COOLIDGE, Calvin. Autograph manuscript signed ("Calvin Coolidge"), an original draft of his article "Reflections from Private Life," n.p., [May 1930]. 21½ pages with separate page for inscription "The Original Draft of Reflections etc. Appropriately Inscribed to Richard H. Waldo", 4to (11 x 8 3/8 in.), some browning, small paper clip mark on signature page, otherwise in fine condition, in a black slipcase.
COOLIDGE RELECTS UPON HIS RETIREMENT, PROHIBITION AND POLITICAL REFORM: "SCRAPING THE HULL OF THE SHIP OF STATE IS A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE OPERATION FOR THE BARNACLES"
A lengthy account of personal thoughts and reflections made by the former President of the United States. After leaving the White House, Coolidge tried his hand at professional writing. In 1929, he completed his autobiography and thereafter produced frequent articles for the Saturday Evening Post and Collier's. In 1930, he wrote this lengthy article for the May issue of Hearst's International combined with Cosmopolitan. He begins with a discussion of his retirement: "When I left the White House a year ago my main desire was to get home where I hoped again to have the enjoyments of private life...I found I was both physically and mentally considerably exhausted." Coolidge notes that he tried to avoid public discussion of current issues: "No utterance is quite so easy as criticism...because I held these opinions I have not felt that I could make political speeches since I retired."
Coolidge continues by asserting that he has no desire to return to public office: "In the companionship of my house, with my fish[ing] pole, my dogs, my books and my friends, I find I am extremely content...When I left Washington I left public office. It is an incomprehensible relief and I have no intention of returning to it." Although some have suggested that he run for Senator, Coolidge argues that it would prove an uncomfortable situation, despite his belief that the Senate is "a citadel of liberty." He also denies interest in a return to the Presidency: "I sought to provide a period of tranquility, certainty, and economy, under which the Country could recover from the exhaustion of the world war...the people turned to an efficiency engineer who is thoroughly equipped to guide them in such a movement." Coolidge assures his readers that the President should be supported once elected in "a spirit of cooperation" but that constructive criticism is warranted when he strays from "established tradition." He asserts the need for political reform: "We require a periodic survey of the administrative machinery...Scraping the hull of the ship of state is a very uncomfortable operation for the barnacles. But it has to be done if the craft is to remain seaworthy." He clarifies that the only reason for making changes is for the purpose of improvement. Key to improvement is the maintenance of qualified civil service personnel: "the foundation of a Republic rests on the principle of delegated authority."
Coolidge discusses the dilemmas of Prohibition: "So long as the human appetite for stimulants on one side, and for money on the other side, remain what they are, there are likely to be some violations of a prohibition law...It seems to me the Country can get considerable assistance by recalling the attitude of Lincoln in all his discussion of the slavery issue...[he] did not recognize any abuse so great, not even human slavery, that he was willing to try to remedy it by a violation of the law of the land...we have a well defined constitutional method of changing our statutes and our fundamental law...so long as the Constitution and the laws remain, the duty of all people [is] to observe them in good faith." Coolidge also spends considerable space discussing the tariff. Ultimately, he argues that the people must rely upon the system to eventually work: "It provides us with indispensable safeguards to liberty and security which it would be unwise to sacrifice for the sake of expedition." Coolidge concludes: "I should like to be known as a former President who tries to mind his own business."