The World in Tears
have been shed over the mortal remains of William McKinley than
have ever fallen over those of any other human being. All the civilized
nations knelt at his bier. No royal potentate was ever mourned more
deeply than this plain man, who became the President of the greatest
republic. Kings, emperors, and queens united in their tributes
to the memory of the man who sprang from the common people, and
whose only title was the people’s gift, bestowed at the ballot-boxes.
No living man has inspired such affection.
When the bell on the little Methodist
church in Canton, at three-thirty o’clock on Thursday afternoon,
September 19th, tolled the funeral hour, a nation uncovered and
wept. In the great, busy, whirling, selfish city of New York, as
in every other city and hamlet in the land, for five minutes silence
reigned, while prayers ascended and the voice of tearful supplication
was heard on high. No such scene has ever before been witnessed
on the face of the globe.
It would not have been surprising
if the common people had mourned the death of William McKinley and
shed tears over the grave of the ruler of their splendid republic,
but with them stood, in silent grief, the crowned heads of all the
world, paying respectful tribute, not to a warrior scarred with
the wounds of battle or covered with the laurels of victory, but
to the man of humble birth, whose most earnest efforts in life had
been as the exponent of peace, prosperity, and good-will, who had
sincerely believed and who had had the happy fortune to demonstrate
that a nation’s commercial supremacy could be won by the arts of
peace rather than the bloody compulsion of war. In their great grief
the people remembered not only their President, but also the man
of purity, of kindly purpose and gentle disposition, whose domestic
virtues had won their admiration and undying love.
The world mourns the loss of the sagacious
ruler of ninety million people, the tramp of whose busy feet, with
a message of good-will to all men, has just begun to be heard in
lands where the drum-beat alone has always proclaimed authority.
Thus does the world pay homage to the great American republic that
has reached the golden height of its glory during the chief magistracy
of William McKinley. He was fixed by inscrutable fate to fall amid
the splendid aggregation of monumental buildings at Buffalo which
marked the fruition of his commercial policy. He fell, as Lincoln
did, just as his grandest work was completed. He lived to see his
beloved nation enjoy the marvelous prosperity which his policy of
protection wrought. He entered the promised land with his people,
and, had he lived, would have led them farther on in the journey
toward unity, peace, and prosperity. When he fell, in the midst
of all our joy and expectation, the hearts of the people were broken.
President McKinley has not died in
vain. His achievements will live as long as the nation survives.
He has inspired nobler ideals in public and private life, and thus
has left a shining example that has stirred the pride and awakened
the emulation of the youth of the land. Their scalding tears have
fallen upon his mangled body, but their hearts still cherish the
glory that was his—a glory they will seek by noble living to make