Monday, August 17, 2009

The Typical American

Theodore Roosevelt with James Cardinal Gibbons

From “Theodore Roosevelt: the man as I knew him” by Ferdinand Cowle Iglehart, pp. 298-300:

At the White House one day President Roosevelt came into his room, greeted me cordially, as was his custom, and then slipped over to another gentleman and greeted him. He brought that gentleman over to where I was and said, “Dr. Iglehart, permit me to introduce to you Father —, who has been doing very important work among the Indians and has come to talk with me about it.” And then, placing himself between us, he said, “Here's the great Catholic church, with its millions represented by this Catholic priest, on one side of me, and here on the other is the great Methodist church, with its millions represented by my old friend, and I am only a poor little Dutch Reform layman between the two.” The twinkle in his eye evidenced the fun that was always bubbling over within him. I replied, “No, Mr. President, you are not the poor little Dutch Reform layman between them. You are the great head of the nation and a Christian with a universal heart. You are large enough to belong to all the churches and all of us claim you as such, and we have reason to believe that you consider that all of us belong to you.”
Cardinal Gibbons, at my request, sent these words with reference to his dear friend, Colonel Roosevelt:

My dear Mr. Iglehart:
In reply to your esteemed letter, asking for an estimate of Mr. Roosevelt, I wish to say that my relations with him were of a most intimate character from the time he entered the White House up until the day of his death. Besides I had much correspondence with him all of a nature too sacred to be made public. I ever regarded Mr Roosevelt as the typical American, the embodiment of the highest patriotism.
Faithfully yours,
(Signed) J. Card. Gibbons.

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