Haters Gonna Hate
I’m not exactly sure who Leslie Chase was, but he disliked Theodore Roosevelt so much that after ten years of writing letters to the editors of various newspaper hating on him, he was able to publish them as a book, Rooseveltiana. Some choice selections:
President Roosevelt Goes Louis XTV One Better.
Louis XIV.: “I am the State.”
President Roosevelt: “That’s nothing. I’m the entire United States.”
To the Editor of the Herald:
The nomination of Theodore Roosevelt “for Governor” will mark the lowest depth of political degradation that the United States have thus far reached. Roosevelt, when a young man, tried as a legislator to vindicate his importance by making himself conspicuous. Then he associated with “cowboys” in order to acquire popularity with the rabble of the West. As a Police Commissioner he advocated the theory that true courage derives its surest inspiration from the sight of blood, and frequented all the prize fights.
As Assistant Secretary of the Navy he did all in his power to force his country into an iniquitous war, in the hope of gaining some cheap military glory with which to dazzle the vulgar mind. As a soldier he ordered a charge of dismounted cavalry, armed only with pistols, upon well-defended intrenchments, an act which would have caused him to be shot in any army with the slightest pretension to military science. As an officer he inspired a letter written by generals in face of the enemy, “asking to be taken home.”
As a politician his speeches show what efforts he has made to flatter the credulous masses by appealing to their vanity. Such is the man who seeks minor political honors before starting for the one coveted goal. O fatal Presidential seat! Why did a people as “unstable” 1 as Americans struggle to separate themselves from their natural ruler, an insane king? It was done in the infancy of the nation, and one can find a reason in Goethe’s dictum, “Youth is drunkenness without wine.”
Republicanism Is Only Incipient Imperialism.
As Prof. Goldwin Smith, in the Atlantic Monthly, proves that in thirty years the United States will be an Empire, why not avail of the proposed “Royal” marriage and make it one now ? History shows that a Republic is impossible. Intellect did not preserve that of Greece, nor force of character that of Rome; and as President Roosevelt possesses every known Americanism, why not adopt a system of gradation, and, before he becomes a Charlemagne, imitate Napoleon and make him a Consul or Ruler for life. This would please. All Americans are aristocrats at heart. There isn’t an American alive whose blood doesn’t boil in his veins when he finds himself described in a Paris lease as a “Bourgeois.”88
Paris, December 16th.
President Roosevelt and Margaret Fuller.
Margaret Fuller: “I accept the Universe.”
President Roosevelt: “Thanks, Miss, for the compliment, but I’m already married.”
Miscegenation the Only Way to Solve the Question—from a Negro Point of View.
To the Editor of the Herald:
Sir,—An attentive reader of your paper, I must break through a self-imposed silence and express surprise that the Herald, with its great traditions and still greater influence, so studiously ignores the only possible solution of the race problem in America, a solution ably set forth in the London Morning Post of October 18th, viz., intermarriage between the blacks and whites. The two greatest moral forces to-day in the United States—President Roosevelt and the New York Evening Post—are practically fighting single-handed to carry out this logical conclusion; and had we possessed a statesman of Mr. Chamberlain’s fertility of resource and mobility of principle the question would now be un fait accompli. For—Booker Washington apart— every canon of sociology and the fundamental rule of Equality before the Law show plainly that there cannot be a perfect rounding out of the work begun by the Civil War of 1861-65, save by a wise, absolute, and harmonious policy of indiscriminate miscegenation. ”
“A Louisiana Negro.”
View as to His Adaptability to His Chosen Calling.
To the Editor of Public Ledger:
It is admitted even by Mr. Roosevelt’s enemies that he is a scheming genius of the first rank, and the latter fact explains his much-heralded connection with the Outlook magazine; for this, when he is no longer President, will still permit him to vindicate his importance by making himself conspicuous. In view of Doctor Abbott’s unctuous praise of Mr. Roosevelt last year and of President Roosevelt’s pompous references to the Outlook in his controversy with Mr. Bryan, it is plain that if Roosevelt and Abbott can look each other in the face without “giggling” they will make the old Roman augurs turn in their graves.
Now, no one knows better than Mr. Roosevelt the truth of what Rene Doumic says in his “Collective Psychology”: “The modern growth of the newspaper and its perfected printing presses have put at the disposition of one who is bold and persistent new and powerful means of uttering, spreading and perpetuating his opinions.” But Mr. Roosevelt could not become a post-presidential editor; first, because American newspaper editorials are not signed and he would thus lose his desired notoriety; second, because newspaper editors are required to have mental continuity, and Mr. Roosevelt would, therefore, be refused as editor by all of our great newspapers save two—for these two justify the remark, in the German House, that the United States should send as Ambassadors “not checkbooks, but men.” And, to the glory of the American press, Seneca’s maxim, Quod verutn est, meum est, is still the guiding principle.
Besides, magazine reading renders the mind elastic or flabby, and, therefore, offers a responsive soil for Mr. Roosevelt’s literary powers; for one remembers that what Henry James calls “those books” will, to paraphrase Porson, be read and admired long after Homer and Virgil are forgotten, “but not till then.”
Mr. Roosevelt will always please fanatics, for his adaptation of St. Paul’s phrase, “We are no respecter of persons,” is equaled only by the London alderman who astonished an after-dinner company by informing them he was like Caesar’s wife, “all things to all men.” And Mr. Roosevelt’s private utterances, added to the effects of his presidency, will force the historian to repeat the saying of Alphonse Karr, “Governing and writing are the only arts one practices without having learned them.”
Leslie Chase. Atlantic City, November 15, 1908.