American Boy's Life of Theodore Roosevelt
by Edward Stratemeyer
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"On that night it rained cats and dogs and hammer-handles," said one of the soldiers afterward. "It was inky dark—darker than I have ever known it to be anywhere on the plains. The water made a muddy pond of the whole camp, and the trenches were half filled in no time. Everything was blown helter-skelter by the furious wind, and some of our outfits we never recovered. In the midst of the confusion some fellows reported that the Spaniards were trying to break through our lines, but the report was false,—the outsiders were starving Cubans who had come in looking for shelter and something to eat. We gave them what we could—which was precious little, for we had next to nothing ourselves—and then got them to help us get things together again. One of the Cubans was an old man, who could speak a little English. He said he had lost two daughters and three grandchildren by starvation since the war between Spain and Cuba had started. He himself was little more than a skeleton."

That Theodore Roosevelt was warmhearted enough to look out for other soldiers besides those of his own command is proven by what took place on the day following the big storm. Next to the Rough Riders were located a regiment of Illinois Volunteers. Because of the muddy roads and swollen streams, they could get no rations, and scant as were their own supplies, Colonel Roosevelt had the Rough Riders furnish them with beans, coffee, and a few cases of hardtack, for which they were extremely grateful. Later in the day the commander of the Rough Riders also got to them part of a mule train of provisions.

The American position had been greatly strengthened, and many additional troops were now at the front. It was felt that an advance upon Santiago would surely result in victory, although the losses might be large. But the Spaniards were no longer in a position to continue the struggle, and on July 17 the city formally surrendered. The surrendered territory covered many miles, and the Spanish soldiers to lay down their arms numbered upward of twenty thousand.

There was great cheering in the American trenches when the glad news was brought in, and soon Old Glory was planted on every height, while the trumpets sounded out triumphantly. Possession of Santiago was immediate, and in a few hours the Stars and Stripes floated from the flagstaff of the civil government buildings. Our gallant army had won on the land just as our gallant navy had won on the sea. The war had been, for us, one of triumph from start to finish.

In foreign countries the news was received with an astonishment that can scarcely be described. After Dewey's wonderful victory in Manila Bay, many naval experts said that such a fight could not be duplicated, yet it was duplicated two months later off Santiago Bay in a manner that left no doubt of American supremacy on the sea. Then when it came to fighting on land, our army was designated as "paper" soldiers, that is, soldiers on paper or in name only, and it was said that their guns would be found of little use against the Mausers of Spain. But this was likewise false; and to-day the army and navy of the United States are respected everywhere. And more than this, foreign powers have come to our country for many of their war-ships, asking us to build and equip them, and also asking us to make cannon and rifles for them.

While the war was on in Cuba, a part of the United States army under General Miles was sent to Porto Rico, another island belonging to Spain. Here the inhabitants hailed the Americans with delight, and the resistance by the Spanish soldiers was only half-hearted.

With the downfall of the navy and Santiago, Spain knew not what to do next, and gladly received the terms of peace offered by President McKinley and his advisers. The terms were accepted on August 9, and thus the short but sharp war came to a termination. By the treaty of peace Cuba was given her liberty, and Porto Rico and the Philippines passed into the possession of the United States.



Four days after the surrender of Santiago the Rough Riders found themselves in the hills four or five miles back from the intrenchments they had occupied during the last fight. Other commands were scattered in various directions, for to let them go into the wretched city would have been out of the question. Santiago was dirty in the extreme; the fever was there, and hundreds were on the verge of starvation.

It was a trying time for everybody, and equally so for Theodore Roosevelt, who did all in his power, as before, to make his men comfortable. When it did not rain, the sun came out fiercely, causing a rapid evaporation that was thoroughly exhausting to the soldiers. The locality was not a healthy one, and soon scores of Rough Riders and others were down with malaria or fever. Doctors and surgeons were scarce, and hospital accommodations were scanty, and again and again did Colonel Roosevelt send down on his own account to the seacoast and to Santiago for food and medicines of which his command were in dire need. He was now colonel of the Rough Riders in reality, his promotion having been granted to him just one week after the heroic charge up San Juan Hill. His old colonel, Wood, was installed at Santiago as military governor. This, for the time being, left Colonel Roosevelt in command of the cavalry brigade, no small honor to one who had been, but a few months before, a stranger to military duties.

During this time in camp, Theodore Roosevelt visited Santiago and the forts at the entrance to the harbor, and with the pen of a skilled author he has, in one of his books, given us vivid pictures of the sights to be seen there at that time—the crooked streets with their queer shops, the wretched inhabitants, the grim and frowning forts, all hemmed in by the towering mountains and the sea. He likewise tells of his trips to the mountains, and how his companions were usually exhausted by the climbing done. For one who in his youth had been so delicate, he stood the exposure remarkably well, for which he was thankful.

For some time the authorities at Washington did not know what to do with the troops in Cuba. It was suggested that they move up to higher ground, or to another neighborhood. But General Shafter knew, and so did all of the officers under him, that to keep the army in the island would only mean more sickness and death.

"I will go to the general with a protest," said Colonel Roosevelt. And he did so. Meanwhile the other head officers drew up a letter of protest, and this was signed by all, including the commander of the Rough Riders. In his own letter Roosevelt protested against the treatment of his men in the matter of rations, clothing, and hospital accommodations, and in the other letter, called by the officers a Round Robin, there was a protest about remaining in Cuba longer, with the fever getting worse every day. These letters were made public through the press of the United States, with the result that the troops were ordered home without further delay.

The Rough Riders left Cuba on August 7, just six weeks and a half after landing. The time spent in the island had been short, but to many it seemed an age. None were sorry to depart, although sad to think that some of the sick had to be left behind.

The transport used this time was the Miami, and Mr. Roosevelt tells us that, taken as a whole, the accommodations were better than they had been on the Yucatan. But on the trip much trouble was had with some of the stokers and engineers, who insisted upon drinking some liquor smuggled aboard.

"I will not permit this," said Colonel Roosevelt. And he read the disorderly ones a strong lecture and made them give up their liquor. After that, as there was much grumbling, he set a guard; and that was the end of that trouble.

The destination of the transport was Montauk, on the extreme eastern shore of Long Island. The trip took nine days,—rather a dreary time to those anxious to see their native land once more. When an anchorage was gained, a gunboat came out to the transport with the welcome news that Spain had agreed to our terms.

The sick had still to be cared for; yet, taken as a whole, the month spent at the camp at Montauk was pleasant enough. Here Colonel Roosevelt met that part of the regiment that had been left behind in Florida, and all the stories of the fights had to be told over and over again.

"It was good to meet the rest of the regiment," says Mr. Roosevelt, in his book. "They all felt dreadfully at not having been in Cuba. Of course those who stayed had done their duty precisely as did those who went." Which was true; yet, as he adds, those who had been left behind could not be comforted.

Colonel Roosevelt was still in charge of the brigade while at Montauk, and much of his time was taken up in getting out necessary reports, and seeing to it that the entire camp was kept in first-class sanitary condition.

"And he was up to the mark," said one of those who were there. "He didn't allow the least bit of dirt, and everything had to be as shipshape as if we were at West Point. And it was a good thing, too, for it kept the sickness from spreading."

The sea-breeze is strong at Montauk, and this soon began to tell upon all who were sick, putting in them new life and vigor. Here every possible attention was given to those who were down, so that ere long many were up again and as well as ever.

When he had a little time to himself, Theodore Roosevelt would gather a few friends around him, and either go to the beach to bathe or go off on a long horseback ride. War was to him a thing of the past, and he was once more willing to become a private citizen as of old.

In those days the camp at Montauk was constantly crowded with visitors from New York City and elsewhere, who poured in upon every train. All of the soldiers who had been to Cuba were hailed as heroes, and had to tell their stories many times.

"Every soldier had a crowd following him," said one private. "The visitors wanted to know how we had fought, how we had been treated by the government, how things looked in Cuba, and a hundred and one other things. Most of the visitors, especially the ladies, wanted our autographs, and I had to write mine as many as forty times a day. I remember one of the men, a cowboy from Oklahoma, couldn't write, and he got so upset over this that every time somebody asked him for his autograph he would run away, saying he had forgotten to do something that he had been ordered to do. When I and some chums went down to New York to look around, all the folks stared at us, and many insisted on shaking hands and treating."

The uniforms the Rough Riders had worn in Cuba were in rags, and many had boarded the transport barefooted. The rags were saved as trophies of the occasion, and many are still in existence.

At Camp Wykoff, as the place was called, there was a large hospital for the sick, and to this many came to do what they could for the sufferers, who were now given every possible attention. Among the visitors was Miss Helen Gould, who had used her ample means for the benefit of the sick all through the war, and who now continued to play the good Samaritan. President McKinley and many of his cabinet likewise visited the camp, and saw to it that everything in the hospital and out of it was as it should be. The sick were presented with the best of fruits and other things, and many ladies assisted the nurses by reading to the patients and by writing letters for them.

Now that they had nothing to do in the shape of fighting, many of the Rough Riders were anxious to get back to the wild West. Life in an ordinary camp did not suit them, and at every available opportunity they indulged in "horse play," working off many practical jokes upon each other.

One day a report went the rounds that a member of another cavalry organization could not master a certain horse that had been assigned to him. The report was true, for the horse was what is called by ranchmen a "bad bucker."

"I think Sergeant Darnell can master him," said Colonel Roosevelt.

He referred to one of the best "bronco busters" among the Rough Riders, a man who had never yet allowed a steed to get the best of him.

"All right, let Darnell try him," said others. And a test was arranged for the day following.

At that time Secretary of War Alger was in camp, and a great crowd of visitors, military men and others, gathered before Colonel Roosevelt's quarters to watch the contest. At the proper time the vicious horse was brought forth, and watching his chance, Sergeant Darnell leaped upon his back. Then came such a bucking, leaping, and prancing as many had never witnessed before.

"He'll be killed!" cried many of the ladies. "The horse will have him under in another moment." But such fears were groundless. Darnell knew exactly what he was doing, and in the end the fiery steed had to give in, completely conquered.

On the last Sunday in camp, Chaplain Brown delivered an impressive sermon, to which all listened with grave attention. After he had finished, Theodore Roosevelt spoke to the men in a feeling way.

"I told them how proud I was of them," he says. "But warned them not to think that they could go back and rest on their laurels, bidding them remember that though for ten days or so the world would be willing to treat them as heroes, yet after that time they would find they would have to get down to hard work just like anybody else, unless they were willing to be regarded as worthless do-nothings." This was the best possible advice, and it is believed that many of the soldiers profited by it.

Before the men were mustered out, they treated their beloved commander to a genuine surprise. They had had a fine bronze of a "Bronco Buster" made, and this was presented to Colonel Roosevelt on behalf of the whole regiment. It touched him deeply, and to-day this bronze is one of his most highly prized gifts.

At last came news that the Rough Riders would be mustered out of the United States service the next day. That evening a great celebration took place, in which all of the men joined, each according to his own notion of what a celebration should be. Large bonfires were lit, and here some delivered speeches, the soldiers from the colleges sang, those with Indian blood in them gave a characteristic dance, and cowboys and ranchmen did "double-shuffles" and "cut up" as suited them.

On the morning of September 15, four months after the Rough Riders had been organized, the colors were lowered in camp, the men were mustered out, and officers and privates shook hands and said good-by.

"It was the greatest sight I ever saw," says one of the number. "Not until that moment came did we realize what it meant to part with those who had fought with us in battle and suffered the hardships of life in the trenches. Strange friendships had been formed, some between those who were very rich and very poor, and others between those who were well educated and very ignorant. One man who was studying for a professional life had as his particular chum a rough cowboy who had never spent six months over his books. But the two had stood by each other and suffered, and I really believe they were willing to lay down their lives for each other.

"Many of the men could hardly bear to part with Colonel Roosevelt. He had stuck by them through thick and thin, and they worshipped him. Some shook hands half a dozen times, and some hardly dared to speak for fear of breaking down. I never expect to see the match of that scene again."



The war with Spain was at an end, and Uncle Sam had now to turn his attention to the Philippines, where for many months to come military disturbances of a more or less serious nature were to take place.

Theodore Roosevelt might have remained in the army, and had he done so there is no doubt but that he would have swiftly risen to a rank of importance.

But the people of the State of New York willed otherwise.

"He is a great military man," they said. "But he was likewise a fine Police Commissioner and a Civil Service Commissioner, fighting continually for what was right and good. Let us make him our next governor."

The convention that nominated Theodore Roosevelt for the highest office in the Empire State met at Saratoga, September 27, 1898, just twelve days after the Rough Riders were mustered out. At that time Frank S. Black was governor of the state, having been elected two years before by a large majority. The governor had many friends, and they said he deserved another term.

"Roosevelt is not a citizen of this state," said they. "He gave up his residence here when he went to Washington to become Assistant Secretary of the Navy."

"We don't want him anyway," said other politicians, who had not forgotten how the Rough Rider had acted when in the Assembly. "If he gets into office, it will be impossible to manage him." And they worked night and day to defeat the hero of San Juan Hill.

On the day of the convention, the hall where it was held was jammed with people. The people were also crowded in the street outside, and on every hand were seen Rough Rider badges.

"It was a Roosevelt crowd from top to bottom," says one who was there. "You heard his name everywhere—in the hotels, on the streets, no matter where you went. Every once in a while somebody would shout, 'Three cheers for Teddy!' and the cheers would be given with a will."

As soon as the convention had settled down to business, Governor Black was put up for nomination, and then the Hon. Chauncey M. Depew presented the name of Theodore Roosevelt. He spoke of what had been done in Cuba, and added:—

"The Rough Riders endured no hardships nor dangers which were not shared by their Colonel. He helped them dig their ditches; he stood beside them in the deadly dampness of the trenches. No floored tent for him if his comrades must sleep on the ground and under the sky. In that world-famed charge of the Rough Riders up the hill of San Juan, their Colonel was a hundred feet in advance."

There was a prolonged cheering when Theodore Roosevelt's name was mentioned, and hundreds waved their handkerchiefs and flags. Other speeches followed, and at last came the voting. Out of the total number cast Theodore Roosevelt received seven hundred and fifty-three and Governor Black two hundred and eighteen.

"I move we make the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt unanimous!" cried Judge Cady, who had previously presented the name of Governor Black. And amid continued cheering this was done.

Theodore Roosevelt had been nominated on the regular Republican ticket. In opposition, the Democrats nominated Augustus Van Wyck, also well known, and likewise of as old Dutch stock as Roosevelt himself.

The campaign was a decidedly strenuous one. The Democrats made every effort to win, while on the other hand the Republicans who had wanted Governor Black for another term did not give to Mr. Roosevelt the support promised when his nomination had been made unanimous.

"We shall be defeated," said more than one friend to Roosevelt. "It seems a shame, but we cannot arouse the party as it should be aroused."

"I will see what I can do myself," answered the former leader of the Rough Riders. And he arranged to make a complete tour of the State, taking in almost every city and town of importance. When some of the old campaign managers heard of this, they came to Roosevelt in great alarm.

"You mustn't do it," they said. "It will ruin you."

"I will risk it," was the answer of the candidate. And forthwith he started on his tour, taking a handful of his Rough Rider friends with him.

It was a brilliant stroke on the part of Theodore Roosevelt, and it told tremendously in his favor. Wherever he went, the people turned out in large crowds to see him and to listen to what he or his Rough Rider companions had to say. Citizens by the hundred came up to shake him by the hand and wish him success. Parades were organized to do him honor, and at night there would be brilliant illuminations and fireworks.

"We have aroused the party," said he, when the tour was at an end. And so it proved. Although Van Wyck was popular, Theodore Roosevelt was elected to the high office of governor by seventeen thousand plurality.

It was certainly a high position for such a young man to occupy. He was barely forty years of age, yet as governor of New York he ruled twice as many people as did George Washington when first President of the United States.

He entered on his new duties with as much zeal as he had displayed when organizing the Rough Riders, and in a few weeks had the reins of government well in hand. It is said that while he was governor he was never surprised by those who opposed him. When they wanted facts and figures he was able to produce them, and he never supported or vetoed a measure unless he was morally certain he was on the right side. He was open-faced to the last degree, and what he said he meant.

During his term of office many measures of importance were considered, but in a work of this kind it is not necessary to go into details. For several important offices he nominated men of his own selection, despite the protests of some older politicians, and these selections proved first-class.

During his term as governor, Mr. Roosevelt did a great work for many poor people in New York City, who worked in what are called "sweat shops,"—small, close quarters, not fit for working purposes, in which men, women, and children make clothing and other articles. He enforced what was known as the Factory Law, and the owners of the "sweat-shops" had to seek larger and more sanitary quarters for their employees. He also took a strong hand in reforming the administration of the canals, which had been one-sided and unfair.

But perhaps his greatest work was in behalf of a measure meant to make the great corporations of New York State pay their fair share of the general taxes. In the past these corporations had had great rights conferred upon them, and they had paid little or nothing in return.

"This is unjust," said Governor Roosevelt. "They should pay their taxes just as the poorest citizen is compelled to pay his tax."

When the corporations heard this, many of the men in control were furious, and they threatened the governor in all sorts of ways. They would defeat him if he ever again came up for election, and defeat him so badly that he would never again be heard of.

"Do as you please, gentlemen," said the governor. "I am here to do my duty, and I intend to do it." And he called an extra session of the legislature for that purpose. It is said that much money was used by some corporations to defeat Governor Roosevelt's will, but in the end a modified form of the bill was passed. Since that time other bills along similar lines have become laws; so that the great corporations have to pay millions of dollars which in the past they had escaped paying. Such measures are of immense benefit to the ordinary citizen, and for his share in this work Theodore Roosevelt deserves great credit.

It was while governor of New York that Mr. Roosevelt gave to the public his book entitled "The Rough Riders." It contains a history of that organization from his personal point of view, and makes the most fascinating kind of reading from beginning to end. It was well received, and added not a little to the laurels of the writer as an author.

Although much of his time was spent at Albany as Executive, Theodore Roosevelt had not given up the old homestead at Oyster Bay on Long Island, and thither he went for rest and recreation, taking his entire family, which, as has been said, consisted of his wife and six children, with him.

The old Roosevelt homestead is on a hill about three miles distant from the village. The road to the house winds upward through a wilderness of trees and brushwood. At the top of the hill, where the house stands, is a cleared space, free to the strong breezes of Long Island Sound. It is on the north shore, about twenty-five miles from City Hall, New York.

The house is a large, three-story affair, with crossed gables, and a large semicircular veranda at one end. Inside there is a wide hall, and all the rooms are of good size, with broad windows and inviting open fireplaces. One room is fitted up as Mr. Roosevelt's "den," with many bookcases filled with books, and with rare prints of Washington, Lincoln, and other celebrities on the walls, and with not a few trophies of the hunt added. In this room Mr. Roosevelt has done much of his work as an author.

It is said that Abraham Lincoln not only chopped wood for a living, but that he rather enjoyed the outdoor exercise. Be that as it may, it remains a fact that Mr. Roosevelt frequently goes forth into the woods on his estate to fell a tree, or split one up, just for the exercise thus afforded. This he did while he was governor of New York, and once astonished some newspaper men who had come to see him on business by the dexterity with which he cut a large tree trunk in two. He even invited his visitors to "take a hack at it" themselves, but they respectfully declined.

He still kept up his athletic exercise, and one of his favorite amusements was to go on long horseback rides, either alone, or with some relative or friend. At other times he would go deep into the woods with his young sons, showing them how to bring down the nuts from the trees, or how to use their guns on any small game that chanced to show itself. His family life was then, as it has always been, a happy one; but of this let us speak later.



Although the war with Spain was over, the people of the United States had not forgotten the wonderful work accomplished by Admiral Dewey and his men at Manila, and when the dauntless naval fighter returned to this country, people everywhere arose to do him honor.

"He well deserves it," said Governor Roosevelt. And he appointed September 29 and 30, 1899, as public holidays, to be observed throughout the entire State as days of general thanksgiving. These days were commonly called "Dewey Days."

The reception to the Admiral and to the other naval heroes was to take place in New York and vicinity, and for many days the citizens were busy decorating their homes and places of business with flags and bunting and pictures, and immense signs of "Welcome," some in letters several feet long. At the junction of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Twenty-Third Street, an immense triumphal arch was erected, and reviewing stands stretched along the line of parade for many miles.

On the day before the grand reception, Governor Roosevelt, with some members of his staff, called upon Admiral Dewey on board of the Olympia, and offered the State's greeting. A pleasant time was had by all, and the governor assured the sea hero that the people of New York and vicinity were more than anxious to do him honor.

It had been arranged that a naval parade should be held on the first day of the reception, and a land parade on the day following. The course of the naval parade was up the Hudson River past Grant's Tomb, and the grand procession on the water included the Olympia, the Admiral's flag-ship, and the New York, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas, Brooklyn, and a large number of other war-ships of lesser importance, besides an immense number of private steam-yachts and other craft.

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 war-ship 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 recognized that figure, the cheering was as wild as ever.

"It is Roosevelt!" ran from mouth to mouth. "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 war-ships 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 corruption 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 metropolis 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 them to come up to the Auditorium later, "for an all-round chat."

"It was a great meeting," said one who was there. "Before the train came in, those old Rough Riders were nervous and showed it. They knew that Roosevelt had become a great man, and they were just a little afraid he would pass them by. When the meeting was over, they went off as happy as a lot of children, and one of them said, 'Say, fellows, Teddy's just all right yet, ain't he?' And another answered: 'Told you he would be. He's a white man through and through, none whiter anywhere.'"

The banquet was held in the Auditorium Theatre building, and was said to be the largest ever given in Chicago. Many distinguished guests were present, both from the North and the South, and the place was a mass of flowers and brilliantly illuminated, while a fine orchestra discoursed music during the meal. When Theodore Roosevelt arose to speak, there was cheering that lasted fully a quarter of an hour.

The speech made upon this occasion is one not likely to be forgotten. Previous to that time the word "strenuous" had been heard but seldom, but ever since it has stood for something definite, and is much in use. In part Mr. Roosevelt spoke as follows:—

"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shirk from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph."

Another paragraph is equally interesting and elevating:—

"We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend; but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail; but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

And to this he adds:—

"As it is with the individual so it is with the nation. It is a base untruth to say that happy is the nation that has no history. Thrice happy is the nation that has a glorious history. Far better is it to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."[1]

[Footnote 1: For other extracts from this speech, see Appendix A, p. 297.]



As the time came on to nominate parties for the office of President and Vice-President of the United States, in 1900, there was considerable speculation in the Republican party regarding who should be chosen for the second name on the ticket.

It was felt by everybody that President McKinley had honestly earned a second term, not alone by his management of the war with Spain, but also because of his stand touching the rebellion in the Philippines, and on other matters of equal importance.

About the Vice-Presidency the political managers were not so sure, and they mentioned several names. But in the hearts of the people there was but one name, and that was Theodore Roosevelt.

"We must have him," was heard upon every side. "He will be just the right man in the right place. He will give to the office an importance never before attached to it, and an importance which it deserves."

Personally, Governor Roosevelt did not wish this added honor. As the Executive of the greatest State in our Union, he had started great reforms, and he wanted to finish them.

"My work is here," he said to many. "Let me do what I have been called to do, and then I will again be at the service of the whole nation once more."

The National Republican Convention met in Philadelphia, June 19, in Exposition Hall, beautifully decorated with flags and banners. Senator Mark Hanna, President McKinley's warmest personal friend, was chairman, and the delegates, numbering over seven hundred, came, as usual at such conventions, from every State in the Union. Governor Roosevelt himself was a delegate, and sat near the middle aisle, five or six seats from the front. He was recognized by everybody, and it is safe to say that he was the most conspicuous figure at the convention.

Up to the last minute many of the political leaders were, in a measure, afraid of Theodore Roosevelt. They understood his immense popularity, and were afraid that the convention might be "stampeded" in his favor.

"If they once start to yell for Roosevelt, it will be good-by to everybody else," said one old politician. "They are just crazy after the leader of the Rough Riders."

But this man did not understand the stern moral honesty of the man under consideration. Roosevelt believed in upholding William McKinley, and had said so, and it was no more possible for him to seek the Presidential nomination by an underhanded trick than it was for President McKinley to do an equally base thing when he was asked to allow his name to be mentioned at the time he had pledged himself to support John Sherman.[2] Both men were of equal loyalty, and the word of each was as good as his bond.

[Footnote 2: See "American Boys' Life of William McKinley," p. 191.]

It was Senator Foraker who put up President McKinley for nomination, and the vigorous cheering at that time will never be forgotten. Fifteen thousand throats yelled themselves hoarse, and then broke into the ringing words and music of "The Union Forever!" in a manner that made the very convention hall tremble. Then came cries for Roosevelt, "For our own Teddy of the Rough Riders!" and, written speech in hand, he arose amid that vast multitude to second the candidacy of William McKinley. Not once did he look at the paper he held in his hand, but with a force that could not be misunderstood he addressed the assemblage.

"I rise to second the nomination of William McKinley, because with him as a leader this people has trod the path of national greatness and prosperity with the strides of a giant," said he, "and because under him we can and will succeed in the election. Exactly as in the past we have remedied the evils which we undertook to remedy, so now when we say that a wrong shall be righted, it most assuredly will be righted.

"We stand on the threshold of a new century, a century big with the fate of the great nations of the earth. It rests with us to decide now whether in the opening years of that century we shall march forward to fresh triumphs, or whether at the outset we shall deliberately cripple ourselves for the contest."

His speech was the signal for another burst of applause, and when finally Theodore Roosevelt was named as the candidate for Vice-President, the crowd yelled until it could yell no longer, while many sang "Yankee Doodle" and other more or less patriotic airs, keeping time with canes and flag-sticks. When the vote was cast, only one delegate failed to vote for Theodore Roosevelt, and that was Theodore Roosevelt himself.

The platform of the party was largely a repetition of the platform of four years before. Again the cry was for "sound money," and for the continuance of President McKinley's policy in the Philippines.

The campaign which followed was truly a strenuous one—to use a favorite word of the candidate. President McKinley decided not to make many speeches, and thus the hard work previous to election day fell upon Theodore Roosevelt.

He did not shirk the task. As with everything he undertook, he entered into the campaign with vigor, resolved to deserve success even if he did not win it.

"I will do my best in the interests of our party, and for the benefit of the people at large," said Theodore Roosevelt. "No man can do more than that."

In the few short months between the time when he was nominated and when the election was held, Governor Roosevelt travelled over 20,000 miles by rail, visiting nearly 600 towns, and addressing, on a rough estimate, fully 3,000,000 of people! In that time he delivered 673 speeches, some of them half an hour and some an hour in length.

In his thousands of miles of travel the candidate for the Vice-Presidency visited many States, particularly those lying between New York and Colorado. At nearly every town he was greeted by an immense crowd, all anxious to do the leader of the Rough Riders honor. In the large cities great banquets were held, and he was shown much respect and consideration. In many places those who had fought under him came to see and listen to him, and these meetings were of especial pleasure. Often he would see an old Rough Rider hanging back in the crowd, and would call him to the front or do his best to reach the ex-soldier and shake him by the hand.

One occurrence is worthy of special mention. The Democratic party had nominated William Jennings Bryan as their candidate for President. There was a great labor picnic and demonstration at Chicago, and both Governor Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan were invited to speak.

"You had better not accept, governor," said some friends to Theodore Roosevelt. "There may be trouble."

"I am not afraid," answered the former leader of the Rough Riders.

"But Mr. Bryan and yourself are to be there at practically the same time."

"That does not matter," said the governor. And he went to Chicago on September 3, to attend the Labor Day celebrations. The picnic was held at Electric Park, and in the presence of fifteen thousand people Governor Roosevelt and Mr. Bryan "buried the hatchet" for the time being, and spoke to those surrounding them on the dignity of labor and the duties of the laboring man to better himself and his social conditions. In that motley collection of people there were frequent cries of "Hurrah for Teddy!" and "What's the matter with Bryan? He's all right!" but there was no disturbance, and each speaker was listened to with respectful attention from start to finish. It was without a doubt a meeting to show true American liberty and free speech at its best.

But all of the stops on his tours were not so pleasant to Governor Roosevelt. In every community there are those who are low-bred and bound to make an exhibition of their baseness. At Waverly, New York, a stone was flung at him through the car window, breaking the glass but missing the candidate for whom it was intended. At once there was excitement.

"Are you hurt, Governor?" was the question asked.

"No," returned Theodore Roosevelt. And then he added, with a faint smile, "It's only a bouquet, but I wish, after this, they wouldn't make them quite so hard."

There was also a demonstration against the candidate at Haverstraw, New York, which threatened for a while to break up an intended meeting. But the worst rowdyism was encountered at Victor, a small town in Colorado, near the well-known mining centre of Cripple Creek. Victor was full of miners who wanted not "sound money," but "free silver," for free silver, so styled, meant a great booming of silver mining.

"We don't want him here," said these miners. "We have heard enough about him and his gold standard. He had better keep away, or he'll regret it."

When Theodore Roosevelt was told he might have trouble in the mining camps, he merely shrugged his shoulders.

"I know these men," he said. "The most of them are as honest and respectable as the citizens of New York. I am not afraid of the vicious element. The better class are bound to see fair play."

The governor spoke at a place called Armory Hall, and the auditorium was packed. He had just begun his speech when there was a wild yelling and cat-calling, all calculated to drown him out. He waited for a minute, and then, as the noise subsided, tried to go on once more, when a voice cried out:—

"What about rotten beef?" referring to the beef furnished during the Santiago campaign, which had, of course, come through a Republican Commissary Department.

"I ate that beef," answered the governor, quickly. And then he added to the fellow who had thus questioned him: "You will never get near enough to be hit with a bullet, or within five miles of it." At this many burst into applause, and the man, who was a coward at heart, sneaked from the hall in a hurry. He was no soldier and had never suffered the hardships of any campaign, and many hooted him as he deserved.

But the trouble was not yet over. Theodore Roosevelt finished his address, and then started to leave the hall in company with a number of his friends. On the way to the train a crowd of rowdies followed the candidate's party, and threw all sorts of things at them. One man made a personal attack on the governor and hit him on the chest with a stick. He tried to leap away, but was knocked down by a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt.

"Down with the gold bugs!" was the cry, and the violence of the mob increased. The friends of Governor Roosevelt rallied to his support, and blows were given and taken freely. But with it all the candidate reached his train in safety, and in a few minutes more had left the town far behind. He was not much disturbed, and the very next day went on with his speech-making as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. The better classes of citizens of Victor were much disturbed over the happening, and they sent many regrets to Governor Roosevelt, assuring him that such a demonstration would never again be permitted to occur.



But the campaign, sharp and bitter as it had been, was not yet at an end. In New York City there followed a "Sound Money Parade," which was perhaps the largest of its kind ever witnessed in the United States. It was composed of all sorts and conditions of men, from bankers and brokers of Wall Street to the humble factory and mill hands from up the river and beyond. The parade took several hours to pass, and was witnessed by crowds almost as great as had witnessed the Dewey demonstration.

In New York City, as the time drew closer for the election, there was every intimation that the contest would be an unusually "hot" one, and that there would be much bribery and corruption. It was said by some that police methods were very lax at that time, and that the saloons, which ought to be closed on election day, would be almost if not quite wide open.

"We must have an honest election," said Governor Roosevelt. And without loss of time he sent letters to Mayor Van Wyck, and to the sheriff and the district attorney of the county of New York, calling their attention to the facts in the case, and telling them that he would hold them strictly responsible if they did not do their full duty. As a consequence the election was far more orderly than it might otherwise have been in the metropolitan district.

The results of the long contest were speedily known. McKinley and Roosevelt had been elected by a large plurality, and both they and their numerous friends and supporters were correspondingly happy. Great parades were had in their honor, and it was predicted, and rightly, that the prosperity which our country had enjoyed for several years in the past would continue for many years to come.

During those days the United States had but one outside difficulty, which was in China. There a certain set of people called the Boxers arose in rebellion and threatened the lives of all foreigners, including American citizens. An International Army was organized, including American, English, French, German, Japanese, and other troops, and a quick attack was made upon Tien-Tsin and Pekin, and the suffering foreigners in China were rescued. In this campaign the American soldiers did their full share of the work and added fresh laurels to the name of Old Glory.

The tax upon the strength of the newly elected Vice-President had been very great, and he was glad to surrender the duties of governor into the hands of his successor. But as Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt became the presiding officer of the United States Senate, a position of equal if not greater importance.

As President of the Senate it is said that Mr. Roosevelt was kind yet firm, and ever on the alert to see that affairs ran smoothly. He occupied the position only for one short winter session, and during that time nothing came under discussion that was of prime importance, although my young readers must remember that all the work accomplished in our Senate is of more or less magnitude.

"He was very earnest in his work," says one who was in the Senate at that time. "As was his usual habit, he took little for granted, but usually started to investigate for himself. He knew the rules thoroughly, and rarely made an error."

For a long time the newly elected Vice-President had been wanting to get back to his favorite recreation, hunting. Despite the excitement of political life, he could not overcome his fondness for his rifle and the wilderness. He felt that an outing would do his system much good, and accordingly arranged for a five weeks' hunting trip in northwestern Colorado.

In this trip, which he has himself described in one of his admirable hunting papers, he had with him two companions, Dr. Gerald Webb of Colorado Springs, and Mr. Philip K. Stewart, an old friend who in former years had been captain of the Yale base-ball team.

The party went as far as the railroad would carry them, and then started for a settlement called Meeker, forty miles distant. The weather was extremely cold, with the thermometer from ten to twenty degrees below zero, but the journey to Meeker was made in safety, and here the hunters met their guide, a well-known hunter of that region named Goff, and started with him for his ranch, several miles away.

Theodore Roosevelt would have liked to bring down a bear on this trip, but the grizzlies were all in winter quarters and sleeping soundly, so the hunt was confined to bob-cats and cougars. The hunting began early, for on the way to the ranch the hounds treed a bob-cat, commonly known as a lynx, which was secured without much trouble, and a second bob-cat was secured the next day.

The territory surrounding Goff's ranch, called the Keystone, was an ideal one for hunting, with clumps of cottonwoods and pines scattered here and there, and numerous cliffs and ravines, the hiding-places of game unnumbered. The ranch home stood at the foot of several well-wooded hills, a long, low, one-story affair, built of rough logs, but clean and comfortable within.

The two days' ride in the nipping air had been a severe test of endurance, and all were glad, when the ranch was reached, to "thaw out" before the roaring fire, and sit down to the hot and hearty meal that had been prepared in anticipation of their coming.

The hunters had some excellent hounds, trained especially for bob-cats and cougars, animals that were never allowed to go after small game under any circumstances. Theodore Roosevelt was much taken with them from the start, and soon got to know each by name.

"In cougar hunting the success of the hunter depends absolutely upon his hounds," says Mr. Roosevelt. And he described each hound with great minuteness, showing that he allowed little to escape his trained eye while on this tour.

On the day after the arrival at the ranch the party went out for its first cougar, which, as my young readers perhaps know, is an animal inhabiting certain wild parts of our West and Southwest. The beast grows to a size of from six to nine feet in length, and weighs several hundred pounds. It is variously known as a puma and panther, the latter name sometimes being changed to "painter." When attacked, it is ofttimes exceedingly savage, and on certain occasions has been known to kill a man.

In Colorado the cougar is hunted almost exclusively with the aid of hounds, and this was the method adopted on the present occasion. With the pen of a true sportsman, Mr. Roosevelt tells us how the hounds were held back until a cougar trail less than thirty-six hours old was struck. Then off went the pack along the cliffs and ravines, with the hunters following on horseback. The trail led up the mountain side and then across the valley opposite, and soon the hounds were out of sight. Leading their steeds, the hunters went down the valley and followed the dogs, to find they had separated among the bare spots beyond. But soon came a welcome sound.

"The cougar's treed," announced the guide. And so it proved. But when the hunters came closer, the cougar, an old female, leaped from the tree, outdistanced the dogs, and leaped into another tree. Then, as the party again came up, the beast took another leap and started to run once more. But now the hounds were too quick, and in a trice they had the cougar surrounded. Slipping in, Theodore Roosevelt ended the struggles of the wild beast by a knife-thrust behind the shoulder.

The next day there was another hunt, and this had rather a tinge of sadness to it. The dogs tracked a mother cougar, who occupied her den with her three kittens. The hounds rushed into the hole, barking furiously, and presently one came out with a dead kitten in his mouth.

"I had supposed a cougar would defend her young to the last," says Mr. Roosevelt, "but such was not the case in this instance. For some minutes she kept the dogs at bay, but gradually gave ground, leaving her three kittens." The dogs killed the kittens without loss of time, and then followed the cougar as she fled from the other end of her hole. But the hounds were too quick for her, and soon had her on the ground. Theodore Roosevelt rushed up, knife in one hand and rifle in the other. With the firearm he struck the beast in the jaws, and then ended the struggle by a knife-thrust straight into the heart.

To many this may seem a cruel sport, and in a certain sense it assuredly is; but my young readers must remember that cougars and other wild beasts are a menace to civilization in the far West, and they have been shot down and killed at every available opportunity. More than this, as I have already mentioned, Theodore Roosevelt is more than a mere hunter delighting in bloodshed. He is a naturalist, and examines with care everything brought down and reports upon it, so that his hunting trips have added not a little to up-to-date natural history. The skulls of the various animals killed on this trip were forwarded to the Biological Survey, Department of Agriculture, Washington, and in return Mr. Roosevelt received a letter, part of which stated:—

"Your series of skulls from Colorado is incomparably the largest, most complete, and most valuable series ever brought together from any single locality, and will be of inestimable value in determining the amount of individual variation."



Theodore Roosevelt's companions of the hunt remained with him for fourteen days, after which they departed, leaving him with Goff, the ranchman and hunter already mentioned.

When the pair were alone, they visited Juniper Mountain, said to be a great ground for cougars and bob-cats, and there hunted with great success. All together the trip of five weeks' hunting netted fourteen cougars, the largest of which was eight feet in length and weighed 227 pounds. Mr. Roosevelt also brought down five bob-cats, showing that he was just as skilful with his rifle as ever.

The hero of San Juan Hill fairly loved the outdoor exercise of the hunt, and spent three weeks in keen enjoyment after his companions had departed. During this time it snowed heavily, so that the hunters were often compelled to remain indoors. As luck would have it there were other ranches in that vicinity, with owners that were hospitable, so that they did not have to go into camp, as would otherwise have been the case.

On the last day of the hunt, Theodore Roosevelt was able to bring down the largest cougar yet encountered. The hounds were on the trail of one beast when they came across that of another and took it up with but little warning.

"We're going to get a big one now," said Goff. "Just you wait and see."

"Well, if we do, it will be a good ending to my outing," responded Theodore Roosevelt.

The cougar was at last located by the hounds in a large pinyon on the side of a hill. It had run a long distance and was evidently out of breath, but as the hunters drew closer, it leaped to the ground and trotted away through the snow. Away went the hounds on the new trail of the beast.

"He's game, and he'll get away if he can," said the guide.

At the top of another hill the cougar halted and one of the hounds leaped in, and was immediately sent sprawling by a savage blow of the wild animal's paw. Then on went the cougar as before, the hounds barking wildly as they went in pursuit.

When Theodore Roosevelt came up once more, the cougar was in another pinyon tree, with the hounds in a semicircle on the ground below.

"Now I think I've got him," whispered Theodore Roosevelt to his companion, and advanced on foot, with great cautiousness. At first he could see nothing, but at last made out the back and tail of the great beast, as it lay crouched among the branches. With great care he took aim and fired, and the cougar fell to the ground, shot through the back.

At once the hounds rushed in and seized the game. But the cougar was not yet dead, and snapping and snarling the beast slipped over the ground and down a hillside, with the dogs all around it. Theodore Roosevelt came up behind, working his way through the brush with all speed. Then, watching his chance, he jumped in, hunting-knife in hand, and despatched the game.

"A good haul," cried Goff. And later on he and his men came to the conclusion that it was the same cougar that had carried off a cow and a steer and killed a work horse belonging to one of the ranches near by.

The five weeks spent in the far West strengthened Theodore Roosevelt a great deal, and it was with renewed energy that he took up his duties as Vice-President of our nation.

In the meantime, however, matters were not going on so well at home. Among the children two had been very sick, and in the summer it was suggested that some pure mountain air would do them a great deal of good.

"Very well, we'll go to the mountains," said Mr. Roosevelt, and looked around to learn what place would be best to choose.

Among the Adirondack Mountains of New York State there is a reservation of ninety-six thousand acres leased by what is called the Adirondack Club, a wealthy organization of people who have numerous summer cottages built within the preserve.

Among the members was a Mr. McNaughten, an old friend of the Roosevelt family, and he suggested that they occupy his cottage until the close of the season. This invitation was accepted, and the whole Roosevelt family moved up to the spot, which was located at the foot of Mount Marcy, the largest of the mountains in that vicinity. Here Mr. Roosevelt spent much time in hunting and fishing, and also in writing. The family were not forgotten, and he frequently went out with the whole party, rowing and exploring. Sometimes they took baskets of lunch with them and had regular picnics in the woods, something the Roosevelt children enjoyed very much.

In the meantime the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York, had been opened, and day after day it was thronged with visitors. Vice-President Roosevelt had assisted at the opening, and he was one of many who hoped the Exposition would be a great success.

At the Exposition our government had a large exhibit, and it was thought highly proper that President McKinley should visit the ground in his official capacity and deliver an address. Preparations were accordingly made, and the address was delivered on September 5 to a most enthusiastic throng.[3]

[Footnote 3: For this speech in full, and for what happened after it was delivered, see "American Boys' Life of McKinley."]

On the following day the President was driven to the Temple of Music, on the Exposition grounds, there to hold a public reception. The crowds were as great as ever, but perfectly orderly, and filed in at one side of the building and out at the other, each person in turn being permitted to grasp the Chief Magistrate's hand.

For a while all went well, and nobody noticed anything unusual about a somewhat weak-faced individual who joined the crowd, and who had one hand covered with a handkerchief. As this rascal came up to shake hands, he raised the hand with the handkerchief and, using a concealed pistol, fired two shots at President McKinley.

For an instant everybody was dazed. Then followed a commotion, and while some went to the wounded Executive's assistance, others leaped upon the dastardly assassin and made him a prisoner.

There was an excellent hospital upon the Exposition grounds, and to this President McKinley was carried. Here it was found that both bullets had entered his body, one having struck the breastbone and the other having entered the abdomen. The physicians present did all they possibly could for him, and then he was removed to the residence of Mr. Millburn, the President of the Exposition.

In the meantime, all unconscious of the awful happening that was to have such an influence upon his future, Mr. Roosevelt had been enjoying himself with his family, and helping to take care of the children that were not yet totally recovered from their illness. All seemed to be progressing finely, and he had gone off on a little tour to Vermont, to visit some points of interest and deliver a few addresses.

He was at Isle La Motte, not far from Burlington, when the news reached him that President McKinley had been shot. He had just finished an address, and for the moment he could not believe the sad news.

"Shot!" he said. "How dreadful!" And could scarcely say another word. He asked for the latest bulletin, and, forgetful of all else, took the first train he could get to Buffalo, and then hastened to the side of his Chief.

It was truly a sad meeting. For many years these two men had known each other, and they were warm friends. Their methods were somewhat different, but each stood for what was just and right and true, and each was ready to give his country his best service, no matter what the cost.

It was a sad time for the whole nation, and men and women watched the bulletins eagerly, hoping and praying that President McKinley might recover. Every hour there was some slight change, and people would talk it over in a whisper.

In a few days there were hopeful signs, and the physicians, deceived by them, said they thought the President would recover. This was glad news to Theodore Roosevelt. Yet he lingered on, fearful to go away, lest the news should prove untrue and he should be needed. But then there was a still brighter turn, and he thought of his own family, and of the fact that one of his children was again ill.

"I will return to my family," said he to two of his closest friends. "But if I am needed here, let me know at once." And his friends promised to keep him informed. Two days later he was back among the Adirondacks, in the bosom of his family.

The prayers of a whole nation were in vain. William McKinley's mission on earth was finished, and one week after he was shot he breathed his last. His wife came to bid him farewell, and so did his other relatives, and his friend of many years, Mark Hanna, and the members of his Cabinet.

"It is God's way," murmured the dying Executive. "His will be done, not ours." Then like a child going to sleep, he relapsed into unconsciousness, from which he did not recover. He died September 14, 1901, at a little after two o'clock in the morning.

It was the last of a truly great life. Illustrious men may come and go, but William McKinley will be remembered so long as our nation endures. As a soldier and a statesman he gave his best talents to better the conditions of his fellow-creatures, and to place the United States where we justly belong, among the truly great nations of the world.



With a somewhat lighter heart, Theodore Roosevelt returned to the Adirondacks and joined his family on Wednesday, three days previous to President McKinley's death. The last report he had received from Buffalo was the most encouraging of any, and he now felt almost certain that the President would survive the outrageous attack that had been made upon his person.

"He will get well," said several who lived close by. "You need not worry about his condition any longer."

On the following day it was planned to go up to Colton Lake, five miles from where the family was stopping. Some friends went along, and in the party were Mrs. Roosevelt and several of the children. Two guides accompanied them, and it was decided to spend the night at a camp on the lake, returning home the following day.

The next morning it rained, but in spite of this drawback Theodore Roosevelt, leaving the ladies and children to return to the cottage, started to climb Mount Marcy. Such an undertaking was exactly to his liking, and he went up the rough and uneven trail with the vigor of a trained woodsman, the guide leading the way and the other gentlemen of the party following.

At last, high up on the side of Mount Marcy, the party reached a small body of water known as Tear of the Clouds, and here they rested for lunch.

"You are certainly a great walker, Mr. Roosevelt," remarked one of the gentlemen during the progress of the lunch.

"Oh, I have to be," answered Theodore Roosevelt, jokingly. "A Vice-President needs exercise to keep him alive. You see, when he is in the Senate, all of his work is done sitting down."

The words had scarcely been uttered when one of the party pointed to a man climbing up the mountain side toward them. The newcomer held some yellow telegram-slips in his hand, and Theodore Roosevelt quickly arose to receive them.

He had soon mastered the contents of the messages. President McKinley was much worse; it was likely that he would not live. For fully a minute Mr. Roosevelt did not speak. He realized the great responsibility which rested upon his shoulders. Then, in a voice filled with emotion, he read the messages aloud.

"Gentlemen," he continued, "I must return to the club-house at once." And without waiting, he turned and started down the mountain side along the trail by which he had come.

It was a long, hard walk, but it is doubtful if Theodore Roosevelt took note of it. A thousand thoughts must have flashed through his mind. If William McKinley should indeed breathe his last, the nation would look to him as their Chief Magistrate. He could not make himself believe that his President was to die.

It was not long before Theodore Roosevelt reached the club-house at the lake. He asked for further news, but none was forthcoming.

"We will send to the lower club-house at once," said his friends. "You had better take a short rest, in case you have a sudden call to make the trip to Buffalo."

A misty rain was falling, and the atmosphere of the mountains was raw and penetrating. Messengers were quickly despatched to the lower club-house, and by eleven o'clock that evening news came back that left no doubt of the true condition of affairs. President McKinley was sinking rapidly, and his death was now only a question of a few hours.

"I must go, and at once," said Theodore Roosevelt. And soon a light wagon drove up to the club-house, and he leaped in. There was a short good-by to his family and his friends, the whip cracked, and the drive of thirty-five miles to the nearest railroad station was begun.

It was a never-to-be-forgotten journey. For ten miles or more the road was fearfully rough and ran around the edges of overhanging cliffs, where a false turn might mean death. Then at times the road went down into deep hollows and over rocky hills. All was pitch black, save for the tiny yellow light hanging over the dashboard of the turnout. Crouched on the seat, Mr. Roosevelt urged the driver to go on, and go on they did, making better time during that rain and darkness than had before been made in broad daylight.

At last a place called Hunter's was reached, and Theodore Roosevelt alighted.

"What news have you for me?" he asked of a waiting messenger, and the latest message was handed to him. There was no new hope,—President McKinley was sinking faster than ever. New horses were obtained, and the second part of the journey, from Hunter's to Aiden Lair, was begun.

And during that wild, swift ride of nine miles, when it seemed to Theodore Roosevelt as if he were racing against death, the angel of Life Everlasting claimed William McKinley, and the man crouched in the wagon, wet from the rain, hurrying to reach him, became the next President of the United States.

It was a little after three in the morning when Aiden Lair was reached. The sufferer at Buffalo had breathed his last, but Theodore Roosevelt did not know it, and he still hoped for the best. More fresh horses, and now the last sixteen miles of the rough journey were made on a buckboard. In spots the road was worse than it had previously been, and the driver was tempted to go slow.

"Go on!" cried Mr. Roosevelt, and held his watch in hand. "Go on!" And the driver obeyed, the buckboard dancing up and down over the rocks and swinging dangerously from side to side around the curves of ravines. But Theodore Roosevelt's mind was not on the road nor on the peril of that ride, but in that room in Buffalo where the great tragedy had just seen its completion.

At last, a little after five in the morning, the turnout came in sight of the railroad station at North Creek. A special train was in waiting for him. He gazed anxiously at the little knot of people assembled. Their very faces told him the sorrowful truth. President McKinley was dead.

With bowed head he entered a private car of the special train, and without delay the train started on its journey southward for Albany. No time was lost on this portion of the trip, and at seven o'clock Theodore Roosevelt reached the city in which but a short time before he had presided as Governor of the State.

At Albany he was met by Secretary of State Hay, who informed him officially that President McKinley was no more. He likewise informed the Vice-President that, considering the excitement, it might be best that Mr. Roosevelt be sworn in as President without delay.

Another special train was in waiting at Albany, and this was rushed westward with all possible speed, arriving in Buffalo at half-past one in the afternoon. In order to avoid the tremendous crowd at the Union railroad station, Mr. Roosevelt alighted at the Terrace station. Here he was met by several friends with a carriage and also a detachment of the Fourth Signal Corps and a squad of mounted police.

Without loss of time Theodore Roosevelt was driven to the Millburn house. Here he found a great many friends and relatives of the dead President assembled. All were too shocked over what had occurred to say much, and shook the hand of the coming President in silence.

Thousands of eyes were upon Theodore Roosevelt, but he noticed them not. Entering the Millburn house, he thought only of the one who had surrendered his life while doing his duty, and of that kind and patient woman now left to fight the battles of this world alone. He offered what consolation he could to Mrs. McKinley, heard the little that had not yet been told of that final struggle to fight off death, and then took his departure, to assume the high office thus suddenly and unexpectedly thrust upon him.



The new President took the oath of office at the residence of Mr. Ansley Wilcox in Buffalo. It is a fine, substantial mansion and has ever since been of historic interest to sight-seers.

When he arrived at the Wilcox home, he found a number of members of the McKinley Cabinet awaiting him, as well as Judge John R. Hazel, of the United States District Court, who administered the oath; and ten or a dozen others.

The scene was truly an affecting one. Secretary Root could scarcely control himself, for, twenty years before, he had been at a similar scene, when Vice-President Arthur became Chief Magistrate, after the assassination of President Garfield. In a voice filled with emotion he requested Vice-President Roosevelt, on behalf of the Cabinet as a whole, to take the prescribed oath.

It is recorded by an eye-witness that Theodore Roosevelt was pale, and that his eyes were dim with tears, as he stepped forward to do as bidden. His hand was uplifted, and then in a solemn voice the judge began the oath:—

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The words were repeated in a low but distinct voice by Theodore Roosevelt, and a moment of utter silence followed.

"Mr. President, please attach your signature," went on the judge. And in a firm hand the new Chief Executive wrote "Theodore Roosevelt" at the bottom of the all-important document which made him the President of our beloved country.

Standing in that room, the President felt the great responsibility which now rested on his shoulders, and turning to those before him, he spoke as follows:—

"In this hour of deep and terrible bereavement, I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace and prosperity and honor of our country."

These were no mere words, as his actions immediately afterward prove. On reaching Washington he assembled the Cabinet at the home of Commander Cowles, his brother-in-law, and there spoke to them somewhat in this strain:—

"I wish to make it clear to you, gentlemen, that what I said at Buffalo I meant. I want each of you to remain as a member of my Cabinet. I need your advice and counsel. I tender you the office in the same manner that I would tender it if I were entering upon the discharge of my duties as the result of an election by the people." Having thus declared himself, the newly made President asked each member personally to stay with him. It was a sincere request, and the Cabinet members all agreed to remain by Mr. Roosevelt and aid him exactly as they had been aiding Mr. McKinley. Thus was it shown to the world at large, and especially to the anarchists, of which the assassin of McKinley had been one, that though the President might be slain, the government still lived.

The entire country was prostrate over the sudden death of President McKinley, and one of the first acts of Theodore Roosevelt, after assuming the responsibilities of his office, was to issue the following proclamation:—

"A terrible bereavement has befallen our people. The President of the United States has been struck down; a crime committed not only against the Chief Magistrate, but against every law-abiding and liberty-loving citizen.

"President McKinley crowned a life of largest love for his fellow-men, of most earnest endeavor for their welfare, by a death of Christian fortitude; and both the way in which he lived his life and the way in which, in the supreme hour of trial, he met his death, will remain forever a precious heritage of our people.

"It is meet that we, as a nation, express our abiding love and reverence for his life, our deep sorrow for his untimely death.

"Now, therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do appoint Thursday next, September 19, the day in which the body of the dead President will be laid in its last earthly resting-place, a day of mourning and prayer throughout the United States.

"I earnestly recommend all the people to assemble on that day in their respective places of divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to pay out of full hearts their homage of love and reverence to the great and good President whose death has smitten the nation with bitter grief."

The funeral of President McKinley was a most imposing one. The body was at first laid in state in the City Hall at Buffalo, where President Roosevelt and fully a hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children went to view the remains. From Buffalo the remains were taken by special funeral train to Washington, and there placed in the Rotunda of the Capitol. Here the crowd was equally great, and here the services were attended by representatives from almost every civilized nation on the globe. Outside a marine band was stationed, playing the dead President's favorite hymns, "Lead, Kindly Light" and "Nearer, my God, to Thee," and in the singing of these thousands of mourners joined, while the tears of sorrow streamed down their faces.

From Washington the body of the martyred President was taken to Canton, Ohio, where had been his private home. Here his friends and neighbors assembled to do him final honor, and great arches of green branches and flowers were erected, under which the funeral cortege passed. As the body was placed in the receiving vault, business throughout the entire United States was suspended. In spirit, eighty millions of people were surrounding the mortal clay left by the passing of a soul to the place whence it had come. It was truly a funeral of which the greatest of kings might well be proud.

The taking-off of President McKinley undoubtedly had a great effect upon President Roosevelt. During the Presidential campaign the Vice-Presidential nominee had made many speeches in behalf of his fellow candidate, showing the high personal character of McKinley, and what might be expected from the man in case he was elected once more to the office of Chief Magistrate. More than this, when Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Roosevelt had done his best to carry out the plans formulated by the President. The two were close friends, and in the one brief session of the Senate when he was Vice-President, Mr. Roosevelt gave to President McKinley many evidences of his high regard.

On returning to Washington, President Roosevelt did not at once take up his residence at the White House, preferring that the place should be left to Mrs. McKinley until she had sufficiently recovered from her terrible shock to arrange for the removal of the family's personal effects.

As it may interest some of my young readers to know how President Roosevelt's first day as an active President was spent, I append the following, taken down at the time by a reporter for a press association:—

"Reached the White House from Canton, on September 20, 1901, at 9.40 A.M. Went at once to the private office formerly occupied by President McKinley, and, as speedily as possible, settled down for the business of the day.

"Met Secretary Long of the navy in the cabinet room and held a discussion concerning naval matters; received Colonel Sanger to talk over some army appointments; signed appointments of General J. M. Bell and others; met Senators Cullom and Proctor.

"At 11 A.M. called for the first time formal meeting of the Cabinet and transacted business of that body until 12.30 P.M.

"Received his old friend, General Wood, and held conference with him and with Secretary Root in regard to Cuban election laws.

"President Roosevelt left the White House at 1.20 P.M. to take lunch with Secretary Hay at the latter's residence. He was alone, disregarding the services of a body-guard.

"Returned to the White House at 3.30 P.M. and transacted business with some officials and received a few personal friends.

"Engaged with Secretary Cortelyou from 4 P.M. to 6.30 P.M. in the transaction of public business, disposal of mail, etc.

"Left the White House unattended at 6.30 P.M. and walked through the semi-dark streets of Washington to 1733 N Street, N.W., the residence of his brother-in-law, Commander Cowles. Dined in private with the family.

"Late in the evening received a few close friends. Retired at 11 P.M."

It will be observed that special mention is made of the fact that President Roosevelt travelled around alone. Immediately after the terrible tragedy at Buffalo many citizens were of the opinion that the Chief Magistrate of our nation ought to be strongly protected, for fear of further violence, but to this Theodore Roosevelt would not listen.

"I am not afraid," he said calmly. "We are living in a peaceful country, and the great mass of our people are orderly, law-abiding citizens. I can trust them, and take care of myself." And to this he held, despite the protestations of his closest friends. Of course he is scarcely ever without some guard or secret service detective close at hand, but no outward display of such protection is permitted. And let it be added to the credit of our people that, though a few cranks and crazy persons have caused him a little annoyance, he has never, up to the present time, been molested in any way.



President Roosevelt had said he would continue the policy inaugurated by President McKinley, and one of the important steps in this direction was to appoint many to office who had been expecting appointment at the hands of the martyred President. This gained him many friends, and soon some who had kept themselves at a distance flocked around, to aid him in every possible manner.

Late in September the last of the McKinley effects were taken from the White House, and some days later the newly made President moved in, with his family, who had come down from the Adirondacks some time previous. In Washington the family were joined by Mr. Roosevelt's two brothers-in-law, Commander Wm. Sheffield Cowles and Mr. Douglas Robinson, and their wives, and the relatives remained together for some days.

It was at first feared by some politicians that President Roosevelt would be what is termed a "sectional President,"—that is, that he would favor one section of our country to the exclusion of the others, but he soon proved that he was altogether too noble for such baseness.

"I am going to be President of the whole United States," he said. "I don't care for sections or sectional lines. I was born in the North, but my mother was from the South, and I have spent much of my time in the West, so I think I can fairly represent the whole country."

President Roosevelt sympathized deeply with the condition of the negroes in the South, and for the purpose of learning the true state of affairs sent for Mr. Booker T. Washington, one of the foremost colored men of this country and founder of the Tuskegee Industrial School for Colored People. They had a long conference at the White House, which Mr. Washington enjoyed very much. For this action many criticised the President severely, but to this he paid no attention, satisfied that he had done his duty as his conscience dictated.

President Roosevelt's first message to Congress was awaited with considerable interest. It was remembered that he was the youngest Executive our White House had ever known, and many were curious to know what he would say and what he proposed to do.

The Fifty-seventh Congress of the United States assembled at Washington, December 2, 1901, and on the day following, President Roosevelt's first annual message was read in both Senate and House of Representatives.

It proved to be a surprisingly long and strong state paper, and by many was considered one of the best messages sent to Congress in many years. It touched upon general conditions in our country, spoke for improvements in the army and the navy, called for closer attention to civil service reform, for a correction of the faults in the post-office system, and for a clean administration in the Philippines, Hawaii, and Porto Rico. It spoke of several great needs of the government, and added that the Gold Standard Act had been found timely and judicious.

"President Roosevelt is all right," was the general comment, after the message had been printed in the various papers of our country. "He is looking ahead, and he knows exactly what this country wants and needs. We are prosperous now, and if we want to continue so, we must keep our hands on the plough, and not look backward."

The first break in the old Cabinet occurred on December 17, when Postmaster General Charles E. Smith resigned. His place was immediately filled by the appointment of Henry C. Payne, of Wisconsin. Soon after this Secretary Gage of the Treasury resigned, and his place was filled by former governor Leslie M. Shaw, of Iowa.

For a long time there had been before the American people various suggestions to build a canal across Central America, to join the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, so that the ships wanting to go from one body of water to the other would not have to take the long and expensive trip around Cape Horn.

In years gone by the French had also contemplated such a canal, and had even gone to work at the Isthmus of Panama, making an elaborate survey and doing not a little digging. But the work was beyond them, and the French Canal Company soon ran out of funds and went into the hands of a receiver.

"We ought to take hold and dig a canal," was heard on all sides in the United States. But where to dig the canal was a question. Some said the Isthmus of Panama was the best place, while others preferred a route through Nicaragua. The discussion waxed very warm, and at last a Commission was appointed to go over both routes and find out which would be the more satisfactory from every point of view.

The Commission was not very long in reaching a decision. The Panama Canal Company was willing to sell out all its interest in the work already done for forty millions of dollars, and it was recommended that the United States accept this offer. President Roosevelt received the report, and lost no time in submitting it to Congress.

At the beginning of the new year, 1902, there was a grand ball at the White House, attended by a large gathering of people, including many of the foreign representatives accredited to Washington. The occasion was the introduction into society of Miss Alice Roosevelt, and the affair was a most pleasing one from beginning to end.

One of the President's sons, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., had been sent to a boarding school at Groton, Massachusetts. Early in February he was taken down with a cold that developed into pneumonia. It looked as if the youth might die, and both Mrs. Roosevelt and the President lost no time in leaving Washington and going to his bedside. The sympathy of the whole country was with the anxious parents, and when it was announced that the crisis had been passed in safety there was much relief in all quarters.

Before this illness occurred there came to the Roosevelts an invitation which pleased them, and especially Miss Alice, not a little. The German Emperor William was having a yacht built in this country, at Shooter's Island. He sent his brother, Prince Henry of Prussia, over to attend the launching, and requested Miss Roosevelt to christen the yacht, which was to be called the Meteor.

The arrival of Prince Henry was made a gala day by many who wished to see the friendship between the United States and Germany more firmly cemented than ever, and the royal visitor was treated with every consideration wherever he went. From New York he journeyed to Washington, where he dined with the President. He returned to New York with President Roosevelt and with Miss Roosevelt, and on February 25 the launching occurred, in the presence of thousands of people and a great many craft of all sorts. Miss Roosevelt performed the christening in appropriate style, and this was followed by music from a band and the blowing of hundreds of steam whistles. After these ceremonies were over, there followed an elaborate dinner given by the mayor of New York, and then the Prince started on a tour of the country lasting two weeks. His visit made a good impression wherever he went, and he was universally put down as a right good fellow.

It was about this time that President Roosevelt showed he was not to be led altogether by what his party did. So far he had not vetoed any measures sent to him for his signature. Now, however, a bill came to him touching the desertion of a sailor in the navy. Congress was willing to strike the black record of the sailor from the books, but President Roosevelt would not have it.

"The sailor did wrong," he said. "He knew what he was doing, too. The record against him must stand." And he vetoed the bill. On the other hand he was prompt to recognize real worth in those who had served the government, and when over two hundred private pension bills came before him for his approval, he signed them without a murmur.

The people of Charleston, South Carolina, had been arranging for a long time to hold an exposition which should set forth the real advance and worth of the leading southern industries. This exposition was now open to the public, and President Roosevelt and his wife were invited to attend the exhibit. With so much southern blood in his veins, the President could not think of refusing, and he and Mrs. Roosevelt visited the exposition early in April.

It was a gala day at Charleston, and the President and Mrs. Roosevelt were received with every honor due their rank, and with great personal consideration. Governor McSweeney of the state was assisted by Governor Aycock, of North Carolina, in receiving President Roosevelt.

A stirring patriotic speech was made by the President during his visit, and a feature of the trip was the presentation of a sword to Major Micah Jenkins of the Rough Riders. A great number of President Roosevelt's former troopers were present, and all were glad, as of old, to crowd around and take him by the hand.



During the summer of 1902 two matters of great importance occurred in which the whole people of our nation were deeply interested.

Early in May occurred tremendous volcanic eruptions on the islands of Martinique and St. Vincent. At the former island, Mont Pelee threw such a rain of fire upon the town of St. Pierre that the entire place, with about thirty thousand people, was wiped out of existence in a minute. At other points the eruptions were not so bad, yet hundreds lost their lives, and all of the islands of the Lesser Antilles were thrown into a state bordering upon panic.

It was felt that something must be done, and at once, for the sufferers, and a large fund for relief was gathered, of which the Americans contributed their full share. The volcanic disturbances continued for some time, and as it was thought they might also cover certain portions of Central America, nothing was done further concerning a canal to unite the two oceans.

The other event of importance was the strike of thousands upon thousands of coal-miners, working in Pennsylvania and other states. The miners did not think they were being treated rightly and went out in a body, and for many weeks not a pound of coal of any kind was mined. This produced a double hardship, for people could get no coal either for the fall or winter, and the miners were, in some cases, reduced almost to the verge of starvation. Neither the workmen nor the operators of the mines would give in, and soon there was more or less violence, and some soldiers had to be called out in an effort to preserve order.

As matters went from bad to worse, and it looked as if the entire eastern section of our country would have to go without coal for the winter, there were loud demands that the government take hold of the difficulty and settle the matter, if not in one way, then in another.

At last, early in October, the whole country was aroused, for it was felt that with no coal a winter of untold suffering stared the people in the face. President Roosevelt held a conference at Washington with the mine operators and the representatives of the miners.

"We must get together, gentlemen," said he. "The country cannot do without coal, and you must supply it to us." And he laid down the law in a manner not to be misunderstood.

Another conference followed, and then a third, and at last the coal operators asked the President to appoint a Commission to decide upon the points in dispute. To this the representative of the mine workers agreed, and as a result a Commission was appointed by President Roosevelt, which was to settle all points in dispute, and by its decision each side was to abide. In the meantime, while the Commission was at work, the mine workers were to resume their labors. The mines were thereupon once more put in operation, after a strike lasting over five months. This is the greatest coal strike known in American history, and it is not likely that the people at large will ever again permit themselves to suffer for the want of coal as they did during that fall and the winter which followed.

Early in June occurred the centennial celebration of the founding of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The occasion was made one of great interest, and among the many distinguished visitors were President Roosevelt and General Miles, head of our army at that time. The President reviewed the cadets and made a speech to them, complimenting them on their truly excellent showing as soldiers.

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