NOVEMBER 4, 1953
NEW YORK, Tuesday—On Thursday morning bright and early I left my little apartment to take a Northeast Airlines plane to Lewiston, Maine, where I was speaking to the Maine Teachers' Association. For the first time this year I had vicissitudes. The weather was really rainy and the flight stopped in Boston. We were sent on by car to Portland and Lewiston, where I did not arrive until noon, so I was really not a burden on my hosts during the morning. Immediately after lunch I attended a government class and later in the afternoon a reception and finally a Democratic dinner party before speaking. It was a busy day topped off by a return to Boston by car and a midnight train back to New York.
Going to Maine makes me realize how much earlier autumn comes to an end there and we begin to have a feeling of approaching winter. But this is still a lovely month and I cannot help feeling when I get back to this bracing climate that I miss the months I used to spend off the coast of Maine every summer when my children were young.
Maine is a wonderful state and I think its people have characteristics which in some ways are similar to those of the far West. The fishermen along the coast are an independent, sturdy people, the woodsmen and the farmers have the same kind of self-reliance and spirit of adventure that you find in our less settled Western areas. I remember how fond my uncle, Theodore Roosevelt, was of his Maine guides and of the hunting and fishing which he did in that state and I am sure he felt the similarity in the life which he loved also in the Dakotas and later in other parts of the West.
I have had a number of letters criticizing my statement opposing capital punishment and naming the recent cases of kidnappers, as though my statement had been aimed at not giving these particular people the kind of punishment which my correspondents seem to think they deserve.
In speaking of capital punishment I was not thinking of it in terms of anything which has happened in recent days but purely objectively as a method used to deter people from committing crimes.
Many other nations have done away with capital punishment and I understand that it has not brought about a rise in crime and I believe that many people who have given much more thought to this question because they are intimately connected with the prevention of crime feel that capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime.