Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919.

A President’s Poor Protection

White House, Nov. 28, 1903.

It was very sad at Uncle Gracie’s funeral; and yet lovely, too, in a way, for not only all his old friends had turned out, but all of the people connected with the institutions for which he had worked during so many years also came. There were a good many of the older boys and employees from the Newsboys’ Lodging House and the Orthopædic Dispensary, etc. Uncle Jimmy possessed a singularly loving and affectionate nature, and I never knew any one who in doing good was more careful to do it unostentatiously. I had no idea how much he had done. Mother with her usual thoughtfulness had kept him steadily in mind while I have been Governor and President; and I now find that he appreciated her so much, her constant remembrances in having him on to visit us on different occasions. It was a lesson to me, for I should probably never have thought of it myself; and of course when one does not do what one ought to, the excuse that one erred from thoughtlessness instead of wrong purpose is of small avail.

The police arrangements at the church were exasperating to a degree. There were fully five hundred policemen in the streets round about, just as if there was danger of an attack by a ferocious mob; and yet though they had throngs of policemen inside, too, an elderly and harmless crank actually got inside with them to present me some foolish memorial about curing the German Emperor from cancer. Inasmuch as what we needed was, not protection against a mob, but a sharp lookout for cranks, the arrangement ought by rights to have been for fifty policemen outside and two or three good detectives inside. I felt like a fool with all the policemen in solemn and purposeless lines around about; and then I felt half exasperated and half amused when I found that they were utterly helpless to prevent a crank from getting inside after all.

P. S.—I enclose two original poems by Nick and Archie. They refer to a bit of unhappy advice I gave them, because of which I fell into richly merited disgrace with Mother. Nick has been spending three days or so with Archie, and I suggested that they should explore the White House in the mirk of midnight. They did, in white sheets, and, like little jacks, barefooted. Send me back the poems.