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THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

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NATURAL HISTORY: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM

NATURAL HISTORY, recording popularly the latest activities in natural science and exploration, is published monthly from October to May, inclusive, by the American Museum of Natural History. The subscription price is Two Dollars a year. NATURAL HISTORY is sent to all classes of members as one of the privileges of membership. Subscriptions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Museum.

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Courtesy of Underwood and Underwood
HIS FORCE SEEMED TO INCARNATE THE SOUL OF AMERICA
The energy and latent action, the rational thought, the controlled will, the moral forcethat

was Theodore Rooserelt (1858–1919)
He denied himself all things that weaken. He gave his life to work and to whatever circumstances
brought in the way of private and public duty and private and public fellowship. "Work, duty, and
fellowship’-he preached them and lived them with the zeal of a prophet, and they pretty much make
the message he leaves us : "work" and "duty," the basis of moral force in man or nation, the iron
qualities on which the United States were founded; "fellowship, a key to an understanding of our
neighbor and a melting pot for class differences. He believed in the "jor" of life also, but not merely
the old primeval heritage, and never pleasure sought as such, but, instead, that achievement which comes
as a by-product of work faithfully done, lack of self-seeking. trust in the good in one's fellow men, and
knowledge of nature

NATURAL HISTORY

VOLUME XIX

JANUARY, 1919

NUMBER 1

Theodore Roosevelt

HIS AMERICANISM REACHED IN TO THE MARROW OF HIS BONES

By JOHN BURROUGHS

EVER before in my life has it Early in May, during the last term

been so hard for me to accept of his presidency, he asked me to go

the death of any man as it has with him to his retreat in the woods of been for me to accept the death of Virginia, called “Pine Knot,” and help Theodore Roosevelt. I think I must him name his birds. Together we idenhave unconsciously felt that his power tified more than seventy-five species of to live was unconquerable. Such un- birds and wild fowl. He knew them all bounded energy and vitality impressed but two, and I knew them all but two. one like the perennial forces of nature. · He taught me Bewick's wren and one I cannot associate the thought of death of the rarer warblers, and I taught him with him. He always seemed to have the swamp sparrow and the pine waran unlimited reserve of health and bler. A few days before he had seen power. Apparently he cared no more Lincoln's sparrow in an old weedy field. for the bullet which that would be On Sunday after church, he took me assassin shot into his breast a few years there and we loitered around for an ago than for a feabite.

hour, but the sparrow did not appear. From his ranch days in Montana to Had he found this bird again, he would the past year or two I saw and was have been one ahead of me.

The one with him many times in many places. subject I do know, and ought to know, In the Yellowstone Park in the spring is the birds. It has been one of the of 1903, in his retreat in the woods of main studies of a long life. He knew Virginia during the last term of his the subject as well as I did, while he presidency, at Oyster Bay at various knew with the same thoroughness times, in Washington at the White scores of other subjects of which I am House, and at my place on the Hudson, entirely ignorant. I have felt the arousing and stimu- He was a naturalist on the broadest lating impact of his wonderful per- grounds, uniting much technical knowlsonality. When he came into the room edge with knowledge of the daily lives it was as if a strong wind had blown and habits of all forms of wild life. the door open.

You felt his radiant He probably knew tenfold more natural energy before he got halfway up the history than all the presidents who stairs.

had preceded him, and, I think one When we went birding together it is safe in saying, more human history was ostensibly as teacher and pupil, but also. it often turned out that the teacher got In the Yellowstone Park when I was as many lessons as he gave.

with him, he carried no gun, but one 1 This article, in part, was read beiore the Roosevelt Memorial Meeting at the Century Club, New York City, February 9, by Major George Haven Putnam

day as we were riding along, he saw a get his paw so caught in a tin can that he live mouse on the ground beside the cannot get it off and of course great pain road. He instantly jumped out of the

and injury follow. Buffalo Jones was sent sleigh and caught the mouse in his

with another scout to capture, tie up and

cure these bears. He roped two and got the hands; and that afternoon he skinned

can off of one, but the other tore himself it and prepared it in the approved taxi

loose, can and all, and escaped. ... dermist's way, and sent it to the United

Think of the grizzly bear of the early States National Museum in Washing

Rocky Mountain hunters and explorers, and ton. It proved to be a species new to then think of the fact that part of the recog. the Park.

nized duties of the scouts in the Yellowstone In looking over the many letters I Park at this moment is to catch this same have had from him, first and last, I find grizzly bear and remove tin cans from the that the greater number of them are

bear's paws in the bear's interest ! taken up with the discussion of natural

The grounds of the White IIouse are lovely

now, and the most decorative birds in them history problems, such as Darwin's theory of natural selection, “sports,” pro

are some red-headed woodpeckers.

Give my regards to Mrs. Burroughs. How tective coloration. He would not allow

I wish I could see you at Slabsides! But of himself, nor would he permit others to

course this summer there is no chance of dogmatize about nature. He knew how

that. infinitely various are her moods and

Always yours, ways, and not infrequently did he take

[Signed] THEODORE ROOSEVELT. me to task for being too sweeping in my statements. When, in the early part of the last

Roosevelt was a many-sided man and decade, while he was President, there

every side was like an electric battery. was a serious outbreak of nature-faking Such versatility, such vitality, such in books and in various weekly and

thoroughness, such copiousness, have monthly periodicals, Roosevelt joined rarely been united in one man. He was me and others in a crusade against the

not only a full man, he was also a ready fakers and wielded the "big stick” with

man and an exact man. He could deadly effect. He detected a sham natu- bring all his vast resources of power ralist as quickly as he did a trading

and knowledge to bear upon a given politician.

subject instantly. Roosevelt was much amused by the Courageous, confident, self-assertive, change that had come over the spirit of he was yet singularly tender and symthat terrible beast, the grizzly bear in pathetic. He was an autocratic demoYellowstone Park. In a letter to me he crat. “Hail fellow well met" with comments as follows:

teamsters, mechanics, and cowboys, he

could meet kings and emperors on their WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON

own ground. A lover of big-game hunt

August 12, 1904 DEAR OOM JOHN,

ing, he was a naturalist before he was I think that nothing is more amusing and a sportsman. interesting than the development of the His Americanism reached in to the changes made in wild beast character by the

marrow of his bones. I could never get wholly unprecedented course of things in

him interested in that other great Amerthe Yellowstone Park. I have just had a let

ican,-one more strictly of the people ter from Buffalo Jones, describing his ex

than he was- Walt Whitman. Whitperiences in trying to get tin cans off the

man's democracy was too rank and unfeet of the bears in the Yellowstone Park. There are lots of tin cans in the garbage

relieved to attract him. The Rooseheaps which the bears muss over, and it has veltian strenuousness and austerity and now become fairly common for a bear to high social ideals stood in the way.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

7

Roosevelt combined and harmonized many sides enabled him to decide opposite qualities. Never have I known quickly where others hesitate and such good-fellowship joined to such stumble. The emphasis and the sharpausterity, such moral courage to such ness of his yea and nay, were those of physical courage, such prodigious pow- a man who always knew his own mind ers of memory united with such pow- and knew it instantly. What seemed ers of original thought. He could rashness in him was only the action of face a charging lion, or a grizzly bear, a mind of extraordinary quickness and as coolly as he could an angry poli- precision. His uncompromising charactician.

ter made him many enemies, but withThere was always something immi- out it he would not have been the nent about him, like an avalanche that Roosevelt who stamped himself so the sound of your voice might loosen. deeply upon the hearts and the history The word demanded by the occasion of his countrymen. was instantly on his lips, whether it When I think of his death amid these were to give pleasure or pain. In his great days when such tremendous world presence one felt that the day of judg- events are fast becoming history, and ment might come at any moment. No recall what a part he could have played easy tolerance with him, but you could in them, and would gladly have played, always count on the just word, the had his health permitted, I realize with square deal, and tolerance of your opin- new poignancy what a loss the world ion if it were well founded.

has suffered in his passing! A pall The charge that he was an impulsive seems to settle upon the very sky. The man has no foundation; it was a wrong

world is bleaker and colder for his abinterpretation of his power of quick de- sence from it. We shall not look upon cision. His singleness of purpose and his like again. the vitality and alertness of each of his Farewell! great Soul, farewell!

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The warm human fellowship about the camp fire, where our thoughts turned to great adventures, and our tongues uttered intimate words of home and friends and the great adventure which is life

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