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

Trials of a Travelling President

In the fall of 1907 the President made a tour through the West and South and went on a hunting-trip in Louisiana. In accordance with his unvarying custom he wrote regularly to his children while on his journeyings.

On Board U. S. S. Mississippi,
October 1, 1907.

The first part of my trip up to the time that we embarked on the river at Keokuk was just about in the ordinary style. I had continually to rush out to wave at the people at the towns through which the train passed. If the train stopped anywhere I had to make a very short speech to several hundred people who evidently thought they liked me, and whom I really liked, but to whom I had nothing in the world to say. At Canton and Keokuk I went through the usual solemn festivities—the committee of reception and the guard of honor, with the open carriage, the lines of enthusiastic fellow-citizens to whom I bowed continually right and left, the speech which in each case I thought went off rather better than I had dared hope—for I felt as if I had spoken myself out. When I got on the boat, however, times grew easier. I still have to rush out continually, stand on the front part of the deck, and wave at groups of people on shore, and at stern-wheel steamboats draped with American flags and loaded with enthusiastic excursionists. But I have a great deal of time to myself, and by gentle firmness I think I have succeeded in impressing on my good hosts that I rather resent allopathic doses of information about shoals and dykes, the amount of sand per cubic foot of water, the quantity of manufactures supplied by each river town, etc.