Source: Here and There in Two Hemispheres
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Two Presidents I Have Met”
Author(s): Law, James D.
Publisher: Home Publishing Company
Place of publication: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Year of publication: 1903
Pagination: 443-48 (excerpt below includes only pages 447-48)
|Law, James D. “Two Presidents I Have Met.” Here and There in Two Hemispheres. Lancaster: Home Publishing, 1903: pp. 443-48.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|James D. Law; William McKinley; William McKinley (presidential character).|
The identity of Smith (below) cannot be determined.
The excerpt (below) constitutes a portion of a footnote from the chapter. The footnote appears in full on pages 446-48.
From title page: By James D. Law, Author of “Dreams o’ Hame,” “Columbia-Caledonia” and Other Scottish and American Poems; “The Sea-Shore of Bohemia”; “Lancaster: Old and New,” etc.
From title page: First Series.
Two Presidents I Have Met [excerpt]
There were three rockers on the porch, and to be modest I sat
down in the one farthest from him, but he insisted on me taking the nearer one.
In a few minutes we were as “pack and thick thegither” [sic] as if we had been
life-long friends. It really surprises myself when I recall how many topics
we touched upon, public, national, racial, local, and also some of a private
nature. The President talked brilliantly, even joyously, just as if he really
felt like a boy let loose from school, and yet he had his soft and tender moods
when his heart with its sorrows and disappointments seemed to be revealed. We
had much in common and many mutual friends to talk about. On the other hand
we both showed our Scotch by differing on several matters and had one or two
pleasant debates on points that we had to leave unsettled. I liked the President
for his home  patriotism, and
his desire to convince me that Stark County, Ohio, was perhaps the finest agricultural
district in the Union. But primed as I was with Lancaster statistics and knowing
that she safely “led all the rest,” I would not concede an inch, and even told
him that Stark doubtless owed her supremacy in Ohio to the fact that her pioneers
hailed from Lancaster. He was so bent on me having a better opinion of his home
land that he asked me to stay over until next day so that he could drive me
around some of their finest farms. I regret now that I did not avail myself
of this rare invitation, but at the time it seemed to me to be impossible. The
President even planned a practical joke with me to be perpetrated on our friend
Smith of the Botanic Gardens when I should next be in Washington. As I sat in
the dim light with Mr. McKinley so long, and all by ourselves, I could not help
thinking that he was a fearless man so to expose himself. If I had harbored
any designs on his life there would have been no difficulty in picking him off.
We even discussed the matter and he showed me he was without any fear. He could
not imagine any one [sic] having such a grudge against him as to try to kill
him and plainly hinted that if the position had to be coupled with that constant
dread it would not be worth having. No doubt he still felt so, on that fatal
day at Buffalo, when he fell a victim to the assassin’s bullet.
As I said in a short talk before the children of Clay Street School, Lancaster, on “McKinley Day” (January 29), 1902: President McKinley had strength as well as gentleness, and all his life he showed that he was steadily growing in power and usefulness. Beginning in obscurity, he became one of the foremost figures in the world. At his lamented death he was in the full height of his fame. He represented the noblest type of statesmanship—irreproachable in his private life, and unselfishly devoted to what he believed to be for the best interests of his country and people.