« AnteriorContinuar »
homogeneity in size but also in age, when schoolboy playing is concerned.
It is true that some schools rigidly maintain such regulations, and when this is done chance of accident is reduced to a very small minimum, the boys gain much benefit and pleasure, and, which is quite important, they are very likely to win their games, for a homogeneous team is a much better machine for a fighting game like football than any team can ever be that mixes wide variations of sizes and ages. And yet the writer has seen experienced coaches do this very thing, knowing all the time that there is a real risk (to the boys, of course, and not to the coach), but willing to "take a chance" that the youngster will manage to keep out of ugly tackles and manage not to get beneath some big burly fellow who will be likely to break some of his bones. For a good example of a risky combination, the writer has seen a schoolboy team, produced by a large school, that contained players ranging from 110 to 180 pounds, and from fourteen to eighteen years of age. Such a team would aver age about 135, and would have to play teams of the same or even more weight, which teams could of course have play
ers as heavy as the heaviest of the home team. One does not have to imagine the result if one opposing player of 180 pounds should happen to fall full weight on the slight 110-pound youngster. It is in the taking of such chances that our worst schoolboy accidents arise and that give this wonderfully fine game so undeserved a bad reputation.
Let us consider again another eleven the writer has followed for two or three years. Last season this younger boys' team averaged fifteen years, and ran from fourteen to sixteen, with one or two able thirteen-year athletes as substitutes. The total range in weight was about twenty pounds, though the great majority were close around the average-110 pounds. This team in its two years of play was not permitted to play antagonists whose team average was over two pounds more than its own average, nor could any one opposing player weigh over two pounds more than the home team's heaviest player. These conditions were agreed upon and approved by all the opposing teams, and in the twenty games played there were no accidents to either team or bruises worth mentioning, and the boys had no end of a good time. Not only so, but their very
made a caliber of team-work possible that one attributes usually to older teams, so that this particular team lost but two of its twenty games in the two years of its organization. This is but one example out of many similar ones.
In any sport, and particularly a schoolboy sport, there should be one adamantine rule enforced rigidly by the school authorities, and this is, "Avoid risks," and its adjunct might well be, "Do not take a chance of sacrificing a young though able player merely for the sake of adding chances to winning." The winning isn't nearly so important as is the playing of the game in a rational fashion, with the maximum of safety-which means the maximum of fun and benefit for all.
To conclude, then, you parents who really concern yourselves with matters affecting your sons, see to it that your sons do play football, if they are physically fit, but see to it that they play with boys of their own size and against boys of their own size, if you would avoid getting your boy into splints or having him come home with some life-lasting injury, such as you read about in the papers every fall.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF OSCAR S. STRAUS
FTER a White House luncheon early in January, 1906, President Roosevelt asked me to wait for him in the Red Room. When the other guests had departed, he came back to me and, with his face beaming with geniality, he said:
"I don't know whether you know it or not, but I want you to become a member of my Cabinet. I have a very high estimate of your character, your judgment, and your ability, and I want you for personal reasons. There is still a further reason: I want to show Russia and some other countries what we think of the Jews in this country."
Of course I was very much gratified. I told him I had heard from several persons that he had spoken of this intention, but that I had meant to take no notice of it until he should speak to me about it; that I should certainly esteem it the very highest honor to become a member of the Cabinet, and especially to have the privilege of working alongside of him.
"I knew you would feel just that way; therefore I was anxious to let you know of my intention as long in advance as possible," replied the President. He said all this in such a cordial and affectionate manner that I was profoundly touched with this manifestation of close friendship for me.
Roosevelt added that he could not see at it would do any good, and might do
harm, to make further protests regarding massacres in Russia; and he did not want to do anything that might sound well here and have just the opposite effect there. He thought it would be much more pointed evidence of our Government's interest if he put a man like me into his Cabinet, and that such a course would doubtless have a greater influence than any words with the countries in which unreasonable discrimination and prejudice prevailed.
He told me that it might be July, or even later, before he could carry out his purpose. But I was to regard my appointment to one of the Cabinet positions as certain.
My wife and the rest of my family were of course elated at hearing the news, particularly my brother Isidor, whose attitude toward me, his youngest brother, was always more like that of an affectionate father than a brother. I felt no trepidation, especially should I be selected for the Department of Commerce and Labor. My past training and interest in many of the subjects that came up under that Department made me conversant with the main questions it had to administer.
PERMANENT RETIREMENT FROM PRIVATE BUSINESS Upon my return to New York I began to make arrangements for severing all business connections. This I thought
wise, particularly if I became head of the Department of Commerce and Labor. It was not a necessary step, but I wanted it never to be said that I advocated any measure or made any decision that might in the remotest way be of advantage to my private interests. I spoke to Roosevelt about my intention, and he said that, while it was not essential, if I could do so it would on the whole be advisable; that situated similarly he would do the same thing himself. Before assuming office, therefore, I had retired from business for good, and I have not since that time been connected with any business for personal profit.
My nomination was officially made in September, but it was not until early December, 1906, that I received a letter from William Loeb, Jr., the President's secretary, notifying me that the President desired me to assume office on December 17.
The scope of the Department as constituted then was probably the largest of the nine branches of the Government. It was charged with the work of promoting the commerce, mining, manufacturing, shipping, and fishery industries of the country, as well as its transportation facilities and its labor interests; in addition it had jurisdiction over the entire subject of immigration. It had twelve bureaus: Corporations; manufac tures; labor; lighthouses; Census; Coast
and Geodetic Survey; statistics, including foreign commerce; steamboat inspection; immigration and naturalization; and standards.
In order to co-ordinate the work of these various bureaus I instituted the simple method employed by large business administrators of having the several bureau chiefs come together with me twice a month to discuss and confer regarding the most important administrative subjects. This enabled me to keep better informed and served to make the various heads of bureaus conversant with the whole scope of the Department, preventing overlapping and duplication of functions. I learned that this simple administrative method had never been made use of before in Federal departments, but thereafter it was adopted by several of the other department heads.
Thanks to Mr. Cortelyou's admirable organization of the Department, I found, almost without exception, a fine and competent set of men in charge of its several branches. Some of them were friends of Roosevelt, members of his "tennis cabinet," and were thoroughly imbued with his spirit and ideals. The Assistant Secretary was Lawrence 0. Murray, a capable and conscientious official. James R. Garfield, chief of the Bureau of Corporations, devoted himself to the difficult task of exposing the abuses and legal infractions of some of the great corporations, and did it with judgment and ability, and with conspicuous courage. Charles P. Neill, chief of the Bureau of Labor, a laboring man in his early days, and afterwards an instructor at Notre Dame, and Professor of Economics at the Catholic University in Washington, D. C., was eminently qualified for his duties and had the confidence alike of the labor leaders and employers. Dr. Samuel W. Stratton, a scientist of distinction and a fine administrator, was then and still is chief of the Bureau of Standards, a veritable institution of science.
AT HOME IN THE VENETIAN PALACE"
My wife had so promptly put our household in order that in a week after our arrival we were comfortably installed in our Washington home, No. 2600 Sixteenth Street, a house known as the "Venetian Palace." It was a new house, built by Mrs. John B. Henderson, and well suited to our needs and for entertaining. The social functions in Washington I found most agreeable. During the season we either gave a dinner or attended a dinner on an average of five evenings a week, but these occasions were not burdensome because they usually ended by ten-thirty o'clock.
According to custom, President Roosevelt at the beginning of the season designated the date on which each Cabinet member was to give a dinner to the President, and the date assigned to me was February 19. It had Leen usual for each host to invite to this dinner all the other Cabinet members and their wives, which left little opportunity to invite
"On Christmas Day, Mrs. Straus and I received an invitation to come to the White House to see the Christmas tree"
others. Roosevelt changed this custom, so that other friends of the host were invited rather than one's fellow-members in the Cabinet. Foreign diplomats also were not invited, the entire purpose being to give these occasions the character of intimate gatherings, not large, usually from eighteen to twenty-five guests. Our dinner went pleasantly. The President was in his usual good humor. Wines were served liberally, but it was Roosevelt's habit to drink very little. This I had observed on several previous occasions, both at the White House and elsewhere. Roosevelt usually took some white wine with apollinaris, and perhaps a glass of champagne. For this dinner my wife had secured the additional services of a certain colored cook in Washington, a woman famous for preparing terrapin, which was one of Roosevelt's favorite dishes.
The day after taking office I attended my first meeting. The Cabinet table is oblong, the President seated at the head. and to his right and his left the secretaries in the order in which their departments were created.
The meetings were informal and no minutes were taken or other record made. After some brief preliminary talk, in which the President often had some incident to relate or some amusing caricature or savage attack upon himself to exhibit, the business of the day began. The President called on every secretary, but in no fixed order. He presented such matters as he might deem important, or for information, or upon which he might want discussion and advice.
JAPANESE QUESTION SMOLDERS
Important among the immigration subjects were those which presented phases of the Japanese question, the immigration en masse of Japanese to the Pacific Coast States, California in particular. The matter was brought up by Secretary Root at one of the Cabinet
meetings. The city of San Francisco had taken action excluding Japanese from the public schools. It was deemed detrimental for the white children of tender ages to be in the same classes with older and even adult Japanese who came to these schools to learn English.
The President insisted that, as it directly affected the relations between the two nations, it was a National concern. Secretary Root asked me whether I could furnish some data as to the use made of Hawaii by Japanese immigrants for circumventing our Contract Labor Law, as many of the Japanese immigrants were coming to the mainland via Hawaii. Upon looking into this matter, I found during the year previous fully two-thirds of the Japanese came via Hawaii. The President took the situation in hand and had the Mayor of San Francisco and other leaders of the Japanese agitation come to Washington.
The obnoxious matter was finally adjusted with Japan in a manner to allay irritation by a "gentlemen's agreement," by which that country itself was to prevent the emigration of its laboring classes. It was of course much better that the Japanese interdict emigration of their own people than that we offend that nation's pride by preventing their entrance, although it was made clear that we should pass an exclusion law if they did not take prompt and effective action. With some exceptions, this plan worked well. The whole Japanese question, however, was still smoldering.
Happily, our relations with Japan are now more peaceful than they have been for some time, and to a large degree this has been accomplished by the FourPower Treaty negotiated at the Wash ington Conference on the Limitation of Armaments in December, 1921. The various vexatious instances that had from time to time occurred in our relations with Japan were stimulated by German officers stationed in the I East and fostered by the sensa
with the great need for better shipping facilities between the mainland and the islands. The coastwise shipping laws applying to them since annexation penalized the carrying of passengers or freight in other than American bottoms. Foreign ships accepting either passengers or freight to American ports on the coast were heavily fined. The result was, not only inconvenience to residents who for one reason or another needed to leave the islands, but the loss of much perishable freight, principally fruit, which rotted on the wharves waiting for American ships. I promised them that I would do everything in my power to help them get the shipping facilities they needed.
As we sailed out of the barbor on the Asia, bedecked with Hawaiian flowers, the Royal Hawaiian Band played its farewell music. The last words we heard from the Hawaiian shore were "Aloha Nui," the Hawaiian farewell.
The "Venetian Palace," the Washington residence of Mr. and Mrs.
press in both Japan and our own coun-
A TRIP TO HAWAII
That summer I decided to combine business with pleasure by taking a vacation trip along the Canadian border from Montreal to Vancouver to inspect the lighthouse and immigration services, then down the Pacific coast and to Hawaii, where I might acquaint myself with regard to immigration as it affected the Japanese question. The President thought this would be a useful trip and urged me to take it.
In the administration of a department such as that of Commerce and Labor it was important to familiarize one's self s much as possible with its outlying anches, to become personally ac
quainted with the various officers and the details of their work and surroundings, thereby to enable one better to do the administrative work than by remain ing at one's desk.
After leaving Vancouver, we stopped a few days each at Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, where I conferred with the officials of the Department. From San Francisco we took a steamer to Hawaii, on board which we met George R. Carter, Governor of Hawaii, returning from a vacation in the United States, and Congressman and Mrs. Nicholas Longworth. It made a very pleasant party.
The authorities and the population gave us a rousing welcome, cannons saluted, and the militia was out to escort us. Only once before since the island became United States territory had a Cabinet official paid a visit, and that was two years before when Secretary of War Taft stopped there for a few days en route to Japan. We were comfortably installed in the Hotel Moana, in the suburb of Waikiki.
The islanders showered upon us bounteous hospitality in every conceivable form. Governor and Mrs. Carter entertained the Longworths and us in the official residence, the former palace of the Hawaiian rulers, in the throne room of which hung the portraits of those rulers from earliest times to the deposed Queen Liliuokalani. The reception was a brilliant occasion. The leading officials and the élite of the population were there; the grounds were beautifully illuminated; and the Royal Hawaiian Band played the soft, plaintive music so typical of the mild temperament of the people and the luxuriant foliage of the island.
The island residents impressed me
HARMONIZING HUMAN AND BUSINESS
In a Department like mine, which covered so many and such varied subjects, the conflict between human and property interests was often apparent. Roosevelt had told me that whenever within my jurisdiction there occurred this conflict, he was sure I would lean to the human side, and I could always count on his support.
A striking example of this conflict grew out of an order I issued for the inspection of excursion and ferry boats at least three times a year instead of once. The summer before I took office the boiler of the General Slocum, a large excursion boat on the Long Island Sound, blew up and caused the death of nearly a thousand women and children. As spring approached and the excursion season drew near, I made up my mind to make all possible provision to prevent the recurrence of any such disaster.
I accompanied the supervising inspector-general, George Uhler, to witness the inspection of some passenger boats plying between Washington and Norfolk to get personal knowledge of the details of inspection. I carefully studied a report made to me by Mr. Murray, the Assistant Secretary of my Department, who had been a member of the board of inquiry into the Slocum disaster and later the Valencia wreck. I called a meeting of the Board of Supervising Inspectors of Steamboats and impressed upon them the importance of great care in inspection. I urged that no man be retained in the inspection service who was not thoroughly competent and efficient, since they had to deal with the protection of human life.
My order for more frequent inspection brought forth many objections from the steamboat owners, and a committee came to Washington and presented their grievances and objections direct to the President, in the hope of inducing him to overrule my instructions. They were patiently heard, but their main objection
was that it would cost a little more and be a little more inconvenient to have three inspections instead of one, and the President gave them little more comfort than to make it quite clear that he was thoroughly in accord with my action for the provision of greater safety to human life. He told them he felt he was fortunate in having at the head of the Department of Commerce and Labor a man who was a humanitarian besides having large business experience, for, while it was his purpose to harmonize human and business interests, always when they conflicted he would lean toward the human side, as I had done in issuing that order.
SAVING THE SALMON
The President was deeply interested always in the natural resources of the country and their preservation, and asked me to take up the question of the Alaska salmon fisheries. It was certain that unless some drastic action was taken the salmon would be destroyed in the Alaskan waters just as they had been in the Columbia River. Roosevelt felt that Wood River ought to be closed. I devoted parts of two days to a hearing on the subject. The cannery interests were represented by their counsel and the Fishermen's Union by several of its officers. Senator Fulton, of Oregon, as well as the two Alaskan Delegates in Congress, pleaded for the closing of the rivers.
After hearing all sides and studying the question I signed an order directing the closing of both the Wood and Nushagak Rivers to trap and net fishing, and if the law had not applied only to rivers at a distance of five hundred feet from the mouth, I should have directed the closing also of Nushagak Bay, where extensive trap fishing was carried on.
HOW THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES ORIGINATED When I was President of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, I was impressed with the importance of establishing a closer relation ship between the commercial bodies of the country and the Government. Shortly after I became Secretary of Commerce and Labor, therefore, I sought to accomplish that end. I had a study made by Nahum I. Stone, tariff expert of the Bureau of Manufactures, of the relations between the European governments and their commercial bodies, especially in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium. I sent invitations to about forty of the leading chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and other commercial organizations throughout the country to send delegates to Washington for a two days' conference, with a view to bringing about an organization of these bodies for the purpose of co-operation between them and the departments of the Government having to do with commerce and manufactures.
Accordingly, on December 5 a representative gathering of over one hundred
Diamond Head, from the Waikiki Beach, Hawaiian Islands. As
delegates met in my Department, and I
I then went with the delegates to the
H. Schwab, of the New York Chamber
Later the Council was reorganized and
tant institution in the commercial life of our country.
SESSIONS WITH LABOR CHIEFS
To bring about a similar relationship between the Department and the labor bodies, I called another conference in February, 1909, to which I invited the leading labor representatives throughout the country, and about fifty attended. Unfortunately, my term of office was drawing to an end and there was not time to organize this wing, but I urged the men to insist upon the continuance of the conferences and the co-operation with the Department thus established.
The matters discussed at this meeting were mainly how best to lessen unemployment, how the Division of Information under the Bureau of Immigration might be administered for the greater benefit of labor in general, and how the Nobel Peace Prize, which President Roosevelt had set aside for a foundation for the promotion of industrial peace, could be made most effective. There were addresses by Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor; Warren S. Stone, Grand Chief of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; William F. Yates, President of the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association; and Terence V. Powderly, Chief
of the Division of Information in the Bureau of Immigration. The presiding officer was Daniel J. Keefe, Commissioner-General of Immigration and Naturalization.
During my term of office repeated efforts were made in Congress, backed by organized labor, to divide my Department and make two of it-the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor. I successfully opposed this plan, my idea being that labor and capital were the two arms of industry, the proper functioning of which could best be secured by co-operation, which in turn could best be promoted by administering their interests together. In this I had the support of Roosevelt. During the Taft Administration, however, the bill was passed creating the Department of Labor.
CONCERNING POLITICAL FENCES
On April 3, 1908, the Savannah Board of Trade celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, and I was asked to be one of the speakers. On this trip my wife and younger daughter accompanied me. The Mayor and prominent citizens of my former home, Columbus, upon learning of our presence in the South, sent us a pressing invitation to visit that city, where a dinner was presently given at the Opera House. The dinner was served on the stage, and while the toasts were being responded to the curtain was raised, disclosing an auditorium crowded with people. I was touched by this fine attention by the citizens of my former home, who took great pride in the fact that one of their former townsmen was a member of the Cabinet. In the audience were several of my schoolboy friends and those of my brothers, and I found several friends and companions of my parents still among the living.
In the South at that time it was still rare for a person to change his politics, and one of the questions that was put to me was why had I, a member of a Democratic family, once a Democrat myself, and even having held office under a Democratic President, changed over to the Republican side. In other words, why had I been on both sides of the political fence?-though they were too polite to ask the question in that direct form. I told them that perhaps no one had a better right than they to ask. It was true, I said, that I had been, as it were, on both sides of the fence, but that was not my fault; the fence had been moved. This produced great merriment.
CHRISTMAS AT THE WHITE HOUSE
On Christmas Day Mrs. Straus and I received an invitation by telephone to come to the White House between three and four o'clock to see the Christmas tree. Some thirty or forty guests were there. In one of the side rooms in the basement of the house was assembled a large company of children. The room was darkened, that the lighted tree ight stand out. There were presents
for all the children, and Mrs. Roosevelt played Lady Bountiful to see that each child got its gift. Upstairs in the Red Room the gentlemen sat smoking. It was a genuinely joyful and happy day. The social season in Washington is usually begun with the President's New Year's reception, which lasts from eleven o'clock until half-past two on New Year's Day. At a few minutes before eleven o'clock the officials and their wives assembled upstairs, and promptly at eleven the President and Mrs. Roosevelt led the march to the Blue Room. The procession marched toward the main stairway, where the line divided, the ladies going to the left and the gentlemen to the right, reuniting at the first landing; then through the main hall, where the passageway was roped off through a crowd of specially invited guests.
The order following the President was: the Cabinet officers; the doyen of the diplomatic corps, the Italian Ambassador and his staff; the Ambassadors and Ministers of the other nations, according to rank. After them, grouped in more or less regular order, the Justices of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice; Senators; Representatives; Army and Navy officials; the officers of the Government.
On New Year's Day every one is accorded the right to pay his or her respects to the President. The officials come straight to the White House and the uninvited guests form a line on the grounds. On the particular day of which I speak the line stretched through
THE DRAMATIC STORY OF OF THE PROGRESSIVE CAUSE
The birth of the Progressive party and Roosevelt's campaign for the Presidency in 1912 are tersely described in next week's chapter of the Autobiography. Roosevelt's defeat is explained. The attempted assassination of him by a lunatic in Milwaukee is described. His dramatic appearance at the final mass-meetings at Madison Square Garden, contrary to the advice of his physicians, is brilliantly pictured. This chapter contains some of the finest and most memorable excerpts from Roosevelt's speeches. The nomination of Mr. Straus himself as candidate for Governor of New York in the same year, the stampeding of the convention, and his participation in that tumultuous campaign are depicted with great vividness in this historic chapter.
the grounds, along Pennsylvania Avenue and down by the State Department Building, probably more than half a mile long, and the President received about sixty-five hundred people in all. At two o'clock the iron gates of the White House grounds are closed, and those who had not reached that point by that time were barred out. The reception had to end promptly, as the Cabinet ladies who assist have to be present at the receptions at their own homes from half-past two until six, in accordance with a custom that has been in vogue probably since the days of Washington. Our buffet in the dining-room was kept wel! replenished, and there were champagne and punch served. We had in all about four hundred guests.
SOCIAL LIFE IN WASHINGTON
The official functions at the White House during the Roosevelt Administration were agreeable and in stately form. They were usually followed by an informal supper to which were invited personal friends and visitors.
Our series of official dinners began with the one to the Vice-President and Mrs. Fairbanks and ended with the dinner to the President and Mrs. Roosevelt. In addition we followed the pleasant custom of the President and had guests to informal luncheons three or four times a week. These luncheons we gave in the sun-parlor back of our diningroom, which was one of the attractive features of our Venetian Palace.
It was my privilege to give the last Cabinet dinner to the President, on March 2, two days before the close of the Administration. The event had been postponed for a week on account of the death of the President's nephew, Stewart Robinson, whose mother was the President's sister. Governor and Mrs. Hughes, who were among our invited guests, stayed over when it was found that the dinner had to be postponed. Mrs. Roosevelt later informed me that she planned that our dinner should be the last, knowing that I had some sentiment about it which she and the President shared.
I have made several references to the wonderfully human touch characteristic of Roosevelt. On February 5, the day beginning the last month of his Administration, a messenger from the White House brought me a package containing a large folio, a handsomely illustrated memorial volume describing the Castle of Wartburg in Saxony, in which Luther was confined and where he worked on his translation of the Bible. The book had been prepared by official direction. and Roosevelt had received two copies of the royal edition, one from the Kaiser personally and one from the Chancellor, which latter he sent to me with this inscription:
"To Mr. and Mrs. Oscar S. Straus, in memory of our days together in the Administration; days which I have so much enjoyed and appreciated. Theo. dore Roosevelt. February 5, 1909."