North of Mt. Kenia
Sept. 10th, 1909

Dear Cabot and Nannie,

This letter is to both of you,
because I miss you both so very much, and look
forward so eagerly to seeing you, and to telling you as
much about the trip as your patience will bear. I
have to write in pencil because we are far out in the
wilderness. But the extraordinary thing has been the comfort
in which we have traveled. We have had no period of
hardships lasting more than two or three days. The
sun is, naturally, very hot at noon; but there has not
been one hot night, not a night when I have not
slept under at least one blanket. This camp, on
the slopes of the mountain, is as cool and pleasant
as possible. To reach here we traveled, higher up
the slopes, east for a couple of days, almost
exactly on the equator, and each night there was a
heavy frost. We have been in excellent health; Kermit,
bar a couple of days with tick fever, has never been
sick at all; and though I have had one or two slight
touches of fever, it has never been for more than
two or three days.

First a word to Cabot, on matters that will
interest Nannie about as much as Vest and the
Lucifer matches once did. Apparently you have come
out as well as we could hope on the tariff question
and I hope it was so managed as to give Taft
the chance to appear as insisting upon, and getting,
some reductions which would not otherwise have been

made. I regard your success in putting on the corpora-
tion tax as most important; from the permanent and most important stand-
point, as establishing the principle of national
supervision; from the temporary standpoint, as
scoring a triumph which the west will appreciate,
and which may take the sting out of some of the
inevitable grumbling about the tariff, by diverting
attention to what is really of far more important greater moment.
I am not in the least surprised at what you tell
me about Cannon's sordid shortsightedness. He is a
strong, hard, narrow old Boeotian. Still less am I
surprised about Aldrich; my intercourse with Aldrich gave
me a steadily higher opinion of him. Least of all
am I surprised at what you tell me of the unfairness of
the newspapers. If, as I am confident, business steadily
improves, the grumbling will have no permanent effect
—unless indeed the spirit of unrest in the West
grows strong. The Constitutional Amendment about
the income tax is all right; but an income tax
must always have in it elements of gross inequality
and must always be to a certain extent a tax
on honesty. A heavily progressive inheritance tax—national
(and heavy) only on really great fortunes going
to single individuals—would be far preferable to
a national income tax. But whether we can
persuade the people to adopt this view I don't

I am greatly concerned at what you tell me
about Moody. He is one of the ablest and most

valuable men in public life., How I wish he were
Chief Justice! I feel for him not only a lively
regard and affection, but the highest esteem. I do
hope he is now all right. Whenever you see him
give him my warmest greetings.

Of course George Meyer is doing well in the
Navy. You showed mighty good judgment in the
men you especially championed for my Cabinet!

Needless to say I entirely agree with you and
Loeb about the Mayoralty. I am not quite so
sure that I agree with you that I must stay in
private life — for that is the translation of "either the
Presidency or private life." I don't mean that I
disagree with you; on the contrary, I think you are
right, and I only mean that I am not absolutely
certain. There are moments when I feel that I could
be of help to you and Root in the Senate and could render service there; but on
the whole I am inclined to believe that as things
are now I can do more outside—that is, on
the supposition that I can do anything, for people
easily grow tired of the advice of a man whose
day is past. The last statement sounds melancholy,
but it really isn't; I know no other man who
has had as good a time as I have had in life;
no other President ever enjoyed the Presidency as I did;
no other ex-President ever enjoyed himself as I am
now enjoying myself, and as I think it likely I
shall enjoy myself in the future. The American people
have left me heavily in their debt; and I appreciate the fact.

Now for what may appeal to Nannie also. You
will both be amused to hear that at last, when fifty
years old, I have come into my inheritance in Shakes-
peare. I never before really cared for more than one or two
of his plays; but for some inexplicable reason the
sealed book was suddenly opened to me on this
trip. I suppose that when a man fond of reading
is for long periods in the wilderness with but few
books he [growth?] inevitably grows into a true
appreciation of the books that are good. I still
balk at three or four of Shakespeare's plays; but
most of them I have read or am reading over
and over again. The pigskin library has been
a great comfort; and ditto the fact that I am
writing my book, and must finish it before I
reach Khartoum, for I am now too old to
be able contentedly to spend a year living only
as a hunter and with my brain lying fallow.
I have all of Lowell with me; I care more & more for
his Bigelow Papers, especially the second series; I
like his literary essays; but what a real mugwump
he gradually became, as he let his fastidiousness,
his love of ease and luxury, and his shrinking from
the necessary roughness of contact with the world, grow
upon him ! I think his sudden painting of Dante
as a mugwump is deliciously funny. I suppose
that his character was not really strong, and that
he was permanently injured by association with the
Charles Eliot Norton type, and above all by following that
scoundrelly liar and slanderous, envious blackguard, Godkin.

Edith sent me ex-President Eliot's list of
books. It is all right as a list of books which a
cultivated man would like to read; but as the
list it strikes me as slightly absurd. I have
never heard of Woolman's Journal, but to include it
and Penn's "Fruits of Solitude," while leaving out
Cervantes and Montaigne, seems odd. To put in
Emerson's "English Traits," and leave out Herodotus,
Tacitus and Thucydides; to put in Tennyson's
"Becket," Middleton's "Changeling" & Teny Dryden's "All
for Love" and entirely leave out Æschylus, Sophocles,
Goethe,Moliere & Calderon (while; to put in a
translation of the Aeneid & leave out Homer;
in short to put in half the books he has put
in, while leaving out scores of really great
masters, of every description, from Aristotle to
Chaucer and Pascal and Gibbon, not to speak of
all poetry and novels—why I think that such
things done and left undone make the list
ridiculous as the espe as the list of books to "give a man the
essentials of a liberal education" ; although
excellent if avowedly only one of a
hundred possible lists of excellent books, any
one of which lists would furnish good reading. Per-
sonally, I think do not have much patience with
serious people going into such business as preparing the
"twenty-five best books" of the world. There are so many

thousand good books, in so many languages, suited
for so many different moods, and needs, and
individuals, that all a man ought to do is
to say that a given number of books proved
of interest and use to him personally at a
given time and under given conditions.

We have had a great hunt; and the big game
here offer plenty of chances for healthy excitement.
Day before yesterday Three days ago I killed my second bull
elephant, and at this moment its tusks and
skin are being brought into camp; and yesterday
Kermit killed his first elephant. While I was
elephant hunting my first elephant he went
off on the plains for three weeks, and was very
successful, getting among other things, five
lions and three buffalo. He is as hardy as a moose,
and can outrun, when after a wounded beast,
or outlast, in a day's or week's tramp, any
man, black or white, in the outfit. He is a very
good rider, and will ride at anything, over any
ground—he has had some frightful tumbles.
He is a fair shot, now, and utterly cool and
fearless. But he is so reckless that he keeps
me when I am with him, or whichever hunter,
Cunningham or Tarlton, I send with him, rather
on edge. Both he and I have had some interesting
experiences with charging lion, elephant and rhino.

We shall send and bring home the most noteworthy
collection of big mammals that has ever come
out of Africa, and the trip will have perma-
nent scientific value. You and I were wise when
we determined that this was the thing for me to
do. I have been thoroly interested in writing my
book, the chapters of which will be for the most
part substantially the articles that appear in the
Scribner's. I only hope I have been able in
some degree to put on paper what I have
seen as I have seen it; the country, the great
game, the lions as they charged, the gray bulk
of the elephants as we peered at them close at
hand in the matted jungle, the hippos round
the boat, the rhinos, truculent and stupid,
standing in the bright sunlight on the
open plains. Then these absolutely wild savages;
they are Matthew Arnold's "vigorous, primitive
tribes," sure enough; but they, and especially
their women kind, differ markedly from what those
the worthy Arnold evolved from his inner consciousness.

All the English officials, and the settlers, have
been most kind. The day is past when an American
was regarded as a poor relation; and if we remain
self reliant and powerful it will never return.

I am interested to see how extensive American influence
is, and in how many directions it is felt. Among
the novels here, I see in the houses, no English ones are more common
than for instance, David Harum, or Winston
Churchill's —I mean, of course, our Winston
Churchill, Winston Churchill the gentleman. When
we dined with the officers of the local regiment,
and they played and sang, I found that they
had no knowledge of Garry Owen, but they all
knew Marching through Georgia, John Brown's Body,
and Hampton Racetrack. Tarlton, the hunter, is
an Australian, and fond of books; Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Longfellow, Bret Harte and Mark Twain
are evidently those that [have ?] he has read as his favorites,
and he feels towards the United States just about
as he feels towards England—if anything, more

I really like the men I have met; and many
are exactly such as Kipling describes.

Give my love to all the children and
grandchildren. This was one of the rare days when
I had the chance to write, and I have taken
advantage of it. I have been greatly concerned
to hear of Sturgis Bigelow's sickness; give him
my love; I suppose he is now all well.

Ever yours,
Theodore Roosevelt