The Duty of the Hour
The death of the President summons
every citizen to a sacred duty. It is to give to the Government,
with its new Chief Executive, prompt and hearty support. Every one
by his spirit and by definite act and word may fulfill this duty.
In an address before the Catholic
summer school at Cliff Haven, N. Y., President McKinley said: “Whatever
the Government of the United States has been able to accomplish
has been because the hearts of the people have been with the Government
of the United States. Our patriotism is neither sectional nor sectarian.
We may differ in our political and religious beliefs, but we are
united for our country. Loyalty to the Government is our national
With such a faith Mr. McKinley has
won the confidence of the American people as a whole as no other
president during his lifetime ever has done. Under his benign leadership
prejudices have melted away, sectional divisions have disappeared,
the North and South have become united, the people have become one
in mutual confidence. This unity has been accomplished during a
period when new problems of great national and international importance
have pressed for decision, and when diverse policies have been urged
by passionate partisan advocates. It has been accomplished in the
face of harsh, unreasonable criticism of his plans, misrepresentation
of his motives, efforts to array class against class, and to make
the President appear as the tool of rich, ambitious and selfish
Mr. McKinley’s statesmanship has also
won for this country the respect and confidence of other nations
to a degree never before known. He has gathered about him honorable
associates fitted by training and ability to solve great problems
of government. He led our nation to victory in war, not only be
prowess and skill, but in the spirit of peace. His purpose has been
nobly maintained in the sight of all men to guide the nation to
do the highest service to the peoples who, temporarily or permanently,
have become dependent upon it. This purpose will appear more clearly
now that he has left us, but he ever sought to make it plain. He
expressed his ambition as President when he said, “There must be
a constant movement toward a higher and nobler civilization, a civilization
that shall make its conquests without resort to war and achieve
its greatest victories pursuing the arts of peace.”
The sincerity of Mr. McKinley’s purpose
has been attested by a humble, consistent Christian life, crowned
by his dying for the nation with expressions of faith and love coming
spontaneously from his lips in the supreme crisis of his sacrifice,
like those of his confessed Lord and Saviour.
The plain duty to which every one
is summoned in this hour of the nation’s trial is to maintain in
himself this confidence in the Government which President McKinley
has so nobly and wisely fostered and to promote it in others. Every
right-minded citizen will give loyal support to the new President.
Mr. Roosevelt is the youngest man to enter this high office, but
he is by no means inexperienced or untested. He has filled successively
city, state and Federal official positions of great responsibility,
both civil and military, and every one of them honorably, ably,
and with unqualified devotion to the public welfare. He is a man
of exuberant vitality, physical and mental. He has shown his bravery
in war, his wisdom in administering government in peace, his sturdy
integrity and Christian character. The office which brings him into
the presidential chair he did not seek, it was thrust on him against
his will. He has shown himself worthy to follow in Mr. McKinley’s
footsteps. His first official utterance was the expected one that
he will endeavor to continue absolutely unbroken the wise policy
of his predecessor.
Not for his sake only, but for the
sake of the nation, every citizen should be loyal to the new President.
Let criticism, when it must be made, be fair and kind, and let its
form of expression honor the high office he fills. Let his associates
have the credit they deserve as men serving their fellowmen with
the highest aims. Let American citizens frown down disrespect for
the nation’s chosen leaders as disrespect to the nation itself.
From the deathbed of a great lover of his country, giving up his
life for it, we have a fresh summons to serve it nobly.
Help the new President.