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

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XII
GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK--SECOND YEAR

ROOSEVELT'S second year as Governor opened with the fiercest fight that he had yet had with Senator Platt. It arose out of a difference of opinion between the two concerning the reappointment of an official, Payn, who was one of the most devoted of Platt's followers, a county boss in the Platt machine, and a thoroughgoing old-time spoils politician. He had held the office of Superintendent of Insurance for several years and his conduct in its administration, as shown by investigations which the Governor had instituted, was far from being what it should have been. His term was about to expire and the Governor announced in advance of the meeting of the Legislature in January, 1900, his determination not to reappoint him. Platt at once issued an ultimatum to Roosevelt that he must be reappointed or he would fight the Governor, saying that the incumbent would remain in office anyway, since under the Constitution he could only be removed with the consent of the Senate and he would continue in office till his successor was confirmed by the Senate, and he, Platt, could control the Senate absolutely. Roosevelt kept his temper, allowing Platt to do the threatening and blustering, and selected a candidate for the position who was a man of character, a Republican and a friend of Platt's, whose position in the party was such as to make it difficult for the Senate to reject him. Platt, in a stormy interview with Roosevelt in New York City, refused to accept the man, saying to Roosevelt that if he insisted, it would be war to the knife, and his ( Roosevelt's) destruction and possibly the destruction of the party. Roosevelt replied that he was sorry he could not yield, that if the war came it would have to come, and that he

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