TO E. W. SCRIPPS
Washington, June 1, 1915
My dear Mr. Scripps,—I am extremely glad to get your letter—and such a hearty, noble-spirited letter. It came this morning, and was so extraordinary in its patriotic spirit that I took it to the White House and left it with the President.
I am sure that great good will come of the effort you are making to gather the people in support of the President. The poor man has been so worried by the great responsibilities put upon him that he has not had time to think or deal with matters of internal concern. ... He is extremely appreciative of the spirit you have shown. I have a large number of matters in my own Department— Alaskan railroad affairs and proposed legislation—that I ought to take up with him; but I can not worry him with them while international concerns are so pressing.
I feel that at last the country has come to a consciousness of the President’s magnitude. They see him as we do who are in close touch with him. ... My own ability to help him is very limited, for he is one of those men made by nature to tread the wine-press alone. The opportunity comes now and then to give a suggestion or to utter a word of warning, but on the whole I feel that he probably is less dependent upon others than any President of our time. He is conscious of public sentiment—surprisingly so—for a man who sees comparatively few people, and yet he never takes public sentiment as offering a solution for a difficulty; if he can think the thing through and arrive at the point where public sentiment supports him, so much the better. He will loom very large in the historian’s mind two or three decades from now.
In the fall I am going to ask you to lend a hand in support of my conservation bills, which look like piffling affairs now in contrast with the big events of the day.
Once more I thank you heartily for your letter. Cordially yours,
TO GEORGE W. WICKERSHAM
Washington, July 18, 1915
My dear and distinguished sir,—I once knew a vainglorious chap who wrote a poem on the Crucifixion of Christ. The refrain was,—
“Had I been there with three score men, Christ Jesus had not died.”
All of us feel “that-a-way” once in a while when we think of Germany, Mexico, and such. I shall have a few words to say upon the German note next Tuesday. [Footnote: Day of Cabinet meeting.] They will be short and somewhat ugly Anglo-Saxon words, utterly undiplomatic, and I hope that some of them will be used.
There is no man who has a greater capacity for indignation than the gentleman who has to write that note, and no man who has a sincerer feeling of dignity, and no man who dislikes more to have a damned army officer, filled with struttitudinousness, spit upon the American Flag—a damned goose-stepping army officer!