« PreviousContinue »
York municipality had been ostentatiously displayed. That hand had become a clenched fist. The Governor got in his own experience evidence that there was violence in the air. He encountered it in person, and there were various indications on his way home that the picnic part of the season was over. Indeed, he had spoken with his accustomed vigor; and he had given due prominence to the influential attitude of the people in New York he knew so well in attempts made to break up his meetings, in blows with sticks, and the throwing of stones aimed at him, and one of the points of testimony that he had been doing well, tendered him when he arrived in New York, was to have a window of his special car smashed by a stone that was intended for him. The Governor was alert.
The campaign managers, on both sides, early understood the reciprocal relations between what the Governor of New York was doing in the West and what the chief of the Government of the City of New York was engaged in preparing there. The business question was whether the Great City was to become a pivot upon which the destiny of the Nation should turn. The import tance of Governor Roosevelt's expedition was perhaps nowhere so completely comprehended as in the Greater New York. The doubtful quantities were scanned and weighed every day in the headquarters of both parties. On the way West, Thursday, September 6th, the Governor addressed the Republican State Convention in response to a resolution, that he be invited to address it, and a committee of three, including General Francis V. Greene, escorted him to the platform. The Governor was cheered loudly and frequently interrupted by applause as he spoke. He said: "Gentlemen of the Convention: I deeply appreciate the honor you do me in letting me address you to-day. I congratulate you upon the character and qualifications of the men whom you have nominated and upon the declarations which you have put forward on behalf of the great party you represent. First, as to our candidate for Governor. During my two years' term of service Mr. Odell has been not merely my close and stanch friend, but my trusted helper and adviser in every crisis. It would nof be possible for any Governor to find in the Chairman of the State organization a wiser and truer friend than I have found in him. Again and again some important measure of legislation or administration has been perfected only in consequence of his advice."
The speech was very satisfactory throughout, and there was generally a demonstrative spirit of congratulation that Odell was up for Governor, and that Roosevelt was on the National ticket.
Crossing Michigan on his way West, the Governor made eight speeches, and arrived at Grand Rapids at 6 o'clock in the evening and had a splendid reception. His first speech that day was at Bay City, 8:30 A. M. He closed at Hastings at 5 P. M. In Grand Rapids he made two speeches—at the Audi
torium and Powers' Theater—to audiences that crammed the space. The Governor claimed to be strong as a "bull moose," but thought ten speeches for the first day was going beyond a fair limit. He said that while his health was robust and his strength equal to any ordinary demands, he would be glad when he crossed the Michigan State line into another State where the Central Committee would not work the candidate so hard. The demonstration at the Auditorium—the ninth and next to the last of the day, in numbers and enthusiasm surpassed anything that had taken place at any meeting held in the campaign in honor of the Vice-Presidential candidate. Thousands were unable to obtain admittance to the hall. The meeting was called to order by Congressman W. A. Smith, who introduced Governor Roosevelt in a brief address, in which he extolled the courage, sacrifice and patriotism of the American soldier. When Governor Roosevelt advanced to the front of the stage, the great audience broke into a tempest of applause.
Sleeping in his private car, the Governor passed into Indiana, and in theevening spoke at South Bend, and he may be said to have done the most exacting and satisfactory work in the history of stump speaking for the next two months. Persons have been known to affirm with their utmost force that Theodore Roosevelt was too picturesque for a public man, and that he did not persuade enough through conciliation. Mr. Richard Croker, of New York, did not like his manners or what he said, or his measures or what he did, in the campaign of 1900. Indeed, Mr. Crocker had opposed the election of Theodore Roosevelt to be Governor of New York. Among other prerogatives and potentialities, the Governor is placed by the State Constitution and laws in a very responsible position, if the public order is disturbed. He even has a good deal to do with the troops of the State. The masters of the city had an impression that they ought to take the State, and then the United States.
It is habitually admitted by the friends of the Governor that he neither started out upon his tour of over twenty thousand miles, nor returned from his tremendous trip, in a mood to speak and act on the defensive, unless the tactics were aggressive. He has been, and probably will be in many respects, an aggressor in politics; and he does not apologize upon compulsion. Mr. Croker found much occasion to speak unkindly of the Governor of New York, during the first week of the month of November, 1900, and his favorite epithet that could be printed was to refer to the Governor as "the wild man," and the reporters with whom Mr. Croker repeatedly conversed profusely, when undergoing interviewing, mentioned that he was himself pretty "wild," indeed, at times, if taken seriously, quite awful—full of ferocity and threatenings. It was the policy of the Republicans of New York City to preserve the peace, if possible, because they knew there were dangerous schemes to cause disorder, with
the view of finding excuses for carrying out threats to seize the voting places T. R.—14
and the ballot boxes, with the intention of amending the returns. Mr. Croker's way of stating the case, as the elections approached, was described as vindictive and furious in his presumption. The great city became, not for the first time, a storm centre The disorderly menace amounted to threats of civil war.
Good citizens have said since the peaceful termination of the plots of the boasters of strife, as a remedy for impending defeat, that Theodore Roosevelt was created, foreordained, from the time the foundations of the world were placed, to serve his great City, State and Nation, in the capacity of the Governor of his State, to meet this emergency. Whether we refer the fact to Divine Providence, or take a less exalted view of the good fortune it was to have Governor Roosevelt in reserve for the care of rioters, there is no doubt he contributed to the preservation of the peace of the Colossal Community. Roosevelt, as an historian, mentions the Mayor of New York as a supporter of the Dissolution of the Union, before the first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln ; the city to include all around Manhattan Bay as a "free and independent" city, to become an antidote for the protective tariff and other "fetters upon freedom." This establishment of freedom was to be under the enlightened rule of Fernando Wood.
There have been several lines of public policy proposed for the establishment of New York City as the master of the State, and the State in command of the United States. In 1900 the figures were carefully prepared, showing how to run the country by holding hard a fraud centre made up of certain very thickly populated wards of the city. The list of Presidential elections that turned on the vote of New York State, and also upon New York City, contains several momentous items. The situation in New York City, and the character of the municipal government there administered, have a patent interest, therefore, to "We, the people of the United States," once, at least, in four years.
Toward the close of the week before the Presidential election, of 1900, the City of New York was in great commotion on account of extremely notorious threats by the Tammany leaders to the effect they would do violence at the polls, of course, claiming that the assaults they meant to make would be contingent upon the misconduct of those chosen for attack. On the last day of October, several Republican meetings were broken up in the city; one at Forty-fourth street and Tenth avenue; another at Forty-first street and Eighth avenue; another at Forty-seventh street and Eighth avenue. At Forty-second street and Tenth avenue, there was a gang of boys known as the "Wrangleberry Kids," evidently doing a job in the interest of disorder. It was reported November 1st, that "Mr. Croker was almost worn out by the violence of his denunciations of Governor Roosevelt, and the virulence of his threats of what he would do and the Democrats of the city and State should do if the returns of the Election Officers did not agree with the preconceived notion of the