The full quote runs: "Necessitous men are not, truly speaking, free men, but, to answer a present exigency, will submit to any terms that the crafty may impose upon them."
In using the phrase, "Necessitous men are not free men," Roosevelt was actually quoting from a decision in a well-known 1762 English legal case.
His necessitous condition was so notorious that the clergy in convocation voted him a present of f5000.
The people, he contended, were no worse off under the old monarchy than they will be in the long run under assemblies that are bound by the necessity of feeding one part of the community at the grievous charge of other parts, as necessitous as those who are so fed; that are obliged to flatter those who have their lives at their disposal by tolerating acts of doubtful influence on commerce and agriculture, and for the sake of precarious relief to sow the seeds of lasting want; that will be driven to be the instruments of the violence of others from a sense of their own weakness, and, by want of authority to assess equal and proportioned charges upon all, will be compelled to lay a strong hand upon the possessions of a part.
All this did not bear its full fruit during the reign of the Catholic sovereigns, but by the end of the 16th century it had reduced Spain to a state of Byzantine regulation in which every kind of work had to be done under the eye and subject to the interference of a vast swarm of government officials, all ill paid, and often not paid, all therefore necessitous and corrupt.