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the only course that I could have taken without loss of self-
respect. I told the exact truth as I saw it. I praised Taft
for
every

action of his as to which I could conscientiously praise him. Where I could not praise him, or disapproved of what he had done, I kept silent. I was opposed by the lunatic Insurgents of all grades, receiving very lukewarm support, I am sorry to say, from those who were not contented with anything short of denunciation of Taft, and who have no conception of the difference in difficulty between tearing down and building up. On the other hand, the reactionaries, the representatives of the special interests and all those whom they control, literally went insane in their opposition.

The one comfort in the New York election is that I think it prevents my having to face the very unpleasant task of deciding whether or not to accept the nomination in 1912. If we had carried New York, I can see now that I would have had to make such a decision. Of course the decision seems easy enough; on the one hand to the well-meaning conservative person who regards Taft as a satisfactory President, and does not understand what any man sees to object to in him, and who feels that any reluctance to urge his renomination by me must be due to personal ambition on my part; on the other hand, the decision seems perfectly easy to the progressives who hate Taft so bitterly that

firmly believe every honest man must share their convictions, and that only an unworthy fear on my part, or a still more unworthy desire to truckle to ultra-conservatism, prevents my coming out openly against Taft. But the choice is really infinitely more difficult.

“I have refrained from saying that I would not be a candidate in 1912, not in the least from self-interest, for I should regard it as the greatest personal calamity to be forced into accepting the nomination, and if it is possible to avoid it, I do not intend to be so forced into accepting it; but because I do not wish to put myself in the position where if it becomes my plain duty to accept I shall be obliged to shirk such duty because of having committed

myself. As things are now, I feel convinced that it will not become,my duty to accept. They have no business to expect me to take command of a ship simply because the ship is sinking

“Were I nominated under present conditions, it would mean that I should be broken down by a burden for which I was not in any way responsible, but which would have to be carried by the nominee who succeeded Taft; and, on the other hand, I would face the sullen resentment of the many respectable people with no special information or imagination, who would think that in some way or other I had been treacherous to Taft. Often when one does not like conditions it is nevertheless necessary to play the game through under the conditions, because they cannot be changed until the game is over without making things even worse. As I feel now, I would refuse the nomination if it were offered me.'

Among the many friends who wrote to him at this time in regard to his future course was William Allen White of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette. Mr. White said to him that he did not wish to see him run for President again if he “could possibly help it.” In reply Roosevelt wrote, from Oyster Bay, on December 12, 1910 :

“You have struck the real reason of my nervousness on the subject. Of course the Wall Street crowd, and my enemies generally, think I have been scheming to be President. As a matter of fact there is nothing that I want less. Indeed this is not putting it strong enough. I feel that I did good work as President because the circumstances were such as to make me in sympathy with the men whom I really cared to represent. Now if I were again made President, it might be that the circumstances would be such that I could not do what was expected of me; and in any event I do not see how I could go out of the Presidency again with the credit I had when I left it this time. Moreover I have led such an active and vigorous life that I begin to feel rather old and to appreciate rest, now that I feel the right to it and so can enjoy it with a clear conscience. I have been almost ashamed of the fact that in spite of my concern and indignation over Stimson's defeat, I have been unable to keep from being thoroughly happy since election. Mrs. Roosevelt and I have been out here in our own home, with our books and pictures and bronzes, and big wood fires and horses to ride, and the knowledge that our children are doing well. I do not think that I have had such a pleasant five weeks for a great many years. In fact I know I have not.

Now under these circumstances, if I consulted merely my own feelings, I would promptly announce that never under any circumstances would I consent to be President again. But I don't think that this would be right. I think the chances are a hundred to one that I never shall be President-again-perhaps a thousand to one. But however improbable, it is possible that circumstances might arise when it would be unpatriotic of me, when it would represent going back on my principles and my friends, to refuse to be President. Moreover, what is much more likely, the threat of my possible Presidency may influence for good some worthy people who need just to be influenced!

“As regards myself, I think that the American people feel a little tired of me, a feeling with which I cordially sympathize; for they cannot be expected as a whole to understand that my speeches and writings during the last six months have been due not in the least to a desire to speak and write, but to the fact that I could not avoid doing so without shirking what I regarded as my duty. Moreover I am certain that the American people would greatly resent any thought that I would want them to give me another job of any kind for my own sake. I shall never wittingly put myself in a position where they can believe this. I feel most strongly that I never again should take any public position unless it could be made perfectly clear that I was taking it not for my own sake, but because the people thought it would be to their advantage to have me do so."

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CHAPTER XXI

“NEW NATIONALISM”-CANDIDACY AGAINST TAFT

EARLY in 1911, Roosevelt made another speaking tour through the South and West, occupying about six weeks. One of the objects of this trip was to be present at the dedication of the great Roosevelt Dam at Roosevelt, Arizona, which took place on March 18, 1911. His speeches covered a variety of subjects and are chiefly interesting so far as they foreshadowed the principles which he was to make the basis of his national campaign in 1912. At Phænix, Arizona, and at several points in California, he advocated the recall of judicial decisions, saying that he favored it only when by actual experience the people were driven to it in order to do away with some serious evil.

While passing through Reno, Nevada, and addressing a large assemblage of citizens in a public park, on April 3, he dealt a characteristically courageous blow at what might be called one of the State's chief industries. Speaking of its “divorce colony,” he said: “It is one colony of which you want to rid yourselves; I don't care what you do with those of your own State who seek divorces, but keep citizens of other States who want divorces out of Nevada. Don't allow yourselves to be deceived by the argument that such a colony brings money to your city. You can't afford to have that kind of money brought here."

The chief topics of his speeches were treated in a series of eight articles which he published in the Outlook during this period under the general title of “The New Nationalism.” In these he simply embodied the views which he had advocated while President, both in his messages to Congress and in his public speeches, in regard to the regulation and control of corporations and industrial combinations, the relations of capital and labor, social and industrial justice, special privilege, conduct of the judiciary and similar subjects which had been steadily occupying serious consideration in his mind from the time he had been a member of the New York Legislature. There was nothing really new in his advocacy of them; they were the logical development of thirty years of thought and experience and were based on a steadily growing faith in their patriotism, wisdom and justice. Nothing could be farther from the truth than the assertions which his persistent critics made in regard to them—that they were the outcome of sudden impulse, or hasty thought, or demagogic desire for popularity. No one who had followed his career could make such charges in relation to them. The story of his career as shown from his utterances and acts and recorded in these pages supplies complete and final refutation.

While he was on this Southern and Western tour in 1911, serious trouble occurred in Mexico and there were rumors of intervention and possible war. Roosevelt was at the time in San Francisco and on March 14, 1911, he wrote a letter to President Taft which it is interesting to compare with a similar one that he wrote to President Wilson a few years later on the eve of war with Germany:

"I don't suppose that there is anything in this war talk, and I most earnestly hope that we will not have to intervene even to do temporary police duty in Mexico. But just because there is, I suppose, one chance in a thousand of serious trouble such as would occur if Japan or some other big power were to back Mexico, I write. Of course I would not wish to take any part in a mere war with Mexico -it would not be my business to do peculiarly irksome and disagreeable police duty of the kind that any occupation of Mexico would entail. But if by any remote chance--and I know how remote it is there should be a serious war, a war in which Mexico was backed by Japan or some other big power, then I would wish immediately to apply for permission to raise a division of cavalry, such as the regiment I commanded in Cuba. The division would consist of three

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