Grenville S. MacFarland to Woodrow Wilson


Grenville S. MacFarland to Woodrow Wilson


MacFarland, Grenville S.




1918 November 25


President Wilson is encouraged to appoint Governor MacCall to the Peace Commission.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


World War, 1914-1918--United States


Danna Faulds






Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


Hon. Woodrow Wilson,
White House,
Washington, D. C.

My dear President Wilson,

Thank you very much for your letter of November 20th concerning my suggestion that Governor McCall be appointed on the Peace Commission. I appreciate of course the difficulties of making up this Commission, but I do hope that there is no thought of appointing Elihu Root. I think he and Henry Cabot Lodge are among the worst and most unpatriotic men in America. I do not believe that man ever drew a patriotic breath in his life.

Moreover, his appointment on the Commission would be a slap in the face of the intellectual radicals of the whole world and would put the Commission under suspicion because there is a false notion concerning the man’s ability which would make men feel that almost anything our Commissioners did was affected by his great personal influence. I have no such fear at present, for I have studied his career, read all his speeches and public documents, and studied his conduct in such bodies as the late Constitutional Convention in New York, and I am convinced that his reputation for extraordinary ability lies in the extravagant use of language by Roosevelt in his behalf, which he employed when he felt obliged to justify the presence of a reactionary like Root in his Cabinet. The great currency which is given to Mr. Roosevelt’s utterances is the foundation for a false popular notion of Root’s exceptional ability. But that notion now exists as a fact to be dealt with, and therefore, taking into consideration his notorious reactionary connections, you will not give your Peace Commission fair weather with the progressive thought of the world if you have him as even one member of the Commission.

May I prolong this letter somewhat by calling your attention to the continued propaganda against the Russian Soviet Government and ask you what earthly excuse there exists now for the presence of our soldiers in Russia? I believe that, despite the powerful propaganda about Russia, most of our progressives are doubtful of the consistency of continuing our troops in Russia. It certainly is not consistent with your attitude toward Mexico which I personally heartily supported in opposition to some who were very near to me in business and friendship.

I feel a little discouraged about the prospect of democracy with a large and small “d” in America in the next few years. I see no leadership in our National Democratic Committee or in any of the field forces of Democracy. I have made as thorough a canvas of all the causes of defeat at the Congressional election as our publicity organization would permit, and I am convinced that the defeat was entirely avoidable, and that it does not reflect a popular disapproval of your administration. You will have noticed that wherever the Hearst papers were published we gained in Congress and in all those communities there is a large German vote. This shows what might have been done by proper methods elsewhere.

I wish you a great success and enjoyment on your novel and momentous trip over seas.

Yours sincerely,

GS MacFarland

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




MacFarland, Grenville S., “Grenville S. MacFarland to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 November 25, WWP25539, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.