Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography,
William Roscoe Thayer

Part 4 out of 6

industries essential to the welfare and even to the life itself
of the Nation, was in the hands of men who preferred their
selfish interests to those of the Nation. It taught several other
lessons also; it taught, for instance, that great combinations of
Labor may be as dangerous as those of Capital, and as heedless of
everything except their own selfish control. It taught that the
people of the States and of the Nation could not go on forever
without taking steps to put an end to the already dangerous
hostility between Capital and Labor, and that that end must be
the establishment of justice for all. An apologist of the "coal
barons" might have pleaded that they held out not merely for
their private gain on that occasion, but in order to defeat the
growing menace of Labor. Their stubbornness might turn back the
rising flood of socialism.

Respecters of legal precedent, on the other hand, criticised the
President. They acknowledged his good intentions, but they
pointed out that his extra-legal interference set an ominously
bad example. And some of them would have preferred to go cold all
winter, and even to have had the quarrel sink into civil war,
rather than to have had the constitutional ideals of the Nation
distorted or obscured by the President's good-natured endeavor.
Roosevelt himself, however, never held this opinion. In 1915, he
wrote to Mr. Washburn: "I think the settlement of the coal strike
was much the most important thing I did about Labor, from every

I find an intimate letter of his which dates from the time of the
conflict itself and gives frankly his motives and apology, if we
should call it that. He admits that his action was not strictly
legal, but he asks that, if the President of the United States
may not intervene to prevent a widespread calamity, what is his
authority worth? If it had been a national strike of iron-workers
or miners, he would have held himself aloof, but the coal strike
affected a product necessary to the life and health of the
people. It was easy enough for well-to-do gentlemen to say that
they had rather go cold and see the fight carried. through until
the strikers submitted, than to have legal precedence ignored;
for these gentlemen had money enough to buy fuel at even an
exorbitant price, and they would be warm anyway, while the great
mass of the population froze. I may add that it seems more legal
than sensible that any official chosen to preserve the public
welfare and health should not be allowed to interpose against
persons who would destroy both, and may stir only after the
destroyers have caused the catastrophe they aimed at.

Roosevelt's action in the great coal strike not only averted the
danger, but it also gave Labor means of judging him fairly. Every
demagogue, from the days of Cleon down, has talked glibly in
behalf of the downtrodden or unjustly treated working-men, and we
might suppose that the demagogue has acquired enlargement of the
heart, owing to his overpowering sympathy with Labor. But the
questions we have to ask about demagogues are two: Is he sincere?
Is he wise?

Sincerity alone has been rather too much exalted as an excuse for
the follies and crimes of fanatics and zealots, blatherskites and
cranks. Some of our "lunatic fringe" of reformers have been heard
to palliate the Huns' atrocities in Belgium, by the plea: "Ah,
but they were so perfectly sincere!" Sincerity alone, therefore,
is not enough; it must be wise or it may be diabolical. Now
Roosevelt was both sincere and wise. He left no doubt in the
strikers' minds that he sympathized with their sufferings and
grievances and with their attempts to better their condition, so
far as this could be achieved without violence, and without
leaving a permanent state of war between Labor and Capital. In a
word, he did not aim at merely patching up a temporary peace, but
at finding, and when found, applying, a remedy to the deep-rooted
causes of the quarrel.

In his first message to Congress, the new President said: "The
most vital problem with which this country, and, for that matter,
the whole civilized world, has to deal, is the problem which has
for one side the betterment of social conditions, moral and
physical, in large cities, and for another side the effort to
deal with that tangle of far-reaching questions which we group
together when we speak of 'labor.'"

By his settlement of the coal strike, Roosevelt showed the
workers that he would practice towards them the justice which he
preached, but this did not mean that he would be unjust towards
the capitalists. They, too, should have justice, and they had it.
He never intended to coddle laborers or to make them feel that,
having a grievance, as they alleged, they must be specially
favored. Since Labor is, or should be, common to all men,
Roosevelt believed that every laborer, whether farmer or
mechanic, employer or employee, merchant or financier, should
stand erect and look every other man straight in the eyes, and
neither look up nor down, but with level gaze, fearless,
uncringing, uncondescending. The laws he proposed, the
adjustments he arranged, had the self-respect, the dignity, of
the individual, for their aim. He knew that nothing could be more
dangerous to the public, or more harmful to the laboring class
itself, than to make of it a privileged class, absolved from the
obligations, and even from the laws, which bound the rest of the
community. By this ideal he set a great gulf between himself and
the demagogues who fawned upon Labor and corrupted it by granting
its unjust demands.

He had always present before him a vision of the sacred Oneness
of the body politic. This made him the greatest of modern
Democrats, and the chief interpreter, as it seems to me, of the
highest ideal of American Democracy. The ideal of Oneness can
never be realized in a State which permits a single class to
enjoy privileges of its own at the expense of all other classes;
and it makes no difference whether this class belongs to the
Proletariat or to the Plutocracy. Equality before the law, and
justice, are the two eternal instruments for establishing the
true Democracy. And I do not recall that in any of the measures
which Roosevelt supported these two vital principles were
violated. The following brief quotations from later messages
summarize his creed:

'In the vast and complicated mechanism of our modern civilized
life, the dominant note is the note of industrialism, and the
relations of capital and labor, and especially of organized
capital and organized labor, to each other, and to the public at
large, come second in importance only to the intimate questions
of family life.'

The corporation has come to stay, just as the trade union has
come to stay. Each can do and has done great good. Each should be
favored as long as it does good, but each should be sharply
checked where it acts against law and justice.

Any one can profess a creed; Theodore Roosevelt lived his.

Nothing better tested his impartiality than the strike of the
Federation of Western Miners in 1907. Many murders and much
violence were attributed to this organization and they were
charged with assassinating Governor Steunenberg of Idaho. Their
leaders, Moyer and Haywood, were anarchists like themselves, and
although they professed contempt for law, as soon as they were
arrested and brought up for trial, they clutched at every quibble
of the law, as drowning men clutch at straws to save them; and,
be it said to the glory or shame of the law, it furnished enough
quibbles, not only to save them from the gallows, but to let them
loose again on society with the legal whitewash "not guilty"
stamped upon them.

Roosevelt understood the great importance of punishing these men,
and he committed the indiscretion of classing them with certain
big capitalists as "undesirable citizens." Members of the
Federation then wrote him denouncing his attempt to prejudice the
courts against Moyer and Haywood, and they resented that their
leaders should be coupled with Harriman and other big capitalists
as "undesirable citizens." This gave the President the
opportunity to reply that such criticism did not come
appropriately from the Federation; for they and their supporters
had got up parades, mass-meetings, and petitions in favor of
Moyer and Haywood and for the direct purpose of intimidating the
court and jury. "You want," he said in substance, "the square
deal for the defendants only. I want the square deal for every
one"; and he added, "It is equally a violation of the policy of
the square deal for a capitalist to protest against denunciation
of a capitalist who is guilty of wrongdoing and for a labor
leader to pro test against the denunciation of a labor leader who
has been guilty of wrongdoing." *

* Autobiography, 531.

But Moyer and Haywood, as I have said, escaped punishment, and
before long Haywood reappeared as leader of the Industrial
Workers of the World, an anarchistic body with a comically
inappropriate name for its members objected to nothing so much as
to industry and work. The I.W.W., as they have been known for
short, have consistently preached violence and "action," by which
they might take for themselves the savings and wealth of others
as a means to enable them to do no work. And some of the recent
strikes which have brought the greatest misery upon the laborers
whom they misled, have been directed by I. W. W. leaders.

"I treated anarchists and bomb-throwing and dynamiting gentry
precisely as I treated other criminals," Roosevelt writes:
"Murder is murder. It is not rendered one whit better by the
allegation that it is committed on behalf of a cause." * I need
hardly state that the President was as consistently vigilant to
prevent labor unions from persecuting non-union men as he was in
upholding the just rights of the union.

* Autobiography, 532.

Consider what this record of his with Capital and Labor really
means. The social conditions in the United States, owing to the
immense expansion in the production of wealth--an expansion which
included the invention of innumerable machines and the
application, largely made possible by immigration, of millions of
laborers--had changed rapidly, and had brought pressingly to the
front novel and gigantic industrial and financial problems. In
the solution of these problems Justice and Equality must not only
be regarded, but must play the determining part. Now, Justice and
Equality were beautiful abstractions which could be praised by
every demagogue without laying upon him any obligation except
that of dulcet lip service. Every American, young or old, had
heard them lauded so unlimitedly that he did not trouble himself
to inquire whether they were facts or not; they were words,
sonorous and pleasing words, which made his heart throb, and
himself feel a worthier creature. And then came along a young
zealot, mighty in physical vigor and moral energy, who believed
that Justice and Equality were not mere abstractions, were not
mere words for politicians and parsons to thrill their audiences
by, but were realities, duties, which every man in a Democracy
was bound to revere and to make prevail. And he urged them with
such power of persuasion, such tirelessness, such titanic zeal,
that he not only converted the masses of the people to believe in
them, too, but he also made the legislators of the country
understand that they must embody these principles in the national
statute book. He did not originate, as I have said, all or most
of the reforms, but he gave ear to those who first suggested
them, and his enthusiasm and support were essential to their
adoption. In order to measure the magnitude of Roosevelt's
contribution in marking deeply the main principles which should
govern the New Age, we need only remember how little his
predecessor, President McKinley, a good man with the best
intentions, either realized that the New Age was at hand, or
thought it necessary even to outline the principles which should
guide it; and how little his successor, President Taft, a most
amiable man, understood that the New Age, with the Rooseveltian
reforms, had come to stay, and could not be swept back by
actively opposing it or by allowing the Rooseveltian ideals to


Although Theodore Roosevelt was personally known to more people
of the United States than any other President has been, and his
manners and quick responsive cordiality made multitudes feel,
after a brief sight of him, or after shaking his hand, that they
were old acquaintances, he maintained during his life a dignified
reticence regarding his home and family. But now that he is dead
and the world craves eagerly, but not irreverently, to know as
much as it can about his many sides, I feel that it is not
improper to say something about that intimate side which was in
some respects the most characteristic of all.

Early in the eighties he bought a country place at Oyster Bay,
Long Island, and on the top of a hill he built a spacious house.
There was a legend that in old times Indian Chiefs used to gather
there to hold their powwows; at any rate, the name, the
Sagamores' Hill, survived them, and this shortened to Sagamore
Hill he gave to his home. That part of Long Island on the north
coast overlooking the Sound is very attractive; it is a country
of hills and hollows, with groves of tall trees, and open fields
for farming, and lawns near the house. You look down on Oyster
Bay which seems to be a small lake shut in by the curving shore
at the farther end. From the house you see the Sound and the
hills of Connecticut along the horizon.

After the death of his first wife in January, 1884, Roosevelt
went West to the Bad Lands of North Dakota where he lived two
years at Medora, on a ranch which he owned, and there he endured
the hardships and excitements of ranch life at that time; acting
as cow-puncher, ranchman, deputy sheriff, or hunting big and
little game, or writing books and articles. In the autumn of
1886, however, having been urged to run as candidate for Mayor of
New York City, he came East again. He made a vigorous campaign,
but having two opponents against him he was beaten. Then he took
a trip to Europe where he married Miss Edith Kermit Carow, whom
he had known in New York since childhood, and on their return to
this country, they settled at Sagamore Hill. Two years later,
when President Harrison appointed Roosevelt a Civil Service
Commissioner, they moved to Washington. There they lived in a
rather small house at 1720 Jefferson Place--"modest," one might
call it, in comparison with the modern palaces which had begun to
spring up in the National Capital; but people go to a house for
the sake of its occupants and not for its size and upholstery.

So for almost six years pretty nearly everybody worth knowing
crossed the Roosevelts' threshold, and they themselves quickly
took their place in Washington society. Roosevelt's humor, his
charm, his intensity, his approachableness, attracted even those
who rejected his politics and his party. Bright sayings cannot be
stifled, and his added to the gayety of more than one group. He
was too discreet to give utterance to them all, but his private
letters at that time, and always, glistened with his remarks on
public characters. He said, for instance, of Senator X, whom he
knew in Washington: He "looks like Judas, but unlike that
gentleman, he has no capacity for remorse."

When the Roosevelts returned to New York, where he became Police
Commissioner in 1895, they made their home again at Oyster Bay.
This was thirty miles by rail from the city, near enough to be
easily accessible, but far enough away to deter the visits of
random, curious, undesired callers. Later, when automobiles came
in, Roosevelt motored to and from town. Mrs. Roosevelt looked
after the place itself; she supervised the farming, and the
flower gardens were her especial care. The children were now
growing up, and from the time when they could toddle they took
their place--a very large place--in the life of the home.
Roosevelt described the intense satisfaction he had in teaching
the boys what his father had taught him. As soon as they were
large enough, they rode their horses, they sailed on the Cove and
out into the Sound. They played boys' games, and through him they
learned very young to observe nature. In his college days he had
intended to be a naturalist, and natural history remained his
strong est avocation. And so he taught his children to know the
birds and animals, the trees, plants, and flowers of Oyster Bay
and its neighborhood. They had their pets--Kermit, one of the
boys, carried a pet rat in his pocket.

Three things Roosevelt required of them all; obedience,
manliness, and truthfulness. And I imagine that all these virtues
were taught by affection and example, rather than by constant
correction. For the family was wholly united, they did everything
together; the children had no better fun than to accompany their
father and mother, and there were a dozen or more young cousins
and neighbors who went out with them too, forming a large,
delighted family for whom "Uncle" or "Cousin Theodore " was
leader and idol. And just as formerly, in the long winter nights
on his ranch at Medora, he used to read aloud to the cowboys and
hunters of what was then the Western Wilderness, so at Sagamore
Hill, in the days of their childhood, he read or told stories to
the circle of boys and girls.

In 1901, Mr. Roosevelt became President, and for seven years and
a half his official residence was the White House, where he was
obliged to spend most of the year. But whenever he could steal
away for a few days he sought rest and recreation at Oyster Bay,
and there, during the summers, his family lived. So far as the
changed conditions permitted, he did not allow his official
duties to interfere with his family life. "One of the most
wearing things about being President," a President once said to
me, "is the incessant publicity of it. For four years you have
not a moment to yourself, not a moment of privacy." And yet
Roosevelt, masterful in so many other things, was masterful in
this also. Nothing interfered with the seclusion of the family
breakfast. There were no guests, only Mrs. Roosevelt and the
children, and the simplest of food. At Oyster Bay he would often
chop trees in the early morning, and sometimes, while he was
President, he would ride before breakfast, but the meal itself
was quiet, private, uninterrupted. Then each member of the family
would go about his or her work, for idleness had no place with
them. The President spent his morning in attending to his
correspondence and dictating letters, then in receiving persons
by appointment, and he always reserved time when any American,
rich or poor, young or old, could speak to him freely. He liked
to see them all and many were the odd experiences which he had.
He asked one old lady what he could do for her. She replied:
"Nothing; I came all the way from Jacksonville, Florida, just to
see what a live President looked like. I never saw one before."

"That's very kind of you," the President replied; "persons from
up here go all the way to Florida just to see a live
alligator"--and so he put the visitor at her ease.

Luncheon was a varied meal; sometimes there were only two or
three guests at it; at other times there might be a dozen. It
afforded the President an opportunity for talking informally with
visitors whom he wished to see, and not infrequently it brought
together round the table a strange, not to say a motley, company.

After luncheon followed more work in his office for the
President, looking over the letters he had dictated and signing
them, signing documents and holding interviews. Later in the
afternoon he always reserved two hours for a walk or drive with
Mrs. Roosevelt. Nothing interfered with that. In the season he
played tennis with some of the large group of companions whom he
gathered round him, officials high and low, foreign Ambassadors
and Cabinet Ministers and younger under-secretaries who were
popularly known as the "Tennis Cabinet." There were fifty or more
of them, and that so many should have kept their athletic vigor
into middle age, and even beyond it, spoke well for the physique
of the men of official Washington at that time.

At Oyster Bay Roosevelt had instituted "hiking." He and the young
people and such of the neighbors as chose would start from
Sagamore Hill and walk in a bee-line to a point four or five
miles off. The rule was that no natural impediment should cause
them to digress or to stop. So they went through the fields and
over the fences, across ditches and pools, and even clambered up
and down a haystack, if one happened to be in the way, or through
a barnyard. Of course they often reached home spattered with mud
or even drenched to the skin from a plunge into the water, but
with much fun, a livelier circulation, and a hearty appetite to
their credit.

In Washington the President continued this practice of hiking,
but in a somewhat modified form. His favorite resort was Rock
Creek, then a wild stream, with a good deal of water in it, and
here and there steep, rocky banks. To be invited by the President
to go on one of those hikes was regarded as a mark of special
favor. He indulged in them to test a man's bodily vigor and
endurance, and there were many amusing incidents and perhaps more
amusing stories about them. M. Tardieu, who at that time was
paying a short visit to this country and was connected with the
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that the dispatches
which the new French Ambassador, M. Jusserand, sent to Paris were
full of reports on President Roosevelt's personality. The
Europeans had no definite conception of him at that time, and so
the sympathetic and much-esteemed Ambassador, who still
represents France at Washington, tried to give his Government
information by which it could judge for itself what sort of a
person the President was. What must have been the surprise in the
French Foreign Office when it received the following dispatch: (I
give the substance, of course, because I have not seen the

'Yesterday,' wrote Ambassador Jusserand, 'President Roosevelt
invited me to take a promenade with him this afternoon at three.
I arrived at the White House punctually, in afternoon dress and
silk hat, as if we were to stroll in the Tuileries Garden or in
the Champs Elysees. To my surprise, the President soon joined me
in a tramping suit, with knickerbockers and thick boots, and soft
felt hat, much worn. Two or three other gentlemen came, and we
started off at what seemed to me a breakneck pace, which soon
brought us out of the city. On reaching the country, the
President went pell-mell over the fields, following neither road
nor path, always on, on, straight ahead! I was much winded, but I
would not give in, nor ask him to slow up, because I had the
honor of La belle France in my heart. At last we came to the bank
of a stream, rather wide and too deep to be forded. I sighed
relief, because I thought that now we had reached our goal and
would rest a moment and catch our breath, before turning
homeward. But judge of my horror when I saw the President
unbutton his clothes and heard him say, "We had better strip, so
as not to wet our things in the Creek." Then I, too, for the
honor of France, removed my apparel, everything except my
lavender kid gloves. The President cast an inquiring look at
these as if they, too, must come off, but I quickly forestalled
any remark by saying, "With your permission, Mr. President, I
will keep these on, otherwise it would be embarrassing if we
should meet ladies." And so we jumped into the water and swam

M. Jusserand has a fine sense of humor and doubtless he has
laughed often over this episode, although he must have been
astonished and irritated when it occurred. But it gave Roosevelt
exactly what he wanted by showing him that the plucky little
French man was "game" for anything, and they remained firm
friends for life.

Occasionally, one of the guests invited on a hike relucted from
taking the plunge, and then he was allowed to go up stream or
down and find a crossing at a bridge; but I suspect that his host
and the habitual hikers instinctively felt a little less regard
for him after that. General Leonard Wood was one of Roosevelt's
boon companions on these excursions, and, speaking of him, I am
reminded of one of the President's orders which caused a great
flurry among Army officers in Washington.

The President learned that many of these officers had become
soft, physically, through their long residence in the city, where
an unmilitary life did not tend to keep their muscles hard. As a
consequence these great men of war became easy-going, indolent
even, better suited to loaf in the armchairs of the Metropolitan
Club and discuss campaigns and battles long ago than to lead
troops in the field. "Their condition," said Roosevelt, "would
have excited laughter, had it not been so serious, to think that
they belonged to the military arm of the Government. A cavalry
colonel proved unable to keep his horse at a sharp trot for even
half a mile when I visited his post; a major-general proved
afraid even to let his horse canter when he went on a ride with
us; and certain otherwise good men proved as unable to walk as if
they had been sedentary brokers." After consulting Generals Wood
and Bell, who were themselves real soldiers at the top of
condition, the President issued orders that the infantry should
march fifty miles, and the cavalry one hundred, in three days.
There was an outcry. The newspapers denounced Roosevelt as a
tyrant who followed his mere caprices. Some of the officers
intrigued with Congressmen to nullify the order. But when the
President himself, accompanied by Surgeon-General Rixey and two
officers, rode more than one hundred miles in a single day over
the frozen and rutty Virginia roads, the objectors could not keep
up open opposition. Roosevelt adds, ironically, that three naval
officers who walked the fifty miles in a day, were censured for
not obeying instructions, and were compelled to do the test over
again in three days.

Dinner in the White House was usually a formal affair, to which
most, if not all the guests, at least, were invited some time in
advance. There were, of course, the official dinners to the
foreign diplomats, to the justices of the Supreme Court, to the
members of the Cabinet; ordinarily, they might be described as
general. The President never forgot those who had been his
friends at any period of his life. It might happen that Bill
Sewall, his earliest guide from Maine, or a Dakota ranchman, or a
New York policeman, or one of his trusted enthusiasts in a hard-
fought political campaign, turned up at the White House. He was
sure to be asked to luncheon or to dinner, by the President. And
these former chums must have felt somewhat embarrassed, if they
were capable of feeling embarrassment, when they found themselves
seated beside some of the great ladies of Washington. Perhaps
Roosevelt himself felt a little trepidation as to how the
unmixables would mix. He is reported to have said to one Western
cowboy of whom he was fond: "Now, Jimmy, don't bring your gun
along to-night. The British Ambassador is going to dine too, and
it wouldn't do for you to pepper the floor round his feet with
bullets, in order to see a tenderfoot dance."

But those dinners were mainly memorable occasions, and the guests
who attended them heard some of the best talk in America at that
time, and came away with increased wonder for the variety of
knowledge and interest, and for the unceasing charm and courtesy
of their host, the President. Contrary to the opinion of persons
who heard him only as a political speaker shouting in the open
air from the back platform of his train or in a public square,
Roosevelt was not only a speaker, he was also a most courteous
listener. I watched him at little dinners listen not only
patiently, but with an astonishing simulation of interest, to
very dull persons who usurped the conversation and imagined that
they were winning his admiration. Mr. John Morley, who was a
guest at the White House at election time in 1904, said: "The two
things in America which seem to me most extraordinary are Niagara
Falls and President Roosevelt."

Jacob Riis, the most devoted personal follower of Roosevelt,
gives this as the finest compliment he ever heard of him. A lady
said that she had always been looking for some living embodiment
of the high ideals she had as to what a hero ought to be. "I
always wanted to make Roosevelt out that," she declared, "but
somehow every time he did something that seemed really great it
turned out, upon looking at it closely, that it was ONLY JUST THE

* Riis, 268-69.

But at home Roosevelt had affection, not compliments, whether
these were unintentional and sincere, like that of the lady just
quoted, or were thinly disguised flattery. And affection was what
he most craved from his family and nearest friends, and what he
gave to them without stint. As I have said, he allowed nothing to
interrupt the hours set apart for his wife and children while he
was at the White House; and at Oyster Bay there was always time
for them. A typical story is told of the boys coming in upon him
during a conference with some important visitor, and saying
reproachfully, "It's long after four o'clock, and you promised to
go with us at four." "So I did," said Roosevelt. And he quickly
finished his business with the visitor and went. When the
children were young, he usually saw them at supper and into bed,
and he talked of the famous pillow fights they had with him.
House guests at the White House some times unexpectedly caught
sight of him crawling in the entry near the children's rooms,
with two or three children riding on his back. Roosevelt's days
were seldom less than fifteen hours long, and we can guess how he
regarded the laboring men of today who clamor for eight and six,
and even fewer hours, as the normal period for a day's work. He
got up at half-past seven and always finished breakfast by nine,
when what many might call the real work of his day began.

The unimaginative laborer probably supposes that most of the
duties which fall to an industrious President are not strictly
work at all; but if any one had to meet for an hour and a half
every forenoon such Congressmen and Senators as chose to call on
him, he would understand that that was a job involving real work,
hard work. They came every day with a grievance, or an appeal, or
a suggestion, or a favor to ask, and he had to treat each one,
not only politely, but more or less deferently. Early in his
Administration I heard it said that he offended some Congressmen
by denying their requests in so loud a voice that others in the
room could hear him, and this seemed to some a humiliation.
President McKinley, on the other hand, they said, lowered his
voice, and spoke so softly and sweetly that even his refusal did
not jar on his visitor, and was not heard at all by the
bystanders. If this happened, I suspect it was because Roosevelt
spoke rather explosively and had a habit of emphasis, and not
because he wished in any way to send his petitioner's rebuff
through the room.

Nor was the hour which followed this, when he received general
callers, less wearing. As these persons came from all parts of
the Union, so they were of all sorts and temperaments. Here was a
worthy citizen from Colorado who, on the strength of having once
heard the President make a public speech in Denver, claimed
immediate friendship with him. Then might come an old lady from
Georgia, who remembered his mother's people there, or the lady
from Jacksonville, Florida, of whom I have already spoken. Once a
little boy, who was almost lost in the crush of grown-up
visitors, managed to reach the President. "What can I do for
you?" the President asked; and the boy told how his father had
died leaving his mother with a large family and no money, and how
he was selling typewriters to help support her. His mother, he
said, would be most grateful if the President would accept a
typewriter from her as a gift. So the President told the little
fellow to go and sit down until the other visitors had passed,
and then he would attend to him. No doubt, the boy left the White
House well contented--and richer.

Roosevelt's official day ended at half-past nine or ten in the
evening, and then, after the family had gone to bed, he sat down
to read or write, and it was long after midnight, sometimes one
o'clock, some times much later, before he turned in himself. He
regarded the preservation of health as a duty; and well he might
so regard it, because in childhood he had been a sickly boy, with
apparently only a life of invalidism to look forward to. But by
sheer will, and by going through physical exercises with
indomitable perseverance, he had built up his body until he was
strong enough to engage in all sports and in the hardships of
Western life and hunting. After he became President, he allowed
nothing to interfere with his physical exercise. I have spoken of
his long hikes and of his vigorous games with members of the
Tennis Cabinet. On many afternoons he would ride for two hours or
more with Mrs. Roosevelt or some friend, and it is a sad
commentary on the perpetual publicity to which the American
people condemn their Presidents, that he sometimes was obliged to
ride off into the country with one of his Cabinet Ministers in
order to be able to discuss public matters in private with him.
Roosevelt took care to provide means for exercise indoors in very
stormy weather. He had a professional boxer and wrestler come to
him, and when jiu-jitsu, the Japanese system of physical
training, was in vogue, he learned some of its introductory
mysteries from one of its foremost professors.

It was in a boxing bout at the White House with his teacher that
he lost the sight of an eye from a blow which injured his
eyeball. But he kept this loss secret for many years. He had a
wide acquaintance among professional boxers and even
prize-fighters. Jeffries, who had been a blacksmith before he
entered the ring, hammered a penholder out of a horseshoe and
gave it to the President, a gift which Roosevelt greatly prized
and showed among his trophies at Oyster Bay. John L. Sullivan,
perhaps the most notorious of the champion prize-fighters of
America, held Roosevelt in such great esteem that when he died
his family invited the ex-President to be one of the
pall-bearers. But Mr. Roosevelt was then too sick himself to be
able to travel to Boston and serve.

At Oyster Bay in summer, the President found plenty of exercise
on the place. It contained some eighty acres, part of which was
woodland, and there were always trees to be chopped. Hay-making,
also, was an equally severe test of bodily strength, and to pitch
hay brought every muscle into use. There, too, he had water
sports, but he always preferred rowing to sailing, which was too
slow and inactive an exercise for him. In old times, rowing used
to be the penalty to which galley-slaves were condemned, but now
it is commended by athletes as the best of all forms of exercise
for developing the body and for furnishing stimulating

No President ever lived on better terms with the newspaper men
than Roosevelt did. He treated them all with perfect fairness,
according no special favors, no "beats," or "scoops to any one.
So they regarded him as "square"; and further they knew that he
was a man of his word, not to be trifled with. "It is generally
supposed," Roosevelt remarked, "that newspaper men have no sense
of honor, but that is not true. If you treat them fairly, they
will treat you fairly; and they will keep a secret if you impress
upon them that it must be kept."

The great paradox of Roosevelt's character was the contrast
between its fundamental simplicity and its apparent spectacular
quality. His acts seemed to be unusual, striking, and some
uncharitable critics thought that he aimed at effect; in truth,
however, he acted at the moment as the impulse or propriety of
the moment suggested. There was no premeditation, no swagger.
Dwellers in Berlin noticed that after William the Crown Prince
became the Kaiser William II, he thrust out his chest and adopted
a rather pompous walk, but there was nothing like this in
Roosevelt's manner or carriage. In his public speaking, he
gesticulated incessantly, and in the difficulty he had in pouring
out his words as rapidly as the thoughts came to him, he seemed
sometimes almost to grimace; but this was natural, not studied.
And so I can easily understand what some one tells me who saw him
almost daily as President in the White House. "Roosevelt," he
said, "had an immense reverence for the Presidential office. He
did not feel cocky or conceited at being himself President; he
felt rather the responsibility for dignity which the office
carried with it, and he was humble. You might be as intimate with
him as possible, but there was a certain line which no one ever
crossed. That was the line which the office itself drew."

Roosevelt had that reverence for the great men of the past which
should stir every heart with a capacity for noble things. In the
White House he never forgot the Presidents who had dwelt there
before him. "I like to see in my mind's eye," he said to Mr.
Rhodes, the American historian, "the gaunt form of Lincoln
stalking through these halls." During a visit at the White House,
Mr. Rhodes watched the President at work throughout an entire day
and set down the points which chiefly struck him. Foremost among
these was the lack of leisure which we allow our Presidents. They
have work to do which is more important than that of a railroad
manager, or the president of the largest business corporation, or
of the leader of the American Bar. They are expected to know the
pros and cons of each bill brought before them to sign so that
they can sign it not only intelligently but justly, and yet
thanks to the constant intrusion which Americans deem it their
right to force on the President, he has no time for deliberation,
and, as I have said, Mr. Roosevelt was often obliged, when he
wished to have an undisturbed consultation with one of his
Cabinet Secretaries, to take him off on a long ride.

"I chanced to be in the President's room," Mr. Rhodes continues,
"when he dictated the rough draft of his famous dispatch to
General Chaffee respecting torture in the Philippines. While he
was dictating, two or three cards were brought in, also some
books with a request for the President's autograph, and there
were some other interruptions. While the dispatch as it went out
in its revised form could not be improved, a President cannot
expect to be always so happy in dictating dispatches in the midst
of distractions. Office work of far-reaching importance should be
done in the closet. Certainly no monarch or minister in Europe
does administrative work under such unfavorable conditions;
indeed, this public which exacts so much of the President's time
should in all fairness be considerate in its criticism." *

* Rhodes: Historical Essays, 238-39.

To cope in some measure with the vast amount of business thrust
upon him, Roosevelt had unique endowments. Other Presidents had
been indolent and let affairs drift; he cleared his desk every
day. Other Presidents felt that they had done their duty if they
merely dispatched the important business which came to them;
Roosevelt was always initiating, either new legislation or new
methods in matters which did not concern the Government. One
autumn, when there was unusual excitement, with recriminations in
disputes in the college football world, I was surprised to
receive a large four-page typewritten letter, giving his views as
to what ought to be done.

He reorganized the service in the White House, and not only that,
he had the Executive Mansion itself remodeled somewhat according
to the original plans so as to furnish adequate space for the
crowds who thronged the official receptions, and, at the other
end of the building, proper quarters for the stenographers,
typewriters, and telegraphers required to file and dispatch his
correspondence. Promptness was his watchword, and in cases where
it was expected, I never knew twenty-four hours to elapse before
he dictated his reply to a letter.

The orderliness which he introduced into the White House should
also be recorded. When I first went there in 1882 with a party of
Philadelphia junketers who had an appointment to shake hands with
President Arthur, as a preliminary to securing a fat
appropriation to the River and Harbor Bill of that year, the
White House was treated by the public very much as a common
resort. The country owned it: therefore, why shouldn't any
American make himself at home in it? I remember that on one of
the staircases, Dr. Mary Walker (recently dead), dressed in what
she was pleased to regard as a masculine costume, was haranguing
a group of five or six strangers, and here and there in the
corridors we met other random visitors. Mr. Roosevelt established
a strict but simple regimen. No one got past the Civil War
veteran who acted as doorkeeper without proper credentials; and
it was impossible to reach the President himself without first
encountering his Secretary, Mr. Loeb.

To the President some persons were, of course, privileged. If an
old pal from the West, or a Rough Rider came, the President did
not look at the clock, or speed him away. The story goes that one
morning Senator Cullom came on a matter of business and indeed
rather in a hurry. On asking who was "in there," and being told
that a Rough Rider had been with the President for a half-hour,
the Senator said, "Then there's no hope for me," took his hat,
and departed.

Although, as I have said, Roosevelt might be as intimate and
cordial as possible with any visitor, he never forgot the dignity
which belonged to his office. Nor did he forget that as President
he was socially as well as officially the first person in the
Republic. In speaking of these social affairs, I must not pass
over without mention the unfailing help which his two sisters
gave him at all times. The elder, the wife of Admiral William S.
Cowles, lived in Washington when Roosevelt was Civil Service
Commissioner, and her house was always in readiness for his use.

His younger sister, Mrs. Douglas Robinson, lived in New York
City, and first at No. 422 Madison Avenue and later at No. 9 East
Sixty-third Street, she dispensed hospitality for him and his
friends. Nothing could have been more convenient. If he were at
Oyster Bay, it was often impossible to make an appointment to
meet there persons whom he wished to see, but he had merely to
telephone to Mrs. Robinson, the appointment was made, and the
interview was held. It was at her house that many of the
breakfasts with Senator Platt--those meetings which caused so
much alarm and suspicion among over-righteous reformers--took
place while Roosevelt was Governor. Mr. Odell nearly always
accompanied the Senator, as if he felt afraid to trust the astute
Boss with the very persuasive young Governor. Having Mrs.
Robinson's house as a shelter, Theodore could screen himself from
the newspaper men. There he could hold private consultations
which, if they had been referred to in the papers, would have
caused wild guesses, surmises, and embarrassing remarks. His
sisters always rejoiced that, with his wonderful generosity of
nature, he took them often into his political confidence, and
listened with unfeigned respect to their point of view on
subjects on which they might even have a slight difference of

Mr. Charles G. Washburn tells the following story to illustrate
Roosevelt's faculty of getting to the heart of every one whom he
knew. When he was hunting in Colorado, "he met a cowboy who had
been with him with the Rough Riders in Cuba. The man came up to
speak to Roosevelt, and said, 'Mr. President, I have been in jail
a year for killing a gentleman.' 'How did you do it?' asked the
President, meaning to inquire as to the circumstances.
'Thirty-eight on a forty-five frame,' replied the man, thinking
that the only interest the President had was that of a comrade
who wanted to know with what kind of a tool the trick was done.
Now, I will venture to say that to no other President, from
Washington down to and including Wilson, would the man-killer
have made that response." *

* Washburn, 202-03.

I think that all of us will agree with Mr. Washburn, who adds
another story of the same purport, and told by Roosevelt himself.
Another old comrade wrote him from jail in Arizona: "Dear
Colonel: I am in trouble. I shot a lady in the eye, but I did not
intend to hit the lady; I was shooting at my wife." Roosevelt had
large charity for sinners of this type, but he would not tolerate
deceit or lying. Thus, when a Congressman made charges to him
against one of the Wild Western appointees whom he accused of
drinking and of gambling, the President remarked that he had to
take into consideration the moral standards of the section, where
a man who gambled or who drank was not necessarily an evil
person. Then the Congressman pressed his charges and said that
the fellow had been in prison for a crime a good many years
before. This roused Roosevelt, who said, "He never told me about
that," and he immediately telegraphed the accused for an
explanation. The man replied that the charge was true, whereupon
the President at once dismissed him, not for gambling or for
drinking, but for trying to hide the fact that he had once been
in jail.

In these days of upheaval, when the most ancient institutions and
laws are put in question, and anarchists and Bolshevists, blind
like Samson, wish to throw down the very pillars on which
Civilization rests, the Family, the fundamental element of
civilized life, is also violently attacked. All the more
precious, therefore, will Theodore Roosevelt's example be, as an
upholder of the Family. He showed how essential it is for the
development of the individual and as a pattern for Society. Only
through the Family can come the deepest joys of life and can the
most intimate duties be transmuted into joys. As son, as husband,
as father, as brother, he fulfilled the ideals of each of those
relations, and, so strong was his family affection, that, while
still a comparatively young man, he drew to him as a patriarch
might, not only his own children, but his kindred in many
degrees. With utter truth he wrote, "I have had the happiest home
life of any man I have ever known." And that, as we who were his
friends understood, was to him the highest and dearest prize
which life could bestow.

CHAPTER XVIII. Hits And Misses

In this sketch I do not attempt to follow chronological order,
except in so far as this is necessary to make clear the
connection between lines of policy, or to define the structural
growth of character. But in Roosevelt's life, as in the lives of
all of us, many events, sometimes important events, occurred and
had much notice at the moment and then faded away and left no
lasting mark. Let us take up a few of these which reveal the
President from different angles.

Since the close of the Civil War the Negro Question had brooded
over the South. The war emancipated the Southern negroes and then
politics came to embitter the question. Partly to gain a
political advantage, partly as some visionaries believed, to do
justice, and partly to punish the Southerners, the Northern
Republicans gave the Southern negroes equal political rights with
the whites. They even handed over the government of some of the
States to wholly incompetent blacks. In self-defense the whites
terrorized the blacks through such secret organizations as the
Ku-Klux Klan, and recovered their ascendancy in governing. Later,
by such specious devices as the Grandfathers' Law, they prevented
most of the blacks from voting, and relieved themselves of the
trouble of maintaining a system of intimidation. The real
difficulty being social and racial, to mix politics with it was
to envenom it.

Roosevelt took a man for what he was without regard to race,
creed, or color. He held that a negro of good manners and
education ought to be treated as a white man would be treated. He
felt keenly the sting of ostracism and he believed that if the
Southern whites would think as he did on this matter; they might
the quicker solve the Negro Question and establish human if not
friendly relations with the blacks.

The negro race at that time had a fine spokesman in Booker T.
Washington, a man who had been born a slave, was educated at the
Hampton Institute, served as teacher there, and then founded the
Tuskegee Institute for teaching negroes. He wisely saw that the
first thing to be done was to teach them trades and farming, by
which they could earn a living and make themselves useful if not
indispensable to the communities in which they settled. He did
not propose to start off to lift his race by letting them imagine
that they could blossom into black Shakespeares and dusky
Raphaels in a single generation. He himself was a man of tact,
prudence, and sagacity with trained intelligence and a natural
gift of speaking.

To him President Roosevelt turned for some suggestions as to
appointing colored persons to offices in the South. It happened
that on the day appointed for a meeting Washington reached the
White House shortly before luncheon time, and that, as they had
not finished their conference, Roosevelt asked him to stay to
luncheon. Washington hesitated politely. Roosevelt insisted. They
lunched, finished their business, and Washington went away. When
this perfectly insignificant fact was published in the papers the
next morning, the South burst into a storm of indignation and
abuse. Some of the Southern journals saw, in what was a mere
routine incident, a terrible portent, foreboding that Roosevelt
planned to put the negroes back to control the Southern whites.
Others alleged the milder motive that he was fishing for negro
votes. The common type of fire-eaters saw in it one of
Roosevelt's unpleasant ways of having fun by insulting the South.
And Southern cartoonists took an ignoble, feeble retaliation by
caricaturing even Mrs. Roosevelt.

The President did not reply publicly. As his invitation to Booker
Washington was wholly unpremeditated, he was surprised by the
rage which it caused among Southerners. But he was clear-sighted
enough to understand that, without intending it, he had made a
mistake, and this he never repeated. Nothing is more elusive than
racial antipathy, and we need not wonder that a man like
Roosevelt who, although he was most solicitous not to hurt
persons' feelings and usually acted, unless he had proof to the
contrary, on the assumption that everybody was blessed with a
modicum of good-will and common sense, should not always be able
to foresee the strange inconsistencies into which the antipathy
of the white Southerners for the blacks might lead. A little
while later there was a religious gathering in Washington of
Protestant-Episcopal ministers. They had a reception at the White
House. Their own managers made out a list of ministers to be
invited, and among the guests were a negro archdeacon and his
wife, and the negro rector of a Maryland parish. Although these
persons attended the reception, the Southern whites burst into no
frenzy of indignation against the President. Who could steer
safely amid such shoals? * The truth is that no President since
Lincoln had a kindlier feeling towards the South than Roosevelt
had. He often referred proudly to the fact that his mother came
from Georgia, and that his two Bulloch uncles fought in the
Confederate Navy. He wished to bring back complete friendship
between the sections. But he understood the difficulties, as his
explanation to Mr. James Ford Rhodes, the historian, in 1905,
amply proved. He agreed fully as to the folly of the
Congressional scheme of reconstruction based on universal negro
suffrage, but he begged Mr. Rhodes not to forget that the initial
folly lay with the Southerners themselves. The latter said, quite
properly, that he did not wonder that much bitterness still
remained in the breasts of the Southern people about the
carpet-bag negro regime. So it was not to be wondered at that in
the late sixties much bitterness should have remained in the
hearts of the Northerners over the remembrance of the senseless
folly and wickedness of the Southerners in the early sixties.
Roosevelt felt that those persons who most heartily agreed that
as it was the presence of the negro which made the problem, and
that slavery was merely the worst possible method of solving it,
we must therefore hold up to reprobation, as guilty of doing one
of the worst deeds which history records, those men who tried to
break up this Union because they were not allowed to bring
slavery and the negro into our new territory. Every step which
followed, from freeing the slave to enfranchising him, was due
only to the North being slowly and reluctantly forced to act by
the South's persistence in its folly and wickedness.

* Leupp,231.

The President could not say these things in public because they
tended, when coming from a man in public place, to embitter
people. But Rhodes was writing what Roosevelt hoped would prove
the great permanent history of the period, and he said that it
would be a misfortune for the country, and especially a
misfortune for the South, if they were allowed to confuse right
and wrong in perspective. He added that his difficulties with the
Southern people had come not from the North, but from the South.
He had never done anything that was not for their interest. At
present, he added, they were, as a whole, speaking well of him.
When they would begin again to speak ill, he did not know, but in
either case his duty was equally clear. *

* February 20, 1905.

Inviting Booker Washington to the White House was a counsel of
perfection which we must consider one of Roosevelt's misses.
Quite different was the voyage of the Great Fleet, planned by him
and carried out without hitch or delay.

We have seen that from his interest in American naval history,
which began before he left Harvard, he came to take a very deep
interest in the Navy itself, and when he was Assistant Secretary,
he worked night and day to complete its preparation for entering
the Spanish War. From the time he became President, he urged upon
Congress and the country the need of maintaining a fleet adequate
to ward off any dangers to which we might be exposed. In season
and out of season he preached, with the ardor of a propagandist,
his gospel that the Navy is the surest guarantor of peace which
this country possesses. By dint of urging he persuaded Congress
to consent to lay down one battleship of the newest type a year.
Congress was not so much reluctant as indifferent. Even the
lesson of the Spanish War failed to teach the Nation's
law-makers, or the Nation itself, that we must have a Navy to
protect us if we intended to play the role of a World Power. The
American people instinctively dreaded militarism, and so they
resisted consenting to naval or military preparations which might
expand into a great evil such as they saw controlling the nations
of Europe.

Nevertheless Roosevelt, as usual, could not be deterred by
opposition; and when the Hague Conference in 1907, through the
veto of Germany, refused to limit armaments by sea and land, he
warned Congress that one new battleship a year would not do, that
they must build four. Meanwhile, he had pushed to completion a
really formidable American Fleet, which assembled in Hampton
Roads on December 1, 1907, and ten days later weighed anchor for
parts unknown. There were sixteen battleships, commanded by Rear
Admiral Robley D. Evans. Every ship was new, having been built
since the Spanish War. The President and Mrs. Roosevelt and many
notables reviewed the Fleet from the President's yacht Mayflower,
as it passed out to sea. Later, the country learned that the
Fleet was to sail round Cape Horn, to New Zealand and Australia,
up the Pacific to San Francisco, then across to Japan, and so
steer homeward through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, and the
Mediterranean to Gibraltar, across the Atlantic, and back to
Hampton Roads.

The American public did not quite know what to make of this
dramatic gesture. Roosevelt's critics said, of course, that it
was the first overt display of his combativeness, and that from
this he would go on to create a great army and be ready, at the
slightest provocation, to attack any foreign Power. In fact,
however, the sending of the Great Fleet, which was wholly his
project, was designed by him to strengthen the prospect of peace
for the United States. Through it, he gave a concrete
illustration of his maxim: "Speak softly, but carry a big stick."
The Panama Canal was then half dug and would be finished in a few
years. Distant nations thought of this country as of a land
peopled by dollar-chasers, too absorbed in getting rich to think
of providing defense for themselves. The fame of Dewey's exploit
at Manila Bay had ceased to strike wonder among foreign peoples,
after they heard how small and almost contemptible, judging by
the new standards, the Squadron was by which he won his victory.
Japan, the rising young giant of the Orient, felt already strong
enough to resent any supposed insult from the United States.
Germany had embarked on her wild naval policy of creating a fleet
which would soon be able to cope with that of England.

When, however, the Great Fleet steamed into Yokohama or Bombay or
any other port, it furnished a visible evidence of the power of
the country from which it came. We could not send an army to
furnish the same object-lesson. But the Fleet must have opened
the eyes of any foreign jingoes who supposed that they might send
over with impunity their battleships and attack our ports. In
this way it served directly to discourage war against us, and
accordingly it was a powerful agent for peace. Spectacular the
voyage was without question, like so many of Roosevelt's acts,
but if you analyze it soberly, do you not admit that it was the
one obvious, simple way by which to impress upon an uncertain and
rapacious world the fact that the United States had manpower as
well as money-power, and that they were prepared to repel all

On February 22, 1909, the White Fleet steamed back to Hampton
Roads and was received by President Roosevelt. It had performed a
great moral achievement. It had also raised the efficiency of its
officers and the discipline of its crews to the highest point.
There had been no accident; not a scratch on any ship.

"Isn't it magnificent?" said Roosevelt, as he toasted the
Admirals and Captains in the cabin of the Mayflower. "Nobody
after this will forget that the American coast is on the Pacific
as well as on the Atlantic." Ten days later he left the White
House, and after he left, the prestige of the American Fleet was
slowly frittered away.

So important is it, if we would form a just estimate of
Roosevelt, to understand his attitude towards war, that I must
refer to the subject briefly here. One of the most authoritative
observers of international politics now living, a man who has
also had the best opportunity for studying the chief statesmen of
our age, wrote me after Roosevelt's death: "I deeply grieve with
you in the loss of our friend. He was an extraordinary man. The
only point in which I ever found myself seriously differing from
him was in the value he set upon war. He did not seem to realize
how great an evil it is, and in how many ways, fascinated as he
was by the virtues which it sometimes called out; but in this
respect, also, I think his views expanded and mellowed as time
went on. His mind was so capacious as to take in Old-World
affairs in a sense which very few people outside Europe, since
Hamilton, have been able to do."

Now the truth is that neither the eminent person who wrote this
letter, nor many others among us, saw as clearly during the first
decade of this century as Roosevelt saw that war was not a remote
possibility, but a very real danger. I think that he was almost
the first in the United States to feel the menace of Germany to
the entire world. He knew the strength of her army, and when she
began to build rapidly a powerful navy, he understood that the
likelihood of her breaking the peace was more than doubled; for
with the fleet she could at pleasure go up and down the seas,
picking quarrels as she went. If war came on a great scale in
Europe, our Republic would probably be involved; we should either
take sides and so have to furnish a contingent, or we should
restrict our operations to self-defense. In either case we must
be prepared.

But Roosevelt recognized also that on the completion of the
Panama Canal we might be exposed to much international friction,
and unless we were ready to defend the Canal and its approaches,
a Foreign Power might easily do it great damage or wrest it from
us, at least for a time. Here, too, was another motive for facing
the possibility of war. We were growing up in almost childish
trust in a world filled with warlike nations, which regarded war
not only as the obvious way in which to settle disputes, but as
the easiest way to seize the territory and the wealth of rich
neighbors who could not defend themselves.

This being the condition of life as our country had to lead it,
we were criminally remiss in not taking precautions. But
Roosevelt went farther than this; he believed that, war or no
war, a nation must be able to defend itself; so must every
individual be. Every youth should have sufficient military
training to fit him to take his place at a moment's notice in the
national armament. This did not mean the maintenance of a large
standing army, or the adoption of a soul and character-killing
system of militarism like the German. It meant giving training to
every youth who was physically sound which would develop and
strengthen his body, teach him obedience, and impress upon him
his patriotic duty to his country.

I was among those who, twenty years ago, feared that Roosevelt's
projects were inspired by innate pugnacity which he could not
outgrow. Now, in this year of his death, I recognize that he was
right, and I believe that there is no one, on whom the lesson of
the Atrocious War has not been lost, who does not believe in his
gospel of military training, both for its value in promoting
physical fitness and health and in providing the country with
competent defenders. Roosevelt detested as much as anyone the
horrors of war, but, as he had too much reason to remind the
American people shortly before his death, there are things worse
than war. And when in 1919 President Charles W. Eliot becomes the
chief advocate of universal military training, we need not fear
that it is synonymous with militarism.

On one subject--a protective tariff--I think that Roosevelt was
less satisfactory than on any other. At Harvard, in our college
days, John Stuart Mill's ideas on economics prevailed, and they
were ably expounded by Charles F. Dunbar, who then stood first
among American economists. Being a consistent Individualist, and
believing that liberty is a principle which applies to commerce,
not less than to intellectual and moral freedom, Mill, of course,
insisted on Free Trade. But after Roosevelt joined the Republican
Party--in the straw vote for President, in 1880, he had voted
like a large majority of undergraduates for Bayard, a Democrat--he
adopted Protection as the right principle in theory and in
practice. The teachings of Alexander Hamilton, the wonderful
spokesman of Federalism, the champion of a strong Government
which should be beneficent because it was unselfish and
enlightened, captivated and filled him. In 1886, in his Life of
Benton, he wrote: "Free traders are apt to look at the tariff
from a sentimental standpoint; but it is in reality a purely
business matter and should be decided solely on grounds of
expediency. Political economists have pretty generally agreed
that protection is vicious in theory and harmful in practice; but
if the majority of the people in interest wish it, and it affects
only themselves, there is no earthly reason why they should not
be allowed to try the experiment to their heart's content." *

* Roosevelt: Thomas H. Benton, 67. American Statesmen Series.

Perhaps we ought to infer from this extract that Roosevelt, as an
historical critic, strove to preserve an open mind; as an ardent
Republican, however, he never wavered in his support of the
tariff. Even his sense of humor permitted him to swallow with out
a smile the demagogue's cant about "infant industries," or the
raising of the tariff after election by the Republicans who had
promised to reduce it. To those of us who for many years regarded
the tariff as the dividing line between the parties, his stand
was most disappointing. And when the head of one of the chief
Trusts in America cynically blurted out, "The Tariff is the
mother of Trusts," we hoped that Roosevelt, who had then begun
his stupendous battle with the Trusts, would deal them a
staggering blow by shattering the tariff. But, greatly to our
chagrin, he did nothing.

His enemies tried to explain his callousness to this reform by
hinting that he had some personal interest at stake, or that he
was under obligations to tariff magnates. Nothing could be more
absurd than these innuendoes; from the first of his career to the
last, no man ever brought proof that he had directly or
indirectly secured Roosevelt's backing by question able means.
And there were times enough when passions ran so high that any
one who could produce an iota of such testimony would have done
so. The simple fact is, that in looking over the field of
important questions which Roosevelt believed must be met by new
legislation, he looked on the tariff as unimportant in comparison
with railroads, and conservation, and the measures for public
health. I think, also, that he never studied the question
thoroughly; he threw over Mill's Individualism early in his
public career and with it went Mill's political economy. As late
as December, 1912, after the affronting Payne Aldrich Tariff Act
had been passed under his Republican successor, I reminded
Roosevelt that I had never voted for him because I did not
approve of his tariff policy. To which he replied, almost in the
words of the Benton extract in 1886, "My dear boy, the tariff is
only a question of expediency."

In this field also I fear that we must score a miss against him.

Cavour used to say that he did not need to resort to craft, which
was supposed to be a statesman's favorite instrument, he simply
told the truth and everybody was deceived. Roosevelt might have
said the same thing. His critics were always on the look out for
some ulterior motive, some trick, or cunning thrust, in what he
did; consequently they misjudged him, for he usually did the most
direct thing in the most direct way.

The Brownsville Affair proved this. On the night of August 13,
1906, several colored soldiers stationed at Fort Brown, Texas,
stole from their quarters into the near-by town of Brownsville
and shot up the inhabitants, against whom they had a grudge. As
soon as the news of the outbreak reached the fort, the rest of
the colored garrison was called out to quell it, and the guilty
soldiers, under cover of darkness, joined their companions and
were undiscovered. Next day the commander began an investigation,
but as none of the culprits confessed, the President discharged
nearly all of the three companies. There upon his critics
insinuated that Roosevelt had indulged his race hatred of the
blacks; a few years before, many of these same critics had
accused him of wishing to insult the Southern whites by inviting
Booker Washington to lunch. The reason for his action with the
Brownsville criminals was so clear that it did not need to be
stated. He intended that every soldier or sailor who wore the
uniform of the United States, be he white, yellow, or black,
should not be allowed to sully that uniform and go unpunished. He
felt the stain on the service keenly; in spite of denunciation he
trusted that the common sense of the Nation would eventually
uphold him, as it did.

A few months later he came to Cambridge to make his famous
"Mollycoddle Speech," and in greeting him, three or four of us
asked him jokingly, "How about Brownsville?" "Brownsville?" he
replied, laughing; "Brownsville will soon be forgotten, but 'Dear
Maria' will stick to me all my life." This referred to another
annoyance which had recently bothered him. He had always been
used to talk among friends about public matters and persons with
amazing unreserve. He took it for granted that those to whom he
spoke would regard his frank remarks as confidential; being
honorable himself, he assumed a similar sense of honor in his
listeners. In one instance, however, he was deceived. Among the
guests at the White House were a gentleman and his wife. The
latter was a convert to Roman Catholicism, and she had not only
all the proverbial zeal of a convert, but an amount of
indiscretion which seems incredible in any one. She often led the
conversation to Roman Catholic subjects, and especially to the
discussion of who was likely to be the next American Cardinal.
President Roosevelt had great respect for Archbishop Ireland, and
he said, frankly, that he should be glad to see the red hat go to
him. The lady's husband was appointed to a foreign Embassy, and
they were both soon thrown into an Ultramontane atmosphere, where
clerical intrigues had long furnished one of the chief amusements
of a vapid and corrupt Court. The lady, who, of course, could not
have realized the impropriety, made known the President's regard
for Archbishop Ireland. She even had letters to herself beginning
"Dear Maria," to prove the intimate terms on which she and her
husband stood with Mr. Roosevelt, and to suggest how important a
personage she was in his estimation. Assured, as she thought, of
her influence in Washington, she seems also to have aspired to
equal influence in the Vatican. That would not be the first
occasion on which Cardinals' hats had been bestowed through the
benign feminine intercession. Reports from Rome were favorable;
Archbishop Ireland's prospects looked rosy.

But the post of Cardinal is so eminent that there are always
several candidates for each vacancy. I do not know whether or not
it came about through one of Archbishop Ireland's rivals, or
through "Dear Maria's" own indiscretion, but the fact leaked out
that President Roosevelt was personally interested in Archbishop
Ireland's success. That settled the Archbishop. The Hierarchy
would never consent to be influenced by an American President,
who was also a Protestant. It might take instructions from the
Emperor of Austria or the King of Spain; it had even allowed the
German Kaiser, also a Protestant, indirectly but effectually to
block the election of Cardinal Rampolla to be Pope in 1903; but
the hint that the Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, might be
made Cardinal because the American President respected him, could
not be tolerated. The President's letters beginning "Dear Maria"
went gayly through the newspapers of the world, and the man in
the street everywhere wondered how Roosevelt could have been so
indiscreet as to have trusted so imprudent a zealot. "Dear Maria"
and her husband were recalled from their Embassy and put out of
reach of committing further indiscretions of that sort.
Archbishop Ireland never became Cardinal. In spite of the
President's forebodings, the "Dear Maria" incident did not cling
to him all his life, but sank into oblivion, while the world,
busied with matters of real importance, rushed on towards a great
catastrophe. Proofs that a man or a woman can do very foolish
things are so common that "Dear Maria" could not win lasting fame
by hers. I do not think, however, that this experience taught
Roosevelt reticence. He did not lose his faith that a sense of
honor was widespread, and would silence the tongues of the
persons whom he talked to in confidence.

No President ever spoke so openly to newspaper men as he did. He
told them many a secret with only the warning, "Mind, this is
private," and none of them betrayed him. When he entered the
White House he gathered all the newspaper men round him, and said
that no mention was to be made of Mrs. Roosevelt, or of any
detail of their family life, while they lived there. If this rule
were broken, he would refuse for the rest of his term to allow
the representative of the paper which published the unwarranted
report to enter the White House, or to receive any of the
President's communications. This rule also was religiously
observed, with the result that Mrs. Roosevelt was spared the
disgust and indignity of a vulgar publicity, which had thrown its
lurid light on more than one "First Lady of the Land" in previous
administrations, and even on the innocent Baby McKee, President
Harrison's grand-child.

We cannot too often bear in mind that Theodore Roosevelt never
forgot the Oneness of Society. If he aimed at correcting an
industrial or financial abuse by special laws. he knew that this
work could be partial only. It might promote the health of the
entire body, but it was not equivalent to sanifying that entire
body. There was no general remedy. A plaster applied to a skin
cut does not cure an internal disease. But he watched the
unexpected effects of laws and saw how that influence spread from
one field to another.

Roosevelt traced closely the course of Law and Custom to their
ultimate objects, the family and the individual. In discussing
the matter with Mr. Rhodes he cordially agreed with what the
historian said about our American rich men. He insisted that the
same thing held true of our politicians, even the worst: that the
average Roman rich man, like the average Roman public man, of the
end of the Republic and of the beginning of the Empire, makes the
corresponding man of our own time look like a self-denying,
conscientious Puritan. He did not think very highly of the
American multi-millionaire, nor of his wife, sons, and daughters
when compared with some other types of our citizens; even in
ability the plutocrat did not seem to Roosevelt to show up very
strongly save in his own narrowly limited field; and he and his
womanhood, and those of less fortune who modeled their lives upon
his and upon the lives of his wife and children, struck Roosevelt
as taking very little advantage of their opportunities. But to
denounce them with hysterical exaggeration as resembling the
unspeakable tyrants and debauchees of classic times, was simple
nonsense. Roosevelt hoped he had been of some assistance in
moving our people along the line Mr. Rhodes mentioned; that is,
along the line of a sane, moderate purpose to supervise the
business use of wealth and to curb its excesses, while keeping as
far aloof from the policy of the visionary and demagogue as from
the policy of the wealthy corruptionist.


Critics frequently remark that Roosevelt was the most masterful
politician of his time, and what we have already seen of his
career should justify this assertion. We need, however, to define
what we mean by "politician." Boss Platt, of New York, was a
politician, but far removed from Roosevelt. Platt and all similar
dishonest manipulators of voters--and the dishonesty took many
forms--held their power, not by principles, but by exerting an
unprincipled influence over the masses who supported them.
Roosevelt, on the other hand, was a great politician because he
saw earlier than most men certain fundamental principles which he
resolved to carry through whether the Bosses or their supporters
liked it or not. In a word he believed in principles rather than
in men. He was a statesman, and like the statesman he understood
that half a loaf is often better than no bread and that, though
he must often compromise and conciliate, he must surrender
nothing essential.

As a result, his career as Assemblyman, as Civil Service
Commissioner, as Police Commissioner of New York City, as
Governor of New York State, and as President, seems a continuous
rising scale of success. We see the achievement which swallows up
the baffling difficulties and the stubborn opposition. These we
must always remember if we would measure the extent of the
victory. It was Roosevelt's persistence and his refusal to be
baffled or turned aside which really made him seem to triumph in
all his work.

He never doubted, as I have often said, the necessity of party
organization in our political system, although he recognized the
tendency to corruption in it, the unreasoning loyalty which it
bred and its substitution of Party for Country in its teaching.
He had known something of political machine methods at Albany.
After he became President, he knew them through and through as
they were practiced on national proportions at Washington. The
Machine had hoped to shelve him by making him Vice President, and
in spite of it he suddenly emerged as President. This
confrontation would have been embarrassing on both sides if
Roosevelt had not displayed unexpected tact. He avowed his
purpose of carrying out McKinley's policies and he kept it
faithfully, thus relieving the Machine of much anxiety. By his
straightforwardness he even won the approval of Boss Quay, the
lifelong political bandit from Pennsylvania, who went to him and
said in substance: 'I believe that you are square and I will
stand by you until you prove otherwise.' Roosevelt made no
bargain, but like a sensible man he did not forbid Quay from
voting on his side. Personally, also, Quay's lack of hypocrisy
attracted him; for Quay never pretended that he was in politics
to promote the Golden Rule and he had skirted so close to the
Penal Code that he knew how it looked and how he could evade it.
Senator Hanna, the Ohio political Boss, who had made McKinley
President by ways which cannot all be documented except by
persons who have examined the Recording Angel's book (and
research students of that original source never return), was
another towering figure whom Roosevelt had to get along with. He
found out how to do it, and to do it so amicably that it was
reported that he breakfasted often with the Ohio Senator and that
they even ate griddle-cakes and scrapple together. The Senator
evidently no more understood the alert and fascinating young
President than we under stand what is going on in the brain of a
playful young tiger, but instinct warned him that this mysterious
young creature, electrified by a thousand talents, was dangerous
and must be held down. And so with the other members of the
Republican Machine which ran both Houses of Congress and expected
to run the undisciplined President too. Roosevelt studied them
all and discovered how to deal with each.

At the beginning of the year 1904, everybody began to discuss the
next Presidential campaign. Who should be the Republican
candidate? The President, naturally, wished to be elected and
thereby to hold the office in his own right and not by the chance
of assassination. Senator Hanna surprised many of the politicians
by bagging a good many delegates for himself. He probably did not
desire to be President; like Warwick he preferred the glory of
king-maker to that of king; but he was a shrewd business man who
knew the value of having goods which, although he did not care
for them himself, he might exchange for others. I doubt whether
he deluded himself into supposing that the American people would
elect so conspicuous a representative of the Big Interests as he
was, to be President, but he knew that the fortunes of candidates
in political conventions are uncertain, and that if he had a
considerable body of delegates to swing from one man to another,
he might, if his choice won, become the power behind the new
throne as he had been behind McKinley's. And if we could suspect
him of humor he may have enjoyed fun to a mild degree in keeping
the irrepressible Roosevelt in a state of suspense.

Senator Hanna's death, however, in March, 1904, removed the only
competitor whom Roosevelt could have regarded as dangerous.
Thenceforth he held the field, and yet, farseeing politician
though he was, he did not feel sure. The Convention at Chicago
nominated him, virtually, by acclamation. In the following months
of a rather slow campaign he had fits of depression, although all
signs pointed to his success. Talking with Hay as late as October
30, he said: "It seems a cheap sort of thing to say, and I would
not say it to other people, but laying aside my own great
personal interests and hopes,-- for of course I desire intensely
to succeed,--I have the greatest pride that in this fight we are
not only making it on clearly avowed principles, but we have the
principles and the record to avow. How can I help being a little
proud when I contrast the men and the considerations by which I
am attacked, and those by which I am defended?" *

* W. R. Thayer: John Hay, II, 356, 357.

Just at the end, the campaign was enlivened by the attack which
the Democratic candidate, Judge Alton B. Parker, made upon his
opponent. He charged that Mr. Cortelyou, the manager of the
Republican campaign, had received great sums of money from the
Big Interests, and that he had, indeed, been appointed manager
because, from his previous experience as Secretary of the
Department of Commerce, he had special information in regard to
malefactors of great wealth which would enable him to coerce them
to good purpose for the Republican Corruption Fund. President
Roosevelt published a letter denying Judge Parker's statements as
"unqualifiedly and atrociously false." If Judge Parker's attack
had any effect on the election it was to reduce his own votes.
Later, Edward H. Harriman, the railroad magnate, tried to smirch
Roosevelt by accusing him of seeking Harriman's help in 1904, but
this charge also was never sustained.

At the election on November 8, Roosevelt had a majority of nearly
two million and a half votes out of thirteen million and a half
cast, thus securing by large odds the greatest popular majority
any President has had. The Electoral College gave him 336 votes
and Parker 140. That same evening, his victory being assured, he
dictated the following statement to the press: "The wise custom
which limits the President to two terms, regards the substance
and not the form, and under no circumstances will I be a
candidate for and accept the nomination for another." Those who
heard this statement, or who had talked the matter over with
Roosevelt, under stood that he had in mind a renomination in
1908, but many persons regarded it as his final renunciation of
ever being a candidate for the Presidency. And later, when
circumstances quite altered the situation, this "promise" was
revived to plague him.

>From March 4, 1905, he was President "in his own right." Behind
him stood the American people, and he was justified in regarding
himself, at that time, as the most popular President since
Washington. The unprecedented majority of votes he had received
at the election proved that, and proved also that the country
believed in "his policies." So he might go ahead to carry out and
to extend the general reforms which he had embarked on against
much opposition. No one could question that he had a mandate from
the people, and during his second term he was still more

Now, however, came the little rift which widened and widened and
at last opened a great chasm between Roosevelt and the people on
one side and the Machine dominators of the Republican Party on
the other. For although Roosevelt was the choice of the
Republicans and of migratory voters from other parties, although
he was, in fact, the idol of millions who supported him, the
Republican Machine insisted on ruling. Before an election, the
Machine consents to a candidate who can win, but after he has
been elected the. Machine instinctively acts as his master. A
strong man, like President Cleveland, may hold out against the
Bosses of his party, but the penalty he has to pay is to find
himself bereft of support and his party shattered. This might
have happened in Roosevelt's case also, if he had not been more
tactful than Cleveland was in dealing with his enemies.

He now had to learn the bitter knowledge of the trials which
beset a President whose vision outsoars that of the practical
rulers of his party. In the House of Representatives there was a
little group led by the Speaker, Joseph G. Cannon, of Illinois,
who controlled that part of Congress with despotic arrogance. In
the Senate there was a similar group of political oligarchs,
called the Steering Committee, which decided what questions
should be discussed, what bills should be killed, and what others
should be passed. Aldrich, of Rhode Island, headed this. A
multi-millionaire himself, he was the particular advocate of the
Big Interests. Next came Allison, of Iowa, an original
Republican, who entered Congress in 1863 and remained there for
the rest of his life, a hide-bound party man, personally honest
and sufficiently prominent to be "talked of" for Vice President
on several occasions. He was rather the peacemaker of the
Steering Committee, having the art of reconciling antagonists and
of smoothing annoying angles. A little older, was Orville H.
Platt, the Senator from Connecticut who died in 1905, and was
esteemed a model of virtue among the Senators of his time. As an
offset to the men of threescore and ten and over was Albert J.
Beveridge, the young Senator from Indiana, vigorous, eloquent,
fearless, and radical, whose mind and heart were consecrated to
Roosevelt. Beveridge, at least, had no ties, secret or open, with
the Trusts, or the Interests, or Wall Street; on the contrary, he
attacked them fiercely, and among other Anti-Trust legislation he
drove through the Meat Inspection Bill. How he managed to get on
with the gray wolves of the Committee it would be interesting to
hear; but we must rid ourselves of the notion that those gray
wolves sought personal profit in money by their steering. None of
them was charged with using his position for the benefit of his
purse. Power was what those politicians desired; Power, which
gave them the opportunity to make the political tenets of their
party prevail. Orville Platt, or Allison, regarded Republicanism
with al most religious fanaticism; and we need not search far in
history to find fanatics who were personally very good and
tender-hearted men, but who would put heretics to death with a
smile of pious satisfaction.

Roosevelt's task was to persuade the Steering Committee to
support him in as many of his Radical measures as he could. They
had done this during his first Administration, partly because
they did not see whither he was leading. Senator Hanna, then a
member of the Steering Committee, attempted to steady all
Republicans who seemed likely to be seduced by Roosevelt's
subversive novelties by telling them to "stand pat," and, as we
look back now, the Senator from Ohio with his stand-pattism broom
reminds us of the portly Mrs. Partington trying to sweep back the
inflowing Atlantic Ocean. During the second Administration,
however, no one could plead ignorance or surprise when Roosevelt
urged on new projects. He made no secret of his policies, and he
could not have disguised, if he would, the fact that he was
thorough. By a natural tendency the "Stand-Patters" drew closer
together. Similarly the various elements which followed Roosevelt
tended to combine. Already some of these were beginning to be
called "Insurgents," but this name did not frighten them nor did
it shame them back into the fold of the orthodox Republicans. As
Roosevelt continued his fight for reclamation, conservation,
health, and pure foods, and governmental control of the great
monopolies, the opposition to him, on the part of the capitalists
affected, grew more intense. What wonder that these men,
realizing at last that their unlimited privileges would be taken
away from them, resented their deprivation. The privileged
classes in England have not welcomed the suggestion that their
great landed estates shall be cut up, nor can we expect that the
American dukes and marquises of oil and steel and copper and
transportation should look forward with meek acquiescence to
their own extinction.

Nevertheless, there is no politics in politics, and so the gray
wolves who ran the Republican Party, knowing that Roosevelt, and
not themselves, had the determining popular support of the
country, were too wary to block him entirely as the Democrats had
done under Cleveland. They let his bills go through, but with
more evident reluctance, only after bitter fighting. And as they
were nearly all church members in good standing, we can imagine
that they prayed the Lord to hasten the day when this pestilent
marplot in the White House should retire from office. Trusting
Roosevelt so far as to believe that he would stand by his pledge
not to be a candidate in 1908, they cast about for a person of
their own stripe whom they could make the country accept.

But Roosevelt himself felt too deeply involved in the cause of
Reform, which he had been pushing for seven years, to allow his
successor to be dictated by the Stand-Patters. So he sought among
his associates in the Cabinet for the member who, judging by
their work together, would most loyally carry on his policies,
and at length he decided upon William H. Taft, his Secretary of
War. "Root would make the better President, but Taft would be the
better candidate," Theodore wrote to an intimate, and that
opinion was generally held in Washington and elsewhere. Mr. Root
had so conducted the Department of State, since the death of John
Hay, that many good judges regarded him as the ablest of all the
Secretaries of that Department, and Roosevelt himself went even
farther. "Root," he said to me, "is the greatest intellectual
force in American public life since Lincoln." But in his career
as lawyer, which brought him to the head of the American Bar, he
had been attorney for powerful corporations, and that being the
time when the Government was fighting the Corporations, it was
not supposed that his candidacy would be popular. So Taft was
preferred to him.

The Republican Machine accepted Taft as a candidate with
composure, if not with enthusiasm. Anyone would be better than
Roosevelt in the eyes of the Machine and its supporters, and
perhaps they perceived in Secretary Taft qualities not wholly
unsympathetic. They were probably thankful, also, that Roosevelt
had not demanded more. He allowed the "regulars" to choose the
nominee for Vice-President, and he did not meddle with the
make-up of the Republican National Committee. One of his critics,
Dean Lewis, marks this as Roosevelt's chief political blunder,
because by leaving the Republican National Committee in command
he virtually predetermined the policy of the next four years.
Only a very strong President with equal zeal and fighting quality
could win against the Committee. In 1908 he had them so docile
that he might have changed their membership, and changed the
rules by which elections were governed if he had so willed, but,
just as before the election of 1904, Roosevelt had doubted his
own popularity in the country, so now he missed his chance
because he did not wish to seem to wrest from the unwilling
Machine powers which it lost no time in using against him.

The campaign never reached a dramatic crisis. Mr. Bryan, the
Democratic candidate, who still posed as the Boy Orator of the
Platte, although he had passed forty-eight years of age, made a
spirited canvass, and when the votes were counted he gained more
than a million and a third over the total for Judge Parker in
1904. But Mr. Taft won easily by a million and a quarter votes.

Between election and inauguration an ominous disillusion set in.
The Rooseveltians had taken it for granted that the new President
would carry on the policies of the old; more than that, the
impression prevailed among them that the high officials of the
Roosevelt Administration, including some members of his Cabinet,
would be retained, but when Inauguration Day came, it appeared
that Mr. Taft had chosen a new set of advisers, and he denied
that he had given any one reason to believe that he would do

March 4, 1909, was a wintry day in Washington. A snowstorm and
high winds prevented holding the inaugural exercises out of doors
as usual on the East Front of the Capitol. President Roosevelt
and President-elect Taft drove in state down Pennsylvania Avenue,
and Mr. Taft, having taken the oath of office, delivered his
inaugural address in the Senate Chamber. The ceremonies being
over, Mr. Roosevelt, instead of accompanying the new President to
the White House, went to the railway station and took the train
for New York. This innovation had been planned some time before,
because Mr. Roosevelt had arranged to sail for Europe in a few
days, and needed to reach Oyster Bay as soon as possible to
complete his preparations.

Many an eye-witness who watched him leave, as a simple civilian,
the Hall of Congress, must have felt that with his going there
closed one of the most memorable administrations this country had
ever known. Roosevelt departed, but his invisible presence still
filled the capital city and frequented every quarter of the


What to do with ex-Presidents is a problem which worries those
happy Americans who have nothing else to worry over. They think
of an ex-President as of a sacred white elephant, who must not
work, although he has probably too little money to keep him alive
in proper ease and dignity. In fact, however, these gentlemen
have managed, at least during the past half-century, to sink back
into the civilian mass from which they emerged without suffering
want themselves or dimming the lustre which radiates from the
office. Roosevelt little thought that in quitting the Presidency
he was not going into political obscurity.

Roosevelt had two objects in view when he left the White House.
He sought long and complete rest, and to place himself beyond the
reach of politicians. In fairness, he wished to give Mr. Taft a
free field, which would hardly have been possible if Roosevelt
had remained in Washington or New York, where politicians might
have had access to him.

Accordingly, he planned to hunt big game in Africa for a year,
and in order to have a definite purpose, which might give his
expedition lasting usefulness, he arranged to collect specimens
for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. His second son,
Kermit, then twenty years of age, besides several naturalists and
hunters, accompanied him. His expedition sailed from New York on
March 23d, touched at the Azores and at Gibraltar, where the
English Commander showed him the fortifications, and transshipped
at Naples into an East-African liner. He found his stateroom
filled with flowers sent by his admiring friend, Kaiser William
II, with a telegram of effusive greeting, and with messages and
tokens from minor potentates. More important to him than these
tributes, however, was the presence of Frederick C. Selous, the
most famous hunter of big game in Africa, who joined the ship and
proved a congenial fellow passenger. They reached Mombasa on
April 23rd, and after the caravan had been made ready, they
started for the interior.

We need not follow in detail the year which Roosevelt and his
party spent in his African hunting. The railroad took them to
Lake Victoria Nyanza, but they stopped at many places on the way,
and made long excursions into the country. Then from the Lake
they proceeded to the Albert Nyanza and steamed down the Nile to
Gondokoro, which they reached on February 26, 1910. On March 14th
at Khartoum, where Mrs. Roosevelt and their daughter Ethel
awaited them, Roosevelt emerged into civilization again. He and
Kermit had shot 512 beasts and birds, of which they kept about a
dozen for trophies, the rest going to the Smithsonian Institution
and to the museums. A few of their specimens were unique, and the
total product of the expedition was the most important which had
ever reached America from Africa.

After spending a few days in visiting Omdurman and other scenes
connected with the British conquest of the Mahdists, less than a
dozen years before, the Roosevelts went down the river to Cairo,
where the ex-President addressed the Egyptian students. These
were the backbone of the so-called Nationalist Party, which aimed
at driving out the British and had killed the Prime Minister a
month before. They warned Roosevelt that if he dared to touch on
this subject he, too, would be assassinated. But such threats did
not move him then or ever. Roosevelt reproved them point-blank
for killing Boutros Pasha, and told them that a party which
sought freedom must show its capacity for living by law and
order, before it could expect to deserve freedom.

>From Egypt, Roosevelt crossed to Naples, and then began what must
be described as a triumphal progress through Central and Western
Europe. Only General Grant, after his Presidency, had made a
similar tour, but he did not excite a tenth of the popular
interest and enthusiasm which Roosevelt excited. Although Grant
had the prestige of being the successful general of the most
tremendous war ever fought in America, he had nothing picturesque
or magnetic in his personality. The peasants in the remote
regions had heard of Roosevelt; persons of every class in the
cities knew about him a little more definitely; and all were keen
to see him. Except Garibaldi, no modern ever set multitudes on
fire as Roosevelt did, and Garibaldi was the hero of a much
narrower sphere and had the advantage of being the hero of the
then downtrodden masses. Roosevelt, on the other hand, belonged
to the ruling class in America, had served nearly eight years as
President of the United States, and was equally the popular idol
without class distinction. And he had just come from a very
remarkable exploit, having led his scientific and hunting
expedition for twelve months through the perils and hardships of
tropical Africa. We Americans may well thrill with satisfaction
to remember that it was this most typical of Americans who
received the honors and homage of the world precisely because he
was most typically American and strikingly individual.

Before he reached Italy on his way back, he had invitations from
most of the sovereigns of Europe to visit them, and universities
and learned bodies requested him to address them. At Rome, as
guest of King Victor Emanuel II, he received ovations of the
exuberant and throbbing kind, which only the Italians can give.
But here also occurred what might have been, but for his common
sense and courage, a hitch in his triumphal progress. The
intriguers of the Vatican, always on the alert to edify the Roman
Catholics in the United States, thought they saw a chance to
exalt themselves and humble the Protestants by stipulating that
Colonel Roosevelt, who had accepted an invitation to call upon
the Pope, should not visit any Protestant organization while he
was in that city. Some time before, Vice-President Fairbanks had
incensed Cardinal Merry del Val, the Papal Secretary, and his
group, by remarks at the Methodist College in Rome. Here was a
dazzling opportunity for not only getting even, but for coming
out victorious. If the Vatican schemers could force Colonel
Roosevelt, who, at the moment, was the greatest figure in the
world, to obey their orders, they might exult in the sight of all
the nations. Should he balk, he would draw down upon himself a
hostile Catholic vote at home. Probably the good-natured Pope
himself understood little about the intrigue and took little part
in it, for Pius X was rather a kindly and a genuinely pious
pontiff. But Cardinal Merry del Val, apt pupil of the Jesuits,
made an egregious blunder if he expected to catch Theodore
Roosevelt in a Papal trap. The Rector of the American Catholic
College in Rome wrote: " 'The Holy Father will be delighted to
grant audience to Mr. Roosevelt on April 5th, and hopes nothing
will arise to prevent it, such as the much-regretted incident
which made the reception of Mr. Fairbanks impossible.' Roosevelt
replied to our Ambassador as follows: 'On the other hand, I in my
turn must decline to have any stipulations made or submit to any
conditions which in any way limit my freedom of conduct.' To this
the Vatican replied. through our Ambassador: 'In view of the
circumstances for which neither His Holiness nor Mr. Roosevelt is
responsible, an audience could not occur except on the
understanding expressed in the former message.'" *

* Washburn, 164.

Ex-President Roosevelt did not, by calling upon the Pope, furnish
Cardinal Merry del Val with cause to gloat. A good while
afterward in talking over the matter with me, Roosevelt dismissed
it with "No self-respecting American could allow his actions or
his going and coming to be dictated to him by any Pope or King."
That, to him, was so self-evident a fact that it required no
discussion; and the American people, including probably a large
majority of Roman Catholics, agreed with him.

>From Rome he went to Austria, to Vienna first, where the aged
Emperor, Francis Joseph, welcomed him; and then to Budapest,
where the Hungarians, eager for their independence, shouted
themselves hoarse at sight of the representative of American
independence. Wherever he went the masses in the cities crowded
round him and the people in the country flocked to cheer him as
he passed. Since Norway had conferred on him the Nobel Peace
Prize after the Russo-Japanese War, he journeyed to Christiania
to pay his respects to the Nobel Committee, and there he
delivered an address on the conditions necessary for a universal
peace in which he foreshadowed many of the terms which have since
been preached by the advocates of a League of Nations. In Berlin,
the Kaiser received him with ostentatious friendliness. He
addressed him as "Friend Roosevelt." Since the Colonel was not a
monarch the Kaiser could not address him as "Brother" or as
"Cousin," and the word "Friend "disguised whatever condescension
he may have felt. There was a grand military review of twelve
thousand troops, which the Kaiser and his "Friend" inspected, and
he took care to inform Roosevelt that he was the first civilian
to whom this honor had ever been paid. An Imperial photographer
made snapshots of the Colonel and the Kaiser, and these were
subsequently given to the Colonel with superscriptions and
comments written by the Kaiser on the negatives. Roosevelt's
impression of his Imperial host was, on the whole, favorable. I
do not think he regarded him as very solid, personally, but he
recognized the results of the power which William's inherited
position as Emperor conferred on him.

Paris did not fall behind any of the other European capitals in
the enthusiasm of its welcome. There, Roosevelt was received in
solemn session by the Sorbonne, before which he spoke on
citizenship in a Republic, and, with prophetic vision, he warned
against the seductions of phrase-makers as among the insidious
dangers to which Republics were exposed.

His most conspicuous triumph, however, was in England. On May
6th, King Edward VII died, and President Taft appointed Colonel
Roosevelt special envoy, to represent the United States at the
royal funeral. This drew together crowned heads from all parts of
Europe, so that at one of the State functions at Buckingham
Palace there were no fewer than thirteen monarchs at table. The
Colonel stayed at Dorchester House with the American Ambassador,
Mr. Whitelaw Reid, and was beset by calls and invitations from
the crowned personages. I have heard him give a most amusing
account of that experience, but it is too soon to repeat it.
Then, as always, he could tell a bore at sight, and the bore
could not deceive him by any disguise of ermine cloak or Imperial
title. The German Kaiser seems to have taken pains to pose as the
preferred intimate of "Friend Roosevelt," but the "Friend"
remained unwaveringly Democratic. One day William telephoned to
ask Roosevelt to lunch with him, but the Colonel diplomatically
pleaded a sore throat, and declined. At another time when the
Kaiser wished him to come and chat, Roosevelt replied that he
would with pleasure, but that he had only twenty minutes at the
Kaiser's disposal, as he had already arranged to call on Mrs.
Humphry Ward at three-thirty. These reminiscences may seem
trifling, unless you take them as illustrating the truly
Democratic simplicity with which the First Citizen of the
American Republic met the scions of the Hapsburgs and the
Hohenzollerns on equal terms as gentleman with gentlemen.

Some of his backbiters and revilers at home whispered that his
head was turned by all these pageants and courtesies of kings,
and that he regretted that our system provided for no monarch.
This afforded him infinite amusement. "Think of it!" he said to
me after his return. "They even say that I want to be a prince
myself! Not I! I've seen too many of them! Do you know what a
prince is? He's a cross between Ward McAllister and
Vice-President Fairbanks. How can any one suppose I should like
to be that?" It may be necessary to inform the later generation
that Mr. Ward McAllister was by profession a decayed gentleman in
New York City who achieved fame by compiling a list of the Four
Hundred persons whom he condescended to regard as belonging to
New York Society. Vice-President Fairbanks was an Indiana
politician, tall and thin and oppressively taciturn, who seemed
to be stricken dumb by the weight of an immemorial ancestry or by
the sense of his own importance; and who was not less cold than
dumb, so that irreverent jokers reported that persons might
freeze to death in his presence if they came too near or stayed
too long.

All this was only the froth on the stream of Roosevelt's
experience in England. He took deep enjoyment in meeting the
statesmen and the authors and the learned men there. The City of
London bestowed the freedom of the city upon him. The
Universities of Cambridge and Oxford gave him their highest
honorary degrees. At the London Guildhall he made a memorable
address, in which he warned the British nation to see to it that
the grievances of the Egyptian people were not allowed to fester.
Critics at the moment chided this advice as an exhibition of bad
taste; an intrusion, if not an impertinence, on the part of a
foreigner. They did not know, however, that before speaking,
Roosevelt submitted his remarks to high officers in the
Government and had their approval; for apparently they were well
pleased that this burning topic should be brought under
discussion by means of Roosevelt's warning.

At Cambridge University he exhorted the students not to be
satisfied with a life of sterile athleticism. "I never was an
athlete," said he, "although I have always led an outdoor life,
and have accomplished something in it, simply because my theory
is that almost any man can do a great deal, if he will, by
getting the utmost possible service out of the qualities that he
actually possesses . . . . The average man who is successful--the
average statesman, the average public servant, the average
soldier, who wins what we call great success--is not a genius. He
is a man who has merely the ordinary qualities that he shares
with his fellows, but who has developed those ordinary qualities
to a more than ordinary degree."

The culmination of his addresses abroad was his Romanes Lecture,
delivered at the Convocation at Oxford University on June 7,
1910. Lord Curzon, the Chancellor, presided. Roosevelt took for
his theme, "Biological Analogies in History," a subject which his
lifelong interest in natural history and his considerable reading
in scientific theory made appropriate. He afterwards said that in
order not to commit shocking blunders he consulted freely his old
friend Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, head of the Museum of Natural
History in New York City, but the substance and ideas were
unquestionably his own.

Dr. Henry Goudy, "the public orator" at Cambridge, in a
Presentation Speech, eulogized Roosevelt's manifold activities
and achievements, declaring, among other things, that he had
"acquired a title to be ranked with his great predecessor Abraham
Lincoln--'of whom one conquered slavery, and the other
corruption.'" Lord Curzon addressed him as, "peer of the most
august kings, queller of wars, destroyer of monsters wherever
found, yet the most human of mankind, deeming nothing indifferent
to you, not even the blackest of the black."

This cluster of foreign addresses is not the least remarkable of
Roosevelt's intellectual feats. No doubt among those who listened
to him in each place there were carping critics, scholars who did
not find his words scholarly enough, dilettanti made tepid by
over-culture, intellectual cormorants made heavy by too much
information, who found no novelty in what he said, and were
insensible to the rush and freshness of his style. But in spite
of these he did plant in each audience thoughts which they
remembered, and he touched upon a range of interests which no
other man then alive could have made to seem equally vital.

On June 18th Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt reached New York. All the way
up the harbor from Sandy Hook, he was escorted by a vast
concourse of vessels, large and small, tugs, steamboats, and
battleships. At the Narrows, Fort Wadsworth greeted him with the
Presidential salute of twenty-one guns. The revenue-cutter,
Androscoggin, took him from the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, on
which he had crossed the ocean, and landed him at the Battery.
There an immense multitude awaited him. Mayor Gaynor bade him
welcome, to which he replied briefly in affectionate words to his
fellow countrymen. Then began a triumphal procession up Broadway,
and up Fifth Avenue, surpassing any other which New York had
seen. No other person in America had ever been so welcomed. The
million or more who shouted and cheered and waved, were proud of
him because of his great reception in Europe, but they admired
him still more for his imperishable work at home, and loved him
most of all, because they knew him as their friend and fellow,
Theodore Roosevelt, their ideal American. A group of Rough Riders
and two regiments of Spanish War Veterans formed his immediate
escort, than whom none could have pleased him better.

His head was not turned, but his heart must have overflowed with

Later, when the crowds had dispersed, he went into a bookstore,
and some one in the street having recognized him, the word
passed, and a great crowd cheered him as he came out. Telling his
sister of the occurrence, he said, "And they soon will be
throwing rotten apples at me!"


Did those words of Roosevelt spring from his sense of
humor--humor which recognizes the topsy-turvy of life and its
swift changes, and still laughs--or from the instinct which knows
that even in the sweetest of all experiences there must be a drop
of bitterness? Whatever their cause, they proved to be a true
foreboding. He had not been home twenty four hours before he
perceived, on talking with his friends, that the Republican Party
during his absence had drifted far from the course he had
charted. "His policies" had vanished with his control, and the
men who now managed the Administration and the party regarded
him, not merely with suspicion, but with aversion.

To tell the story of this conflict is the disagreeable duty of
the historian of. that period, especially if he have friends and


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