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132   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

and give me all your attention." Needless to say, I was enchanted at the thought, and, true to his word, the busy man came at nine o'clock every Tuesday and Friday for several months, and in my library at 422 Madison Avenue I was ready with note-book and blackboard, and he lectured to me for that hour twice a week as if I were a matriculating class at Harvard College. I have now many of the notes he made for me at that time, and I shall always remember the painstaking way in which he drew the battle-fields, and explained how "one commander came up in this position at just the right moment and saved the day," or how the lack of preparedness ruined many a courageous adventure. These quiet hours come back to me with a rush of recollection as I write, and I am proud to think that he felt it was worth while to give me such instruction. Once I said to him: "How can you do this, Theodore; how can you take the time to study for these lectures?" "Oh!" he said, "I do not have to study; I could not, of course, give quite as much time as that. You see, I just happen to know my American history." He certainly did "happen to know" his American history, as was proved in many a controversy later in his life. His American history and, indeed, the history of almost every other country of the world were all at his finger-tips.

During his civil service commissionership, a period of a number of years, the letters were few and far between, but I have one dated July 28, 1889, in which he writes: "Struggle as I will, my life seems to grow more and more sedentary, and as for my polo, it is one of the things that has been; witness the enclosed check which is for Cranford, and I am trying to sell Diamond too;-how I hate to give it up ! We have had lovely days this summer, however, at Sagamore. I took all the children down on the pond once, and made them walk out on a half-sunken log, where they perched like so many sand-snipes. I am leaving for the West soon to have a whack at the bears in the Rockies; I am so out of training that I look forward with acute physical terror to going up the first mountain. [He seems

for the moment to have forgotten that his life was growing very

"sedentary."] I have mortally hated being so much away from home this summer, but I am very glad I took the place [civil service commissionership] and I have really enjoyed my work. I feel it incumbent on me to try to amount to something, either in politics or literature because I have deliberately given up the idea of going into a money-making business. Of course, however, my political life is but an interlude-it is quite impossible to continue long to do much between two sets of such kittle-kattle as the spoilsmen and the mugwumps."

The seed of the birth of the Progressive party of 1912 was sown by that feeling of Theodore Roosevelt of the difficulty to do much "between two sets such as the spoilsmen and the mugwumps." The honest effort to play honest politics for honest purposes and practical ideals was the stimulating idea translated into action in that great attempt for better government called the Progressive party; but this letter of the young Civil Service Commissioner was written in 1889, and it was not until twenty-three years later that the seed fructified into a movement which, had it succeeded, would, I verily believe, have changed the fate of the world.

But to return to the Civil Service Commission. He gave faithful effort and all his intelligence to the improvement of that important service, and often had the sensation, which he was doomed to have in so many of his positions, that he was more or less beating his head against the wall. He sent me at that time a copy of a letter to the Civil Service Commissioners from an applicant who had been summoned to an examination and had not appeared. To show the ignorance of some of the applicants, I cannot resist quoting from the letter.

Alabama Mobile October 6, r8go.

To the Comishers of Sivel Serves,

My dear brothers: I am very sorry that I could not Meet you on the day you said but gentlemen, i am glad of the cause

The Young Reformer


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