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CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends Upon that law as on the best of friends;
He labours good on good to fix, and owes
-He who, though thus endued as with a sense
My old-time Professor of English, at Harvard, Francis J. Child, once said to me, "Sonnets are things which everybody writes and nobody reads." Be that as it may, I fear that Prefaces are things which every author writes and few people read. In truth, most authors, I suspect, write two prefaces. The first one when they square themselves to their task and desire to “sketch in” their plan and
purpose. When they have finished their work, they tear up this written preface and write a new one, telling what they believe they have accomplished.
This has been my own course of procedure. My preliminary preface is in the wastebasket. And now, surveying my completed work, what do I find? Yes, and what do I wish my readers to find ?
I have tried to analyze the character of my college classmate, Theodore Roosevelt, and to interpret him by his words and deeds. I have not hesitated to go quite beyond the reportorial field of the chronicler. I have not cared to express a coldly judicial attitude. Rather have I sought to set
forth that high estimate of him which I have cherished through more than three decades.
I have sought, by my interpretations of his words and deeds, to strengthen in his friends the love which they already feel. And, by laying bare to the noonday light, so far as I have had the power, his innermost springs of action, I have hoped to transform into sincere friends some who once were honest foes. Following the lead of Wordsworth's immortal conception, I picture Theodore Roosevelt to myself and to my readers as “The Happy Warrior.” Joy and combat. Elevation of soul through championship of Right and Truth. Those are the two foci of the ellipse which expresses his strenuous life.
Several biographies of Roosevelt have already been written, with varying values and from various viewpoints. My method, in this book, has been so personal and intimate that I have needed to seek material from many persons who were his friends and mine. They have responded freely, generously. To them all — and especially to my classmates of Harvard, '80 — I express my warmest thanks.
I wish, also, to acknowledge, gratefully, the assistance I have received from these books: “Theodore Roosevelt, An Autobiography”, “Theodore Roosevelt and His Time”, 2 vols., by Joseph Buck
lin Bishop, “Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children”, edited by Joseph Bucklin Bishop, published by Charles Scribner's Sons; “Theodore Roosevelt", by William Roscoe Thayer, “Theodore Roosevelt, the Logic of His Career”, by Charles G. Washburn, “Talks with T. R.”, by John J. Leary, Jr., published by Houghton Mifflin Co.; "Life of Theodore Roosevelt”, by William Draper Lewis, published by John C. Winston Co.; “Impressions of Theodore Roosevelt”, by Lawrence F. Abbott, published by Doubleday, Page Co.; “Theodore Roosevelt the Citizen", by Jacob Riis, published by Macmillan Co.; "The Boys' Life of Theodore Roosevelt”, by Hermann Hagedorn, Jr., "Bill Sewall's Story of T. R.”, by William W. Sewall, published by Harper & Brothers; “Theodore Roosevelt the Man”, by Ferdinand C. Iglehart, D.D., published by The Christian Herald.