It was in this house that Wilson, after the burdens of public office, sought “some ease.” In words I quote from John Milton's “Samson Agonistes:”
“Ease to the body some, none
From restless thoughts, that
Of hornets armed, no sooner
Times past, what once I was,
One cannot speak of Woodrow Wilson fifty years after his death without recalling his last tragic days. Most poignant is Raymond Fosdick's account:
“I went down to Washington to see him…. It was less than a month before he died, and it was very obvious that his strength was failing, although his mind was keen and alert. When I said to him: ‘How are you, Mr. President,’ he quoted a remark by John Quincy Adams in answer to a similar query: ‘John Quincy Adams is all right, but the house he lives in is dilapidated, and it looks as if he would soon have to move out’…. His whole thought centered on the League of Nations, and I had never heard him speak with deeper or more moving earnestness. In his weakness the tears came easily to his eyes and sometimes rolled down his cheek, but he brushed them impatiently away. I think he had a premonition that his days were numbered - “The sands are running fast,’ he told me - and perhaps he Wanted to make his last testament clear and unmistakable. The League of Nations was a promise for a better future, he said, as well as an escape from an evil past. Constantly his mind ran back to 1914. The utter unintelligence of it all, the sheer waste of war as a method of settling anything, seemed to oppress him. ‘It never must happen again,’ he said. ‘There is a way out if only men will use it.’ His voice rose as he recalled the charge of idealism so often used against the League. ‘The world is run by ideals,’ he exclaimed. ‘Only the fool thinks otherwise.’ The League was the answer. It was the next logical step in man’s widening conception of order and law. The machinery might be changed by experience, but the core of the idea was essential. It was in line with human evolution. It was the will of God.