Source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of the President”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 35
Issue number: 10
|“The Assassination of the President.” Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal Oct. 1901 v35n10: pp. 634-35.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); anarchism (personal response); assassinations (comparison); William McKinley (death: poetry).|
|Alexander II; Alexander III; Chester A. Arthur; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Grover Cleveland; Leon Czolgosz; Elizabeth; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; Ulysses S. Grant; Benjamin Harrison; Rutherford B. Hayes; Andrew Johnson; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; William Russell Rose.|
The Assassination of the President
It is an appalling record for the most democratic
country in the wide world, when we can say that in the past 36 years three out
of seven who have been elected President have been sent to an untimely grave
by the hand of an assassin. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865,
to be succeeded by Vice President Johnson. Then followed the election of U.
S. Grant, two terms. Rutherford B. Hayes was inaugurated in 1877. James A. Garfield
in 1881, and on June 2nd of the same year was assassinated and died on September
19th, 1881; Chester A. Arthur filling out the term. Grover Cleveland, 1885;
Benjamin Harrison, 1889; Grover Cleveland again in 1893, followed by Wm. McKinley,
stricken down at the threshold of his second term. As the news flashed over
the wire on the evening of September 6th that the President had been shot at
the Buffalo Exposition by Czolgosz, a Cleveland, Ohio, Anarchist, the shock
to the public was beyond description. It was hard to realize that this country
harbored a single individual so void of human instincts that he should attempt
to kill one whose every act in life ought to insure him against harm by the
vilest human character. When warned against these reptiles, that others believed
endangered his life, conscious of having done right by every human being as
near as God gave him light to see his duty, his answer was: “I have done no
man a wrong, and I believe no man will do me one.” And when the foul deed was
done, the magnanimous spirit of the man shines forth in his appeal as he sinks
into his chair: “Let no one hurt him.” Not only the people of the United States,
but of the whole world, were amazed at the assassination of the President, who
had provoked fewer enmities and had a greater multitude of friends than any
President that had preceded him, and expressions of horror and grief came pouring
in from all the nations of the world. At home, political, religious and state
lines were obliterated, and the common fellowship of the whole people was expressed
in prayer for his recovery, then in grief for the country’s loss. Having lived
a life that was blameless, full of love and reverence for his family, and peace,
law and order,—a life of energy, earnestness, study and application, worthy
of emulation by the wisest, and an inspiration to the youths of this country,
it is difficult to understand what excuse the most rabid Anarchist or even Nihilist
can make for so dastardly a deed.
Czolgosz, when being examined, gave as his reason for killing the President, “I am an Anarchist;” that he had been associated with them for five years; that he first read books on Socialism; then studied Anarchy, and finally heard Emma Goldman lecture, which set him on fire, and he concluded he must do some heroic deed for the cause of Anarchy. So it seems his great desire was to kill the chosen ruler of the people. His bullet was aimed at the head of popular government, and not at the kind, loving personality—William McKinley. What an absurd proposition!—one that can only come from the vilest associations and teachings.
They claim a desire to abolish despotism; but how do they go about it? They murdered Alexander II., the emancipator of 24,000,000 serfs, which resulted in putting their necks under the heel of a worse mas-  ter, the cruel and gloomy bigot—Alexander III.; and czar succeeded czar, and not only the form, but the same spirit of government remained unchanged. They assassinated President Carnot of France, but it had no effect on the form of the French government. They murdered the Italian King, who was a real benefactor to the common people, to have one less desirable take his place, with no change in the form or nature of the government. Even womanhood is not respected by these red-handed knaves, and the Empress Elizabeth of Austria was murdered on Sept. 10, 1898, said to have been one of the most sympathetic and philanthropic women of all the crowned families of Europe, shunning politics, always doing good, and loved by all her people, who were bowed down with grief over their great loss. And what did the Anarchists profit? They only succeeded in reminding the world that there are a few human vipers, that the great majority have been too humane and too loyal to law and order to crush to earth the hoard of traitors and murderers, any one of whom can, by putting their nefarious theories into practice, put a whole nation into mourning.
In discussing this subject under the heading of “Anarchy” in the September (1900) J , we said:
Whatever we may think of the tenets of anarchism, so long as it leads to violence and murder, whether from a lack of sanity or an over-abundance of villainy, the preservation of social order demands that steps be taken for the suppression of all such who are now in this country; and our immigration laws should be so amended that these dangerous elements can be excluded. Our ports should be effectually closed against all criminals, and those who teach doctrines of criminality against law and order should not only be kept from coming in, but those already here should be suppressed. Our ports are at present being flooded with thousands of the most undesirable classes, who care nothing for country, who break down and destroy remunerative conditions for those already here; and if the country must be defended, not one would be found in the ranks fighting for the preservation of the liberties they came here to enjoy.
Is it not time we made some radical move for the preservation of the social and moral liberties of the best country under the sun?
Now, after the loss of our beloved President at the hand of one of these vipers who had imbibed the venomous teachings of this vile element which has been permitted to land on our shores without question or hindrance, we presume something will be done to head them off and to close the avenues of publicity for the propagation of such monstrous doctrines. As our thoughts again turn to our loss of the Christian gentleman and President, we are reminded of what he himself said in an oration on the life of U. S. Grant: “Mighty events and mightier achievements were never crowded into a single life before, and he lived to place them in enduring form, to be read by the millions yet unborn. Then laying down his pen he bowed resignedly before the Angel of Death, saying, ‘if it is God’s providence that I shall go now, I am ready to obey His will without a murmur.’ Great in life, majestic in death.” Little did he think of the tragic end of his own life, and how fittingly his own words apply, Great in life, majestic in death. His last salute to those about him and to all mankind, “Good-bye all, good-bye. It’s God’s way; His will be done.” Then every loyal citizen, every lover of the true, Christian statesman, gentleman and citizen, joins his neighbor in honoring the beloved dead chieftain, actuated by sentiments similar to those so beautifully expressed by W. R. Rose in the following verse:
Our Father, with Thy boundless love and power
Make clear the lesson of this heavy hour.
Give us the light to see and understand
Why sorrow shadows all the mourning land;
And teach us through this noble clay
To bow submissive to Thy way.
Did we forget that pride is but a breath?
In wealth and power have we forgotten Death?
Oh, comfort now the Nation’s chastened breast
That prostrate mourns her dearest and her best;
And give us grace to humbly say,
As he hath said, “It is Thy way!”