William McKinley [excerpt]
When President McKinley
was lying seriously wounded at Buffalo from the shot of the anarchist
Czolgosz, I went there to see if anything could be done for his
comfort. For some time there was hope he would recover, and that
it would be better for him to go to Washington. I made every arrangement
to take him to the capital if the doctors decided it could be done.
But suddenly, as is always the case with wounds of that kind, a
crisis arrived in which he died.
Vice-President Roosevelt was camping
in the Adirondacks. A message reached him, and the next morning
he arrived in Buffalo. The Cabinet of Mr. McKinley decided that
the vice-president should be at once inaugurated as president. Colonel
Roosevelt was a guest at the house of Mr. Ainsley Wilcox. He invited
me to witness his inauguration, which occurred the same evening.
It was a small company gathered in the parlor of Mr. Wilcox’s house.
Elihu Root, secretary of state, choking with emotion and in a voice
full of tears, made a speech which was a beautiful tribute to the
dead  president and a clear
statement of the necessity of immediate action to avoid an interregnum
in the government. John Raymond Hazel, United States district judge,
administered the oath, and the new president delivered a brief and
affecting answer to Mr. Root’s address.
This inauguration was in pathetic
and simple contrast to that which had preceded at the Capitol at
Washington. Among the few present was Senator Mark Hanna. He had
been more instrumental than any one in the United States in the
selection of Mr. McKinley for president and his triumphant election.
Mr. McKinley put absolute trust in Hanna, and Hanna was the most
powerful personality in the country. No two men in public life were
ever so admirably fitted for each other as President McKinley and
Senator Hanna. The day before the death of the president Hanna could
look forward to four years of increasing power and usefulness with
the president who had just been re-elected. But as he walked with
me from Mr. Wilcox’s house that night, he felt keenly that he never
could have any such relation with Colonel Roosevelt. He was personally
exceedingly fond of Mr. McKinley, and to his grief at the death
of his friend was added a full apprehension of his changed position
in American public life.