26th President. Typed letter signed (TLS) “Theodore Roosevelt”, two pages, 8×10.5, The Vice President’s Chamber letterhead, April 15, 1901. Letter to Major W. H. H. Llewellyn in Las Cruces, who served under Roosevelt in the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, in full:
I have your letter of the 10th inst with inclosures.
In the first place, in view of that picture I feel that no punishment could be too severe for the editor who put it in! He ought to be invited to ride a bucking broncho [sic] against McGinty, or do something else that is awful.
Seriously, I think you are quite right in asking to have some one else take your place when it comes to prosecuting young Brito. That is a very touching letter from his father. Of course, as I said, neither you nor I can afford to stand for what Brito did. I draw the line at shooting at women, I do not care what the provocation is.
By the way, I was delighted with one of the clippings you sent me, in which the newspaper writer remarks (evidently under the impression that he is taking an advanced position) that ‘there are very few cases in which one man is justified in taking another’s life,’ and that in the popular belief the number of such cases ‘looms altogether too large.’ It brings me right back to the days of the beloved regiment, and the light heartedness with which some of its members looked upon homicide! And indeed to the earlier days of my life in the ranch country.
I am delighted to know how well you are doing.
With warmest well wishes
Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the signature), light toning and soiling, overall wrinkling, otherwise fine condition.
A follow-up letter that Roosevelt sent to Llewellyn on July 13, 1901 sold for $19,600 at auction in November 2014.
During his post-Rough Rider days in political office, Roosevelt relied on Llewellyn, who had been rewarded for his valor with a post as US attorney in New Mexico, to keep him up to date on fellow veterans of their famous cavalry regiment. Here, Roosevelt references Frank Brito, a former Rough Rider who was charged with murder in the third degree for killing his sister-in-law—although, in fact, he intended to shoot his wife. In addition to his own beliefs and morals stated in the present letter, Roosevelt also supported the prosecution of Brito because he feared that the poor behavior by a small minority of the Rough Riders would tarnish the legacy of the whole, and was keenly aware of the political consequences if the public thought his former soldiers received special treatment. Public sentiment actually turned in Brito’s favor when it was discovered his wife was was having an affair with another Rough Rider from his troop, but Llewellyn successfully prosecuted him and Brito received a ten-year sentence. Exceptional content from Roosevelt during his brief six-month stint as vice president, connecting his service in his “beloved regiment” with his steadfast morals and political career.