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

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview

till the vote in caucus was reached, when they deserted him and nominated the rival candidate.

The Speaker thus chosen soon revealed his obligations to the members of the combination to which he owed his election. He could not refuse to appoint Roosevelt to the chairmanship of the Committee on Cities, but in placing him there he associated him with a body of men who were known not to be in harmony with his views and who could be depended upon to hinder rather than help him in work of great importance which he had avowed his intention to undertake. Once again, the newspapers that had persistently assailed him since his appearance in public life, indulged joyfully in prophecy of his ruin, either as accomplished or speedily to ensue. "This will not be a Happy New Year to the exquisite Mr. Roosevelt," said the chief of them, "but Mr. Roosevelt is comparatively young, and time is a kind physician." This prophet was not long in discovering that this year was destined to be, if not the happiest of Roosevelt's life thus far, the most active and most useful of his Legislative career.

The Speaker, in addition to "packing" the Committee on Cities against Roosevelt, sought to thrust upon him a clerk whom he had not chosen and did not desire, but energetic personal protest persuaded the Speaker to abandon his purpose. It soon became apparent that, whatever might be the predilections of the members of the Committee, the chairman had views of his own and was determined to put them into practice. His first act was to introduce two measures of great importance to New York City, one giving the Mayor absolute power of appointment and removal of heads of departments, abolishing the confirming power over such appointments exercised by the Board of Aldermen. The other was a High License bill, greatly increasing the liquor license fees in cities of over 100,000 inhabitants. Few measures could be devised that would be more certain to incur the bitter hostility of corrupt political interests than these two. Through their confirming powers, the Aldermen were able to thwart all efforts for good govern-

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