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BY JULIAN RALPH.
S the most sensational result of the long and heroic crusade of the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst against one phase of the misgovernment of New York City, we had the election of Mayor Strong and the destruction of Tammany Hall rule by an unprecedented uprising of the people and change in the direction of the majority vote. But as the most fitting and accidentally logical result of the Parkhurst disclosures we have Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the Police Commission. In saying this I do not forget or belittle Mayor Strong's part in appointing the new commissioners; I do not mean even to seem to detract from the vigorous, wholesome part that is being played by the other Police Commissioners, Parker, Grant and Andrews. They have elected Roosevelt president of their board, and he is the formal head in the movement which precisely aims at what Dr. Parkhurst strove toward, for we all know now that the stern and invincible clergyman paid only subordinate heed to the disorderly houses, which were the source of millions of dollars of blackmail money; only incidental attention to Tammany, for its methods were also the methods of every other party and hall and clique that was sufficiently important to have a seat at the spoils-laden table of the greater Hall. He was bent upon exposing the corruption of the police force and its part in the dire misgovernment of the city. Therefore, Mayor Strong's election and his appointment of a zealous Street Cleaning Commissioner, necessary as these were to the work in hand, are less exactly what the Parkhurst movement was aimed at than the later triumphs, the beginning of the rehabilitation of the police by the appointment of new heads to direct the force and new magistrates to stand behind them.
The public thus analyzes the situation. It feels that this is the best outcome of the last election; that thus it is rewarded for its votes. It was impossible to reform everything at once, and often, here and in other cities, the attempt to do so has resulted in nothing but the disheartening of the voters. But here are two reforms well under way, that of the Street Cleaning Department and that of the police and the police reform is immeasurably the greater, and is the thing for which the agitation of the voters was begun. This the public sees and it sees also that Mayor Strong appointed to the Police Commission four men who are apparently as thoroughly fitted for the tremendous work they have in hand as any four he could have chosen if every citizen had had his qualifications examined by the Mayor. Neither professional reformers nor machine politicians, they yet are high-minded, earnest, sturdy and young, and certainly three of them have held political offices and understand politics well enough to
tation which the phrase implies; it is not an error of judgment in analyzing the mood of the public. From San Francisco and New Orleans to Bangor and Minneapolis the daily newspapers are giving to him the space that is allotted to the most important subject before the people, and here in New York Roosevelt is the absorbing figure.
The reasons for this are several. First of all, the earnestness he displays and the singleness of his purpose, merely and fully to enforce the laws, appeal to the public love of sincerity and right. Then again it is the picturesqueness of Roosevelt's figure that appeals to the sentimental side of the people or to the dramatic and poetic feeling they possess. He is a New Yorker of New Yorkers, a scion of Diedrich Knickerbocker, a young Peter Stuyvesant come to town to walk about the streets as the more testy and stubborn original used to do, stick in hand, when he and the Roosevelts were in at the beginning of the
life of the original Dutch city. He is of a family that has been very active on Manhattan Island for nearly 250 years, and a street and a hospital bear the name that he continues to make so very much alive.
The people remember his first appearance in public life as an Assemblyman from this city, and recall that even then he stirred up the dry bones in politics and stood for reform and decency and was beloved for the enemies he made. Those who read the literature of the time know him as a forcible, broadminded political writer and historian; as a valiant spokesman for the new West, and as a picturesque descriptive writer. At this point the masses know him again as a man of the once despised tenderfoot citified breed who went into the rudest region and took his part there as a ranchman and hunter and courageous manly fellow so well that the other brave and hardy men of the plains adopted him and admired him and are as keenly interested in his career as his schoolfellows and neighbors between State Street and the Bronx River. Between whiles the whole people have seen him managing the Civil Service reform and developing and extending it, with amazing fidelity to principle and without providing the spoils politicians, who stood in his way, with any means of hindering, annoying or attacking him-for in all his career he has been straightforward, clean, and never less than admirable.
I saw him the other day at the police headquarters, and noted that it seemed what it was, the heart of the hurly-burly," of which he is as fond as an actor is of applause. The other reform commissioners came and went, and the topics I heard them discuss made me say to two of them that I believed if they knew the magnitude of what they have undertaken they would be paralyzed; but that in the stress of taking up one thing at a time they lost sight of the whole mass.
"One thing that helps us all," said President Roosevelt, "is that we are none of us candidates for anything.
I said something to the effect that this was a dangerous condition, since the active men who are not candidates are very apt to find themselves such.
"But, really," Mr. Roosevelt went on, "the task to which we are set is perfectly simple, if we are honest, have common sense and don't care for anything but our duty. Handling this work is a stepby-step process, and we take up one phase of it at a time, with no other rule than the ten commandments. We are all agreed and work in the fullest harmony, and our three prime watchwords are courage, honesty and common sense. We don't need genius. The rascals have the genius. All we have got to do is to be game-willing to accept responsibility and to take punishment."
This is no place for discussing the details of the work the new board has in hand, but I will mention the strict enforcement of the Sunday closing law, in order to exhibit the spirit in which the new board does its work.
"It is a mistake to think that the Sunday law was a dead one," said Roosevelt. "It was very much alive against the man without money or political influence and against any man whose political enemies wished to punish or persecute him. In that
way it was alive, and where it was dead or inoperative it was an instrument of blackmail. It has got to be enforced."
What will be the effect of the strict enforcement you insist upon-will we have a legal continental Sunday?'"
"We have not thought of the consequences," said the President. "What we are doing is simply executing the law. That is absolutely simple, and we have no right to consider consequences. Its partial non-enforcement was the greatest source of corruption and blackmail in the Police Department, and that must not continue."
Mr. Roosevelt is a veritable dynamo of earnestness, force and physical and mental energy. In build he is of the medium height, broad, very thickset, solid and muscular. Even through the largelensed glasses he is obliged to wear when at work he looks boyish, and is constantly thus referred to in the press. That is because he is not only young, but his youth has been preserved by an active outdoor life rationally directed. He has a plump, almost round face, thick brown hair, the small light mustache of a younger man than he is, and snapping blue eyes. His photographs make him look a trifle stern, because they (all that I have seen) are taken with his glasses off, and the strong light makes him half close his eyes, like a man influenced by a stern resolution or character. In reality, he is a kindly, genial, happy man, too full of animal spirits and too fond of fun to be stern except upon rare occasion.
His mind works so quickly, and he is so quick in every impulse, that he talks fast and seems to explode his words, which fly from him in short volleys, not in a loud tone, but with only half restrained energy. He is noted for his high ideals, but he is nevertheless exceedingly practical. I asked him once what he expected to be or dreamed of being when he was a boy, and he said, "I do not recollect that I dreamed at all or planned at all. I simply obeyed the injunction, whatever thy hand findeth to do, that do with all thy might,' and so I took up what came along as it came. Since then I have gone on Lincoln's motto, 'Do the best; if not, then the best possible.'
He has never laid up anything to be carried out in future. Whatever has occurred to him to do, that he has done at once with all his might and main, whether it was hunting bears, or writing books, or climbing mountains. And in that way the whole country has seen him go at the task of reforming the New York police.
Perhaps it is the singularity of his life as a son of one of the old Dutch families of this city that throws a glamor about him which the sensitive public was from the first quick to see. There are others of that
race that have had ten times Mr. Roosevelt's opportunity, for he is not a rich man as riches go with the families that owned the soil on which we built the metropolis. These men have taken very little part in public life or upon the public behalf. Of late they have too often merely gravitated between New York and London in the pursuit of pleasure and the toils of nothing more serious than Fashion. Mr. William Waldorf Astor, who once seemed a promising exception, had the wealth which Roosevelt lacked, and entered public life at nearly the same time. But he began by deliberately demanding, not work, but the blue ribbon positions-the rewards of public life without earning them. He went to England, where the eternal guinea can buy what the almighty dollar cannot get here, and so he made the contrast between such as he and such as Roosevelt all the stronger.
THE ROOSEVELTS OF NEW YORK CITY.
Between the years 1652 and 1694, the church records show that a number of Rosenvelts were born
Roosevelts are mentioned as sugar refiners, merchants, bankers, trustees of charitable institutions and public officials. The Roosevelt sugar house behind Franklin square, where Cliff street is now, was built before the Revolutionary War, according to this volume, and was maintained for forty years afterward. The proprietor, Isaac, was also president of the Bank of New York, a governor of the New York Hospital, and a State Senator in the time of Governor George Clinton (1801). This same gossip accounts for the naming of Roosevelt street by saying that in 1728 Jacob Roosevelt bought a tract of land in the swamp near the Cripple Bush," and through this that street was presently opened.
The Roosevelts figured patriotically during the Revolution. One of the militia companies organized under the spur of the approaching conflict, in 1775, was "the Corsicans," independent foot guards, of which a Nicholas Roosevelt was first lieutenant. These men wore a țin heart on their coats, with "God and our Right" on it, and upon the bands of their hats was the motto, "Liberty or Death." Another Roosevelt was an officer in an up-country company of the same sort. I am almost certain that in that war and the following one of 1812 members of the family bore arms in conflict with the enemy. A Roosevelt was one of those Dutch merchants who so generally gave unwavering support to our quarrel and our arms at the outbreak of the Revolution, and thence onward. In a petition which he and many other men of that stock signed, they referred to themselves as former exiles, as having furnished large sums to the new government, and as having buoyed up its credit by accepting its paper money at the value of coin.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT'S BOYHOOD.
Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, and is therefore in his thirtyseventh year. "I was born in my father's house, No. 28 East Twentieth street, New York City," he told me, adding, for eight generations my father's people have lived in this city. About as distinct a New York family as can be found. “Originally,' he says, speaking of a quarter of a thousand years ago, "my people lived on the Battery, then in Roosevelt street, which runs through what was then our farm. We gradually moved up town, and my grandfather built a big house in what was then the country, at the corner of Fourteenth street and Broadway."
I had always thought of his Dutch blood, that has followed the Roosevelt name, and when one looks at him he sees that the Holland build has stuck to the line, for Mr. Roosevelt is short and thick of body and of neck, and yet he is not at all Dutch in his temperament-not at all stolid or phlegmatic, or given to long inert periods of reflection and enjoyment of ease. He is quick, intense, nervous, incessant-an actor in, not a spectator of, the drama of the times; a doer all the while. He calls himself only a quarter Hollandish and three-quarters Scotch,
Irish and French Huguenot-which accounts for his disposition. His father's mother was a Bonhill, and among her relatives were persons of such Irish names at Lukin and Craig. The New York Huguenot family of Lamontaigne come into his near ancestry also. This French blood pours into both sides of his parentage, for in his mother's blood is that of the Devoes, of Georgia and South Carolina. His mother was a daughter of the Bullocks, of Georgia, of Hi'land Scotch origin, and stirring Americans. Roosevelt's uncle, James D. Bullock, built the noted privateer, Alabama, and another of the Bullocks, Irwin S., fired the last gun aboard of her. When she was sunk by the Kearsarge, as she was going down, he shifted the gun from side to side of the ship and fired it twice.
But Theodore Roosevelt owes a great deal to his father directly. He is named for him; he loved him, and his father made a great impression upon his life and did much to mold it. The elder Theodore Roosevelt was one of the leading men of his day-the heat of which was the time of the Rebellion-in the metropolis. He was a merchant, a philanthropist and a robust, active participator in outdoor life. He more than any other one man founded the present newsboys' lodging house system. He devised and carried out the plan of the war-time Allotment Commission, which, though dead and gone now, did as much good in its time as anything under heaven. Its work lay in enabling our soldiers of the Rebellion period to allot and send back to their families a certain portion of their pay. The bent of the father's mind (and heart) was humane and philanthropic, but he was a shrewd and successful merchant, and could drive a four-in-hand team better than any New Yorker of his day. He died in 1878.
'What strong direction did your home influences take in your boyhood?" I asked.
'Why," said Roosevelt, I was brought up with the constant injunction to be active and industrious. My father-all my people-held that no one had a right to merely cumber the earth; that the most contemptible of created beings is the man who does nothing. I imbibed the idea that I must work hard, whether at making money, or whatever. The whole family training taught me that I must be doing, must be working-and at decent work."
As a boy he was sent first to a private school-Cutler's, here in the city; a famous school. He says of himself that he was a sickly boy, "pig-chested." very delicate. He says he could not play at the games of other boys, and, moreover, he was very slow to learn anything out of books or away from books. So the first strong, active work that engaged him was making himself a physically able fellow.
"I made my health what it is," he said. "I determined to be strong and well, and did everything to make myself so. By the time I entered Harvard College I was able to take my part in whatever sports I liked. I wrestled and sparred and ran a great deal while in college, and, though I never came in first, I got more good out of the exercise
than those who did, because I immensely enjoyed it and never injured myself. I was very fond of wrestling and boxing; I think I was a good deal of a wrestler, and though, as I tell you, I never won a championship, yet more than once I won my trial heats and got into the final round. I was captain of
MR. ROOSEVELT AFTER BIG GAME."
my polo team at one time, but since I left college I have taken most of my exercise in the 'cow country,' or hunting game in the mountains."
EARLY WESTERN ADVENTURES.
He spoke a trifle more freely of himself in this than in most regards. The contrast between the delicate boy he had been and the robust man he made of himself impressed him, for the moment. To be sure, the record is peculiar. Since his twenty-seventh year, when he first took to ranch life, the author of "The Making of the West" lot
the West do a great deal of the making of himself. Out there, year after year, he has hunted, ridden, walked and climbed in the Rockies after game. The rifle and the horse have been his adult favorites;' and have taken him into the invigorating air and the hardening changes. of heat and cold and storm. In fact, he began with toilsome sport. On leaving college (1880), he went to Europe and, seeing his first immense mountains, determined to climb a rock peak and snow peak, for the fun of it. He succeeded in mounting the snow-clad Jungfrau and the rocky Matterhorn-which is why he is today a member of the Alpine Club of London. James Bryce, the historian, and E. M. Buxton, the member of Parliament and hunter of big game, were his sponsors before that club of men who have dared and done. His father was a silent sponsor for him there and since, but there was another whom I do not believe he will mind my mentioning, even in the form of a quotation.
"I'll tell you what books did a great deal to influence me in my youth," he once said. "Those of Mayne Reid. They spurred me more than any books I read. They were popular when I was a boy, and I devoured them all. They put a premium upon manliness and courage. Roosevelt is a great believer in athletic sports from football up, or down. But I have also heard him say he believes "that in a free republic like ours it is a man's duty to know how to bear arms and to be willing to do so when the occasion arrives." To that end he joined the Eighth Regiment of the New York State National Guard, in 1884, as a second lieutenant, and rose to be the captain of one of its companies. He remained a militiaman until 1888. I had the curiosity once, when the thought struck me that he was of distinctly soldierly appearance, to ask him if he was not an admirer of military life. "I have always had the heartiest sympathy with the soldier's life," he said.
"A man with a horse and a gun is a picture or idea that has always appealed to me," he says. Mayne Reid's heroes and the life out West also always appealed to me. I wanted to see the rude, rough, formative life in the far West before it vanished. I went there just in time. I was in at the killing of the buffalo, in the last big hunt, in 1883, near Pretty Buttes, when the whites and the Sioux from Standing Rock and Pine Ridge were doing the killing. I went West while I was in the Assembly, in the long vacations-went hunting-went to the Bad Lands and shot elk, sheep, deer, buffalo and antelope. I made two hunting trips, and in 1884 I started my cattle ranch. After my terms in the Legislature, and until I was appointed Civil Service Commissioner, I lived most of the time out West in the summers and spent only the winters in New York. I never was happier in my life. My house out there is a long low house of hewn logs, which I helped to build myself. It has a broad veranda and rocking chairs and a big fireplace and elk skins