Page images
PDF
EPUB

to be the Mr. Bookton to dinene

stitutes practically an agreement, and, not being a treaty, does not have to be ratified by the Senate.

"More than twenty years ago a distinguished public man of great acumen and long experience in official life told Mr. Evarts, then Secretary of State, that no contentious treaty, no matter what its merits, could hereafter be ratified with England, and the experience of the past two decades has shown the exactness of his prophecy. Since 1880 treaties made with Great Britain, and about which there was a controversy, have either been rejected, or so amended that their acceptance was impossible.”

All this seems much less formidable since the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty No. 2 was promptly ratified. The credit of good judgment and friendly, consideration in this case, however, belongs to England.

The American correspondent of the important English journal, to whose visiting Manager we have already referred, publishes a very interesting installment of information, and his first point is about the question of color:

“The President, with the impulsive gallantry natural to him, faced it as soon as it presented itself; and it happened to be the most awkward form of it which presented itself-the social form. He asked Mr. Booker Washington to dine, just as he asked the white president of a great labor union to dine last week. He wanted to talk with each and treated each in the same spirit. There was no criticism of the invitation to the labor leader. Concerning the man of color there was a savage outburst of race animosity in the South, and a feeling in the North that an offence to that feeling was an indiscretion. It may have been an indiscretion or it may not. Whether it were or not, the President remains impenitent."

The fact here stated has not received the attention its pertinence calls for, as to the first act of the President:

"I go back to Buffalo for a moment, and to the anxiety which Mr. Roosevelt's accession undoubtedly caused among some very important sections of the community. So keen was this anxiety that, when the death of President McKinley was known to be inevitable, a number of very great personages in the financial world met in New York and drew up a kind of petition to his successor. They asked Mr. Roosevelt to reassure them and the public on certain points by a public statement, and especially to pledge himself that the general policy of his predecessor would be his policy. This they forwarded by messenger to Buffalo. Before the messenger reached Buffalo President Roosevelt had, of his own motive and from his own clear sense of public duty, made the very statement these gentlemen desired him to make.

"I spoke of the President as a man of action, and he is that; but there is no denying that he is also a man of words, and sometimes of a good many words. Some of his acts have been books. He has always been writing, and a London review published only this month an article from his pen, though it was, in fact, written by him before he became President. Of late years he has written much in American magazines. Essentially modern in thought and in his way of looking at life, he has never parted company with the past nor lost his interest in history, of which, in his own way, he is a student. An English writer of distinction who was here not long ago will not have forgotten the discourse he heard from the Vice-President after dinner the night before the Inauguration on episodes of early Macedonia, and events with which the names of Antipater and Anaxagoras are connected. In his written, as in his spoken, sentences the life-blood of the man runs and flows. Into them, as into his gestures, he puts a world of nervous energy, of which he perhaps expends more than he need. I thought as I listened on Sunday he had learned to husband his resources a little. The Presidency makes enormous demands, and soon leaves its mark on its holder. There are new lines in his face, and there are new ideas in his mind. If the force of conviction be not less, as it certainly is not, he takes for granted a more receptive mood in his auditor."

The English writer has an idea there is an American imperialism, and says President McKinley was one, “the first and greatest of them," and:

“This is not a criticism, far less a reproach. He would not call things by their right names, but he did the right things; which is considerably more important. Nay, he did them better and secured a far larger public support by sugar-coating his Imperial pill. We do not even yet accept Imperialism as a name. Our possessions in the Philippines which we won by the sword and hold by the sword, our island of Puerto Rico, our protectorate over Cuba, of which we have complete military control, the canal we are going to build across the isthmus, and finally the Monroe doctrine, which stretches over two continents like a shield—to no one nor all of these is the word Imperial to be applied. Perhaps we have in mind the Roman Republic, or the French, under both of which an Imperial policy was found just as practicable and efficient as when each was called an Empire.”

The correspondent impressively adds:

“Now, when President Roosevelt pledged himself to follow out the policy of President McKinley there was no portion of that policy he had more completely resolved to pursue unflinchingly than the Imperial portion. His present Message shows that, convinced as all of it is, the passages dealing with the lately acquired possessions of the United States beyond its continental borders are the most convinced of all. They are something more than the announcement of an intellectual perception of the country's needs. They vibrate with deep feeling. A third of the Message is devoted to them, including the navy which is essentially an Imperial question. And they scarce evoke a protest. What has happened within three or four years in the Pacific, in China, and nearer home, has given the American people a new sense of its position in the world, and of its responsibilities and opportunities. They recognize in their new President the incarnation of these new ideas. The Hour has come and the Man.

"It cannot be too clearly understood abroad that on this class of subjects there is no real division among the American people. The division which existed has ceased to exist.”

This writer says of the President:

"When the missionary spirit is upon him, silence becomes impossible to him. A friend whose position entitled him to speak, wrote: 'Is there no question, Theodore, upon which we may be allowed to decide without your intervention?' If at times his Americanism seemed to pass by imperceptible shades into jingoism, there was, I am sure, a physical reason for it. The energy of the heart was excessive; and this may be taken in either a muscular or spiritual sense at the will of the reader. The school to which he then belonged has had an immense influence on the fortunes of the Republic. It has transformed what was, down to three years ago, an established political system.”

The story that Senator Lodge is to be "a sort of cross between a Warwick and a Hanna,” is not largely credited, because the President listens to all, but the Englishman we are quoting says, “An intimate friend of the President said to me that there was but one person to whose judgment he really deferred, and that one person is Mrs. Roosevelt. That also is a trait of pure Americanism; perhaps nowhere else does the husband's loyalty to the wife include so much.”

The President is endeared to the English by his love of sport on a great scale, because he is "a mighty hunter before the Lord; a good shot, a good horseman, tireless in the chase. He has written a big book on ‘Big Game Hunting in the Rockies and on the Great Plains'-one of several. He says in the 'foreword' to this book, ‘All the kinds of big game in these vast regions I have hunted and killed,' and adds:

“ 'Mountain and plain, marsh and forest, have been mine to roam over, and I have followed the wild game for food and for sport where no man had property rights in a rood of ground. Such a life is of all lives the freest and most fascinating.'

“But 'the wilderness has been conquered and the game killed off,' and the Nimrod of earlier and recent days is President of the United States. There remains the extreme North, 'the land of the musk ox, the barren ground caribou, the Polar bear, the snow sheep, and the fish grizzly;' and the South, ‘where the spotted jaguar is king.' I asked the President when he hoped to go afield again. His answer was like him. 'I must do my work here first, but I have planned a hunting trip with R. for next autumn.'.

T. R.-18

"A many-sided, much-enduring, much-enjoying kind of man. Like Ulysses, he has known men and cities. The country he has now to govern he knows as few know it. Few Americans have seen so much of so many of the five-and-forty States of the Great Republic. Eastern by birth and training, he is Western by instinct and by much experience of Western life. Perhaps his greatest popularity was in the West; it was the delegates from plain and prairie that were most resolutely bent on nominating him at Philadelphia for Vice-President, whether he would or no. They suspended in his favor their inveterate inland distrust of what comes from the Atlantic, and their conviction that the progress of wisdom and of empire is toward the setting sun. A graduate of Harvard University, a member of its board of governors, a student, a writer of history and of essays, political and ethical, the biographer of Gouverneur Morris, on the one side, and of Cromwell, on the other, with pride of blood and of birth, and much of that culture for culture's sake which the cowboy despises, he nevertheless stands close to the heart of the Great West; which is so great that it sometimes forgets there is a Great East also. The President, and not as President only, stretches out a hand to both. He cannot, if he would, escape the influence of his descent, of his Dutch, and Huguenot and, I believe, Scottish blood also. Heredity is stronger than he.

"Believing himself, as I said, a democrat of democrats, he has the intuitive habit of command, and what does that rest on, if not on a just sense of superiority to the commanded ? Ask the police of New York whether they were ever disciplined by a firmer hand than Roosevelt's. Ask the navy whether any civilian Secretary ever was more evidently born to the quarterdeck. Ask the Legislature of New York State what Governor ever imposed his will more relentlessly on the elected representatives of the people. Ask his regiment of Rough Riders—and they were rough-what kind of discipline ruled that unruly regiment, and by what stern methods it was enforced. Ask his friends and political associates whether they have found him a man easily turned from his purpose or ever reluctant to assert his own will. Search the records of the Civil Service, of which he was Commissioner for six years, for evidence of any feebleness of purpose in carrying out the measures of reform which the politicians of both parties most fervently detested.

“Chief servant of the Republic, yes; but Chief Magistrate also, and penetrated to the core with the conviction that the business of a Government is to govern. In these days, when so many flabby conceptions of authority prevail, we may be thankful for a ruler who has a backbone. It were better to be governed badly than weakly, and the worst government is surely better than none. But now comes a man who will rule strongly, and we all now think wisely. If it be true, as de Tocqueville long since warned us, that there is no tyranny like the tyranny of a democracy, it is surely better that this spirit of dominance be concentrated and incarnated in the individual we have chosen to bear sway over us. He has to do the thinking for seventy millions of people, too much absorbed in the vast enterprises of a revolutionary civilization to think for themselves in matters of detail. Now there never has been a time in Roosevelt's life when he had not the true apostolic impulse to preach the gospel to all mankind. His books, his speeches, all his writings and sayings are full of it. He has thought himself into his beliefs, and he announces them in the tone which goes far to make them the beliefs of other people. The Presidency gives him an unequaled opportunity of stereotyping them into law.

“'In this world,' wrote the President recently, the one thing supremely worth having is the opportunity, coupled with the capacity, to do well and worthily a piece of work the doing of which is of vital consequence to the welfare of mankind.' That was said with reference to Mr. Taft's entrance upon the governorship of the Philippines; 'thrice fortunate is such an opportunity;' added the President. What he said of that difficult yet infinitely less difficult post than the Presidency may stand well enough for himself. Young, as youth is now reckoned in public life—he is forty-three-with such health and power of sustained work as are granted to few, the road to further distinction and wider usefulness lies open before him; straight, broad, not smooth, full of great occasions for great mistakes or greater public service. Impulsive, impetuous at moments of his past career, he knows that he has been both, and he said of himself—not to me—that while his speech may have sometimes bewrayed him, and while many an act may have been ill-advised, when did he take any important decision rashly? For rashness, now, there is no room, and perhaps no man is less likely to do an unconsidered thing than he whose candid friends, and enemies more candid still, have so often warned of this tendency to yield to the suggestion of the hour. They said of McKinley that he kept his finger on the pulse of the nation. This is a President who knows that he has to keep his finger on his own. That lesson well learned, no man in this high office can well have too much of the vitality or buoyancy of soul which belongs to Mr. Theodore Roosevelt.”

President McKinley left prosperity beaming upon the land in golden harvests, the public opinion that surrounded him with appreciation and an atmosphere of high regard and loving sympathy. Theodore Roosevelt, under the command of the Constitution, took the oath, and assumed the duty of the high office; and the crowning mercy is that the gain of the nation was not the loss of the State, for there was no friction in the succession—the highest testimony to the smooth working of our system-proving that safety is in the dynasties, not of families, but of the people; and the Vice President became President, not to change but to fulfill; and his earliest declaration was that he would pursue the lines marked down by his predecessor; and the Cabinet

« PreviousContinue »