Source: The Life and Letters of John Hay
Source type: book
Document type: letter
Document title: “To Lady Jeune”
Author(s): Hay, John [letter]; Thayer, William Roscoe [book]
Volume number: 2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1916
|Hay, John. “To Lady Jeune.” The Life and Letters of John Hay. By William Roscoe Thayer. Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916: pp. 266-67.|
|full text of letter; excerpt of book|
|John Hay (correspondence); William McKinley (mourning); John Hay.|
|James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt.|
Bracketed (explanatory) text added by Thayer to the letter has been removed below.
Ellipses (“. . .”) below are given as found in the source. Presumably these represent omissions of text as selected by Thayer.
To Lady Jeune
September 14, 1901.
The President was one of the sweetest
and quietest natures I have ever known among public men. I can hear his voice
and see his face as he said all the kind and consoling things a good heart could
suggest. And now he too is gone and left the world far poorer by his absence.
I wonder how much of grief we can endure. It seems to me I am full to the brim. I see no chance of recovery—no return to the days when there seemed something worth while. Yet I feel no disgust of life itself,—only regret that so little is left, and so narrow a field of work remaining.
. . . What a strange and tragic fate it has been of mine—to stand by the bier of three of my dearest friends, Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, three of the gentlest of men, all risen to the head of the State, and all done to death by assassins.
I think you know Mr. Roosevelt, our new President. He is an old and intimate friend of mine: a young fellow of infinite dash and originality. He  has gone to Canton to lay our dear McKinley to rest, and asked me to stay here on the avowed ground that, as I am the next heir to the Presidency, he did not want too many eggs in the same Pullman car. . . .