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which politicians in and around the capital were wont to congregate, and waited for the young assemblyman. Roosevelt was not long in putting in an appearance and was soon in deep discussion with some friends.
“ Watch him, Stubby,” said one of the young assemblyman's enemies. “Don't let him get away from you to-night.”
“I have me eye on him," answered Stubby.
Roosevelt was on the way to the buffet of the hotel when the crowd, with Stubby in front, pushed against him rudely. The young assemblyman stepped back and viewed those before him fearlessly.
“Say, what do yer mean, running into me that way?” demanded Stubby, insolently.
As he spoke he aimed a savage blow at Theodore Roosevelt. But the young assemblyman had not forgotten how to box, and he dodged with an agility that was astonishing
“ This fellow needs to be taught a lesson," Theodore Roosevelt told himself, and then and there he proceeded to administer the lesson in a manner that Stubby never forgot. He went down flat on his back, and
when he got up, he went down again, with a bleeding nose and one eye all but closed. Seeing this, several leaped in to his assistance, but it was an ill-fated move, for Roosevelt turned on them also, and down they went, too; and then the encounter came to an end, with Theodore Roosevelt the victor.
66 And that wasn't the end of it,” said one, who witnessed the affair.
“ After it was over young Roosevelt was as smiling as ever. He walked straight over to some of his enemies who had been watching the mix-up from a distance and told them very plainly that he knew how the attack had originated, and he was much obliged to them, for he hadn't enjoyed himself so much for a year. Phew! but weren't those fellows mad! And wasn't Stubby mad when he learned that they had set him against one of the best boxers Harvard ever turned out? But after that you can make sure they treated Roosevelt with respect and gave him a wide berth."
THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND GOVERNOR CLEVELAND
GOOD WORK AS AN ASSEMBLYMAN – SOME MEASURES PUSHED THROUGH - Birth OF ALICE ROOSEVELT DEATH OF MR. ROOSEVELT'S MOTHER
THE career of an assemblyman is not generally an interesting one, but Mr. Roosevelt managed to extract not a little pleasure and also some profit from it. The experience was just what he needed to fit himself for the larger positions he was, later on, to occupy.
One happening is of peculiar interest to note. While Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Assembly, Grover Cleveland became governor of the state. Mr. Cleveland was a Democrat, while Mr. Roosevelt was a Republican, yet the two future Presidents of the United States became warm friends, - a friendship that has endured to the present day.
It is said that the friendship started in rather a peculiar manner, There was at
the time a measure before the Assembly to reduce the fare of the elevated roads in New York City from ten cents to five cents. After a great deal of talking, the bill passed the Assembly and then the Senate, and went to the governor for his signature. Much to the surprise of the general public Governor Cleveland vetoed the bill, stating that when the capitalists had built the elevated roads they had understood that the fare was to be ten cents, and that it was not right to deprive them of their profits.
At once those who wanted the measure to become a law decided to pass it over the governor's head. When this attempt was made, Theodore Roosevelt got up boldly and said he could not again vote for the bill — that he was satisfied that Governor Cleveland's view of the matter was correct.
“These people would not have put their money in the elevated railroads had they not been assured that the fare was to be ten cents," said he.
“ We are under obligation to them, and we must keep our promises.” And so the bill fell through. It was not in itself right that the fare should be ten cents, and it has long since been reduced to
five cents, but it shows that Theodore Roosevelt was bound to do what was right and just, according to the dictates of his own conscience, and this won for him many friends, even among those who had opposed him politically.
In a work of this kind, intended mainly for the use of young people, it is not necessary to do more than glance at the work which Theodore Roosevelt accomplished while a member of the New York Assembly.
He made a close study of the various political offices of New York County and discovered that many office-holders were drawing large sums of money in the shape of fees for which they were doing hardly any work. This he considered unfair, and by dint of hard labor helped to pass a law placing such offices on the salary list, making a saving to the county of probably half a million dollars a year.
One of the best things done by Theodore Roosevelt at that time was the support given by him to a civil service law for the state. Up to that time office-holding was largely in the hands of the party which happened to be in power.