Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
He had been watching and wondering. To him an unsullied judiciary was the ground fabric of society. Here were charges of the most serious kind against a judge smothered unheard. He asked his elders on the Republican benches what was to be done about it. Nothing. Nothing? Then he would inquire publicly. They ran to him in alarm. Nothing but harm could come of it, to him and to the party. He must not; it was rank folly. The thing was loaded.
It was, wrote an unnamed writer in the Saturday Evening Post, whose story should be framed and hung in the Assembly Chamber as a chart for young legislators of good intentions but timid before sneers, it was obviously the counsel of experienced wisdom. So far as the clearest judgment could see, it was not the moment for attack. Indeed, it looked as if attack would strengthen the hands of corruption by exposing the weakness of the opposition to it. Never did expediency put a temptation to conscience more insidiously.
It was on April 6, 1882, that young Roosevelt took the floor in the Assembly and demanded that Judge Westbrook, of Newburg,