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

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strongly on the Democratic side. I also want to see Phelan come to
the Senate and I am ready to do all that I can to help out the old
State, but my work is cut out for me here and until I have put
over some of the things that I believe will benefit the West as a
whole, I do not believe I should relinquish the reins of this
particular portfolio. It is an honor to me, a big one, to be
considered by my friends for the governorship and I know that they
would stand gallantly behind me, and when I send this negative
answer, you must believe me when I say that I send it with
considerable regret.

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

Cordially yours,


To William R. Wheeler

Washington, June 6, 1914

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

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

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

Cordially yours,

F. K. L.

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


Washington, June 10, 1914

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

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

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


To his Brother on his Birthday

Washington, [August, 1914]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To Cordenio Severance

Washington, September 24,1914

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

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

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

Come on down. Faithfully yours,


To Hon. Woodrow Wilson

The White House

Washington, October 1, 1914

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

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

The reply was in the affirmative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Theodore Roosevelt

Washington, December 3, 1914

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

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

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

Cordially yours,


To Hon. Woodrow Wilson

The White House

Washington, January 9, 1915

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


To Lawrence F. Abbott


Washington, January 12, 1915

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

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

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

Cordially yours,


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




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


Washington, November 17, 1914

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

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

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

Cordially yours,




Washington, January 22, 1915

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

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

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

Affectionately yours,


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


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

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



En route to Chicago, February 25, 1915

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

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

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

F. K. L.



Washington, March 3, 1915

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Washington, March 4, 1915

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




Washington, March 13, 1915

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

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

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

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

Do write me again. Affectionately yours,


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

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

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

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



Washington, April 13, 1915

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

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

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

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

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

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




Washington, April 27, 1915

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

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

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

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

Cordially yours,


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



Washington, May 29, 1915

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

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

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

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

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

Cordially yours,




Washington, June 1, 1915

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

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

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

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

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



Washington, July 18, 1915

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Washington, July 21, 1915

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

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

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

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




Washington, July 30, 1915

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

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

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

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

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



Washington, August 2, 1915

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

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

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

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



Washington, August 2, 1915

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

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

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


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

August 21, 1915

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

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

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

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




Washington, August 31, 1915

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

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




Washington, September 7, 1915

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

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

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

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

F. K. L.


Washington, September 13, 1915

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

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

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

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

F. K. L.



Washington, October 7, 1915

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

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



Washington, November 27, 1915

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

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

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



Washington, November 27, 1915

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

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

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

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



Washington, December 8, 1915

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

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

F. K. L.

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


Washington, December 12, [1915]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Washington [1915]

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

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

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

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

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

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





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



Washington, December 29, 1915

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

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

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

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



Washington, [January 1, 1916]

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

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

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

Some days later

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

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

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

F. K L.



Washington, January 11, 1916

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

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

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

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

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

May you live long and be happy. Always yours,


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

To Carl Snyder

Washington, January 22, 1916

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

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

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

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


To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane

Atlantic City

Washington, February 5, 1916

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Washington, February 11, 1916

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

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



Washington, February 29, 1916

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

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

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




Washington, March 13, 1916

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

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


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

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

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


Washington, April 26, 1916

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

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

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

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

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

Well, old man, I know that I do not need to tell you to keep your

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