United States. President (1901-1909 : Roosevelt).

Addresses and presidential messages of Theodore Roosevelt, 1902-1904; online

. (page 15 of 37)
Online LibraryUnited States. President (1901-1909 : Roosevelt)Addresses and presidential messages of Theodore Roosevelt, 1902-1904; → online text (page 15 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


utterly selfish, if utterly disregardful of the rights of
others, if he has no ideals, if he works simply for the sake
of ministering to his own base passions, if he works
simply to gratify himself, small is his good in the com-
munity. I think even then he is probably better off than
if he is an idler, but he is of no real use unless together
with the quality which enables him to work he has the
quality which enables him to love his fellows, to work
with them and for them for the common good of all.

It seems to me that these Young Men's Christian As-
sociations play a part of the greatest consequence, not
merely because of the great good they do in themselves,
but because of the lesson of brotherhood that they teach
all of us. All of us here are knit together by bonds
which we cannot sever. For weal or for woe our fates
are inextricably intermingled. All of us in our present
civilization are dependent upon one another to a degree
never before known in the history of mankind, and in the
long run we are going to go up or go down together.
For a moment some man may rise by trampling on his
fellows ; for a moment, and much more commonly, some
men may think they will rise or gratify their envy and
hatred by pulling down others. But any such movement
upward is probably illusory, and is certainly short-lived.
Any permanent movement upward must come in such a
shape that all of us feel the lift a little, and if there is a
tendency downward all of us will feel that tendency too.
We must, if we are to raise ourselves, realize that each of
us in the long run can with certainty be raised only if the
conditions are such that all of us are somewhat raised.
In order to bring about these conditions the first essen-
tial is that each shall have a genuine spirit of regard and
friendship for the others, and that each of us shall try to
look at the problems of life somewhat from his neighbor's
standpoint — that we shall have the capacity to understand
one another's position, one another's needs, and also the


desire each to help his brother as well as to help himself.
To do that wisely, wisely to strive with that as the aim,
is not very easy. Many qualities are needed in order
that we can contribute our mite toward the upward
movement of the world — among them the quality of self-
abnegation, and yet combined with it the quality which
will refuse to submit to injustice. I want to preach the
two qualities going hand in hand. I do not want a man
to fail to try to strive for his own betterment, I do not
want him to be quick to yield to injustice ; I want him to
stand for his rights ; I want him to be very certain that
he knows what his rights are, and that he does not make
them the wrongs of some one else.

I have a great deal of faith in the average American
citizen. I think he is a pretty good fellow, and I think
he can generally get on with the other average American
citizen if he will only know him. If he does not know
him, but makes him a monster in his mind, then he will
not get on with him. But if he will take the trouble to
know him and realize that he is a being just like himself,
with the same instincts, not all of them good, the same
desire to overcome those that are not good, the same pur-
poses, the same tendencies, the same shortcomings, the
same desires for good, the same need of striving against
evil ; if he will realize all this, then if you can get the two
together with an honest desire each to try not only to
help himself but to help the other, most of our problems
will be solved. And I can imagine no way more likely
to hurry forward such a favorable solution than to en-
courage the building up of just such institutions as this.

Therefore, I congratulate you with all my heart upon
this meeting to-day. Therefore I esteem myself most
fortunate in having the chance of addressing you. It is
a very good thing to attend to the material side of life.
We must, in the first instance, attend to our material
prosperity. Unless we have that as a foundation we


cannot build up any higher kind of life. But we shall
lead a miserable and sordid life if we spend our whole
time in doing nothing but attend to our material needs.
If the building up of the railroads, of the farms, of the
factories, of the industrial centres, means nothing what-
ever but an increase in the instruments of production
and an increase in the fevered haste with which those
instruments are used, progress amounts to but a little
thing. If, however, the developing of our material pros-
perity is to serve as a foundation upon which we raise a
higher, a purer, a fuller, a better life, then indeed things
are well with the Republic. If as our wealth increases the
wisdom of our use of the wealth increases in even greater
proportion, then the wealth has abundantly justified its
existence many times over. If with the industry, the
skill, the hardihood, of those whom I am addressing and
their fellows, nothing comes beyond save a selfish desire
each to grasp for himself whatever he can of material en-
joyment, then the outlook for the future is indeed grave,
then the advantages of living in the twentieth century
surrounded by all our modern improvements, our modern
symbols of progress, is indeed small. But if we mean to
make of each fresh development in the way of material
betterment a step toward a fresh development in moral and
spiritual betterment, then we are to be congratulated.

To me the future seems full of hope because, although
there are many conflicting tendencies, and although some
of these tendencies of our present life are for evil, yet, on
the whole, the tendencies for good are in the ascendancy.
And I greet this audience, this great body of delegates,
with peculiar pleasure because they are men who embody,
and embody by the very fact of their presence here, the
two essential sets of qualities of which I have been speak-
ing. They embody the capacity for self-help with the
desire mutually to help one the other. You have several
qualities I like. You have sound bodies. Your profes-


sion is not one that can be carried on, at least in some of
its branches, without the sound body. You have sound
minds, and that is better than sound bodies, and finally,
the fact that you are here, the fact that you have
done what you have done, shows that you have that
which counts for more than body, for more than mind —

I congratulate you upon what you are doing for your-
selves, and I congratulate you even more upon what you
are doing for all men who hope to see the day brought
nearer when the people of all nations shall realize — not
merely talk of, but realize — what the essence of brother-
hood is. I congratulate you, as I say, not only because
you are bettering yourselves, but because to you, for
your good fortune, it is given to better others, to teach,
in the way in which teaching is most effective, not merely
by precept but by action. The railroad men of this
country are a body entitled to the well-wishes of their
fellow-men in any event, but peculiarly is this true of the
railroad men of the country who join in such work as that
of these Young Men's Christian Associations, because they
are showing by their actions — and oh, how much louder
actions speak than words! — that it is not only possible,
but very, very possible and easy to combine the man-
liness which makes a man able to do his own share of the
world's work, with that fine and lofty love of one's fellow-
men, which makes you able to come together with your
fellows and work hand in hand with them for the common
good of mankind in general.



President Jordan, and you, my fellow-citizens, and espe-
cially you, my fellow college men and women :

I thank you for your greeting, and I know you will not
grudge my saying, first of all, a special word of thanks to
the men of the Grand Army. It is a fine thing to have
before a body of students men who by their practice
have rendered it unnecessary that they should preach;
for what we have to teach by precept, you, the men of
'61 to '65, have taught by deed, by action. I am proud
as an American college man myself to have seen the tab-
let outside within the court which shows that this young
university sent eighty-five of her sons to war when the
country called for them. I come from a college which
boasts as its proudest building that which stands to the
memory of Harvard's sons who responded to the call of
Lincoln when the hour of the nation's danger was at
hand. It will be a bad day for this country and a worse
day for all educative institutions in this country, if ever
such a call is made and the men of college training do
not feel it peculiarly incumbent upon them to respond.

President Jordan has been kind enough to allude to me
as an old friend. Mr. Jordan is too modest to say that
he has long been not only a friend, but a man to whom
I have turned for advice and help before and since I
became President. I am glad to have the chance of ac-



knowledging my obligations to him, and I am also glad
that when I ask you to strive toward productive scholar-
ship, toward productive citizenship, I can use the President
of the University as an example. Of course in any of our
American institutions of learning, even more important
than the production of scholarship is the production of
citizenship. That is the most important thing that any
institution of learning can produce. There are a great
number of students who cannot and should not try,
in after-life, to lead a career of scholarship, but no uni-
versity can take high rank if it does not aim at the
production of, and succeed in producing, a certain num-
ber of deep and thorough scholars — not scholars whose
scholarship is of the barren kind, but men of productive
scholarship, men who do good work, I trust great work,
in the fields of literature, of art, of science, in all their
manifold activities. Here in California this nation, com-
posite in its race stocks, speaking an old-world tongue,
and with an inherited old-world culture, has acquired an
absolutely new domain. I do not mean new only in the
sense of additional territory like that already possessed, I
mean new in the sense of new surroundings, — to use the
scientific phrase, of a new environment. Being new, I
think we have a right to look for a substantial achieve-
ment on the part of your people along new lines. I do
not mean the self-conscious striving after newness, which
is only too apt to breed eccentricity, but I mean that
those among you whose bent is toward scholarship as a
career should keep in mind the fact that such scholarship
should be productive, and should therefore aim at giving
to the world some addition to the world's stock of what
is useful or beautiful ; and if you work simply and natu-
rally, taking advantage of your surroundings as you find
them, then in my belief a new mark will be made in the
history of intellectual achievement by our race. You of
this institution are blessed in its extraordinary physical


beauty and appropriateness of architecture and sur-
roundings, with a suggestion of what I might call Ameri-
canized Greek. Such is your institution, situated on
the shores of this great ocean, built by a race which has
come steadily westward, and which has come to where
the Occident looks west to the vPrient, a race whose
members here, fresh, vigorous, have the boundless possi-
bilities of the future brought to their very doors in a
sense that cannot be possible for the members of the
race situated farther east. Surely there will be some
great outcome in the way not merely of physical but of
moral and intellectual work worth doing. I do not want
you to turn out prigs, I do not want you to turn out the
self-conscious. I believe with all my heart in play. I
want you to play hard without encroaching on your
work. I do nevertheless think you ought to have at least
the consciousness of the serious side of what all this
means, and of the necessity of effort, thrust upon you,
so that you may justify by your deeds in the future your
training and the extraordinary advantages under which
that training has been obtained.

America, the Republic of the United States, is, of
course, in a peculiar sense typical of the present age.
We represent the fullest development of the democratic
spirit acting on the extraordinary and highly complex
industrial growth of the last half century. It behooves
us to justify by our acts the claims made for that politi-
cal and economic progress. We will never justify the ex-
istence of the Republic by merely talking each Fourth of
July about what the Republic has done. If our homage
is lip loyalty merely, the great deeds of those who went
before us, the great deeds of the times of Washington
and of the times of Lincoln, the great deeds of the men
who won the Revolution and founded the Nation, and the
men who preserved it, who made it a Union and a free
Republic, will simply arise to shame us. We can honor


our fathers and our fathers' fathers only by ourselves
striving to rise level to their standard. There are plenty
of tendencies for evil in what we see round about us.
Thank Heaven, there are an even greater number of
tendencies for good; and one of the things, Mr. Jordan,
which it seems to me give this nation cause for hope is
the national standard of ambition which makes it possible
to recognize in admiration and regard such work as the
founding of a university of this character. It speaks well
for our nation that men and women should desire during
their lives to devote the fortunes which they were able to
gain or to inherit because of our system of government,
because of our social system, to objects so entirely
worthy and so entirely admirable as the foundation of a
great seat of learning such as this. All that we outsiders
can do is to pay our tribute of respect to the dead and
to the living and at least to make it evident that we ■
appreciate to the full what has been done.

I have spoken of scholarship ; I want to go back to the
question of citizenship, a question of not merely schol-
ars among you, not merely those who are hereafter to
lead lives devoted to science, to art, to productivity in
literature. And when you come into science, art, and
literature rerhember that one first-class bit of work is
better than one thousand pretty good bits of work; that
as the years roll on the man or the woman who has
been able to make a masterpiece with the pen, the brush,
the pencil, in any way, has rendered a service to the
country such as not all his or her compeers who merely
do fairly good second-rate work can ever accomplish.
Only a limited number of us can ever become scholars or
work successfully along the lines I have spoken of, but
we can all be good citizens. We can all lead a life of
action, a life of endeavor, a life that is to be judged
primarily by the effort, somewhat by the result, along
the lines of helping the growth of what is right and


decent and generous and lofty in our several communities
in the State, in the Nation.

You, men and women, you who have had the ad-
vantages of a college training are not to be excused if you
fail to do, not as well as, but more than the average man
outside who has not had your advantages. Every now
and then I meet (at least I meet him in the East and
I dare say he is to be found here) the man who hav-
ing gone through college feels that somehow that con-
fers upon him a special distinction which relieves him
from the necessity of showing himself as good as his
fellows. I see you recognize the type. That man is
not only a curse to the community, and incidentally
to himself, but he is a curse to the cause of academic
education, the college and university training, because
by his insistence he serves as an excuse for those who
like to denounce such education. Your education, your
training, will not confer on you one privilege in the way
of excusing you from effort or from work. All it can
do, and what it should do, is to make you a little better
fitted for such effort, for such work ; and I do not care
whether that is in business, politics, in no matter what
branch of endeavor, all it can do is by the training you
have received, by the advantages you have received, to fit
you to do a little better than the average man that you
meet. It is incumbent upon you to show that the train-
ing has had that effect. It ought to enable you to do a
little better for yourselves, and if you have in you souls
capable of a thrill of generous emotion, souls capable of
understanding what you owe to your training, to your
alma mater, to the past and the present that have given
you all that you have — if you have such souls it ought to
make you doubly bent upon disinterested work for the
State and the Nation.

Such work can be done along many different lines.
I want to-day here in California to make a special ap-


peal to all of you and to California as a whole, for work
along a certain line — the line of preserving your great
natural advantages alike from the standpoint of use and
from the standpoint of beauty. If the students of this
institution have not by the mere fact of their surround-
ings learned to appreciate beauty, then the fault is in
you and not in the surroundings. Here in California you
have some of the great wonders of the world. You have
a singularly beautiful landscape, singularly beautiful and
singularly majestic scenery, and it should certainly be
your aim to try to preserve for those who are to come
after you that beauty, to try to keep unmarred that
majesty. Closely entwined with keeping unmarred the
beauty of your scenery, of your great natural attractions,
is the question of making use of, not for the moment
merely, but for future time, your great natural pro-
ducts. Yesterday I saw for the first time a grove of your
trees, a grove which it has taken the ages several thou-
sands of years to build up ; and I feel most emphatically
that we should not turn into shingles a tree which was
old when the first Egyptian conqueror penetrated to the
valley of the Euphrates, which it has taken so many
thousands of years to build up, and which can be put to
better use. That you may say is not looking at the mat-
ter from the practical standpoint. There is nothing more
practical in the end than the preservation of beauty, than
the preservation of anything that appeals to the higher
emotions in mankind. But furthermore I appeal to you
from the standpoint of use. A few big trees, of unusual
size and beauty, should be preserved for their own sake ;
but the forests as a whole should be used for business
purposes, only they should be used in a way that will
preserve them as permanent sources of national wealth.
In many parts of California the whole future welfare of
the State depends upon the way in which you are able
to use your water supply ; and the preservation of the


forests and the preservation of the use of the water are
inseparably connected. I believe we are past the stage
of national existence when we could look on complacently
at the individual who skinned the land and was content
for the sake of three years' profit for himself to leave a
desert for the children of those who were to inherit the
soil. I think we have passed that stage. We should
handle, and I think we now do handle, all problems such
as those of forestry and of the preservation and use of
our waters from the standpoint of the permanent interests
of the home maker in any region, the man who comes
in not to take what he can out of the soil and leave,
having exploited the country, but who comes to dwell
therein, to bring up his children, and to leave them a
heritage in the country not merely unimpaired, but if
possible even improved. That is the sensible view of
civic obligation, and the policy of the State and of the
Nation should be shaped in that direction. It should be
shaped in the interest of the home maker, the actual
resident, the man who is not only to be benefited him-
self, but whose children and children's children are to
be benefited by what he has done. California has for
years, I am happy to say, taken a more sensible, a more
intelligent interest in forest preservation than any other
State. It early appointed a forest commission ; later on
some of the functions of that commission were replaced
by the Sierra Club, a club which has done much on the
Pacific coast to perpetuate the spirit of the explorer and
the pioneer. Then, I am happy to say, a great many
business interests showed an intelligent and far-sighted
spirit which is of happy augury, for the Redwood Manu-
facturers of San Francisco were first among lumbermen's
associations to. give assistance to the cause of practical
forestry. The study of the redwood, which the action
of this association made possible, was the pioneer study
in the co-operative work which is now being carried out


between lumbermen all over the United States and the
Federal Bureau of Forestry. All of this kind of work is
peculiarly the kind of work in which we have a right
to expect not merely hearty co-operation but leader-
ship from college men trained in the universities of this
Pacific coast State. For the forests of the State stand
alone in the world. There are none others like them
anywhere. There are no other trees anywhere like the
giant Sequoias; nowhere else is there a more beautiful
forest than that which clothes the western slope of the
Sierra. Very early your forests attracted lumbermen
from other States, and by the course of timber-land in-
vestments some of the best of the big trees were threat-
ened with destruction. Destruction came upon some of
them, but the women of California rose to the emergency
through the California Club, and later the Sempervirens
Club took vigorous action. But the Calaveras grove is
not yet safe, and there should be no rest until that safety
is secured, by the action of private individuals, by the
action of the State, by the action of the Nation. The
interest of California in forest protection was shown even
more effectively by the purchase of the Big Basin Red-
wood Park, a superb forest property, the possession of
which should be a source of just pride to all people
jealous and proud of California's good name.

I appeal to you, as I say, to protect these mighty
trees, these wonderful monuments of beauty. I appeal
to you to protect them for the sake of their beauty, but
I also make the appeal just as strongly on economic
grounds, and I am well aware that in dealing with great
questions a far-sighted economic policy must be that to
which in the long run one appeals. The interests of Cali-
fornia in forests depend directly, of course, upon the
handling of her wood and water supplies and the supply
of material from the lumber woods and the production
of agricultural products on irrigated farms. The great


valleys which stretch through the State between the
Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges must owe their fu-
ture development, as they owe their present prosperity,
to irrigation. Whatever tends to destroy the water
supply of the Sacramento, the San Gabriel, and other
valleys strikes vitally at the welfare of California. So
that the welfare of California depends in no small measure
upon the preservation of water for the purposes of irriga-
tion in those beautiful and fertile valleys which cannot
grow crops by rainfall alone. The forest cover upon the
drainage basins of streams used for irrigation purposes
is of prime importance to the interests of the entire State.
Now keep in mind that the whole object of forest protec-
tion is, as I have said again and again, the making and
maintaining of prosperous homes. I am not advocating
forest protection from the aesthetic standpoint only. I
do advocate the keeping of big trees, the great monarchs
of the woods, for the sake of their beauty, but I advocate
the preservation of the forests because I feel it essential
to the interests of the actual settlers. I am asking that
the forests be kept for the sake of the successors of the
pioneers, for the sake of the settlers who dwell on the
land and by doing so extend the borders of our civiliza-
tion. I ask it for the sake of the man who makes his

Online LibraryUnited States. President (1901-1909 : Roosevelt)Addresses and presidential messages of Theodore Roosevelt, 1902-1904; → online text (page 15 of 37)