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right as he saw it might be supposed to inflict upon him an embarrassment of inconsistency.
He introduced a bill reducing the fare on the elevated roads in New York from ten to five cents, and through his untiring efforts, the bill, despite the opposition of the elevated railroad interests, passed the Assembly and then the Senate. The then Governor of New York, Grover Cleveland, vetoed the bill on the ground that when the elevated roads had been constructed, the capitalists who invested in it had understood that the fare was to be ten cents, otherwise, they would not have constructed them. The argument appealed to Roosevelt. Mr. Cleveland had a hard time for a while for restoring the bill. When the veto message came in, a member moved that the bill be passed over the Governor's veto notwithstanding. Roosevelt arose and told the Assembly that he was sorry for the part he had taken in the passage of the bill, although he had acted in perfect good faith, but when the elevated roads were built there was an implied obligation, which should not be disregarded. He had new light on the subject from the Governor's veto, and so changed his position, for there certainly would have been no incentive to build the roads unless it had been understood the fare was to remain at ten cents. It took sublime courage to face about, admit that he had been wrong in his first position, and place himself where his motives could be questioned by those antagonistic to them, and he could be sneered at by the people who always question motives in public life. Roosevelt felt it was a duty he owed to himself to do what he thought was right and did it thoroughly. No one who heard him but believed that he would always be found fighting against “the wealthy criminal class,” as he put it.
Naturally, Cleveland and Roosevelt, after the Governor had converted the young reformer to a ten cent fare, both believing it was right according to contract, and not to be lightly repudiated, met on common ground and in a sympathetic atmosphere, compared notes, and discussed measures. They were wrong about the necessity of the ten cent fare; and that fact is one that illustrated the wonderful railroad progress, and shows how great are the advantages of the rapid and cheap transportation by methods unknown twenty years ago. It is the Albany understanding that Cleveland and Roosevelt had a great deal of influence upon each other, and that the Governor of the State advised often with the young Assemblyman and took advice; that, in fact, they worked together for legislation for which Roosevelt presented the facts, and exercised his literary faculty. Cleveland, gaining largely by the association, his repute as a reformer, that had so much to do with his political fortunes, giving him two terms of the Presidency, though he offended Tammany, and was, as General Bragg said, "loved for the enemies he made.” The two defeats of Bryan may in some degree be accounted for along the same line. The stroke that did the
most for the reform of the Civil Service, was the continuance of Roosevelt in the Commission to which he was appointed by Harrison, for two years of Cleveland's term. This lap was very important to the cause. It was by curious turns of fortune that Cleveland and Roosevelt were Governors of New York and Presidents of the United States, within so brief a time after they became politicians of prominence, taking the unpopular side of an exciting question, and that there are incidents that amount to coincidences, that at critical times they with consistency were helpful each to the other in a reasonable way.
As Cleveland did not find in the Democratic Presidential Conventions, of 1896, approval of his financial solidity, and considering he did not submit to prevalent party influences in New York City, and as Roosevelt sometimes agreed to disagree with powerful Republican influences, the two men had a good deal in common, and one thing was the betterment of the municipal government of New York City. It is Albany information that the hands of Cleveland and Roosevelt were frequently joined, in legislation looking to changes for the better, and that a good deal is accountable when this is taken into consideration. The originator of the legislation was Roosevelt, and Cleveland had the help of an influence with the proposed reformations, that showed its hand when Cleveland became a candidate for the Presidency. Mr. Cleveland's retirement is as positive as Mr. Roosevelt's advancement is distinct, and neither is likely to be disturbed.
The fact that they were once collaborators in well doing does not call for repentance, and so far as it is new to the public, the novelty will be acceptable and make an agreeable impression.
One of the personal annoyances of the President, is the fashion some half informed persons, perhaps with a relation to the press, have started, of saying he is a Cosmopolitan. It is accountable, because certainly Mr. Roosevelt knows a great deal of the world, has climbed the Rockies and the Alps, made the acquaintance of vast and various peoples, and distinguished himself in writing and making history-beginning with the Indian, as our illustrious predecessors and ending with the Spanish war. However, the President consents to be called an all around good fellow, and his presence at a banquet calls for the abundant old, somewhat British song, "He's a jolly good fellow, as nobody can deny.” He prefers to be described as an American. He has succeeded with an array of ancestors ascending away back, to have imparted the true American flavor to an ancient and honorable Holland name. The chances are he could take a prize in any university for superiority of knowledge of Daniel Boone and Andrew Jackson; and the way he has scalped modern aristocrats of metropolitan circles is suggestive of the red men of whom he has written, not with red paint, but with indelible ink.