Clemens had not yet lost interest in the American policy in the Philippines, and in his letters to Twichell he did not hesitate to criticize tile President's attitude in this and related matters. Once, in a moment of irritation, he wrote:

DEAR JOE,--I knew I had in me somewhere a definite feeling about the President. If I could only find the words to define it with! Here they are, to a hair--from Leonard Jerome:

"For twenty years I have loved Roosevelt the man, and hated Roosevelt the statesman and politician."

It's mighty good. Every time in twenty-five years that I have met Roosevelt the man a wave of welcome has streaked through me with the hand-grip; but whenever (as a rule) I meet Roosevelt the statesman & politician I find him destitute of morals & not respect-worthy. It is plain that where his political self & party self are concerned he has nothing resembling a conscience; that under those inspirations he is naively indifferent to the restraints of duty & even unaware of them; ready to kick the Constitution into the back yard whenever it gets in his way....

But Roosevelt is excusable--I recognize it & (ought to) concede it. We are all insane, each in his own way, & with insanity goes irresponsibility. Theodore the man is sane; in fairness we ought to keep in mind that Theodore, as statesman & politician, is insane & irresponsible.

He wrote a great deal more from time to time on this subject; but that is the gist of his conclusions, and whether justified by time, or otherwise, it expresses today the deduction of a very large number of people. It is set down here, because it is a part of Mark Twain's history, and also because a little while after his death there happened to creep into print an incomplete and misleading note (since often reprinted), which he once made in a moment of anger, when he was in a less judicial frame of mind. It seems proper that a man's honest sentiments should be recorded concerning the nation's servants.

Clemens wrote an article at this period which he called the "War Prayer." It pictured the young recruits about to march away for war--the excitement and the celebration--the drum-beat and the heart-beat of patriotism--the final assembly in the church where the minister utters that tremendous invocation:

God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder, Thy clarion, and lightning, Thy sword!

and the "long prayer" for victory to the nation's armies. As the prayer closes a white-robed stranger enters, moves up the aisle, and takes the preacher's place; then, after some moments of impressive silence, he begins:

"I come from the Throne-bearing a message from Almighty God!..... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import--that is to say its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of--except he pause & think.

"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two--one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken . . . .

"You have heard your servant's prayer--the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it--that part which the pastor--and also you in your hearts--fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into those pregnant words.

"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book