TO ISADORE B. DOCKWEILER
San Francisco, April 16, 1904
My dear Dockweiler,—You ask in your favor of the 14th whether California will send a delegation to St. Louis pledged to Mr. Hearst and if this program has been agreed upon, as is the report in Los Angeles.
I cannot tell what the Democrats of California will do, but I know what they should do. A delegation should go from this state that is free, unowned, unpledged, made up of men whose prime interest is that of their party and whom the party does not need to bind with pledges. To pledge the delegation is to make the delegates mere pawns, puppets, counters, coins to trade with,—so much political wampum.
The object in holding a national convention is not to please the vanity nor gratify the ambition of any individual, but to select a national standard bearer who will proudly lead the party in the campaign and be a credit to the party and an honor to the nation, if elected. Surely the Democracy of California can select candidates who can be depended upon to be guided by these considerations. To tie the delegates hand and foot, toss them into a bag, and sling them over the shoulder of one man to barter as he may please, is not consistent with my notion of the dignity of their position, nor does it appeal to me as the most certain manner of making them effective in enlarging and emphasizing the power of the state. ...
As to your suggestion of a program to deliver this state to one candidate—if there is such a program—I am not a party to it, never have been, and never will be. ... The Democrats of California ... will do much for the sake of harmony so long as party welfare and public good are not sacrificed; but they must be permitted to make their own program irrespective of the personal alliances, affiliations, or ambitions of politicians.
Personally, I am not in active political life. My views upon party questions I do not attempt to impose upon my party, yet I know of no reason why I should hesitate to give them expression. I cannot but believe that if many a man were more indifferent to his future, he would be more certain to have a future.
There is one reason which to my mind should forbid my active direction of any organized movement against Mr. Hearst, namely the attitude of his paper during my recent campaign for the governorship. I do not wish it to be said or thought that I am seeking to use our party for purposes of personal retaliation. Whatever reasons for bitterness I may have because of that campaign I am persuaded it does not affect my judgment that it is the part of wisdom to send an unpledged delegation to the national convention.
The Democrats of California should determine with calmness and without passion what course will be most likely to prove a matter of pride to themselves, their state, and the nation, and in that sober judgment act fearlessly.