Please remember that I am not the Commissioner from California; that I am a Commissioner for the United States; and that it is not my business to fight the railroads, but to hear impartially what both sides may have to say and be as entirely fair with the railroads as with the shippers. I am flattered to know that the railroad men of the United States do not regard me as a deadhead on this Commission. My aggressiveness on behalf of the shipping public has brought upon my head much criticism, and it would be the greatest satisfaction for those who have been prosecuted for rebating or discovered in illegal practises to feel that they were able in any degree to raise in the minds of the shippers any question of my loyalty to duty.
I expect to be in California during January, for a few days, and hope that I may see you at that time. Very sincerely yours,
TO GEORGE W. LANE
Washington, February 13, 1909
My dear George,—... I suppose you haven’t seen my interview on the Japanese question. I gave it at the request of the President [Roosevelt], because he said that the Republican Senators and Congressmen would not stand by him if it was going to be a partisan question in California politics. So I said that I would give the value of my name and influence to the support of his policy, so that Flint, Kahn, et Al., could quote me as against any attack by the Democrats. The President has done great work for the Coast. Congress never would have done anything at this time, and by the time it is willing to do something the problem will practically be solved. I am expecting to be roasted somewhat, in California, but I felt that it was only right to stand by the man who was really making our fight without any real backing from the East, and without many friends on the Pacific—so far as the “pollies” are concerned.
... The Harriman crowd seems to think that they will all be on good terms with Taft, but unless I’m mistaken in the man they will be greatly fooled. ...
Have you noticed that nice point of constitutional law, dug up by a newspaper reporter, which renders Knox ineligible as Secretary of State? He voted for an increase in the salary of the Secretary of State three years ago. They will try to avoid the effect of the constitutional inhibition by repealing the act increasing the salary. Technically this won’t do Knox any good, altho’ it will probably be upheld by the Courts, if the matter is ever taken into the Courts.
Roosevelt is very nervous these days but as he said to me the other day, “They know that I am President right up to March fourth.” I took Ned and Nancy to see him and he treated them most beautifully. Gave Ned a pair of boar tusks from the Philippines and told him a story about the boar ripping up a man’s leg just before he was shot, and to them both he gave a personal card.