Page images

were found in time, and no damage was done, and Theodore Roosevelt paid scant attention to them.

After that he was attacked in a new way. Some of the politicians laid traps for him whereby they hoped to bring discredit to his management of the department. The fight grew very hot and very bitter, and he was accused of doing many things, “just for the looks of them,” rather than to benefit the public at large. But he kept on his way, and at last the opposition were silenced to such an extent that they merely growled behind his back.

For many years a large number of shiftless and often lawless men, and women too, were attracted to the metropolis because of the “Tramps’ Lodging Houses located there. These resorts were continually filled by vagrants who would not work and who were a constant menace to society at large.

“We must get rid of those lodging houses," said Mr. Roosevelt. “They simply breed crime. No respectable man or woman, no matter how poor, will enter them.”

6 But we'll have to have some sort of shelter for the poor people,” said others.

“To be sure for those who are deserving. The others should be driven off and discouraged,” answered Mr. Roosevelt. And one by one the tramps' lodging places were abolished. In their place the Board of Charities opened a Municipal Lodging House, where those who were deserving were received, were made to bathe, and given proper shelter and nourishment.

A story is told that, during the excitement attending the closing of saloons on Sunday, a friend came to Mr. Roosevelt and told about hearing some saloon-keepers plotting to harm him.

“What can they do?” demanded the Police Commissioner.

“I am afraid they can do a good deal,” was the answer. “ Each of those men has a barkeeper who has been in jail for various crimes. They may attack you some dark night and kill you."

“Perhaps I won't give them the chance," answered the man who had been on many a dangerous hunt in the wild West. “If they can shoot, so can I.”

“But they may sneak up behind you and knock you out,” insisted the visitor.

“Well, if they do that, I shall have died doing my duty," was the calm answer made by the future hero of the Rough Riders.





WHILE Theodore Roosevelt was serving as Police Commissioner of the city of New York, William McKinley ran for the Presidency of the United States the first time and was elected.

The young commissioner was a firm upholder of McKinley, for he did not believe in 6 free silver as it was called, but in “ sound money,” which meant that in the future, as in the past, all national indebtedness should be made payable in gold, instead of in gold and silver, as many desired.

As soon as the new President was inaugurated, March 4, 1897, he appointed Hon. John D. Long to be Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Long knew Theodore Roosevelt well, and also knew of the “ History of the Naval War of 1812,” which the energetic author and commissioner had written.

66 He

“He is just the man we need here,” said Mr. Long to President McKinley. has made a study of the navy, and he is not afraid of work,” and without further delay Theodore Roosevelt was asked to resign his position in the metropolis and come to Washington, where he was duly installed as First Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

In his new position, certainly a high one for such a young man to occupy, Mr. Roosevelt had much to do. As first assistant, nearly the whole responsibility of the real workings of the department fell upon his shoulders. He took up these responsibilities manfully, and how well he succeeded in the work, history has abundantly proved.

“It was Roosevelt's work that made Dewey's victory at Manila possible,” one who knew of the inner workings of the department has said, and another has said that the victory off Santiago Bay was also due in part to Roosevelt's watchfulness over the ships that took part in that conflict.

At Washington the Assistant Secretary found an era of extravagance equal to that which he had discovered in New York. The Navy Department was paying dearly

« PreviousContinue »