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- The Letters of Franklin K. Lane - 40/86 -

manner, both being of very distinct personality. One is flint and the other steel, I find, so that fire is struck when they come together. While engaged, however, in the game of draw poker, these antipathetic qualities do not reveal themselves in such a manner as to seriously affect domestic peace. I have spent two entire evenings with your children, much to my entertainment. That I will not be able to enjoy this evening with them is a matter of regret, but I am committed to a dinner with the Honorable Kirke Porter, and tomorrow evening I believe that I am to dine with the lady on R. Street, the name of the aforesaid lady being now out of my mind, but you will recall her as having a brilliant mind and very slight eyebrows.

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

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

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

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



Washington, February 11, 1916

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

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



Washington, February 29, 1916

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

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

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




Washington, March 13, 1916

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

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


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


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


Washington, April 26, 1916

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

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

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

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

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

Well, old man, I know that I do not need to tell you to keep your spirits up and your faith strong. Give me all the news, good as well as bad. Affectionately yours,




Washington, May 8, 1916

MY DEAR COBB,--Here is a memorandum that has been drafted

The Letters of Franklin K. Lane - 40/86

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