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found their legs good for any amount of field walking when there was a lack that seemed altogether woeful, of horses.
When he graduated from the Ranch, he was needed at the National Capital to see what could be done that the servants of the Government should be chosen on their merits, rather than have imposed on them the human slavery of official servitude; needed to energize the Navy, that had had a tendency to sail in circles, and steam in easy curvatures, all centring upon one quiet point, like the pool in the whirl of a cyclone, an example of stagnation where the weather maps of out of doors cease to be of interest to those who navigate in bureaus. It was hard for the gentleman of the quiet waters to understand why the rush of eccentric winds should disturb the solemnities of spots retired from the reign of the indications of thermometers, barometers or other instruments of scientific interference, with the wise, perhaps, and masterly, that is certain inertia, that impresses itself as the "poultice" said to come "like silence, to heal the blows of sound.”
Roosevelt having bestirred the Navy, performed like service for the Army, and put into Cuba the Rough Riders, taught them the one thing needed if they had not the comprehension. He furnished legs, and when the old folks were awakened to ask for more war news, lo, the news was peace. Then there was a change of climate, and Theodore Roosevelt was Governor of New York, Vice President and then President of the United States. There is no more romantic story that is true, or picturesque figure that is heroic, than he.
If we compute the time Theodore Roosevelt has occupied in holding office by working days, we find that he has reserved far the greater number of his hours for unofficial industries. He was three years a New York Assemblyman, two years Police Commissioner, six years Civil Service Commissioner, one year. Assistant Secretary of the Navy, four months in the Army, two years Governor, six months Vice-President, and never fully occupied in an office, until he became President. The Assembly did not take much time, nor did the Police Commission; but the Civil Service Commission was a labor of love and he was devoted to it largely.
His steady occupation has been Literature. He was a man for some time before he ceased to be a boy, and his boyishness was over when he was a graduate of Harvard. He was well educated in public affairs before he held commission or diploma and was an expert in political history when he walked into the Legislature, and sat in a Senatorial seat of the State of New York, in the delegation to the National Republican Convention, June 3rd, 1884. Senators Foraker and Lodge were in the Convention, and thought themselves mature in public life. So they were, if time is counted by the distinctions it brings, and yet, they are still young, and the date named is sixteen years and a
long summer and autumn and part of a winter ago. They looked upon Mr. Roosevelt as a youthful phenomenon. His head was well up and his presence not unfrequently announced by incisive utterances. Attention was called to him as a pugnacious personality, going right on with brains and bravery.
Those experienced persons who are on the lookout for new comers, and can see the lights that shine afar, had him in their minds' eyes, as well as actually visible, and said to each other, "He's comin',” but did not think he would get there so soon.
The earliest artfulness in aid of ambition of Theodore Roosevelt, was in getting so much time out of a day. There is no art equal to it for a strong man to make his way. The amount of it is in getting two days' work out of one astronomical day, and as our young President recommends the eight hour law, as he made well known when Governor of New York, he gets in two eight hour days for himself in each twenty-four hours. At this rate, he counts about forty years of labor in the twenty years of his public life. There is no other way of making room for all the various proceedings and productions for which he is correctly held responsible. Without this explanation, his production of literature can not be accounted for. Many a young man has spent more time in tobacco indulgences, thinking he was deciding what he was going to do with his life, than it has taken Roosevelt to write twenty volumes of history and essays, saying nothing of a prodigious assortment of public papers and speeches and addresses, memoranda and executive orders.
First of all, Theodore Roosevelt is to be classified as a man of letters. The average young man who graduates at college, offers up a year of devotion to himself, to discover what he believes is important, and, indeed, so it is, and pitiful, too, sometimes, if he has what the British call “a tidy lump of money," to cross-examine himself and ascertain his aptitude for profitable employment. The years that go that way-tobacco and beer, or no narcotics-are not always misspent, but one must learn what to do, and enough to do.
One year after Roosevelt was out of college, out came a book that is the best authority on both sides of the Atlantic, "The Naval War of 1812, or the History of the United States Navy during the Late War with Great Britain," by Theodore Roosevelt. He graduated at Harvard in 1880, and his book was published in 1882. The “Nation” said, in reviewing it, “The impartiality of the author's judgment and the thoroughness with which the evidence is sifted, are remarkable and worthy of high praise.” This commendation is carefully measured, for stronger language would have been justified. The word “judgment” in such a case is, however, strong, for it is a rare quality to be apparent in a history issued during the first year after college. One would expect in an author so young writing of naval warfare in which his country was engaged, that he would be flamboyant, with his lofty theme, and scatter all the colors of
glory with a lavish brush. That is not the kind of book young Roosevelt wrote. He must have gone into the old reports, letters, statistics, studied the ships so as to know just how many guns each of the fighting sea boats carried, what was the weight of metal of all the broadsides, and the range of fire; who had the advantage of the size and reach of the shots. Roosevelt did not write this War of 1812 book, without knowing with what force and from what direction the wind blew. The names of the officers on both sides were as familiar to him as those of his schoolmates.
Three years later, the second work of Theodore Roosevelt was published, entitled “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman,” sketches of sport on the Northern cattle plains, together with “Personal Experiences of Life on a Cattle Ranch.” This was not a study from the treasured fragments of authenticity in the private papers of the actors in affairs, the turning and overturning of forgotten works, the contents of precious pigeon holes. It was not looked to for the biographical particulars of the heroes who fought under their respective flags. The second work was a study from nature, the exploration of new lands"Good" and "Bad" Lands, sketches of the picturesque of a people ascertained upon analysis to be a novelty. The first book was of something oldthe second, of something new. We quote the “Nation” again: “His style is simple and devoid of pretense of fine writing, yet his descriptions of scenery are often most eloquent.” This eulogy has all the fine quality the severe recommend as the emphasis of understatement, the power of moderation found upon measure by scientific instruments, to be within the facts.
In 1887, “The Life of Thomas Hart Benton," was published; and the same year, “The Life of Governor Morris," and also, “Essays on Practical Politics." The young man was working harder with his pen than he would have been if he had pounded iron into horseshoes and nails and tires of wheels, going into the detail of blacksmithing.
In the same year, his "Ranch Life and Hunting Trail” was issued. Of this book the "Saturday Review” said:
"One of the reasons for the success of the President's books is that he wrote of the 'Winning of the West' in the West. There is a Western atmosphere in the volumes.”
So much is said of President Roosevelt as a Ranchman, and his Ranch, that we must quote his own description of it with the annotation that it is evident, from the immense amount of highly wrought literary matter that appears in the book list, and other works, for we have not failed to gather up and formulate the fragments, that the Ranch Life has afforded the retirement, and quiet, the chances of exclusiveness, varied by the hunting experiences, so charming and familiar to the young men of the country. The Statesman of the ranch writes: