Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
Yes, Mr. President, said he; there is.
Why? President Roosevelt wastes few words when in earnest about anything.
General Corbin explained that it was a measure of economy. The telegraph tolls were heavy. An officer had a code word, just one, to pay for, whereas to send the whole name and place of a private soldier under the Pacific Ocean might easily cost, perhaps, twenty-five dollars. The President heard him out.
Corbin, he said, can you telegraph from here to the Philippines?
The General thought he might wait till he got to Washington; he was going in an hour.
No, said the President; no, we will not wait. Send the order to have the names telegraphed, now. Those mothers gave the best they had to their country. We will not have them breaking their hearts for twenty-five dollars or for fifty. Save the money somewhere else.
And he sent one of his rare smiles across the table, that made my heart light, and many another, from Maine to Texas. The order went out from the table, then and there, and,