I return this Department into your hands with very real gratitude that you have given me the opportunity to know well a working force holding so many men and women of singular ability and rare spirit.
I trust that you may soon be so completely restored to health that the country and the world may have the benefit of the full measure of your strength in the leadership of their affairs. The discouragements of the present are, I believe, only temporary. The country knows that for America to stand outside the League of Nations will bring neither pride to us nor confidence to the world.
Believe me, my dear Mr. President, always, cordially and faithfully yours,
TO FRANK W. MONDELL
Washington, February 13, 1920
My dear Mr. Mondell,—I wish to acknowledge, with the warmest appreciation, your letter of yesterday, and to say that I am literally forced out of public life by my lack of resources. The little property that I have been able to save is all gone in an effort to make both ends meet, and I find myself at fifty-five without a dollar, in debt, and with no assurance as to the future. I assure you that it is with the deepest regret that I leave public life for I like it, and the public have treated me handsomely, especially the men in Congress with whom I have had to deal, and not the least of these, yourself.
I should like to stay, especially so, that we could put into effect some of the legislation for which we have been fighting, such as the oil bill, the power bill, and the farms-for-soldiers bill. I shall leave a set of regulations as to the oil leases ready for operation. The power bill will come into effect soon, I hope. I am responsible for the three-headed commission, but it was the only chance I saw of getting any unity as between the different branches of the government.
Letters are still coming in from the boys who want to go on farms, and I hope that we will be able to lead Congress to see that this is a farsighted measure.
I thank you very much for your many courtesies to me. I trust that your career may be one of still greater usefulness and expanding opportunity. With the warmest regards, cordially yours,
Late in the year 1919, Lane wrote to James E. Gregg:—“... The soldier-farms bill has been reported favorably by the Committee on Public Lands to the House, but has not yet been taken up for consideration on the floor. ... Of course, some of the opposition has been by those who say the plan does not do something for all of the soldiers, but this is hardly a good objection, as no other constructive suggestion seems to have been made by any one that would do anything for any of the soldiers, except the cash bonus, which I believe is altogether impossible, improvident, and not in the interest either of the country or the soldier.”