« PreviousContinue »
most for the reform of the Civil Service, was the continuance of Roosevelt in the Commission to which he was appointed by Harrison, for two years of Cleveland's term. This lap was very important to the cause. It was by curious turns of fortune that Cleveland and Roosevelt were Governors of New York and Presidents of the United States, within so brief a time after they became politicians of prominence, taking the unpopular side of an exciting question, and that there are incidents that amount to coincidences, that at critical times they with consistency were helpful each to the other in a reasonable way.
As Cleveland did not find in the Democratic Presidential Conventions, of 1896, approval of his financial solidity, and considering he did not submit to prevalent party influences in New York City, and as Roosevelt sometimes agreed to disagree with powerful Republican influences, the two men had a good deal in common, and one thing was the betterment of the municipal government of New York City. It is Albany information that the hands of Cleveland and Roosevelt were frequently joined, in legislation looking to changes for the better, and that a good deal is accountable when this is taken into consideration. The originator of the legislation was Roosevelt, and Cleveland had the help of an influence with the proposed reformations, that showed its hand when Cleveland became a candidate for the Presidency. Mr. Cleveland's retirement is as positive as Mr. Roosevelt's advancement is distinct, and neither is likely to be disturbed.
The fact that they were once collaborators in well doing does not call for repentance, and so far as it is new to the public, the novelty will be acceptable and make an agreeable impression.
One of the personal annoyances of the President, is the fashion some half informed persons, perhaps with a relation to the press, have started, of saying he is a Cosmopolitan. It is accountable, because certainly Mr. Roosevelt knows a great deal of the world, has climbed the Rockies and the Alps, made the acquaintance of vast and various peoples, and distinguished himself in writing and making history-beginning with the Indian, as our illustrious predecessors and ending with the Spanish war. However, the President consents to be called an all around good fellow, and his presence at a banquet calls for the abundant old, somewhat British song, "He's a jolly good fellow, as nobody can deny." He prefers to be described as an American. He has succeeded with an array of ancestors ascending away back, to have imparted the true American flavor to an ancient and honorable Holland name. The chances are he could take a prize in any university for superiority of knowledge of Daniel Boone and Andrew Jackson; and the way he has scalped modern aristocrats of metropolitan circles is suggestive of the red men of whom he has written, not with red paint, but with indelible ink.
ROOSEVELT'S RANCH LIFE.
The Little Missouri Ranch Was One of the President's School Houses-How He Is a Self-Made Man Gets Acquainted with the Great American Animals and Introduces Them-His Ranch Missouri-Literary Work Shop-His Past Experiences ThereBear Stories His Most Thrilling Moment-Good and Bad Shots with Rifles.
HEODORE ROOSEVELT'S life as an Assemblyman had been in the highest sense educational. In college he sought growth-what could be made out of a boy reputed to be puny, by exercise of a will that wanted to fly with stronger wings than he found were given to bear him up when he fluttered from the nest. He was wise enough to know that a father with a competency only gave a son who knew enough to know it, the better opportunity to be a self-made man. He is accounted for in the strains of his blood, his intellect, industry, intelligence, perseverance, personal hardihood, public spirit, steady courage, on occasion impetuous and of extreme daring in emergency. His indignation against evil doers in public affairs is inherited. His father was a teacher of the lessons of hard work, the blessings of health and strength, and to fill up time with toil. To him there is something infamous in idleness. He first used the phrase "the criminal rich," and gave his district a shock. He seems to have been indebted to his mother for his wholesome imagination, and has a right to be proud of the valor of his relatives who were fighting for the lost cause, giving too much loyalty to the State and too little to the Nation. The Holland blood of the President's ancestors was about evenly divided with French, when the Southern mother added to its high quality the Georgian strain of the Scotch-Irish. The combination is rare, and the fire in it that of puritanism and patriotism. That blood has been shed in a thousand battles with honor. There is in it pure iron; and it was not only at the front with sword and rifle at Santiago, but in the fields that were stained in Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands it was freely spilled for the freedom of the races that fought against odds.
To a young man like Roosevelt, the Assembly was a capital school, and there came another educational experience, exceptionally strengthening. He was defeated as a candidate for mayor of New York. The death of his mother
and wife occurring so near in time that the two blows were blended as one misfortune, one stroke that had the heaviness and bitterness of bereavement, commanded him to make a change, not only of air and scene, but to seek another civilization. He sought the remote spaces, the appertaining adventures, the big game of our country (far surpassing in ferocity and formidableness the lions that he disrespectfully calls the "Melodramatic beasts of Africa”), incidentally acquiring the acquaintance of a class of countrymen of intense interest, and that it was a fortune making destiny to meet. More than that, his collegiate education in athletics had built him up, from scientific dealing with good material, and aided its evolution with European refreshment of air and invigoration of mountaineering. All this was supplemented by the North American plains and mountains.
The great North American wild animals are passing away. Theodore Roosevelt has won a special and distinct immortality in becoming familiar with and the leading writer of our own natural history. He introduced to young and bold America the buffalo of the prairies, the bob cats and bigger cats, and the grand old grizzlies, the stately elks and the skipping antelopes, the bounding and horned goats that live a life of gaiety among the precipices. With this comes the incidental horsemanship, the gallops that cover capers over fifty miles, the mastery of saddles and rifles, ranches and rivers, the studies in the midst of solitudes, the delight of book reading a thousand or two or ten thousand miles away from the giddy throngs; the joys of writing books with mighty and lovely Mother Nature keeping watch. Consistent with these labors come the long days and longer nights, all one's own, the splendid scope of dreams, mounting the far loping horse, easy as a rocking chair, broadening the fields under foot, and expanding glorious horizons. Out of the greater university there were new object lessons, and faculties of teachers on horseback. The imagination was taught by examination of the widened and roughened realities to correct its own fantasies, and with the elimination of the fantastic, find classified and brightened the creative faculty. Why, this was like "filling up with coal, the best to be had," the war ships carrying our flag in Asiatic seas, where the Spaniards had invited us by their incapacity in the years of our youth, to make our ultimate presence and victory a necessary experience in the Orient, that America might give to Asia the influence Asia lavished upon Europe.
The wonders of the West that took Roosevelt into their confidence, gave him an education not elsewhere the world around to be had by a young American, have never lost for him their captivating charm, and every year he found himself-if not in the summer, in the winter-galloping fierce and far with the Rough Riders, hunting with the matchless hunters, rounding up herds with the cowboys, riding with the Cougar Hounds. It was not a useless misfortune that the Rough Riders had in Cuba, when they rode not at all, but