That coal must be brought out of Alaska for the Navy, if the Navy is going to use any coal, and we ought to be able to send a great many thousands of Americans, as stock raisers and farmers, into Alaska after this war. The climate is just as good as that of Montana, and in some places much better. Of course it is not a swivel-chair job. It is a challenge to everything that a fellow has in him of ambition, courage, imagination, enterprise, and tact, and if we can possibly get that road completed by the end of the war, and know that we have another national domain there for settlement, it would help out mightily on the returning soldier problem. You and I cannot fight and that is our bad luck. We were born about thirty years too early but I have a notion that we can make Alaska do her bit through that railroad. ... If you want a great mining expert to go in with you I can get one. ... Come on into the game.
To E. S. Pillsbury
Washington, July 30, 1918
My dear Mr. Pillsbury,— ... In these radical times when things are changing so quickly it does not do to be too conservative or things will go altogether to the bad. ...
Pragmatic tests must be applied strictly and the way to beat wild-eyed schemes is to show that they are impracticable, and to harness our people to the land. Every man in an industry ought to be tied up in some way by profit-sharing or stock-owning arrangements, and we should get as large a proportion of our people on small farms as possible. If this is not done we are going to have a reign of lawlessness.
When a sense of property goes, it becomes more and more apparent to me, that all other conserving and conservative tendencies go, and the man who has something is the man who will save this country. So it is necessary that just as many have something as possible. ... The one thing which the Bolsheviki do not understand is that the economic world is not divided between capital and labor, but that there is a great class unrepresented in these two divisions—the managing class which furnishes brains and direction, tact and vision, and no socialistic scheme provides for the selection and reward of these men ... Cordially yours,
To William Marion Reedy Reedy’s Mirror
Washington, September 13, 1918
My dear Mr. Reedy,—In the first place ... as to the coal agreement, when coal was more than six dollars a ton and climbing, and it was nobody’s business to reduce the price, I made an appeal to the coal operators to fix voluntarily a maximum price of one-half of what they were then getting. This they did, with the understanding that it would stand only until the Government fixed the price, if it chose to do so later. The price was three dollars in the East, and two dollars and seventy-five cents in the West, and there is not a coal mine in the country to-day, under Government operation, that is producing coal for as little as that price, which the operators themselves upon my appeal, fixed ...