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applied. His reports, letters, testimony before boards, would crowd many volumes with matter of value, before the great office of Governor of New York was placed in his hands, and his personal record in that position is told in his volumes of public papers, one for each year he held the high office.. The history of the country will not be written again without many references to those admirable books and liberal quotations from them. His speeches and orations as Vice President, and his twenty-two thousand mile journey through twenty-two States, appealing to the people wherever the combat thickened in 1900, closed with the vindication of New York through the courage and power of the Governor of the State, and her contribution to a national victory.
Through this immensity of public care and political experience, Mr. Roosevelt was an unwearied workingman in literature. There are twenty volumes to his credit, all making known our country to our countrymen, not only the great game animals of America introduced to Americans, but appreciation of our resources made known to the world, and a higher intelligence of them familiar to the people at large.
The light of the lamps that reveal the experiences of the past, will guide us aright in tracing the footsteps and following the example of the President in the future.
THIS is not to announce a purpose entertained, but a work done. The
writing of the Life of Theodore Roosevelt, XXVth President of the
United States, is a fact accomplished. There runs through his history the strong lines of defined purpose, and the clear logic of fixed principles. The task of statement has been made easy by an interest in the subject, that has increased at every step. It seems to one who has for months been a student of the successive chapters of the President's career, that his countrymen have not yet appreciated the extraordinary scope and remarkable fitness of his representative character, in the circumstances of his country, for the responsibility placed in his hands by the people under the Constitution. No man who has been called to the greatest office of a Republican form of Government, has exceeded him in the excellence of his education for it. The favors of fortune in youth would have permitted the indulgences of leisure, and united the blandishments of effeminate gentleness, or impassive lethargy; but be found his pleasure in energetic endeavor, and added to the advantages of the schools, the iron-clad resources of self-made manliness, gained in the "strenuous life," that he sustained by precept and example.
His progressive labors were joined to each other, and their ruggedness conformed to symmetrical lines of endowment. The details of his rise to leadership would suggest a regular course of culture for public duty, and illustrates the degree with which the will of man has its way, straight through the entanglement of accidents, if he is indomitable. His appearance in the New York Assembly, and as a Senatorial Delegate to a National Republican Convention, resembles the solution of a very intelligent young man in pursuing preparatory studies for a course of politics, with the intention of taking, by practical attainment, exceptionally high degrees. Whichever way his footsteps tended, there were always permanent traces of them. He never lost and was always gaining ground. It is a saying of lawyers, there is "one point in a case.” Napoleon and Nelson did not strike the array of their foes, ashore or afloat, with random purposes. They had the far-reaching vision of genius. There was added to it prescience and painstaking. They made it a business to
know why, when and where to deliver the blows that aimed with accuracy were driven home, like iron wedges with all the thunder strokes at command.
Where Theodore Roosevelt walked, he made straight roads, and where he rode there remained highways. In school at Albany in the Assembly, as at Cambridge classified in Harvard, he moved into a higher class, wherever he changed his situation. In the Bad Lands he ascended an elevation, from which the whole continent was visible. There were two other courses of study to take before entering the departments of armed nationality—the Civil Service and the New York Police Commissions.
The shifting of Presidential terms by Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, gave to Roosevelt the opportunity to give a practical inauguration to civil service reformation. Mayor Strong's municipal administration placed the militant civil service reformer at the head of the police of the great misgoverned city. This had the attraction of antagonism, but the fetters of incapable legislation had to be worn. The most considerable gain was the knowledge that provided utilities for the future. Repeatedly, thus far, Roosevelt had been equally happy in the offices he held and the dates and occasions, when he had taught himself their lessons, of quitting them.
The further evidences that the tide that bore him was rising were still more exemplary and effective. He was Assistant Secretary of the Navy long enough to prepare it for war, and sprang ashore to reveal the great and until then undiscovered secret of our military power—the finest cavalry in the world, the Rough Riders—and dismounted cavalry though they were in Cuba, he had them at the front in the only fighting on land, and there was "glory enough to go around.”
The war ended, our army was snatched from Cuban fevers, and recovered health on Long Island. Roosevelt left Cuba, as he left the Assembly, the Civil Service Commission and the Police Commission, at the right time, and made no personal mistake, for he bettered at every change his opportunity to serve the country. He set the fashion of doing the right thing at the right time, in the right way, and pushing things with a rush never relaxed. The war over, he was called to be Governor of New York, and in that office made an illustrious record, in which we read the precedents of the Presidency. Then, as now, the enmity of his foes complimented him no less than the praise of his friends. When he was Governor there was an effort to "limit" him, and he made transiently a mistake, thinking he ought to take another term of the great State office, but was over-ruled by an irresistible public demand that he should accept the second office in the National Government. Happily, he did that.
So far as careful examinations of his public papers, as Governor of New York, were made, they prepared readers for his magnificent message to Congress; one worthy the country that the McKinley policy of peace and war
has raised to the rank of a World Power second to none, with the promise of soon becoming foremost of all.
There need be no comparison, for there is no competition in reputation, between President Roosevelt and his predecessor. Their public utterances in the first week of September last, if there was nothing else to quote by mutual friends, would forbid contention.
That our Government should move on without a jar, after so, fearful a tragedy as that of McKinley's murder, that our system should automatically provide for the succession reassures ourselves and impresses the world with the stability of our institutions. That "we, the people of the United States," are fortunate to have President Roosevelt, to give confidence after a misfortune so shocking, this volume contains the ample proof in his official acts and public writings. He is the personification of the great and greater Americanism. The riches of the material for intelligent if inadequate presentation of his life and character, have been a source of surprise and gratification. The embarrassment is that of riches that can not be counted. It is full of general usefulness and profound public interest. The story of the Republic from day to day is of surpassing splendor and strength. The life of Theodore Roosevelt has been an admirable education for the task in his hands. He so comprehensively represents all the people, that even as the past is secure, in prosperity and honor, there is no land so fair as this in promise. T. R.-2