My dear Adams,— ... I think the standpoint taken by our railroad friends in 1882 is that which possesses their souls to-day. I am conscious each time I ask a question that there is deep resentment in the heart of the railroad official at being compelled to answer, but that he is compelled to, he recognizes. The operating and traffic officials of the railroads are having a very hard time these days with the law departments. They can not understand why the law department advises them to give the information we demand, and I have heard of some most lively conferences in which the counsel of the companies were blackguarded heartily for being cowards, in not fighting the Commission. You certainly took advanced ground in 1882, ... —there can be no such thing as a business secret in a quasi-public corporation. ... Very truly yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Washington, March 31,1907
My dear Mr. Wheeler,— ... I have taken the liberty of giving Mr. Aladyin, leader of the Group of Toil in the Russian Duma, a note of introduction. He’s an immensely interesting young man, a fine speaker and comes from plain, peasant stock. He will talk to your boys if you ask him. During these days of panic in Wall Street the President [Roosevelt] has called me in often and shown in many ways that he in no way regrets the appointment you urged. I have been much interested in studying him in time of stress. He is one of the most resolute of men and at the same time entirely and altogether reasonable. No man I know is more willing to take suggestion. No one leads him, not even Root, but no one need fear to give suggestion. He lives up to his legend, so far as I can discover, and that’s a big order. The railroad men who are wise will rush to the support of the policies he will urge before the next Congress, or they will have national ownership to face as an immediate issue, or a character of regulation that they will regard as intolerable.
You will be here again soon and I hope that you will come directly to our house and give us the pleasure of a genuine visit. ... Sincerely yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
TO ELIHU ROOT
Washington, February 14, 1908
My dear Mr. Secretary,—I have lately been engaged in writing an opinion upon the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission over ocean carriers engaged in foreign commerce, and it has occurred to me that an extensive American merchant marine might be developed by some legislation which would permit American ships to enjoy preferential through routes in conjunction with our railroad systems. The present Interstate Commerce Law, as I interpret it, gives to the Commission jurisdiction over carriers to the seaboard. It is the assumption of the law that rates will be made to and from the American ports and that at such ports all ships may equally compete for foreign cargo.