Remarks in Richmond Hill, New York

September 08, 1903

Dr. Kimball, and you, men, women, and children of Richmond Hill:.

I wish I could talk better to all of you; but I will ask you to have a little patience for one moment while I thank you for having come out to greet me. I am glad to see all of you, and allow me to say that I am most glad to see those who carry small folks in their arms.

You know I am very fond of Mr. Riis; and the reason why is be cause when I preach about decent citizenship I can turn to him and think he has practiced just what I have been preaching. The worth of any sermon lies in the way in which that sermon can be and is applied in practice. Of course I am glad to have the chance of being with a man who shows by his life that he knows how practically to apply the spirit of decency unaccompanied by mournfulness or false pretenses of any kind, or by weakness. I want to see men decent; I want to see them act squarely; I want to see them work. That does not mean that I want to see them have sour faces. I want to see all enjoy themselves, men, women, and children. I believe in play; I believe in happiness, and in the joy of living; but I do not believe in the life that is nothing but play. I believe that you have a thousand-fold more enjoyment if work comes first; but get time to play also. I believe in cheerfulness as well as in decency and honesty. Finally, I believe in always combining strength with the sweetness. I want to say how deeply touched I am at your coming out to greet me, and I want you to understand that you give me strength of heart when you come in this way. I greet you all; I am glad to see the grown up people of Richmond Hill, and I am even more glad to see the children.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Richmond Hill, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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