Futile Dreamer, I: The Almost Governor
ON July 9, 1914, former President Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive and reluctant Republican, wrote one of his bully-for-you notes to Judge Samuel Seabury, Progressive and reluctant Democrat, after they had had dinner at Oyster Bay. It was the most important letter Seabury had ever received; it encouraged him to dream of high elective offices. He framed that letter and saved it for years, at first proudly, and then later as a mocking example of the ways of politics.
My dear Judge Seabury:
That's a fine address of yours. By George, it does me good to come in contact with a man who is not afraid, and whose blows count! I am really greatly obliged to you for having given me the chance to look over that address.
I need hardly say how much I enjoyed having you at dinner the other night.
After signing the note, "Faithfully yours," Roosevelt appended a P.S. in his own hand: "I want you on the Court of Appeals, or as Senator, or as Governor!"
It was a measure of Roosevelt's vainglory that he believed he could designate others for elected offices. He did, indeed, hold a peculiar power, but it was more often a power to defeat than to elect. When he became dissatisfied with the policies of President Taft, although