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

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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

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

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

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 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


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

... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


A greater America--that is our objective.

We want our unused lands put to use.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



August 2, 1920

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Our love to your dear Mother,--proud happy Mother,--and to

To Mrs. George Ehle

Katonah, September, 1920

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

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

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

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

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

... 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

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

[Illustration with caption: FRANKLIN K. LANE IN 1917. TAKEN IN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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--

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

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

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