Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy

Author: Finley Peter Dunne  | Date: 1900

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"The President’s Message" (1899)


"DID ye r-read th’ prisidint’s message?" asked Mr. Dooley.

"I did not," said Mr. Hennessy.

"Well, ye-re r-right," said the philosopher. "I didn’t mesilf. ’Tis manny years since I give up me devotion to that form iv fiction. I don’t think anny wan r-reads a message but th’ clerk iv th’ house iv riprisinta-tives, an’ he has to to hold his job. But I cud tell ye how ’tis written. Th’ prisidint summons th’ cab’net together an’ they set ar-round a long table smokin’ seegars excipt th’ sicrety iv th’ navy, an’ he smokes a cigareet. An’ th’ prisidint he says’ La-ads,’ he says, "tis up to me f’r to sind a few wurruds,’ he says, ’iv good cheer,’ he says, ’to thim rilitives iv th’ civil service on th’ other side iv town,’ he says. ’I’d a great deal rather set up in th’ gall’ry an’ hear me frind Grosvenor tell thim,’ he says, ’that I’m no poly-gamist like that there David Harem feller that’s thryin’ to break into congress,’ he says. ’But ivry other prisidint has done it,’ he says, ’An’ I suppose I’ve got to,’ he says. ’What shall I say?’ he says, an’ he sets there writin’ ’Ye’ers thruly, Willum McKinley,’ an’ makin’ pitchers iv a house in Canton, Ohio, while th’ cab’net thinks.

"Fin’lly th’ sicrety iv state, he says, ’Ye might start it off, if ye want to make it a pop’lar docymint an’ wan that ’ll be raymimbered,’ he says, ’whin ye ar-re forgotten,’ he says, ’be mintioning what has been done be th’ state department.’ he says. ’They’se a dhray at th’ dure with th’ facts,’ he says, ’if ye’ve f’rgotten thim,’ he says. ’Thin,’ says th’ sicrety iv the threeasury, ’ye might glide aisily into a few remarks about th’ excellent condition iv th’ public fi-nances,’ he says. ’Something like this: "Thanks to th’ tireless activity iv th’ sicrety iv th’ threeasury th’ efforts iv those inimies iv pop’lar governmint, th’ Wall sthreet bears, has been onable to mark down quotations an’ thus roon th’ prosperity iv th’ nation. All his ol’ frinds will be glad to know that this pop’lar an’ affable gintleman has his eye on th’ ticker again. Lyman is th’ boy f’r th’ money," or "I dinnaw what I cud do without Lyman." ’Something like that ’d hit thim har-rd.’ ’In passing,’ says th’ sicrety iv war, ’ye might say that ye were late in gettin’ hold iv th’ right man f’r me place, fr’m th’ r-right state, but now ye’ve got him ye don’t know how ye got along without him. Ye may add that I’m th’ first sicrety iv war that iver showed that th’ constitootion iv th’ United States is applicable on’y in such cases as it is applied to on account iv its applicability,’ he says. ’F’r further particklars see small bills an’ me own report,’ he says. ’I don’t know,’ says th’ sicrety iv th’ navy, ’whether ’tis gin’rally undher-stood, but,’ he says, ’ye might point out that th’ navy niver was so efficient as at prisint,’ he says. ’Th’ name iv Jawn D. Long will not soon be f’rgotten be himsilf in common with his fellow-counthrymen,’ he says. ’An allusion to th’ gradjool extermination iv th’ thrusts would be much apprecyated in Noo Jarsey,’ says the attorney-gin’ral. ’Those mon-sthers make their homes there,’ he says, ’an’,’ he says, ’I will say f’r thim, they’re good neighbors,’ he says.

"’An’ while ye’re at it,’ says a modest voice fr’m th’ corner iv th’ room, ’don’t f’rget to dhrop in a bean f’r th’ sicrety iv agriculture—Tama Jim, th’ farmers’ frind. Gr-reat captains,’ he says, ’with their guns an’ dhrums,’ he says, ’soon pass away, but whin they’re gone wan figure will stand out like th’ coopoly on a r-red barn,’ he says. ’To whom d’ye refer?’ angrily demands th’ sicrety iv war. ’To mesilf,’ says th’ sicrety iv agriculture.

"’Gintlemen,’ says th’ Prisidint, ’ar-re ye all through?’ he says. ’We ar-re,’ says they. ’An’ where do I come in?’ he says. ’Why,’ says th’ sicrety iv state, ’ye sign th’ docymint,’ says he. ’Well,’ says Mack, ’I’ve heerd ye’er suggistions,’ he says, ’an’ ye may go back to wurruk,’ he says. ’I’ll write this message, an’ if ye see anny iv ye’er names in it,’ he says, ’ye may conclude,’ he says, ’that me hand has lost its cunning,’ he says. ’I guess,’ he says, ’I’m some huckleberries in this governmint mesilf,’ he says.

"An’ he sets clown an’ writes: ’Fellow Citizens: I’m glad to see ye here, an hope ye won’t stay long. Thanks to ye’er Uncle Bill, times is lookin’ up an’ will be more so in th’ near future. Me foreign relations ar-re iv th’ most plisint nature. Ye will be glad to know that th’ frind-ship iv this counthry with Germany planted in Samoa an’ nourished at Manila has grown to such a point as to satisfy th’ mos’ critical German-American. With England we ar-re on such terms as must plaze ivry Canajeen, but not on anny such terms as wud make anny Irishman think we at-re on such terms as we ought not to be. In other wurruds, we cherish a deep animosity mingled with passionate love, such a feelin’ as we must entertain to a nation with common impulses f’r th’ same money an’ a common language iv abuse. To’rd our sister raypublic iv France an’ our ol’ frind an’ ally, Rooshia, to sunny Italy an’ Austhria an’ Bool-gahria an’ oppressed Poland, to th’ Boer, who has manny rilitives here, an’ to ivry other nation but Chinnymen an’ Indyans not votin’, kind regards. I wud speak to ye on th’ subject iv thrusts, but I have nawthin’ to say. If ye want to smash this necess’ry evil, this octopus that with its horrible tentacles is crushin’ out an’ nourishin’ commerce, do it ye’er-silf. That’s what ye’er here f’r. Something ought to be done f’r th’ Nic’ragyooa canal, but what th’ divvle it is, I dinnaw. As f’r our newly acquired possessions, ’tis our intintion to give them a form iv governmint suited to their needs, which is small, an’ in short, to do as we blamed please with thim, makin’ up our minds as we go along. So no more fr’m ye’ers thruly, Willum McKinley.’

"An’ there’s th’ message," said Mr. Dooley.

"An’ what did congress say?" Mr. Hennessy asked.

"Congress did’nt say annything," said Mr. Dooley. "Congress yawned. But congress ’ll get th’ rale message whin it goes over to th’ white house wan at a time to see about th’ foorth-class postmasthers."

[Finley Peter Dunne], (New York, Robert Howard Russell, 1900), 103–108.


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Chicago: Finley Peter Dunne, "The President’s Message (1899)," Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy in American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. Albert Bushnell Hart (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903), Original Sources, accessed December 5, 2023,

MLA: Dunne, Finley Peter. ""The President’s Message" (1899)." Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy, in American History Told by Contemporaries, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Vol. 4, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1903, Original Sources. 5 Dec. 2023.

Harvard: Dunne, FP, '"The President’s Message" (1899)' in Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy. cited in 1903, American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. , The Macmillan Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 5 December 2023, from