Mr. Inglis was associated with Colonel George Harvey in the conduct of "Harper's Weekly" from 1906 until 1913, when Colonel Harvey sold the paper. During that time Colonel Harvey undertook a campaign of publicity to make Woodrow Wilson president. During the conduct of this campaign Mr. Inglis was Colonel Harvey's first lieutenant.
FOREWORD.- From a college professorship to the presidency of the United States in eight short years is a mighty leap. But Woodrow Wilson took it gallantly and landed in the White House. No such performance is recorded in history. None approaching it so teems with striking and dramatic incidents. None has even had so many close calls - margins so narrow that a feather's weight would have turned the scale. Consider:
If Laurence Hutton had not given a certain dinner party at a certain time in Princeton in 1905; or, If the Lotos Club of New York had not given a dinner to the new president of Princeton in 1906 - it is most improbable that Woodrow Wilson would ever have been mentioned seriously for the presidency.
Again: If a New Jersey politician had not felt under obligations to a New York editor; or, If a New London chauffeur had not found a tiny steel ball in his pocket at a critical moment - Woodrow Wilson could not have been nominated for governor.
Furthermore: If the election of a governor of New Jersey had fallen in 1909, when the Republican party was dominant, or in 1911, which would have been too late, instead of in 1910, when the way was clear - Woodrow Wilson could not have been elected governor, or nominated for president.
Finally: If the Great Commoner had not been thwarted in his latest endeavor to capture the prize for himself - Woodrow Wilson could not have secured the nomination or the election.
By such trifles is shaped the progress of men of destiny. To the lot of a mere reporter, trained to register facts without regard to opinions, has fallen the privilege of telling this remarkable story of events— all of which he saw and a part of which he was.
Paving the Way
I SHALL not soon forget my most important assignment. I received it one morning early in 1907, in the private office of the famous old publishing house in Franklin Square, in the words of my chief, Colonel George Harvey, so far as I can recall them, substantially as follows:
"From this time forward I want you to give your best thought and most of your waking moments to the promulgation of Mr. Wilson's candidacy for president. As you know, I have been plowing the ground for nearly two years. Now is the time to begin to sow the seed. Despite the incredulity and hilarity which the original suggestion evoked, I am now satisfied that the movement can be made a real one. The people want not only a change of men but a change of type. Roosevelt alarms them and they are sick and tired of Bryan. This makes for an opportunity, as I perceive it, to render a real public service by putting at the head of the Government a man who embodies the high intelligence and best traditions of the past. We have such a man in Mr. Wilson. He meets all the requirements, so far as I can see at the present time. Moreover, the country is beginning to regard the possibility with some seriousness. The scoffing has largely disappeared and many who at first regarded the suggestion as idealistic and impracticable are coming around to the view that we cannot aim too high. The thing to do now is to make Mr. Wilson known to the country; in other words, to advertise and exploit him in every conceivable way - and it is to that work that I wish you to give your chief attention.
"There is no possible chance, of course, of securing his nomination next year. Bryan is too strong for one thing, and it would be idle to propose for president a man who has held no public position. Consequently I am looking ahead to 1912 as a feasible time. It happens that the election of a governor of New Jersey takes place at the psychological moment, in 1910. The country will then be disgusted with the Republican party, and the Democrats should make a clean sweep. Meanwhile, we can utilize the great political interest of next year to acquaint the public with the merits and personality of our candidate as a real factor. I want you to help on and follow the movement in every detail. For example, I shall be going to Europe soon, and while I am away, particularly, but afterward, whether I am here or not, I want you to read the editorial pages of the newspapers throughout the country and cut out and save all references, however trivial, to Mr. Wilson, meanwhile making every suggestion you can think of to help make him known and understood. That is the one important task for the next two years. The political part, especially with respect to the governorship of New Jersey, will have to be met when the time comes as best it may be. I think, however, I can see a way to do that. You understand the program," he concluded sententiously; "now go to it."
I have to confess that the undertaking, as thus outlined by Colonel Harvey, impressed me as chimerical, but his earnestness and my regard for his political sagacity largely offset my own opinion, and in any case the project was fascinating. The consequence was that when I left his room I was alive with an enthusiasm which never waned until I heard the nomination at Baltimore pronounced unanimous.
The first thing to do obviously was to post myself on what had already been done. I had been away so much, in Japan and Cuba and elsewhere, that I had not followed the "Wilson movement" closely, and probably had not attached rightful importance to it. So I promptly got out the files of the "Weekly" and groped back to the issue of March 10, 1906, which contained the speech of Colonel Harvey at the Lotos Club on February 3, when the first mention was made of Woodrow Wilson as a presidential possibility. As a matter of historic interest, the portion of that speech referring to Mr. Wilson is printed herewith.
FIRST MENTION OF WILSON FOR PRESIDENT
From a Speech by Colonel George Harvey at the Lotos Club on February 3, 1906
For nearly a century before Woodrow Wilson was born the atmosphere of the Old Dominion was surcharged with true statesmanship. The fates directed his steps along other paths, but the effect of growth among the traditions of the fathers remained. That he is preeminent as a lucid interpreter of history we all know. But he is more than that. No one who reads, understandingly, the record of his country that flowed with such apparent ease from his pen can fail to be impressed by the belief that he is by instinct a statesman. The grasp of fundamentals, the seemingly unconscious application of primary truth to changing conditions, the breadth in thought and reason manifested on those pages, are clear evidences of sagacity worthy of the best and noblest of Virginia's traditions. . . .
It is that type of men we shall, if, indeed, we do not already, need in our public life. No one would think for a moment of criticizing the general reformation of the human race in all of its multifarious phases now going on by executive decree, but it is becoming increasingly evident that that great work will soon be accomplished. When that time shall have been reached, the country will need at least a short breathing spell for what the physicians term perfect rest. That day, not now far distant, will call for a man combining the activities of the present with the sobering influences of the past.
If one could be found who, in addition to those qualities, should unite in his personality the finest instinct of true statesmanship "as the effect of his early environment, and the c less valuable capacity for practical application, achieved through subsequent endeavors in another field, the, ideal would be attained. Such a man I believe is Woodrow Wilson of Virginia and New Jersey.
As one of a considerable number of Democrats who have grown tired of voting Republican tickets, it is with a feeling almost of rapture that I occasionally contemplate even a remote possibility of casting a ballot for the president of Princeton University to become President of the United States.
In any case, since opportunities in national conventions are rare and usually preempted, to the enlightened and enlightening Lotos Club I make the nomination.
I subsequently learned how this initiatory speech of Colonel Harvey's, delivered so early as February, 3, 1906, happened to come about. At the time I supposed naturally that it was only such a complimentary suggestion, put forth on the spur of the moment, as is usual upon such occasions in speaking of a guest of honor. But this was not the case. Mr. J. Henry Harper told me afterward that, when Mr. Wilson was inaugurated president of Princeton, in June, 1905, he received an invitation to attend the ceremonies, and was about to decline when a letter came from Laurence Hutton asking him to a dinner party comprising Mark Twain, Mr. Cleveland, ex-Speaker Reed, Mr. Gilder, and others.
This promised to be interesting, as indeed it proved as recorded in Mr. Gilder's "Reminiscences." Knowing Colonel Harvey's friendship for Mr. Cleveland and admiration of Mr. Reed, Mr. Harper asked him if he would not like to go. He said he would, and in due course received the formal invitations. They stopped with Mr. Harper's friends, the Armours, who had also as guests Robert T. Lincoln, President Harper of the Chicago University, and others. They all went to the inauguration together and, returning to the house, discussed the speeches, especially that of the new president, which all commended highly. Mr. Lincoln, in particular, pronounced it the best of its kind he had ever heard, and President Harper was hardly less enthusiastic. Colonel Harvey concurred and added reflectively and, as Mr. Harper afterward thought, significantly:
"That man could win the people; I want to know about him."
The two motored to Colonel Harvey's place at Deal the following day, and after dinner the colonel excused himself to go to his tower library, and, replying to a question from Mr. Harper, said laughingly: "I am going to study Wilson." He remained till midnight.
Seven months later, when notices came to the Harpers' office of a dinner by the Lotos Club to President Wilson—so I was told later by some one in the office - Colonel Harvey came out with the notice in his hand and said: "I think I should like to speak at that dinner; won't one of you see if you can arrange it?" And that evening marked the beginning of the acquaintance of Colonel Harvey and Mr. Wilson—and of the great event.
Needless to say, the crisp little speech made a hit with the audience; years afterward, when many things bad happened, I asked the colonel how Wilson took it.
"He did not seem dis-pleased," was the reply. "Anyhow, he wrote me a charming note about it before he went to bed that night. I still have it somewhere."
Later I found it in one of the innumerable pigeon-holes at Deal and, for my own satisfaction, made a copy, as follows:
University Club, Fifth Avenue And Fifty-Fourth Street, New York, February 3, 1906.
My Dear Colonel Harvey: Before I go to bed to-night I must express to you, simply but most warmly, my thanks for the remarks you made at the Lotos dinner. It was most delightful to have such thoughts uttered about me, whether they were deserved or not, and I thank you with all my heart.
With much regard, sincerely yours, Woodrow Wilson.
I began at the beginning and read and docketed all of the articles that had appeared in "Harper's Weekly" during 1906. How many pages they filled I would not venture to say. Every conceivable device obviously had been utilized to evoke comment, favorable or unfavorable. The response of the press throughout the country savored rather of amusement than of derision. Nevertheless the originator of the idea had seen to it that it should be regarded with some measure of seriousness. Two of the most able and famous publicists at that time were Mayo W. Hazeltine and Henry Loomis Nelson. From the former the "North American Review" obtained a striking article over the signature "A Jeffersonian Democrat." Mr. Nelson was induced to discuss the proposal at length in the Boston "Herald." Still another, Dr. St. Clair McKelway, who was a personal friend of Colonel Harvey's and on intimate terms with Mr. Wilson, helped on the movement through the Brooklyn "Eagle." Some time in March the colonel went to Charleston, ostensibly to make a speech, but really to enlist the cooperation of Major J. C. Hemphill, the talented editor of the "News and Courier." The effort was successful, and Major Hemphill missed no opportunity thereafter to exploit Wilson in his own inimitable way. Meanwhile the "Weekly" itself was continuing to print numberless editorials and communications discussing the subject from all angles.
The New Jersey Legislature at this time was about to elect a successor to Senator John F. Dryden. The Republicans had a large majority, but the thought occurred to the colonel that some recognition' of Mr. Wilson as a political factor in his own State might be obtained by getting for him the complimentary vote of the Democrats. With this purpose in mind, he visited ex-Senator James Smith, Jr., in Newark, and then, for the first time, I think, enlisted that gentleman's interest in Mr. Wilson's political fortunes. Mr. Smith and Colonel Harvey were friends of long standing, and purely on personal grounds, having no other candidate in mind, the senator readily acquiesced.
Before proceeding further, however, the colonel felt that he should place the matter before Mr. Wilson, and met him by appointment one evening at either the Century or the University Club. He informed me on the following morning that, while Dr. Wilson said frankly that he should regard such a compliment as highly flattering, he could not appear as a candidate for the honor, especially against his former classmate, Colonel Edward Stevens. Thereupon Colonel Harvey visited Colonel Stevens and, after outlining his far-reaching plan, tried to induce him to cooperate by standing aside. This Colonel Stevens refused to do, not so much because he desired an empty honor as that he feared his withdrawal would be regarded as a feather in the cap of the Smith machine. This was rather disheartening, nevertheless on the eve of the caucus the colonel went to Trenton to see if something could not be done, and I accompanied him. There we met James R. Nugent, Senator Smith's lieutenant, who had been instructed by his chief to extend all the aid he could. An insurmountable barrier, however, developed from the attitude of a group of younger assemblymen (which included the man who is now Mr. Wilson's private secretary, Mr. Joseph P. Tumulty), who were as adamant. After becoming satisfied that they could not be persuaded to withdraw their opposition, we abandoned the project and took the midnight train for home. Subsequently as governor Mr. Wilson demonstrated his magnanimity by appointing Colonel Stevens superintendent of highways. One of his other opponents he appointed judge of the Supreme Court, and Mr. Tumulty he made his private secretary.
The publicity campaign proceeded without abatement through the remainder of the year, but seemed to make little headway, and I was beginning to feel discouraged when, one morning in January, I dropped into the private office for information and directions. The colonel was seated at his desk writing, and I took a chair and waited till he had finished. There was a look of elation on his face when he raised his head.
"Here is something," he remarked, "that may cheer you up. I was dining last night with Mr. Pulitzer, who has just returned from Europe. At first he made a good deal of fun of what he termed my 'professorial candidate.' But we talked along until Mr. Pulitzer became really interested and asked all manner of questions about Wilson. I kept arguing with him that the 'World' surely could lose nothing by speaking a good word for a Democrat of the highest class, and finally he said, with one of his big guffaws:
"'Well, I'll tell you what I'll do. I will print an editorial coming out for Wilson if you will write it.'
"Of course, I promptly agreed, and here is the article. I want you to read it over and see if you can suggest any improvement."
I read it as requested, but could see no advantages in making changes. Late that afternoon I met the colonel coming in as I was going out. I eagerly inquired about the fate of the editorial. He laughed and replied:
"It is all right. I took it up and read it to Mr. Pulitzer while we were driving in the park. The only comment he made was: 'It sounds like a speech.' He fairly roared, though, when I rejoined that I had done my best to adapt my style to the 'World's.' That is all that was said, but I am sure it is all right."
Sure enough, the next morning the editorial appeared in the "World" as a double-leaded leader, and made a lot of talk in the press through the whole country. In view of all the circumstances, it seems to me well worth while to reproduce a part of it here:
"If the Democratic party is to be saved from falling into the hands of William J. Bryan as permanent receiver, a Man must be found - and soon. Dissociated opposition will no longer suffice. There must arise a real leader around whom all Democrats uninfected by populism, and thousands of dissatisfied Republicans, may rally with the enthusiasm which springs only from a certainty of deserving success, and at least a chance of achieving it.
"The Man's principles must be sound. He must be a defender of the Constitution, but not the worshiper of a fetish. . . . He must be opposed, as a matter of policy, to gross extravagance in the use of public funds, and he must detest, on principle, any taxing of the people beyond the actual requirements of their government. He must favor immediate reduction of the tariff. He must be a hater in equal measure of paternalism and socialism. He must set his face like flint against government ownership of railroads, initiative and referendum, government guaranties of bank deposits, and all other populistic notions. He must demand from all corporations publicity, obedience to law, and recognition of the superior rights of the whole people, but he must also observe the obligations of the State to protect its own artificial creation in all legitimate and authorized undertakings. He must favor the singling out and rigorous punishment of individual wrongdoers, not merely the fining of an impersonal corporation. He must be a radical conserver, not a destroyer, of both public and private credit. He must be an opponent of imperialism, militarism, and jingoism. He must prefer too little government to too much government, and must insist unceasingly upon rigid application of the basic principle of government by the people through their authorized representatives in Congress in preference to any government by commission. . . .
"Such are the requirements - many and exacting. One Democrat who unquestionably meets these qualifications is Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton University.
"Dr. Wilson is primarily a scholar - a historical scholar - who in the course of his work and growth has become a statesman of breadth, depth, and capacity, a true Democrat who, though steeped in Jeffersonian doctrines, asks not what Jefferson did a century ago, but what Jefferson would do now; an able theorist, but a no less competent executive, who has had much administrative experience as the head of a great university.
"Not only is Woodrow Wilson qualified in every respect for the great office of president of the United States, but he is an available candidate.
"Who else could surely carry New Jersey? Who would stand a better chance of carrying New York? Who would more certainly restore Missouri and Maryland to the Democratic column and eliminate all possible doubt of the result in any other Southern State? Who has a stronger personal following, fewer enemies, nothing to retract, no entanglements, no commitments to capitalism or demagogism? . . .
"The 'World' has already presented John A. Johnson, governor of Minnesota, as an available Western candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. It takes equal pleasure in presenting Woodrow Wilson as a Southern candidate, no less available and with presidential qualifications exceeded by those of no man whose name will be presented to any national convention."
Fishing for Josephus Daniels
BUT Dr. Wilson himself had no illusions. On May 2 he was interviewed in Pittsburgh with this result as reported by the "World": "Dr. Wilson was asked if he was a candidate for the presidential nomination. A smile stole over his features as he answered: 'While I appreciate most heartily Colonel Harvey's kindness in bestowing on me such an honor, I must say I think there are other wires taller than mine which will attract the lightning.'"
Another editor was brought into camp through a similarly odd circumstance; but that was later, in the early part of 1911. Mr. Harper and Colonel Harvey were guests of Clarence Mackay at his shooting lodge in North Carolina. Mr. Mackay was summoned to New York unexpectedly one night, and his guests remained for another day's trial at the quail. While at breakfast, Mr. Harper told me after his return, the colonel remarked:
"There ought to be some way while we are down here to turn a trick for Wilson. I wonder whom we could get hold of."
They talked of various persons until the colonel said: "I've got it. Let us try for Josephus Daniels. He is the boss of the State as well as the editor of the "News and Observer." He is completely obsessed by Bryan, but he might be induced to consider a second choice. Anyhow, there is no harm in trying."
A telegram of invitation was dispatched forthwith to Mr. Daniels at Raleigh, with the result that he came over to the lodge on an afternoon train and spent the night, the discussion lasting into the wee small hours. I had forgotten all about the incident until two or three months later, when the colonel summoned me to his office.
"Here is a chance," he said. "Mr. Harper told you about my talk with Josephus Daniels. Well, it has produced no results up to date. But I have just received from him a copy of his paper containing a glowing account of a great celebration of some anniversary of his editorship. He also incloses a photograph. Take it and make a full page for the 'Weekly.' Make it as flattering as you know how. It is impossible to overfeed his vanity, and if you plaster it on thick enough, he may feel that he ought to respond in kind toward Wilson."
Mr. Daniels Takes the Bait
I PREPARED the article as directed and it appeared in the following number. Soon afterward the ''News and Observer" began to make pleasing references to Mr. Wilson, with the final result that the North Carolina delegation voted for him at Baltimore and the country obtained the services of a somewhat unusual secretary of the navy.
Meanwhile the powerful support of the noblest Roman of them all had been secured in a quite remarkable way - and thereby hangs a tale. Colonel Henry Watterson had regarded the suggestion of a college professor for president with great glee and had poked a deal of fun at "Harper's Weekly" and other newspapers which had enlisted in the movement. But to every suggestion that I made to Colonel Harvey that he try to enlist Mr. Watterson, the invariable reply was that it was too early, that Mr. Watterson was one who always took his own time and went his own gait, and that we should have to await a favorable opportunity. The occasion finally came in dramatic fashion - but I am getting ahead of my story.
I shall never forget a certain Monday morning in January, 1910. Although not so greatly impressed then as I am now by what had just happened, I nevertheless felt its deep significance. Summoning me to his office, my chief spoke substantially these words:
"As I told you at the beginning, there has been nothing to do in a political way for Wilson these past two years; but the effect of the publicity has been on the whole satisfactory. The time has come now to proceed on a political line. On Saturday I lunched by appointment with Senator Smith at Delmonico's and we put in the entire afternoon discussing the situation. Although one of the shrewdest political observers I have ever known, I doubt if the senator quite appreciates the smash which is going to overwhelm the Republican party next November. But he does think there is a possibility of carrying New Jersey if a strong candidate shall be named. He agreed with me that if the Democrats could be held in line, Wilson would make a most effective appeal to Republican and independent voters. There are several candidates, however, who have always been his friends and supporters and to whom he feels under distinct obligations. But he is very uncertain respecting the party workers and rank and file as to Wilson. He is going to think it over, however, and talk with a few of his lieutenants, and we are to meet again next Saturday."
A week later I was awaiting the arrival of Colonel Harvey at the office with much eagerness and went immediately into his room. He told me with great satisfaction that the senator had come up to the scratch in fine shape, partly because his inquiries had convinced him that he would have little trouble with the regulars and partly because he considered himself under certain obligations to Colonel Harvey for fetching him into contact with Mr. William C. Whitney years ago and thereby winning for himself the senatorship. The colonel added:
"He told me in his outspoken fashion that he was prepared to go ahead whenever I could assure him that Wilson would accept the nomination. He said, however, that I ought to consider one phase of the situation carefully. That was that if he should force Wilson's nomination there would be, in the first place, a great cry about boss dictation, and a good many people would believe and more would say that he was using Wilson as a stool pigeon in order to secure his own reelection to the Senate. I told him that I had realized those drawbacks and had been unable thus far to see how they could be overcome.
"'Well,' he said, 'I have thought it all over carefully, and I am ready to go the whole hog. If you think it advisable, I will make definite announcement to-morrow that under no circumstances would I accept reelection to the Senate.'
"'But,' I argued, 'if you do that, would not a good many of your political friends, whom you will have to depend upon in the State convention and who are interested only in your own political fortunes and care nothing for Wilson, be deterred from putting forth all their energies?' "He admitted that there was something in this point, and, as there did not (Continued on page 37)
Helping to Make a President
(Continued from page 16)
seem to be any need of an immediate decision, it was left in this way, that he would go on and nominate Wilson if he could and that if at any time prior to the convention or the election I should notify him that I thought his presumed candidacy for the Senate was endangering Wilson’s chances for either the nomination or the election he would declare flatly that he would not go back to the Senate under any circumstances. So there the matter stands, and it is up to me to get some sort of expression from Wilson.”
Some weeks later Colonel Harvey went to Princeton to make a speech to a woman’s club in which Mrs. Wilson was interested, and with Mrs. Harvey spent the night with Mr. and' Mrs. Wilson. The two men put in the entire evening discussing the situation. Finally, as the colonel informed me on the following day, he said to Mr. Wilson:
“It all resolves to this: If I can handle the matter so that the nomination for governor shall be tendered to you on a silver platter, without you turning a hand to obtain it, and without any requirement or suggestion of any pledge whatsoever, what do you think would be your attitude? That is all that is necessary for me to know. I do not ask you to commit yourself even confidentially."
Mr. Wilson, according to Colonel Harvey, walked up and down the floor for some minutes in deep thought, apparently weighing all considerations and possibilities with the utmost care. Finally he said slowly:
“If the nomination for governor should come to me in that way, I should regard it as my duty to give the matter very serious consideration."
The Situation Tightens
HERE the discussion ended. Colonel Harvey informed Senator Smith of his conversation, which the senator pronounced satisfactory for the time being. On the eve of the colonel’s annual departure to Europe the two had a further conversation, and the senator agreed to hold the matter in status quo until the colonel should return in May.
As it happened, he was detained abroad by unexpected business a full month longer than he had anticipated. When he did return things were at fever heat in New Jersey, because everybody then realized that the Democrats were practically certain to carry the State, and various candidates were pressing their claims hard upon Senator Smith. I went from the steamer with the colonel to Deal, and remember distinctly that, as we entered the house, the telephone was ringing, and the colonel remarked laughingly: “I would bet that is the senator." And it was. He was at his house in Elberon, and was insistent upon an immediate conference. The colonel went over to see him that evening, and upon his return told me that the situation had reached a poignant stage, which required the promptest action. The senator simply could not hold his people for another week without distinct assurance that Wilson would accept if nominated. He had already overstretched the time allotted by a full month, and had reached the end of his rope. This was on Thursday. By my chief’s direction I got Mr. Wilson on the telephone at Princeton, and the colonel asked him if he could come to Deal over Sunday, saying that it was of the utmost importance. Mr. Wilson replied that he could not very well do so as he had arranged to take his family to Lyme, Conn., on Saturday; but that if the colonel felt presence at Deal was absolutely required on Sunday he would come from Lyme. So it was arranged.
If You Don t Fetch Him
ON Saturday forenoon we were sitting in Colonel Harvey's office. He had just told me that be ad arranged with Senator Smith to come to dinner to meet Mr. Wilson the next evening, when the telephone rang and Mr. Bowen, the colonel’s secretary, said:
“It is Colonel Watterson at the Manhattan Club. He wants you to come to luncheon.”
The colonel started to answer immediately, but suddenly hesitated and said: “Tell him I will let him know in a few minutes.”
I guess for five minutes he sat there meditating. Then he said:
“I am beginning to think, Inglis, that the hand of Providence is in this business. Watterson is the very man that I need at this juncture. I do not feel at all certain that the senator now wants Wilson. In fact, I am pretty sure that, now that Democratic success seems probable, he would prefer some one else. He has already performed his full obligation, and more too. So I have no further claim on him. I am also wholly in the dark about Wilson, because I have not seen him for months and have no idea what may have happened in the meantime to influence his mind. I expect that I will find them both somewhat offish, and I need help. Mr. Watterson, better than any other man in the country, can give me that assistance. Now the question is, can I get Watterson? Anyhow, let us try."
The secretary then called Colonel Watterson on the telephone and Colonel Harvey said to him that he could not lunch with him, but was very anxious to see him and insisted that he come to Deal over Sunday.
Colonel Watterson replied that he had a dinner on that night and was full of engagements for the following day, but Colonel Harvey insisted so strongly that finally he agreed to take the Sandy Hook boat for Deal Sunday morning. Then Colonel Harvey and I went to Deal to play golf in the afternoon.
That evening a telegram was handed to Colonel Harvey as we sat at dinner on the porch. He broke open the yellow envelope, read the message, put it back in the envelope, and went on with his dinner without saying a word.
“Something has happened to disappoint you,” said Mrs. Harvey. “What is it?”
“Only this," Colonel Harvey replied, handing her the telegram. She read it and handed it to me. I still have it. It reads as follows:
LYME, Conn., June 26, 1910.
COLONEL GEORGE HARVEY, Deal, New Jersey: Sorry to find there is no train from her. to-morrow. Deeply regret I shall not e able to attend dinner.
“I am just as well pleased," Mrs. Harvey exclaimed. “It would mean a great deal of responsibility and worry for you. ' I am glad you're not to be burdened with it.”
“Maybe," the colonel remarked smilingly, “that is because you don’t like Wilson?”
“Well, I am, anyway." Such was Mrs. Harvey’s spirited rejoinder.
We sat in perfect silence. Disappointment was no name for it. simply benumbed.
"Well," said the colonel finally, “it's now or never. Something must be done. What is it?"
“If it wouldn't seem,” I suggested, “too much like a reflection on Dr. Wilson’s lack of initiative and resource, I’d go up and bring him down."
“Lyme,” I replied, “is only fifteen miles or so from New London. I could run over in an automobile and fetch him back there in time for the express from Boston for New York somewhere about noon. That would make it.”
Colonel Harvey sent for railroad guides, studied them while the rest of us were sipping our coffee, and then said:
“It is possible. You can get the 8.26 from Deal and the midnight from New York for New London. Fast train from New London for New York at 12.35 p. in. Sunday. Yes - it’s possible. I’ll go over to the station with you.”
Within a few minutes I had changed from evening clothes, thrown a few things in a suit case, and hurried downstairs to where Colonel Harvey was sitting in a motor car, waiting for me. At the Deal station he suggested that I telegraph some one in New London for a first-class automobile, so I wired the proprietor of the Crocker House, where I had often stayed over race week, asking him to have the best car he could find waiting for me at nine o'clock the next morning.
“If you don’t fetch him," grimly remarked the colonel as I boarded the train, “don’t come back. Go and commit hara-kiri! Don’t send any word."
Often looking backward over the many instances of luck that favored Woodrow Wilson and forced him to be an active presidential candidate in spite of his seeming lack of interest, I think of the fierce, gnawing stomach ache that afflicted me all that day and night. If it had been a little worse, it would have rendered me unable to sit up, much less to travel. It was the only illness I had had in many years, and its spasms not only racked me with pain but left me weaker and weaker after each attack. Just a little more punishment would have put me to bed—but then came the chance to help make the next president of the United States, and everything else was forgotten.
I was asleep in my berth on the midnight train before it left the Grand Central Station. The porter called me at a quarter to four in the morning, and a few minutes later I was in my room at the Crocker House in New London, undressing and going to bed again. Sharp at eight I was called and the old pain woke with me.‘ Breakfast, therefore, was little more than a sip of coffee, and in a few minutes I was climbing aboard a motor car that seemed to my inexpert eye to be of thirty or forty horse-power and rather well on in years. The driver assured me that by the shore road Lyme was twenty miles away, but that by taking a little rougher road straightaway he could save two miles. I chose the shorter road. It was a good road - in spots. Most of it was so soft and yielding that it seemed likely to provoke skids, and now and then we ran over long corrugated sections that caused the seats to rise suddenly and batter us savagely. About nine miles from New London we came upon a big sign in which the County Supervisors gave notice that the next section of the road was under repair and that all who used it did so at their own risk.
"Well?" I asked the chauffeur.
“I think the car can stand it,” he replied . “We’d lose a lot of time by going back."
So on we went, now and then plowing oxlike through a long stretch of soft earth, again climbing goatishly along a slope where no motor car ought to go, and anon slamming into a hole with a chug that seemed likely to break our teeth. But the car won out somehow, and away we flew again over only ordinarily bad country roads. It was not quite half past ten o'clock in the morning when we ran down the broad avenue which is the principal thoroughfare of the ancient village of Lyme, a delightful, smooth road, with long, unbroken grass plots for sidewalks shaded by maples and elms.
The Car Breaks Down
THE chauffeur cocked his hat to the right and listened intently for a few seconds.
“Something’s gone,” he announced as he slowed down and pulled up at the right. of the road. He put a jack under the right end of the forward and raised the wheel from the ground. A young man on the way to paused to enjoy the spectacle of chauffeur at work.
"Do you know where Dr. Wilson staying?" I asked him - "Dr. Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton University."
"Why, yes," he replied; "the are boarding with Miss Maria Griswold - there's the house; you've run past it. He pointed back some hundred yards, where a lovely and ancient colonial mansion stood framed venerable trees. I thanked him.
"If you can fix up your car away," I told the chauffeur, "we'll start in ten minutes or so. We've simply got to get back to New London twelve-twenty."
"Fate Was With Us"
I WALKED fast to the Griswold home, crossed the lawn, and rang the bell the big front door that gave on a porch. After a few minutes the door swung inward, and I saw that it was being opened by the very man I had come to seek. He had a hymn book in his hand. I bade him good morning, handed him my card and said: “Colonel Harvey has asked me to drop in and bring you down to dinner this evening."
“Oh,” he replied, “I'll have to put some things in a bag. Excuse me.” He stepped briskly to the door of the drawing room, in which Mrs. Wilson and one of his daughters (I think) were waiting for him to join them on their way to church. I was presented to the ladies; then, anxious about catching the train, made my excuses and hurried away to see how the injured car was getting on. As I walked down the avenue I had to laugh at myself a little. From reading Dr. Wilson‘s telegram Saturday evening I had received the impression that he was averse to being made governor of New Jersey or anything else i
that would disturb him in his scholastic retreat; therefore I had prepared an argument, intending to show him how urgent was the need for him to accept the nomination and election for governor of New Jersey, and later the nomination and election for the presidency of the nation; also that as a preliminary of the highest importance he But my pleading was all bottled up and the eloquence I had been rehearsing along the jolting road was all unspent and unnecessary. had simply stated my errand and Dr. Wilson had immediately replied: “Oh, I'll have to put some things in a bag." That was all; no debate, no doubt, no hesitation; the summons had come, and he was ready.
When I got back to the motor car four hundred yards away, the chauffeur was taking out the jack from under the axle and putting it back in the tool box. He was grinning in triumph.
“We did jolt and bump a lot; on that broken road, didn't we?" he said. “We came down so hard that we cracked one of the steel balls in the bearing of the right front wheel. Look!”
He held out on the palm of his hand a bright, shining ball of steel that had been cracked in two as if it were a hazelnut. “But how can you run without it?" I asked in surprise. “Won‘t your wheel stick?"
“Oh, she's fixed all right," he answered. “I just happened to have a spare ball in my pocket and it fitted. She'll run."
As the car rolled smoothly toward the Griswold residence, the old jingle about the want of the nail, the horseshoe, the horse, and therefore of the warrior, causing the loss of the battle, began to repeat itself in my mind. This case was just the reverse. Our chauffeur by the merest luck happened to have exactly the right sized steel ball in his pocket to take the place of the ball that was split in two eight or nine miles from Lyme. Had the jolt of the car been hard enough to make a compound fracture, we should have been hopelessly held up in the back country, out of reach of garage, telephone, or any other help. But no; Fate was with us: the cracked ball did not split till we came to Woodrow Wilson’s door, and then the man had one to put in its place. I often wish that I had kept that split ball, not much bigger than a buckshot, as a rare curio - the few grains of steel that might have kept Dr. Wilson out of the presidency of the United States! Surely he was a man of destiny. In this enlightened age we are all fret from superstition - and yet it is very comforting to observe the evidence when luck is with us. It seemed to me that Fortune had marked him for her own.