Source: Mark Hanna
Source type: book
Document type: preface
Document title: “A Prefatory Postscript”
Author(s): Lauer, Solon
Publisher: Nike Publishing House
Place of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Year of publication: 1901
|Lauer, Solon. “A Prefatory Postscript.” Mark Hanna. Cleveland: Nike Publishing House, 1901: pp. iii-xiv.
|full text of preface; excerpt of book
|McKinley assassination (personal response); Emil Schilling (public statements); Marcus Hanna; Emma Goldman (public statements); anarchism (personal response); John G. W. Cowles (public statements); Marcus Hanna (impact of assassination); William McKinley (relations with Marcus Hanna).
|John G. W. Cowles; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; Marcus Hanna; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; J. Pierpont Morgan; John D. Rockefeller; Russell Sage; Samson; Emil Schilling.
From title page: Mark Hanna: A Sketch from Life and Other Essays.
From title page: By Solon Lauer, Author of Life and Light from Above, Social Laws, Etc.
A Prefatory Postscript
As this volume goes to press, the
whole country, nay, the whole world, is stirred to its profoundest depths of
feeling, over the dastardly assassination of President McKinley.
This outrage is the legitimate outcome of the agitation which certain classes of demagogues have been carrying on for years. The generation and aggravation of class hatred, the wholesale denunciation of rich men, the persistent attacks and aggravation of class hatred, the wholesale charges of robbery and oppression continuously brought against large employers of labor, could not but end in violence, sooner or later.
That this fiendish act of Czolgosz was inspired by his long cherished hatred of rich men is evidenced by the assassin’s own words. Czolgosz is one of a large and growing class who suffer from Plutophobia. He says: “I hope he dies. I shot him because it was my duty. The man who succeeds him must not be the slave of capital, or he will perish, too.”
Emil Schilling, treasurer of an anarchist club in Cleveland, said to a reporter of the Leader: [iii][iv]
“The man who shot the President knew that McKinley and his clique were taking millions from the men who produce the wealth. What could be more natural than that he should shoot him?”
Another individual is reported to have said that Czolgosz ought to have shot Mark Hanna.
Among certain classes in this country the hatred for Mark Hanna is so intense that it would not have been surprising had he been included in the plot against McKinley’s life. The idea has been persistently inculcated by many papers that Mark Hanna was the actual President, and McKinley only his obedient and submissive servant. Expressions from anarchistic sympathizers in various quarters show too plainly that this poisonous seed, scattered by the hands of demagogues, has taken root among the enemies of government; and we may at any time expect to reap a further harvest of blood from these lusty but pernicious plants.
According to report, Emma Goldman, “the High Priestess of Anarchy,” and the inspiring angel of assassin Czolgosz, uttered the following sentiments in Chicago:
“Mark Hanna has been the ruler of this country, not McKinley. McKinley has been the most insignificant ruler this country has ever had. He [iv][v] has neither wit nor intelligence, but has been a tool in the hands of Mark Hanna.”
That the assassination of McKinley alone is not sufficient to bring about the anarchist’s dream of an earthly paradise is evidenced by her further remarks:
“I am not in a position to say who ought to be killed. The monopolists and the wealthy of this country are responsible for the existence of a Czolgosz.”
According to these words, the blood of Mark Hanna, and of the wealthy business men whose class interests he is mistakenly supposed to champion, must be poured out in sacrifice upon the altar of liberty, before the masses can be free in this America. Is it surprising that the Government Secret Service men have thrown a guard around the person of Mr. Hanna? And must we furnish guards for Pierpont Morgan, Russell Sage, John D. Rockefeller, and their kind, to protect them from the weapons of red-eyed madmen like Czolgosz?
For years this hatred of our prosperous business men has been inculcated in the speeches and papers of socialists and anarchists. Several years ago, a revolutionary sheet published in Chicago contained the following: [v][vi]
“A LETTER TO TRAMPS.”
“Stroll you down the avenues
of the rich, and look through the magnificent plate windows into their voluptuous
homes, and here you will discover the very identical robbers who have despoiled
you and yours. Then let your tragedy be enacted here! Awaken them from their
wanton sports at your expense. Send forth your petition, and let them read it
by the red glare of destruction. Avail yourselves of those little methods of
warfare which science has placed in the hands of the poor man, and you will
become a power in this or any other land. Learn the use of explosives.”
This fire of hatred against the prosperous and wealthy, whose enterprise has given employment and brought ever-increasing wealth to workingmen, is spreading far and wide. Its angry flames leap to the sky, and show us in their lurid light the forms of madmen arming for murder and destruction. The horrors of revolution are upon us, unless this devouring fire be quenched.
It is not enough that we shall quell the tumult of open riot whenever and wherever it arises. The fire that smoulders in secret may yet break forth and destroy the institutions of our nation. [vi][vii]
In the dark cellars and the dusty lofts of cities these agents of revolution hold their secret councils, and plot against the lives and fortunes of the rich and powerful. There is no open plot, no visible organization; but this brotherhood of murderers exists, and carries on its bloody councils in the silence and the dark.
Its wrath is fed by all the demagogues, of whatever name, who cry against the rich and prosperous; who magnify the poverty and suffering of the poor, and lay the real and fancied wrongs of workingmen at the doors of those who are victorious in life’s battle.
Thousands of workingmen fall a ready prey to demagogues, who come like wolves in sheep’s clothing to breed strife and discontent in Labor’s fold. They listen to the poisoned words of malice, and the words rankle in their hearts. It is but a step from discontent to violence.
Although thousands of workingmen know that Mark Hanna has ever been a friend to Labor, there are other thousands who have listened to the envenomed words of demagogues until they are convinced that Mark Hanna is their enemy and oppressor and that President McKinley was his meek and submissive slave. This sentiment grew and strengthened until it found a logical expression through the murderous hand of Czolgosz, extended in Judas-treachery to take McKinley’s life. [vii][viii]
The assassination of McKinley is of far more direful significance to the nation than was the assassination of either Lincoln or Garfield. The murder of Lincoln was the last convulsive effort of the expiring serpent of Secession, fixing its poisoned fangs in the flesh of him who had given it a fatal blow.
The killing of Garfield was the act of a madman, whose brain, naturally weak and unbalanced, had become inflamed by the hatred engendered in party strife. Dreadful as it was, the act had only a local and temporary significance, so far as its motive was concerned.
But the death-blow to McKinley was aimed at the wealth and prosperity of the nation. It was inspired by class hatred. It was insane Poverty striking blindly at the form of Wealth. It was the act of a Samson, in blind rage seeking to pull down the temple of national prosperity, whose fall should be his own destruction.
To the befogged brain of the anarchist Czolgosz, McKinley and his supporters represented the brutal hand of corporate Wealth, snatching from starving Labor the crust of meager opportunity which Unionism has thus far insured for its subsistence.
But it is not alone the anarchist who takes this dismal and distorted view of the present indus- [viii][ix] trial situation in America. Czolgosz has simply given expression in action to what has long been expressed in language and cartoon.
It is not enough for us to stamp out the anarchy of deed; we must also stamp out the anarchy of the printed and spoken word. It is not sufficient for us to imprison or hang the anarchist who resorts to force; we must suppress in every legitimate way the demagoguery which inspires him. It is of no use to brush away the web, and leave the spider which is weaving it.
Czolgosz struck a blow for liberty and equality, firmly believing that these great principles would be subserved by the assassination of McKinley and the intimidation of his supporters. The power of the demagogue is always a despotic power; and this act of Czolgosz, which expressed the spirit of demagoguery in its last and logical application, was one of the most striking examples of despotic power in the world’s history. This point was so forcibly and eloquently brought out in an address given in Plymouth Church, Cleveland, by Mr. J. G. W. Cowles, a prominent business man of Cleveland and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, that I am constrained to quote some of his words:
“Anarchy,” he said, “which professes to aim its blows at despotism, is itself the worst of [ix][x] despotism. When Czolgosz seized the pistol to shoot our President, he grasped at absolute and despotic power. Czolgosz already had the power of the ballot, the same power which every American citizen possesses. He was not satisfied with that.
Seven millions of American citizens by their suffrage made McKinley President. One man with his deadly pistol removed him from that office. One man reached forth his frenzied hand, and the destinies of a nation trembled in the balance. One man smote the nation’s head, and the heart of the nation bled.
The Czar of Russia does not exercise such absolute and despotic power as this man usurped and wielded, in the sacred name of liberty. The worst despotism which the world has seen never equaled this of anarchy’s apostle Czolgosz in this free land of ours.
Are we to tolerate this hideous form of despotism in our midst? Life and liberty are not inalienable where one man can seize and wield so absolute a power. This is a form of despotism which we must drive forever from our shores. Life and liberty are not secure, where anarchy is tolerated.” [x][xi]
HANNA AND McKINLEY.
A friend of Mr. Hanna, who has known
him for years, said to the writer: “Governor McKinley was fortunate in having
Marcus A. Hanna for his personal friend and political adviser, and the manager
of his campaigns; and Mr. Hanna was equally fortunate in his alliance with McKinley.
It was a compact of power with popularity, which made both men greater and more
successful, and more useful to the public. The personal affection and devotion
of each to the other was honorable alike to both, and an example of the best
qualities of friendship among men.”
It is safe to say that no heart has been more cruelly hurt by the stroke that laid McKinley low than the big heart of his nearest and dearest political friend, Mark Hanna. This stroke has added several years to the burden of age, which already bore heavily upon Mr. Hanna’s shoulders. Since the dreadful news of that black Friday, when the heart of the President began to fail, Mr. Hanna has been as one crushed by an irresistible power. His face is drawn, his shoulders droop, and he leans heavily upon his cane. His friend, for whom Mr. Hanna laid such a sacrifice of health and labor upon the altar of his country’s welfare, is gone. [xi][xii]
The strongest bond between Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna was the tie of an enduring friendship. Next to this came the affinity of political sympathy. They believed in the same great principles. They clasped hands to work for the same broad ends.
The notion that Mr. Hanna dictated the political policy of the President can be entertained only by those who are not familiar with the character of the two men. They were one in an enduring friendship, whose foundations lay far deeper than the community of their political interests. They were one in their adherence to certain great principles which the Republican party represents. But far above the personal aims of either was the starry emblem of their country’s welfare, which they ever kept in view.
There are ignorant and malicious minds who will see, in the death of President McKinley, the setting of Mr. Hanna’s star of destiny: and in the unutterable grief that mantles him in gloom these will see chiefly the regret of a man disappointed of his political aspirations, and deprived of the chief means by which his own imperious will was executed.
Mr. Hanna has been universally known as the friend of President McKinley. Is it not possible that this intimate relation has somewhat ob- [xii][xiii] scured the vision of his own character and attainments? My own belief is that the influence of Mr. Hanna in American politics has been chiefly due to his own qualities as a man. His strength, sagacity, political insight, his force of character, his qualities of leadership, his intimate acquaintance with the business interests of the country, must all be taken into account.
Mr. Hanna’s friend is dead. Mr. Hanna’s power of leadership and command remain. We shall now see whether this man’s star is a sun, or merely a planet, reflecting the light of a Presidential orb. If my estimate of Mr. Hanna’s character is correct, his star of destiny will not be darkened by this eclipse that has fallen upon the nation’s chief.
This orb that rose above the smoke-stained city by the lake is not an errant comet, with menace in its train to all the people. It is not a planet, deriving its light from a Presidential Sun to whose system it was attached as a leading planet. It is a self-illumined Sun, a source of light and power; and though it may never shine from the President’s chair at Washington, it will still illumine the councils of the nation, and lead its retinue of stars and planets along the track of the national zodiac.
Mr. Hanna, in other words, will not drop into [xiii][xiv] obscurity because of the loss of his friend, our President McKinley. Mr. Hanna, like all men of great natural power, intuitively knows his proper place. He has often ridiculed the idea of a presidential nomination for himself; but he knows his power as a leader of men, and will not abdicate it while life remains to him. In the councils of the nation his voice will still be heard; and because it is a calm, sane voice, the voice of a large experience, the voice of a practical wisdom, it will be heeded, and its utterance will have the weight of a natural and underived authority.
His character as a statesman has been slowly but surely emerging from the mists of popular ignorance and misunderstanding; and it will yet shine out clearly, by its own light, as one of the most forceful, acute, able, that has arisen in the nation’s horizon. Mr. Hanna, as McKinley’s friend, would live for many years in the fond memory of McKinley’s hosts of admirers; but Mr. Hanna, the Senator, will be remembered for his own strong qualities of leadership—exerted during one of the most important epochs of the nation’s history—long after the popular conception of his relation to President McKinley has been obscured by the mists of time.