From Wells, H. G. EXPERIMENT IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY New York: MacMillan, 1934.
" It is a curious thing that as I talked with President Roosevelt in the garden of the White House there came back to me quite forcibly this undertone of doubt that has haunted me throughout this journey (to the US.) After all, does this magnificent appearance of beginnings, which is America, convey any clear and certain promise of permanence and fulfillment whatever? . . .Is America a giant childhood of gigantic futility, a mere latest phase of that long succession of experiments which has been and may be for interminable years -- may be, indeed, altogether until the end -- man's social history? I can't now recall how our discursive talk settled toward this, but it is clear to me that I struck upon a familiar vein of thought in the President's mind. He hadn't, he said, an effectual disproof of a pessimistic interpretation of the future. If one chose to say America must presently lose the impetus of her ascent, that she and all mankind must culminate and pass, he could not conclusively deny that possibility. Only he chose to live as if this were not so.
"That remained in his mind. Presently he reverted to it. He made a sort of apology for his life, against the doubts and scepticisms that, I fear, must be in the background of the thoughts of every modern man who is intellectually alive. He mentioned my TIME MACHINE. . .He became gesticulatory, and his straining voice a note higher in denying the pessimism of that book as a credible interpretation of destiny. With one of those sudden movements of his he knelt forward in a garden chair -- we were standing, before our parting, beneath the colonnade -- and addressed me very earnestly over the back, clutching it and then thrusting out his familiar gesture, a hand first partly open and then closed.
"`Suppose, after all,' he said slowly, `that should prove to be right, and it all ends in your butterflies and morlocks. THAT DOESN'T MATTER NOW. The effort's real. It's worth going on with. It's worth it. It's worth it, even so.' . . .
"I can see him now and hear his unmusical voice saying, `The effort -- the effort's worth it,' and see the gesture of his clenched hand and the -- how can I describe it? - - the friendly peering snarl of his face, like a man with the sun in his eyes. He sticks in my mind at that, as a very symbol of the creative will in man, in its limitations, its doubtful adequacy, its valiant persistence, amidst complexities and confusions. He kneels out, assertive against his setting -- and his setting is the White House with a background of all of America.
"I could almost write, with a background of all the world; for I know of no other tithe so representative of the creative purpose, the GOODWILL in men as he. In his undisciplined hastiness, his limitations, his prejudices, his unfairness, his frequent errors, just as much as in his force, his sustained courage, his integrity, his open intelligence, he stands for his people and his kind."