The Assassination of President McKinley
Like a bolt of lightning from a
clear sky came the terrible report that the President was shot.
The public sense was benumbed and bewildered. The hearts of the
people beat as one in sympathy for the injured and in abhorrence
for the vile act.
Thrice has a President been assassinated.
The death of Lincoln,—following the end of a long and bitter struggle,—when
the passions and prejudices of the nation were at fever heat, had
its lesson of horror and suffering; and the death of Garfield was
a shock to the sensibilities of the people and a discouragement
to official authority. But neither of these combined in their motive
the hellish purpose which actuated those who are responsible for
The death of Lincoln was the individual
act of one who assumed to believe that his removal relieved the
country of a traitor. The sacrifice of Garfield was the act of a
degenerate and lacked special political significance, but the death
of McKinley is a stab at the vitals of constitutional liberty and
Foreign socialistic and anarchistic
sentiment found this tolerant, free country an asylum and refuge
for a dangerous element. Their avowed purpose is to wreck society;
and the nation should stop to consider whether the time is not ripe
to rid herself of such, and whether, in her tolerance of civic liberty,
she has not invited the calamity which prostrates the nation in
suffering and mourning.
The remedy will be found and applied.
It would seem that no anarchist should be allowed to pollute this
free soil by his presence.
It would be fitting that some “far-off
isle” in the Philippines should be made a penal colony where these
dangerous wretches could be restrained and where, if they desire
to exploit their theories, it would be only among their own number.
It has taken more than thirty-five
years to establish the rightful character and favor of Abraham Lincoln
until now, North and South, his name is honored and loved equally
with that of Washington. On the whole, considering his obscure birth
and meager advantages, and the lofty position Lincoln attained as
a patriot and a ruler, he may be regarded as the most remarkable
development of American greatness and nobleness.
With McKinley it is different. Unlike
any of his predecessors, and unlike great men generally, he had
won by moral worth, political sagacity, and his power to fathom
the will of the people. In the hearts of the people he had secured
an affectionate regard never before accorded a chief magistrate
during his lifetime. This man of lofty patriotism, large and clear
administrative ability, with boundless love for the weakest and
humblest American citizen, had a sublime Christian character which
will shine in the hearts of all lovers of truth and liberty with
a luster which shall grow as the years of the Republic increase.
The medical and surgical case of the
illustrious man is of the deepest interest to the medical profession.
How comforting is the belief that the best surgical aid was not
only at hand, but was immediately utilized! When the American medical
profession knew that he was in the hands of Dr. Mann and his eminent
associates they were content. All that surgical skill could do was
done. Nothing more nor nothing less could have been done by these
That he lived a week is evidence to
the masters of abdominal surgery that no error of judgment 
was made, or failure in detail or technique. Further effort to find
the bullet would have been not only unavailing, but suicidal. That
failure followed their efforts will not detract from the living
appreciation of their work which finds reflection in the public
press and hearts of the people. No prescience could have foretold
that gangrene would follow the injury. The newspaper theory, that
there was disagreement among his attendants, has happily been set
at rest. It is stated on authentic information that the President
was a sufferer from renal disease and he had an anæmic appearance.
His power of resistance was not of a high order, and when the facts
revealed by the autopsy were known, the only wonder was that he
survived so long in spite of an injury which was necessarily fatal.
The criticism appearing in the New
York Medical Record is, we believe, wholly unwarranted and illogical
as a surgical proposition. It is, however, to be regretted that
all the surgeons were so confident of his recovery as to affirm
that he was practically out of danger, until a longer period of
time had elapsed.
Those familiar with abdominal surgery
appreciate how difficult it is to meet successfully all the post-operative
complications which are liable to follow so grave an injury, even
when environed by the consummate skill of Dr. Mann and his most
The bacteriological results following
the autopsy were awaited with keenest interest, but as expected
they shed little new light on the causes which eventuated in gangrene.
The medical profession will rest content
in the belief that American surgery has once more demonstrated its
capability to deal with the severest questions with promptness and
the highest skill.
It appears that the assassin of
the President is an anarchist, pure and simple. He glories in the
accomplishment of his unholy purpose. Swift retribution will follow.
His appalling crime has plunged the
nation in mourning, and no penalty he can pay can expiate his guilt.
The strong hand of the law and the strong sentiment of the people
should find a way whereby these dangerous classes of society should
be excluded from our land.