Lot 23: Woodrow Wilson typed signed letter
10th October 2018
TLS, two pages, 7 x 9, White House letterhead, December 29, 1916. Letter to Rev. Dr. Roland Cotton Smith, in full: “I had, as you know, looked forward with pleasure to the possibility of attending the anniversary service to be held at St. John 's on Saturday afternoon, January thirteenth, though I think I had intimated to you and the gentleman who accompanied you that I feared it would be impossible for me to make an address on that occasion. I find upon examining the programme which accompanied the formal invitation that Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts is announced as one of the speakers. Senator Lodge 's conduct during the recent campaign makes it impossible for me with self-respect to join in any exercise in which he takes part or to associate myself with him in any way. I would not refer to this matter if I did not feel that I owed you the most candid statement of my quandary, and I want to beg that you will make no change in your arrangements. It would not be possible for me in any case to speak and I should be very much distressed if I felt that I had in any way interfered with arrangements already consummated. I say all this, my dear Doctor Smith, in the greatest simplicity and sincerity and beg that you will take me exactly at my word and excuse me without anything said one way or the other outside our own confidence. With the best wishes for the success of the celebration.” Also included is a one-page ALS from Henry Cabot Lodge, signed “H. C. Lodge,” written about a week later on January 7, 1917, in full: “Thank you for your note—I am glad to get your news for I really wanted to speak on the 13th at the church & now I see no obstacle apart from the entirely unforeseen. I shall of course come with great pleasure. I trust he will not change that very changeable mind again.” In overall fine condition, with light soiling and a few small stains. Accompanied by the original mailing envelopes for both letters. Throughout his tenancy in Washington, Lodge was renowned for his isolationist views, supporting conservative economic legislation at home and expansionist policies abroad. As a major critic of President Woodrow Wilson, Lodge, then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, led the congressional opposition to the Peace Treaty and the Covenant of the League of Nations, which he rejected as a threat to US sovereignty. In July 1919, the Treaty and Covenant were officially transmitted to the Senate. Though they were adopted by a majority vote after extensive debate, in the end, the two documents (with reservations added) were rejected, chiefly by the votes of Democratic senators at the behest of Wilson, to whom the reservations were objectionable. A fascinating pair of missives regarding these two political rivals.
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