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went to war, but we have owed to them our safety for the months since when we have been preparing to begin to get ready to go in.
“There is a two-fold lesson from that; first let us resolve that never again will we be caught so unprepared, and next let us remember that the strain has not come to us yet; that the strain, when our men begin to be killed by the scores and thousands, when the pressure comes upon us, will be felt some time next year. Then, friends, you will have the chance to show the stuff that is in you. Then the weakling, the coward, the fool, the short-sighted one, all: will join together to clamor for a patched-up peace, to pray for something that will give temporary respite at the cost of future damnation."
He gave warm support to the candidacy of John Purroy Mitchel for reëlection as Mayor of New York City, making several speeches in behalf of that able and upright public official, whom the city did not appreciate till he met his death while fitting himself for airplane service in France. His fellow citizens, who had failed to reëlect him, united in giving him a public funeral, Roosevelt walking as a private citizen in the procession, which was one of the most impressive the city had ever known.
After returning from the West, Roosevelt made many speeches in the various military training camps and other places, insisting upon the vital need of universal military service, of constructive criticism of war measures, and of the speeding up of war preparations.
In January, 1918, he visited Washington and held conference with Senators and Congressmen on matters connected with the war. While there he made an address before the National Press Club, on January 24, in which he said:
“Our rule should be the same for the nation as for the individual. Do not get into a fight if you can possibly avoid it. If you get in, see it through. Don't hit if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting, but never hit soft. Don't hit
at all if you can help it; don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep.
“It is our duty to tell the truth. If conditions are good, tell the truth. If they are bad, tell the truth. If they have been bad and become good, tell the truth. We are told now and then that the truth would frighten our people so that they would not go on with the war. If they are such a set of weaklings and cowards, then nothing can save us. On the contrary, I believe that the full telling of the truth will wake the American people up to a sterner realization of the task that is before them, and therefore to a sterner resolve that, , cost what it may, every deficiency shall be remedied, every wrong undone, every failure of Government officials turned into an achievement and a success, so that as speedily as possible we may harden our giant but soft and lazy strength, and exert it to the fullest degree necessary to bring the peace of liberty in this mighty conflict for civilization and the welfare of mankind.''
SERIOUS ILLNESS IN HOSPITAL-VIEWS ON THE FU
TURE OF HIMSELF AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
On February 5, 1918, Roosevelt went to a hospital in New York for treatment of an abcess on his thigh and subsidiary abcesses in his ears which were due to the poisoning of his system by the equatorial fever that he had incurred while on his Brazilian trip. His condition was so serious at the time that on February 8 an unfounded rumor of his death was circulated.
While in the hospital, on February 21, 1918, he wrote a long letter to his friend Sir Arthur Lee, member of the British Parliament, in which he said in regard to American feeling about England's course in the war:
“I think that this country now as a whole believes England has been making and is making a great effort. The trouble is that it believes it in an aloof way, and, what is much worse, it looks with similar aloofness upon its own effort. In my judgment, the way to render help to the Allies is primarily to wake America to its own shortcomings as regards its own effort, to enlighten it as to the need of making that effort quickly and formidably felt; or in other words, to struggle as hard as possible to increase our weight in the war. It would be a far more difficult thing for me to get our country speeded to action by knowledge of England's effort than to get it speeded to action by knowledge of its own shortcomings and duties.
“Almost without exception in every speech, I speak of the tremendous nature of the British effort, as well of course as of the French effort, and say that we owe our safety purely to the British fleet and the French and British armies, that this ignoble position must end, and that, to use my exact expression, we must not be in the position of the substitute who goes into the game only as the referee blows his whistle. ... We are still, after a year of war, much in the condition in which England was after two or three months of war. I believe that the only way by which we can get our people thoroughly aroused is by telling them the truth about their own effort, explaining to them fearlessly their shortcomings and exciting and appealing to their pride."
Roosevelt remained in the hospital till March 4, when he left in excellent condition, but with the hearing of his left ear destroyed. It was announced about this time that several years previous he had lost the sight of one eye, due to a blow that he had received during a boxing bout in the White House. In spite of these two afflictions he went about with his usual activity and energy so apparently undiminished that no observer, who was unaware of these injuries, would suspect their existence. Writing to H. Rider Haggard in England on March 12, 1918, he said of his condition and future activities:
“I am now on the high road to recovery. I feel that in my case, as you say is the case with you, age will hereafter forbid my doing certain things that I have done in the past; but there yet remains very much work of a less exposed type that I can do rather better than ever before. I
of course, devoutly thankful that America is in the war and I bitterly regret that she did not go into the war two years previously, in which case it would be over now. doing much slower work than I like."
His first public speech after his recovery was made before the Republican State Convention in Maine, at Portland, on March 28, 1918. There was no perceptible lack of his former vigor in this. He announced at the outset that it had been written three weeks earlier while he was in the hospital. It was the most outspoken of all his utterances up to this time in its assertion of the right to criticize the National Administration in so far as its conduct deserved criticism, and it commanded wide attention. A few of its more notable pássages should be cited as a necessary part of his record :
“This is the people's war. It is not the President's war. It is not Congress' war. It is the war of the people of the United States for the honor and welfare of America and of mankind. It is the bounden duty of the Republican party to support every public servant, from the President down, in so far as he does good and efficient work in waging the war or helping wage the war, and to oppose him exactly to the extent of his failure to do such work; for our loyalty is to the people of the United States, and to every public servant, in exact accordance with the way in which he serves the public. It is the duty of the Republican party to stand like a rock against inefficiency, incompetence, hesitation and delay no less than against any lukewarmness in serving the common cause of ourselves and our allies. Sixty odd years ago Abraham Lincoln set our duty before us when he said: 'Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong. In both cases you are right. To desert such ground is to be less than a man, less than an American.'
“If we are men and not children, if we have the right stuff of manhood in us, we will look facts in the face, however ugly they be, and profit by. them. We must face the fact of our shameful unpreparedness before this war, and of the inefficiency with which for the first year and two months this war has been waged by us. Many of our state governments have done extraordinarily good work; but the mismanagement at Washington has been such as to cause all good parties grave concern. The policy of unpreparedness, of watchful waiting, has borne most evil fruit. For two and a half years before we drifted stern foremost into the war we were given such warning as never before in history was given a great nation. Yet we failed in the smallest degree to profit by the warning, and we drifted into war unarmed and helpless, without having taken the smallest step