THE murderous assault upon President McKinley aroused in the American
people commingled sentiments of horror and apprehension; his death
has plunged the nation in a grief unequaled since that fateful 16th
of April, 1865, when Abraham Lincoln passed away. So atrocious was
the crime, so unjustifiable, so unreasonable, so unprovoked, that
the mind, dazed and shocked, instinctively revolts from the narration.
The assassination of Lincoln by a
bitter and half-crazed adherent of the lost-cause may be understood;
the death of Garfield in the midst of a virulent political battle,
by a violent partisan and disappointed office seeker, may be explained,
but the murder of William McKinley is not so readily comprehended.
The assassin is said to be an American and avows himself an anarchist—a
monstrous and sinister combination. And yet the fact remains that
our boasted civilization breeds assassins—a fact that cannot be
well denied in the light of the recent tragedy.
It matters little whether the assailant
of the President was the fanatical tool of shrewder anarchistic
miscreants, whether solitary in crime, he craved a despicable notoriety
or whether, weak in  mind
and morals, isolated in his broodings, ignorant of the sentiments
of his fellow citizens, he imagined he was ridding the world of
a tyrant, he is a product of American soil. The ravings written
and spoken of anarchism; the demagogical harangues of imbecile political
speakers; and most of all the insidiously debasing influence of
the so-called “yellow journals” all combine to breed envy, malice
and murder. Where ignorance is greatest the harvest is most abundant.
Stern suppression of the obnoxious Anarchists, rigid restriction
of immigration, and increased and heavy penalties for those who
attempt the lives of rulers may be immediately advisable, but the
main root of the evil is still untouched. The most stubborn thing
to overcome is dense and inflated ignorance; before it intelligence
flies apace. Education, mental and moral, will solve the problem.
Where it fully obtains, assassins of the anarchist type will be
The prompt and skilful [sic]
treatment of the President emphasizes the great advances made in
surgery during the last twenty years. No surgeon of to-day would
dream of probing for a bullet as was done in Garfield’s case, with
a dirty probe and unclean hands. It was inexcusable even then. Then
the opening of the abdominal cavity to ascertain exactly what damage
had been done by the bullet would have been deemed impracticable;
now it is known to be the only way to save life in the majority
of abdominal wounds.
Had a knowledge of the Röentgen Ray
obtained twenty years ago, it is probable some of the complications
and dangers encountered by President Garfield might have been avoided.
Had the fatal bullet been accurately located, and the shattered
vertebræ shown, as could be done to-day, it would have made a very
decided difference in the treatment of the case. Modern surgery,
however, would have availed Lincoln nothing; the wound was mortal,
and any interference useless.
The surgeons who attended President
McKinley have every reason to feel satisfied with their conduct
of the case. The primary operation was prompt, skilful [sic]
and perfectly successful. No time was lost and no unnecessary chances
taken. The bulletins, however, seemed somewhat optimistic to many
who were anxiously  watching
the condition of the patient, and who thoroughly understood the
great danger of stomach wounds, especially when both walls were
perforated. Then, too, the weakness and rapidity of the pulse was
disquieting from the very first. It is extremely doubtful if the
bullets used by the murderer were poisoned. It is much more likely
that the bruising impact of a slow-moving bullet, carrying with
it in the wound numerous germs, produced the gangrenous condition
of the tissues disclosed by the autopsy.
The kindly courtesy displayed by President
McKinley last year at Washington at the dedication of the Hanhemann
[sic] monument will not soon be forgotten by the Homœopathic
School. His genial manner and his evident desire that nothing should
be omitted that might add to the pleasure of the institute were
quite characteristic of the man.
He was a popular President, and history
will record him as a great President. His democratic sympathies,
his sincere good will towards all men, his readiness to give public
credit to public rivals, his native urbanity of manner, his compliant
temper and his tact in all public and private relations combined
to make him a successful ruler. But this, after all, was not the
true measure of the greatness of the man. Bishop Andrews, in his
very admirable funeral oration at Washington, said: “Character abides.
We bring nothing into this world; we can take nothing out. We, ourselves,
depart with all the accumulations of tendency and habit and quality
which the years have given to us. We ask, therefore, even at the
grave of the illustrious, not altogether what great achievement
they had performed and how they had commended themselves to the
memory and respect or affection of the world—but chiefly of what
sort they were; what the interior nature of the man was; what were
Mr. McKinley’s life was like an open
book. The questions raised by the Bishop could be answered about
him instantly and with unequivocal favorableness, and the answer
may be found in the hearts of his fellow citizens.