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Infidelity & Treason! [Warren Harding, 1917]

Infidelity & Treason! [Warren Harding, 1917]

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Written as United States senator from Ohio to Phillips, his longtime mistress, about his recent trip to Columbus and Marion, Ohio, to visit a sick brother. Writes that he approves the neutrality policy towards Germany but fears that war will still come. He also cautions her regarding her pro-German views.
Written as United States senator from Ohio to Phillips, his longtime mistress, about his recent trip to Columbus and Marion, Ohio, to visit a sick brother. Writes that he approves the neutrality policy towards Germany but fears that war will still come. He also cautions her regarding her pro-German views.

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05/19/2011

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Warren G. Harding to Carrie F. Phillips Washington, D.C., February 4, 1917. Autograph letter signed, 3 pages.

Mrs. JE Phillips – Marion, Ohio. My Dear Sis: The Reception cards (very pretty) came duly to hand, and I thank you for Remembering me. I wish it was possible for me to drop in and offer my greetings. I know you will have a beautiful party because you know how to do it and have the capacity to do all things well. It is no flattery to accord you that distinction. Since I cant have the pleasure of attending, I do want to wish you a brilliant success. I was in Columbus last week, called there by brother’s illness, and spent two hours in Marion from five to seven Friday night, but I did not have time to call anybody, even by telephone. I meant to greet the Phillips’s by telephone from the union station, but arrived there only as my train pulled in. I was so anxious at that time about brother’s illness that I was not in a cheerful mood. I am rejoiced now to know he has good prospects of recovering. I see by the press that James Eaten has been the wheel horse in another money [2] 2/ raising
campaign. Please tell him of my felicitations over the success of the Y.M.C.A. drive, but for the life of me I don’t see how he can get up steam to do it. I marvel at him. It is really a great public service.

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I suppose you are not a little perturbed over the diplomatic break with Germany. Really I do not see any other course which reasonably might have been adopted. Ruthlessness on the seas to neutral commerce does not harmonize with the advocacy of the freedom of the seas, on which I thought that Germany and the United States might agree. I fear it means war, and pray that it does not. I know you are in rebellion, but I think I ought say to you that only two men in all the congress opposed the action thus far taken – though there are many pro–German sympathizers in congress who are as Earnest as you. Senator Gallinger is an Extreme pro– German, so is Townsend, Hoke Smith, Stone, [Hitchcock] and Reed, but they all agree that Germany made any other course impossible. I do not Expect to modify your sympathies. I hope we shall not be forced to actual conflict. Few, if any, here, actually know the inner motives of

The Gilder Lehrman Collection

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www.gilderlehrman.org

political intrigue. I am sure I do not. I do know there is genuine [3] 3/ regret over the possibility of a conflict with the Central Powers. If it does come you will be American first of all. Even were you to say nay, I would know what is in your heart. In spite of your reverence and sympathy and love for Germany (much of which is justified) you are after all an American and ever must be, and you will wish that the anxieties – and great trials, perhaps, will exalt the American soul and spirit. It is a difficult time for a public servant, it is trying for individuals, but there never can be but one answer in the End. “My Country – may it ever be right! But right or wrong, My Country! Give my best to Isabelle and James. Sincerely yours W.G.H.

Notes: Written on stationary printed with “W.G. Harding. Ohio. United States Senate, Washington, D.C.”

The Gilder Lehrman Collection

GLC00782.08

www.gilderlehrman.org

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