Source: Fifty Years of Make-Believe
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The Genesis of the Warde-James Combination” [chapter 18]
Author(s): Warde, Frederick
Publisher: International Press Syndicate
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1920
Pagination: 236-51 (excerpt below includes only pages 241-43)
|Warde, Frederick. “The Genesis of the Warde-James Combination” [chapter 18]. Fifty Years of Make-Believe. New York: International Press Syndicate, 1920: pp. 236-51.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|Frederick Warde; William McKinley; McKinley assassination (predictions); William McKinley (presidential character).|
|Thomas Cromwell; Henry VIII; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; William Shakespeare; Thomas Wolsey.|
|From title page: By Frederick Warde, Actor of Many Parts, and Author of “The Fools of Shakespeare.”|
The Genesis of the Warde-James Combination [excerpt]
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 life.
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.”