TO JOHN CRAWFORD BURNS
Washington, January 22, 1915
My dear John,—I have often thought of you during these last few months, and wished for a good long talk so some of the kinks in my own brain might be straightened out. It looks to me very much as if the war were a stalemate. Even if England throws another million men into the field in May I can’t see how she can get through Belgium and over the Rhine. Germany is practically self-supported, excepting for gasoline and copper, and no doubt a considerable amount of these are being smuggled in, one way or another. The Christians are having a hard time reconciling themselves to existing conditions. ... England is making a fool of herself by antagonizing American opinion, insisting upon rights of search which she never has acknowledged as to herself. If she persists she will be successful in driving from her the opinion of this country, which is ninety per cent in her favor, although practically all of the German-Americans are loyal to their home country. We have some ambition to have a shipping of our own, and England’s claim to own the seas, as Germany puts it, does not strike the American mind favorably. No doubt this will be regarded by you as quite an absurdity, that we should have any such dream, but I find myself from day to day feeling a twinge or two of bitterness over England’s stubbornness, which seems to be as irremovable a quality as it was in some past days. ...
Your little Nancy is no longer little. She is up to my ear, has gone out to several evening parties, is at last going to school like other girls, keeps up her violin, and is very much of a joy. ...
I knew that you would like our Ambassador. Cultivate him every chance you get.
On February 20, 1915, Lane went to San Francisco and formally opened the Panama Pacific Exposition, as the personal representative of the President. He spoke on “That slender, dauntless, plodding, modest figure, the American pioneer, ... whose long journey ... beside the oxen is at an end.”
En route, near Ogden, Utah, February 22, 1915
My dear Aleck.—You are the best of good fellows, and I don’t see any reason why I should not tell you so, and of my affection for you. Don’t mind the slaps and raps that you get, regarding the high duty you perform. The people respect you as an entirely honest and efficient public servant. It did my heart good to hear the men I talked with speak so appreciatively of you. I enjoyed my two days with you as I have not enjoyed any two days for many years. The best thing in all this blooming world is the friendship that one fellow has for another. I would truly love to have the President know our Amaurot crowd, but I can’t quite plan out a way by which it could be done. ... As always, affectionately yours,