My dear Mr. Thompson,—I told Mr. Loeb that I would feel greatly honored to be a member of a Memorial Committee, to do honor to Ex-President Roosevelt. To-day, I receive an agreement which I am asked to sign in which the members of the Committee are to pledge themselves to a memorial for the furtherance of Mr. Roosevelt’s policies. I do not know what such a phrase means. With some of his policies I know I was in hearty accord but as to others, such as the tariff, I have my doubts. This might be turned or construed into a great machine for propaganda of a partisan character, and it seems to me that the Colonel’s memory is altogether too precious a national possession to have that construction possibly given to any memorial to him.
There are hundreds of thousands of Democrats, like myself, who admired him and who would contribute toward a memorial, who should not be asked to do this if it was any more than a straight-out memorial to the man, the soldier, the naturalist, the historian, the President, the intense, vital American.
And all of your officers, so far as I am acquainted with them, are Republicans. This does not seem to convey quite the right suggestion.
I have already planned for a lasting Roosevelt memorial in the creation of a park in California, to bear Colonel Roosevelt’s name. I expect this will have Congressional approval at the present session of Congress.
Last night I talked with Senator Frank Kellogg about this matter, and he agrees with my view. He says that he understood the memorial was to be something in Washington of a permanent and artistic character, and perhaps the home at Oyster Bay, and that the personnel of all committees was to be popular, including if possible as many Democrats as Republicans.
Under these circumstances I beg leave to withhold my signature to the agreement sent me. I would have no objection to asking Congress to provide for a memorial, though I think this should be deferred as a matter of policy until the public had subscribed generously. Cordially yours,
TO BENJAMIN IDE WHEELER PRESIDENT EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Washington, June 16, 1919
My dear Wheeler,—I have seen your goodbye address at Berkeley, and I am very glad I did not hear it, for it must have been a sad day for Berkeley and for you. The address itself was a noble word. I hear that you have bought Lucy Sprague’s home and are to remain in Berkeley. This is as it should be. You can ripen into the Sage of Berkeley, and be a center of influence, stimulating the best in others. A long, long life to you! Always sincerely and devotedly yours,
TO E. S. MARTIN LIFE
Washington, August 23, 1919