ST. LOUIS, Oct. 12, 1910 (UP) - Col. Roosevelt defied death late yesterday when he went up in an aeroplane with Aviator Arch Hoxsey. More than 10,000 persons breathlessly watched the flight, fearing the colonel's daring on the spur of the moment might mean his death or injury.
After two laps around the aviation field, Hoxsey brought the machine gracefully to ground, having flown nearly three miles in three minutes and twenty seconds.
"It was fine. Fine!" ejaculated the ex-president, as he crawled from the narrow seat through the network of wires.
Hoxsey said later the colonel made a model passenger, except that he took too many chances. As the airship flew by the grandstand at a 60-mile clip, Roosevelt leaned over, waving his hand at the crowd.
While aviation fans are discussing Roosevelt's daring in going up in the airship yesterday, politicians are puzzling over the Roosevelt-insurgency situation. Somehow Missouri insurgents don't seem to know which side of their cake is frosted.
Not until the machine was high in the air did the crowd realize that the ex-president was defying death in the clouds.
Here's Aviator Hoxsey's story of Roosevelt's daring trip:
"President Lambert of the St. Louis Aero club introduced me to Roosevelt. Lambert said something about my trip from Springfield. Roosevelt said he envied me. 'Here's your chance,' I said to him.
'"All right,' said Roosevelt, 'but let's not make too much fuss about it.'
"Roosevelt was on the machine before I was. He was bareheaded. A newspaperman gave him a cap and he said 'let 'er go.' We started.
"I didn't look at Roosevelt until I felt the machine wiggle. He was waving at the crowd. We were up about 150 feet.
"'Be careful not to pull any of those strings,' I warned him. He was sitting directly underneath the valve cord of the engine and the engine would have stopped had he touched it
"'Nothing doing,' he shouted back, showing his teeth. The propeller made so much noise we had to shout.
"I heard him say 'war,' 'army,' 'aeroplane' and 'bomb,' but the noise was so great I could not hear the rest.
"I was very careful. I said to myself, 'If anything happens to him I'll never be able to square myself with the American people.' I was mighty glad when we landed. I never felt a greater responsibility in my life.
"'Hoxsey, you're all right,' he said as we alighted."
Not even Gov. Hadley, arch-progressive of Missouri, would read an insurgent indorsement into the Roosevelt pronouncement in St. Louis.
"I think," said Hadley, "the principles that the colonel upholds are the principles for which the Republican party in Missouri stands."
"Do you think the colonel's tariff utterances conflict with the indorsement of the Payne-Aldrich law in the Missouri platform?" the governor was asked.
"I think his views may well be taken and the principles he advocates accepted as the vital issues."
Gov. Hadley today revealed the fact that Arch Hoxsey, the aviator who took Roosevelt aloft yesterday, was a guest at the dinner to the colonel given by the governor last night. Roosevelt personally thanked the aviator, saying:
"That was the bulliest experience I ever had. I envy you your professional conquest of space."
The colonel sent his personal compliments to the Wright brothers.
Roosevelt and his party left today for Springfield and Peoria, Ill, to be the guest of the Knights of Columbus. After a day in Indiana tomorrow campaigning for Senator Beveridge, the colonel, according to his changed plans, will begin his campaign at New York.