My Fellow Citizens—We
are in the midst of a great national crisis. We are suffering from
a great shock. We are appalled and paralyzed by the commission of
an unspeakable crime. We are face to face with an irreparable loss.
It is a common sorrow that has drawn us together to this service
And why have we come?
We have come to seek the help of Almighty God. We have come to pray.
We have come to reach after thoughts calculated to balance us in
the hour of our staggered thinking. We have come to learn the lessons
and duties of the hour. We have come to get courage and strength
to lay hold of our future and to take up the principles and the
ideals which have been shot into the dust of death by the assassin’s
Are there balancing
thoughts and present duties which can steady and comfort us and
make us equal to the call of the hour? There are, and it is to see
and secure these thoughts and duties that we have come together.
This being the object of our meeting, there are two things which
it is not necessary for me to do.
First—It is not necessary
for me to detail the horrible assassination which has taken from
us our beloved President. You know it in all its particulars: The
great American gathering in the Temple of Music at Buffalo; the
deserved ovation which a great nation gave its great representative;
the joy that overflowed everywhere: then the unexpected and dastardly
act of a born coward; the murderous shot that was heard round the
world; the consequent horror; the awful silence; then the awakening
of the people to the dread reality; the instant cry of righteous
indignation; the words of the vile anarchist: “I am an anarchist;
I have done my duty.” The prayer of the man of God for his assassin:
“May God forgive him”: then the universal and unanimous protest
of the civilized world against the unprovoked and unforgivable crime
of the twentieth century. You know the details. There is 
no need to rehearse them. Everything pertaining to the assassination
is too recent.
Second—It is not necessary
for me to indulge in a eulogy upon him whom the assassin chose as
his shining mark. William McKinley is his own eulogy. He stands
forth as the peer of the other great Americans with whom assassination
has linked his name—Lincoln and Garfield. The man who prays for
his murderer, who, with forecast and treachery and in the garb of
friendship fires the fatal shot, writes his own history and sets
into the light his own immortal fame. In this case the sun makes
its own rainbow. How many in this audience could pray as William
McKinley prayed in the great crisis of his life, when face to face
with death? How many could say of the assassin: “Let no one harm
him!” That was the true William McKinley, acting himself out instinctively
and naturally and without forethought. I say that that man is his
own eulogy and this is what the whole world says. We are not ashamed
of our martyred President. He is a fine product and exponent of
our American life and principles.
The duty of the hour
is to enunciate and dwell upon the balancing thoughts and facts
and duties which are calculated to stay and steady us in the present
crisis, now when the worst has come to the worst. A first balancing
fact is this:
The American republic
is not one man, but a nation of 75,000,000, the great majority of
whom are of the William McKinley type. These millions made him President,
because he represented them. Now if this be so then it is impossible
to strike down the American republic by firing the assassin’s ball
into any one man. If the vile fraternity of assassins mean the death
of our republic, they have a huge contract on their hands. Behind
McKinley is Roosevelt and behind Roosevelt and in the goodly succession
with him on the line of liberty and law is every true and loyal
American citizen. The American republic must fall in some other
way than by assassination.
A second balancing fact is
this: The American republic is the creation of God and God reigns
supreme. It is because God has been leading us that our history
has up to this point been one series of steps of progress. Look
 back over the line of the
past. First there were the Pilgrim Fathers—the sifted wheat of the
nations—the leaders of the Revolution who gave us the Declaration
of Independence. Then there were the statesmen of the formative
period, who gave us our Constitution. Then there were the men of
the heroic period who carried us through our Civil War and established
the unity of our nation. Is the God of the nation going to throw
away all this progress? God has never acted like that. Never. As
He looks at things the destiny and the leadership of our republic
as a nation among nations is still in the future. He brought us
through the assassination of Lincoln and into greater things than
Lincoln ever saw, and He brought us through the assassination of
Garfield and into greater things than Garfield ever saw, and He
will bring us through this assassination and into greater things
than McKinley ever saw. God is our refuge in this dark present,
for God still reigns.
There is a third sustaining
fact which we should not lose sight of while in the midst of our
grief. It is this: Our martyred President died as grandly and as
heroically as he lived. No man could die better or more influentially.
By his life he taught us how to live; by his death he has taught
us how to die. Such a death as his means an eternal coronation.
To say that he died as grandly as he lived is saying for him more
than is at first thought apparent; for he lived grandly. Do not
forget his service in the Grand Army of the Republic. Do not forget
his life in the gubernatorial chair. Do not forget his leadership
in Congress. Do not forget his great state papers and the national
measures which he inaugurated and guided into legislative enactments.
Do not forget his presidential administration, with the liberation
of oppressed Cuba and its expansion of American territory and trade.
Here we see William McKinley leading the American republic into
a new and greater life and a new and greater destiny.
I say that was grand living.
His dying was just as grand. It was a triumph of Christian faith.
It was a testimony to the saving grace of God. The greatest thing
a man can do is to forgive. His dying act was the act of forgiveness.
It was the Master over again. His last public address may be called
his dying address. There was 
none greater in his life than it. It pulsates with great hopes for
America’s future and it is full of the visions of patriotic duties.
It is full of firmness, but it is full of conciliation toward all
men and all nations. He, under whose administration the North and
the South were made one again, sought in this final address of his
to make all nations one in the items of peace and good will. His
last public words were this prayer, “Our earnest prayer is that
God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity and happiness and peace
to all our neighbors and like blessings to all the peoples and powers
of earth.” That is equal to anything in the farewell address of
George Washington, the Father of our Country, and with prayer on
his lips William McKinley died. It is a comfort and a consolation
when those whom we love and admire die grandly. Our martyred President
There is a fourth fact
that balances us in our thinking and comforts us as we mourn our
loss. It is this: William McKinley is not yet done with the American
republic. He has so built his life into it that he will go on down
into history with it. He will forever serve it as a holy and powerful
interest. We overlook this sometimes, viz.: We as a nation are strong
with the strength of those who have lived with us and have gone
to their reward. The past is ours, and the grand men of the past
are ours, and we are strong with their strength. In estimating us
they are to be reckoned with.
William McKinley, though
gone from our vision, will be an influence in our republic like
Daniel Webster. When history is fully written he will enter upon
a new national career, a posthumous career, and will continue to
make America great, just as Washington does and Lincoln does and
Webster does. There is comfort in this.
There is another fact
that balances us in this hour of our trouble. It is this: This assassination
of our beloved President brings us face to face as a nation with
an urgent and a present duty. Our duty is to meet and emphatically
settle the status and the doom of anarchy and anarchists on American
soil. Anarchy shot William McKinley. Anarchy is the criminal. The
assassin himself proves this: “I am an anarchist and I have done
My fellow citizens, the time
has come when we must be radical and thorough and prompt in doing
our duty  here and in guarding
the men who represent us in office. Treason is in our midst and
we must put it down, or else banish it. Traitors are in our midst
and we must treat them in the only way that there is for treating
traitors. We must do this, not as a mob, but by the execution of
just and righteous enactments and by the due process of law. If
we have not sufficient law covering the case of anarchy we must
make sufficient law. And in handling this matter we must begin at
the very starting point of anarchy. We must deal with anarchy as
a sentiment and a belief and an expressed creed, and not wait until
it becomes an overt act, a murder, an assassination. We must not
wait until it shoots William McKinley; and we must not wait because
there is no equivalent which we culled from it by way of redress
for William McKinley’s life. The execution of all the anarchists
in the world would not be an equivalent.
Do not tell me that
we cannot deal with sentiment, belief, creed. Put the word treason
before any deadly thing and we can deal with it; and if we are loyal
as a nation we will. These things are realities; expressed sentiment
is a reality; belief is a reality; creed is a reality. They are
national realities, too. They are part of our national life. We
wove them all in permanent form into what we call the Constitution
of the United States. Our Constitution is sentiment. It is belief.
It is creed. And to this sentiment, belief, creed, we require our
citizens to swear an oath of allegiance. We can deal with sentiment
and belief and creed, and we do. My point is this: If the Constitution
of the United States itself is constitutional in dealing with sentiment
and belief and creed, we, the citizens of the United States, will
be constitutional also when we deal with sentiment, belief and creed,
and require that these shall be loyal to our republic and its laws
and its institutions. Deal with the ism and in this way prevent
the ist. Anarchy is essentially an assassin.
To-night, standing by
the murdered form of our bullet-pierced President, I indict it before
the bar of the nations the great assassin of the twentieth century.
Behold what it assassinates: It assassinates holy truth and principles;
it assassinates holy laws; it assassinates holy institutions; it
assassinates holy men; it assassinates holy words; it assassinates
holy journalism. 
Not only has anarchy
in our midst assassinated that which is best in our language; it
has assassinated journalism, also, that greatest of modern powers.
Yellow journalism is its weapon here. The duty of the hour is that
we publicly execrate yellow journalism. Are you willing to do this?
If so, you can do it. The people have it in their power to suppress
this type of journalism. They can do it by religiously refusing
to buy it. They can do it by the power of the one cent. The power
of the one cent is omnipotent here. Let the one cent say “I am for
law and government; I am for decency; I am against sensationalism;
I am for purity and truth; I am for the defense of character and
life; I am on the side of good men and against these traducers;
I shall never go to the support of yellow journalism.” Let the one
cent which is paid for the vile sheet that comes out every hour
of the day say this and act according to its declaration and journalism
of this type will die in a week.
I want to say this one word
concerning anarchy and anarchists. I said it last week in the City
of Boston and under the shadow of Fanueil Hall, and I repeat it
here in the commercial metropolis of the nation: The American republic
has only three things that legitimately belong to anarchy and anarchists,
and these three things are the insane asylum, the prison and the
gallows. These three things let us consecrate to them, and may the
Almighty God put His blessing upon the consecration.
Bear with two closing
words: Let us pray God to continue the succession of good and great
men in our republic. These are the strength of any nation. They
mean perpetuity. They are better than guns and foils and armies.
Elijah was the horses and chariots of Israel. Washington was the
same in America. So was Lincoln, so was McKinley. Now that these
are gone, we need their successors. Let us ask God for them. Especially
at this time let us remember in our prayers our new President. Let
us make him feel we trust him. The question is asked, “Can Roosevelt
carry the republic?” Be that answer yea or nay, I would answer it,
yea, for he has succeeded in all that he has undertaken for his
country and has been faithful in every trust committed to him. Be
that answer yea or nay, this I have to say, the nation can carry
Roosevelt. Let us tell him this, and let us tell him 
that we will carry him. Let us by our loyal words and expectations
and deeds make him strong from the very start.
Finally, let us renew
our allegiance to America and Americanism. America and Americanism
exist for the world. If it is to help and bless the world it must
be true to itself. I am not ashamed to push Americanism to the front
and call for allegiance to it.