Washington, March 24, 1913
My dear Colonel,—I have received a great many hundred letters, but I think I can honestly say that no other one has given me the pleasure that yours has. I am struggling hard to get the reins of this six-horse team in my hands and every day I feel more acutely the weight of the responsibility that I bear. The last few weeks have been put in being interviewed by Senators and Congressmen, who wish to name men for the few positions in the office. It has been rather enjoyable, and they have been fair and by no means peremptory. The hardest place I have to fill is that of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. How absurd to try to get a man to handle the interests of an entire race, owning a thousand million dollars’ worth of property, and have to offer a salary of $5,000 a year!
I hope that you will feel free to give me the benefit of any advice as to the conduct of my department that may happen to come to you out of your great experience. As always, faithfully yours,
TO LAWRENCE F. ABBOTT OUTLOOK
Washington, April 9, 1913
My dear Lawrence,—The Japanese are reducing the value of California lands by buying a piece in a picked valley, paying any price that is demanded. They swarm then over this particular piece of property until they reduce the value of all the adjacent land. No one wishes to be near them; with the result that they buy or lease the adjoining land, and so they radiate from this center until now they have possession of some of the best valleys. Really the influx of the Japanese is quite as dangerous as that of the Chinese. The proposed legislation in California is not to exclude Japanese alone, but to make it impossible for any alien to own land, at least until he declares his intention to become a citizen. Inasmuch, of course, as Orientals can not become citizens, this disbars them from owning land.
There is, of course, as in all things Californian, a good deal of hysteria over this matter, and I think your Progressive friends are trying to put the Democrats in a bit of a hole by making it appear that the Democrats are being influenced by the Federal Government to take a more conservative course than the Progressives desire.
My information is that some restrictive legislation will be passed by the legislature, no matter what Japan’s attitude may be, but Japan’s face will be saved and every need met if the legislation is general in terms. ...
... I do not like the sudden turn that Johnson seems to have taken in the last day or two but I still have faith that those people out there will do the sensible thing and allow us to save Japan’s face while very properly excluding the Japanese from owning land in California; and I have no objection whatever to excluding all the Englishmen and Scotchmen who flock in there without any intention of becoming citizens. As always, yours,