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Albany. In the meantime his “Naval War of 1812” was well under way, but he could spare only a few hours occasionally to complete his manuscript.
His married life had thus far been a happy one, and its joy was greatly increased by the birth of his daughter Alice. As will be seen later, Mr. Roosevelt is what is called a family man, and he took great comfort in this new addition to his little household. But his happiness was shortlived, for in 1884, when the daughter was but a baby, the beloved wife died, and the little one had to be given over to the care of the grand parents in Boston. Not many months later Mr. Roosevelt's mother died also, heaping additional sorrow upon his head.
With the conclusion of his third term in the Assembly Theodore Roosevelt's work as a member of that body came to an end. If he had made some enemies, he had made more friends, and he was known as an ardent supporter of reform in all branches of politics. In recognition of his ability he was chosen as a delegate-at-large to the Republican convention brought together to
nominate a candidate to succeed President Arthur.
At that time James G. Blaine from Maine had served many years in the United States Senate, and it was thought that he would surely be both nominated and elected. But many were opposed to Blaine, thinking he would not support such reform measures as they wished to see advanced, and among this number was Theodore Roosevelt.
“We must nominate Mr. Edmunds," said the young delegate-at-large, and did his best for the gentleman in question.
“It cannot be done,” said another delegate.
The convention met at Exposition Hall in Chicago, and Mr. Roosevelt was placed on the Committee on Resolutions. It was a stormy convention, and ballot after ballot had to be taken before a nomination could be secured. Blaine led from the start, with Senator Edmunds a fairly close second.
“If Blaine is nominated, he will be defeated,” said more than one.
At last came the deciding vote, and James G. Blaine was put up at the head of the ticket, with John A. Logan for VicePresident.
At once Blaine clubs were organized all over the country, and the Republican party did all in its power to elect its candidate. He was called the Plumed Knight, and many political clubs wore plumes in his honor when on parade. In the meantime the Democrats had nominated Grover Cleveland.
The fight was exceedingly bitter up to the very evening of election day. When the votes were counted, it was found that Blaine had been defeated by a large majority, and that Grover Cleveland, Roosevelt's old friend, had won the highest gift in the hands of the nation.
His work at the convention in Chicago was Theodore Roosevelt's first entrance into national affairs, and his speeches on that occasion will not be readily forgotten. It was here that he came into contact with William McKinley, with whom, sixteen years later, he was to run on the same ticket. The records of that convention show that on one occasion McKinley spoke directly after Roosevelt. Thus were these two drawn together at that early day without knowing or dreaming that one was to succeed the other to the Presidency.
But though Theodore Roosevelt was disappointed over the nomination made at Chicago, he did not desert his party. Instead he did all he could to lead them to victory, until the death of his mother caused him to withdraw temporarily from public affairs.