The mission of America is the only thing that a sailor or soldier should think about; he has nothing to do with the formulation of her policy; he is to support her policy, whatever it is—but he is to support her policy in the spirit of herself, and the strength of our policy is that we, who for the time being administer the affairs of this nation, do not originate her spirit; we attempt to embody it; we attempt to realize it in action we are dominated by it, we do not dictate it.
And so with every man in arms who serves the nation—he stands and waits to do the thing which the nation desires. America sometimes seems perhaps to forget her programs, or, rather, I would say that sometimes those who represent her seem to forget her programs, but the people never forget them. It is as startling as it is touching to see how whenever you touch a principle you touch the hearts of the people of the United States. They listen to your debates of policy, they determine which party they will prefer to power, they choose and prefer as ordinary men; but their real affection, their real force, their real irresistible momentum, is for the ideas which men embody.
I never go on the streets of a great city without feeling that somehow I do not confer elsewhere than on the streets with the great spirit of the people themselves, going about their business, attending to the things which concern them, and yet carrying a treasure at their hearts all the while, ready to be stirred not only as individuals, but as members of a great union of hearts that constitutes a patriotic people.
And so this sight in the river touches me merely as a symbol of that, and it quickens the pulse of every man who realizes these things to have anything to do with them. When a crisis occurs in this country, gentlemen, it is as if you put your hand on the pulse of a dynamo, it is as if the things which you were in connection with were spiritually bred. You had nothing to do with them except, if you listen truly, to speak the things that you hear. These things now brood over the river, this spirit now moves with the men who represent the nation in the navy, these things will move upon the waters in the manoeuvres; no threat lifted against any man, against any nation, against any interest, but just a great, solemn evidence that the force of America is the force of moral principle, that there is not anything else that she loves and that there is not anything else for which she will contend.
Two Ex-Presidents’ Views
MR. ROOSEVELT SPEAKS.
[Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.]
SYRACUSE, N.Y., May 7.—Ex-President Roosevelt, after learning details of the sinking of the Lusitania, made this statement late tonight:
This represents not merely piracy, but piracy on a vaster scale of murder than old-time pirates ever practiced. This is the warfare which destroyed Louvain and Dinant and hundreds of men, women, and children in Belgium. It is a warfare against innocent men, women, and children traveling on the ocean, and our own fellow-countrymen and countrywomen, who are among the sufferers.