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Source: Indiana Writers of Poems and Prose
Source type: book
Document type: essay
Document title: “William McKinley—A Memorial Tribute”
Author(s): Wiggam, Albert Edward
Compiler(s): Hamilton, Edward Joseph
Publisher: Western Press Association
Place of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: none

Wiggam, Albert Edward. “William McKinley—A Memorial Tribute.” Indiana Writers of Poems and Prose. Comp. Edward Joseph Hamilton. Chicago: Western Press Association, 1902: [no pagination].
full text of essay; excerpt of book
William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (mourning); William McKinley.
Named persons
Alexander; Napoléon Bonaparte; Julius Caesar; Oliver Cromwell; Frederick II; William McKinley.
The author is identified as residing in Vernon, Indiana.


William McKinley—A Memorial Tribute

     A great personal sorrow has befallen us. The same sorrow has thrown its ghastly shadow across the pathway of every one. We have all of us,—of all parties alike, of all sections alike—but just turned our faces sadly from the new made grave of a mighty friend and kinsman of our own. Yonder we laid him by the home that he loved. Yonder sleeping in the bosom of a continent, whose chief nation he had guided into an immortal destiny—a destiny that had been preparing for us since

“The dark was smote in twain
And the stars first saw each other plain—”

there we laid him amid the tears of millions. For the infamous hand that struck out this immortal life, struck a blow directly at the hearts of eighty millions of people. Yes, more than eighty millions. His loss was the loss of the Anglo-Saxon race. His gain—the gain of his immortal life and thrice immortal martyrdom—was the gain of all the Sons of God that speak of liberty and courage and voice their faith and hope and sorrows in the English tongue. That nation that gave us the proud blood from which he descend [sic] or rather from which he ascended that nation which is bound to us by all the ties of “kindred blood and common names,” by all the ties of “similar privileges, of united hopes and common laws,” has been touched with the cry of our mourning. Wherever liberty has thrilled men with hope, there our sorrow has touched “that homely sympathy that heeds the common life,” that great common life of the race which shares our sorrow and which must also partake of the majestic responsibilities of that enlarged destiny which the life and death of William McKinley have bequeathed as an unalienable heritage to mankind.
     Slowly indeed did God form William McKinley. Slowly indeed the star of destiny beamed above him and guided him onward. God never gave him a work to do until he had fitted him to do that work. He never made him Congressman until He had fitted him to stand among the great constructive statesmen whose names ornament the roll of our national honor. He never made him Governor until He had fitted him to lift to higher things one of the noblest commonwealths ever built by the sorrowing but triumphant toil of men. He never made him President until He had fitted him to stand, as a ruler, by the side of Alexander, by the side of Caesar, by the side of Napoleon and Frederick the Great and the kingly Cromwell. This is no mere orator’s tribute. Far be it indeed from being a partisan tribute. ’Tis the proud tribute of time. ’Twill be the prouder tribute of eternity. For when Time shall have finished her work, and shall record for immortality those rare spirits which have been the proudest achievements of her toil, she will not speak in mighty voice of William McKinley the Congressman, who shaped a policy that guided an unhappy nation from the despair of a disastrous poverty into the pride and glory of a limitless prosperity; she will not speak of William McKinley, the Governor, the masterful helmsman of a free state, moving grandly on towards a nobler civilization and a more fruitful mode of being; she will not even speak of William McKinley, the President, the immortal ruler of an imperial race, who broadened the destiny of the centuries, and stamped a new conception of human greatness upon the imaginations of mankind; but in that still small voice, which has forever been the sweetest eloquence that eternity has set upon the lips of time, she will whisper to the uttermost coasts of destiny, the name of William McKinley, the child-lover, William McKinley, the wife-lover, William McKinley, the neighbor-lover,—the lover of men, the first gentleman of his time, the last princely heritage of a Christian civilization and the noblest figure that trod the modern day.



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