Previous Index Next


342   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

edly for throwing the complete strength of the nation into the war. For that matter, he held this position, preached this doctrine long before we entered the war. He preached the draft, he preached preparation, he preached the sending of the largest possible army to France, from the beginning. Now the fact we wish to point out is that the country is not growing away from Theodore Roosevelt's position, it is growing toward it. It has been actually moving toward it of late very rapidly. This is true not merely of the great mass of people, but of their representatives at Washington, . . . and perhaps even some members of the Cabinet and the President himself. Practically the whole nation now is unreservedly for throwing the whole strength of the nation to the side of the allies. This was not true a year ago today, although we had then been offically at war with Germany for more than two months. Today the whole nation stands where Theodore Roosevelt stood one year ago, and two years ago, and three years ago.-In point of fact, ever since the day when by the sinking of the Lusitania, Germany declared itself an outlaw to the name of civilization. We do not mean to say that Theodore Roosevelt was the nation's sole leader, but we do wish to say that he was very distinctly a leader, and later, in the highest and best sense,-a man who saw, far ahead of many others, what ought to be and what must be, and then threw his whole heart and soul into bringing the nation and many reluctant minds to his point of view. We write: He may have been impatient; he may have found fault, but we think that most Americans of whatever party color, if they now have any regrets, have these regrets because we could not earlier have come nearer to the ideal set up a year, or two years, or three years ago by Theodore Roosevelt. If this is not one of the highest standards of leadership, we do not understand the meaning of the term."

Events were moving rapidly. Our American soldiers were already playing a gallant part in the terrible drama enacted on the fields and forests of France and in the fastnesses of the

War   343

Italian hills. News had come of "Archie's" wounds and of

"Ted's" wounds, and Quentin had already made his trial flights, while Kermit had been transferred from the British army to his own flag.

Political events in America were also marching rapidly forward. Already, wherever one lent a listening ear, the growing murmur rose louder and louder that Theodore Roosevelt was the only candidate to be nominated by the Republican party in 192o. The men who had parted from him in 1912, the men who had not rallied around him in 1916, were all eagerly ranging themselves on the side of this importunate rumor. A culminating moment was approaching. It was the middle of July, and the informal convention of the Republican party in New York State was about to take place at Saratoga. My eldest son, State Senator Theodore Douglas Robinson, led a number of men in the opposition of the then incumbent of the gubernatorial chair, Charles S. Whitman. The hearts of many were strong with desire that my brother himself should be the Republican nominee for the next governor of New York State. No one knew his attitude on the subject, but he had promised to make the address of the occasion, my son having been appointed to make the request that he should do so. My husband and I had arranged to meet him in Saratoga, my son having preceded us to Albany to make all the formal arrangements. The day before the convention was to take place the terrible news came that Quentin was killed. Of course there was a forlorn hope that this information might not be true, that the gallant boy might perhaps have reached the earth alive and might already be a prisoner in a German camp, but there seemed but little doubt of the truth of the terrible fact. My son telephoned me the news from Albany before the morning paper could arrive

at my country home, and at the same time said to me that he

did not feel justified in asking his Uncle Theodore whether he

still would come to Saratoga, but that he wanted me to get this

information for him if possible.

Previous Index Next