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the big battles in which we beat the slum. about the " enforcement of the dead I am not going to rehearse them, for I am Excise Law” was lying treachery or rank trying to tell my own story, and now I am ignorance, one as bad as the other. The soon done with it. I carried a gun as a Excise Law was not dead. It was never so volunteer in that war, and that was all; much alive as under Tammany, but it was not even in the ranks at that. I was ever enforced only against those saloon-keepers an irregular, given to sniping on my own who needed discipline. It was a Tamhook. Roosevelt, indeed, wanted me to many club, used to drive them into camp have a seat among Mayor Strong's official with; and it was used so vigorously that advisers ; but we had it out over that when no less than eight thousand arrests were he told me of it, and the compact we made made under it in the year before Roosethat he should never ask that service of velt made them all close up. Pretty lively me he has kept. So he spared the Mayor corpse, that! But we understood at last, much embarrassment; for, as I said, I am most of us; understood that the tap-root not good in the ranks, more is the pity; of the police blackmail was there, and that and me he saved for such use as I could it had to be pulled up if we were ever to be of, which was well. For shortly it all get further. We understood that we were centered in Mulberry Street, where he was. the victims of our own shamming, and we
We were not strangers. It could not grew to be better citizens for it. The have been long after I wrote “ How the police force became an army of heroesOther Half Lives" that he came to the for a season. All the good in it came “ Evening Sun” office one day looking for out; and there is a lot of it in the worst of me. I was out, and he left his card, times. Roosevelt had the true philosomerely writing on the back of it that he pher's stone that turns dross to gold, in had read my book and had “come to his own sturdy faith in his fellow-man. help.” That was all, and it tells the whole Men became good because he thought story of the man. I loved him from the them so. day I first saw him ; nor ever in all the By which I am not to be understood as years that have passed has he failed of meaning that he just voted them good-the the promise made then. No one ever police, for instance—and sat by waiting to helped as he did. For two years we were see the wings grow. No, but he helped brothers in Mulberry Street. When he them sprout. It is long since I have left I had seen its golden age. I knew too enjoyed anything so much as I did those well the evil day that was coming back to patrol trips of ours on the “last tour" have any heart in it after that.
between midnight and sunrise, which Not that we were carried heavenward earned for him the name of Haroun al con flowery beds of ease” while it lasted. Roosevelt. I had at last found one who There is very little ease where Theodore was willing to get up when other people Roosevelt leads, as we all of us found out. slept, including, too often, the police, The lawbreaker found it out who pre- and see what the town looked like then. dicted scornfully that he would “knuckle He was more than willing. I laid out down to politics the way they all did," and the route, covering ten or a dozen patrollived to respect him, though he swore at posts, and we met at 2 A.M. on the steps him, as the one of them all who was of the Union League Club, objects of stronger than pull. The peace-loving suspicion on the part of two or three citizen who hastened to Police Head- attendants and a watchman who shadquarters with anxious entreaties to “use owed us as night-prowlers till we were discretion” in the enforcement of unpop- out of their bailiwick. I shall never forget ular laws found it out and went away with that first morning when we traveled for a new and breathless notion welling up in three hours along First and Second and him of an official's sworn duty. That was Third Avenues, from Forty-second Street it; that was what made the age golden, to Bellevue, and found of ten patrolmen that for the first time a moral purpose just one doing his work faithfully. Two came into the street. In the light of it or three were chatting on saloon corners, everything was transformed.
and guyed the President of the Board when Not at once. It took us weary he asked them if that was what they were months to understand that the shouting there for. One was sitting asleep on a
butter-tub in the middle of the sidewalk, before the Chief found it necessary to snoring so that you could hear him across transfer half the force in an uptown precinct the street, and was inclined to be “sassy” to keep it awake. The firemen complained when aroused and told to go about his that fires at night gained too much headway duty. Mr. Roosevelt was a most energetic while the police slept. There was no roundsman, and a fair one to boot.
Roosevelt to wake them up. that quality which speedily won him the Looking after his patrolmen was not the affection of the force. He hunted high only errand that took him abroad at night. and low before he gave up his man, giving As Police President, Mr. Roosevelt was a him every chance. We had been over one member of the Health Board, and someman's beat three times, searching every times it was the tenements we went inspectnook and cranny of it, and were reluctantlying when the tenants slept. He was after compelled to own that he was not there, facts, and learned speedily to get them as when the “boss” of an all-night restaurant he could. When, as Governor, he wanted on Third Avenue came out with a club as to know just how the Factory Law was bewe passed and gave the regulation signal ing executed, he came down from Albany raps on the sidewalk. There was some and spent a whole day with me personally trouble in his place. Three times he investigating tenements in which sweating repeated the signal calling for the patrol- was carried on. I had not found a Govman on the beat before he turned to Roose- ernor before, or a Police President either, velt, who stood by, with the angry exclama- who would do it; but so he learned exactly tion:
what he wanted to know, and what he “Where in thunder does that copper ought to do, and did it. sleep? He orter'd tole me when he giv' I never saw Theodore Roosevelt to better up the barber-shop, so's a feller could find advantage than when he confronted the him."
labor men at their meeting-place, ClarenWe didn't find him then, but he found don Hall. The police were all the time the President of the Board later on when having trouble with strikers and their summoned to Police Headquarters to ex- "pickets." Roosevelt saw that it was plain why he had changed his sleeping because neither party understood fully the quarters. The whole force woke up as a position of the other, and, with his usual result of that night's work, and it kept directness, sent word to the labor organawake those two years, for, as it learned izations that he would like to talk it over by experience, Mr. Roosevelt's spectacles with them. At his request I went with might come gleaming around the corner at him to the meeting. It developed almost any hour. He had not been gone a year immediately that the labor men had taken
a wrong measure of the man. They met Roosevelt there. The diners were suphim as a politician playing for points, and posed to be his " set." hinted at trouble unless their demands Some time after that I was in his office were met. Mr. Roosevelt broke them one day when a police official of superior off short:
rank came in and requested private audiGentlemen !" he said, with that snap ence with him. They stepped aside and of the jaws that always made people listen, “I asked to meet you, hoping that we might come understand one another. Remember, please, before we go further, that the worst injury any one of you can do to the cause of labor is to counsel violence. It will also be worse for himself. Understand distinctly that order will be kept. The police will keep it. Now we can proceed.”
I was never so proud and pleased as when they applauded him to the echo. He reddened with pleasure, for he saw that the best in them had come out on top, as he expected it would.
It was of this incident that a handle was first made by Mr. Roosevelt's enemies in and out of the Police Board -and he had many—to attack him. It happened that there was a music hall in the building in which the labor men met. The yellow newspapers circulated the lie that he went there on purpose to see the show, and the ridiculous story was repeated until actually the liars persuaded themselves that it was so. They would not have been able to understand the kind of man they had to do with, had they tried. Accordingly they fell into their own trap. It is a tradition of Mulberry Street that the notorious Seeley dinner raid was planned by his enemies in the department of which he was the head, in the belief
GOTHAM COURT that they would catch Mr.
Destroyed as a hopeless slum.
the policeman spoke in an undertone, been speaking to the Methodist ministers, urging something strongly. Mr. Roosevelt and as usual had carried all before him. listened. Suddenly I saw him straighten The community was getting up a temper up as a man recoils from something unclean that would shortly put an end to the deadand dismiss the other with a sharp : “ No, lock in the Police Board and set the wheels sir ! I don't fight that way.” The police- of reform moving again. Then one day man went out crestfallen. Roosevelt took we heard that Commissioner Parker had two or three turns about the floor, strug- been invited by the Christian Endeavorers gling evidently with strong disgust. He of an uptown church to address them on told me afterward that the man had come “ Christian Citizenship.” That was not to him with what he said was certain consecrated common sense. I went to the knowledge that his enemy could that night convention of Endeavorers the next week be found in a known evil house uptown, and told them so. And I made them send which it was his alleged habit to visit. a despatch to Governor Black then and His proposition was to raid it then and so there indorsing Roosevelt and Mayor “get square.” To the policeman it must Strong, and urging him to end the deadhave seemed like throwing a good chance lock that made public scandal by removaway. But it was not Roosevelt's way; he ing Commissioner Parker. I regret to struck no blow below the belt. In the say that I felt compelled to take a like Governor's chair afterward he gave the course with the Methodist ministers, for politicians whom he fought, and who fought so I grieved a most good-natured gentlehim, the same terms. They tried their man, Colonel Grant, who was Mr. Parker's best to upset him, for they had nothing ally in the Board. Grant was what was to expect from him. But they knew and described as “a great Methodist." But owned that he fought fair. Their backs I feel sure that Brother Simmons would
He never tricked them to have approved of me. I was following gain an advantage. A promise given by the course he laid down.
The one him was always kept to the letter.
loyal friend Mr. Roosevelt had in the Failing to trap him only added to the Board was Avery D. Andrews, a strong, malignity of his enemies. Mr. Roosevelt sensible, and clean young man, who stood was warned that he was “shadowed” night by his chief to the last, and left with him and day, but he laughed their scheming to a good mark on the force. scorn. It is an article of faith with him that The yellow newspapers fomented most an honest man has nothing to fear from industriously the trouble in the Board, plotters, and he walked unharmed among never failing to take the wrong side of their snares. The whole country remem- any question. One of them set about bers the year-long fight in the Police Board doling out free soup that winter, when and Mayor Strong's vain attempt to remove work was slack, as a means, of course, of the obstructionist who, under an ill-con- advertising its own “charity." Of all ceived law, was able to hold up the scheme forms of indiscriminate almsgiving, that of reform. Most of the time I was compelled is the most offensive and most worthless, to stand idly by, unable to help. Once I and they knew it, or they would not have eased my feelings by telling Commissioner sent me a wheedling invitation to come Parker in his own office what I thought of and inspect their “ relief work,” offering him. I went in and shut the door, and to have a carriage take me around. I then told it all to him. Nor did I mince sent word back that I should certainly matters; I might not get so good a chance look into the soup, but that I should go again. Mr. Parker sat quite still, poking on foot to it. Roosevelt and I made the the fire. When I ceased at last, angry and inspection together. We questioned the exasperated, he looked up and said calmly: tramps in line, and learned from their
"Well, Mr. Riis, what you tell me has own lips that they had come from out of at least the merit of frankness.”
town to take it easy in a city where a You see how it was. I should never man did not have to work to live. We have been able to help in the Board. followed the pails that were carried away Out of it, my chance came at last when from the “relief station ” by children, their it was deemed necessary to give the adver- contents sometimes to figure afterwards as sary “a character.” Mr. Roosevelt had “free lunch” in the saloon where they had