« PreviousContinue »
work done in the South under the leadership of this colored Washington, who is like a father of his people, is in the highest degree considerate and commendable, and should be supported by all good citizens heartily. The great work in Alabama under his beneficent direction is the most promising chapter in the history of his race, and the most important, conspicuous and wholesome incident in the story of the progress of the solution of the problem of races in our midst.
It would be a strange spectacle, indeed, if it should appear that the Chief Executive of the “government of the people and for the people," should be restrained by a question of complexion from extending a courtesy to a representative man of his color, of more people than live in the most populous of our States, New York, and twice as many as the population of all the States that ordained the Constitution and formed our “more perfect Union.”
The luncheons at the White House by President Roosevelt are a new feature, but are already a well established function. The President does not allow his time to be occupied other than he directs. He does not receive callers in the afternoon unless upon special occasion. Appointments are made to see him at certain minutes sharp, and 12:40 P. M. is about the latest in the day, for he gives himself a brief recess after the morning exercises before he goes to luncheon. He greets his guests, leads the way to the family dining room, and there is a round table with an abundance of simple food.
Those unfamiliar with the White House may not all know that the great room of the House is the East Room, literally “The East Room," on the main floor of the “mansion.” The President has abolished the words “Mansion House" on the official stationery. Formerly, letters from the White House business department were dated from the "Executive Mansion.” Now the letter heads are printed “White House.” It is an American “House," though said to have been planned by a French architect, and “White House" is more Republican and Democratic than “Mansion.” The reception rooms, with the family and state dining rooms, are on the first floor, and the west end of the grand central hall is a pleasant, informal spot. The business offices occupy the second story, east end, immediately over the East room.
The visitor who has business with the President, or thinks so, passing the northern portico door, turns to the left, and on entering finds a stairway nigh the door into the East Room. On the landing above is a hall ample for a reception room. The comfortable seats are usually filled. In the northeast corner of the House is the important department of the Secretary to the President. Mr. George B. Cortelyou, the official Secretary, known to the world as the gentleman who aided in that capacity President McKinley, and to whom all the people are indebted for his rare intelligence, taste, tact, and forceful ability in serving the dying President with faithful vigilance, and obtaining for the Cabinet the few words from him that they, above all other
The President and Ilia Sécult request the planet of the crujany
and Mrs. al a small dandi al the White House Tvirtum crening Jormuary Third
limeteen hundid mul luc
AN INVITATION TO THE WHITE HOUSE
friends, needed to know. He, too, told the reporters the truth, with precision and simplicity, and it was to him to whom the President gave the duty, that, more than any other, was delicate, and heart-breaking, of seeing that Mrs. McKinley should not be unduly alarmed. The mortally stricken President when shot, thought first of his wife. Never had there been a greater call for the fine discretion that should separate the flying fables from the authentic facts.
No death-bed ever had greater publicity than that of President McKinley. He was guarded closely as possible from agitation. Every care that love or science could direct was taken to conserve his strength. There were by the bedside the medical men, the surgeons, masters of the modern methods that warrant operations not long ago impossible, and from perils pluck safety. The highest skill in helpfulness with all the resources known to the healing profession was there, and the trained nurses that bring to the presence of desperate chances, the light touch, the silent vigilance, the gentle intuition of womanhood. The enlightened inhabitants of all climes, continents, and nations of the earth, were aware that in the Secretary of the President they had one deeper in his confidence than any other man; one whose duty was to protect him with fond discretion, and tell mankind from hour to hour all the world was entitled to know; and that it should be given with full candor, the shifting phases of the fight for the life of the Chief Magistrate, according to the judgment of competent witnesses. Never before was the publication of the passing details of a case of mortal hurt of the highest in authority of a people so admirably dealt with or given out to so wide an audience. There was a vast and passionate interest in the President's recovery, hope for the best, belief in the efficiency of science and prayer, an uncommon, intense sensibility that the intolerable must be the impossible.
It is largely owing to the clear head and just judgment of the Secretary, that the dying words of McKinley—the beautiful story of his fortitude, murmuring favorite hymns, sending for his wife as he felt the shadows of the dark valley he was entering darken-that the whole sacred scene of matchless pathos has been given to the world. It has hardly been quite understood that the President suffered great agony, that the light of his mind was not put out with morphine, and, therefore, the world was bettered by his last testimony.
'Associated with Mr. Cortelyou, is Mr. Loeb, the personal Secretary of President Roosevelt, who was with him when Governor on the memorable tour through the West, and when Vice-President. The President is fortunate in having an effective organization for dealing with his enormous correspondence. With the aid of his personal Secretary, intimate with his former affairs, and the Secretary to McKinley, the right hand of the lamented late President, the equipment of the President for answering the innumerable calls of the people is remarkable for its responsibility and competency.
The President has simplified his duties and made possible his perfect touch with the arches of States across the Continent. His information bureau is important as a Cabinet office. He cleared the way of some of the obstructions that have a tendency to take time, saying: “I am going to select the very best men for public positions. Men appointed to high public places must be high in morals and in every respect.”
With the complete and effective organization of helpers, the President is deeply occupied, but there is no danger that he will be overwhelmed. The details he understands, and with the work he performs, there is daily disposition of an immense array of demands. It is generally understood that he is disposing of time that is valuable. It is not well to be with him without this understanding. He has the faculty of promptitude, without being in the haste that leads to confusion. He can animate others to vigilance and rapidity of performance, as for example when he captured the Yucatan! This is not, however, a heated proceeding, but a cool one; or a rush for possession. The swiftness with which matters reach the final stage and pass from the scene, is not disagreeable, but rather exhilarating. It is a fact that the footsteps of those who walk about the White House, and do not serve by standing and waiting, are quickened; and the attitudes common are those that signify all hands "on deck,” not alarmed but alert. Even the most attentive Senators have forgotten, apparently, that it is indispensable evidence of dignity and intimacy, that they should close a call of business by a quiet chat about matters other than urgent, and rolling about in armed chairs, taking time complacently. It is already a fixed point as to precedence that dignity is not asserted by deep deliberation over digestion. Mr. Roosevelt was graded at 100 in mathematics at his university, and he did not reach that point by general conversation, but by tasking himself to get sixty minutes worth out of an hour.
A great business centre burned one day in New York. It was, to be specific, the Western Union Telegraph office. “The General commanding" passed a group of the officers who were indulging in a speculative talk touching causes and happenings. The General paused and was polite, then remarked, “There is much to do gentlemen, and there is no time for indulgence in general conversation. Good evening.” The talk was over. The rest was work.
A summary of the first day of Roosevelt in the White House has already passed into history, as follows:
Washington, Sept. 20.-President Roosevelt's first day as chief executive is told briefly as follows:
9:26 a. m.-Arrived at Pennsylvania Railway station in private car from Canton.