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actual convictions, and sweet as summer in friendliness. He was not held by elocutionists to be an orator, in the sense of speaking melodiously, with cadenced utterances, the sentences swinging like children who teeter over a log, or the wood cutters who rise and fall with a cross-cut saw, that sings with the strokes, but he said what he had to say so there was no mistake about it.
The objection held hard against Roosevelt, by those whose virtues are chiefly heard of in their oratory, is that he was not a Mugwump, when there was a vanity so called, but a workingman in public business.
Speaking before the Y. M. C. A. in New York, the Governor said:
“To break the Tenth Commandment is no more moral now than it has been for the past thirty centuries. The vice of envy is not only a dangerous but also a mean vice, for it is always a confession of inferiority. It may provoke conduct which will be fruitful of wrong to others; and it must cause misery to the man who feels it. It will not be any the less fruitful of wrong and misery if, as is so often the case with evil motives, it adopts some high sounding alias. The truth is, gentlemen, that each one of us has in him certain passions and instincts which if they gain the upper hand in his soul would mean that the wild beast had come uppermost in him. Envy, malice and hatred are such passions, and they are just as bad if directed against a class or group of men as if directed against an individual.
“What we need in our leaders and teachers is help in suppressing such feelings, help in arousing and directing the feelings that are their extreme opposites. Woe to us as a nation if we ever follow the lead of men who seek not to smother but to inflame the wild beast qualities of the human heart.”
The Governor filed a memorandum with the Assembly, approving the Act to make effective the eight-hour law, stating that the passage of the Amendment was evident, as the existing law was so easy of evasion, it was largely inoperative. The general tendency, the Governor said, toward an eight-hour working day law, had undoubtedly been healthful, and was wise for the State to set a good example as an employer of labor, both as to the number of hours of labor exacted, and to paying a just and reasonable wage.
The Governor vetoed a bill for the erection of a bridge, and developing the power of the Niagara river at Buffalo, saying:
“The bill has on its face an entirely praiseworthy object, that is to say, the promotion of an experiment to see whether the waters of the Niagara river can not be used to give a vast power system for the benefit of the city of Buffalo. But the bill is so drawn as to make it likely that it provides for the erection of a bridge across the Niagara river, wholly without reference to whether the attempt to introduce the power system is a failure or not. The language of the bill is such that the bridge across the river could apparently be built even though the preliminary power bridge span was considered a failure by the State Engineer. At any rate, the State by this bill, if enacted into law, would at once surrender the right to object to any such bridge, whether the power bridge span did or did not prove a failure, and whether the State authorities did or did not regard the new project as a menace to navigation. Unquestionably the National Government would still have the power to take into account the question of navigation under proper safe-guards; but it would, in my judgment, be wise for the State also to retain control of the matter."
The Governor vetoed a bill relative to the adulteration of beer, on the ground that the bill provided that in addition to the fine of one hundred dollars for violating the provision of the Public Health Law against adulterations, it shall be permissible to add imprisonment in the county jail for three months. This would make it possible to inflict a far severer penalty upon a man who should adulterate beer than upon the man who, for instance, should violate Section 41, sub-div. B 5 of the Public Health Law by selling food composed of diseased or decomposed or putrid or rotten animal or vegetable substance. It is obviously absurd to provide a heavier penalty for the adulteration of beer than for using putrid and rotten animal substances in adulterating food.”
The President's way of preparing for public speaking is to write notes. They are for the survey of the lines of thought and to hold the scope of illustration confined to specialties, and, above all, the better words and phrases by forming them, not striving for word-perfect memory, but to map out the country to be traversed, arrange the signal stations. During his Vice-Presidency, his mind was in a glow, and his series of orations, from the one at the opening of the Pan-American Exposition to that at Minneapolis are the richest output of his life. The Buffalo oration was on "The Two Americas." "Manhood and Statehood” was spoken at Colorado Springs on the quarter centennial celebration of Statehood. "Brotherhood and the Heroic Virtues" at Burlington, Vermont, before the Veterans' Reunion; “National Duties” the Minneapolis oration, September 2nd. The titles are all of felicity. There is a noble range of subjects, and the noblest of them in title and matter is the "Manhood and Statehood" at Colorado Springs.
Perhaps there have been other utterances exceeding any one of the four we have named, but no orator has in one summer made four addresses, the equivalent of Roosevelt's stately quadrilateral. We can give only some of the material of the structure. World politics, said the orator at Buffalo, meant European politics only a century ago, and :
"All that is now changed, not merely by what has happened here in America, but by what has happened elsewhere. It is not necessary for us here to consider the giant changes which have come elsewhere in the globe; to treat of the rise in the South Seas of the great free commonwealths of Australia and New Zealand; of the way in which Japan has been rejuvenated and has advanced by leaps and bounds to a position among the leading civilized powers; of the problems, affecting the major portion of mankind, which call imperiously for solution in parts of the Old World which, a century ago, were barely known to Europe, even by rumor. Our present concern is not with the Old World, but with our own western hemisphere, America.
"We all look forward to the day when there shall be a nearer approximation than there has ever yet been to the brotherhood of man and the peace of the world. More and more we are learning that to love one's country above all others is in no way incompatible with respecting and wishing well to all others, and that, as between man and man, so between nation and nation, there should live the great law of right. These are the goals toward which we strive; and let us at least earnestly endeavor to realize them here on this continent. From Hudson's Bay to the Strait of Magellan, we, the men of the two Americas, have been conquering the wilderness, carving it into State and Province, and seeking to build up in State and Province Governments which shall combine industrial prosperity and moral well-being. Let us ever most vividly remember the falsity of the belief that any one of us is to be permanently benefited by the hurt of another.
“Let us strive to have our public men treat as axiomatic the truth that it is for the interest of every commonwealth in the western hemisphere to see every other commonwealth grow in riches and in happiness, in material wealth and in the sober, strong, self-respecting manliness, without which material wealth avails so little.
"To-day on behalf of the United States I welcome you here—you, our brothers of the North, and you, our brothers of the South; we wish you well; we wish you all prosperity; and we say to you that we earnestly hope for your well-being, not only for your own sakes, but also for our own, for it is a benefit to each of us to have the others do well. I believe with all my heart in the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine is not to be invoked for the aggrandizement of any one of us here on this continent at the expense of any one else on this continent. It should be regarded simply as a great international Pan-American policy, vital to the interests of all of us. The United States has, and ought to have, and must ever have, only the desire to see her sister commonwealths in the western hemisphere continue to flourish, and the determination that no Old World power shall acquire new territory here on this western continent.
“The tremendous industrial development of the Nineteenth Century has not only conferred great benefits upon us of the Twentieth, but it has also exposed us to grave dangers. This highly complex movement has had many sides, some good and some bad, and has produced an absolutely novel set of phenomena. To secure from them the best results will tax to the utmost the resources of the statesman, the economist, and the social reformer.
“The true welfare of the nation is indissolubly bound up with the welfare of the farmer and the wage-worker; of the man who tills the soil, and of the mechanic, the handicraftsman, the laborer. The poorest motto upon which an American can act is the motto of “some men down," and the safest to follow is that of “all men up.” A good deal can and ought to be done by law. For instance, the State and, if necessary, the Nation should by law assume ample power of supervising and regulating the acts of any corporation (which can be but its creatures), and generally of those immense business enterprises which exist only because of the safety and protection to property guaranteed by our system of Government. Yet it is equally true that, while this power should exist, it should be used sparingly and with self-restraint. Modern industrial competition is very keen between nation and nation, and now that our country is striding forward with the pace of a giant to take the leading position in the international industrial world, we should beware how we fetter our limbs, how we cramp our Titan strength. Here in this exposition, on the stadium and on the pylons of
the pylons of the bridge, you have written certain sentences to which we must live up to if we are in any way or measure to do our duty: 'Who shuns the dust and sweat of the contest, on his brow falls not the cool shade of the olive,' and 'A free state exists only in the virtue of the citizen.' We all accept these statements in theory; but if we do not live up to them in practice, then there is no health in us. Take the two together always. In our eager, restless life of effort, but little can be done by that cloistered virtue of which Milton spoke with such fine contempt. We need the rough, strong qualities that make a man fit to play his part well among men. Yet we need to remember even more that no ability, no strength and force, no power of intellect or power of wealth, shall avail us, if we have not the root of right living in us."
In his Vermont Veterans' Union oration, Colonel Roosevelt spoke especially to "members of the Grand Army, which saved the Union.” He said:
"Other men by their lives or their deaths have kept unstained our honor, have wrought marvels for our interest, have led us forward to triumph, or warded off disaster from us; other men have marshaled our ranks upward across the stony slopes of greatness. But you did more, for you saved us from annihilation. We can feel proud of what others did only because of what you did. It was given to you, when the mighty days came, to do the mighty deeds, for which the days called, and if your deeds had been left undone, all that had been already accomplished would have turned into apples of Sodom under our teeth. The glory of Washington and the majesty of Marshall would have crumbled into meaningless dust if you and your comrades had not buttressed their work with your strength of steel, your courage of fire. The Declaration of Independence would now sound like a windy platitude, the Constitution of the United States would ring as false as if drawn by the Abbe Sieyes in the days of the French Terror, if your stern valor had not proved the truth of the one and made good the promise of the other. In our history there have been other victorious struggles for right, on the field of battle and in civic strife. To have failed in these other struggles would have meant bitter shame and grievous loss. But you fought in the one struggle where failure meant death and destruction to our people; meant that our whole past history would be crossed out of the records of successful endeavor with the red and black lines of failure; meant that not one man in all this wide country would now be holding his head upright as a free citizen of a mighty and glorious republic.
"All this you did, and therefore you are entitled to the homage of all men who have not forgotten in their blindness either the awful nature of the crisis, or the worth of priceless service rendered in the hour of direst need.
"You have left us the right of brotherhood with the gallant men who wore the gray in the ranks against which you are pitted. At the opening of this new Century, all of us, the children of a reunited country, have a right to glory in the countless deeds of valor done alike by the men of the North and the men of the South. We can retain an ever-growing sense of the all-importance, not merely to our people but to mankind, of the Union victory, while giving the freest and heartiest recognition to the sincerity and self-devotion of those Americans, our fellow-countrymen, who then fought against the stars in their courses. Now there is none left, North or South, who does not take joy and pride in the Union; and when three years ago we once more had to face a foreign enemy, the heart of every true American thrilled with pride to see veterans who had fought in the Confederate uniform once more appear under Uncle Sam's colors, side by side with their former foes, and leading to victory. under the famous old flag the sons both of those who had worn the blue and of those who had worn the gray.”
Mr. Roosevelt's Minneapolis speech, September 5th, has, from its co-incidences and associations, become so thoroughly known that space can be filled with coin from the same mint that has not been worn by circulation.