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Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt to William Wingate Sewall


May 4, 1898

Friend William:

     There is no man whose good wishes I value more than yours. I am glad to get your letter. I just couldn’t keep out of this fight. You see I have preached it for some time, and I wanted to practice what I preached.

     No, there will be no need for you, and you would have no business to leave your home; but I am willing to bet half I am worth that there won’t be in all my regiment,1 young men though they will be, a single man as tough and hardy and able to give a good account of himself, as you. Like yourself, I would rather be in the Navy than anywhere else, but I can’t be.

     Didn’t Admiral Dewey do wonderfully well? I got him the position out there in Asia last year, and I had to beg hard to do it; and the reason I gave was that we might have to send him to Manila. And we sent him _ and he went!2

     I quite agree with you that Spain and Turkey are the two powers I would rather smash than any in the world.

     I am very much obliged for the maple sugar, and still more for Miss Kitty’s picture. Tell her I shall always recollect her out at the ranch: how she used to walk up and down the piazza beside me, and how she called the kitten “Wow.”

     Remember me warmly to all my friends.

          Faithfully yours,

              Theodore Roosevelt

Source Note: CyS, DLC-MSS, PTR. Addressed below close: “W.W. Sewall, Esq.,/Island Falls, Maine” William Wingate Sewall was a professional Maine Guide and friend of Theodore Roosevelt dating back to the 1878 when Roosevelt first started making frequent summer hunting, fishing, and hiking trips to the North Woods Maine. For more information on their relationship, see, Douglas Brinkley, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (New York: Harper Collins, 2009), pp. 111-120.

Footnote 1: Roosevelt planned to leave his post as Assistant Secretary to be a Colonel in the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.

Footnote 2: Sentence starting with “And…” was handwritten. Roosevelt personally arranged for Commo. George Dewey to command the Asiatic Station through advocacy, “begging,” and a little bit of subterfuge. See: Roosevelt to William Eaton Chandler, 29 September 1897; and Redfield Proctor to Dewey, 16 October 1897.

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