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Source: William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain
Source type: book
Document type: public address
Document title: “Addresses”
Author(s): Cleveland, Grover
Compiler(s): Benedict, Charles E.
Publisher: Blanchard Press
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: [1901?]
Pagination: 190-93

Cleveland, Grover. “Addresses.” William McKinley: Character Sketches of America’s Martyred Chieftain. Comp. Charles E. Benedict. New York: Blanchard Press, [1901?]: pp. 190-93.
full text of address; excerpt of book
Grover Cleveland (public addresses); William McKinley (memorial addresses); William McKinley; McKinley assassination (lessons learned); anarchism (personal response); William McKinley (presidential character).
Named persons
Grover Cleveland; William McKinley.
Title herein taken from table of contents.

On page 190: The Hon. Grover Cleveland.

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.



     To-day the grave closes over the man who was but lately chosen by the people of the United States to represent their sovereignty, to protect and defend their constitution, to faithfully execute the laws made for their welfare and to safely keep and uphold the integrity of the republic. His term is closed—not by the lapse of time, but by the tragedy of assassination. He passes from the sight of the public—not joyfully bearing the wreaths and garlands of his countrymen’s approving acclaim, but amid the sobs and tears of a mourning nation. He has gone to his home—not the habitation of earthly peace and quiet, bright domestic joy and comfort, but to the dark and narrow house appointed for all the sons of men, there to rest until the morning light of the resurrection shall gleam in the East.
     The whole nation loved their late President. His kindly disposition and affectionate traits, his amiable consideration for all about him will long remain in the hearts of his countrymen. He loved them in return with such patriotism and unselfishness that in this hour of their grief and humiliation he would say to them, “It is God’s will; I am content. If there is a lesson in my life or death, let it be taught to those who still live and have the destiny of their country in their keeping.” Let us, then, as our dead is buried out of our sight, seek for the lessons and admonitions that are suggested by the life and death that constitutes our theme.
     First in my mind are the lessons to be learned by the young men who make up the student body of our university. These lessons are not obscure nor difficult. They teach the value of study and mental training, but they teach much more impressively that the road to usefulness and to the only success worth having will be missed or lost, except it is sought and kept by the light of those qualities of heart which it is sometimes sup- [190][191] posed may be safely neglected in university surroundings. This is a great mistake. Study, and study hard. But never let the thought enter your mind that study alone or the greatest accumulation of learning alone will lead you to the heights of usefulness and success.
     The man who is universally mourned to-day acquired the highest distinction which his great country can confer on any man; and he lived a useful life. He was not deficient in education; but with all you will hear of his grand career and his services to his country and his fellow citizens, you will never hear that either the high place he reached or what he accomplished was due entirely to his education. But you will instead constantly hear, as accounting for his great success, that he was obedient and affectionate as a son, patriotic and faithful as a soldier, honest and upright as a citizen, tender and dutiful as a husband, and truthful, generous, unselfish, moral and clean in every relation of life.
     He never thought any of these things too weak for his manhood. Make no mistake. He was a most distinguished man—a great man—a useful man—who became distinguished, great and useful because he had and retained unimpaired qualities of heart, which I fear university students sometimes feel like keeping in the background or abandoning.
     There is a most serious lesson for all of us in the tragedy of our late President’s death. The shock of it is so great that it is hard for us at this time to read the lesson calmly. We can hardly fail to see, however, behind the bloody deed of the assassin, horrible figures and forces from which it will not do to turn away. If we are to escape further attack upon our peace and security, we must boldly and constantly grapple with the monster anarchy. It is not a thing that we can safely leave to be dealt with by party or partisanship. Nothing can guarantee us against its menace except the teachings and practice of the best citizenship, the exposure of the ends and aims of the gospel of discontent and hatred of social order, and the brave enactment and execution of repressive laws.
     Our universities and colleges cannot refuse to join in the battle against the tendencies of anarchy. Their help in discouraging and warning against the relationship be- [191][192] tween vicious counsel and deeds of blood, and their steadying influence upon the elements of unrest, cannot fail to be of inestimable value.
     By the memory of our murdered President, let us strive to cultivate and preserve the qualities that made him great and useful, and let us determine to meet the call of patriotic duty in every time of our country’s danger or need.


     The Hon. Grover Cleveland addressed his hearers at a public memorial service in the First Church, Princeton, as follows:
     My Friends: I cannot refrain from saying a word this afternoon, but it must be only a word. The death of our lamented President and the solemnities that followed it have especially touched me. I not only sustain my full share of the grief which is common to all my fellow-citizens, but it seems to me that I have been brought within a more inner circle of relationship to these things exclusively my own. I recall with sharp distinctness when our dead President came from his home to receive on a surrender from my own hands the great office to which he had been elected. I remember the pleasant social meetings we had together and the technical formalities that passed between us at the time; and I remember how through it all the incoming President in his amiable manner manifested his serious appreciation of the responsibilities he was about to assume. An incident, which is interesting now, occurred on our way to the Capitol, where he was to take the oath of office. As we sat side by side amid the cheers of many thousands of his rejoicing fellow-citizens and friends, while he acknowledged these hearty greetings in the most friendly manner, he wore the sober expression that plainly showed his thoughts were on the solemn things that awaited him. I shall never forget his manner When he turned to me and said: “What an impressive thing it is to assume tremendous responsibilities.” I have always thought since, that I was in possession of the key to his manner of administration.
     I recall our parting at the White House on our return there from the inauguration ceremonies and the [192][193] exchange of hearty good wishes for each other—he, the President, and I, the private citizen. As I held his hand and wished for him the greatest possible measure of success, I added: “And I hope, Mr. President, when your term ends you will not have all the reasons that I now have to welcome retirement.”
     Hardly more than forty-eight hours ago I went to Washington again and, for the first time since I went with Mr. McKinley, I again visited the Capitol building. Again my presence was related to him, but my way there was lined with quiet, sad, weeping men and women, and when I arrived I stood by his coffin. He had met the responsibilities he so keenly realized when we went there together. The manner in which he had met and borne them had been known to God and approved by his fellow countrymen, and his accounts had been submitted to God for final audit. As the incidents of the time when I saw him assume these responsibilities crowded into my mind, the thought came upon me with tremendous impressiveness that I had seen and been related in a most intimate way to the beginning of a distinguished presidential career of which the end was before me in death—death with honor and death without fear of the judgement seat of God. What is there left behind for our people by the President we mourn? He has left us a priceless gift in his example of a useful and pure life, of his fidelity to public trust, and his demonstration of the value of the kindly virtues that not only ennoble mankind, but lead to success. It is for us who remain to enforce this example and make it a saving influence for good in all our progress as a nation and in every vicissitude that awaits our future.
     We are in church to-day; and the churches throughout the land are open to memorial services. These services should be but the beginning of more strenuous exertions on the part of our churches to arouse our people to their obligations in the fulfillment of every civic duty and to the enforcement of the fact that the laws of God, if kept and obeyed, are sufficient for all our needs and vicissitudes. God still lives and reigns, and He will not turn His face from us, who have always been objects of His kindness and love.



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