Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


HAVE told you what Theodore Roosevelt is like as I see him. I have told of

the man, the friend, the husband and father, because back of his public career, of his great office, I see himself always; and to my mind so it must be that you will take him to your heart as the President, also, and find the key to all he is and stands for. Knowing him as he really is, you cannot help trusting him. I would have everybody feel that way toward him who does not do so already; for we are facing much too serious times, you and he and all of us, to be honestly at odds where we should pull together. As for the others who are not honestly at odds with him,

working for their own pockets all the time," who are kin to the malefactors who

who are

burned up four thousand Christmas-trees in Philadelphia the other day to reduce the supply and force up the price of the remaining ones-what sweet Christmas joys must have been theirs!-I care nothing for them. I would as lief have them all in front and within fighting reach from the start. They belong there, anyhow.

And now, what does it all mean? Why have I written it? "Just to boom Roosevelt for the Presidency in the election that comes soon? No, not that. I shall rejoice to see him elected, and I shall know that never was my vote put to better use for my country than when I cast it for him. To have him beaten by the Christmas-tree cabal would argue an unpreparedness, an unfitness to grapple with the real problems of the day, that might well dishearten the patriot. But this not because of himself, much as I like to hear the whole country shout for the friend I love, but because of what he stands for. It matters less that Theodore Roosevelt is President, but it matters a good deal that the things prevail which he represents in the nation's life. It never mattered more than at this present day of ours-right now. Yester

[ocr errors]

day I spoke in a New England town, a prosperous, happy town, where the mills were all running, property booming, the people busy; but there was a fly in the ointment, after all. It came out when I expressed my pleasure at what I had seen.

“Yes,” they said, we are all that; and we would be perfectly happy but for the meanest politics that ever disgraced a town.”

When I settled into my seat in the train to think it over, this paragraph from a sermon on

Money-madness” stared me in the facecuriously, it was preached by the pastor of the biggest money-king of them all, so the paper said:

In these days there is such a hunt after wealth that the efforts of our best men are withdrawn from the public service. The men of the stamp of Jefferson, of Washington, who gave themselves to their country, are not now to be found in legislative halls; they are corporation lawyers.

And before I had time to run over in my mind the shining exceptions I knew, the Roots, the Tafts, the Knoxes, the Garfields, and the rest of them, and who only brought out more

sharply the truth of the general statement, in comes my neighbor with whom just now I fought shoulder to shoulder against Tammany in New York, as good and clean and honest a fellow as I know, and tells me it is all over. Clean discouraged is he, and he will never spend his time and money in fighting for decency again.

“What 's the use?” says he. “It is all waste and foolishness; and, after all, how do I lose by some one getting what he wants and paying for it? I know this blackmailing business, a wide-open town, and all that,- I know it is wrong when you come to high principle; but we live in a practical, every-day world. Let us live and let live. I get what I want, the other fellow gets what he wants; and if it is worth my paying the price to get it, how am I hurt? Is n't it better than all this stew for nothing? Tammany 's in and back, and we will never win again. I am done with reform.”

He is not; I know it, for I know him. He is just tired, and he will get over it. But he speaks for a good many who may not get over it so easily, and that is exactly what Tammany banks upon. It is what the enemy hopes

« PreviousContinue »