Source: In Memoriam
Source type: government document
Document type: public address
Document title: “Address on Behalf of the Republicans of the Senate”
Author(s): Harding, Warren G.
Publisher: Fred J. Heer
Place of publication: Columbus, Ohio
Year of publication: 1902
|Harding, Warren G. “Address on Behalf of the Republicans of the Senate.” In Memoriam. Columbus: Fred J. Heer, 1902: pp. 79-81.|
|full text of address; excerpt of book|
|Warren G. Harding (public addresses); William McKinley (memorial addresses); William McKinley (death: government response); William McKinley (political character); McKinley presidency.|
|James G. Blaine; Julius Caesar; Henry Clay; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
The “Program of Exercises” (p. 12) denotes the title of the address as “On Behalf of the Republicans of the Senate.”
From title page: In Memoriam: The Seventy-Fifth General Assembly of Ohio, in Loving Tribute to the Memory of William McKinley of Ohio, Soldier, Congressman, Governor, and President of the United States of America.
From title page: In the Hall of the House of Representatives, Wednesday, January 29, 1902.
Address on Behalf of the Republicans of the Senate
A Roman Senator once said of that
greatest of all great Romans, “There can be no fitting tribute to Cæsar; rather
Cæsar is Rome’s tribute to the progress of the world.” In a like vein, there
is no fitting tribute to noble William McKinley, other than the enduring love
of the American people; for he was Ohio’s offering of her most precious jewel
to enrich a priceless tribute to new world progress.
Nobility of manhood lives in the loving warmth of devoted human hearts; statesmanship is ineffaceably written in the pages of enduring history, lighting human pathways as unerringly as the fixed stars. There are a score of gateways to the foothills that must first be climbed to ascend to the mountain heights of real statesmanship. William McKinley began the ascent, favored neither by fortune nor circumstance, but it was not long until he won his way to congress and there grew to national acquaintance as the most consummate of politicians. He grew because he was honest. If he left no other heritage to a loving, worshiping republic, his fame would still endure as the highest type of the honest politician. He grew because he was sincere and imparted his sincerity. He grew because he had faith in the everlasting rocks of the republic and builded his temple of state-craft accordingly. He grew because he was courteous, considerate and manly in all things. He grew because he was self-poised and had those attributes of sober-mindedness, deep thoughtfulness and honorable purpose which enlisted an abiding confidence. There has been no other figure in American politics of such strong, uninterrupted growth. His was no meteoric outburst on the political horizon. Nothing sensational or spectacular introduced him to  national fame and endearment. He won his way himself and alone, steadily and with ever increasing certainty, to the very hearts of his fellow countrymen, by the sheer force of merit and his manly stand for his own high conception of Americanism.
He bore aloft the banner of American industry. He believed in it more earnestly than Clay, and preached it with more fervor than Blaine. No one could stand before his splendid presence, look into his intensely earnest eyes and hear his eloquent voice in argument without the deep conviction that he proclaimed the doctrine of a worthy national cause. He was the highest exponent of protection and its accredited leader. It made him the man for the hour in 1896, when he bore forward and aloft the banner of hope and the light of promise in a period of paralyzing discouragement, disaster and despair. His stalwart Americanism and his honest promise of relief rifted the darkening clouds; his unerring devotion to principle and his matchless sincerity of purpose won a national confidence. Until then he was the master politician, but he became President with all the habiliments of statesmanship. Responsibility and opportunity developed the reserve power of a trained and honest mind, they inspired a stalwart manhood which stands unrivalled in all the portrayal of world-history, and William McKinley stood out grandly as a diplomat, as a constructionist and expansionist, the first among statesmen, as the inspired apostle of new world liberty and the emancipator of the oppressed far across the seas. He unsheathed the sword for the first time in all history in behalf of humanity, and unfurled the flag to put new stars of glory there. He piloted the dear old ship of state out of the narrow harbor where the excusable anxiety of our forefathers had anchored it and pointed its prow heavenward on the great unmeasured sea of destiny. But he ran not to rashness and unconcern. A simple man of the people, believing in them and confiding in them, putting his ear to the ground to make sure that the hearts of his fellow-countrymen were in accord with his own high conception of the God-given mission of the republic, he walked unfalteringly on, in the light of conscience and faith in the omnipotent God, and led safely to a  broadened civilization and left us a citizenship never equalled before. Yet his lofty mind was not fixed on new glories in distant lands at the cost of neglect of the imperishable sisterhood of states. He had a true soldier’s knowledge of the gaping wounds of civil strife, and the statesman’s skill to heal them. With a kindly courtesy and generous consideration which enobled his character, with the tact of a diplomat and the sympathy of a fellow-countryman, he annointed with the soothing love of an understanding fellowship the aching wound left by the immortal Lincoln in his heroic rescue of the union, and planted a new standard of patriotism there. He pierced the pride of a defiant South, understood her people and made them understand him, then welded anew the henceforth and forever indissoluble ties of the union.
If, in the crowning wreaths of immortality, there is separate bloom for every noble achievement, then the angel of the South will place on William McKinley’s brow the richest garland that has blossomed there.
Great in life, he was heroic in the face of the eternal, and looking calmly out on the great sea of the unknown, face to face with a fate so bitter that it wrung the hearts of all civilization, he was the martyr Christian, who yielded the life spark of a great, manly heart to light the beacon fires that point the way to a life eternal.
Who shall say, who can know but that an inscrutable providence shall make his martyrdom rich in fruit to the nation he loved so well?
In death he burned the impress of his character deep into the soul of the republic and gave a warning, aye, a warning that will be heeded, of a deadly viper nursing at the breast of liberty, which would aim its killing blow at the government itself. William McKinley’s martyrdom will not have been in vain when cursed, hateful, cowardly, damnable anarchy is crushed under the heel of the republic. More, it will not be in vain, if we emulate him, making real a citizenship free from party aspersion, political devotion without denunciation, and party zeal without belittlement of official character. Honest, earnest emulation of so admirable an example is living proof that we respected him first, we honored him most, we loved him best.