The Story of The American Legion Part 6

he shouted. "The man I am going to place in nomination proved himself to be a one hundred per cent. true blooded American when his country's honor was assailed. He was among the first who placed himself in the front-line trenches, he was wounded twice, he was ready and willing to make the supreme sacrifice in order that this world might be made safe for democracy. I deem it an honor and a privilege, and the Pacific Northwest deems it an honor and a privilege to place in nomination the worthy son of a worthy sire--Theodore Roosevelt."

The crowd seemed to know all along who Jack meant and it held its enthusiasm in tether as best it could. But when Sullivan got to the word Theodore, the Roosevelt was drowned out in the mightiest cheer that is possible for eight or nine hundred throats to utter. The second to the motion, made by Colonel Luke Lea of Tennessee, wasn't heard at all. This time it took Colonel Roosevelt more than two minutes to get order.

"Gentlemen, I want to speak on that now," he shouted and during a lull in the cheering managed to make himself heard. "I wish to say that I want to withdraw my name from nomination--"

But the "gang wouldn't hear to it." Somebody raised the old cry:

"We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" they chanted in unison. Bedlam broke loose at that. Men stood on their seats and waved their hats and handkerchiefs; some took their collars and neckties off; some wept, some cursed for sheer joy and others--I believe that when Gabriel blows his horn and all the dead arise that some of the men who attended that caucus will try to make a speech! These speeches were going on four and five at a time during the entire hullabaloo. It didn't seem to matter in the least to the speakers that they weren't being heard. They couldn't hear themselves. They added a little to the noise and that satisfied the crowd and seemed to satisfy them.

"Please, please let me talk," pleaded Colonel Roosevelt. He finally got his plea over by means of the sign language.

"I want to withdraw my name for a number of reasons," he continued.

"The first is that I want the country at large to get the correct impression of this meeting here. We are gathered together for a very high purpose. I want every American through the length and breadth of this land to realize that there isn't a man in this convention who is seeking anything for himself personally; that all of us are working simply for the good of the entire country. I believe, furthermore, that what we want here is someone who has been connected with the movement only since it started on this side of the water, someone who originates from the convention."

The din started again.

"No, no, gentlemen," shouted the Colonel. "I want to withdraw. It is my earnest wish. It is my absolute determination."

But the caucus seemed equally determined. "We want Teddy!" "We're going to have Teddy!" "You got this thing going, you ought to run it."

Colonel Roosevelt paced up and down the stage, trying his best to silence them. Then, during the din, one by one some of his oldest friends went to him and begged him to accede to the crowd's wish.

"Take it Ted," they urged. "Take it." That underslung jaw of the young Colonel's became rigid.

"I won't do it. I can't do it," he answered.

Then someone managed to make a motion that the nomination of Colonel Roosevelt be made unanimous. It was seconded and made extremely _unanimous_.

[Illustration: Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.]

[Illustration: Group on the Stage at St. Louis Caucus]

"Then, gentlemen, I accept and I resign," Colonel Roosevelt said. "I want quiet for a moment here on this situation. This is something that I have thought about and have given my most earnest consideration. I am positive I am right on it. We must not have creep into this situation, in which we all believe from the bottom of our hearts, the slightest suspicion in the country at large. I don't think there is any suspicion among us that anyone is trying to use it for his personal advancement. But it is absolutely essential that this spirit be proven. I am going to stick by this from the beginning down to the very end because, in my opinion, we have got to create to-day the impression all over the country on which this organization will carry on and serve a great purpose for years to come."

Again there were outbursts of applause for the Colonel. "We want Teddy!" "We want Teddy!" the crowd cried again and again. Men ran to the stage from the orchestra seats and even from the second balcony.

"Take it, Colonel. You ought to take it," they urged.

What the Colonel answered couldn't be heard but the jaw was working and the head was shaking vigorously.

A couple of newspaper men dashed up to him.

"You oughtn't to take it, Colonel," one of them whispered. "If you don't, it will give the lie to those who are saying the Legion is being conducted for your special political benefit."

"I haven't the slightest intention of taking it," he answered back.

He didn't take it and he nailed the lie that the Legion was started to further his own selfish ends.

On motion of Colonel E. Lester Jones of the District of Columbia the nominations were reopened again.

Sergeant Haines of Maine put up the name of Colonel Henry D. Lindsley, a banker of Dallas, Texas, and a prominent Southern Democrat, for permanent chairman. Think of it! A man from Maine nominating a Southern Democrat! One of the Ohio delegation seconded the nomination.

Think of that too! Colonel Claud Birkhead of San Antonio, Texas, leader of the Texas delegation "thirded" the nomination. He told Colonel Lindsley's record. The Colonel had been Mayor of his home city, and during the war had served his country so well in France that he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He and Major Willard Straight, now dead, had started the War Risk Insurance Bureau abroad and, at the time of the caucus, Colonel Lindsley was the head of the Bureau under the Treasury Department in Washington.

Minutes of a meeting usually are dry but here I am going to quote directly from them because they tell the story in the most vivid way.

Fancy between the lines, please, dozens of cheers, a couple of rebel yells, a great deal of talking and shouting for "T.R.!" "T.R.!" and a Babelous babble that ebbed or flowed according to the strength Colonel Roosevelt used in wielding his gavel.

COLONEL JONES (of Washington, D.C.): "Mr. Chairman, I personally feel, and I think I voice the unanimous sentiment of this organization, that your withdrawal is a mistake. We are not only sincere, but we are telling you what is in the bottom of our hearts. We are weighing also the sincerity which you have expressed, and in deference to your wishes, which I know have not arisen spontaneously but which you have talked about for some time, regarding the chairmanship of this committee, I think we should not embarrass you further. I have one in mind who I feel is going to be a man who will do credit to this organization--"

MR. ABBOTT (of Ohio): "Gentlemen of the caucus, I think we are wasting time around here. I can't see why we can't have for the permanent chairman of this convention the man who will be elected in November."

THE CHAIRMAN: "Gentlemen, can't you see how it is? I can't possibly change my convictions. I can't go back on what I have told you without everybody, who doesn't understand the situation here, feeling that I have just come out here to make a grandstand play. I am right. I am absolutely sincere and right."

A motion was made that Colonel Theodore Roosevelt temporarily yield the chair to Colonel Bennett Clark.

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "It is very evident what the desire of this convention is. I know that Colonel Lindsley of Texas was only put in nomination in response to the express wishes and repeated determination of Colonel Roosevelt. I think that that explanation should be made in justice to Colonel Lindsley. I think that Colonel Roosevelt should take this chairmanship or if he doesn't want to take it he should be made to take it. (Applause.) The chair will recognize a motion to that effect."

CAPTAIN BOYCE (of New York shouting to a yelling audience): "What is the use of our acting like a lot of kids? Just one minute; only one man can talk at a time and get anywhere. Colonel Roosevelt will not take it."

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "The chair will recognize nobody until the convention is in order. It has been moved and seconded that Colonel Roosevelt be elected chairman of this convention by acclamation."

Cries of approval from the audience and a request for the question.

COLONEL BENNETT CLARK: "On that the chair will take the responsibility of ordering a roll call. (Applause.) The Secretary will call the roll."

SECRETARY WOOD: "The motion is that Colonel Roosevelt be nominated by acclamation. The chairman has directed me to call the roll by States.


A call for a point of order.

DELEGATE: "After nominations have been made and closed a roll call cannot be taken."

COLONEL CLARK: "The chair was fully aware that he was proceeding outside of parliamentary law because it was the unanimous wish of the convention."

MR. SULLIVAN: "I move that a roll call be made on the original nominations."

COLONEL CLARK: "Colonel Roosevelt has expressed to me his absolute desire that that not be done. He refuses to enter into a contest with Colonel Lindsley in any way."

COLONEL JONES (Washington, D.C.): "Mr. Chairman, the nominations were reopened."

COLONEL CLARK: "The chair is informed that while he was on the way up here a motion was carried to reopen nominations after the resignation of Colonel Roosevelt. Now nominations are again in order."

MAJOR SAMUEL D. ROYCE (Indiana): "On behalf of the State of Indiana, I nominate Colonel Theodore Roosevelt."

The motion was seconded.

COLONEL CLARK: "The gentleman from the District of Columbia has the floor. Others please be quiet."

Here I must inject my story into the minutes again. Colonel Roosevelt saw the convention was "getting away to a Roosevelt finish" again, to use a racing term, and he sent a hurry call to the Arizona delegation for Colonel Jack Greenway.

Jack Greenway followed the elder Roosevelt up San Juan hill. He wears underneath his civilian coat to-day, but right over his heart, a Distinguished Service Cross won at Cantigny.

Chapter end

Courier New
Comic Sans MS
Oh o, this user has not set a donation button.
lingua italiana
Русский язык
Novel Cool
Read thousands of novels online
Success Warn New Timeout NO YES Summary More details Please rate this book Please write down your comment Reply Follow Followed This is the last chapter. Are you sure to delete? Account We've sent email to you successfully. You can check your email and reset password. You've reset your password successfully. We're going to the login page. Read Your cover's min size should be 160*160px Your cover's type should be .jpg/.jpeg/.png This book hasn't have any chapter yet. This is the first chapter This is the last chapter We're going to home page. * Book name can't be empty. * Book name has existed. At least one picture Book cover is required Please enter chapter name Create Successfully Modify successfully Fail to modify Fail Error Code Edit Delete Just Are you sure to delete? This volume still has chapters Create Chapter Fold Delete successfully Please enter the chapter name~ Then click 'choose pictures' button Are you sure to cancel publishing it? Picture can't be smaller than 300*300 Failed Name can't be empty Email's format is wrong Password can't be empty Must be 6 to 14 characters