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abandonment of duty, like turning back from trial and labor, like retreating in the face of an enemy to sanction in any way the suggestion that he was willing to leave that office for a greater. Nothing could be greater or more noble than the task he had set himself to perform. So that there was no man in the nation so interested as he in silencing the demand for Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy for Vice-President. But there he encountered the very political opposition which he had set himself to oppose. The forces of his own party in New York which were not in accord with him knew that he should be removed from the gubernatorial chair at any cost. They had not wanted him there at the beginning, and had done all in their power to oppose him. They would do all in their power now to promote him. So, as the national convention approached, they encouraged that demand for Roosevelt. They extended the scope of their influence all over the country. In some places they went so far as to increase the clamor for his name at the head of the ticket—and many politicians are still willing to assert that he could have had the nomination for the Presidential office if he had manifested the slightest desire for
it. But the result of the machinations of the politicians coincided exactly with the desires of the people for honoring this man, and as June 19 approached, the day of the convention's assembling, it became more and more evident that he would at least have the offer of the second place in the gift of the nation.
There was no coy disclaimer, no shallow pretense of not wanting the honor. There was a rugged and honest declaration that he wanted to remain Governor of New York until his work there was completed. He constantly and diligently tried to discourage the “Roosevelt boom” that he found at Philadelphia. He was again one of the New York delegates to the convention, as he had been to the Chicago convention of 1884. And all the power and influence he possessed was exerted in opposition to his own selection. But it was fruitless. The nation had called him, and he could not but comply. So that the ticket was made up even before the convention was called to order.
As the work of the convention proceeded, Mr. McKinley was named for President, and Mr. Roosevelt rose to second that nomination. His speech was in part as follows: “I rise to second
the nomination of William McKinley, because with him as leader this people has trod the path of national greatness and prosperity with the strides of a giant, and because under him we can and will succeed in the election. Exactly as in the past we have remedied the evils which we undertook to remedy, so now when we say that a wrong shall be righted, it most assuredly will be righted. “We stand on the threshold of a new century, a century big with the fate of the great nations of the earth. It rests with us to decide now whether in the opening years of that century we shall march forward to fresh triumphs, or whether at the outset we shall deliberately cripple ourselves for the contest. Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work that must be done by the world-powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent, and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager and fearless eyes, and rejoices, as a strong man, to run the race. We do not stand in the craven mood, asking to be spared the task, cringing as we gaze on the contest. No. We challenge the proud privilege of doing the work that Providence has allotted us, and we face the coming years high of heart and resolute of faith that to our people is given to win such honor and renown as has never yet been granted to the peoples of the earth.” He was, beyond question, the one great character in the convention. The sessions were held in Philadelphia, a city hallowed by memories of trials in Revolutionary times, by the memories of the Declaration of Independence which had been signed there; hallowed by the memories of that earlier Republican national convention, in 1856, when Col. John C. Frémont was the first candidate of the party for the office. And all the traditions of that earlier age, when freedom and advancement called the best men in the nation to the public service seemed throbbing in the air of the big convention hall. There was no opposition to Mr. McKinley's selection. Yet until the Governor of New York took his place there on the platform and began his speech seconding the nomination, there were men who feared he would himself carry off first honors. Of course he was wholly incapable of such an act. It would have been a base treachery; but the men who feared him knew the limitless reaches of his power, knew what an idol he had become in the public eye, knew that if he had been inspired by their own code of morals he would take advantage of even that great and sacred opportunity. But he was loyal to the chief of his party. And when he had concluded his speech of seconding, his critics knew they had heard a man who was giving up an office which he wanted for the certainty of one not at all to his liking, and that no consideration on earth could induce him to be either a traitor or a coward. It is doubtful if any man in political life in this country has ever stood in a position similar to that occupied by Governor Roosevelt at the Philadelphia convention. It is certain none has acquitted himself more honorably. When the cheers over the naming of the President had died away, there was a demand for Roosevelt for second place. No effort was needed to make his nomination sure. Not even his own opposition could prevent it. And when the roll of the convention was called, every member but one voted for Theodore Roosevelt for nomination to the office of Vice-President. That one member did not vote. It was Mr. Roosevelt himself. - * His letter, published a month later, accepted