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Source: National Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “William McKinley as I Knew Him”
Author(s): Hanna, Marcus
Date of publication: January 1902
Volume number: 15
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 405-10 (excerpt below includes only pages 409-10)

Hanna, Marcus. “William McKinley as I Knew Him.” National Magazine Jan. 1902 v15n4: pp. 405-10.
William McKinley (presidential character); Marcus Hanna; William McKinley (political character); William McKinley (personal character); McKinley assassination; William McKinley (relations with Marcus Hanna).
Named persons
Joe Mitchell Chapple [in notes]; Marcus Hanna; William McKinley [in notes]; John G. Milburn.
This article (excerpted below) is the first in a three-part series. The remaining two installments appear in the February 1902 and June 1902 issues of the magazine.

“Editor’s Note:—The foregoing is the initial article of a series in which Senator Hanna will review the career of William McKinley. There will be papers dealing with the personal traits of the late President; the part he bore in the discussion of the tariff and money questions; his preferences in literature, music and the other fine arts as these were revealed to his friends; his personal attitude toward the great new national problems that became of first importance during his presidency,—these and other phases of the work and characteristics of the best beloved of all the American presidents. Every American is glad to pay a tribute of regard and sorrow to his name who was lately called from his earthly task to other spheres; no one, probably, is so well equipped as Senator Hanna to reveal in action those qualities of mind and character which made William McKinley what he was. There has been no other such historic friendship in American politics as that which these two great and loyal-hearted men gave to each other and which the survivor fittingly commemorates in these papers” (p. 410).

The following, appearing in the same magazine issue, is excerpted from Joe Mitchell Chapple’s “Affairs at Washington” column:
Because he has a friendly interest in “The National Magazine”—reads it and likes its purpose, as the late President McKinley did—Senator Marcus A. Hanna has consented to write for “The National” during 1902 a series of personal papers, which might be grouped under the title, “William McKinley as I Knew Him.” The friendship that subsisted between William McKinley and Mark Hanna has become historic. It makes one of the happiest chapters in the story of these times. It emphasizes that wise fidelity which is the basis of strong manhood. Each man gave the other of his best because of the love they had for each other—and there was always absolute confidence between them. We are more than happy to be able to announce that Senator Hanna has chosen “The National” as his medium through which to tell the people the story of that friendship. That it will be a story of absorbing human interest none may doubt, and few will fail to read it both with pleasure and with profit. Meantime plans for the McKinley memorial at Canton are moving forward. The various subscription lists and other contributions all over the country are mounting up rapidly. (p. 379)
“The First of a Series of Personal Reminiscences of the Late President” (p. 405).

“By Senator Marcus A. Hanna” (p. 405).


William McKinley as I Knew Him [excerpt]

     My associations with him during the years of executive life gave me further opportunity to appreciate as I never had before, the great reserve force which he possessed. He seems to have met every emergency, and the unusual problems and annoying complications of the times, in a masterful way. These conditions furnished the opportunity for him to demonstrate his enormous talent and ability for successfully solving every problem, rising to the full measure of every situation, and overcoming all obstacles.
     And then the summing of it all in that beautiful death, which was so characteristic of his career, is one almost unequalled in history. He has won the admiration, love and respect of all classes of his own people, and of all nations.
     There was one phrase used when we first opened the campaign for him in 1895 that seemed to fit the situation, and that was the claim that he was the “logical candidate.” In the first place, he marked out for himself a distinctive political career. He had spent every energy and used every effort in all his public service for the highest and best interests of his people, inspired always by patriotic impulse, with a sincerity never questioned. His election to an office always meant more than the mere gratification of a selfish political ambition. He said to me once—and I cite it here to show that his ambitions never sprang from selfish motives—in speaking about some of the methods adopted in contests for the nomination, “There are some things, Mark, I would not do and cannot do, even to become President of the United States,” and it was my impression at that time that he himself had little thought or idea that he would ever be nominated for president.


     A great deal has been said about his proverbial good nature. He had that, and in addition to that an unequalled equipoise in every emergency. In all my career, in business and in politics, I have never known a man so self-contained. He always acted deliberately, and his judgments were always weighed carefully, although there were times when his heart impulses would respond quickly, without apparently the slightest delay. In all those thirty years of close relations, I never saw him in a passion, never heard him utter one word of what I would call resentment, tinged with bitterness, toward a living person. This was again reflected in the story of the assassination told by Mr. Milburn, who said that he could never forget the picture in the expression of his countenance as he glanced toward the dastard assassin. In his eyes read the words as plain as language could express it, “Why should you do this?” And then when the assassin was hurled to the ground, when the fury and indignation of the people had begun to assert itself, he said with almost saintly compassion:
     “Don’t let them hurt him.”
     I know of nothing in all history that can compare with the splendid climax and ending of this noble life. One of the sweetest consolations that come to me is [409][410] the memory that on Tuesday, preceeding [sic] his death, he asked to see a newspaper, and when he was told, “Not to-day,” he asked, “Is Mark here?”
     “Yes, Mr. President,” was the response, and in that one sweet last remembrance was a rich reward for the years of devotion which it had always been my pleasure to give him.


     It is difficult for me to express the extent of the love and respect which I, in common with many others, felt for him personally. The feeling was the outgrowth of an appreciation of his noble, self-sacrificing nature. My affection for him and faith and confidence in him always seemed to be reciprocated, to the extent that there was never an unpleasant word passed between us, and the history of his administration, his cabinet, and his associations with public men, so entirely free from intrigue or base selfishness, I think will be a splendid example to the youth of the coming generations. There was nothing in the expression of his face or manner denoting exultation over his victory when it was announced that he was elected president. He seemed to realize fully the sacred responsibilities placed upon him, and the quiet dignity and self-possession which marked the man then and in days after were just what his personal friends expected of him. The first day I greeted him after he was inaugurated at the White House, in the course of our conversation, I inadvertently called him “Major” and “Governor,” and when I stopped to correct myself, he would say, “Each one is fitting; I’m not particular which.”


     We were both of Scotch-Irish descent, but opposites in disposition. He was of a more direct descent than I, but it is thought from our dispositions that he had the Scotch and I had the Irish of the combination.



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