Newspaper Page Text
~ WiT FEELS T
TO BE PRESIDENT
Woodt'ow Wilson Unbosoms Hmself
to Mbhabers of the Washington
Press Club in Remarkable Address.
Washington, March 20. --Woodrow
Wilson unbosoined 'himself to iem
bers of the National Press club of
Washington today, telling them in a
frank, conversational way how he' felt
as bresident of the United States, how
- difficult it was for hit...o imagine
himself as the chief executive 'with
the formal amenities of the position,
rnd how he had struggled to be as
free as the ordinary ilidividual with
out the restrairts of his office.
It was an intimate picture of Wood
row Wilson, the man, drawn by him
self, on the occeslon of the "house
warming" at the Press club's new
quarters. The president did not intend
to have his remarks reported, but
later, at the request of the club, the
unusual speech was made public. It
"I was just thinking of my sense
of confusion of identity, sometimes,
when I read articles about myself. I
never have read an article about my
self in which I recognized myself, and
I have come to have the impression
that I must be some kind of a fraud,
because I think - a great many of
these articles are written in absolute
ly good faith. I tremble to think of
the variety and falkeness in the im
pression I make-and it is being
borne in on me so that it may change
my very disposition-that I am a cold
and removed person who has a think
ing machine inside which lie adjusts
to the circumstances, which he does
not allow to be moved by any winds
of affection or emotion of any kind,
but turns like a cold searchlight on
anything that is presented to his at
tention and makes it wrong.
No Such Machine.0
"I aim not aware of having any de
tachable apparatus inside of me. On
the contrary, if I were to - interpret
myself, I would say that my constant
embarrassment is to restrain the emo
tions that are inside of me. You may
not believe it, but I sometimes feel
like a far from extinct volcano, and
if the lava does not seem to spill over
it is because you are not high enough
to see Into the basin and see the
caldron boil. Because, truly, gentle
men, in the position which I now oc
cupy there is a sort of-I don't know
how else to express it than to say
passionate sense of being connected
with my fellowmen in a peculiar re
lationship of responsibility. Not mere
ly the responsibility of office, but God
knows there lre enough things in this
world that need to be corrected.
"I have mixed, first and last with
all sorts and conditions of men-there
are mighty few kinds of men that
have to be described to me, and there
-are mighty few kinds of experiences
that have to be described to me
and when I think of the number of
men who are looking to me as the
representative of a party, with*the
hoio of a.; varieties of salvation from
the things they are struggling in the
midst of, it makes me tremble. It
makes me tremble not only with a
sense of my own inadequacy end
weakness, but as if I were shaken by
the very things that are shaking iheni,
and if I seem circumspect, it is be
cause I am so diligently trying not
to niake any collossal blunders. If
you just calculated the number of
blunders a fellow can make in 21
hours if he is not careful and i lie
does not listen more than he talks,
you would see something of the feel
ing that I have.
Borrows From Others.
"I was amused the other (lay at a
remark that Senator Newlands made.
I had read himi the trust message I
was to deliveir to congress some 10
dlays befor'e [ delivered it, and I neveir
stop 'doctoring" things of that kind
until the day I have to deliver them,
When lhe heard it read to congress
ho said, "I think it was better than
when you read it to me.' I said, 'Sen
ator, there is one thing wvhich I dlon't
think you understand. I not only use
all the brains I have but all I can
borrow, and I hlave bori'owed a lot
since I read it to you first.'
"That, I dare say, is wvhat gives thie
impression of circumspectness. I am
listening; I am trying diligently to
collect all the brains that are bor
rowable that I may not make mfor'e
blunders than .it is inevitable that a
man should make who has great lim
itations of knowledge andl capacity.
And the emotion of the thing is so
great that I suplpose I must be soe
kind of a mask to conceal it, I really
feel sometimes as if I were mans
* querading when I caich a ipictur ie of
myself in. some pintedi description.
In between thiings that I have to (10
as plublic oficer, I never think of- my
self, as the prIesidenlt of the tinited(
States, because I novel' 'have hlad any
sense of being identified With that of
fice, I feel like a per'sohn app~ointedl for
a certain lenigthi of time to admiiitter'
that ofmee, amnd I feel just as miuchi out
side of it at this moment as I did
befor'e I wvas elected to it, [ feel just
as much outsidle of it as I still feel
outside of the go~vernmenit of the
Only Riunniing a Part.
"No man could imagine himself the
government of the United States; hut
lie could understand that some par't
of his fellow citizens had told him
to go and run a cer'tain par't of it the
best'*he knew *how. That would not
make him the governmeint itself or'
the thigg itself. It would just make
him responsible forn running it the
best he Wnows how. The machine is
so much greater than 'himself, tile of
fice is so muchi greater' than himself.;
' the office is so much greater than lie
can ever be, and the most he can do
is to look grave enough and self
possessed enough to seem to filli it. I
can hardly refrain every now and(
again from tipp~ing the public the
wink, as much as to say, 'ft is only
me that is inside tils thing, I know
perfectly well that I will have to get
.ont preently, I know that then I will
-look just my own proper size( apid
that foy -the time being the proper
tions5 are seinewhat refracted and nis
inepreuinted to the eye by the large
thing I am inside of. from whiehb I am
tipping you this wink.'
"For example, take matters of this
sort: I will not say whether it is wise
or unwise,.simple or grave, but certain
precedents have been established that
in certain companies the president
must leave the room first and people
must give way to him. They must not
sit (own if he is standing up. It is a
very uncomfortable thing to have to
think of all the other people every
time I get up and sit dowif, and all
that sort, of thing. Eo that when I
get mily guests in my house and the
public is shut out, I adjourn being
president and take leave to he a gen
tlemnan. If they draw back and insist
upon my doing something first, I firm
ly decline. They are blessed intervals,
when I lorget by one means or anoth
er that I amil president of the t'nited
Like Thief ('atching.
"One neas by w hlh I forget is to
get a raltinig good detective story, get
after some imaginary offender, and
chase him all over-preferably any
continent but this, because the va
rious party of this continent are be
coinilg painfully suggestive to mte.
The postofilces, and many other things
which stir reminiscences have 'sicklied
them o'er with a pale cast of thought.'
"There are postofilces to which I
would not think of mailing a letter,
which 1 can't think of without trem
hling with the knowledge of all the
heartburnings of the struggle there
was in connection with getting sone
body installed ats postmaster.
"Now, if I were free, I would colne
not infrequently up to these rooms.
You know I was in Washington but a
few times and for i very few hours
until I calme last. year, and I never
expect to see the inside of the public
buildings in Washington until 11my
term is over. The minute I turn up
anywhere, 1 amll) personally conducted
to beat the band. The curator and
the assistant curators and every other
blooming oilicial turns up and they
show me so much attention that I
don't see the building. I would have
to say, 'Stand aside and let me see
what you are showing mIe.'
"Some day after I am1 through with
this 0o11ce I amll) going to collie back
to Washington and see it. In the
meantiime I am in the same category
as the Notional lhusellm, the 111011
mlent, the Si1thsonini Institution or
the Congressional library. If I only
knew al exhibition appearance to as
sule--4lpparently I can assume other
appearances that do not show what
is going on inside-l would like to
have it pointed out also that I would
practice it before the looking glass
and see if I could not look like the
molllent. Being regarded as a na-1
tionial exhibit would be muchi simler
han being shaken hands with by the
whole UJnited States.
"And yet that is inter'esting to me,
sliply becautse 1 1like human beings.
It is a pretty 1po0r cr'owd thlat dloesni't
initerest youl. I tink they would
have to be0 a11llmemibers of that class
Ihiat devotes itself to expense, regard(
less 0f pleasure, ill ordem' to lie cin
tir'ely unlinlteresting. These look so
in111ch like-spendmi~ their time trying
to look so limuch alike-arid so relieve
thlemlselves of all r'esponsibility of
thought--that they ar'e very mnloto
nous1 121deed( to look at: whlereas a
cr'owdl pic~ked upl off the street is just
a jolly lot--a job lot of real hluman
beinigs, p)Itlsating withl life, with all
kinds of passlins anid des5ires.
"It would be a great pleasureo if,
unobserved anid unlattenlded, I could
be knocked ar'ounld as I have been ac
euIstomeld to bleing kn iocked arlound1( all
my1 life; if I coul resor't to any3 (de
il1ghtfl( qua rter', to 12ny3 place in
W~ashington, that I chioose. I liiave
som~etimles thought ?f goinig to somec
costumericI's-somie theatrical cost111m
er's--aind bulyling an1 assortmnent or
beard(s, r'ouges and~ coloing anid all
the knowvn mleanls of dliagnisinig my13
self, itf it wore not against the( law.
You see f have a scruple as pres'i
ent against breakil~ng. the law, and
dJisgu Ising one0's self Is agauit the
la2w, but if' 01cou l isgIse my13self and
not get cau~ght, I would go ouit to be
a free Amnerican 02nce miore and1 11 hae
a jolly time. I miighit then melet some1
of you gentlemenl andt actually toll you
what I r'eally thought."
Theo presidlen-t tialkedi entirely Inl
formally. lie wore a sack suit and
stood with lis halnds in hisa Pockets
11s lie spoke. Hie was Ill a happy mood0(
11nd lisa remar'ks were constantly pune11
tunltedl with laughlter and apla~lulse. Mr.
Wilson is a member of the Press club1,
having bleen elected as anl author' long
before ho became pre'sident..Member's
of the cabInet, Speaker Clar'k and mlanly
offlctals also were guests of the news
The Ferty Year Test.
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Meeting of U. D. C.
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birthday) at four o'cloc
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