I am leaving the Cabinet, tho’ the precise date no one knows, for the President is not yet well enough to talk about it. He seems to be too done up to stand any strain or worry. But I must have some money, for my years are not many, Anne is far from well, and Nancy is a young lady, and a very beautiful one. She has just come out and is quite the belle of the season, tho’ like her father, too anxious for popularity.
Great good luck of all kinds to you in 1920, old man—and do give me a line now and then.
F. K. L.
TO FRANK I. COBB NEW YORK WORLD
My dear frank,—I have read your speech on Prussianizing the Americans, and I concur. Of course repression ... promotes the growth of error. We are not going to destroy socialism, or prevent it from coming strong by refusing to answer it.
But I have a notion that you have not expressed as directly as I should like:—That the newspaper is not influential enough to stop it and perhaps does not care to, sometimes. Where are the papers that are respected for their character? They are few. The most of them are believed to be the allies of every kind of Satan. “They are rich; their ads. run them; they pander to circulation, no matter of what kind, to get ads.”, that is the answer of the plain people. If the papers were things of thought and not of passion, prejudice and sensation and interest, they could do the work that police and courts are called upon to do. They could effectively answer the agitator. But the people do not believe them when they cry aloud. Maybe I am wrong, but isn’t there a grain, or a gram, of truth in this?
For a year and a half I have been bombarding Congress with a demand for a bill that would make a campaign, through the schools, against illiteracy. I have made dozens of speeches for it, written a lot, lobbied much, until Congress passed a law stopping my working up sentiment for it, by a joint resolution. How much sentiment has the press created? You had one or two editorials. The Times one. No one else in New York gave a damn. The Congressmen were not made to feel that those ignorant foreigners who were fifty-five per cent of the steel workers, must learn to read papers that were written in American, not in Russian or Yiddish or Polish or Italian.