FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO JOHN H. WIGMORE
En route to Chicago, February 25, 1915
My dear John,—I have read your preface with great satisfaction. It will, no doubt, renew your self-confidence to know that it has my approval. You make some profound suggestions which would never in the world have occurred to me. The American believes that the doctrine of equality necessarily implies unlimited appeal. This is my psychological explanation for the unwillingness to give our judges more power. Another explanation is that the American people are governed by sets of words, one formula being that this is a government by law, hence the judge must have no discretion and rules must be arbitrary and fixed.
I had a roaring good time in San Francisco. Spoke to fifty thousand people, and more, who could not hear me. Made a rotten speech and met those I loved best, so I am not altogether displeased with having taken the trip after all.
Hope your arm is doing finely. Give my love to your dear wife. Affectionately yours,
F. K. L.
TO JOHN CRAWFORD BURNS
Washington, March 3, 1915
My dear John,—All things are so large these days that I can not compress them within the confines of a letter. I mean, don’t you know, that there is no small talk. We are dealing with life and death propositions, life or death to somebody all the time.
I suppose if you were a few years younger you would be over in the trenches, or up in England getting ready. From all we hear, the Scotchmen are the only fellows that the Germans really are afraid of or entirely respect. The position of a neutral is a hard one. We are being generously damned by the Germans and the aggressive Irish for being pro-British, and the English press people and sympathizers in this country are generously damning us as the grossest of commercialists who are willing to sell them into the eternal slavery of Germany for the sake of selling a few bushels of wheat. Neither side being pleased, the inference is reasonable that we are being loyal to our central position. ...
I went out recently and opened the San Francisco Fair, parading at the head of a procession of a hundred thousand people. The Fair is truly most exquisitely beautiful. There are many buildings that would even, no doubt, please your most fastidious eye.
We have tried to get a Shipping Bill through which would allow us to get into South American and other trade, but the Republicans have blocked us, not because they feared we would get mixed up with the war but because they don’t want us to do a thing that would further Government ownership of anything.
The Administration is weak, east of the Alleghanies; and strong, west of the Alleghanies. Bryan is a very much larger man and more competent than the papers credit him with being. The President is growing daily in the admiration of the people. He has little of the quality that develops affection, but this, I think, comes from his long life of isolation.