To-day, comes word that Kitchener has been drowned and Yuan Shi Kai poisoned. Heaven knows whose turn comes next. Just think of three such events within a week as that sea battle off Denmark, the greatest naval battle of the world; the torpedoing of the Secretary of War and all of his staff; and the poisoning of the Emperor of China. I doubt if there ever was a period in the whole history of the world when things moved as fast and there was as much that was exciting. Of course now we have it all thrown onto a screen in front of our faces, whereas a hundred years ago we would have had to wait for perhaps a year before knowing that the Emperor of China had been killed. Nevertheless I think there is more passion and violence on exhibition to-day than at any time in a great many years.
I had a talk with the President the other day which was very touching. He made reference to the infamous stories that are being circulated regarding him with such indignation and pathos that I felt really very sorry for him. I suppose that these stories will be believed by some and made the basis of a very nasty kind of campaign. But there is no truth in them and yet a man can’t deny them. It is a strange thing that when a man is not liable to any other charge they trump up some story about a woman. ...
Now my dear boy, may you have a continuance of courage, for there is no telling what day the tide may turn and things swing your way. We know so damned little about nature yet. Affectionately yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO HON. WOODROW WILSON
THE WHITE HOUSE
Washington, June 8, 1916
My dear Mr. President,—I see by the papers that it is repeatedly announced that you are writing the platform. Now I want to take the liberty of saying that this is not altogether good news to me. Our platform should contain such an appreciation of you and your administration, that you could not write it, much less have it known that you have written it. It should be one long joyful shout of exultation over the achievements of the Administration, and I can’t quite see you leading the shout.
The Republican party was for half a century a constructive party, and the Democratic party was the party of negation and complaint. We have taken the play from them. The Democratic party has become the party of construction. You have outlined new policies and put them into effect through every department, from State to Labor. Therefore, our platform should be generously filled with words of boasting that will hearten and make proud the Democrats of the country; a plain tale of large things simply done.
If there is any truth at all in the newspaper statement and any purpose in making it, perhaps the end that is desired might be reached by a statement that you are not undertaking to write the platform, but that at the request of some of the leaders you are giving them a concrete statement of your foreign policy. Faithfully yours,