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

Page 62

it was there I first met Theodore Roosevelt, when the police officials were on the stand. I remember distinctly but one incident of that inquiry. It was when lawyer George Bliss, who could be very cutting when it suited his purpose, made an impertinent remark, as counsel for the Police Commissioners. I can see “young” Mr. Roosevelt yet, leaning across the table with the look upon his face that always compelled attention, and saying with pointed politeness: “Of course you do not mean that, Mr. Bliss; for if you did we should have to have you put out in the street.” Mr. Bliss did not mean it.
  It was at that session, too, I think, that he struck his first blow for the civil service reform which his father contended for when it had few friends; for which cause the Republican machine rejected his nomination for Collector of the Port of New York. I know how it delighted the son’s heart to carry on his father’s work then and when afterward as Governor he clinched it in the best civil service law the State has ever had. But, more than that, he saw that this was one of the positions to be rushed if the enemy were to be beaten out.