I wish in some way it were possible to impress upon our Western Senators and Congressmen the advisability of putting through the bills that I have before Congress in line with my report—a general leasing bill, under which coal, oil, and phosphate lands could be developed by lease, and a water power bill. As it is now, a man runs the risk of going to jail to get a piece of coal land that is big enough to work; and the very bad situation in the oil field in California is entirely due to the inapplicability of our oil land laws. We have a couple of million acres of good phosphate lands withdrawn, totally undeveloped because no one can get hold of them, and no capital will go into our Western power sites because we can give at present only a revocable permit, whereas capital wants the certainty of a fixed term.
I have tried to draft laws, copies of which I inclose, that are the best possible under the circumstances. I mean by that, that they are reasonable and will be passed by Congress if the West can only show a little interest in them, but so far the men who have been fighting them are Westerners. Why? For no better reason than that these gentlemen are in favor of having all of the public lands turned over to the states. It is useless to argue this question as to whether it is right or wrong, because Congress would never do it, so that opposition to these bills is simply opposition to further development of the West.
Now if you can punch these people up a bit in some way and make them understand that the West should want to go ahead, rather than block development for all time, ... you will be rendering a public service.
With these few remarks I submit the matter to your prayerful consideration. As always, cordially yours,
To Frederic J. Lane
Washington, April 27, 1914
My dear Fritz,—I have just received your letter in relation to Stuart. I sent you a letter on Saturday saying that Daniels was going to recommend him. Of course, if he can’t pass the physical examination that is the end of it, but I would let him try ...
Ned is a great deal like Stuart—smart and lazy, but you know that all boys can’t be expected to come up to the ideal conduct of their fathers at sixteen and eighteen. They go through life a damn sight more human. I don’t see any reason why a fellow should work if he can get along without it, and the trouble is that your boy is spoiled by you, and my boy is spoiled by his mother! You have raised Stuart on the theory that he was a millionaire’s son and, as such, he can’t take life very seriously.
I am figuring now on getting Ned off to some boarding-school where he will have more discipline than I can give him. The truth is that both of us, having had rather a prosaic Christian bringing up, have cultivated the idea in our youngsters that it is a good thing to be a sport, and the aforesaid youngsters are living up to it. If there was a school in the country where they taught boys the different kinds of trees, and the different rocks and flowers, birds, and fish, with some good sense, and American history, I would like to send Ned to it ... Affectionately yours,