This morning comes word that they tried to torpedo the Orduna, but failed by a hair. This does not look like a reversal of policy. Of course those chaps think we are bluffing because we have been too polite. We have talked Princetonian English to a water-front bully. I did not believe for one moment that our friends, the Germans, were so unable to see any other standpoint than their own.
I saw ex-secretary Nagel here the other day. We were at the same table for lunch at the Cosmos Club. One of the men at the table said, “I think Lane ought to have been appointed Secretary of State.” Nagel’s usual diplomacy deserted him, and with a face evidencing a heated mind replied, “Oh, my God, that would never do, never do; born in Canada.” So you see I am cut out from all these great honors. Is this visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children?
I wish you joy in your work and I wish I could lay some of my troubles on your shoulders. Mrs. Lane and I are going up to see you just as soon as we get the chance. I had to decline to address the American Bar Association because I did not want to be away from here for a week. This is Sunday, and I am trying to catch up some of my personal mail which has been neglected for six weeks. Thus you may know that I am in the Government Service.
I send you by this mail a copy of my speech in San Francisco, which has been gotten up to suit the artistic taste of my private secretary. As always,
To Frederic J. Lane
Washington, July 21, 1915
My dear Fritz,—I wish I could think of something I could do for you dear people back there. I haven’t heard from George for a long while, but I hope he is getting something in mind that makes him think life worth living. It is strange that every lawyer I know would like to be situated just as George is, with a little farm in a quiet dell. Last night I talked with Senator Sutherland. It is his hope sometime to reach this ideal. And the other night I talked with Justice Lamar, and told him of George’s life, and he said that he had dreamt of such an existence for fifty years but has never been able to see his way to its realization.
There is no chance of our getting out to the Coast this year. The President expects us to be within call, and I am very much interested in the Mexican question, as to which I have presented a program to him which so far he has accepted. These are times of terrible strain upon him. I saw him last night for a couple of hours, and the responsibility of the situation weighs terribly upon him. How to keep us out of war and at the same time maintain our dignity—this is a task certainly large enough for the largest of men.