Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 437

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

Page 437

had left behind. It was then he did the work for which he and his colleagues received the thanks of the Legislature of the State in joint session, much to its own credit.
  Many of the soldiers’ families were suffering for bread, while they wasted it by the cart-load in the army. The Government paid millions each month to the men, only to see the money squandered in riotous living at the sutlers’tents. Very little of it, if any, ever reached home. There were enough to offer to start it out, but the chances were greatly against its getting there. The sutler who sold forbidden rum in hollow loaves or imitation Bibles was not one to stop at a little plain robbery. The money was lost or wasted, the families starved, and the morale of the army suffered. Mr. Roosevelt drafted a bill to establish “allotment commissions,” and took it to Washington. It was a plain measure authorizing commissioners appointed for each State to receive such a proportion of the soldier’s pay as he wished to send home, and to forward it without cost or risk to him. He simply gave notice how much he wanted the wife to have, for instance; the general Government handed the amount to them, and they