PERSISTENT REFUSAL OF A THIRD TERM
FROM the very beginning of 1907 the newspapers were filled with gossip about a possible third term for the President. There was scarcely a break in the current of it throughout the year. Writing to his intimate and valued friend, Charles G. Washburn, of Worcester, Mass., on April 17, 1907, he said: As for myself you are entirely right. I have never for a moment altered my views as to the wisdom of my declaration after the election of 1904. It is time for some one else to stand his trick at the wheel."
To his son Kermit, on May 15, 1907, he wrote:
"At the moment I am having a slightly irritating time with the well-meaning but foolish friends who want me to run for a third term. The curious thing about it is that there are plenty of people who really think they want me to run for a third term who, if I did run, would feel very much disappointed in me and would feel that I had come short of the ideal they had formed of me. I think the talk will all die out and I do not want to make another statement just at the moment. If necessary, however, next winter I shall make another statement so emphatic that it must put a stop to any further talk."
The third term talk became so general in August that the New York Times took a canvass of Republican editors on the subject, and on August 7, 1907, published letters from 63 of those editors in reply to the question whether President Roosevelt was as popular and as strong generally with the voters as he was at the time of his election. In editorial comment on these replies the Times said: