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.
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