Page images

tory of the league conventions. As Roosevelt was named the speaker of the evening, the great crowd came to its feet, and six minutes of cheers and applause swept the hall. When finally he was able to make himself heard he returned thanks for the reception that had been tendered him here to-day. Especially, he thanked the Roosevelt Club for its choice of name and a uniform. He was pleased at the honor, he said, for it was a club of young men, and young men stood for much. He spoke then for decency and efficiency in public life, for courage in carrying out what one believed. He had no use for timid persons. Public officials should be honest, brave and be endowed with the saving grace of common sense. These were needed in public just as much as in private life. He took pleasure and pride in addressing such a gathering, as it 'stands for just such honesty, courage and common sense.'

“Governor Roosevelt continued: “Mr. President and Gentlemen: We have come here to begin the work of a campaign more vital to American interests than any that has taken place since the close of the Civil War. We appeal not only to Republicans, but to all good citizens who are Americans in fact as well as in name, to help us in re-electing President McKinley. It was, indeed, of infinite importance to elect him four years ago. Yet the need is even greater now. Every reason then obtained in his favor obtains now, and many more have been added. Four years ago the success of the Populistic Democracy would have meant fearful misery, fearful disaster at home; it would have meant the shame that is worse even than misery and disaster. To-day it would mean all this,' and, in addition, the immeasurable disgrace of abandoning the proud position we have taken, of Alinching from the great work we have begun. President McKinley has more than made good all that he has promised, or that was promised on his behalf, and as the smoke clears away, we see how utterly trivial are the matters because of which his Administration has been criticized, when compared with the immense substantial gains for American honor and interest which under the Administration have been brought about. We appealed for President McKinley before, asserting what he would do if President from our knowledge of what he had done in lesser positions. Now we appeal for him, asking that the promise of a second term be judged by the performance of his first, and pledging that the wonderful work so triumphantly begun in his first term, shall in his second be carried to an even more triumphant conclusion.'"

July 13th, the Governor saw Senator Hanna at Cleveland and made arrangements for the special train speech-making tour. He and Senator Platt went to the Republican National headquarters to have talks with Senator Hanna about the work of the campaign. They did not go or leave there together, having had no arrangements to meet. The Governor wanted to know when he was to begin making speeches in the campaign. He arrived at the headquarters about 11 A. M., and went away a few minutes after noon, having been told that he would not be asked to begin a speechmaking trip until September. Senator. Platt appeared at the headquarters soon after the Governor had departed, and talked with Senator Hanna and other leaders there more than an hour.

Senator Hanna arrived at the National headquarters, accompanied from Elberon by Cornelius N. Bliss, the treasurer of the National Committee, and conferred with Senator N. B. Scott, Joseph H. Manley, Frederick S. Gibbs, and other members of the committee in charge of campaign work. Governor Roosevelt entered the headquarters in company with Colonel Youngs, his Secretary, and was greeted by many politicians, but he was in a hurry, and was soon shown into Senator Hanna's room where the session was continued.

After luncheon the Governor went up to the County Headquarters, to see General Francis V. Greene. Asked about a report that he had come to the city to consult a throat specialist, the Governor said: “I did not see a doctor to-day, but I am going to see Dr. H. Holbrook Curtis later in the week. I am as well as can be, and as strong as a bull moose, but my voice gets ridiculously husky when I make a speech, and I need some treatment of the throat. I think I injured my voice making speeches in the campaign two years ago.".

Governor Roosevelt left the city soon after 4 P. M., returning to his home in Oyster Bay. “I don't expect to be anything but a private citizen during the month of August,” he said; and rational advantage was taken of the intermission, but close watch kept for the month with the letter R in it-a consideration certainly for a citizen of Oyster Bay.

There was, however, something arranged in the way of recreation for the Governor, presumably that he might not be stale, as the sportsmen say, when he entered upon the regular work laid out for him. The Chicago engagement was to meet William J. Bryan and attend the Labor Day picnic. It was lucky this was a pleasure party. The date was September 3rd, and it was agreeable to know that Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan, under a flag of truce and non-partizanship, spoke to the laboring men of Chicago that day of the progress of labor, of its relation to citizenship, and the duties in connection with liberty and good government. Fifteen thousand men and women gathered in Electric Park, listened and applauded with personal respect and divided allegiance.

Neither of the leaders missed the inspiration of fiery American political enthusiasm, and the cheering was all the louder, the applause all the more vigorous, and the free and easy tributes all the more exciting, because given in the open air, with nothing but a board fence in the distance, and an awning slung between trees and tent poles to keep the rest of the world away. It was "Hurrah for Teddy!” and “Hello, Teddy, old boy!" the first part of the after

noon; and it was “What's the matter with Bryan?” repeated over and over again by the same people and around the same platform, a very short time later. It was “Do just what you want to, Teddy,” when the one spoke; and “Anything you do is all right,” when the other spoke. Both had to fight their way behind policemen when they came to the stand, both were nearly pulled off the stand entirely before they began to speak, by the people who wanted to get as near them as possible, and both had to run a gauntlet of outstretched hands and smiling faces before they escaped from the park and made their way to the trains that were to take them to the opening of their campaign tours. The two leaders sat side by side earlier in the day on the reviewing stand in the Auditorium Hotel balcony, while they watched the ranks of organized labor file past, when they had taken luncheon together in the hotel, as guests of the labor organizations, accompanied by Yates and Alschuler, the candidates of their two parties for the Governorship of Illinois, and by some of their political lieutenants.

At Electric Park, half a dozen miles from the hotel, the crowds of laboring men had been gathering long before the two leaders were ready even to begin their luncheon. They filled all the seats, not reserved for guests, under the awning, and sat patiently waiting for the speakers to come. They crowded around the speaking stand, they stood up on every railing in sight; and men by the dozen climbed the surrounding trees and hung onto swaying branches, unmindful of the sun in their eyes. It was 1:45 o'clock, however, over an hour late, before Governor Roosevelt's carriage was sighted coming along the driveway. The big cheer that greeted him was enough to have driven all the birds in the neighborhood across the Chicago river. With Graeme Stewart he made his way to the stand and got more cheers.

When the Governor spoke it was to give his hearers such an analysis of the progress of labor, the development of labor legislation and the power of the laboring men in harmonious work with the rest of society for the welfare of society, as sank deep into the thoughts of all his auditors.

“We have,” he said, "exactly the same right to regulate the conditions of life and work in factories and tenement houses that we have to regulate fire escapes and the like in other houses. In certain communities the existence of a thoroughly efficient department of factory inspection is just as essential as the establishment of a fire department. How far we shall go in regulating the hours of labor, or the liabilities of employers, is a matter of expediency, and each case must be determined on its own merits, exactly as it is a matter of expediency to determine what so-called 'public utilities' the community shall itself own, and what ones it shall leave to private or corporate ownership, securing to itself merely the right to regulate. Sometimes one course is expedient, sometimes the other.

“In my own State during the last half dozen years we have made a number of notable strides in labor legislation, and, with very few exceptions, the laws have worked well. This is, of course, partly because we have not tried to do too much and have proceeded cautiously, feeling our way; and, while always advancing, and taking each step in advance only when we were satisfied that the step already taken was in the right direction. To invite reaction by unregulated zeal is never wise, and is sometimes fatal.

"In New York our action has been along two lines. In the first place we determined that as an employer of labor the State should set a good example to other employers. We do not intend to permit the people's money to be squandered or to tolerate any work that is not the best. But we think that while rigidly insisting upon good work, we should see that there is fair play in return. Accordingly, we have adopted an eight-hour law for the State employees and for all contractors who do State work, and we have also adopted a law requiring that the fair market rate of wages shall be given. I am glad to say that both measures have so far, on the whole, worked well. Of course, there have been individual difficulties, mostly where the work is intermittent, as, for instance, among lock tenders on the canals, where it is very difficult to define what eight hours' work means. But on the whole, the result has been good. The practical experiment of working men for eight hours has been advantageous to the State. Poor work is always dear, whether poorly paid or not, and good work is always well worth having; and it is a mere question of expediency, aside even from the question of humanity, we find that we can obtain the best work by paying fair wages and permitting the work to go on only for a reasonable time.

"The other side of our labor legislation has been that affecting the wage workers who do not work for the State. Here we have acted in three different ways. Through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, through the Board of Mediation and Arbitration, and through the Department of Factory Inspection.

“During the last two years the Board of Mediation and Arbitration has been especially successful. Not only have they succeeded in settling many strikes after they were started, but they have succeeded in preventing a much larger number of strikes before they got fairly under way. Where possible, it is always better to mediate before the strike begins than to try to arbitrate when the fight is on and both sides have grown stubborn and bitter.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics has done more than merely gather the statistics; for by keeping in close touch with all the leading labor interests it has kept them informed on countless matters that were really of vital concern to them. Incidentally, one pleasing feature of the work of this bureau has been the steady upward tendency shown during the last four years both in amount of wages received and in the quantity and steadiness of employment. No other

man has been benefited so much as the wage worker by the growth in prosperity during these years.

"Work in itself, so far from being any hardship, is a great blessing, provided, always, it is carried on under conditions which preserve a man's selfrespect and which allow him to develop his own character and rear his children so that he and they, as well as the whole community of which he and they are part, may steadily move onward and upward. The idler, rich or poor, is at best a useless and is generally a noxious member of the community. To whom much has been given, from him much is rightfully expected, and a heavy burden of responsibility rests upon the man of means to justify by his actions the social conditions which have rendered it possible for him or his forefathers to accumulate and to keep the property he enjoys. He is not to be excused if he does not render full measure of service to the State and to the community at large. There are many ways in which this service can be rendered; in art, in literature, in philanthropy; as a statesman, as a soldier; but in some way he is in honor bound to render it; so that benefit may accrue to his brethren who have been less favored by fortune than he has been. In short, he must work, and work not only for himself, but for others. If he does not work, he fails not only in his duty to the rest of the community, but he fails signally in his duty to himself. There is no need of envying the idle. Ordinarily, we can afford to treat them with impatient contempt; for when they fail to do their duty, they fail to get from life the highest and keenest pleasures that life can give.

"Before us loom industrial problems, vast in their importance and their complexity. The last half century has been one of extraordinary social and industrial development. The changes have been far-reaching; some of them for good and some of them for evil. It is not given to the wisest of us to see into the future with absolute clearness. No man can be certain that he has found the entire solution of this infinitely great and intricate problem, and yet each man of us, if he would do his duty, must strive manfully so far as in him lies to help bring about that solution. It is not as yet possible to say what shall be the exact limit of influence allowed the State or what limit shall be set to that right of individual initiative so dear to the hearts of the American people. All we can say is that the need has been shown on the one hand for action by the people in their collective capacity through the State, in many matters; that in other matters much can be done by associations of different groups of individuals, as in trades unions and similar organizations; and that in other matters it remains now as true as ever that final success will be for the man who trusts in the struggle only to his cool head, his brave heart, and his strong right arm. There are spheres in which the State can properly act, and spheres in which a comparatively free field must be given to individual initiative.

« PreviousContinue »