Woodrow Wilson to William L. Marbury
I have your letter of January thirtieth. It is always a pleasure to hear from you. I shall be very glad to discuss with you the question of District policy you allude to. I will try to set an early date for the conference.
With regard to the question of the Canal tolls, my opinion is very clear. The exemption constitutes a very mistaken policy from every point of view. It is economically unjust; as a matter of fact, it benefits, for the present at any rate, only a monopoly; and it seems to me in clear violation of the terms of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty. There is, of course, much honest difference of opinion as to the last point, as there is, no doubt, as to the others; but it is at least debatable, and if the promises we make in such matters are debatable, I for one do not care to debate them. I think the country would prefer to let no question arise as to its whole-hearted purpose to redeem its promises in the light of any reasonable construction of them rather than debate a point of honor.
Your reference to the Secretary of State shows how comprehendingly you have looked on during the last few months. Not only have Mr. Bryan’s character, his justice, his sincerity, his transparent integrity, his Christian principle, made a deep impression upon all with whom he has dealt; but his tact in dealing with men of many sorts, his capacity for business, his mastery of the principles of each matter he has been called upon to deal with, have cleared away many a difficulty and have given to the policy of the State Department a definiteness and dignity that are very admirable.
I need not say what pleasure and profit I, myself, have taken from close association with Mr. Bryan or how thoroughly he has seemed to all of us who are associated with him here to deserve not only our confidence but our affectionate admiration.
Mr. William L. Marbury,