Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell, June 8, 1898
It is a grand thing to risk one's life for others — but where it is unnecessary it is a foolish thing to do — and a wicked thing as well. If duty demands it — that is another matter. But there is no duty — compelling any of us to run risks for ourselves or our country in Cuba.
Just think what a fool Hobson would have been to have run into the entrance of Santiago Harbor — just for the fun of the thing! And yet that same act done under the pressure of duty — and with an object worthy of the sacrifice of himself and his brave companions — if need be — became heroic. But it demanded preparation — and fitness for the work. It would have been culpable upon Sampson's part — to have allowed an inexperienced green-horn to have attempted the deed. Any youngster in the Navy with the spirit of a fly — would have been glad of the opportunity of attempting a daring deed — for the honor of his country and the glory of his flag — and as a matter of newspaper fact — the whole Navy volunteered for the dangerous work.
But would Sampson have been justified in allowing anyone to go? Certainly not. It was his duty to pick out