Eulogy of President William McKinley
A DESIRE for the approbation of others is innate in human nature,
and it is equally true that there is a principle in us which arouses
our esteem for a great character. However reluctant we may be to
admit it, we all are hero worshipers. The man of intellect, the
man of force, the man of action, secures our admiration. If a man
be eminent in science, or in art; in literature, or in inventive
skill; in statesmanship, or in war, we applaud him. The great, in
every activity of human endeavor, command respect. Homage is paid
to genius. But if the man of genius be of our own country or race
or blood, then he more easily attracts our attention, more readily
engages our affections, and more indelibly are the facts of his
efforts and of his achievements impressed upon us. This, after all,
is but patriotism, and patriotism is an attribute of the divinity
It is this patriotism that
causes the Scandinavian to proudly recite the story of Ruric, the
great Norseman, who was the founder of Russia; of Canute, the good
Danish king, who became king of England; of Rollo and his followers,
who  wrested territory from Gaul
and gave to France some of her bravest knights and her greatest
statesman; of William the Conqueror, who at the battle of Hastings
won the English crown and demonstrated to the Saxon the invincibility
of Norman warriors; and of those Scandinavian sons who braved the
storms of the pathless seas and laid the foundation of the city
of Dublin and other cities in Ireland, and who intermarried with
the fair daughters of Erin and thus mixed their blood with the rich
blood of the Celtic inhabitants of that beautiful isle.
It is this same patriotism
that causes the Briton to cherish the memory of Chatham and of Wellington;
the Irishman that of O’Connell and of Grattan; the German that of
Schiller and of Frederick Barbarossa; the Jew that of Moses and
of Solomon; the Hungarian that of Kossuth; the Welshman that of
Llewellyn; the Scotchman that of Wallace.
He who in any path of life
serves his country benefits mankind. That patriotism of a people
which cherishes the memory and extols the virtues of those who have
been of service to their country, in peace or in war, or of those
who have added lustre or given renown to their race, is admirable.
We are certain that he who serves his country or he who adds fame
or glory, or gives honorable distinction to his race, is not forgotten,
but by gratitude is repaid. The most precious gift which can be
bestowed upon the excellent and worthy man is gratitude. He who
receives it is enthused and aroused to higher aspirations, and those
who bestow it are elevated. The knowledge of this 
inspires and leads to patriotic service, heroic action and good
deeds in behalf of race and of country.
It is patriotism that brings
us here today, to review the life and to pay a tribute of respect
to the memory of our beloved President, who, in the supremacy of
his power, in the performance of his duties, in the splendor and
brilliancy of his career, was so untimely by the hand of an assassin
cut down. The American flag which but a few days ago waved proudly
in the atmosphere of heaven over a great and prosperous people today
floats at half-mast. Every civilized nation of the world that admires
moral greatness, cherishes successful statesmanship and loves constitutional
liberty mourns with this republic.
McKinley is the third President
of the republic who has fallen by the hand of a malicious assassin.
When Booth took the life of Lincoln he laid low a character possessing
the wisdom of a Richelieu and the virtues, mercy and goodness of
a Paul. When Guiteau slew Garfield a patriot was slain; and when
Czologosz assassinated McKinley neither a despot nor a tyrant but
a tender and sympathetic man and a patriotic statesman expired.
Therefore, there is reason for our grief.
When a man lives the time allotted
to him by nature, and death ensues by the natural processes of decay,
while we regret his departure we console ourselves that it is but
the common fate of all. But when a tragedy as foul, as sad as the
assassination of McKinley occurs it is difficult for us to be consoled,
because we are bewildered by the awfulness of such an atrocious
The Declaration of Independence
contains an axiomatic truth when it declares “that all men are created
equal.” It does not mean and it was not intended to convey the idea
that there is no difference in the character or intellectual capacity
of men. It has reference only to civil rights.
In every garden of flowers
there are those which are fairer to behold and more perfumed than
the myriads which surround them; in every forest there are some
giant trees which tower above the rest; and in every nation there
are some men who, in purity of character, or greatness of intellect
or in achievements, rise pre-eminent above the multitude. “One star
differeth from another star in glory.”
Nature is liberal to some men;
on them she bestows her choicest gifts and adorns them with genius.
Their greatness we cannot too fully appreciate. A commanding influence
radiates from them, like light from a meridian sun. With sure and
steady step they walk erect, while others fall and falter. The magnetism
emitted from Great Men drives fear away, and inspiration gives to
those who come within the radius of their genius. Sheridan, astride
his favorite steed, dashing upon the battlefield, beheld his army
in retreat, snatched victory from defeat by saying to his soldiers:
“Turn, boys, turn, we’re going back.” When Napoleon escaped from
the Island of Elba on his return to Paris to reasssume the reins
of empire, the soldiers sent to retard his advance, when they beheld
him, enraptured by his magnetic presence, joined his standard and
rushed to his defense. 
Emerson says: “That country
is the fairest which is inhabited by the noblest minds.” God has
so ordained that men of merit and of genius are not the children
of any one particular country. No nation has a monopoly on character
or of intellect. The land of Judea produced a Moses and a Solomon,
as well as the grandest system of moral philosophy promulgated since
the first morning of creation to the present hour. Homer, Virgil,
Scott, Goethe, Milton, Cervantes, Moliere and Whittier were natives
of different climes. Though dead they still live in the memory of
men by virtue of the immortal thoughts which they gave to the world.
Thus each bestowed honorable renown on the land of his birth.
If a race or a country is to
be judged or measured by the number of Great Men and Good Men which
it produces, then this republic, although but in its infancy, occupies
an enviable and leading place in the history of the ages. For our
country has ever been blessed with great and good men, and among
them history will assign to McKinley a conspicuous place.
When a man attains a high and
exalted position it is always relevant to inquire: “What were the
means by which he obtained it?” Napoleon, by the sword, became Emperor
of France. Didius Julianus purchased from the Praetorian guards,
at public auction, the throne of an empire and thus became Emperor
of Rome. Cromwell fanned the flames of bigotry and fanaticism, plunged
his country into the horrors of revolution, beheaded his king, founded
a dynasty, usurped a throne and thus became sole ruler of England.
What a contrast the life of
McKinley presents to the lives of those who secured exalted positions
by the caprice of fortune or by questionable methods. There was
nothing spectacular or meteoric in his career. The able, moral and
patriotic American with no tools but merit, and by no means save
intelligent industry and strict integrity, carved out his own fortune
and secured high place. At eighteen years of age he enlisted in
the Union Army in the Civil War and fought with Hayes and with Hancock
for the preservation of the Union. After he retired from the army,
he studied and fitted himself for the law and was admitted to the
bar. He was enjoying a successful and lucrative practice when he
was elected to Congress. Thereafter his life was a public one, and
he either served his native state as Governor or his country in
Congress, until he became President.
In the Congress of the United
States, a legislative body in which he served for fourteen years,
he was one of the foremost leaders of his party. He sincerely believed
that a protective tariff was necessary to promote and maintain the
manufacturing and industrial prosperity of the United States. This
was a question upon which the two great political parties of our
country differed in opinion. He was an acknowledged authority on
that issue, and with all of the force and energy of his frank nature
he advocated and labored for the enactment of and the maintenance
upon the statutes of such a measure.
McKinley, as an orator, was
inferior to Webster and to Clay; neither did he possess the charming
 eloquence of Shiel, or Grattan,
nor did his language glow with the poetic imagery and classic purity
of Edward Everett. But he was a pleasing and convincing speaker.
He had a good voice and a magnetic presence. His argument was logical,
his language was clear and forcible. He was intensely earnest, and
he appealed to the judgment, rarely to the imagination, and never
to the passions or prejudices of his audience. Conviction obtained
by an appeal to passion and prejudice is momentary, but that secured
by appealing to the reasoning faculties is permanent. The former
is dispelled by the first flash of the light of reason, like night
at the approach of the first rays of the morning sun. The latter
withstands investigation and firmly remains. Differ in opinion,
either in politics or religion, from narrow and bigoted men and
you incur their displeasure or arouse their wrath. McKinley was
without malice or resentment. Sincere and honest himself, he conceded
to those whose views differed from his the same virtues which were
a part of his own nature. Therefore, he never answered the argument
of an opponent by assailing his character nor by questioning his
motives. The cultured man never poisons his arrows nor indulges
in vituperation in the forum of debate.
Malice sears the heart and
vindictiveness beclouds the judgment. He who directs his force and
logic to the subject-matter, avoiding acrimonious epithets and personalities
in the arena of debate, will more often convince, but, failing to
convince, will retain the respect of his oppo- 
nents, which is a thing not to be despised, but ever to be sought
by those who desire success.
The Puritans fled from the
Old World to the New because they were persecuted on account of
their religious opinions. Yet in the New World they denied to others
that liberty which they claimed for themselves. They severely persecuted
and banished from their settlements and colonies those who would
not worship the same God in the same manner that they did.
The American did not imbibe
the intolerance of the Puritan, but he has more justly promulgated
and adhered to the principles advocated by Roger Williams and Lord
Baltimore, who were the first to put into practice, on American
soil, the right of every man, without danger to life or to liberty,
to select his own creed. The American of this age cares not whether
a man be a Christian, a Jew or a Deist, if he be honest and sincere
and his creed conduces to good morals and an upright life.
Some men, however, use religion
as a cloak to hide and cover the real promptings of a malignant
heart; some for political purposes and some to gain an entrance
into society. Their object is to deceive and thereby prey upon an
unsuspecting public. Such men are hypocrites. Their motives are
base. They enshroud themselves in a halo of sacredness in order
that they may perfidiously revel in acts of infamy.
McKinley was a devoutly pious
man. Sincere in his Christian belief, he practiced the tenets of
his creed. To inspire good thought, to lead to righteousness, to
conduce to honorable conduct 
and to elevate human life were the uses which he made of his religion.
“The righteous hath hope in his death.” Consequently when death
hovered about him, he did not fear to be weighed in the balance
by a just God. He estimated his fellow man by their conduct and
not by the name of their creed. He loved religious toleration and
hated religious persecution. His life was a benediction. It is an
inspiration to the young man. It demonstrates that the able, clad
in the armor of moral virtue and integrity may, though born in the
humble cottage of the toiler, obstacles overcome, success achieve
and, better still, be of service to his country.
A descendant of Irish, Scotch-Irish,
English, German and Dutch ancestry, McKinley was a typical American.
He had charity and sympathy in his soul. He possessed a wealth of
humor, a charm of manner, depth and purity of thought. He was kind
and affectionate, tender as the petal of a flower, gentle as a dove,
but when the occasion demanded that the Bengal tiger be loosed he
became inflexibly defiant, but no provocation could goad him into
the vicious rudeness and relentless rage of the cultureless man.
With his latest breath, Christ-like, he forgave his slayer. All
of which attest that within him were blended the moral virtues of
the royal blood of his progenitors.
As Prosecuting Attorney, as
Governor, as Congressman, as President, he faithfully performed
his duties. His country’s good was his only ambition and, like Gladstone,
he always strove to free the oppressed and to better the condition
of man-  kind. He was, like
Lincoln, charitable and sympathetic, and there was not a single
trait in his nature suggestive of a despot or of a tyrant.
Neither the attacks of a venal
press nor the slanders of political opponents ever disturbed the
peace and serenity of his mind. Narrow men, when they reach the
heights of power and are armed with authority, lose their balance
and fall into the abyss of ruin. Power and authority do not unduly
elate nor change great souls. Occupying high and exalted positions,
McKinley retained his tranquillity [sic] of mind, his honesty of
purpose, and he never forgot that the place which he occupied was
one of trust and confidence, given to him by his countrymen because
they believed that he would faithfully serve them. He never proved
false to a trust nor betrayed or deceived a friend.
This is neither time nor place
for a discussion of political questions, and I shall refrain from
interjecting anything of a partisan nature into my discourse. It
is perfectly proper, however, to state the facts.
A condition of affairs almost
as bad as troubled France when Richelieu became minister to Louis
XIII prevailed here, when on March 4th, 1897, McKinley was inaugurated
President. Whatever the causes may have been, the fact is that financial
depression cursed the land.
The wage-earner in vain sought
work, while his children cried for bread. The capitalist, afraid
to invest, hoarded in the vault his gold. The wheels of industry
stood still and smoke was not ascending from the chimneys of manufacturing
 establishments. The imports
exceeded the exports and the balance of trade was on the wrong side
of the republic’s ledger. Providence had not been unkind, for rains
had fallen on fertile fields and rich harvests of golden grain had
been gathered. Farms were covered with mortgages while their products
rotted in granaries for want of a market. Merchants had failed.
Banks had closed their doors. Dire distress everywhere prevailed
over this fair land, and the American people were sorely discontented
with the financial, industrial and economic condition of their country.
The American people looked
to McKinley for relief. There was that something in him which inspired
confidence, and no one feared that he would commit a rash act. Although
they may not have believed him to be a Jefferson or a Hamilton in
statesmanship, they knew that he was not a visionary theorist nor
a scheming politician, but that he was a conscientious, deliberate
man who loved his country, and who desired to restrain the aggressions
of the rich and to better the condition of the toiler. They knew
that even if he did not have the music or the imagination of a poet,
if he could not weigh and measure the spheres like an astronomer,
if he did not possess the learning of Edward Everett nor the silver
tongue of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, nor the philosophy of Edmund
Burke, he did have a patriot’s heart, and that he was the greatest
statesman of his time in America on questions relating to finance
The American people were not
disappointed. For during his administration marvelous were 
the changes that were wrought for the republic’s welfare. Capital
now seeks investment. The streams, which but a few years ago flowed
idly to the sea, now turn the wheels of industrial establishments.
Labor is in demand and there is now work for the toiler to do, at
the highest wages paid for service in the world. The necessaries
of life are on every table and comfort blesses every home. Discontent
has departed, confidence is supreme and prosperity everywhere prevails
in the United States.
Before the close of his first
administration the commercial and industrial condition of this republic
was, and still is, so great as to merit the admiration of Americans
and the envy of rival commercial nations. McKinley did more than
had ever before been accomplished in healing the discord which the
Civil War had left between certain sections of our country.
When he appointed as leaders
and officers of our army in the Spanish-American War some of the
brave and generous sons of the Sunny South, he exhibited the wisdom
of a statesman, administered justice, and placed upon the altar
of partisanship the God of Patriotism. When the American people
beheld the sons of those who wore the blue and of those who wore
the gray fighting shoulder to shoulder under and for their country’s
flag, they appreciated, more than ever before, that sectional discord
no longer disturbed the harmony of the republic.
Cuba is free and the American
flag waves over the Islands of Porto Rico and other islands of the
sea, not as the flag of the oppressor, for every 
star in its azure blue, proclaims that constitutional liberty and
not despotic tyranny exists for man. Here there are no caste distinctions.
Each has an equal opportunity. In every profession, in every vocation,
ability, industry and integrity are the only arts and power which
raise men to the summit of success. The republic was never more
stable and liberty was never more secure.
Why the President of a republic
like ours, and why such a President as McKinley, at such a time
as this, should be assassinated is beyond our comprehension, unless
we realize the fact that his assassin was an anarchist. We pause
and wonder why that demon of evil and of barbarism should enter
the territorial limits of our country. Surely there is nothing in
our form of government, nor in our laws, nor in the administration
of our laws, that could justify the existence within our midst of
that homicidal villain of ruthless destruction. There is nothing
in any form of civil government, whether it be a republican, a pure
democracy, a limited monarchy or an absolute one, that justifies
the existence of anarchy. This malignant child of hatred is opposed
to all civil government, to all law, to all order. The doctrines
taught and advocated by the anachists [sic], if put into practice
and if they became paramount, would destroy all civil government,
subvert all law and order and rear in lieu of peace and security
The bullet of Czolgosz was
not intended merely to slay McKinley, the man, but to destroy the
republic. Idle dreamers, unbalanced children of ruthless destruction,
if you believe that your  doctrines
shall ever gain a place in this republic, you mistake the character
and temperament of the American people.
The realization of the fact
that such a viper as anarchy exists within our territorial limits
will arouse the American people to greater vigilance, and to a determination
that down must come the red flag of anarchy; that its altar must
be demolished, and that its pernicious creed must be obliterated.
The republic will survive the death of McKinley; it is not ephemeral,
but is eternal.
In the Middle Ages there arose
a man whose intellectual capacity appears at this distant day to
have been more than human. He was a great soldier, a profound statesman,
a just jurist, a patron of learning, a promoter of civilization
and a lover of the human race; his name was Charlemagne. When he
was called to the throne of France, civilization was in eclipse.
Barbarism reigned in Europe. There were turmoil and violence but
no peace or security. The weapons of savage men were used to plunder
and to pillage and brute force was law. All this he transformed.
He subdued the barbarian, suppressed anarchy and lawless rebellion,
converted savage men, warring and robber tribes to the creed of
Christ. A devotee of science and belles-lettres, of music
and languages, he founded schools, established colleges and universities.
The fierce and turbulent Saxons,
Slavs, Huns, Lombards and Arabs were by the force of his genius
brought and held together with the Franks, for the advancement of
civilization. Since the fall of the Roman Empire, no monarch ever
 waived his scepter over such
a large domain, nor exercised such influence or power as did he,
yet upon his death his empire, like that of the Alexander the Great,
fell into fragments. The perpetuity of the Empire of Charlemagne
rested upon the genius of that illustrious and peerless man.
The stability of the Empire
of Alexander the Great depended upon the sword of the great Macedonian,
and when his remains were confined to an Egyptian tomb his empire
But the stability of this republic
does not depend upon the life nor upon the statesmanship of any
man, nor does its fate rest upon the success of the sword of any
warrior. When it was conceived, cruel despotism was dethroned and
civil liberty was born.
When the calm judgment of eternal
justice shall have obliterated anarchy and consigned its principles
to oblivion, as it surely will, our republic shall continue to be,
to the end of time, what it now is, the land of “equal opportunity,”
the home of civil liberty and the pride of peaceful, orderly, cultured
and progressive men.