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held from the day of his election to the legislature of his native State. He was one of the most conspicuous figures in the country and his admirers freely prophesied for him the highest place in the gift of the people.
ROOSEVELT IN CHICAGO.
GUEST OF HONOR AT THE HAMILTON CLUB APPOMATTOX DAY
BANQUET- WONDERFUL MEMORY SHOWN IN HIS RECOGNITION OF INDIVIDUAL ROUGH RIDERS CHARACTERISTIC INCIDENTS
OF THE MAN
FIRST ENUNCIATION OF THE GOSPEL OF A
Governor Roosevelt's executive abilities were so clearly demonstrated by his acts before he had been a year in the Governor's chair that he became a pronounced factor in the sum of presidential possibilities. No slate was made without his name in the list. President McKinley was still the idol of a great majority of the people, but the advocates of a more virile administration were not satisfied with his pacific measures and turned naturally to the more active and outspoken Governor of New York. The West was anxious to see and hear more of the man who had defied the rulers in his own party while clinging to all the better traditions of that party. It would no doubt have given great pleasure to the politi
cians of the Senator Platt school, had Governor Roosevelt followed the lead of Mr. Curtis, editor of Harper's Weekly, and other pronounced reformers, and gone into an independent fight outside party lines. There he would not have been so 'dangerous to their plans. But this Governor Roosevelt declined to do. He held that to accomplish anything worth while a man must be connected with some powerful organization. If the Republican party had faults, and that it did have serious faults he had proven over and over again, he believed in correcting them, not in attempting to destroy the whole structure.
At this time the Hamilton Club, of Chicago, resolved to answer the demand of the middle West to hear Governor Roosevelt, and at the same time secure the honor of bringing him prominently before the people as a possible candidate for the presidency. A delegation of the club was therefore sent to New York to invite Governor Roosevelt to be the guest of honor at the Appomattox Day banquet, to be given by the organization April 10, 1899, at the Auditorium. Mr. Roosevelt graciously accepted, and named as the subject of his address "The Strenuous Life." The other speakers were General John C. Black,
“Grant”; Honorable Even E. Settle, of Kentucky, “Lee”; Postmaster-General Charles Emory Smith, “The Union.” The toast-master was Mr. Hope Reed Cody, president of the Hamilton Club. Preparations were made to entertain the distinguished guests on a large and sumptuous scale and the banquet proved to be a most noteworthy affair.
Governor Roosevelt arrived in the city on the evening preceding the banquet. A committee of the club met his train at Englewood and escorted the guest of honor to the city. At all the stations along the route the people were gathered in great numbers and the hero of the Spanish-American War was cheered to the echo whenever he appeared. At the station were hundreds of distinguished citizens wearing Hamilton Club badges, and a special reception committee of the most representative citizens was awaiting him. There was also a little company of six Rough Riders, who were then residents of Chicago. They wore their faded khaki uniforms that had seen service in Cuba. They were citizens of the humbler class and were given rather an inconspicuous place among the more prosperous and dignified representatives of the wealthy clubs
who were waiting to receive a possible President. As Governor Roosevelt stepped to the platform when the train stopped in the station his eye caught sight of the dust-stained uniforms and the cross sabers of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry in the campaign hats of his former comrades, crowded far to the rear of the waiting assembly. He waved his hand to them and, ignoring the proffered cards of the distinguished reception committee, shouldered his way through the crowd until he could grasp the hands of the Rough Riders. “How are you, boys?” “Basil, old man, I'm glad to see you." Each in turn he called by name and shook heartily by the hand, He seemed quite content to chat with them, forgetful of the anxious committees who were waiting to escort him to his carriage and through the city. “Come over to the Auditorium and have a visit,” he called as he was forced to turn away. And later, in the richly furnished parlors of that magnificent building, ne gave more attention to those men, who would have found entrance into the polite circles of Chicago more difficult than to the blockhouse atop of San Juan hill, than to the wealthiest and most distinguished of his admirers.