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14 February 1917

By February 14, 2017No Comments
  • Francis William Courtenay Bootle dies of disease in England
  • French soldiers carry out a successful large-scale raid 20kms north-west of Compiegne on the Western Front
  • British naval airmen bomb Bruges for the second time this week
  • German ambassador to the United States, Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff and his staff set sail from Hoboken, New Jersey, having been ordered to leave the country by President Woodrow Wilson on 3 February
  • Britain informs the Japanese government that it will support Japanese claims to German territories north of the Equator if Japan will support similar British claims south of the Equator
  • The Leader publishes the poem When President Wilson Starts To Act

The President sat in his easy chair, and a lonely man was he,
For the ‘phone alone intruded there with the latest news from sea.
His brow was furrowed with groves of care, and his fingers smudged with ink.
It’s a quiet room and a fastened door when the President starts to think.

The streets were ringing with rumoured war, and the citizens all alive,
Like a swarm of bees on a summer’s day when there’s danger near the hive.
And Theodore Roosevelt swore a swear, while the Kaiser, winked a wink.
He knew he might venture another coup when the President starts to think.

There are few of us wrought in the same design, it’s a trick that Nature plays,
But many men of many minds and many amazing ways.
To each and all his personal mood, to each his dominant kink.
So some will smile and others may sigh when the President starts to think.

At sea, ten thousand hearts are stirred with alternate fear and hope,
And twenty thousand eyes are strained for a threatening periscope.
There’s murder lurking in every wave, for they’re always on the brink,
And the death-watch ticks the tortured hours while the President stops to think.

There are men of action and men of words, entirely different stuff.
Yet even the worm is moved to turn if you pinch it hard enough.
And even patience may tire at last of the perjured word and pact,
And the Chancellor find it time to think when the President starts to act.