Two Recreant New York Policemen 161
As was the case in almost every crisis which arose, either national or international, during my brother's life, he seemed to have a prescience of the future, and, therefore, he almost invariably-sometimes before other public men were awake to the contingency-sensed the need of taking steps to avert or meet difficulties which he felt sure would soon have to be faced.
The young assistant secretary of the navy was not very popular with the administration on account of the views which he felt it his duty honestly to express. On March 6, 1898, he writes to my husband: "Neither I nor anyone else, not even the President can do more than guess. We are certainly drifting towards and not away from war, but the President will not make war, and will keep out of it if he possibly can. Nevertheless, with so much loose powder around, a coal may hop into it at any moment. In a week or two, I believe, we shall get that report. If it says the explosion was due to outside work, it will be very hard to hold the country. [He refers to the blowing up of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor.] But the President undoubtedly will try peaceful means even then, at least, at first."
At the time of the writing of that letter, Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt had been very ill and was still very delicate, and my brother had not only the many worries of the department in which he was working, as he himself puts it, "like a fiend, for we have serious matters ahead," but he also had the great anxiety of her condition on his heart. On the 28th of March: "I have been working up to the handle here, and have about all I can do on hand now. I have very strong convictions on this crisis, convictions which, I fear, do not commend themselves to my official superiors." And again on April 2, 1898, he writes in full to my husband, who was always one of his most welcome advisers:
DEAR OLD MAN: Navy Department, April 2, 1888.
In one way I was very much pleased at receiving your letter, for it shows the thoughtfulness and affection you always feel