Little did any of us
dream that he would suffer the tragic fate of the great Emancipator.
As a young man I was shocked at the
news of the assassination of President Lincoln. As a politician
and mature man I was horrified by the murder of Garfield. I was
completely dazed—appalled—when September 6, 1901, a newspaper man
informed me, while at dinner, that President McKinley was shot.
At first I could not credit it. I could not conceive how a man who
had perhaps fewer enemies than any President we ever had would be
singled out for punishment. I recall, however, that when there came
the astounding, distressing, sickening message from Buffalo describing
how Anarchist Czolgoscz had put a pistol to the President’s heart,
I exclaimed: “Had I been there, I should have forgotten there is
a law against lynching.” I really could not control myself. Had
there been a rope handy I should have helped to hang the brute to
the nearest lamppost. 
I said at the time,
and I reassert it, that I do not believe in temporizing with assassins
of public men. The speediest punishment should follow their crimes.
The quicker the drumhead court-martial is summoned and the wretch
punished to the fullest extent of the law, the better for the country
and for society.
When later in the day advices indicated
that the President had partially recovered from the shock, and Dr.
Rixey wired he would live, I could not repress a “Thank God!” and
added: “Hereafter I am a belligerent McKinleyite.”
How prayerfully and tearfully we watched
the bulletins telling the latest phases of the great patient’s suffering!
How millions of children in the nation’s schools lifted their hands
to Heaven and implored God to save the President to them! We hoped
those prayers would be answered. But a little more than a week after
his prostration, President McKinley, a smile on his lips, and whispering:
“Thy will be done,” passed to the above.
The entire nation was in mourning.
As if to add to the tragedy of the event, Roosevelt, who had been
summoned to Buffalo to immediately take the oath of office as President,
was reported lost in the Adirondacks. With his proverbial luck,
however, he soon emerged, and after a thrilling carriage ride of
thirty miles, caught a special 
train, that whisked him to the bier of his predecessor.
That the new President
fully appreciated the deplorable circumstances under which he was
elevated to the chieftainship of the nation, was manifested by him
soon after he qualified. Then he issued this proclamation:
“In this hour of deep and national
bereavement, I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue
absolutely and without variance the policy of President McKinley,
for the peace, prosperity and honor of our beloved country.”
These lines did much to restore the
confidence of the business community and allay the misapprehension
some felt that a revolution in McKinley’s conduct of the Government
Though inclined to be spectacular,
and the direct antithesis of McKinley in some methods of dealing
with public problems, I desire to testify that Roosevelt kept the
faith he pledged at Buffalo, September 14, 1901. He sincerely sought
to follow in the footsteps of McKinley and proved himself one of
our greatest Presidents. I may be pardoned if I remind my readers
that but for my insistence upon his nomination for the Vice-Presidency,
Roosevelt would certainly not have succeeded McKinley in 1901, and
maybe he would never have been President of the United States.