Page images

There are more than twelve miraculous labors of our modern Hercules, but twelve stand out most prominently.

FIRST-Our Hercules became the head of the nation. The ancient hero never did so great a thing as to become the ruler of the greatest nation of the world. With all his power, it is not recorded that he had any political favor or that he ruled any kingdom.

SECOND-He killed the spoils system, which threatened to overthrow the nation. The ancient hero turned the river into the Augean stables and cleaned them, but that was not as great a wonder as the cleansing of American politics by Theodore Roosevelt.

THIRD-He used the big stick in crushing the illegal combinations of wealth which menaced the republic.

FOURTH-He dug the Panama Canal-a greater wonder than all the twelve labors of Hercules, and equal to the seven wonders of the world.

FIFTH-He settled the coal miners' strike. The miners in the anthracite district of Pennsylvania went on a strike which threatened to tie up the industries of the nation. Grievances on the part of employees and employers were deeply cherished and apparently irreconcilable. Passions were stirred to the highest degree and bloodshed was feared. President Roosevelt had no governmental commissions that he could use in the settlement. He had to take the matter up personally with the workmen, the proprietors and everybody concerned, and by his magnetism and powerful will he brought the two factions together, averted a tie-up in the nation and gave peace to the coal industry for years.

SIXTH-He secured the settlement of the war between Russia and Japan. While the desperate war

was raging between Russia and Japan in 1905, President Roosevelt addressed through John Hay, his Secretary of State, a letter to the Emperor of Japan, and another to the Czar of Russia, suggesting that their interests as individual nations and the good of the world could be best served by closing the war, and suggested that peace commissions be appointed by each country, and that he himself would lend his kind offices in bringing about an amicable settlement.

That peace commission began its conference at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on August 10th. After about a week's conference the commission came to a dead-lock and President Roosevelt used his great personal influence on the home governments and broke it. For this service in securing peace, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which was $40,000 in cash, which he gave to a society for aiding our American soldiers.

At a dinner given by the Japanese Club to Baron Makino, Ambassador with the Japanese Peace Mission, just after Mr. Roosevelt's death, the Baron said: “Mr. Roosevelt materially aided in the settlement of the issues raised by the Russo-Japanese War and in the amicable adjustment of international difficulties growing out of California's action regarding Japanese residents. When Japan had proved herself and the prowess of her soldiers and her navy," said the Baron, in reference to the conflict with Russia, "the convention was called and the conclusion of the terms which brought about an honorable peace was due greatly to the broad, straightforward, generous and even noble attitude taken by President Roosevelt. The death of Colonel Roosevelt leaves a gap in the ranks of men who have made the history of the world. As the friend of Japan he had been consistent in ren

dering our country valuable service which will always be appreciated."

None of the twelve labors of Hercules can compare with this act of seizing two powerful nations at war with each other, pulling them apart and persuading them to live at peace with one another.


SEVENTH-He wrote thirty-five books. taught Hercules; Roosevelt's wisdom was God-given. In spite of his supremely busy life, beside many other writings, he produced books which have an important place in the libraries of our country and in those of some other countries. The most important are as follows: Winning of the West, 1889-96; History of the Naval War of 1812, 1882; Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, 1885; Life of Thomas Hart Benton, 1886; Life of Gouveneur Morris, 1887; Ranch Life and Hunting Trail, 1888; History of New York, 1890; The Wilderness Hunter, 1893; American Ideals and Other Essays, 1897; The Rough Riders, 1899; Life of Oliver Cromwell, 1900; The Strenuous Life, 1900; Works (8 vols.), 1902; The Deer Family, 1902; Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter, 1906; American Ideals and Other Essays; Good Hunting, 1907; True Americanism; African and European Addresses, 1910; African Game Trails, 1910; The New Nationalism, 1910; Realizable Ideals (the Earl lectures), 1912; Conservation of Womanhood and Childhood, 1912; History as Literature, and Other Essays, 1913; Theodore Roosevelt, an Autobiography, 1913; Life Histories of African Game Animals (2 vols.), 1914; Through the Brazilian Wilderness, 1914; America and the World War, 1915; A Booklover's Holidays in the Open, 1916; Fear God, and Take Your Own Part, 1916; Foes of Our Own Household, 1917; National Strength and International Duty (Stafford Little lec

tures, Princeton Univ.), 1917. Of all his writing the Winning of the West is the most ambitious of his efforts and the one that will have the longest life.

While Police Commissioner we asked him to give us a lecture for the reduction of the church debt. He said he was just finishing a book on which he had been working for years, on the winning of the West, a quotation from which he could give as a lecture. He gave the lecture. In it he began with the moral and mental elements in the making of the new civilization and then spent the rest of the hour on the tremendous importance of the moral and religious elements in the Winning of the West. He paid the highest tribute to the pioneer ministers of all denominations. He said that their movement westward kept pace with the movement of the frontier, that they shared all the hardships in the life of the frontiersman, at the same time ministering to that frontiersman's spiritual needs, and seeing that his pressing material cares and the hard and grinding poverty of his life did not wholly extinguish the divine fire within his soul.

EIGHTH He achieved wonders in nature study. His knowledge of plant life was miraculous. Theodore Roosevelt knew the name of about every tree in the forest, the kind of bark, stem and leaf that each possessed; the name of every plant and flower, its feature and habit in this country and in others. Almost no hand in the nation spared the woodsman's axe in the destruction of our forests like his. Knowing the value of trees in the preservation of the rivers and fertility of the soil, and protection to wild life; knowing also the value of trees as a source of health companionship and moral training to the people, he set apart one hundred and fifty national forests with

an area of three hundred thousand square miles, five great National Parks, four reservations for big game and twenty-two reservations of American antiquities. The land which during his administration was set apart, to the perpetual happiness and mental and moral benefit of the people, amounted to an area greater than all of Germany. It was but natural that Congress should name one of the greatest National Parks of the world after him. Some of the charming passages in literature are Roosevelt's descriptions of the beauty, the fragrance and the value of flowers.

His knowledge of animal life was just as marvelous as that of the vegetable kingdom. He tells a story himself in his autobiography that when a small boy he saw the head of a seal at the meat market near his house and that he secured it and made it the object of study and basis of the Roosevelt museum, which he and his cousins established with the specimens which they found near at hand. He knew the name, family and habit of nearly all insects, reptiles, fishes, domestic and wild animals, of birds and other creatures in our land and in some other lands. His world-wide travels were largely to increase his knowledge of the plant and animal life that God has created.

From his earliest recollection to the day of his death Theodore Roosevelt was passionately fond of the birds, and for forty years of his life they had no such true and efficient friend as he. President Roosevelt thus paid a tribute to the friendly service rendered by the birds to man: "The cotton boll-weevil, which has recently overspread the cotton belt of Texas and is steadily extending its range, is said to cause an annual loss of about $3,000,000. The Biological Survey has ascertained and given wide publicity to the

« PreviousContinue »