I am so glad to hear of your Mother’s improvement. Bless her noble heart! I hope she lives a long time to give you the inspiration of that beautiful smile.
The Mexican business does not hasten as I had hoped. Brandeis’ withdrawal was a great surprise to us and I can’t quite understand it. Meantime the railroad situation engrosses our attention fully, and Mexico can wait ...
Hughes’ speeches have been a surprise and disappointment to me ... One might fancy a candidate for Congress doing no better but not a man of such record and position. I think your dear old party relies upon holding the regular party men out of loyalty and protection, and buying enough Democrats and crooks to get the majority. But I don’t believe it can be done. The Republican organization is perfect, but the people are not as gullible as once they were.
Tell me some more about the Latin-American. How much form should I put on? Can you warm up to them? How do you get the truth out of them? And how do you get them to stay by their word? What are they suspicious of, silence or volubility? Do they expect you to ask for more than you expect to get? Do they appreciate candor and fair dealing, or must you be crafty and indirect? If they expect the latter I am not the man for the job, but I can be patient and listen. My love to the Lady Maud.
To Hon. Woodrow Wilson
The White House
Washington, August 28, 1916
My dear Mr. President,—I have had talks this morning with three men, all of them Democrats, all of them strongly for you under any circumstances. None of them are related to railroads or to labor unions. Two of them have recently been out of this city and believe that they have a knowledge of the feeling of the country. All express the same view and I want to tell it to you in case you write a message to Congress.
They say that the people do not grasp the meaning of your statement that society has made its judgment in favor of an eight-hour day. This, the people think, is a matter that can be arbitrated. They ask why can’t it be arbitrated? They say that the country feels that you have lined yourself up with the labor unions irrevocably for an eight-hour day, as against the railroads who wish to arbitrate the necessity for putting in an eight-hour day immediately, and irrespective of the additional cost to the railroads. They say that the men are attempting to bludgeon the railroads into granting their demand which has not been shown to the people to be reasonable. This demand is that the men should have ten hours pay for eight hours work or less. They say that if this question cannot be arbitrated, the railroads must yield on every question and that freight rates and passenger rates instead of going down, as they have for the past twenty years, must inevitably increasingly go up. They say that the people do not realize that you have been willing to entertain any proposition made by the railroads, but that you have stood steadfastly for something which the men have demanded.