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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 163

of fellows,” he wrote to me, “these naval men. You would take to them at sight.” Of the other he never spoke, but I can imagine how it must have nagged him. To this day, when I have anything I want to find out or do in the Navy Department, it seems flatly impossible to make a short cut to the thing I want. So many bureaus, so many chief clerks, and so many what-you-may-call-’ems have to pass upon it. It is the way of the world, I suppose, to go on magnifying and exalting the barrel where the staves are men with their little interests and conceits, until what it is made to hold is of secondary importance or less. In the end he burst through it as he did through the jobs the police conspirators tried to put up on him; kicked it all to pieces and went on his way.
  A new light shone through the dusty old windows. For generations, since steam came to replace sail, there had been a contention between the line and the engineer corps, as to rank and pay, that cut into the heart of the navy. It was the fight of the old against the new that goes on in all days. The old line-officer was loath to give equal place to the engineer, who, when he was young, was