The Letters of Franklin K. Lane
by Franklin K. Lane
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... Nancy is back after her tour of glory—larger than ever but not less tender or playful. She is the brightest spirit I have ever met—and all her vanities are so dear and human and lie so frankly exposed. I thank you for your kindness to her, she loves you very much; yes, really recognizes those qualities which some cannot see, poor blind things! But I can, and she can, and Frances can, and many more when you give them a look in. May your grass grow and soul keep warm and your spirit lift itself in song at morning and at night. Affectionately always,



Washington, November 3, 1919

MY DEAR MR. MATHEW,—I have your letter of October 27th, and I appreciate very much its kind words. The Industrial Conference was not a success because we got into the steel strike at first, and people talked about their rights instead of talking of their duties. We will have another conference, however, which I think will do some real work and lay a foundation for the future. The coal strike is a bad one, but the people are not in sympathy with it, and sooner or later, in my judgment, it will come to an adjustment situation in which the President will be perfectly willing to participate. He, by the way, is getting along very well, but I expect it will be many weeks before he is himself again. ... Cordially yours,



Washington, November 8, 1919

MY DEAR MR. PELL,—I wish you success with your Constitutional League. I have no objection whatever to my name being used in connection with it, providing the League is not an institution for denouncing people or denouncing theories of government or economic panaceas; but is a positive, aggressive institution for the presentation to our people of the fact that we have in this Democracy a method of doing whatever we wish done, which avoids the necessity for anything like revolutionary action. The objection to Bolshevism is that it is absolutism—as Lenine has said himself, the absolutism of the proletariat. It is an economic government by force, while our Democracy is a government by persuasion.

I find that no good comes from calling names. The men who are to be reached are the men who are not committed against us, but are disposed to be with American institutions. We must show them that we have a system that it is worth while betting on, and that if they have another way of doing things economical, machinery by which it can be instituted is in the people's hands. Our policy is to look before we leap, and to submit our methods to the judicial judgment of the people. This permits any doctrine to be preached that does not subvert our institutions. Where do our institutions come from? What have they been effective in bringing about? What is the condition of the United States as a whole compared with other countries? Can we hope to work out our salvation without civil war? These are legitimate questions, the answer to which is found in this other question—is not political Democracy the one practical way to eventual industrial Democracy? Cordially yours,



Washington, November 23, 1919

MY DEAR MR. DAVISON,—I wired you yesterday my conclusion, as to your very generous and patriotic offer, which was the same that I had come to before seeing you in New York. Your appeal was so strong and went so much to my impulse for public service that you made me feel that, perhaps, I was giving undue weight to the considerations I had presented to you. So I sought the judgment of others—all of them men of large distinction whom you know, or at least have confidence in, and without dissent I found them saying, voluntarily and unbidden, what I had said to you—that for me to undertake this work of arousing the best patriotic feeling of America, on a salary, would make seriously against the success of the work and against my own value in it, or in anything else I might undertake. If I were rich I would go into it with my whole heart. But a poor man can not be charged with making money out of the exploitation of the good opinion others have of his love of country. This is not squeamishness, it is a rough standard, arrived at by instinct rather than by any refined process of reasoning.

I say this to you because of my deep confidence in you and my very real confidence that you are my friend, and sought to do me a kindness and give me an opportunity. Now let me see if I can be of any help in this work. ...

[Here followed a full detailed plan of an Americanization program, that concluded with the paragraph.]

These outline some methods of reaching the public with the idea that this is a land that is lovable, prosperous, good-humored, great, and noble-spirited. To carry it out will cost a great deal of money, I should say that not less than five million a year should be available. With warm regard, cordially yours,



Washington, November 28, [1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Do not be surprised if you hear that I am out of the Cabinet soon, for I have been offered two fifty thousand a year places, and another even more. I don't want to leave if it will embarrass the President, but I do want something with a little money in it for awhile. ... But I must see the President before I decide ... and I don't know when that will be, now that he is sick.

This life has a great fascination for everyone and I dread to leave it; for anything else will bore me I am sure. I deal here only with big questions and not with details—with policies that affect many, and yet I have but a year and a half more, and then what? Perhaps it is as well to take time by the forelock, tho' I do not want to decide selfishly nor for money only. I must go where I can feel that I am in public work of some kind. ...

... I have served him [the President] long and faithfully under very adverse circumstances. It is hard for him to get on with anyone who has any will or independent judgment. Yet I am not given to forsaking those to whom I have any duty. However we shall see, I write you this, that you may not be misled by the thought that there has been or is any friction. Of course you won't speak of it to anyone.

I am so glad you are able to be out a little bit. "Ain't it a glorious feelin'?" The farm must look mighty good. Well, old man, goodnight, and God give you your eyes back! With my warmest love,



Washington, December 29, 1919 MY DEAR SAM,—I hear from Joe Teal that your boy has been lost at sea, and I write this word, not in the hope that I can say anything that will minimize your loss, for all the kindly words of all men in all the world could not do as much as one faint smile from that boy's lips could do to bring a bit of joy into your heart.

But you are an old, old friend of mine. It is more than thirty years since we dreamed a dream together which you were able to realize. We both have had our fortune in good and bad, and on the whole I think our lives have not added to the misery of men, but have done something toward making life a bit more kind for many people. And why should that boy be taken from you? There is the mystery—if you can solve it you can solve all the other mysteries. I hope you have some good staunch faith, which I have never been able to get, that would enable me to look upon these things in humility, in the confidence that this thing we call a body is only a temporary envelope for a permanent thing—a lasting, growing thing called a spirit, the only thing that counts. If we can get that sense we can have a new world. I do not believe we will change this world much for the good out of any materialistic philosophy or by any shifting of economic affairs. We need a revival—a belief in something bigger than ourselves, and more lasting than the world.

With my warmest sympathy, I am, yours as always,



Washington, December 29, [1919]

MY DEAR JOHN,—The manner in which you write assures me that you are very happy, notwithstanding your marriage and your new religion, for which I am glad. An even better assurance is the picture of the bride. By what wizardry have you been able to lure and capture so young, good, and intelligent-looking a girl? I presume she was fascinated by the indirectness of your speech, the touches of humor and your very stern manner. John, you are a humbug, you have made that aloofness and high indifference a winning asset. I shan't give you away. Only you fill me with a mortifying envy.

As for your religion, various of your friends think it odd. I think that you are a subject for real congratulation. A man who can believe anything is miles ahead of the rest of us. I would gladly take Christian Science, Mohammedanism, the Holy Rollers or anything else that promised some answer to the perplexing problems. But you have been able to go into the Holy of Holies and sit down on the same bench of belief with most of the saints—this is miraculous good fortune. I mean it. I am not scoffing or jeering. I never was more serious.

This whole damned world is damned because it is standing in a bog, there is no sure ground under anyone's feet. We are the grossest materialists because we only know our bellies and our backs. We worship the great god Comfort. We don't think; we get sensations. The thrill is the thing. All the newspapers, theatres, prove it. We resign ourselves to a life that knows no part of man but his nerves. We study "reactions," in human beings and in chemistry— recognizing no difference between the two—and to my great amazement, the war has made the whole thing worse than ever. John, if you have a religion that can get hold of people, grip them and lift them—for God's sake come over and help us. I know you can understand how people become Bolsheviks just out of a desire for definiteness and leadership. The world will not move forward by floating on a sea of experimentation. It gets there by believing in precise things, even when they are only one-tenth true. I wish I had your faith—as a living, moving spirit. Some day I pray that I may get with you where you can tell me more of it and how you got it.

I am leaving the Cabinet, tho' the precise date no one knows, for the President is not yet well enough to talk about it. He seems to be too done up to stand any strain or worry. But I must have some money, for my years are not many, Anne is far from well, and Nancy is a young lady, and a very beautiful one. She has just come out and is quite the belle of the season, tho' like her father, too anxious for popularity.

Great good luck of all kinds to you in 1920, old man—and do give me a line now and then.

F. K. L.


Washington, [1919]

MY DEAR FRANK,—I have read your speech on Prussianizing the Americans, and I concur. Of course repression ... promotes the growth of error. We are not going to destroy socialism, or prevent it from coming strong by refusing to answer it.

But I have a notion that you have not expressed as directly as I should like:—That the newspaper is not influential enough to stop it and perhaps does not care to, sometimes. Where are the papers that are respected for their character? They are few. The most of them are believed to be the allies of every kind of Satan. "They are rich; their ads. run them; they pander to circulation, no matter of what kind, to get ads.", that is the answer of the plain people. If the papers were things of thought and not of passion, prejudice and sensation and interest, they could do the work that police and courts are called upon to do. They could effectively answer the agitator. But the people do not believe them when they cry aloud. Maybe I am wrong, but isn't there a grain, or a gram, of truth in this?

For a year and a half I have been bombarding Congress with a demand for a bill that would make a campaign, through the schools, against illiteracy. I have made dozens of speeches for it, written a lot, lobbied much, until Congress passed a law stopping my working up sentiment for it, by a joint resolution. How much sentiment has the press created? You had one or two editorials. The Times one. No one else in New York gave a damn. The Congressmen were not made to feel that those ignorant foreigners who were fifty-five per cent of the steel workers, must learn to read papers that were written in American, not in Russian or Yiddish or Polish or Italian.

I tell you seriously we are not a serious people except when we are scared. "Rights of free speech, O yes! they must be preserved. Democracy has its balancing of forces." All this is forgotten when the government is at stake—our institutions. These mottoes and legends and traditions presuppose someone who will enlighten the people and a people that can be enlightened. Otherwise you will get the strong arm at work. It is inevitable. Has there been any meeting of editors to map a course that will truthfully reveal what Bolshevism is? or how absurd the talk of wage-slavery is? or why the miners strike? or why this is the best of all lands?

Tell me why workmen don't believe what you print, unless it is some slander on a rich man, or some story that falls in with prejudices and hatreds?

Answer me that and you will know why the people sit indifferent while papers are suppressed, speakers harried, and espionage is king.

Mind you, I am not saying that you are alone to blame. Congress is. The States are. The cities are. The people are. They have let everything drift. What is our passion? What do we love? Do we think, or do we go to the movies? The socialist takes his philosophy seriously. The rest of us have no philosophy that is a passion with us.

But there, I have scolded enough. You are right, but you are not fundamental or basic or something or other, which means that you can't put out a fire unless you have a fire department that is on the job. Tenderly yours,

F. K L.

Lane never outgrew his passionate belief in the moral responsibility of the press. To Fremont Older, when he took charge of the SAN FRANCISCO CALL, Lane telegraphed:—

"There is no other agency that can serve our national purpose that is one-half as powerful as a free press, and no other that has one-half the responsibility. We need a press that will stand for the right, no matter whether its circulating or advertising is increased or not by such a position, and that means a press that includes in its understandings and sympathies the whole of society and serves no purpose other than the promotion of a happier and nobler people. Journalism is the greatest of all professions in a free country, if it is bent upon being right rather than being successful. I hope that you may be both."


Watkins Glen, New York, [December, 1919]

MY DEAR MRS. WALL,—I am reminded by your letter to Anne that I have said no word to you since that first word of attempt at support, which I threw out on the first day. I meant it all and more. Wall was always in my mind, as at heart, the truest Democrat I knew. He really lived up to the standard of the New Testament. He did love his neighbor as himself. He never did good or kindness out of policy, but always from principle, from nature—which can be said of very few in this world. He was without cowardice of any kind, and without hypocrisy. I believe he had no vanity. He had the pride of a noble man and lived as generously toward the world as I have ever known man to live. This might be said of one who was austere, but the dear, old Commodore was to me, and to us all, the very symbol of warmth. The one thing I criticised in him was his unwillingness that people should discover him for the fanciful, humorous, wise, and exquisitely tender man that he was. He did not leave an enemy, I know, unless that man was a scoundrel. And with all his reticence he impressed himself profoundly on hundreds. I know if there is another world that Wall and I will find each other, and he will be with the gladdest, gayest of the spirits. I hope you can look forward to such a meeting with the confidence that Anne has, which always astonishes me and makes me envious. He has gone to the one place, if any such place there is, where the greatest longing of his soul can be gratified—his love for justice.

If you have a picture of him, no matter how poor, won't you let me have it, that I may hang it beside my work desk, and looking at it find inspiration and be reminded of the sane, loving, lovable, high-hearted chap whom I held as a brother?

Dear lonely woman, I wish I could speak one word that would lighten your sense of loss, in him and in your mother. I know that you are not lacking in courage, but stoutness of heart does not bring comfort, I know. How exceptional your loss because how exceptional your fortune—such a man and such a mother. Very sincerely yours,



Sunday, [December, 1919]

... The whole of mankind is searching for affection, tenderness,— not physical love but sweet companionship. We could get along with fewer pianos and victrolas if we had a more harmonious society. We really don't like each other much better than Alaskan dogs. Now what is the reason for that? Are we afraid of them stealing from us—our houses, sweethearts, or dollars? Or are we so stupid that we don't know each other, never get under the skin to find out what kind of a fellow this neighbor is? Certainly we are self- centered and we wonder that people don't like us when we don't try to find what is likable about them—and keep stressing their unlikable qualities.

All of which homily leads up to the Holidays. I hope that you will enjoy them. Nancy is having no end of a gay time, and knows how really good a time she is having, I do believe. She is the rarest combination of old woman and baby I have ever known, cynically wise, almost, and soft innocence. She has a dozen beaux and is extravagant about, and to, each. ...

The President is getting better slowly, but we communicate with him almost entirely through his doctor (Grayson). I shall be mighty sorry to leave here, where we have so many friends, but my hope is to get enough to buy a place in California, one of these days, and settle down to the normal life of digging a bit in the soil and then digging a bit in the brain.

Give my warmest regards to the Captain. You have ripened into a fine beauty and a great usefulness, and I hope that you will find serenity of mind and soul, which is all that the great have ever searched for. With much love,



[December, 1919]

MY DEAR GEORGE,—Things are going well notwithstanding the President's illness. No one is satisfied that we know the truth, and every dinner table is filled with speculation. Some say paralysis, and some say insanity. Grayson tells me it is nervous breakdown, whatever that means. He is however getting better, and meantime the Cabinet is running things. ...

Ned is here and having a good time with all his old girls, some of whom have married and are already divorced, so he feels an old man. Nancy is lovely and merry and quite a belle. She took with the Prince of Belgium, and was quite as happy as you would be with having caught a six-pound trout—just the same feeling, I guess.

Politically things do not look interesting. There are no big men in the line except Hoover. The country wants some manly, two- fisted administrator and it doesn't care where he comes from.

I hope your eye is better, dear old man. My love to Frances.

F. K. L.

The Dan O'Neill to whom the next letter was written, was a friend of early days. Lane always liked to recall this episode. O'Neill, a big elderly Irishman, was in the City employ, while Lane was City and County Attorney, and had formed for his "Chief"—as he lustily called him—a most disinterested affection. After Lane's defeat for Mayor of San Francisco, O'Neill came one day and asked for an interview. When greetings were over he stood hesitating and twirling his hat, until Lane said, "Well, Dan, what can I do for you?"

"You see, Chief," he answered, "The wife and I were talking it over last night. We know how these damned campaigns of yours have been taking the money. You see, we have two lots of land—out there," with a jerk of the hat toward the great outside, "and a little house—and we're well and strong, and all the children doing fine at school—and we can, easy as not, put a mortgage on the house, for two or three thousand. We'd like it fine if you'd take it, until you get going again."

Lane did not have to mortgage his friend's house, but it was these "sweet uses of adversity," more than anything else, that tempered, for him, the pain of defeat. This friendship lasted to the end of his life. In 1915, when going back from California on a hurried trip, Lane wrote to O'Neill, "I did not see much of you and I am sorry I didn't. It was my fault, I know. Your dear old Irish face is a joy to me every time I see it, and whenever I go out you must not fail to turn up, else I shall be brokenhearted."

When Lane was very ill in 1921, O'Neill came to pay his respects to the wife of his Chief. As she went out into the hallway of her friend's house, in San Francisco, the whole place seemed filled by O'Neills, for he stood there and all his three great sons—one a fire captain, and stalwart men all. It was a sad meeting and parting.


Washington, December 24, 1919

MY DEAR DAN,—I am delighted to get your nice letter. It is as charming a letter as I ever received, because you tell me of all the family and that they are doing well, and that you are in good health, and that you want me back with you—all of which makes me love you more and more. Give to the whole family my good holiday greetings. Make them earnest and hearty.

I haven't got money enough, Dan, to pay my fare back after living here so long, and I shall have to make some before coming back there, but I hope to do it some one of these days. ...

Dan, I know you have been a bad man, and I know you have been a good man; and there will be a place in Heaven for you, old fellow. You have been an honest citizen, a credit to your country, and so have your children, and you will never know anyone who is fonder of you than I. Cordially yours,



December 3l, 1919

MY DEAR GARLAND,—I am going up to New York on the eleventh to talk to the moving picture people at the Waldorf-Astoria. I had them down here and had a resolution put through the Committees on Education of both House and Senate, asking the Moving Picture Industry to interest itself in Americanization, and I have been appointed at the head of a committee to take charge of this work. I have some schemes myself that I want very much to talk to you about regarding Americanization.

I do not know how much time I will be able to give to this work because I have got to make some money, but I am going to use my spare time that way. Suppose when I get to New York I telephone you and see if we can not get together. Cordially yours,


To one of the Moving Picture Weeklies, Lane contributed this paragraph on Americanizing the foreign born:—"The one sure way to bring the foreign born to love this land of ours is to show our pride in its present, faith in its future, and interpret America to all in terms of fair play and square dealing. America gives men nothing—except a chance,"


Rochester, Minnesota, January 3, 1920

MY DEAR HUGO,—I have not written you because my own plans must be determined by circumstances. I think, however, that I shall leave very soon. I hate to go because the work is so satisfactory. ...

Bryan has come back. What strength he will develop, no one can tell. He evidently has determined that he will not be pushed aside or disregarded. He has been, and will continue to be as long as he lives, a great force in our politics. People believe that he is honest and know he is sympathetic with the moral aspirations of the plain people. They distrust his administrative ability, but on the moral question, they recognize no one as having greater authority.

... I hear there is talk among the business people of setting up a third party and nominating Hoover. Two things the next President must know—Europe and America, European conditions and American conditions. The President of the United States must be his own Secretary of State. We need administration of our internal affairs and wise guidance economically. Hoover can give these. He has the knowledge and he has the faculty. He has the confidence of Europe and the confidence of America. He is not a Democrat, nor is he a Republican. He voted for Wilson, for Roosevelt, and McKinley. But he is sane, progressive, competent. The women are strong for him and there are fifteen million of them who will vote this year. It would not surprise me to see him nominated on either ticket, and I believe I will vote for him now as against anybody else.

But I must quit talking politics because I am going out of it entirely, completely, and I really have been out of politics ever since I left California. I have tried to take a broad non-partisan view of things which is one of the reasons I have had hard sledding. But I am going without a grouch, without a complaint or a criticism—with a great admiration for Wilson and with a thorough knowledge of his defects; and with a more sympathetic attitude toward my colleagues than any can have who do not know the circumstances as well as I do. ... Cordially yours,



Washington, January 5, 1920

MY DEAR ADMIRAL,—As you know, I am contemplating resigning. It has been my purpose to wait until such time as the President was well enough to see me and talk the matter over with him. I understand from Mr. Tumulty that the President is prepared to name my successor, and that it would not in any way add to his embarrassment to fill my place in the immediate future. I would like to know if this is the fact, for my course will be shaped accordingly. Two years ago I had an offer of fifty thousand a year which I put aside because I thought it my duty to stay while the war was on. When Mr. McAdoo resigned, this offer was renewed but I then thought that I should await the conclusion of formal peace, which all expected would come soon. While the President was West, I promised that I would take the matter up with him on his return, and since then I have been waiting for his return to strength. I need not tell you that I am delighted to know that he is in such condition now as to turn to matters that in the best of health are vexatious, if this is the fact.

My sole reason for resigning is that I feel that I am entitled to have assurance as to the future of my family and myself. I have been in public life twenty-one years and have less than nothing in the way of private means. ... And having given the better part of my life to the public, I feel that I must now regard the interest of those dependent upon me. I wish you would be perfectly frank with me, for I would do nothing that with your knowledge you would think would make against the welfare of our Chief. Cordially,



Washington, January 31, 1920

MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN,— ... It is our boast and our glory that we have a form of government under which men can make their conception of society into law, if they can persuade their neighbors that their dream is one that will benefit all. There is nothing more absurd than to contend that the last word has been spoken as to any of our institutions, that all experimenting has ended and that we have come to a standstill. ... We are growing. But this does not mean that all change must be growth and that we can not test by history, especially by our own experiences and knowledge, the value of whatever is proposed as a substitute for what is. The dog that dropped the meat to get the shadow of a bigger piece is the classical warning. We are for what is, not because it is the absolute best but because it has worked well. It is sacred only because it has been useful. Until a system of government, or of economics, or of home life, can be demonstrated to be an improvement on what we have, we shall not hysterically and fancifully forsake those which have served us thus far.

Our Government is not our master but our tool, adaptable to the uses for which it was designed; our servant, responsive to our call. This makes revolution an absurdity. But it also makes a sense of responsibility a necessity. And while we may not have broken down in this regard we certainly have weakened. We have proceeded in the belief that automatically all men would come to see things as we do, have a sense of the value of our traditions and a consciousness of the deep meanings of our national experiences. The things we believed in we have not taught. Hence the need for such institutions as the Constitutional League which, however, can not do for each of us the duty that is ours of living the spirit of our Constitution. Cordially yours,



Washington, February 5, 1920

MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,—It is with deep regret that I feel compelled to resign the commission with which you saw fit to honor me, by appointing me to a place in your Cabinet, now almost seven years ago. If it will meet your convenience I would suggest that I be permitted to retire on the first of March.

With the conditions which make this step necessary you are familiar. I have served the public for twenty-one years, and that service appeals to me as none other can, but I must now think of other duties.

The program of administration and legislation looking to the development of our resources, which I have suggested from time to time, is now in large part in effect, or soon will come into effect through the action of Congress.

I return this Department into your hands with very real gratitude that you have given me the opportunity to know well a working force holding so many men and women of singular ability and rare spirit.

I trust that you may soon be so completely restored to health that the country and the world may have the benefit of the full measure of your strength in the leadership of their affairs. The discouragements of the present are, I believe, only temporary. The country knows that for America to stand outside the League of Nations will bring neither pride to us nor confidence to the world.

Believe me, my dear Mr. President, always, cordially and faithfully yours,



Washington, February 13, 1920

MY DEAR MR. MONDELL,—I wish to acknowledge, with the warmest appreciation, your letter of yesterday, and to say that I am literally forced out of public life by my lack of resources. The little property that I have been able to save is all gone in an effort to make both ends meet, and I find myself at fifty-five without a dollar, in debt, and with no assurance as to the future. I assure you that it is with the deepest regret that I leave public life for I like it, and the public have treated me handsomely, especially the men in Congress with whom I have had to deal, and not the least of these, yourself.

I should like to stay, especially so, that we could put into effect some of the legislation for which we have been fighting, such as the oil bill, the power bill, and the farms-for-soldiers bill. I shall leave a set of regulations as to the oil leases ready for operation. The power bill will come into effect soon, I hope. I am responsible for the three-headed commission, but it was the only chance I saw of getting any unity as between the different branches of the government.

Letters are still coming in from the boys who want to go on farms, and I hope that we will be able to lead Congress to see that this is a farsighted measure.

I thank you very much for your many courtesies to me. I trust that your career may be one of still greater usefulness and expanding opportunity. With the warmest regards, cordially yours,


Late in the year 1919, Lane wrote to James E. Gregg:—"... The soldier-farms bill has been reported favorably by the Committee on Public Lands to the House, but has not yet been taken up for consideration on the floor. ... Of course, some of the opposition has been by those who say the plan does not do something for all of the soldiers, but this is hardly a good objection, as no other constructive suggestion seems to have been made by any one that would do anything for any of the soldiers, except the cash bonus, which I believe is altogether impossible, improvident, and not in the interest either of the country or the soldier."


Washington, February, 1920

MY DEAR MR. DE FOREST,—I do not know that I have received another letter which has made me feel as conscious of the gravity of the step I have taken as has yours. I have accumulated much in twenty years of public life that ought to be forever at the service of the public, and if I were alone in the world I would not think of going out. But I must think now for a time in a narrower field. Your own career shows that without holding office a man may do a great good and give wide public service. Perhaps this opportunity may be mine.

I shall be in New York soon and I hope very much to see you and see you often. Cordially yours,




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


Saugatuck, July 5, [1920]

Here I am at your desk looking out of your window into your trees, up the gentle rise of your formal garden into the brilliant crown of rambler roses above the stone gateway.

This is a very delightful picture. The sun is just beginning to pour into the garden. He is looking through the apple trees and having hard work to make even a splash of golden green upon the lawn, but the silver spruce and the tiara of roses get the full measure of his morning smile and are doing their best to show that they understand, appreciate, and are glad. Oh, it is a great morning!

And on the water side it has been even more stimulating, I have walked along the stone wall, the water is down, very low, the boat is stranded, like some sleeping animal, with its tether lying loose along the pebbly strand. The gulls are crying to each other that there is promise of a gulletfull. Nearer shore the fish are leaping—only one or two I think but they make just enough noise to make one realize that there is life in the smooth water, that it is more than a splendid silver mirror for the sun which streams across it. I disturbed a solitary king-fisher as I went out to the wharf. He rose from his perch upon the rope, circled about for a minute and then settled back, on his watch for breakfast.

It is altogether lovely, a quiet, gentle, kindly morning, such as you have often seen, no doubt, when Judah Rock is making its giant fight to rise triumphant from the sea.

But this is not a bit of geologic prophecy nor a Chapter I. to a love story, that I am writing. This is a bread-and-butter letter. I have been your guest and I am telling you that I have enjoyed myself. But you, of course, wish something more than the bald statement that I like your place and that your bread was good and your butter sweet. Yes, you deserve more, for this place is an expression of yourself. No one can be here and not see you at every turn, even though you may be right now in Paris "making the way straight." You have put your love of beauty, your restrained love for color, and your exceptional sense of balance into the whole establishment. It is a man's house—things are made for use; the chairs will stand weight; the couches are not fluff; one can lean with safety on the tables. But everywhere the eye is satisfied. My bed is beautiful, French I fancy, yet it is comfort itself. The lamp beside my bed is a dull bit of bronze which does not poke itself into your sleepy eye, yet you know that it fits the need, not only for light but for satisfaction to the eyes after the light comes. And the bath tub—may I speak of a bath tub in a bread-and-butter letter?—the bath tub is not too long—do you ever suffer from the long, long stretch into the cold water at your back and the imperfect support to the head which imperils your entire submergence?—your bath tub is not too long, and I grab it on both sides to get out. And as I dry myself I look down into that garden of precise, trimmed and varied green upon which the rambler roses smile.

It is well to have had money. No Bolshevism comes out of such a place as this. It makes no challenge to the envy of the submerged tenth. It has not ostentation. It gives off no glare, and it is all used. For men who can put money to such use, who do not over- indulge their own love for things of beauty, nor build for luxurious living, but mould a bit of seashore, some trees and a rambling house into an expression of their own dignified and balanced natures, for such men I am quite sure there is or will be, no social peril from the Red.

And may I close with a word, an inadequate and most feeble word, as to the Lady of the House who so perfectly complements the beauty and the refinement of her setting. She would make livable and lovable a shack, and she would draw to it those who think high thoughts. She has an aura of sympathy and companionability which makes her one with the healing earth and the warming, encompassing sunshine; May you and she give many more sojourners as much of the right stimulus as you have given yours affectionately,



New York, July 9, [1920]

MY DEAR PADRE,—Oh, that I could reply to you in kind, but alas and alack! the gift divine has been denied me. My Nancy comes to me tomorrow—Praise be to Allah! and I shall duly, and in appropriate and prideful language, I trust, present her with your mellifluous lines.

When the spirits Good and Bad will permit me to visit Ipswich I cannot say. Are Doctors of the carnal or the spiritual? They hold me. So soon as I was given a few ducats these banditti rose to rob me. Polite, they are, these modern sons of Dick Turpin, and clever indeed, for they contrive that you shall be helpless, that you may not in good form resist their calculated, schemed, coordinated blood-drawing. And I had as lief have a Sioux Medicine man dance a one-step round my camp fire, and chant his silly incantation for my curing, as any of these blood pressure, electro-chemical, pill, powder specialists. Give me an Ipswich witch instead. Let her lay hands on me. Soft hands that turn away wrath. Have you such or did your ancestors, out of fear of their wives, burn them all?

Well, this is no way for a sober, sick, sedate citizen to be talking to a Man of the Cloth, even tho' he be on vacation. Have you read any of Leonard Merrick's novels? CONRAD IN QUEST OF HIS YOUTH, for instance? If not, do so now. They are what you literati would designate as G. S.—great stuff.

Give me another cheering line, do! For I live in a world that is not altogether lovely.

F. K. L.


New York City, July 25, 1920

MY DEAR GOVERNOR,—I shall presume upon your flattering invitation to speak frankly, not in the hope that I may in any way enlighten a man of such experience and success, but that I may possibly accentuate some point that you may recognize as important, which in the rush of things, might be overlooked. If I should appear in the least didactic, I beg that you charge it to my desire for definiteness, and my inability to give the atmosphere of a personal conversation.


The unforgivable sin in our politics is a lack of generosity. Smallness, meanness, extreme partisanship, littleness of any kind —these are not in accord with the American conception of an American leader. A clever thing may gratify a man's own immediate partisan following, but the impression on the country at large is not good. We want a FULL, adequate appreciation of the fact that there is hardly more than a film that divides Republican from Democrat; indeed, in that fact lies our hope of success. We must win FIRST VOTERS and Independents.

Let me be concrete;—The war was won by Republicans as well as Democrats. ... Therefore, I would say, give generously of appreciation to the Republicans, who raised Liberty Loans, who administered food affairs, who put their plants at the Nation's service, who directed the various activities, such as aeroplane making, and transporting and financing during the war. ...

A day has come when partisanship with its personalities and bitterness does not satisfy the public. We have seen things on too large a scale now to believe in the importance of trifles, or in the adequacy of trifling men. We must have men who are large enough to be international and national at the same time, to be politicians and yet American statesmen, to subordinate always the individual ambition and the party advantage to the national good.


I feel that we have not tried to interpret the League of Nations to our people in terms of America's advantage. We Democrats are looked upon as International visionaries because we have not been willing to deal practically with a practical situation.

The League is not anti-national, it is anti-war; its aim is to defer war and reduce the chances of war between nations. This is to be effected, not by creating a super-nation, or by binding us to abide by the decisions of a super-national tribunal, but by establishing the method and machinery by which the opinion of the world may become effective as against those inclined toward war.

By adopting the League, we do not pledge ourselves to any war under any circumstances, without the consent of Congress. And because we have not been willing to say this, we are now in danger of losing the one chance the world has had to get the nations together.

Loyalty to the President's principles does not mean loyalty to his methods. They have been wrong as to the League, in my opinion. You could deal with Congress, even a Republican Congress, on this matter, I believe, and come out with the essentials. ...

Don't let Bryan get away from you, if you can help it, because he really represents a great body of moral force and opinion. But don't pay the price to Bryan or Wilson or Hearst or Murphy or any one else, of being untrue to your own belief as to the wise and practicable national policy, that you may gain their support.

There couldn't be a better year in which to lose, for something real. You can not win as a Wilson man, nor as a Murphy man, nor as a Hearst man. The nation is crying out for leadership, not pussy- footing nor pandering. Be wrong strongly if you must be wrong, rather than be right weakly. You can only win as a Cox man, one who owns himself, has his own policies, is willing to go along, not with a bunch of bosses, but with any reasonable man, asks for counsel from all classes of men and women, does not fear defeat, and expects a victory that will be more a party victory than a personal one, and more a people's victory than a partisan one.


Pick a few enemies and pick them with discretion. Chiefly be FOR things. But be against things and persons, too, so that the nation can visualize you as leading in a contest between the constructive forces and the destructive critical forces.

And the thing to be against is the man who is looking backward, who talks of the "good old days," meaning (a) money in politics, buying votes in blocks of five; (b) human beings as commodities, Homestead strikes, and instructions how to vote in the pay envelop; (c) privately controlled national finances as against the Federal Reserve System; (d) taxation of the poor through indirect taxes on pretext of protecting industry; (e) seventy-five cent wheat; (f) dollar a day labor; (g) the saloon-bossed city; (h) no American Merchant Marine; all goods carried abroad under foreign flags—those were the "good old days," for which the Standpat Republican is sighing.

But the world has moved in the past twenty-five years, and America not only has moved it, but has kept in the lead. ...


A greater America—that is our objective.

We want our unused lands put to use.

We want the farm made more attractive through better rural schools, better roads everywhere, more frequent connection between town and farm, better means of distribution of products.

We want more men with garden homes instead of tenement houses.

We want our waters, that flow idly to the sea, put to use; more stored water for irrigation, more hydroelectric plants to supply industries, railroads and home and farming activities. There should be electric lights upon the farm, and power for the sewing machine and the churn. It can be done because it is being done on the best farms of the far West.

We want our streams controlled so that they do not wash away our cities, farms, and railroads, and so as to redeem the submerged bottom lands for the next generation. ...

We want fewer boys and girls, men and women, who can not read or write the language of our laws, newspapers, and literature, ... that those who live with us may really be of us. ...

We should dignify the profession of teaching as the foundation profession of modern democratic life. ...

We want definite and continuing studies made of our great industrial fiscal and social problems. The framing of our policies should not be left to emotional caprice, or the opportunism of any group of men, but should be the result of sympathetic and deep study by the wisest men we have, irrespective of their politics. There should be industrial conferences, such as those recently inaugurated, to arrive at the ways by which those who furnish the financial arm of industry and those who furnish the working arm of industry may most profitably and productively be brought into cooperation. ... Through the study of what has been done we can give direction to our national thought and work with a will toward a condition in which labor will have recognition and be more certainly insured against the perils of non-occupation and old age, and capital become entitled to a sure return, because more constantly and productively USED.

Then, too, we need a study made of the health conditions of our children,—of the reason for the large percentage of undeveloped and subnormal children who are brought to our schools, and the larger number who do not reach maturity. ... Underfed boys and ignorant boys are the ones who turn to Bolshevism. We can not stand pat and let things drift without their drifting not to the "good old days" but to bad new days.

Why should not our system of taxation be subject for the profoundest study? ... We must find ways by which the individual may have tools for production which his skill and foresight and thrift have created and yet take for society in taxes what society itself gives. ... There must come to society an increasingly large portion of the wealth created by each generation through inheritance taxes. Thus all our boys and girls will start the race of life more nearly at the scratch. This will be for the making of the race and for the enriching of the whole of society. Yet there must be saved, surely, the call upon the man of talent for every ounce of energy that he has and every spark of imagination.

We want our soldiers and sailors to be more certain of our gratitude and to have an opportunity to realize their own ambition for themselves. We must not be driven into any foolish or impossible course by the pressure of a desire to win their votes. On the contrary, the pressure should come from us who had not the opportunity to risk our lives, that those who did take such risk shall be highly honored. For those who will identify themselves with the tilling of the soil, there should be farms, small yet complete, for which they can gradually pay on long time. For others there should be such education for professional or industrial life as they desire. For others, a home, not a speculation in real estate, but a piece of that American soil for which they fought. For these things we can pay without extra financial strain, if we dedicate to this purpose merely the interest upon the monies which other nations owe us. The extent of our willingness to help these men is not to be measured by their request but rather by our ability and their lasting welfare. ...

We are to extend our activities into all parts of the world. Our trade is to grow as never before. Our people are to resume their old place as traders on the seven seas. We are to know other peoples better and make them all more and more our friends, working with them as mutually dependent factors in the growth of the world's life. For this day a definite foreign policy must be made, one that is fair; to which none can take exception. Our people shall go abroad for their good and the good of other lands, with their skilled hands and their resourceful minds, and their energetic capital, and they must be assured of support abroad, as at home, in every honest venture.


AMERICA's ambition is to lead the world in showing what Democracy can effect. This would be my conception of the large idea of the campaign. It involves much more than the League of Nations. This is our hour of test. We must not be little in our conception of ourselves, nor yet have a conceit that is self-destructive.

America must prove herself a living thing, with policies that are adequate to new conditions. ... We wish an international settlement that will enable us to be more supremely great as nationalists. This is the significance of the League of Nations. It is a plan of hope. It is the only plan which the mind of man has evolved which any number of nations has ever been willing to accept as a buffer against devil-made war. ... It is a monumental experiment which this century and other centuries will talk of and think of and write of because it involves the lives of men and women under it, and there is the possibility of giving our full thought and energy and wealth to making life more enjoyable and finer instead of more horrible and cruel. While other nations are in the mood, we should agree with them, that we may spend our lives and money in a rivalry of progress rather than in a competition in the art of scientific boy-murder. There are times when war is the ultimate and necessary appeal, but those times should be made fewer by American genius and sacrifice.

And our prestige and power should not be wasted at this critical time, because out of some fecund mind may come an abstract and legalistic plan for some other kind of League. Let us be practical. Let us go to the fullest limit with other nations who are now willing to join hands with us, yet never yielding the Constitutional Congressional control over our war making. ... Let us take thought to-day of our opportunities else these may not exist tomorrow. ... Cordially yours,



August 2, 1920

MY DEAR TIM,—Here you are, when you are sick yourself, worrying about me. Now, don't give any concern to any matter excepting getting thoroughly well, just as soon as possible. You are doing too much. You are not resting enough, and you are worrying. You have got enough to take care of yourself and your family for the rest of your lives, you have the respect of every one who knows you, and the affection of every one who knows you well; in fact, you have nothing to work for, and every reason to be contented. So I suggest that you learn, in your later years, how to bum. I have no doubt that Mike will come across something very good in Colombia, if he doesn't get the fever, or break his blooming neck. I have never seen so aggressive a group of old men as you fellows are. You will not admit that you are more than twenty-one. ...

With my warmest regards, as always cordially yours, FRANKLIN K. LANK

With the presentation of an Irish flag, August 10, 1920.

To Edward L. Doheny, with the cordial esteem of Franklin K. Lane.

This flag is a symbol. It stands for the finest thing in a human being—aspiration—the seed of the Divine. It represents the noblest hope of a thwarted and untiring people. It makes a call to the heart of every generous-minded man, and gives vivifying impulse to the home-loving of all faces. It is a symbol of a people to whom most of the arts were known when England and America were forest wastes, whose women have made the world beautiful by their virtue, and whose men have made the world free by their courage.

To Franklin D. Roosevelt New York, August, [1920]

DEAR OLD MAN,—This is hard work—to say that I can't be with you on this great day in your life. [Footnote: Notification ceremonies following Franklin D. Roosevelt's nomination as Vice-president by the Democratic party.] You know that only the mandate of the medical autocrats would keep me away, not that I could do you any good by being there, but that you might know that many men like myself take pride in you, rejoice in your opportunity, and keep our faith in Democracy because out of it can come men of ideals like yourself. I know/that you will not allow yourself to become cheap, undignified, or demagogical. Remember, that East and West alike, we want gentlemen to represent us, and we ask no man to be a panderer or a hypocrite to get our votes. Frankness, and largeness, and simplicity, and a fine fervor for the right, are virtues that some must preserve, and where can we look for them if not from the Roosevelts and the Delanos?

It is a great day for you and for all of us. Be wise! Don't be brilliant. Get plenty of sleep. Do not give yourself to the handshakers. For now your word carries far, and it must be a word worthy of all you stand for. I honestly, earnestly ask God's blessing on you. As always,


Our love to your dear Mother,—proud happy Mother,—and to Eleanor.

To Mrs. George Ehle

Katonah, September, 1920

TO THE EHLE,—Now this is a pleasure to have a minute's talk with you in the cool under an apple tree. You are gay, with Grouitches, and other festive creatures, while I am glum, gloomy and lugubrious. You know this is a novel experience for me to be in care of two nurses and a doctor, not to speak of a wife; but I am obedient, docile, humble, tractable, and otherwise dehumanized. The plan here is to follow my boy's statement of the modern prescription for women, "Catch 'em young; treat 'em rough; tell 'em nothing." Well, they don't catch me young, but otherwise the prescription is filled. They reduced me to weakness, dependence, and a sort of sour-mash, and now they say that on this foundation they will build me up. Tho' I am still to lose some weight, being only twenty-four pounds under my average for twenty years. I will emerge from this spot, if I emerge at all, a regular Apollo, and will do Russian dances for you on that lovely lawn under the mulberry tree. And what happy memories of that spot I do have, and they cluster about you, with your soft hand and your understanding eye and your sympathetic mouth. You don't mind my making love to you in this distant fashion do you? Well, this is a charming jail, but jail it is after all, for I can't flee, though all the leisure in the world were mine—and it irks an American eagle or eaglet.

Dear Anne has been improving here. She now is jolly, tho' it has been hot. Responsibility kills her, and I thrive on it.

I believe I will take that place we went to see on the Shepaug. Ryan, my friend, is to manage it. Well, we have a place of refuge, eh? where the wicked and the boring and the ununderstanding cannot pursue.

But oh! my dreams do not come true these days, the magic touch is lost, the Fairies have been hurt in their feelings, my Daemon has deserted, and instead of beauty and joy and power, sweet content and warm friendship, I am struggling merely to live—and to what end?

Please go into my room some morning early and look out to the gate, the cobwebs must be diamond-sprinkled on the circle at the doorway, the catalpa trees must stand like stiff, prim, proper, knickerbockered footmen, on either side of the hedge, the ground must rise in a very gradual swell and culminate in the rose- covered gate. Throw it a kiss for me—(I wonder if there could be any roses left?). All of it is a lovely bit of man's handiwork, and Mr. Eno should have been born poor so that his planning mind, conceiving things of beauty in regular and balanced form, could have been used by many.

Tell him I got his nice letter and will drop him a line one day. With much love,



Washington, September 25, 1920

MY DEAR DOCKWEILER,—It is a great disappointment that I am not able to speak in California this year, I wished so much to say a word that might be helpful to Senator Phelan. I helped in his election six years ago, and I wanted to be able to say to those whom I then addressed, that Phelan had thoroughly made good in Washington. He has been strong, honest, courageous, loyal to California and the country, and at every minute he has been at the service of his constituents. That is much to say, isn't it? Well, every word is true. ...

These things I know, for I have watched him through the past six years and for many years before. Indeed, it is more than thirty years now since we first joined with boyish enthusiasm in the activities of the Young Men's Democratic League, and always I have wondered at his willingness to make himself the target of so much criticism because of his loyalty to convictions that have not pleased those in political or social power. He thinks; he does not take orders. And you can rely on his being superior to the partisan phase of any real issue. This self-respecting, or self- owned individual is the sort of man we need to promote in our political life, or else we will soon find ourselves back in the pre-Roosevelt days of political invertebrates. I found in Washington the secret of the exceeding great authority which the older states carry in Congress, they return their Senators and Congressmen, term after term, and give them opportunity to rise to positions of eminence in the national legislature. The usefulness of a Senator is not to be measured by the roundness of his periods, nor even by the soundness of his ideas. He must pass through a period of impatient waiting before his status is such that he can really have the opportunity to have his ideas considered seriously. By returning men who have been faithful, the State strengthens itself in Washington and eventually gains greatly in prestige, as in the case of Julius Kahn. Senator Phelan has now passed through this initial period of gaining status, and his future will be one of an assured and much strengthened position among his colleagues. Not to return Phelan will mean a loss at Washington that California can ill afford at this critical time, for in the national mind he is identified with her prime concerns.

... These are to be most momentous times ... Just where we are going no one knows, but clearly the people here, as elsewhere, are bent upon testing the value of Democracy as a cooperative organization of men and women, and are determined to make of it a fuller expression of human capacities and hopes. We must feel our way carefully at such a time, but we must act constructively, else there will surely come a dangerous radical reaction. Sympathy must be checked by wisdom, a wise knowledge of man's limitations and tendencies, that we do not take on burdens we cannot safely carry. Yet we must dare, and dare purposefully. What can this Democracy do for men and women—that is the super-question which rises like Shasta and follows one throughout the day, dominating every prospect. And the answer must be wrought out of the sober thought and the proved experience of our statesmen. ... Cordially yours,


In September, 1920, he wrote,—"Things look dark to me politically. The little Wilson (as distinguished from the Great Wilson) is now having his day. Cox is making a manly fight on behalf of the President's League, but the administration is sullen, is doing nothing. Cox will be defeated not by those who dislike him but by those who dislike Wilson and his group. This seems mighty unjust."

To Hall McAllister

Katonah, September 25 [?], 1920

MY DEAR HALL,—This paper is a concession to my love for color, it is not yellow, but golden, and to make the touch truly Californian I should write with a blue pencil.

I cannot write as gaily or as bravely as you did, for I have been pretty well beaten down to my knees. My nights are so unforgivably bad—wakened up two or three times, always with this Monster squeezing my heart in his Mammoth hand—By God, it is something Dante overlooked ...

Take my advice, dear Hall, and avoid doing any of the things which the 3793 Doctors I have paid tell me cause this thing—among them are;—smoking, eating, drinking, swearing, working.

You can recover partially—not wholly under any circumstances—if you arrive at a state of Nirvana before death. ... Gay life this, my boy! I've been so wicked and fast and devilish and hoggish and gluttonous and always rotten and riotous that I needs must spend a few months in this agony by way of preliminary atonement before I may get even a chance at purgatory.

You know that sometimes in the most terrific crushing pain, I laugh, at the thought that my steady years of drive and struggle to help a lot of people to get justice, or a chance, should be gloriously crowned by an ironical God with an end that would make a sainted Christian, in Nero's time, regret his premature taking- off. ...

Tell that most charming of all women, who is your sister, that her noble man was in great good fortune; and I envy him because the Gods showed their love for him even up to the last. The wicked, torturing devils respected his gay spirit as he passed along and forgot to fill him full of arrows, poisoned arrows, as he ran the gauntlet down to the River. Her letters are beauteous reflections of her thoroughbred soul, and they give delight to Anne and myself. ... Yours as always,



Bethel, October [3], 1920

That is so charming and gracious a letter that it must be answered within the day, not that any word in kind can be returned, but the spirit may be echoed. We may be short in words but not in feeling. Let me tell you, Lady Ehle, about this place. It is Nirvana-in- the-Wilderness, the Sacred, Serene Spot. Beautiful, for it is a ridge surrounded by mountains—or "mountings"—of gold and green, russet and silver. Noiseless, no dogs bark or cats mew or autos honk. Peaceful—no business. Nothing offends. Isn't that Nirvana? No poverty. People independent but polite. Children smile back when you talk to them, and you do. And the sky has clouds that color and that cast shadows on purpling mountains and stretches of meadow. Yes, this is one lovely spot over which a man named Gehring presides, unofficially, modestly, gently; he has given it purpose for being, for here he does good by healing, and some of his wealthy patients have put up a handsome inn in his honor—and they have said so in a bronze tablet over the mantel.

How much good he can do me I cannot say, but he is trying, Oh, ever so hard to touch my trouble-centre, and I shall give him a full chance yet awhile.

Wouldn't it be splendid if Shepaug were assured, or any other place of simple beauty to which we could retire to commune with the things that, alas, one only discovers to be the really great things, the worth while things, late in life. Daily would we foregather beside that stream to build some kind of altar to the God of Things as we Hope they may sometime Be. ...

Give my regards to the Duke of Saugatuck and tell him that his picture on horseback is good enough to enlarge—and then I want one.

And to you, The Ehle, may the peace that gay souls need and seldom get, and the joy that good souls long for, be with you always. And do write some more!

F. K. L.


Bethel, [October 28, 1920]

MY DEAR B. I.,—It has been along time since your letter came, but until now I have not felt that I could write. Most of the time I have been in pain and I have also been much discouraged over the condition of my health. No one wants to hear a man talk of his aches and I haven't much else on my mind. I am beginning to crawl a bit health-wards, I think; at any rate I am moving on that assumption.

What a hell of a condition the land is in politically. Cowardice and hypocrisy are slated to win, and makeshift and the cheapest politics are to take possession of national affairs. Better even obstinacy and ego-mania! Cox, I think, has made a gallant fight. He is to be beaten because Wilson is as unpopular as he once was popular. Oh! if he had been frank as to his illness, the people would have forgotten everything, his going to Paris, his refusal to deal with the mild Reservationists—everything would have been swept away in a great wave of sympathy. But he could not be frank, he who talked so high of faith in the people distrusted them; and they will not be mastered by mystery. So he is so much less than a hero that he bears down his party to defeat.

And after election will come revolt in the Republican party, for it is too many-sided for a long popularity.

I am sorry to be out of it all, but the Gods so willed. I did want to help Phelan. The country will think that what he has stood for, as to California matters, especially oil and Japan, has been repudiated if he is not returned. He was California incarnate in Washington.

Remember me to the Lady and the Soldier. Always your friend,


To John W. Hallowell

Bethel, November 3, 1920

MY DEAR JACK,—You have so much idle time hanging, dragging, festooning on round and about your hands that I want to give you a job, something to do. Eh, what!

I have taken it into my head, caput, cranium, that I will read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and as the only copy here is too poorly printed to read, and furthermore as I wish to own said work myself, I would that you make purchase of same and send it to me. Now, I do not wish an expensive copy, nor a large copy, nor a heavy copy. Therefore I think it would be best to buy a good second-hand set, say in half-leather—perhaps you can get it in six or eight volumes—and it must not be heavy, because I read in bed. About the size of an ordinary novel would be very good, and pretty good sized type—leaded not solid. Yes, the more I think of a second-hand set, the better I like the idea —old binding but strong, old paper but light, old type but clear. Twelve dollars I enclose for a second-hand set. By devoting twenty dollars worth of time to the search I know you can get a second hand set for twelve dollars. That is uneconomical, but think of the fun you will have. I suggest to you that this was the very thing you needed to do to bring perfect contentment into your life. Search for Gibbon, pretty backs, good type, light in weight for twelve dollars. Oh what joy you will have! Really I should be selfish enough to do it myself but now that I have said so much about it I can't withdraw this boon. ...

Well, get Gibbon and "with all thy getting get understanding."

F. K. L.


Bethel, November 12, [1920]

MY DEAR JACK,—I said nothing of the kind to myself. This is what I said, "Now I want a Gibbon. Not a show-off set but a useful one—light and small and well bound. How can I get it? Cotter in New York? What does Cotter know of learning and books of learning? What interest does New York take in such things anyway? There are second-hand stores there but they must be filled with novels and such trumpery. No one in New York ever read Gibbon—ninety-nine percent never heard of him. So why should I send to New York? No, Boston is the place. There is the city of the Erudite, the Home of Lodge, and incidentally of Parkman, Bancroft, Thayer, Morse, Fiske, and all others who have minds to throw back into the other days, and make pictures of what has been. Every house there has its Gibbon, of course, and some must, in the course of nature, fall into the hands of the dealers. So to Boston,—and who else but Jack Hallowell who knows what a book is, how in respectability it should be bound, and what size book is a pleasure and what a burden. A man of learning, identified with scholarship, through his athletic course in Harvard, and withal a man of business who will not pay more than a thing is worth. Ideal! Hence the letter and consequent trouble to good Jack Hallowell, who as per usual "done his damnedest for a friend," as Bret Harte says, in writing a perfect epitaph. ...

The reason I sent twelve dollars needs explanation. I put that limit because a very handsome edition of eleven volumes sold for that price to a friend of mine. It was red morocco, tooled, etc., and I thought surely twelve dollars would buy something as good as I needed.

Now you have the whole mysterious story. Make the most of it as Patrick Henry suggested to George III.

I have your dear Mother's book and will write her when I have read it. I also have a letter saying that Hoover has named me as treasurer of his twenty-three million or billion fund. ...

Thank you for your kindness and write me as often as you can. ...

F. K. L.


Bethel, Maine, November 10, [1920]

MY DEAR LANSING,—It is good to see that letter-head, but aren't you afraid to enter into competition with Mr. Tumulty, who has now, I see, bought the old Shepard mansion and will settle in Washington. How do they do it with the high cost of living what it is? ... The transmutation of brass into gold is becoming a commonplace.

To-night's paper speaks of Knox as probable Secretary of State. ... Tell me where the opposition is to come from—who are to lead us? ... All possible leaders have been submerged, squelched, drowned out, in the past eight years. I wish the whole country had gone unanimously for Harding. Then we might have started on a fresh, clean footing to create two parties that represent liberal and conservative thought. As it is, I think you will see Hearst and Johnson and La Follette try to capture the radicals of both parties and make a new party of their own. Then I shall be with all the rascals I have been fighting since boyhood—the Wall Street rascals—as against the other group. But maybe the Lord cares a bit for us after all.

I mend very slowly, but I delight in your recovery and wonder at it. ... I do beg you will give me all the gossip of Washington that you can, for I am here in a wilderness, beautiful but not exciting. As always,

F. K. L.

To Carl Snyder

Bethel, November 13, [1920]

Dear Carl,—This is extremely disagreeable business, this of repairs and restoration. I suppose I am doing fairly well considering that I have been more than half a century getting my gearings askew and awry. But I am taking orders now and say "Thank you," when I get them. Just when I shall be well enough to take hold again is not yet discoverable.

Strange how little news there is when you are above the clouds. One must be local to be interested in ninety percent of what the papers print. Make me a hermit for a year and I could see things in the large I believe, and ignore the trifles which obscure real vision. But a monk must be checked by a butcher. The ideal must be translated into the possible. "Man cannot live on bread alone"— nor on manna.

Outside it is snowing beautifully, across an insistent sun, the fire is crackling and I do not know that I am ill but for the staring bottles before me.

Give me a line when you have a free minute—and take to your Beautiful Lady my warm regards.

F. K. L.

To William R. Wheeler

Bethel, 17 [November], 1920

My dear Bill,—...I am mighty sorry to hear about the Lady Alice Isabel. Funny that these women are like some damn fools, like myself, and do things too strenuously, and then go bang. Damn that Irish temperament, anyway! O God, that I had been made a stolid, phlegmatic, non-nervous, self-satisfied Britisher, instead of a wild cross between a crazy Irishman, with dreams, desires, fancies, and a dour Scot, with his conscience and his logical bitterness against himself,—and his eternal drive!

I can't tell you anything new about myself. I hope it is not a delusion that I am growing slowly better. I cultivate that idea anyway. ...

It was a slaughter, the election, and properly did it come to us. Now be wise and you can have this land for many years. But foolish conceit will put you out in four. ...I wish you Republicans had carried all the South. I am glad for Lenroot—very! ... But Phelan's defeat has about broken my heart and for Henderson and Chamberlain and Thomas I am especially grieved. Well, it will be a changed world in Washington, and I'm sorry I can't be in it and of it.

Anne has gone to Washington to see Nancy who has not been well, so I am alone but not for long. I get on all right. God bless you, my dear old chap, and do rest awhile beneath your own fig tree. My love to Alice. Affectionately as always,

F. K. L.

To George Otis Smith

Bethel, [November] 18, [1920]

Dear George Otis,—I love this Maine of yours. It is beautiful, and its people are good stuff—strong, wholesome, intelligent young men. I like them greatly. I'd be content to sit right down here and wait for whatever is to come. It is a place of serenity. There is no rush, yet people live and the necessary things get done. It doesn't have any Ford factories, but I rather fancy it makes the men who go West and make the factories.

The autumn has been one long procession of gay banners on the hillsides, and now that the snow has come the pines are blue and the mountains purple; and mountains five thousand feet high are just as good, more companionable, than mountains fifteen thousand feet high. What is more lovely, stately and of finer color than a line of these receding hills which walk away from you, as if they continued clear across the continent?

I must get out against my wish, to have a lot more testing done— for this doctor differs with the others—and I rather think he is right. But I hope to get back here and enjoy this air. No wonder this stock was for prohibition, the air itself is an intoxicant, especially when the snow is on the ground and it comes to you gently; it is as bracing as a cocktail, not a sensuous wine like the Santa Barbara air—tell Vogelsang this—but I presume more like the High Sierras, where the fishing is good.

I shall read your speeches with the deepest interest. Keep up the publicity. It affects Congress and it justifies the good doctrine we have preached. Cordially,

F. K. Lane

Have read the speeches and they are everything they should be. Right theory, clear statement, conclusive facts. A few too many figures perhaps, you should keep your prime figures in the air longer so they can be visualized. This may be called juggling figures in the right sense.


To George W. Wickersham

Bethel, Maine, 18 [November, 1920]

My dear G. W.,—I have your good letter. By 'good' I mean many things—well done as a bit of sketchy composition, a welcome letter, kindly also in spirit, cheering, timely, telling of things that interest the receiver, one, too, having the flavor of the household whence it comes, altogether a good letter. I had one also from Her; which I brutally answered with a preachment—in pencil, too, for I can't write with comfort at a desk and, after all, what have white paper and ink in common with these woods? I am for harmony—a reconciler, like Harding. ...

Root, as you say, would give a good smack to the meal. The country would at once say Harding knows how to set a good table. But tell me—will he be a Taft? a McKinley? a Hayes? or a Grant? Pshaw! why should I ask such a question? Who knows what a man will turn out to be! Events may make him greater than any, or less. A war, a bullet, a timely word of warning to a foreign power, a fierce fight with some unliked home group, the right sort of a deal on postal rates with newspapers and magazines—any one of these might lift him into a national hero; while a sneaking act revealed, a little too much caution, a period of business depression, would send him tumbling out of the skies.

These be indeed no days for prophesying—Wilson gone, Clemenceau gone, Venizelos gone,—Lloyd George alone left! The wise boy had his election at the right moment, didn't he? Surely statesmanship is four-fifths politics. Harding's danger, as I see it, will lie in his timidity. He fears; and fear is the poison gas which comes from the Devil's factory. Courage is oxygen, and Fear is carbon monoxide. One comes from Heaven—so you find Wells says,—and the other would turn the universe back into primeval chaos. Wilson, be it said to his eternal glory, did not fear. They send word to me from the inside that he believed in Cox's election up to the last minute, although the whole Cabinet told him defeat was sure. He "was right, and right would prevail"—surely such faith, even in oneself, is almost genius!

I am glad you put Lincoln first in your list of great Americans. I decided that question for myself when I came to hang some pictures in my library. Washington or Lincoln on top? And Lincoln got it. I have recently read all his speeches and papers, and the man is true from the first day to the last. The same philosophy and the same reasoning were good in 1861 as in 1841. He was large enough for a great day—could any more be said of any one?

Lincoln made Seward and Chase and Stanton and Blair his mates. He did not fear them. He wished to walk with the greatest, not with trucklers and fawners, court satellites and panderers. His great soul was not warm enough to fuse them—they were rebellious ore— but his simplicities were not to be mastered by their elaborate cogencies.

McKinley was simple in his nature, at bottom a dear boy of kind heart, who put his hand into the big fist of Mark Hanna and was led to glory.

Is Harding great and masterful in his simplicity, or trustful and yielding? and if the latter where is the Hanna? Well, I don't want to die in these next few months, anyway, till some questions are answered. This would be a part of my Cabinet if I were Harding:— Root, State; Hoover, Treasury; Warren of Michigan, Attorney- General; Wood, War; Willard (of Baltimore)

You enviously write of my opportunity to read and contemplate. I have done some of both. But that's a monk's life, and even a monk has a cell of his own, and a bit of garden to play with; and he can think upon a God that is his very own, an Israelitish Providence; and, in his egotism, be content. Yes, with a cell and a book and a garden and an intimate God, one should be satisfied to forego even health. But I hold with old Cicero that the "whole glory of virtue is in activity," and therefore I call my discontent divine.

You speak of great Americans, and have named all four from political life. I concur in your selection. Now what writers would you say were most distinctly American in thought and most influential upon our thought, men who a hundred years hence will be regarded not great as literary men but as American social, spiritual, and economic philosophers? It occurs to me that this singular trio might be selected—Emerson, Henry George, and William James. What say you?

Say "Hello" to the young Colonel for me.

F. K. L.

Lincoln haunted Lane's imagination, the humor, friendliness, loneliness, and greatness of the man. This—written for no formal occasion but to express part of his feeling—has found its way to others who, too, reverence the great American.

Lincoln's Eyes

I never pass through Chicago without visiting the statue of Lincoln by St. Gaudens and standing before it for a moment uncovered. It is to me all that America is, physically and spiritually. I look at those long arms and long legs, large hands and feet, and I think that they represent the physical strength of this country, its power and its youthful awkwardness. Then I look up at the head and see qualities which have made the American—the strong chin, the noble brow, those sober and steadfast eyes. They were the eyes of one who saw with sympathy and interpreted with common sense. They were the eyes of earnest idealism limited and checked by the possible and the practicable. They were the eyes of a truly humble spirit, whose ambition was not a love for power but a desire to be supremely useful. They were eyes of compassion and mercy and a deep understanding. They saw far more than they looked at. They believed in far more than they saw. They loved men not for what they were but for what they might become. They were patient eyes, eyes that could wait and wait and live on in the faith that right would win. They were eyes which challenged the nobler things in men and brought out the hidden largeness. They were humorous eyes that saw things in their true proportions and in their real relationships. They looked through cant and pretense and the great and little vanities of great and little men. They were the eyes of an unflinching courage and an unfaltering faith rising out of a sincere dependence upon the Master of the Universe. To believe in Lincoln is to learn to look through Lincoln's eyes.

To Benjamin Ide Wheeler

Bethel, 18 [November, 1920]

MY DEAR B. I.,—From both ends of this continent we talk to each other. We have both retired from active things and can with some degree of removal, and from some altitude, look upon the affairs of men. Frankly, it challenges all my transcendental philosophy to convince me that "deep love lieth under these pictures of time." And yet I must so believe or die. It is a disheartening time— Wilson, a wreck and beaten. Clemenceau, beaten and out. And now Venizelos gone. Only Lloyd George, the crafty, quick-turning, sometimes-lying, never-wholly-frank politician left, because he called his election when spirits had not fallen.

And little men take their places, while Bolshevism drives Wrangel into the sea, possesses all Russia and Siberia, and is a success politically and militarily, tho' a failure economically and socially. We have passed the danger of red anarchy in America, I think, tho' no one should prophesy as to any event of to-morrow. Communism, and socialism with it, have been made to pause. Yet nothing constructive is opened by the world for men to think upon, as a means of bettering their lot and answering the questions flung to them by Russia, Germany, England, and our own home conditions.

I can see no evidence of constructive statesmanship on this side the water, excepting in Hoover. The best man in Congress is Lenroot, and he writes me that unless the Republicans do something more than fail to make mistakes that the Democrats will take the power from them in another four years. But I am nothing for parties. I cannot wait for an opposition to come in. I would like to see the Republicans now address themselves to the problems of the world at large and of this land. If Knox is to be Secretary of State, as the rumor is, we will have Steel Trust Diplomacy,—which will give us safety abroad, which is more than we have had for some years—but it will be without vision, without love for mankind. Root would give the Republicans great assurance and confidence. He would make them smack their lips and feel that Harding was not afraid of the best near him. Hoover may or may not have a Cabinet place, but his brain is the best thing working in America to-day, on our questions. If Penrose and Co. beat him they will regret it,

If I were Harding I'd put Root, Lowden, Wood, Hoover, and Johnson if he wanted it, into my Cabinet and I'd gather all the men of mind in the country and put them at work on specific questions as advisors to me, under Cabinet officers. One group on Taxes and Finance, one on Labor and Capital, one on Internal Improvements, one on Education and Health. And have a program agreeable to Congress, which is sterile because it is a messenger-boy force for constituents.

The Democrats could do this if they had the men,—but look over the nation and see how short we are of talent of any kind. It may be an opposition party but it has no force, no will, no self- confidence. It hopes for a miracle, vainly hopes. It cannot gather twenty first-rate minds in the nation to make a program for the party. I tried it the other day—men interested in political affairs, outside Congress—try it yourself. Get twenty big enough to draft a national program of legislation for the party. I sent the suggestion to George White, chairman of the National Committee, and gave him a list, and at the head I put you and President Eliot, classing you both as Democrats, which probably neither of you call yourselves now, tho' both voted for Cox. ...

If I get to California I must see you. But I shall play my string out here before trying the Western land. My best regards to the Lady. Yours always, LANE

To Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Bethel, Maine, [November, 1920]

To THE DEAR ROOSEVELTS,—... You realized what was coming, but I fear Cox did not; could not believe that his star would not pull through. I wish Georgia and Alabama had gone, too. The American born did not like Wilson because he was not frank, was too selfish and opinionated. The foreign born did not like his foreign settlements. So they voted "no confidence" in his party. What we will do in this land of mixed peoples is a problem. Our policies now are to be determined by Fiume and Ireland—not by real home concerns. This is dangerous in the extreme. Demagogues can win to power by playing to the prejudices of those not yet fully American. ... As always,

F. K. L.

To Lathrop Brown

Bethel, [November] 20, [1920]

MY DEAR LATHROP,—You are wrong, dead wrong, viciously, wilfully wrong. I do like this exact science business. I worked at it and in it on the railroad problems for seven years. There is only one thing that beats it, puts it on the blink, and that is inexact human nature which does wicked things to figures and facts and theories and plans and hopes. Prove, if you will, that there is no margin at all over wages, and a nominal return on capital, and you do not kill the desire of someone to run the shop. ... Talking of business men, what about the Shipping Board? O, my boy, they have something to explain—these Hurleys and Schwabs! ... How does this sound to you? They let their own tanks lie idle, commandeered those of Doheny and rented them to the Standard Oil—so that they could bid when Doheny couldn't—eh, what? ...

F. K. L.

To Timothy Spellacy

Bethel, [November] 22, [1920]

MY DEAR TIM,—I hear from Mike that you are not in New York, and so I am writing you out of "love and affection," as I hope to see Mike but won't see you when I go to New York for Thanksgiving. It was my hope that we three could have a good talk over Mike's Colombia plans, but do not trouble yourself with these business concerns. Get well—that's the job for both you and me. We have been too extravagant of ourselves, and especially you, you big- hearted, energetic, unselfish son of Erin! Eighteen years I have known you and never a word or an act have I heard of or seen that did not make me feel that the campaign for Governor was worth while, because it gave me your acquaintance, friendship, affection. And Ned and George love you as I do. When I get mad, as I do sometimes, over something that the Irish do, I always am tempted to a hard generalization that I am compelled to modify, because of you and Mike and Dan O'Neill, in San Francisco—and a few more of the Great Irish—. ...

Well, my dear fellow, drop me a line when you feel like it and be sustained in your weakness by the unfaltering affection of thousands who know you, among them—


To Frank I, Cobb New York World

New York, December 6, [1920]

DEAR FRANK,—You are right, but too far ahead. We must come to Cabinet responsibility, and I am with you as an agitator. Twenty years may see it.

This morning you chide the Republicans for not having a program. Good God, man, why so partisan? What program have we? Will we just oppose; vote "Nay," to all they propose? That way insures twenty years as "outs"—and we won't deserve to be in. What we lack is just plain brains. We have a slushy, sentimental Democracy, but don't have men who can concrete-ize feeling into policy, if you know what that means. A program—a practicable, constructive program—quietly drawn, agreeable to the leaders in both Houses, pushed for, advocated loudly! That's our one hope—Agree? Yours cordially,


To John G. Gehring

New York, December 9, [1920]

Well, my dear Doctor, here I am at another cross-roads. ... I leave ... in a day or two with a new dietary and some good advice. The latter in tabloid form being:—"Drop business for a time, go into it again slowly, and gradually creep into your job." All of which is wise, and commends itself greatly to my erstwhile mind, but is much like saying, "Jump off the Brooklyn bridge, "slowly." ... I am not resigned, of course. Because I cannot see the end. Definiteness is so imperative to some natures. However, I think that I have done all that an exacting Deity would demand, and cannot be accused of suicide, if things go badly.

Our plan is to go to Washington to see some old friends thence south and so to California, for a couple of months. Delightful program if one had health, but in exchange I would gladly take a sentence to three months in a chain-gang on the roads.

One of my friends has suggestively sent me Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. To offset it I went out at once and bought a new suit of bright homespun clothes and a red overcoat—pretty red. In addition I have a New Thought doctor giving me absent treatment. I am experimenting with Hindu deep breathing, rhythmical breathing, in which the lady who runs this hospital is an adept. And what with an osteopath and a regular and a nurse and predigested food, I am not shirking. If melancholy gets the better of me now— Kismet!

Tell your dear Lady that it was infinitely good of her to write, (and she has, I may say, quite as brilliant a pen-style as speech.) And one day I shall write her when the world looks better. My best reading has been William James' Letters; and that which amused me most a new novel, entitled Potterism, by Rose Macauley, which cuts into the cant and humbug of the world right cruelly. I see your beautiful serene landscape and envy you. And I envy those who hear your hearty chuckle each morning in the Inn. As always,

F. K. L.

To John W. Hallowell

New York, December 9, [1920]

DEAR JACK,—I have tried out New York again and find it lacking as before. No help! They do not know. ... So I am going to Californi...A. I wish I were to be near you—you really have a special old corner in all that is left of my heart. And one of these days well indulge ourselves in a good time—a long pull together again.

I have been reading William James' Letters—and real literature they are—far better than all your novels. What a great Man—a mind, plus a man. Not to have known James in the last generation is to have missed its greatest intellect; Roosevelt and James and Henry George were the three greatest forces of the last thirty years. Sometime when you come across a good photo or engraving or wood-cut, or something, of James, will you buy it and send it to me? I want a human one—not a professional one. I guess he couldn't be the pedantic kind anyway.

Billy Phillips has a new baby-boy born Monday.

My plan is to leave here in a week, go to Washington and see Nancy, and get a glimpse of some of my old people in the Department, thence to South Carolina and then probably California for two or three months. Ah me—most people would think this luxury—I think it hell! But it may be for my great spiritual good. Certainly if I could have you to walk with for these months, and more of William James to read, I could take a step or two forward.

Have also been reading a bit of Buddhism lately. It is too negative—that is almost its chief if not its only defect, as an attitude toward life. It won't make things move but it will make souls content. And I can't get away from the thought that we are here as conquerors, not as pacifists. I can't be the latter, save in the desire.

Peabody dropped in yesterday from Chicago. (I have forgotten whether you knew him well or not.) Able chap, fond of me, as I of him. My boy works for him. He sent me a gorgeous edition of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy which I have always wanted, largely because it is one of the curiosities of the world. ...

Write me as often as your Quaker spirit moves you to utterance. Your dinner got quite a send-off in these papers, which is something, for New York to recognize Boston! Terribly tough job though. Poor babies! Hard to believe in a good God and a kind God, isn't it?

I hear talk of shoving Hoover outside the breastworks. Fools! Fools! Best for him but worse for the country. Whole question of Republican success turns on the largeness of Harding. I don't ask a Lincoln—much less will do. If he is only a smooth-footed politician he will fail. So far he has been the gentleman. ...

My love to your whole circle, from Grandmother down. Affectionately,

F. K. L.

To John G. Gehring

Rochester, Minnesota, December 31, [1920]

MY DEAR PADRE,—It is the last night of an unhappy year. Never do I wish for such another. No joy—defeat, dreary waiting. These words describe not merely my personal history and attitude but fairly picture those of the world. It took guts to live through such an unillumined, non-productive, soul-depressing year. Did any good come out of it? Yes, to me just one thing good—I came to know you, your Lady and the beauteousness of Bethel. And after all a man does not do any better in any year than make a friend. No man makes seventy friends in a life-time, does he? So I must not repine nor let the year go out in bitterness. On the credit side of my account book I have something that can be carried over into 1921, whereas most people can only carry over Hope.

I hope there is something significant and more than suggestive in my turning up here on the last day of the year for examination— "Getting a ready on" for a New Year—that's what you would optimistically shout if you were here, I know. And that is my Goodbye word to 1920—"You haven't beaten me, and I have lived to take your brush."

I am being ground and wound and twisted and fed into and out of the Mayo mill, and a great mill it is. Of course they are giving me a private view, so to speak. Distinguished consideration is a modest word for the way in which I am treated—not because of my worth but because of my friends—. Those men are greater as organizers, I believe, than as workmen, which is saying much indeed, for they are the surgeons supreme. ... Two to three hundred people, new people, a day pass through [their shop]. Sixty to seventy thousand a year received, examined, diagnosed, treated perhaps, operated on (fifty per cent), and cared for. The machinery for this is colossal and superbly arranged.

Dr. Mayo told me to come over at two o'clock and register. ... I stood in line and was duly registered, telling name, and other such facts, non-medical. Then a special guide took me to Dr. Mayo, who had already heard my story at the hotel but who, wished it in writing. Accordingly, I was presented to a group of the staff and one man assigned as my escort. I answered him a thousand questions, touching my physical life for fifty-six years. Then to the tonsil man, who saw a distinct "focus," now there, a focus in the tonsils! Nose and ears without focus or focii or focuses. Down an elevator, through a labyrinth of halls, down an inclined plane, up a flight of steps, two turns to the left and then a group of the grumpiest girls I ever saw or heard or felt. They were good looking, too, but they didn't care to win favor with mere males. They had a higher purpose, no doubt. They openly sneered at my doctor escort. They lifted their eyebrows at my good-looking young son, and they told me precisely where to sit down. I was not spoken to further. My ear was punched and blood was taken in tubes and on slides by young ladies who did not care how much of my blood they spilled or extracted. They were so business-like, so mechanical, so dehumanized, these young ladies with microscopes! One said cryptically "57," another said "53." I was full of curiosity but I did not ask a question. They tapped me as if I were a spring—a fountain filled with blood—and gave me neither information, gaiety or entertainment in exchange. Each one I am convinced has by this life of near-crime, which she pursues for a living, become capable of actual murder.

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