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Harvard and Potsdam. Of the two, perhaps Roosevelt has a trifle the advantage, for he, in his youth, enjoyed far more pocket money and liberty than his fellow ruler of Germany. Of the two homes, that of Roosevelt was decidedly more luxurious than that in the Neuss Palais at Potsdam-or at least when both were boys."
This is entering into the marrow bones of history and extracting their rich secretions. We do not refrain from quoting another passage of extraordinary flavor:
"Aside from the fact that neither has had to worry regarding the next quarter's rent, both are self-made men-both have carved out their own position in the history of their country by the development of qualities wholly outside of the orthodox curriculum. When Dr. Hinzpeter was anxiously watching over the young Prince William, like a distracted hen marvelling at the precocity of a duckling brood, he little dreamed that he was the tutor of a lad who was destined to dismiss Bismarck-and replace him—with facility; of a monarch who was destined to give Germany peace and prosperity for a full dozen years, and all before he was forty-three years of age! This alone entitles William II. to a worthy place in history, and for such an achievement his country can forgive him much.”
And this articulation surpassed all that passed before:
“Roosevelt left the University in 1880, and prepared himself for the Bar by returning to his native city, New York, and attending the lectures in the law department of Columbia University (whose President, oddly enough, is at this moment urged to become Mayor of New York).
"At the law school, where we were fellow students, under Professor Dwight, I was struck by a quality in Roosevelt which I admired very much : He would never rest satisfied with any answer to one of his questions unless that answer was perfectly clear to him. Professor Dwight was a monument of sweet temper, with a handsome, white-haired, Socratic head, full of law and quaint flashes of humor, and a temperament like that of Hans Christian Andersen-one who delighted in simple narrative form. If this gentle nature had one earthly ambition it was to be reputed perfectly intelligible in the domain of Blackstone and Kent's Commentaries. But Roosevelt, like many another prospective conqueror, was slow of wit compared to the average lad (were not Blucher and Wellington poor things at school?) and he frequently held up the whole lecture room by insisting upon a detailed explanation of points that were obvious to the majority. Sometimes he excited discontent among his fellows by the delays he provoked, and once or twice I noticed even Professor Dwight struggling to preserve his serenity; but Roosevelt permitted himself to be diverted by no consideration save the solution of the immediate difficulty before him, and while he irritated his fellow students, and at times even his instructor, all
admired his moral courage, particularly the number who shared his difficulties, but let the matter pass rather than risk the consequences of boring a room full of impatient students. William II. was likewise a poor fist at the school desk; he accomplished what he did like Roosevelt, by sheer hard work, spurred on by a strong sense of duty."
Mr. Bigelow has classified himself as a reformer, and also objects to the way Roosevelt had of pursuing his studies, as he did not affect to understand anything that he had not comprehended. It was not his way to glide smoothly around or over the crooked and rough places in the road, but to straighten the line and put metal on it that would wear. It sometimes happens that collegians have the good fortune to be taught by distinguished educators, glad to see young men before them so much interested as to ask questions intelligently, and to go on with inquiries until satisfied. It is only genius that soars and sings, and never touches the earth or asks the way.
Dr. Shaw does not articulate according to his surroundings, because he does not care to appear to be other than a trusted friend whose confidences are not cheapened by increase of responsibility. That which he says is subject to no reduction or effacement so far as the President is concerned. He was, as the author of the excellent and educational volumes on Municipal Government advanced to, and sustained himself in, the same class with Roosevelt as a Municipal reformer. However, he is of a group of young men who have been sure they were strong enough to overthrow existing parties, and provide one that would just suit themselves, and so sweep the country; but if they aim too high in aspiration for public good, it does not follow that they should be cast down.
There is a great deal of significance in the passage of Dr. Shaw's article in the Contemporary Review relating to the fact, that in 1884, when Mr. Roosevelt was against Blaine's nomination, he supported it when it was made, as he yielded to the organization. Dr. Shaw says:
"Many of his friends refused to abide by the choice of the Convention, and joined in the famous ‘Mugwump' or independent movement which gave its support to Mr. Cleveland, the Democratic candidate. Mr. Roosevelt preferred to remain with his party, and gave his support to Mr. Blaine. The great majority of the Republicans of the West, young and old, were at that time enthusiastic admirers of James G. Blaine, and the action of Mr. Roosevelt impressed them as sagacious and honorable.”
The strength of Roosevelt has been in abiding with his party, because he believed going into any other would harm the legitimate interests of wholesome reform, spoiling the reformations that were practicable. He was called upon at Denver, by the Governor of Colorado, to say whether he was for the gold standard according to the platform on which he was nominated for Vice
President, and said, he stood, as he "always had done,” on the platform of his party. The Republican party has repeatedly suffered disaster that might have been avoided if it had not been for the people who were too particular about some views they entertained, to treat the party organization with the consideration due its power. The Hon. Seth Low might as well as not have been the first instead of the second Mayor of Greater New York, if supporters had not believed they were certain of victory with Low's name alone, and turned the city over to Tammany, by confiding management to presumptuous inexperience.
Mr. Roosevelt was strong enough to support Blaine as the candidate, though his opponent in the Convention; and if thousands of those who wandered, had moved in a direct line as he did, the Republican party would not have been beaten then by the vote of the City of New York. There are those pleased still that they were irregulars, and the country has a way of going ahead and doing better than is expected by those who are sensitive.
Of the Theodore Roosevelts, father and son, Dr. Shaw has given us a pleasing picture deftly drawn:
"His father was a very prominent and greatly respected citizen of New York; his character must always be a source of inspiration to a son who could not hope to surpass his father in much except in the wider fame that comes with the holding of political offices. Theodore Roosevelt, through his many college friendships, and through his even larger acquaintance in the City and State of New York, entered upon his career of public service with a greater number of young men of acute minds and the literary habit taking note of his progress than in the case of any other young man who has ever made a figure in American politics. Some men have attributed a part of their success in public life to methods of reserve, and to habits of comparative inaccessibility. But since the sphinx-like and mysterious have always been foreign to the nature of the new President, he has never cultivated those methods. He is naturally frank, outspoken and unreserved. Having a good conscience and a good courage, having absolutely no gift at all for finesse, he has been so free from restraint in the expression of his convictions and in the disclosure of his plans and intentions, and he has been so approachable and hospitable, moreover, that he now finds himself in the position of President of the United States, with at least a hundred acquaintances of earlier and later days who are both gifted with the pen, and in their own estimation qualified by personal knowledge to write an anecdotal narrative of his career, or an analytical estimate of his character."
The fine words of the last lines of the quotation above must be left to the appreciation and application of the reader, undisturbed by "anecdotal” annotation. There is, however, affluence of information in the paragraphs that follow