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THE SUMMONS ON MOUNT MARCY
N that summer day, three years ago,
when the Republican party nomi
nated Theodore Roosevelt for VicePresident, I was lying on my back, stricken down by sudden severe illness. My wife had telegraphed to him that I longed to see him; but in the turmoil of the convention the message did not get to him till the morning after the nominations were made. He came at once from Philadelphia, and it was then that I, out of pain and peril, heard from his own lips the story of his acceptance of the new dignity his countrymen had thrust upon him. “Thrust upon” is right. I knew how stoutly he had opposed the offer, how he had met delegation after delegation with the frank avowal that he could serve the party and the country better as Governor of New York, and I knew that that was his ambition; for his work at Albany was but half finished. It was his desire that the people should give him another term in his great office, unasked, upon the record of the two years that were drawing to a close. He had built up no machine of his own. He had used that which he found to the uttermost of its bent, and of his ability,-not always with the good will of the managers; but he had used it for the things he had in mind, telling the bosses that for all other legitimate purposes, for organization, for power, they might have it: he should not hinder them. Now, upon this record, with nothing to back him but that, he wished the people to commission him and his party to finish their work. It was thoroughly characteristic of Roosevelt and of his trust in the people as both able and willing to do the right, once it was clearly before them.
He knew well enough what was on foot concerning him. He was fully advised of the plans of his enemies to shelve him in the “harmless office” of Vice-President, and how they were taking advantage of his popularity in the West and with the young men
throughout the land to“work up" a strenuous demand for him to fill the second place on the ticket. So, they reasoned, he would be out of the way for four years, and four years might bring many things. As Vice-President he would not be in 1904 anything like the candidate before the people which two years more as Governor of the Empire State would make him. Back of the spoils politicians were the big corporations that had neither forgotten nor forgiven the franchise-tax law that made them pay on their big dividend-earning properties, as any poor man was taxed on his home. Anything to beat him for Governor and for the Presidency four years hence! The big traction syndicates in the East made the pace: Roosevelt for Vice-President! He was not deceived; but the plotters were. Their team ran away with them. The demand they desired came from the West and swept him into the office. From perhaps one State in the East and one in the West it was a forced call. From the great and bounding prairies, from the rugged mountain sides, and from the sunny western slope of the Rockies, where they knew Roosevelt for what he was, and loved him; from the young