Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President McKinley”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 8
Issue number: 10
|“President McKinley.” Bar Oct. 1901 v8n10: pp. 344-46.|
|William McKinley (personal character); William McKinley (memorial addresses); Joseph B. Foraker (public addresses).|
|Joseph B. Foraker; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Philip Sidney.|
IT is a great boon to any nation to have a ruler whose personal character furnishes
a good model of manhood for his people. As has been said of President McKinley,
both the way in which he lived his life, and the way in which, in the supreme
hour of his trial, he met his death, will remain forever a precious heritage
to our people.
It is doubtful whether if President McKinley could have lived out his full term, and had a successful administration for the balance of his second term, that the admirable traits of his personal character as a man would have become known and impressed the people of the nation so much as they have by his untimely death. The day of personal politics, when the narrow prejudices of partisanship closes the eyes to all that is good in an executive of the opposite party, is happily passing away, and the American people are becoming intelligent enough, and broad enough to recognize and appreciate a genuine manhood wherever it is found whether in a political opponent or a party friend.
We all rejoice in the example of Christian manhood manifested in the life of our dead President, and especially in the simple, impressive and peaceful manner of his death.
No better and more valued legacy could have been left the people of this nation than that. Its influence will not soon pass away.
Senator Foraker, of Ohio, who knew Mr. McKinley intimately, and had been closely associated with him in public and private life, has given probably, the best and truest delineation of his personal traits that has been published. At the Cincinnati Memorial meeting Mr. Foraker said in part:
“The whole world mourns with us and pays tribute to his memory,  not because of his public services, for they were rendered for America, but for the gentleness of his nature and the nobility of his character. In these respects he is without a rival since Sir Philip Sydney.
“He was of splendid presence, of pleasing personality, and of polished and graceful address. There was no court in Europe where his manner and deportment would not have commanded the highest respect, and yet it was all so natural and free from simulation or affectation that he was always, without any sacrifice of dignity or change of manner, familiarly at home with Abraham Lincoln’s common people of America.
“He loved his countryman, and was never so happy as when in their midst. From them he constantly gathered suggestions and ideas and wisdom. The cares of state were never so exacting that he could not give consideration to the humblest, and his mind was never so troubled that his heart was not full of mercy.
“As a public speaker he had few equals. His voice was of pleasing tone and unusual carrying power. He had it under complete control. He could adapt it perfectly to any audience for any subject. It was always in tune with the occasion. From one end of the land to the other, he was constantly in demand for public addresses. He responded to more such calls, probably, than any other orator of his time. Most of his speeches were of a political character, yet he made many addresses on other subjects; but no matter when or where, or on what subject he spoke, he never dealt in offensive personalities. He drove home his points and routed his antagonist with merciless logic. But never in any other way wounded his sensibilities.
“The remarkable tale is not all told. No language can adequately tell of his devoted love and affection for his invalid partner of all his joys and sorrows. Amidst his many honors and trying duties, she ever reigned supreme in his affections. The story of his love has gone to the ends of the earth and is written in the hearts of all mankind everywhere. It is full of tenderness, full of pathos and full of honor. It will be repeated and cherished as long as the name of William McKinley shall live. It was these great qualities of the heart that gave him the place he holds in the affections of other peoples. They claim him for humanity’s sake, because they find in him an expression of their highest aspiration. By common  consent, he honored the whole human race and all the race will honor him.
“But he was more than gentle. He was thoroughly religious and too religious to be guilty of any bigotry. His broad, comprehensive views of man and his duty in his relations to God, enabled him to have charity and respect for all who differed from his belief. His faith solace[d] him in life and did not fail him when the supreme test came. When he realized the work of the assassin, his first utterance was a prayer that God would forgive the crime. As he surrendered himself to unconsciousness, from which he might never awake, that surgery could do its work, he gently breathed the Lord’ prayer—‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.’ And when the dread hour of dissolution overtook him and the last touching farewell had been spoken, he sank to rest murmuring, ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’
“This was his last triumph and his greatest. His whole life was given to humanity, but in his death we find his most priceless legacy.”