The Impressive State Funeral Ceremonies
THE last sad services
at the Nation’s Capital began on Wednesday, the 17th of September,
when the body-bearers silently and reverently raised to their stalwart
shoulders the casket, containing all that was mortal of the illustrious
dead. As they appeared at the main door of the White House the Marine
Band, stationed on the avenue opposite the mansion, struck up the
hymn the President loved so well, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” and,
as the last sad strain of the music died away, the throng in the
building lifted their heads, but their eyes were wet.
Slowly along the White House driveway,
through a fine drizzling rain, the solemn cortege wound its way
down to the gate leading to the avenue and halted. Then, with a
grand, solemn swing, the artillery band began the “Dead March from
Saul,” a blast from a bugle sounded “march” and the head of the
procession was moving on its way to the Capitol. The casket, in
a black carved hearse and drawn by six coal-black horses, caparisoned
in black net with trailing tassels and a stalwart groom at the head
of each, moved down through the gateway toward the distant Capitol.
In the great funeral procession were bodies of troops representing
the army and navy, high dignitaries of State, including the Judiciary,
members of both houses of Congress and representatives of foreign
governments; also many civic organizations from all sections of
At 10.12 o’clock the head of the procession
arrived at the north end of the Capitol plaza. The troops swept
around to the south end of the plaza and then marched to position
fronting the main entrance to the Capitol. As soon as they had been
formed  at rest, the artillery
band on the left and the Marine Band on the right of the entrance,
the funeral cortege with its guard of honor entered the plaza from
The guard of honor ascended the steps,
the naval officers on the right and the army officers on the left,
forming a cordon on each side, just within the ranks of the artillerymen,
seamen and marines. As the eight sturdy body-bearers, four from
the army and four from the navy, tenderly drew the flag-draped casket
from the hearse the band sweetly wailed the pleading notes of “Nearer,
My God, to Thee.” Every head in the vast attendant throng was bared.
Tear-bedimmed eyes were raised to heaven and silent prayers went
up from the thousands of hearts.
With careful and solemn tread the
body-bearers began the ascent of the staircase with their precious
burden and tenderly bore it to the catafalque in the rotunda.
Here, under the great dome of the
Capitol, on whose vast canopy the artist has painted the apotheosis
of Washington, there rested the body of William McKinley, whose
apotheosis is in the hearts of his countrymen. In the centre of
the rotunda that has resounded to the tread of statesmen for almost
a century stood the bier of the dead President, while on either
side passed 60,000 men, women and children who sought a last glimpse
of the face of the man they all loved so well.
The obsequies, from the moment the
remains of the President were carried from the White House to the
Capitol until they were placed upon the train which bore them to
the old home in Canton, were simple and democratic. There was no
display of pomp and splendor. The ceremonies were majestic in their
simplicity. The occasion was historic, though sorrowful, and the
greatest in the land paid humble tribute to the dead President.
The new President of the United States, the only living ex-President,
the Supreme Court, the highest officers of the army and navy, the
Senate and House of Representatives, the representatives of the
foreign powers, delegations of the great patriotic orders of the
 country, representatives
of States and municipalities, all met with bowed heads about the
bier of William McKinley. Through its representatives a nation paid
the last honors to its martyred President.
It was a genuine day
of mourning, and Nature added to the gloom. Gray clouds overcast
the sky early in the day and at intervals rain deluged the city.
Despite the frequent downpours, the tens of thousands of Washington’s
citizens who besieged the Capitol to look upon the dead form of
the President held their places in line, drenched to the skin, but
determined to show their affection for him who had been so ruthlessly
taken from them.
In the services in the rotunda of
the Capitol all interest centred, as they expressed the sympathy
of the nation and the acquiescence in God’s will according to the
President’s last prayer of resignation. The place was well chosen
and already hallowed by the religious services over the bodies of
the other two martyred Presidents. President McKinley’s remains
rested directly in the centre of the Capitol beneath which it had
been the purpose of the designers of the building to have placed
the body of the Father of his Country, George Washington. On the
walls surrounding the rotunda hang immense paintings depicting the
great events in the early history of the country. Its discovery
by Columbus, the embarkation by the Pilgrim Fathers, the surrender
at Yorktown, and other great events marking the birth of the nation,
are shown; while from pedestals on the east and west side of the
circle the marble statues of Lincoln and Grant looked down upon
the bier of the martyred President.
This was a spot which always attracted
Mr. McKinley when a member of Congress. Hundreds of times had he
stood gazing on these pictures, pointing them out to friends and
visitors, and thousands of times, in the pursuit of his duties as
Congressman, had he traversed this rotunda, a familiar figure to
the guides and employees of the Capitol. To-day the guides, grown
gray in the  service, who
used to point out Major McKinley to the curious visitors as the
leader of the House and a great man, acted as ushers and seated
the audience of 800 or more that gathered about Major McKinley’s
coffin to pay their last respects.
It seemed peculiarly
fitting that the body of this distinguished man should lie amid
the scenes of his great achievements as a statesman and legislator.
How strong he was in the affections of Congressmen was shown by
the large attendance of Senators and Representatives. His old colleagues
in the House and members of the Senate, with whom he labored and
accomplished great work of legislation, were inexpressibly affected
as they gathered about his remains.
Few of the older Congressmen could
hide their feelings. There was Payne, of New York; Hopkins, of Illinois;
Bingham and Dalzell, of Pennsylvania, who served many years in the
House when William McKinley was one of its foremost Republican members,
and Allison, of Iowa; Hawley and Platt, of Connecticut; Burrows,
of Michigan; Spooner, of Wisconsin; Cullom, of Illinois; Cockrell,
of Missouri; Daniel, of Virginia, and others of the Senate who had
the most pleasant recollections of their associations with Mr. McKinley
when he was a member of Congress. The faces of these distinguished
statesmen reflected their heartfelt sorrow. Senator Hawley, an intense
admirer of President McKinley before and after the latter entered
the White House, tottered into the rotunda almost in a state of
collapse. He had come from Buffalo with the funeral party, and,
though broken in health and shaken by age, he was determined to
pay his respects to the beloved dead.
It was a most distinguished and august
body that gathered about the casket. There was President Roosevelt,
sitting at the head of his Cabinet, conscious of the great responsibilities
suddenly thrust upon him, but with sorrow depicted in every line
of  his face. In full command
of his feelings, it was only the firm set of his jaw that revealed
the effort to preserve a calm exterior.
Across a narrow aisle from him sat
the only living ex-President of the United States, Grover Cleveland,
who now visited Washington for the first time since he resigned
the reins of Government into the hands of William McKinley on March
4, 1897. Mr. Cleveland seemed affected by the services and the surroundings,
reverently bowed his head in prayer and joined with the audience
in repeating the Lord’s Prayer at the close of the minister’s invocation.
With President Roosevelt
there sat all the members of Mr. McKinley’s Cabinet. Secretary Hay
sat on his left, a heartbroken, sorrow-stricken man. For the third
time in his life he attended services held over the bodies of murdered
Presidents. It has been his fate to have been intimately associated
with the three Presidents of the United States who have fallen at
the hands of assassins. He was private secretary to the first martyred
President, Abraham Lincoln, and was Assistant Secretary of State
under President Garfield. This third cruel blow was much more than
he deserved. Besides Secretary Hay, there were the other members
of the late President’s two Cabinets.
Mrs. McKinley was unable
to attend the services at the Capitol, but the other members of
the dead President’s family gathered near the casket and listened
to the simple prayers, hymns and address that composed the service.
The two hymns, which were special favorites of Mr. McKinley, were
sung by a double quartet. Everybody was affected by the sweet music
and touching words. “Lead, Kindly Light” and “Nearer, My God, to
Thee” seemed to have deeper significance as the strains of the well-known
tunes rang through that vast rotunda and were re-echoed from the
lofty dome. 
There was a profusion of floral gifts
in all forms of magnificent and costly flowers, sent from all parts
of the country and expressing the love, affection and esteem of
representatives of all governments, organizations and bodies of
men. The railing about the rotunda was lined with exquisite floral
pieces, while the flag-draped casket was banked with some of the
finest wreaths and designs.
The funeral services were simple and
beautiful. They were of the form prescribed in the Methodist Church.
Two hymns, a prayer, an address and a benediction comprised all
of it, yet the impression left at the end was of perfection.
When the noise occasioned by seating
the late-comers had ceased a hush fell upon the people and then
the choir softly sang “Lead, Kindly Light,” Bishop Newman’s divine
anthem, while every one stood in reverence. At the conclusion of
the hymn Rev. Dr. Henry R. Naylor, presiding elder of the Washington
District M. E. Church, delivered the invocation, while the distinguished
company listened with bowed heads.
As the pastor ceased the voices of
the choir swelled forth, and the rich, pure soprano notes of a soloist
led the hymn “Some Time We’ll Understand.” The music was remarkably
effective and touching as the notes came back in soft echoes from
the fulness of the dome overhead. As soon as the hymn ceased Bishop
Edward G. Andrews, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who had come
from Ohio to say the last words over the remains of his lifelong
friend and parishioner, arose. He stood at the head of the casket
and spoke in sympathetic voice and with many evidences of deep emotion.
As the bishop concluded every one
in the vast rotunda rose and, the choir intoning the air, hundreds
of voices joined in the grand old hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
The last notes died away softly, and
with uplifted hands the benediction was pronounced by Rev. Dr. W.
H. Chapman, acting pastor of the Metropolitan Church. This ended
the religious service. 
EULOGY BY BISHOP ANDREWS
‘Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord, who of His abundant mercy hath begotten
us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the
dead, to an inheritance uncorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth
not away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of
God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last
“The services for the dead are fitly
and almost of necessity services of religion and of immortal hope.
In the presence of the shroud, and the coffin, and the narrow home,
questions concerning intellectual quality, concerning public station,
concerning great achievements, sink into comparative insignificance,
and questions concerning character and man’s relation to the Lord
and giver of life, even the life eternal, emerge to our view and
impress themselves upon us.
“Character abides. We
bring nothing into this world, we can carry nothing out. We ourselves
depart with all the accumulations of tendency, and habit, and quality
which the years have given to us. We ask, therefore, even at the
grave of the illustrious, not altogether what great achievement
they had performed, and how they had commended themselves to the
memory and affection or respect of the world, but chiefly of what
sort they were; what the interior nature of the man was; what were
his affinities. Were they with the good, the true, the noble? What
his relation to the Lord of the universe and to the compassionate
Saviour of mankind; what his fitness for that great hereafter to
which he had passed.
“And such great questions come to
us with moment, even in the hour when we gather around the bier
of those whom we profoundly respect and eulogize and whom we tenderly
love. In the years to come, the days and the months that lie immediately
before us will give full utterance as to the high statesmanship
and great achievements of the illustrious man whom we mourn to-day.
We  shall not touch them
to-day. The nation already has broken out in its tears, and is still
pouring them, over the loss of a beloved man. It is well.
“But we ask this morning
of what sort this man is, so that we may, perhaps, knowing the moral
and spiritual life that is past, be able to shape the far-withdrawing
future. I think we must all concede that nature and training and—reverently
be it said—the inspiration of the Almighty conspired to conform
a man admirable in his moral temper and aims.
“We none of us can doubt, I think,
that even by nature he was eminently gifted. The kindly, calm, and
equitable temperament, the kindly and generous heart, the love of
justice and right, and the tendency toward faith and loyalty to
unseen powers and authorities—these things must have been with him
from his childhood, from his infancy; but upon them supervened the
training for which he was always tenderly thankful and of which
even this great nation from sea to sea continually has taken note.
“It was a humble home in which he
was born. Narrow conditions were around him; but faith in God had
lifted that lowly roof, according to the statement of some great
writer, up to the very heavens and permitted its inmates to behold
the things eternal, immortal and divine; and he came under that
“It is a beautiful thing that to the
end of his life he bent reverently before that mother whose example,
and teaching, and prayer had so fashioned his mind and all his aims.
The school came to him but briefly, and then came to him the Church
with a ministration of power. He accepted the truth which it taught.
“He believed in God and in Jesus Christ,
through whom God was revealed. He accepted the divine law of the
Scripture; he based his hope on Jesus Christ, the appointed and
only Redeemer of men; and the Church, beginning its operation upon
his character at an early period of his life, continued even to
its close to mould him. He waited attentively upon its ministrations.
“He gladly partook with his brethren
of the symbols of mysterious passion and redeeming love of the Lord
Jesus Christ. He was helpful in all of those beneficences and activities;
and from the Church, to the close of his life, he received inspiration
that lifted him above much of the trouble and weakness incident
to our human nature, and, blessings be to God, may we say, in the
last and final hour they enabled him confidently, tenderly, to say,
‘It is His will, not ours, that will be done.’
“Such influences gave
to us William McKinley. And what was he? A man of incorruptible,
personal and political integrity. I suppose no one ever attempted
to approach him in the way of a bribe; and we remember, with great
felicitation at this time, for such an example to ourselves, that
when great financial difficulties and perils encompassed him he
determined to deliver all he possessed to his creditors, that there
should be no challenge of his perfect honesty in the matter. A man
of immaculate purity, shall we say? No stain was upon his escutcheon;
no syllable of suspicion that I ever heard was whispered against
his character. He walked in perfect and noble self-control.
“Beyond that, this man had somehow
wrought in him—I suppose upon the foundations of a very happily
constructed nature—a great and generous love for his fellow-men.
He believed in men. He had himself been brought up among the common
people. He knew their labors, struggles, necessities. He loved them;
but I think beyond that it was to the Church and its teachings concerning
the fatherhood of God and universal brotherhood of man that he was
indebted for that habit of kindness, for that generosity of spirit,
that was wrought into his very substance and became him so that,
though he was of all men most courteous, no one ever supposed but
that courtesy was from the heart. It was spontaneous, unaffected,
kindly, attractive, in a most eminent degree. 
“What he was in the narrower circle
of those to whom he was personally attached I think he was also
in the greatness of his comprehensive love toward the race of which
he was part. If any man had been lifted up to take into his purview
and desire to help all classes and conditions of men, all nationalities
beside his own, it was this man.
“Shall I speak a word
next of that which I will hardly advert to—the tenderness of that
domestic love which has so often been commented upon? I pass it
with only that word. I take it that no words can set forth fully
the unfaltering kindness and carefulness and upbearing love which
belonged to this great man.
“And he was a man who believed in
right, who had a profound conviction that the courses of this world
must be ordered in accordance with everlasting righteousness, or
this world’s highest point of good will never be reached; that no
nation can expect success in life except as it conforms to the eternal
will of the Infinite Lord and pass itself in individual and collective
activity according to that Divine Will. It was deeply ingrained
in him that righteousness was the perfection of any man and of any
people. Simplicity belonged to him. I need not dwell upon it, and
I close the statement of these qualities by saying that underlying
all and overreaching all and penetrating all there was a profound
loyalty to God, the great King of the universe, the Author of all
good, the Eternal hope of all that trust in Him.
“And now, may I say
further that it seems to me that to whatever we may attribute all
the illustriousness of this man, all the greatness of his achievements—whatever
of that we may attribute to his intellectual character and quality,
whatever of it we may attribute to the patient and thorough study
which he gave to the various questions thrust upon him for attention,
for all his successes as a politician, as a stateman, as a man of
this great  country, those
successes were largely due to the moral qualities of which I have
“They drew to him the hearts of men
everywhere, and particularly of those who best knew him. They called
to his side helpers in every exigency of his career, so that when
his future was at one time likely to have been imperiled and utterly
ruined by his financial conditions, they who had resources, for
the sake of helping a man who had in him such qualities, came to
his side and put him on the high road of additional and larger successes.
“His high qualities
drew to him the good-will of his associates in political life in
an eminent degree. They believed in him, felt his kindness, confided
in his honesty and in his honor. His qualities even associated with
him in kindly relations those who were his political opponents.
They made it possible for him to enter that land with which he,
as one of the soldiers of the Union, had been in some sort at war
and to draw closer the tie that was to bind all the parts in one
firmer and indissoluble union.
“They commanded the confidence of
the great body of Congress, so that they listened to his plans and
accepted kindly and hopefully and trustfully all his declarations.
His qualities gave him reputation, not in this land alone but throughout
the world, and made it possible for him to minister in the style
in which he has within the last two or three years ministered to
the welfare and peace of human kind.
“It was out of the profound depths
of his moral and religious character that came the possibilities
of that usefulness which we are all glad to attribute to him. And
will such a man die? Is it possible that He who created, redeemed,
transformed, uplifted, illumined such a man will permit him to fall
into oblivion? The instincts of immortality are in all good men.
The Divine Word of the Scripture leaves us no room for doubt. ‘I,’
said One whom he trusted, ‘am the resurrection and the life. He
that believeth  in Me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth
in Me shall never die.’
“Lost to us, but not
to his God. Lost from earth, but entered Heaven. Lost from these
labors and toils and perils, but entered into the everlasting peace
and ever-advancing progress. Blessed be God who gives us this hope
in this hour of calamity and enables us to triumph through Him who
hath redeemed us.
“If there is a personal immortality
before him, let us also rejoice that there is an immortality and
memory in the hearts of a large and ever-growing people who, through
the ages to come, the generations that are yet to be, will look
back upon this life, upon its nobility and purity and service to
humanity and thank God for it.
“The years draw on when his name shall
be counted among the illustrious of the earth. William of Orange
is not dead. Cromwell is not dead. Washington lives in the hearts
and lives of his countrymen. Lincoln, with his infinite sorrow,
lives to teach us and lead us on. And McKinley shall summon all
statesmen and all his countrymen to purer living, nobler aims, sweeter
faith and immortal blessedness.”