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

Page 443

them to his house. Many a time he had come from the country with armfuls of flowers for them. The little lame Italian girl for whom he had bought crutches wrote him with infinite toil a tear-stained note to please get well and come and see her. His sympathy with poverty and suffering was instinctive and instant. One day of the seven he gave, however driven at the office, to personal work among the poor, visiting them at their homes. It was not a penance with him, but, he used to say, one of his chief blessings.
  He was rich and gave liberally, but always with sense. He was a reformer of charity methods, as of bad political methods in his own fold. For that cause he was rejected by a Republican Senate, at the instance of Roscoe Conkling, when President Hayes appointed him Collector of the Port. Mr. Roosevelt had accepted with the statement that he would administer the office for the benefit, not of the party, but of the whole people. That meant the retirement of the Custom-House influence in politics, and civil service reform, for which the time was not ripe. It was left to his son to carry out, as was so much else he had at