Source: North American Journal of Homœopathy
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President McKinley”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 49
Issue number: 10
|“President McKinley.” North American Journal of Homœopathy Oct. 1901 v49n10: pp. 622-24.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); presidential assassinations (comparison); anarchism (personal response); William McKinley (medical care: personal response); William McKinley (medical care: compared with other cases); William McKinley (personal character).|
|Edward G. Andrews; James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
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 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 unknown.
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 his affinities.”
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.