of the Diesel engine, yet we are doing little to promote development of a satisfactory type of stationary Diesel, or marine design. Instead of seeing how many hundred millions of barrels of oil we can produce and use, our effort should be to see how few millions of barrels will satisfy our needs. I say this although I am not a pessimist as to the available supply, which I believe has been underestimated rather than overestimated. I am satisfied that the man who has a barrel of oil has something which, if he can save, is better than a government bond. Throughout the Nation we must make a drive to increase production—that is the slogan of this time—but that does not mean that we should make a drive to exhaust resources which God alone can duplicate.

Then too, I think that Congress can be largely helped by the sane presentation of wise policies touching this industry. I have the belief that whatever the body of oil men would agree upon would be something that would make for the best use of petroleum, and for the protection over a long period of this fundamental resource in our industry. Congress has difficulty often in getting the large view of practical men who speak without personal interest, and such an Institute could speak not for the individual but for the industry and show how it may best be developed in the interest of the country.

To do these things, and to do them adequately, will require the men in the industry to take the attitude of statesmen and not of selfish exploiters. It means they must tax themselves liberally, generously. It means that they must think of themselves as trustees for a Public as wide as the world.

Please give my regards to the members of the Institute. Cordially yours,



Washington, October 2, 1919

MY DEAR BRADLEY,— ... I have all along said that the treaty could not be ratified without some interpretive reservations. I think that the President will see that, although he sees clearly, as I do, that these interpretations are already in the treaty itself, but on a question of construction two men may honestly differ. The whole damn thing has gotten into the maelstrom of politics, of the nastiest partisanship, when it ought to have been lifted up into the clearer air of good sense and national dignity. ...

Hoover can be elected. He came home modestly and made a splendid speech. We need a man of great administrative ability and of supreme sanity who can lead us into quiet waters, if there are any.

... We have imported, with our labor, their discontent, and the theories which are founded upon it to obtain the price. But the American workingman is a sensible fellow, when he can have the chance to think without being overwhelmed by fear, and he will realize that his betterment in a material way must come through his own individual growth and the growth of the conscience of the people who believe in a square deal. The serious thing in the whole situation, to my mind, is the fact that so many workingmen seem to accept the idea that they are of a fixed class; that they can not move out of their present conditions; that they want always to remain as employees and have no hope of becoming superintendents, employers, managers, or capitalists; and therefore think that their only prospect is in bettering their condition as a part of a class. Great propaganda should be carried on to show how false this is and how much demand there is for men of ability.

With warm regards, old man, I am cordially yours,



Washington, Friday, [October 10, 1919]

MY DEAR MRS. WALL,—We heard through Ned of the Commodore's death, and you can realize how shocked and terribly grieved we were, and still are.

Poor dear girl, there is nothing anyone can say that will help even a little bit. Every word of appreciation makes the loss more serious. And you need no one to tell you that he was loved by us, and every single person who really knew him. He was to me Christlike, beautiful, gentle, wise and noble. Since that first day, nearly thirty years ago on Grays Harbor, I have known him as one of the rare spirits of the world, and Anne and I have loved him deeply. Surely he must live on, and we must all see him again!

May strength come to you out of the Infinite resources of the Universe to bear this blow. The world was made better by him! In deep sympathy,



Wednesday, November, [1919]

MY DEAR OLD MAN,—I am sitting alone in my den having come down stairs to write a line on my report, but instead have been lured into an evening of delight with Robert Louis Stevenson, whose letters, in four volumes, I advise you to read for the spirit of the man. Much like your own, my brave fine fellow! He went through tortures with a smile and a merry imagination which made him great, and makes all of us, and many more to come, his debtor. I know how little you read. The birds have been yours and the trees and the dogs and fishes, but there are men in the world, or have been, whom one can know through their writings. Did you ever read Trevelyan's three volumes on GARIBALDI? No,—well get it before you are a week older and you will thank me for ever and a day.

All of this, however, I had not intended to write, rather to tell you ... how emotional I have been all day with the old soldiers passing by on parade—the last that many of them will ever have.

Fifty years ago, Andrew Johnson received Grant's returned forces on the same spot. There were 180,000, or so, then—and 20,000 now —crippled, lame, one-legged, bent, halting most of them, but determined to make the long journey from the Capitol to the White House, and prove that they had lived this long time and were still good for a longer journey. There was little of gaiety among them, tho' some were swinging flags, torn, tattered, be-shot ... and raised their hats to the President as they passed, tho' most of them, doubtless, were sorry that he was not a Republican. It was a time to remember.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse