For the third time in the history
of the United States Government its President has been stricken
down by the hand of an assassin. In 1865, when the fierce agonies
of a civil war heated fraternal blood to deadly hatred, the martyr
Lincoln fell, shot to death by a fanatic who had the excuse at least
of believing that he was performing the duty of a patriot, misguided
man that he was.
In 1881 a mad egotist, made drunk
by the bitter antagonisms of party divisions, fired the shot that
sent the lamented Garfield to his grave. The act was despicable.
In this case, as in the killing of Lincoln, however, the act was
that of a single individual—that is, it did not represent any sentiment
of approval even of a small portion of the people. A mad brain conceived
the crime and an irresponsible hand executed it. But the third crime
in the calendar of our assassinated Presidents, the cruel, dastardly
and sneaking murder of McKinley—the beloved, the kindly and the
peace-loving McKinley—what is the awful portent it brings?
For the first time we find that loathsome,
venomous creature Anarchy—the enemy of all law, the snarling, hating
foe of order, morality and cleanliness—raising its dirt-crusted
hand to strike at the existence of a government which is of the
people, for the people, and by the people. The loathsome character
of Anarchy could not be more clearly brought out than by its selection
for a victim of a man whose whole life and whose death breathed
the God-given sentiment which that other victim of passion and ignorance,
Lincoln, bequeathed to a Christian world, “Charity for all.”
The man whose purity of life, whose
kindliness to all men, made all civilization kneel when his dust
was consigned to dust, was the antipode of all that Anarchy represents.
The unclean, crawling creature sunk its venomous sting into the
breast of the man of virtue and personal purity, and the poison
did its work.
McKinley is dead, but the Government
still lives. McKinley is dead and Anarchy survives him. If the life
which was given is the price which we have paid for permitting Anarchy
to exist till now, are we to pay countless other lives of inestimable
value before this vile exotic is eradicated from the soil of our
free Republic? God grant that it be not so. But may it be that the
price already paid is for our complete deliverance from the pestilence
that now walketh by night.