Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 1

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
POLICE COMMISSIONER

WITH the entrance of Roosevelt upon his service as Police Commissioner in New York City, in the spring of 1895, there began between him and myself a close personal friendship which continued unbroken throughout his career, growing steadily in mutual confidence and affection with time. The present narrative from this point onward will be written in the light which this intimacy threw upon his motives and character, and its statements will be illuminated and corroborated by citations from confidential letters written by him both to myself and to other persons, and by authentic anecdotes and episodes which have hitherto either not been made public or given publication in inaccurate form.

Kipling once said of New York City, as the result of his observations during several visits, that it had a government of the worst elements of the population tempered by occasional insurrections of respectable citizens. An insurrection of this kind occurred in November, 1894, when a reform Mayor, William L. Strong, was chosen on a nonpartisan ticket. The uprising of righteous indignation had been caused by revelations of shameful misconduct on the part of the Tammany government, especially in the P olice Department, and in the care of the city's streets. Mayor Strong at first asked Roosevelt to accept the office of Street Cleaning Commissioner but he, feeling that he had no special fitness for it, declined. The Mayor then appointed him a Police Commissioner in a Board of four members, he to be the President of the Board. As this was a position in the line of good municipal government to which he had devoted himself while in the Legislature, he accepted gladly and with the distinct understanding that he should admin

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