« PreviousContinue »
HAVE always counted as one of the highest honors, joys and blessings of my life
the intimate personal friendship of Theodore Roosevelt for the last twenty-four years: As pastor of the Park Avenue Methodist Church in New York City, we were associated with him in his work as Police Commissioner in closing Sunday saloons and were engaged with him in the desperate fight against evil and crime in the great city.
Two motives prompted me to write this book. First, to pay a personal tribute of affection to him. Every line of this book is an appreciation of his great ability and a stream of love flows between the lines from beginning to end. I have traced him from his birth in the city home through the days of his boyhood and early education, to Harvard University; through a series of public offices such as no one man ever filled outlining the important features of his administration in each, and his mighty influence upon individual and national destiny. He destroyed the illegal combination of corporations in their con
spiracy against the government and saved the republic from the ruin which they threatened. He compelled the rich man and the most influential to obey the law as completely as the poorest man, which made him the idol of the common people and also of the honest rich. He so loved his country that he gave himself absolutely to its service, as well as his four boys, whom he loved better than his life. Mention has been made of his titanic achievement in building the Panama Canal. While he was in the White House, he revealed to me some of the deepest secrets of his heart, which I question whether he ever mentioned to any mortal outside of his own family. Some of these are quoted in this work, because they contain such immortal principles that I know he would like to have me tell them to my fellow countrymen. We have referred to him as an author with his thirty-five splendid volumes and have shown his literary style and made quotations from some of his books, and have watched him as a naturalist among the flowers and birds, the insects, and the big game of the forest, and made a record of some of the things he said about them.
The second reason for writing this book was that in some modest way I might hold up this magnificent specimen of manhood as a model and inspiration to my fellowmen. We look into his home and find the ideal husband and father whose happiness and rugged virtues have sweetened and sanctified the name of home and
been a blessed inspiration to every home in the land. We have referred to his courage, believing him to be one of the bravest men in history. We have related the incidents of the fights with grizzly bear and man-eating lion, and of his standing with both shoes full of blood and making his speech after he had been shot, an act of sublime heroism.
We have told of his confronting the most dangerous men and of his moral courage; of his personal and political integrity, which no penny of graft ever dared approach and against which there was no breath of scandal; of his indomitable industry; of his loyalty personified, which burned with such a flame that he set the whole nation afire with Americanism and triumphant democracy. There is here noted his lifelong hostility to the saloon, his demand for war prohibition, and friendliness to national constitutional prohibition, and of his friendliness to woman suffrage. We have chapters which give at length Theodore Roosevelt as a Christian; his article on the Bible, in which he holds that it is the basis of individual character and of public virtue; his belief in Christ as a personal Saviour; the incident of his joining the church, which we received from his old pastor; of him as a practical preacher of righteousness, demanding the doing as well as the hearing of the Word; his belief in a future life and his words on the death of his son, killed in the great war.
Space is given to the estimate of Theodore Roosevelt by Dr. Albert Shaw, the editor of The Review of Reviews, one of the most intimate friends the Colonel ever had in the world, which article was prepared especially for this book; and also an editorial in The Outlook by Dr. Lyman Abbott, another one of the dearest friends of the Colonel, which he gave me for use here. General George W. Goethals gave to us for this volume some words on the relation of President Roosevelt to the building of the Pan. ama Canal.
The book has been brought down to date and an account of his death and funeral services have been recorded. The sorrow of the world was expressed in cable messages from President Wilson, the King and Queen of England, Lloyd George, Rudyard Kipling and others abroad and at home.
Copious extracts from notable memorial services have been furnished by their authors for use in this volume, including those of Henry Cabot Lodge in Washington, Charles E. Hughes, Chauncey Depew, Bishop Luther B. Wilson in New York, Gifford Pinchot in Philadelphia, Will H. Hayes in Indianapolis, Chancellor James R. Day at Albany and Archdeacon Carnegie at Westminster Abbey.
Touching tributes have also been given to us by Gen. Leonard Wood, Sec. Franklin K. Lane, Cardinal Gibbons, Rabbi H. P. Mendes, Mr. John M. Parker, a merchant friend and others.
We have devoted a chapter to Colonel Roosevelt's sons and family, with a sketch of their life and heroic deeds, and a chapter to what the friends of Oyster Bay think and say about him, for publication here.
In estimating Theodore Roosevelt, I have illustrated the various elements of his char. acter and life; by many incidents of our personal relationship that have never been printed, and hence are unknown to any one but himself and to me.
In treating Theodore Roosevelt, the man, as I knew him, I have given a concise and yet comprehensive history and biography of my friend and all the great events and salient points of his character. This volume has been prepared with the hope that rich and poor, high and low, political friend and enemy might find interest and profit in reading it. Theodore Roosevelt's rugged virtues will appeal to every man with high hopes and ambitions, looking for the best models and desiring to make the most of himself; to every working man who knows how the great leader loved him and worked so hard for him; to every man who recognizes how valuable truth and honor and industry are as elements of manhood and success; to every public servant, from the humblest office-holder to the ruler of the nation, who would scorn a bribe as he would a scorpion and give himself up wholly to the public good; to every woman who loves the name of home; to every young man or