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The day dawned clear and bright, and the banks of the Hudson were lined from end to end with people. When the procession of war-ships swept up the stream, loud was the applause, while flags waved everywhere, and whistles blew constantly. When passing Grant's Tomb every warship fired a salute, and the mass of sound echoing across the water was positively deafening.
As the Olympia swept up the river, fired her salute, and then came to anchor a short distance below the last resting-place of General Grant, Admiral Dewey stood on the bridge of his flag-ship, a small, trim figure, with a smile and a wave of the hand for everybody. The surging people could see him but indistinctly, yet there was much hand clapping, and throats grew sore with cheering
But there was another figure in that naval parade, the person of one also dear to the hearts of the people. It was the figure of Theodore Roosevelt, dressed, not as a Rough Rider, but as a civilian, standing at the rail of a steamer used by the New York State officials. When the people saw and recog
nized that figure, the cheering was as wild as ever.
It is Roosevelt!” ran from mouth to mouth. 66 The hero of San Juan Hill !"
“Hurrah for the Rough Riders and their gallant leader!” came from others. And the cheering was renewed.
In the evening there was a grand display of fireworks and illuminated floats. The immense span of the Brooklyn Bridge was a mass of lights, and contained the words “ Welcome, Dewey” in lettering which covered several hundred feet. All of the warships had their search-lights in operation, and it can truthfully be said that for once the metropolis was as light as day.
But all of this was as nothing compared with the land parade which followed. Never before had the streets of New York been so jammed with people. At many points it was impossible to move, yet the crowds were good- natured and patriotic to the core.
The parade started at Grant's Tomb and ended at Washington Square, and was between five and six hours in passing. Admiral Dewey rode in a carriage with Mayor Van Wyck, and received another
ovation. At the Triumphal Arch the Admiral reviewed the parade, and here he was accorded additional honors.
In this parade Governor Roosevelt rode on horseback, in civilian dress. As he came down the street, the immense crowds recognized him from afar, and the hand clapping and cheering was tremendous, and lasted long after he was out of sight.
“ It's our own Teddy Roosevelt !” cried the more enthusiastic.
“Hurrah for the governor! Hurrah for the colonel of the Rough Riders !”
“Hurrah for the coming President !” said another. And he spoke better than he knew.
This demonstration came straight from the people's heart, and it could not help but affect Theodore Roosevelt. Sitting astride of his dark-colored horse like a veteran, he bowed right and left. Next to Dewey, he was easily the greatest figure in the parade.
On January 3, 1900, Governor Roosevelt sent his last annual message to the State legislature. It was an able document, and as it was now recognized everywhere that he was a truly national figure, it was given careful attention. It treated of the corrup
tion in canal management, of the franchise tax, of taxation in general, and a large portion was devoted to the trusts. At that time the trusts were receiving great attention everywhere, and it was felt that what the governor had to say about them, that they were largely over-capitalized, that they misrepresented the condition of their affairs, that they promoted unfair competition, and that they wielded increased power over the wage-earner, was strictly true.
In Chicago there is a wealthy organization known as the Hamilton Club, and the members were very anxious to have Governor Roosevelt as their guest on Appomattox Day, April 10, 1899. A delegation went to New York to invite the governor, and he accepted the invitation with pleasure.
“ The middle West is very dear to me, said he. “It will be a pleasure to meet my many friends there.”
Of course he was expected to speak, and said the subject of his address would be “The Strenuous Life,” — certainly a subject close to his own heart, considering the life he himself had led.
When Mr. Roosevelt reached the metrop
olis of the Great Lakes, he found a large crowd waiting at the railroad station to receive him. The reception committee was on hand, with the necessary coaches, and people were crowded everywhere, anxious to catch a sight of the man who had made himself famous by the advance up San Juan Hill.
But for the moment Governor Roosevelt did not see the reception committee, nor did he see the great mass of people. In a far corner of the platform he caught sight of six men, dressed in the faded and tattered uniform of the Rough Riders. They were not men of wealth or position, but they were men of his old command, and he had not forgotten them.
“Glad to see you, boys, glad to see you!' he shouted, as he elbowed his way toward them. “Come up here and shake hands.”
“Glad to see you, Colonel,” was the ready answer, and the faces of the men broke into broad smiles. They shook hands readily, and willingly answered all of the questions the governor put to them. He asked how each of them was doing, calling them by their names, and concluded by requesting