Out of office and back to the practise of the law, Lane soon built his private practise on a firmer basis than before. His close identification with the Democratic Party was not impaired, but the frequent demands for attendance at public conventions and meetings he could not leave his practise to accept. In declining one of these invitations he replied:—
San Francisco, April 7, 1904
... Permit me to say that we of the West look to you who are closer to the center of things for leadership. ... This means only that we must be true to the principles that make us Democrats. ... The law must not be severe or lenient with any man simply because he is rich nor because he is poor. It must not become the tool of class antagonism for either the persecution of the well-to-do or for the repression of the masses of the people.
... We must resist the base opportunism which would abandon our strong position of devotion to these fundamental principles of good government for the sake of gaining temporary strength from some passing passion of the hour. To identify our party with an idea which springs from class distrust or class hatred is to gain temporary stimulation at the expense of permanent weakness. If we are to heed the voice which bids us cease to be Democrats in order that we may win, we shall find that we have lost not only the victory of being true, but also the victory at the polls, which can be ours only in case we are true.
... Our creed is simple and clear, but it cannot be recited by those who would make our organization an annex to the Republican party by catering to that conservatism which seeks only to bring greater benefit to the already wealthy, nor by those who would make it an annex to the Socialist party by joining in every attack, no matter how unjust, upon the wealthy. Sincerely yours,
To the Iroquois Club of Los Angeles on the same day he wrote,—“It becomes us to consider well the meaning of the signs of the times. Miracles may not be worked with these waves of prosperity. It is in no man’s power to say ‘Peace, be still’ and quiet the troubled sea of panic. But we may make sure that men of steady nerve, of clear head and highest purpose are at the helm. I expect to see the time when the Democratic party will, by fixed adherence to a well-defined course, gain and hold the approval and support of the majority of our people, not for a single election but for a long series of elections, and if we begin now with this end in view we certainly will be prepared for whatever may happen—victory or defeat; and in both alike we will be proud of our party and give a guarantee for the future.”
While campaigning California for Governor, in 1902, Isadore B. Dockweiler ran on Lane’s ticket, for the office of Lieutenant Governor, and Dockweiler still looked to him for counsel.