The Genesis of the Warde-James Combination
In the spring of 1901,
I played an engagement at the National Theatre, Washington, D. C.
On the Friday of the week, May 15th (I remember the date as it is
a family birthday), I called at the White House to pay my respects
to President McKinley, whom I had known for many years and had met
frequently in terms of cordial friendship when he was in Congress
from the State of Ohio.
The President gave me a hearty welcome,
greeting me with the salutation: “Well, you apostle of the west,”
referring to my enthusiasm over that rapidly developing section
of our country.
We talked of old times, old friends
and finally of Shakespeare. He asked me what plays I was presenting
on my current tour. I named them and 
amongst them Shakespeare’s play of King Henry the Eighth.
The President expressed the greatest
disappointment that his engagements would not permit him to witness
a performance of that play, telling me he had found in the text
of Henry VIII a passage that he had adopted as the motto of his
I inquired what particular passage
he referred to. He recited the following lines from Cardinal Wolsey’s
parting advice to Cromwell in the third act:—“Let all the ends thou
aim’st at be thy country’s, thy God’s and truth’s.”
I followed with the lines of the text,
slightly paraphrasing them: “Then, if thou fall’st, O, Mr. President,
thou fall’st a blessed martyr.”
The President smiled and said: “Yes,
those are the words.”
I left him and never saw him again.
The following summer the President
made the trip to the Pacific Coast that I had so long advocated.
As I had foretold, it was a triumphal march that was only curtailed
by the illness of Mrs. McKinley. On the President’s return to the
east, he visited the Exposition at Buffalo, New York, where he was
shot by an assassin and died a few days afterward.
When the news of President McKinley’s
death reached me, I recalled our interview and conversation only
four months before, and reviewing the facts of his life and the
conditions of his death, I think it must be conceded that he had
been true to  the motto he
had chosen; that all the ends he had aimed at had been for his country,
his God and truth. His name and memory will live in the minds and
hearts of his surviving countrymen as “A blessed martyr.”