Page images

"Maybe so," he replied, "but he is right, and he's going to have those bills if I can get them through for him." And he got them through.

Again, two of his best friends in the legislature, Speaker Nixon and Leader Allds, came to him and begged him not to force through the canal bill.

"It is suicide to do it," they pleaded, "for it will lose votes for you among the fanners and in the districts that elected you. It is ungrateful and extremely bad politics."

Roosevelt appreciated their argument and did not say they were wrong in presenting it. He simply shook his head and said: "You are right, but this is a case where the few must give way for the benefit of the many. I realize that it seems unjust to the farmers to be taxed for improvements that will bring produce from the West to compete with them, but the whole state must be considered, and this is in line with commercial progress. It must go through." And it went through.

While Roosevelt admires independence, he believes in organization, because he has the instincts of a soldier. But he is not a martinet, and has no faith in men who have not minds of their own. It was to Assemblymen Price and Morgan, of Brooklyn, two young legislators to whom he took a great fancy, that he said at the beginning of a session of the New York legislature: "If you choose to be cattle I must consult your driver. Be men and I want your advice."

He enjoyed his term as governor, among other reasons because it gave him so many hard fights. Just after his term had expired, with a chuckle that is as essentially a part of his make-up as his mysterious and famous smile, he said to a group of friends: "I've enjoyed being governor. Indeed. I believe I've had a run for my money. I've had a hot time, and I liked it."

Fighter though he is, Roosevelt docs not fight unfairly. There have been governors who have forced votes in the legislature by threats to hold up the bills of recalcitrant senators or assemblymen. There were those even among the recognized reform element who argued that this was fair in war, and almost begged him to drive some of the senators into line on the Insurance Commissioner Payne matter. But he steadfastly refused. "These bills belong to their constituents and to the public," he said, "and I have no right to delay, much less to defeat them. As I cannot do this it is unfair to threaten them. I must win on the merits of the case itself or not at all. But I will win." Subsequently he had occasion to call sternly to account an over-zealous employe of the state who tried to help in just that way.


One of the most exciting of President Roosevelt's many experiences in the West was at Victor, Col., a year ago during the presidential campaign. Roosevelt was making a trip through the West, and stopped at Victor to make "a speech. As he was walking from his train to the meeting hall an attempt was made by a band of toughs to strike him down. One man hit him on the breast with a piece of scantling six feet long, from which an insulting democratic banner had been torn. Another rough aimed a blow at the colonel's head, and was ridden down by a miner named Holley. When the fighting was all over Roosevelt exclaimed enthusiastically: "This is bully, this is magnificent. Why, it's the best time I've had since I started. I wouldn't have missed it for anything."


One of Roosevelt's most thrilling lion hunts took place while he was stopping at the Keystone ranch in Colorado last April. Roosevelt and his guide held at bay a large lion in a crevice on the precipitous side of a rock ledge which extends from the point of the crevice sheer down sixty feet. Roosevelt shot at the lion, but it was dusk, and the beast disappeared under the rim of a perpendicular wall of rocks. A large rock stood loosely on the rim of the ledge, and the men saw that if it were possible to hang head first over this rock he would see the lion and might be able to shoot at it.

"The question," said the guide afterwards, "which confronted us was, How is it to be done? Finally, Colonel Roosevelt stood still a minute, looked at me intently, and said: "Gofi, we must have that lion if he is there. I'll tell you what I'll do. I will take my gun and crawl over that rock; you hold me by the feet and allow me to slide down far enough to see him. If I can see him I will get him.' This plan was carried out, and he killed the lion hanging head downward while I held him by his feet."


President Roosevelt was succeeded on the civil-service commission by John B. Harlow, of St. Louis. Mr. Harlow has in his office many mementoes of Mr. Roosevelt's regime, one of the most interesting of which is a defense of the civil-service examinations by Roosevelt, given before one of the state committees.

Roosevelt was answering the assertion that the examinations were not fair tests of a man's knowledge and intellectual attainments. To the committee he said, with the directness and force which gave him much of his fame, that the examinations did indicate the fund of information possessed by applicants and he immediately cited examples of the answers made to the question, "Who was Lincoln?" in an examination conducted shortly before the time of the senate committee's investigation. In the answers it appears that Lincoln was a revolutionary general; he was assassinated by Thomas Jefferson and was the assassin of Aaron Burr; he commanded a regiment in the French and Indian wars, and was an arctic explorer in a period immediately after the Civil War. The defense of the examinations by Roosevelt is full of such specific examples, showing that he had an intimate acquaintance with the results of the work in his office.

It was Roosevelt who first introduced the form of examinations now so generally used by the commission to discover the peculiar fitness or unfitness of applicants for special lines of work to which they are to be assigned. It came about in a series of examinations in which Texas and the Southwest were interested. It was proposed to place the mounted inspectors of the government along the Rio Grande, in Texas, under the civil-service rules. These inspectors are men of rare courage and must necessarily be skilled in handling cattle, familiar with the different kinds of cattle brands, and excellent horsemen. They have to deal with the cattle rustlers on the Mexican border. When Roosevelt saw the questions which had been prepared for these men, bearing on history, rhetoric and mathematics, he declared the proposed examinations would be farcical, and, calling to his aid his own familiarity with the cattle country and the plains, he drew up a set of questions for the inspectors. The only intellectual test was that which was made by requiring a man to answer the questions in his own words and handwriting. The questions were something of a shock to those who had been conducting the examinations in accordance with the old methods. One of the questions the men had to answer was this:

"State the experience, if any, you have had as a marksman with a rifle or a pistol; whether or not you have practiced shooting at a target with either weapon, or at game or other moving objects; and also whether you have practiced shooting on horseback. State the make of the rifle and revolver you ordinarily use."

Another of the questions read this way:

"State fully what experience you have had in horsemanship; whether or not you can ride unbroken horses; if not, whether you would be able, unassisted, to rope, bridle, saddle, mount and ride an ordinary cow pony after it had been turned loose for six months; also whether you can ride an ordinary cow pony on the round-up, both in circle riding and in cutting-out work around the herd."

Another question which Mr. Roosevelt framed was as to technical knowledge of the different brands of cattle in the cattle country, and it would be unintelligible to any but a cattle man or Roosevelt. When he submitted the question to his colleagues he declared that, to be a successful government inspector and shoot lawless Mexicans and prevent the "running" of cattle over the border, it was not necessary for a man to discuss nebular hypotheses nor to have an intimate knowledge of the name and number of inhabitants of the capital of Zanzibar. In all sinT cerity, he told his colleagues that he would like to make another requirement, and that was that each applicant be made to appear before those in charge of the examinations and lasso, throw and tie a steer in twenty minutes, but as he himself did not have time to preside at such feature of the examination he had left that out. That was the beginning of the practical methods of examinations by the civil-service commission, which have been followed up by Mr. Harlow and his colleagues on the commission until the scholastic element in the examinations has disappeared almost entirely, and they are now designed solely to establish the practical fitness that applicants have for the lines of work to which they are to be assigned.


As Colonel Roosevelt was walking up Delaware avenue in Buffalo one day last week he passed an ancient negro raking leaves out of the grass between the sidewalk and the curb. The negro took off his hat and bowed low.

"Please, sir, Mr. Roosevelt," he said, "I'd like to shake hands with you, sir."

As he grasped the vice president's outstretched hand he added:

"Look out they don't get you, Mr. Vice-President."

"Thank you," said Colonel Roosevelt, and started on.

Two men in overalls had stopped to watch his meeting with the negro, and as he turned to go on they stepped up to him, too, with their hands stretched out.

The colonel shook hands with them both and thanked them for their greetings.

"Ain't you afraid when a fellow comes up to you in the street like this?" asked one of them.

"Not a bit of it, sir," replied Colonel Roosevelt, with all his usual energy of utterance, "and I hope the time will never come when an officer of this government will be afraid to meet his fellow citizens in the street. The men of this country, all the people, are the guardians of the men they have elected to public office. If anything, the lives of the officers of the government are safer now than before that thing was done at the exposition the other day. Tell me," he asked, with a smile which showed his confidence that he would get a negative answer, "did it ever occur to either of you that violence would do any of our people any good?"


Theodore Roosevelt. Addresses, and Tributes to His




Governor Roosevelt was the central figure and chief speaker of the banquet. His address on "The Strenuous Life," to deliver which he came here from Albany, is printed in full as follows:

"In speaking to you, men of the greatest city of the West, men of the State which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, 1 wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.

"A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only that what every self-respecting American demands from himself, and from his sons, shall be demanded of the American nation as a whole. Who among you would teach your boys that ease, that peace is to be the first consideration in your eyes—to be the ultimate goal after which they strive? You men of Chicago have made this city great, you men of Illinois have done your share, and more than your share, in making America great, because you neither preach nor practice such a doctrine. You work yourselves, and you bring up your sons to work. If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness; for wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it. being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry on some kind of nonremunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in histori

« PreviousContinue »