President McKinley: What the World Thought of
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT’S PROCLAMATION
By the President of the United
States of America. A proclamation: A terrible bereavement has
befallen our people. The President of the United States has
been struck down; a crime committed not only against the Chief
Magistrate, but against every law-abiding and liberty-loving
President McKinley crowned a life
of largest love for his fellow men, of most earnest endeavor
for their welfare, by a death of Christian fortitude; and both
the way in which he lived his life and the way in which, in
the supreme hour of trial, he met his death, will remain forever
a precious heritage of our people.
It is meet that we as a Nation
express our abiding love and reverence for his life, our deep
sorrow for his untimely death.
Now, therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt,
President of the United States of America, do appoint Thursday
next, September nineteenth, the day in which the body of the
dead President will be laid in its last earthly resting-place,
a day of mourning and prayer throughout the United States.
I earnestly recommend all the
people to assemble on that day in their respective places of
divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will
of Almighty God and to pay out of full hearts their homage of
love and reverence to the great and good President whose death
has smitten the Nation with bitter grief.
In witness whereof I have hereunto
set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington,
the 14th day of September, A. D., one thousand nine hundred
and one, and of the independence of the United States the one
hundred and twenty-sixth.
By the President, J H, Secretary
SECRETARY HAY’S CIRCULAR NOTE
The following circular note was immediately
sent to the foreign representatives accredited to the Government
of the United States:
Sir: It is my painful duty to
announce to you the death of William McKinley, President of
the United States, in the city of Buffalo, at fifteen minutes
past two in the morning of to-day, September 14.
Laid low by the act of assassin,
the week-long struggle to save his life has been watched with
keen solicitude, not alone by the people of this country, who
raised him from their own ranks to the high office he filled,
but by the people of all friendly nations, whose messages of
sympathy and hope, while hope was possible, have been most consolatory
in this time of sore trial.
Now that the end has come, I request
you to be the medium of communicating the sad tidings to the
government of the honored nation you so worthily represent,
and to announce that, in obedience to the prescriptions of the
Constitution, the office of President has devolved upon Theodore
Roosevelt, Vice-President of the United States.
Accept, sir, the renewed assurance
of my highest consideration.
The replies were instantaneous. King
Edward of England sent the following telegram from Fredenaborg,
Denmark, to Mr. Choate, the American Ambassador, in London:
Most truly do I sympathize with
you and the whole American nation at the loss of your distinguished
and ever to be regretted President.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Most Rev. Frederick Temple, sent the following despatch to Mr. Choate:
I desire to express in behalf
of the Church of England the deep grief with which we have heard
of the death of the President. The loss of so great a ruler
is a calamity to the whole world. The triumph of wickedness
fills us with sorrow. Our prayer and goodwill will be an earnest
for the American people.
Following is the text of the message
of the Lord Mayor of London to the American Embassy:
The citizens of London are profoundly
moved and deeply affected at the sad intelligence of President
McKinley’s death. They had hoped that under Providence so valuable
a life might be spared for the welfare of his country. In their
name I beg to tender your Excellency their heartfelt sympathy.
I shall be grateful if you will convey this to Mrs. McKinley
and the people of the United States. The eminent career and
public services of President McKinley were widely appreciated
here and will long be remembered by the English people, who,
having themselves sustained the loss of a beloved sovereign
this year, are able to sympathize keenly with the United States
in the sudden removal of their distinguished President. 
On Sunday there was an immense congregation
at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Among those present were Ambassador Choate
and the staff of the Embassy. The Rev. Henry Scott Holland, Precentor
of the Cathedral, said:
A great hope that once filled
humanity lies slain. We once dreamed that the New World had
awaked from the nightmare of evil memories and set out to live
its free life unburdened and uncursed, but the new has like
bitterness to work through as the old. We must face it calmly
and patiently. Not that we may be driven into a fierce reaction
by the sting of this insane crime does the poor man lie dead.
With renewed humility and with severer resolution we must work
together for a new order of social intercourse in which it will
become impossible for passions which issue in such an outrage
Sir Henry Irving wired to Mr. Choate:
May I add personally my deep
grief to that of the people of this nation and of the nations
of the earth for the loss of a great and good life, so ruthlessly
snatched away in the fullness of love and honor.
With brief but well-chosen words
the London “Times” thus ended its editorial:
He died as he lived, with simple,
manly courage and unaffected piety, which mark the best men
of his race.
The “Daily Telegraph” said:
There was the same anxious look
in the faces of Londoners yesterday as they wore when our late
beloved Queen was fighting her battle with death. It was then
that America stretched out her hand to us. To-day, in her hour
of bitter trial, we return the grasp.
The “Daily Chronicle,” discussing
the world-wide sympathy displayed, said:
This sympathy is intensified
by a full realization of the calamity, until we are almost inclined
to say that there is no precedent for such a display of emotion
and fellow-feeling on these particular lines. It is not impossible
that the assassination of Mr. McKinley will advance that international
comity of Governments to which some political students look
as the keynote of future peace and harmony.
The “Westminster Gazette” said:
To us in this country the loss
of President McKinley is a family bereavement. We have had our
differences with the American people. We know full well how
more true it becomes every day that they are our keenest and
most dangerous trade competitors, but above and beyond the conflict
of competition is the outstanding fact that they are our next
of kin. We are linked by common ties that exist nowhere except
with the United States. Just as Queen Victoria was sincerely
mourned on the other side of the Atlantic, so now we claim a
special right to share the sorrow and indignation which the
American continent feels at the death of its President.
Nothing was more appreciated in this
country than the quick action of the German Emperor William. His
despatch to Mr. Hay was as follows:
I am deeply affected by the news
of the untimely death of President McKinley. I hasten to express
the deepest and most heartfelt sympathy of the German people
to the great American nation. Germany mourns with America for
her noble son, who lost his life while he was fulfilling his
duty to his country and people.
W I. R.
The Emperor also sent the following
despatch to Mrs. McKinley:
Her Majesty the Empress and myself
beg you to accept the expression of our most sincere sorrow
in the loss which you have suffered by the death of your beloved
husband, felled by the ruthless hand of a murderer. May the
Lord, who granted you so many years of happiness at the side
of the deceased, grant you strength to bear the heavy blow with
which he has visited you.
W I. R.
On hearing of the death of President
McKinley the Emperor, with characteristic and generous thought,
ordered the German fleet assembled off Dantsic to half-mast their
flags and to hoist the Stars and Stripes at their maintops, and
also ordered flags to be half-masted on all German public buildings.
German opinion is reflected by the “Berliner Neueste Nachrichten,”
The German nation expresses to
the American people sincere sympathy in the loss of a leader
who was an out and out American, and who firmly undertook the
realization of aims he deemed worth obtaining and corresponding
with the wishes of a majority of the people.
In Austria the hearty feeling was
well voiced by the Vienna “Neues Weiner Tageblatt,” which said:
The ocean is not wide enough
to hold all the sympathy that is streaming from the Old World
to the New.
In Russia perhaps the most important
editorial utterance was that of the St. Petersburg “Boerse Gazette,”
Mr. McKinley was one of the most
popular figures in American history and one of the best representatives
of American ideals. On account of the extraordinary purity of
Mr. McKinley’s character, the American people will find sympathy
wherever civilized men dwell. Opinion in Europe regarding Pan-
 Americanism may possibly
be divided, but it is comprehensible from the American point
of view. Mr. McKinley died firmly believing that the work he
had begun in domestic and foreign policy would find suitable
instruments for its continuation.
President Loubet, of France, telegraphed
as follows to Mrs. McKinley:
I learn with deep pain that his
Excellency Mr. McKinley has succumbed to the deplorable attempt
on his life. I sympathize with you with all my heart in the
calamity which thus strikes at your dearest affections and which
bereaves the great American Nation of a President so justly
respected and loved.
The Paris “Gaulois” said:
The death of President McKinley
will have a greater reverberation throughout Europe than had
the disappearance of Garfield, Lincoln, or Carnot. He played
a bigger part on the world’s stage than any of his predecessors.
In Italy the sympathy was specially
strong by reason of the late King’s assassination a year ago. The
Dowager Queen Margherita said on Thursday to a friend, when talking
of Mrs. McKinley: “Both of us know what it is to be kept from the
bedsides of our dear ones, I by Humbert’s instantaneous death, she
by weak health. I cannot get her out of my mind. She is constantly
in my thoughts and prayers.”
The most significant and welcome
message from the head of any government in this hemisphere was from
President Diaz, of Mexico:
I have been deeply shocked by
this crime. President McKinley was not a ruler of exclusive
or aristocratic tendencies. He was a good friend of the people,
a genuine democrat in the best sense of the word. With regard
to Mexico, President McKinley had ever evidenced such friendly
sentiments that his death will be mourned in this country hardly
less keenly than in the United States.
IN THIS COUNTRY
The testimony of three prominent
Democrats is worth quoting. The Hon. W. J. Bryan, who postponed
his speech at Chicago before the Harrison League out of respect
for the memory of President McKinley, said:
It is inexpressibly sad. His
life was remarkable and his character above reproach. His personal
qualities were such that he had no enemies. The blow aimed at
him is at his Government and is felt by all.
The Hon. Adlai E. Stevenson, former
Democratic Vice-President, said:
President McKinley’s creed in
action was, “There is nothing so kingly as kindness.” Blameless
and tender in private life, he was patriotic in all his impulses,
of personal integrity never questioned, and faithful in the
discharge of public duties. He will live in the grateful remembrance
of his countrymen.
Former United States Senator David
B. Hill said:
Every good citizen laments the
death of President McKinley. Death by assassination is always
terrible, and the country is to-day staggering under the severe
shock. The President deserved to live. He was just entering
upon a career of usefulness greater than he had ever known before.
As an official he was distinguished as safe and conservative,
always ready to respect the popular will. He was a model citizen
in all his relations in life. He cherished no animosities, and
well understood and observed the amenities which should always
accompany political differences in a free country like ours.
Among the multitude of eloquent tributes
from the churches we select the following:
Archbishop John Ireland, of St.
The Nation mourns; well may she
mourn. She has lost her Chief Magistrate, whom she loved so
dearly, in whom she so willingly reposed her pride. William
McKinley is now dead; his memory will live down the ages as
that of one of the most worthy to have been the President of
the Republic of the United States. I knew him closely, I esteemed
him. I liked him. He was the true man, pure of morals, generous
minded, conscientious, religious. He was the noble citizen,
proud of being a son of the people, brave in the battlefield
amid his country’s peril, zealous of its glory, unswervingly
loyal to its honor and its interests. He was the typical President
of the Republic.
Bishop Lawrence, of Massachusetts,
President McKinley represented
the best type of American citizenship in his amiable, forceful,
and pure character. The Nation mourns the death of her Chief
Magistrate. The American people mourn one whose influence has
touched their homes, kindled a finer patriotism, and gained
their warm affections.
The Rev. W. R. Huntington, of Grace
Church, New York City, preaching there on Sunday, appealed thus
to his hearers:
Think of those words of our departed
President, when, after being shot, though realizing that he
was entering the Valley of 
Death, he said, to protect his enemy from mob violence, “Let
no one touch him.” That was not only an exhibition of compassion,
but a respect for law. That spirit is the sole safeguard of
our civil life.
Mr. Andrew Carnegie thus fitly sums
up the situation:
President McKinley passes into
his place in history as one of the greatest rulers of men through
their affections, and beloved by his countrymen, and he stands
forever with Lincoln and Garfield in the Temple of Martyrs,
wearing like them the holy crown of sacrifice for the Republic.
Our first duty in this crisis is to give to his successor under
the Constitution our loyal support, in the hope and belief that
power will impress him, as it has many great characters known
to history, and keep him in the path of his good and great predecessor.