162 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
for me. In another way your letter makes it very hard for me. All my friends have written me as you have, and yet I am convinced that you are all wrong. Do not misunderstand me. It may well be that I can't get down with an Expeditionary force even if, as I think unlikely, an Expeditionary force is started before next fall. Indeed I think I shall probably have to stay here, and I should certainly stay here until we got a successor broken in. But if I get a fair chance to go, or could make a fair chance, I conscientiously feel that I ought to go. My usefulness in my present position is mainly a usefulness in time of peace, because in time of peace the naval officers cannot speak freely to the Secretary and I can and do, both to the Secretary and President, even at the cost of jeopardizing my place. But in time of war the naval officers will take their proper positions as military advisers, and my usefulness would be at an end. I should simply be one of a number of unimportant bureau chiefs. If I went I shouldn't expect to win any military glory, or at the utmost to do more than feel I had respectably performed my duty; but I think I would be quite as useful in the Army as here, and it does not seem to me that it would be honorable for a man who has consistently advocated a warlike policy not to be willing himself to bear the brunt of carrying out that policy. I have a horror of the people who bark but don't bite. If I am ever to accomplish anything worth doing in politics, or ever have accomplished it, it is because I act up to what I preach, and it does not seem to me that I would have the right in a big crisis not to act up to what I preach. At least I want you to believe that I am doing this conscientiously and not from merely selfish reasons, or from an impulse of levity.
I shall answer Corinne in a day or two. April 13th I was to have been in Boston, but if we have trouble, I, of course, can't get away. I hope Corinne will stay over the following Sunday, so I may have a good chance to see her.