Of course, you will abuse us all for our land policies, but overlook the fact that the brutalities of these policies were committed in other days—those good, old Republican days. It really is a wonder that you are not cynical and that you still have enthusiasm. I should not be surprised if you said your prayers and had belief in another world, where all the bad Democrats would sizzle to the eternal joy of the good Republicans. In those days I shall look up to you and I know that you will not deny me the drop of cold water.
I shall be very much interested in seeing what kind of a fist our man Claxton makes out of your school system, and I hope you can use him as a means of arousing interest in the schools. That is one trouble with the public school system, because we get our education for nothing we treat it as if it was worth nothing—I mean those of us who are parents. We never know that the school exists except to make some complaint about discipline or taxes.
May you live long and be happy. Always yours,
From time to time as vacancies occurred on the Supreme Bench, letters and telegrams came to Lane from friends that begged him to allow them to urge his appointment to this office. In 1912, 1914, and 1916 the newspapers in different parts of the country mentioned him as a probable appointee. While, as a young lawyer, this office had seemed to him to be one greatly to be desired, after he came to Washington and knew more of the nature of the cases that necessarily formed the greater part of the work passed upon by the Supreme Court, his interest waned. As early as 1913 he wrote of the decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission, “If we are wise, we are not to be terrorized by our own precedents.” An office in which there was little opportunity for constructive or executive work grew to have less and less attraction for him.
Washington, January 22, 1916
My dear Carl,—I am your most dutiful and obedient servant; the aforesaid modest declaration being induced by your letter of January fifth, offering to place me on the Bench. I regret greatly that you are not the President of the United States, but he seems to have a notion that it would be a shame to spoil an excellent Secretary of the Interior.
Talking of robes, there is an idea in Chesterton that is not bad, that all those who exercise power in the world wear skirts—the judge, who can officially kill a man; the woman, who can unofficially do the same thing; and the King, who is the State; likewise the Pope, who can save the souls of all.
Garrett was in to-day, and if you haven’t seen him since his return, edge up next to him. He is full of facts, some of which are new to us.
I guess I am to credit you with that little editorial in Collier’s, eh? Cordially yours,