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camp by the side of a crystal brook he strolled out to see if he could get
a a grouse for supper. To his surprise he encountered instead a giant grizzly. He fired at and wounded the animal, which took refuge in a laurel thicket. Night was at hand and the hunter peered into the thicket, eager for a second shot. While he did so the bear came suddenly out. “Scarlet strings of froth hung from his lips; his eyes burned like embers in the gloom.”
Roosevelt fired again, the bullet, as it afterwards proved, shattering the point of the grizzly's heart. We must let the hunter himself tell the remainder of this story:
"Instantly the great bear turned with a harsh roar of fury and challenge, blowing the bloody foam from his mouth, so that I saw the gleam of his white fangs; and then he charged straight at me, crashing and bounding through the laurel bushes, so that it was hard to aim. I waited until he came to a fallen tree, raking him as he topped it with a ball that entered his chest and most through the cavity of his body, but he neither swerved nor Alinched and at the moment I did not know that I had struck him.
“He came steadily on and in another second was almost upon me. I fired for his forehead, but my bullet went low, entering his open mouth, smashing his lower jaw, and going into his neck. I leaped to one side almost as I pulled the trigger, and through the hanging smoke the first thing I saw was his paw as he made a vicious side blow at me. The rush of his charge carried him past. As he struck, he lurched forward, leaving a pool of bright blood where his muzzle hit the ground; but he recovered himself and made one or two jumps onwards, while I hurriedly jammed a couple of cartridges into the magazine-my rifle holding only four, all of which I had fired. Then he tried to pull up, but as he did so his muscles seemed suddently to give way, his head drooped, and he rolled over and over like a shot rabbit. Each of my first three bullets had inflicted a mortal wound.”
The skin and head of this monarch of the Rockies are still among Mr. Roosevelt's cherished treasures.
Not so thrilling, yet in a sense more unpleasant, was his shooting of a "silver-tip” bear cub, which he hastened to pick up, knowing what it meant if Madame Bruin should happen that way and find her cub
Fighting the Spoils Hunters and Rascals HE years of Roosevelt's early political life were those of the
origin of legalized Civil Service Reform in the United States.
It is generally recognized that the assassination of President Garfield was a direct outcome of the moss-grown spoils system that had so long prevailed. This dire event hastened the reform, and in 1883 a Civil Service Act was passed which provided for a board of commissioners and for the appointment to office by examination of candidates. The power of appointment was in a measure taken out of the President's hands, the law giving the first chance for an office to those who best stood the test of examination.
President Harrison, after taking his seat in 1889, appointed the dauntless young New York reformer on the Civil Service Commission, and made him chairman of that body. The President had good reason for this act. In 1884 Roosevelt had succeeded in securing the passage of a Civil Service Reform law for New York, and his work in this direction had made him the logical head of the difficult Federal reform.
No better selection could have been made. Roosevelt was a man capable of a vast amount of work, and saw that in this new field there was a call for his utmost energy. The law had been widely evaded or ignored, the spoils system was fighting hard for its control of the perquisites, and only a fighter ready to hit square from the shoulder was fitted to enter the contest.
The law had its loopholes, as all such laws are almost sure to have, and its enemies took the utmost advantage of this. The new head of the commission saw that he had heroic work before him, and that he would have bitter opposition to meet both in and out of Congress. But no condition of that kind ever stopped Theodore Roosevelt. While it may not be fair to say that he dearly loved a fight, no one can say that the prospect of a fight
fight ever had any terror for him, For six years
AMONG THE COWBOYS AND IN THE HUNTING FIELD meddled with. Making a wild grab, for a quick get-away, he found his hand impaled upon a hundred porcupine quills. That was the kind of cub he had brought down. It is probable that he laughed at this in after years, but he was in no laughing humor just then.
We have not space to tell of his hunting the prong-horn antelope, the black-tail mountain deer, the stately elk of the hills, the jig-horn, cliff-haunting sheep, the mountain goat, and the many smaller creatures of the wilds. It must suffice to say that our daring hunter had
. many exciting, though not dangerous, adventures in search of these, winning many trophies of his skill, and left the West with the double reputation of being an able rancher and a daring hunter,
he filled the office, for, after President Harrison's term ended, President Cleveland, who recognized his ability, courage and sterling integrity, continued him in it.
It was a work he liked. With the conviction that the spoilsmonger and the bribe-giver were equally bad, he assailed them both without favor or mercy, "ousting the rascals” and enforcing the law as it had never been enforced before. He was a Republican from the North. Two members of the commission were from the South, Democrats, who had served in the Confederate Army,—but in all the dealings of the commission there was no instance in which the politics of any person was considered in any case that came before them.
When one day a paragraph got into the papers to the effect that only Republicans need try to enter the government service during a Republican administration, Roosevelt was quick in taking up the challenge.
"This,” he said, "is an institution not for Republicans and not for Democrats, but for the whole American people. It belongs to them and will be administered, as long as I stay here, in their interest without discrimination."
And to prove his words he asked the representatives of the Southern papers in Washington to publish in their papers that the young men of the South have not been seeking their proper share of positions under the government, and that if they chose to come forward they would be given an equal opportunity with everyone else, regardless of their political opinions.
They did come forward, plenty of them. The examinations on the Southern route began to swarm with bright young fellows, and the word of Roosevelt was quickly proved, that not party, but merit, ruled in appointments to office.
Commissioner Roosevelt opened himself to much criticism and faced many opponents,—but he has ever since been doing the same thing and with much the same effect. Criticism and opposition have never deterred him from doing the thing which he deemed right. Once the opponents of the merit system sought to tie the hands of the Commission by refusing to give it an adequate sum of money for its work. Roosevelt met them half-way. Sending for the list of exam
ination routes, he revised it, cutting out the districts represented by the men who had voted against the grant. He explained through the newspapers that, since some districts must be sacrificed through lack of money, it was only just that those members who had voted against the necessary appropriation should be the ones to lose its benefit. There was talk of “impeachment," "removal,” etc., but nothing was done, and the Commission got its money after that.
Before the Roosevelt period the Commission did its work in secret. But secrecy is alien to the Roosevelt instincts. The new Commissioner was a man who liked to be in the open air and did not fancy hiding his arts behind a veil. Hence, upon his entrance into the Civil Service Commission, its doors, for the first time in its existence, were thrown open to all comers. No one could say now, as had been said before, that there was any mystery connected with its workings. Afterwards, if any member of Congress showed himself ignorant of the conditions of the merit system, he would be cordially invited by the next mail to explore the whole work of the Commission to his heart's content. The newspaper correspondents were made welcome, and furnished with any information that could properly be given out.
During Roosevelt's six years on the Commission things were done. Of course we cannot give him the credit for all these things. He was not the Commission, but only one of its members. But another member, Mr. John H. Procter, has said this about his activity.
“Every day I went to the office as to an entertainment. I knew something was sure to turn up to make it worth my while, with him there. When he went away, I had heart in it no longer."
I And President Cleveland wrote this to Roosevelt when he regretfully accepted his resignation to engage in a new line of work:
"You are certainly to be congratulated upon the extent and permanence of Civil Service Reform methods which you have so substantially aided in bringing about.”
What had taken place may be expressed in figures as follows: When he entered the Commission there were 14,000 officers under Civil Service rules. When he left there were 40,000. And the work had been put on a solid foundation which has never since given way. The spoils system has largely passed away; the merit system has taken its place.