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came a member of the Reform Club, an Bryan, though wrong on the financial institution which served not only as a question, was right on the main issue headquarters for attacks upon the Repub- the development, in the United States, of lican tariff, but as a meeting place of cer- an exploiting class. "Not many Ameritain young men who did not accept cans in 1896," says Mr. Lane, “saw that conventional ideas about the distribution that was really the political question of of property and the functions of govern- the time, though most of us, looking back, ment. The central figure in this group see it now. Mr. Bryan was fundamentally was Henry George, then at the highest right in his fight against special privilege, point of his personal influence. Whether though wrong in regarding the free coinMr. Lane accepted Mr. George's ideas age of silver as an essential detail of his on the land question or not, his mind propaganda.” certainly changed its character as a result Mr. Lane's most immediate difficulty of this association. He then grasped one as editor of the Tacoma News, however, conception that still abides and that was not free silver, nor labor unions, nor promises to influence his administration municipal graft; "my all-absorbing probof the Interior Department; the belief lem,” he says,
lem,” he says, “was to manipulate events which most people then regarded as so that the 'ghost would walk' regularly “socialistic,” and which has since become every Monday morning.” He had a almost orthodox: that government, under splendid time as editor; "there is no modern conditions, does not exist merely occupation so satisfactory," he says, "as to protect persons and property, but to editing an independent newspaper in a make everybody better, happier, and live, growing Western town; after I retire as much a participant as possible in the from public life I would ask no more advantages and comforts of life.
genuinely agreeable and satisfactory way When, in 1892, Mr. Lane jumped back of spending my last years.” Such an to the Pacific Coast, and became the occupation, of course, is always beset editor and part owner of the Tacoma with financial difficulties; and, when the News, his editorial policy immediately panic of 1893 laid prostrate the Tacoma showed the results of his friendship with boom and forced the editorial staff of the Henry George. A strike broke out among Tacoma News, as Mr. Lane expresses it, the printers; Mr. Lane championed the "to retreat to the seashore and live on cause of the strikers, became a member of clams," he was glad to sell his half intheir union, and has ever since figured as terest and go back home to San Francisco. a friend of labor. He found that the Here, in a few years, after serving dominant political gang was looting the several successful terms as district atcity treasury; he exposed the situation torney, Mr. Lane conducted an energetic - and “exposures” were not so common campaign for the governorship. This was in 1892 as they have since become - and
The mere fact that Mr. Lane, a sent the ring-leader to jail. The chief Democrat, should aspire to this office in of police was blackmailing the exploiters Republican California indicates a certain of vice; as a result of Mr. Lane's activities, inborn audacity. What is more remarkhe left town, and went to Alaska, where able is that, in the opinion of his adherents, he quickly made a fortune of $300,000 in he actually won — only to have the the mines. “You're the best friend I dominant political powers count him out. ever had," he afterward told Mr. Lane. What is chiefly interesting in this camMr. Lane's editorial policy on the silver paign, however, are the issues. Ten issue strikingly illustrates not only his years had passed since the Tacoma days; economic sanity but his journalistic Mr. Lane was now a "forward looking’ courage. His paper was the only one on publicist in earnest. The accepted dethe Pacific Coast that refused to support scription in 1902 — a political eon has the free silver campaign. Afterward, how- passed since then – was that Mr. Lane ever, Mr. Lane did support Mr. Bryan was a "radical,” unsafe and insane, a for the Presidency. He thought that Mr. Socialist - whatever that word may mean.
All that he did, however, was simply to Roosevelt was looking about for men of preach what is now known as conserva- the new type of thinking as members of tion.” California had enormous tracts the reformed commission. As a Pacific of forests, water-power sites, and arid Coast representative seemed desirable, lands. Mr.
Mr. Lane suggested that the Mr. Lane's appointment to the commisstate assume the task of making these sion became almost inevitable. useful to the people. The state itself, Mr. Lane had hardly taken his seat he argued, should develop its water-power when he began to give expression to his sites, and then turn them over to responsi- large stock of carefully accumulated ideas. ble people on terms that would promote the boldness, the directness, with which the interests of all its citizens. It should he made his points startled the public build irrigation reservoirs and canals for and the railroads. He assailed the greatthe redemption of its desert lands; in est and most difficult situations first. other words, adopt the policy now gen- Not an obscure backwoods railroad, but erally known as "reclamation."
the Union Pacific; not a struggling upThat Mr. Lane stood against the South- start of finance, but Edward H. Harriman ern Pacific political machine goes without Commissioner Lane proceeded to break saying. The public was then hearing his teeth upon problems of this magnifor the first time the words "rebate" and tude. For years there had been more or “regulation,” a subject upon which Cali- less definite talk about railroad monopoly: fornia needed detailed education, as sub- Mr. Lane now showed the public, for the sequent events showed. The truth of the first time, precisely what this word matter is, however, that the voters only monopoly signified. Under his crossdimly comprehended Mr. Lane's refer- examination, Mr. Harriman laid bare all ences to these abstruse matters - they his plans. It was then that Mr. Harridid not understand them for he was man announced his intention of "going several years ahead of the procession. in and buying some more things;" not What they did understand and like was content with the Union Pacific, the SouthMr. Lane himself. Whether his argu- ern Pacific, the Illinois Central, and other ments on the new state activities made similarly comprehensive properties, he many votes is problematical; what really had his eyes upon the Santa Fé. “Where piled up his majority was his genial, was all this to end?” asked Mr. Lane: : smiling, conversational, style of campaign would Mr. Harriman go on until he had oratory, to say nothing of a handshake captured everything on the Pacific and that overcame all opposition.
Atlantic Coasts, thereby monopolizing all Soon after Mr. Lane's defeat — or the railroads in the country? That was counting-out experience — a distinguished precisely what he would like to do, said visitor came to California, heard him make Mr. Harriman. Perhaps, under efficient a speech, and shook his hand. This was regulation, this might have been an President Roosevelt. At that time Mr. excellent thing - this view can be deRoosevelt was engaged in one of his fended; Mr. Lane, however, is one of most celebrated contests — his campaign those who do not believe in railroad to reform the Interstate Commerce Com- monopoly. In his view there is nothing mission. For nearly twenty years this so wicked and so contrary to the public body had existed in a condition of somno- interest. The idea that all the United lence. As an engine to control the rail- States west of the Mississippi should be roads, it had practically no authority. subject to the will of a single group of Public opinion was now demanding some- men was to him abhorrent. His famous thing more effective - an active, serious report on the Union Pacific amalgamation commission that would have the power showed how easily Mr. Harriman, by to fix rates, to enforce adequate service, using the credit of one road to purchase to make the Government a vital figure another, would bring about such a situain the management of these properties. tion. The breaking of the Union Pacific In anticipation of this legislation, Mr. monopoly is largely his work. More
Copyright by Clinedinst MR. FRANKLIN K. LANE WHO COMES TO HIS NEW DUTIES AS SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WITH CERTAIN FUNDAMENTAL CONVICTIONS HE BELIEVES IN THE EXTENSION OF GOVERNMENTAL POWERS. HE BELIEVES THAT THE NATIONAL RESOURCES EXIST PRIMARILY FOR THE PEOPLE AND ONLY SECONDARILY FOR INVESTORS AND PROMOTERS"
than any other man he is responsible for And so we find that Mr. Lane comes the frantic attempts made in the last few to his new duties in the Interior Departmonths to divorce the Southern Pacific ment with certain fundamental convicfrom the Union Pacific.
tions. He believes in the extension of Other notable cases, the decisions in governmental powers. He believes that which were written by Mr. Lane, lifted the national resources exist primarily for the Interstate Commerce Commission the people and only secondarily for infrom the obscure position it had held and vestors and promoters. He would have made it as vital an agent in directing California develop its water-power sites; national policy as is the Supreme Court. naturally he would favor the Federal He forced the transcontinental railroads Government doing the same thing. He to put down their rates in the inter- does not stand for monopoly in any form. mountain states; he wrote the decision He nourishes the sentiments of an early which prohibited the Western lines from disciple of Henry George toward the increasing their rates three years ago. powers that exploit. He was not afraid The practical regulation of railroad charges of the name of Harriman — it is hardly by this new Federal authority is now a likely that he will tremble before the name fixed fact. Popular government in the of Guggenheim. He fought the battle of United States, largely as a result of these the shippers and the travelers when he was Franklin K. Lane cases, has advanced on the Interstate Commerce Commission;
it is inconceivable that, as Secretary of the
Interior, he should not protect first of all approach all conservation matters from the homesteader, the sheep-grazer, the the human point of view. My great lumberman, the miner, and the Indian. ambition is to humanize this whole de
If Mr. Lane's only problem, however, partment. We have a definite situation. were a general one of keeping hands off, The Nation has enormous resources still his task would be comparatively easy. left — in coal, in oil, in mineral deposits, But that part has already been done. in water-power sites, in forests, and in The Government has fenced in the forests, grazing land. These lands exist out there locked up the coal lands in Alaska, with not primarily to be surveyed, mapped, drawn the water-power sites, sequestered reported on in dreary official documents, the oil wells, the
and fenced in by phosphate beds, and
red-tape. They exthe other stores of
ist to be used. My national capital.
interest in them is This was a splendid
human, not geologiand necessary piece
cal. They will serve of work. But it was
a valuable purpose merely preliminary
only if they make to conservation; it
the people happier, was not conservation
more prosperous, itself. It was com
and contented. We paratively easy to
need to develop them collect this enorm
so that we shall have ous wealth and mark
room for another it “reserved.” But
100,000,000 people. Mr. Lane has the
It goes without sayreally difficult task.
ing that they are not He has to open it up
to be monopolized. again. I asked him
A monopoly of any what he proposed to
kind is the most do about this great
perfect instrument problem.
of oppression and “The first thing
unrighteousness I would like," he
known, whether a said, “is a liberal
monopoly in railappropriation from
roads, in manufacCongress with which
turing, or in land. to buy a large sup
Unquestionably men ply of scissors.
have become so They would be use
audacious in recent ful in cutting red
years — their imagitape." MRS. FRANKLIN K. LANE
nations have been so "Oh yes, the pro
inflamed by the blem is a great one,” Mr. Lane contin- gigantic scale upon which modern indusued, "but it is nothing to despair about. trialism is based — that they have actually Everything is not conservation that is dreamed of concentrating the control over so-called. There are no questions in- enormous areas — whole states, perhaps a volved that cannot be solved by the territory as large as Alaska. But this is onapplication of common sense. If I could ly a dream-they will not succeed. My amget together all the people most in- bition will be to encourage settlement and terested, sit down at a table and quietly development in the real sense of the term." talk things over, I am sure we could That an organized effort is now being settle everything amicably and satisfac- made to break down the conservation torily to all concerned. We need to policy of the last seven years is clear. It
crops out everywhere. There are those of course, merely the restoration of the in Washington who are making it their old conditions: if the states obtain these business to disseminate “information” lands, they will unquestionably soon find on this great question. This hostility their way into private ownership. “Conassumes several phases. The main cry servation” would quickly end. is that the "conservation cranks” have Many Western newspapers acclaimed “locked up" and otherwise set aside our Mr. Lane's appointment as an endorsenational resources. Timber is rotting in ment of this “states' rights” idea. As a the forests, we are told, and lumbermen Westerner it was assumed that he would are crying aloud for wood; water is run- sympathize with it. There are plenty ning to waste down our streams while of Californians who think that California cities are going unlighted and mill wheels should control the Government lands are standing unturned. What is the use within that state. of phosphate beds if we cannot use them “How about states' rights?" I asked for fertilizer? What
Mr. Lane. good are oil wells
“It is not to be that are untapped
discussed. The Fedor coal lands that are
eral Government unmined? These ob
must control its own jectors make so much
property, of course." noise that the public
And he passed at is in danger of ser
once to a more pertiiously believing that
nent subject. “Al'conservation
aska,” he said, "trereally means “bot
mendously appeals tling up."
to my imagination. The truth is that
It is the future home for seven years the
of many million Roosevelt conserva
Americans and of tionists have been at
several new states. tempting to reopen
It contains 60,000,the public domain.
000 acres of arable The opposition has
land. Its reindeer come from those who
—they live on mounare now making such
tain moss, which no a great lamentation.
other animal will eat Bills in endless num
will some day ber are presented to
supply the Pacific every Congress pro
MISS NANCY LANE
Coast with meat. viding for the de
And we know all velopment of Alaska and all our public land. about its coal mines.” But these bills do not pass. The reason “But how are you going to get to them?” is that they carefully safeguard the public "Build railroads, of course," Mr. Lane interest. They do not open the public answered. "If private capital won't do domain to the exploitation that prevailed it, the Government should. In fact, I in the good old grab-bag days. Powerful am in favor of the immediate construction interests, in Congress and out, regularly of an Alaskan railroad by the Governdefeat them. At present the opposition ment. It cannot get to work too quickly takes the form of clamoring for “states' to please me. I shall make this recomrights." The
Federal Government, mendation to Congress. This is the kind according to this policy, should turn over of paternalism I believe in.” all its forests, mines, water-powers, and Mr. Lane has already given an illusother resources into the hands of the tration of what he means by applying states in which they are. This means, common sense to his problems — of “sit