I know absolutely nothing about the suggestion made by the Call as to my being appointed to the Cabinet. I rather think that it was Ernest Simpson’s friendly act, though I have not heard from him at all. Three men have been to me from the Coast who wanted to be in the Cabinet, and I have told each one the same thing:—That I was not a candidate; that no one would speak to the President for me with my consent; but that I would not say that I would not accept an appointment, because I would do almost anything to make Wilson’s administration a success, for I believe that he has faced the right way and the only difficulty that he will have will be in securing strong enough support to carry out his own policies. I think he lacks somewhat in adroitness and that his campaign was much less radical than he would voluntarily have made it. I do not know him and shall not go near him unless he sends for me. If he does send for me I shall tell him the truth regarding anybody of whom he speaks to me. I shall advocate nobody. I am not going to be a job peddler or solicitor. My present position makes all the demand upon my imagination, initiative, and capacity that my abilities justify. I could not work any harder or do any better work for the people in any position that the Government has to give. I am not at all enamored of the honor of a Cabinet place.
Now, I am talking to you in the utmost frankness as if you were sitting just across the table from me. Of course what I am saying to you is absolutely private and personal. ...
We will just let this matter rest “on the knees of the gods,” and I shall try to serve with as little personal ambition moving me as is possible with a man who has some temperament.
FRANKLIN K. LANE
To Ernest S. Simpson San Francisco, Cal.
Washington, November 26, 1912
My dear Simpson,—How it ever entered into your head to give me so splendid a boom for a position in Wilson’s Cabinet I do not know. Someone suggested that the tip came from Ira Bennett at this end, and I see that the Sacramento Bee suggests that the railroads wish to remove me from my present sphere of troublesomeness; but my own guess is that your own good heart and our long-time friendship was the sole cause of this most kindly act.
Some of the California papers, I notice, have had editorials saying I should stay where I am (which is not a disagreeable fate to be condemned to, barring a slight surplus of work), but of course Wilson is not going to appoint anyone to his Cabinet because of pull. He has a more difficult job than any President has ever had since Lincoln, because he has to reconcile a progressive Northern Democracy with a conservative Southern Democracy, and satisfy one with policies and another with offices. My guess is that he will have to turn over the whole question