Source: William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain
Source type: book
Document type: public address
Document title: “Address”
Author(s): Burke, Daniel
Compiler(s): Benedict, Charles E.
Publisher: Blanchard Press
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: [1901?]
|Burke, Daniel. “Address.” William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain. Comp. Charles E. Benedict. New York: Blanchard Press, [1901?]: pp. 61-63.|
|full text of address; excerpt of book|
|Daniel Burke (public addresses); William McKinley (memorial addresses); William McKinley (death: religious response); William McKinley (religious character); McKinley assassination (as inspirational event).|
|Napoléon Bonaparte; Oliver Cromwell; William McKinley.|
From title page: William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain; Sermons and Addresses Delivered by the Pastor of St. James M. E. Church, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, N. Y., and Addresses by Brooklyn Pastors and Other Prominent Ministers and Laymen, Portraying the Character of Our Late Lamented President.
From title page: Compiled by Charles E. Benedict.
Delivered at a Memorial Service Held in St. James’ M. E.
Church, Bensonhurst, Sunday Evening,
Come, let us talk together of our
friend. For the past few days editors and orators, poets and preachers, statesmen
and scholars have vied with one another in analyzing the character and drawing
lessons from the life of our dead President. We can add nothing, but we want
to talk of our own. For he was ours: ours in this Methodist Church because he
was and we are Methodists, ours in this Christian land because he was and we
are Christians: ours in the common brotherhood of man because he understood
our strength and our weakness, our pride and our humiliation, our abilities
and our inabilities.
Last Sunday the “sorrow’s crown of sorrow” was heavy upon our brow. Thursday was a day of mourning and prayer, but to-day the true and the honest, the loving and the patient, the resolute and the bold, the Methodist, and above all the Christian William McKinley, has gone. It is time for reflection and introspection: and those who love truth and honesty will recall that he and his wife once executed a deed of all their possessions to satisfy their creditors; and those who long for the lost and sit in the night watches beside the sick will remember the twenty-five years of vigil which this man kept at the side of her whom he took “for better, for worse”; and those who are capable of high resolve and bold endeavor will recall how he held an even course, how, when the press of this and other cities was holding him up to ridicule and turning what afterward proved to be nobility into dishonesty; they, I say, will recall how this man held his course; how with an accurate appreciation of Spanish character and Spanish needs, of religious bigotry and strife, of po-  litical rights and precedents, he outlined the course in the Philippines; and those who are striving to be Christians cannot but feel closer to this man because he read the same books in his boyhood that we read. On the Sabbath day he repeated the same creed and said the same prayers, and how earnestly he said them and how much they meant to him was attested by the fact that in the moment when death came, as spontaneously as though from the lips of a young girl came also the prayer, “Nearer my God, to Thee.” In his daily speech and action, into his state papers and public addresses, into his quick movements and studied courses this man wrought the language and the teaching of the prayer-meeting and the class room. All will remember and emulate this plain, honest imitator of the man of Galilee.
April 27th, 1897, with his administration only just begun, you and I recall William McKinley as he stood in front of the tomb of the great leader of armies on the banks of the Hudson, and with the sharp wind of that April day blowing through his hair, in the full majesty and strength of his manhood, in the possession of the greatest office in the gift of the people, and beneath the stone which bears the words of the great General, “Let us have Peace,” this man told us of the life example of him to whom the monument was reared. Since that time wars have come and gone, the map of the earth has been materially changed. From isolation, the United States has become “the power to be reckoned with.” Cuba has been freed; the Philippines have been joined to us; China has been made to bow her head; but through it all, the foremost man in all the world has been this same quiet Christian gentleman. And he lifted up, and was lifted up, until he became the very incarnation of popular purpose. More than any other man did he voice the people’s will. And now his kindly face and kindly words and his last farewell have become household from the lumber-camps of Michigan to the rice fields of Georgia, from the mining camps of Alaska, to the hemp mills of Luzon, from the forests of the Rockies to the marts and offices of this second city of the world.
The contemplation of these things is inspiring. The days of great men are not over, for we have produced one of the greatest. Cromwell ruled by sheer force; Napoleon  rode to power over the bodies of his enemies; but this man with a loving kindness as gentle as a child’s, endeared friends and enemies alike to him, and by the charm of his own personality taught them the higher and the better way.
Contemplation, I said, is inspiring, but shall you and I only contemplate? The great orators of the eighteenth century set their hearers thinking, but rarely moved to action. Let that not be our case. In the very presence of this noble life and this sublime death, shall you and I not be better? Shall you and I not go forth from this place resolved through the present intense reality of this man’s good qualities, and through the true exemplification of the Christ-like principle, to become ourselves more Christ-like? Shall we not put off enmity and strivings? Shall we not take on charity and love? Shall we not go forth from here with ill will toward none, with good will for all? And shall we not rise in the morning with the resolution that we will do something to make life better for others? And more than that, let it be no mere resolution. Let it be an hourly day-time thought put into execution in store and office and shop and factory. If we do this, William McKinley will not have lived in vain, and great as were his achievements in politics and statecraft, he will have builded for himself—no, no! we shall have builded with him, a monument which shall be not only to his glory, but to the glory of God.