The fight was along class lines entirely; the employers on one side and the wage earners on the other. The Republican nominee represented the employers, the Union Labor nominee, the wage earners. I stood for good government, and in the battle my voice could hardly be heard. It was a splendid old fight in which every interest that was vicious, violent, or corrupt was solidly against me. And while I did not win the election, I lost nothing in prestige by the defeat, save among politicians who are always looking for availability. It was not, in the nature of things, up to me to run for Mayor, but my people all believed that I was assured of election and felt that I was the only man who could possibly be elected. I acted out of a sense of loyalty to my party and a desire to do something to rid the city of its present cursed administration. However, it may in the end be a very fortunate thing, for I know no career more worthless than that of a perpetual office-seeker.
I received a letter from a friend in New York yesterday telling me that Senator Hill [Footnote: In campaigning New York for Cleveland, Lane had met David B. Hill.] had told him that the New York delegation would cast its vote for me for Vice-President at the Democratic National Convention, and that he regarded me as the most available man to nominate; but, of course, I sent back word that that was not to be considered.
I should judge from the examiner here, that Hearst was making a very strong fight for a delegation from Illinois. His boom seems to me to be increasing. That it is possible for such a man to receive the nomination, is too humiliating to be thought of. ... Very sincerely yours,
The day after his defeat Lane had written to thank a generous friend:—
San Francisco, Wednesday [November, 1908]
My dear will,—I can’t go to the country without saying to you once more that your self-sacrifice and manliness throughout this campaign have endeared you to me to a degree that words cannot convey.
I had hoped the last day or two that I would be able to make your critics ashamed to look you in the face, and that they would in time come pleading to you for recognition. But now you must be content with knowing that you did a man’s part, and set a standard in friendship and loyalty which my boy shall be taught to strive for.
I earnestly hope that your business relations will not be disturbed by this trouble into which I got you. Had I been out of it Crocker couldn’t have won. My vote would largely have gone for Schmitz.
Give my love to Mrs. Wheeler and believe me, always your friend,
Wheeler, himself a Republican, belonged, at the time, to a firm of irreconcilable Republicans, who had expressed sharp disapproval of his activity in Lane’s behalf.