Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
upon the young man who struck right and left where he saw wrong done. Roosevelt answered patiently enough, with respect for the gray hairs, that it was poor pity for the tramp to enable him to go on tramping, which was all the lodging-houses did; and he went right ahead and shut them up.
We had a law forbidding the sale of liquor to children, which was a dead letter. I stood in front of one East Side saloon and watched a steady stream of little ones with mugs and bottles going through the door, and I told Roosevelt. He gave orders to seize the worst offender, and had him dragged to court; but to do it he had to permit the use of a boy to get evidence, a regular customer who had gone there a hundred times for a bad purpose, and now was sent in once for a good one. A howl of protest arose. The magistrate discharged the saloon-keeper and reprimanded the policeman. Like a pack of hungry wolves they snarled at Roosevelt. He was to be legislated out of office. He turned to the decent people of the city. We shall not have to employ such means, he said, once a year, but when we need to we shall not shrink from it. It is idle