Late in the afternoon
of September 6, 1901, a wave of sorrow swept over this country so
intense that words fail to describe its effect upon the people.
This was caused by the report wired far and near that President
McKinley, while holding a reception in the Temple of Music on the
grounds of the Pan-American Exposition, at Buffalo, New York, had
received from the hands of an assassin a wound which it was feared
would prove mortal.
“Alas for our country, if these things
must be!” was the agonized cry that went up from thousands of loyal
Within the lifetime of multitudes
of people then living, two Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and James
A. Garfield, had fallen by the hands of assassins.
And now must the third, one to whom
the eyes of the Nation were then devotedly turned, meet with the
same cruel fate?
When Abraham Lincoln was stricken
 down, the Nation had just
emerged from a civil war of four years’ duration. The passions engendered
by that long struggle had scarcely time to abate.
James A. Garfield came to the presidency
amid the throes of bitter partisan strife. Either of these conditions
might lead thinking people to fear some dreadful tragedy at the
hands of a misguided, brutal avenger.
But at no time in the history of the
country did the “dove of peace” seem to hover nearer to the earth
than during the summer when the Pan-American Exposition was in progress,
and when everything connected with it breathed harmony and joy.
No man ever sat in a high place who
was of a more kindly nature or freer from enmity of his fellow men
than William McKinley.
Only the day before he received his
death wound he had commanded the attention and respect of the whole
world by delivering an address in favor of universal peace and harmony.
His whole life was a benediction—a