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the great corporations of the State of New York, and more than incidentally threatened those of all other States through the precedent, if it should be established, required a faith in his own prowess seldom found in public men. Governor Roosevelt seems not only to have had faith in his power to accomplish the needed legislation against all the odds, but to have resolved that the legislature should not escape doing its duty. He called an extra session, secured the passage of the bill in a modified form, and established the principle of street franchise legislation. And when the bill became a law he saw that it was enforced so that the State of New York was richer by many millions, and the burdens of taxation in a measure shifted from the shoulders of the poor to the pockets of the rich Governor Roosevelt also gave his aid to the Tenement Commission in its work for the betterment of the poor in New York, and in breaking up the sweat-shops through the rigid enforcement of the factory law.
The remarkable popularity of Roosevelt as Governor was clearly shown at the time of the demonstration in New York in honor of Admiral Dewey in 1899.
For a week New York city was the Mecca of
hero-worshipers. Enthusiasm ran to a very frenzy of patriotic pride and the gray old sailor had his reward in a nation's praise. But it was observed that when the brilliant procession representing the army and the navy had passed along between the walls of cheers, the sounds were fairly lost in the shouts which burst from thousands of throats, as from one, when Roosevelt passed. He was dressed in the sober garments of his citizenhood, and was in striking contrast to the plumed and glittering warriors in front and rear. But he sat his brown horse with a trooper's ease, and although he seemed to many only a modest and peaceful gentleman, something stirred, at his coming, in the hearts of the men and women along the line of march—some emotion, untranslatable except by cheers. It was the same the day the victorious squadron sailed around New York harbor through a sea of dipping flags. The battle-ships moved in stately parade between saluting forts. Multitudes hurrahed from the shore and from all manner of craft afloat in the waters. But when a certain, ordinary East river steamer appeared in line with that black-coated figure leaning against the rail, the Olympia herself, with the Admiral in full sight upon her bridge, could not hold the attention of the people. “Roosevelt! Roosevelt!” they cried; until the Governor left his place and went below to keep those loyal voices from unthinking discourtesy toward the guest. One quality which distinguishes President Roosevelt from all his predecessors, except Lincoln, is his keen and saving sense of humor. There never was a great and solemn ceremonial that did not have an element of comedy? And this man shows his delightful human side in the ready appreciation he has of a joke or an absurd situation. Sometimes this boyish desire to break into laughter proves annoying to himself; but his friends hold him dearer for it. The presentation of a golden loving cup from the city of New York to the victor of Manila bay was one of the important features of the celebration. The morning following the water carnival, and countless other entertainments in his honor, found the hero weary and the skies coldly gray. The ceremony was appointed for nine o'clock but by seven a vast crowd had gathered and the space across from the city hall was filled with the school children of Greater New York; each child with the notes of “America ’’ caged in its little throat waiting but the signal to soar away. From a height by nine o’clock the crowd looked like a field of clover in bloom, set shivering by a cold breeze. Another hour and a dreary drizzle had begun to divert the attention of the crowd as a whole, from its aching feet to its defenseless head. No one could have gone home had he so desired. That concrete mass gave no chance for individual independence. In their flimsy frocks the little people still waited; but the song was in the clutch of croup, and never found its wings. Then the waiting was over. Admiral Dewey and the gallant gentlemen of his own and other fleets arrived with the great landsmen, General Nelson A. Miles and General Joseph Wheeler and were met by Governor Roosevelt and Mayor Van Wyck on the platform over the steps of the city hall. All but the mayor faced the crowd. That gentleman, having his speech to make to the hero of the day, faced Dewey. He drew the manuscript from his pocket; and the moment Roosevelt saw its bulk a smile flickered over his features, only to be quickly suppressed and
replaced with an expression in keeping with the seriousness of the occasion. The Admiral, more fatigued with the honors than he had been by his matin fights at sea, looked as bored and sheepish as any bluff and valiant old soldier will when he has to stand and face the music of his own praise. He gnawed his gray mustache and gazed ahead in nervous agony.' He stood on one foot and then the other, and finally, as the mayor read on and on, the subject of his eloquence gave vent to a sigh so dejected and profound that Roosevelt's face quivered again with an irrepressible smile. It was plain that he was longing to laugh while he was trying to repress the inclination. Then one of those unfortunate incidents occurred. A stranger, a spectator, suddenly caught his eyes and in that glance he broke down and burst into a laughter. It was over in a minute, and by the time the cup was really in the great sailor's hand the Governor was again all dignity. But that boyish laugh in the drizzle and chill of that day is a heartsome thing to remember.
Colonel Roosevelt, as Governor of New York, continued to keep in the public eye, as he had always done in every other position he had ever