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Source: Outlook
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Tributes to President McKinley”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 69
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 241-43

“Tributes to President McKinley.” Outlook 28 Sept. 1901 v69n4: pp. 241-43.
full text
Henry Codman Potter (prayers); William McKinley (death: personal response); McKinley assassination (personal response); John D. Long (public statements); William McKinley; Lyman J. Gage (public statements); William McKinley (memorial addresses); Grover Cleveland (public addresses); James Gibbons (public addresses); McKinley assassination (religious response).
Named persons
William Jennings Bryan; Grover Cleveland; Lyman J. Gage; James Gibbons; Jesus Christ; Judas; John D. Long; William McKinley; Henry Codman Potter.
Click here to view a full version of the Bryan editorial excerpted below. (Note: The editorial appears anonymously in Bryan’s Commoner.)

Click here to view a full version of the Cleveland address excerpted below.

Click here to view a full version of the Gibbons address excerpted below.


Tributes to President McKinley



     Bishop Potter, of New York, wrote the following prayer for use in the churches of the diocese at the memorial services of Thursday:

     O Almighty God, the Supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it justly belongs to punish sinners and to be merciful to those who truly repent, save and deliver this land, we beseech thee, from all false teaching and from all secret foes; and grant that this thy people, being armed with the weapons of truth and righteousness, may drive far hence all lawless men and all treasonable fellowships, and so preserve the heritage of their fathers to be the home of a God-fearing nation, ever doing thy holy will, to the glory of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
     O merciful God and Heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy Holy Word that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, look with pity, we beseech thee, upon the sorrow and shame of our common country, stained and dishonored by the murder of its chief magistrate. Remember us, O Lord, in mercy; sanctify this sore chastisement to our greater good; dispel our ignorance; arouse us from our indifference; enlighten us by thy Holy Spirit, and so lift up thy countenance upon us and give us peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
     Most Gracious Father, who hast been pleased to take unto thyself the soul of thy servant, sometime President of the United States, grant to her who by this sorrow has been most of all bereaved that she, walking by faith, may see thy Light in all her darkness, and at last, having served thee with constancy on earth, may be joined hereafter with thy blessed saints in glory everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
     Almighty God, whose Kingdom is everlasting and Power infinite, have mercy upon this whole land, and so rule the heart of thy servant the President of the United States, upon whom so suddenly has been laid so weighty an office and charge, that he, knowing whose minister he is, may, above all things, seek thy honor and glory; and that we and all the people, duly considering whose authority he bears, may faithfully and obediently honor him, in thee and for thee, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



     The following expression of sympathy was given to the press by Mr. Bryan early last week:

     The terrible deed at Buffalo, rudely breaking the ties of family and friendship, and horrifying every patriotic citizen, crowns a most extraordinary life with a halo that cannot but exalt its victim’s place in history, while his bravery during the trying ordeal, his forgiving spirit, and his fortitude in the final hours give glimpses of his inner life which nothing less tragic could have revealed.
     But, inexpressibly sad as is the death of McKinley the illustrious citizen, it is the damnable murder of McKinley the President that melts seventy-five million hearts into one, and brings a hush to the farm, the factory, and the forum. The death, even when produced by natural causes, of a public servant charged with the tremendous responsibilities which press upon a President, shocks the entire country, and is infinitely multiplied when the circumstances attending constitute an attack upon the Government itself.
     No one can estimate the far-reaching effect of such an act as that which now casts a gloom over our land. It shames America in the eyes of the world. It impairs her moral prestige and gives enemies of free government a chance to mock at her, and it excites an indignation which, while righteous in itself, may lead to acts which will partake of the spirit of lawlessness.
     As the President’s death overwhelms all in a common sorrow, so it imposes a common responsibility, namely, to so avenge the wrong done to the President, his family, and the country as to make the executive life secure without abridgment of freedom of speech or freedom of the press.



     A tribute entitled “William McKinley—An Appreciation,” written by Secretary John D. Long, has been published in the Boston “Transcript.” In part, Secretary Long says:

     President McKinley, of blessed life, is now, and more and more as time goes on will be, of blessed memory. The asperities which afflict a public servant during his official career will quickly be forgotten, and the calm, just verdict of history will pronounce him a man of ideally pure, true character, a patriot of single and disinterested devotion to his country, and a statesman unexcelled for tact, prudence, and practical competency. His domestic life is one of the precious sanctities of American sentiment.
     As an executive his administration has been a series of remarkable achievements. It has been attended by great military successes, by an abounding prosperity. It has put out the last embers of sectional bitterness. It has been marked by appointments of high character and especial fitness to places of great trust. The tone of the public official, the efficiency of the Civil Service, the integrity and fidelity of all departments and branches of the executive government, were never so high as to-day.
     President McKinley leaves an unblemished [241][242] record in public and private life, and a record not merely free from blemish, but bright with good deeds done, with great services rendered.



     In “Treasury Decisions,” a publication containing technical interpretations of the Customs, Internal Revenue, and Immigration laws, and issued weekly by the Treasury Department, Secretary Gage published the following:

     It has been thought proper to make sad but official announcement in this issue of “Treasury Decisions” of the tragic death of William McKinley, twenty-fifth President of the United States, and to give some expression of that tribute which his character and deeds compel.
     It needed not the shadows of death to make the figure of the late President loom large in the estimate of mankind. The republic he loved, he lived to broaden and unify as no previous President has done. Under his prudent and far-seeing statesmanship it took exalted place in the community of nations. From his place as private citizen, on through many and increasing honors to his final post as ruler of his people, he remained true to the highest ideals.
     By the people of the nation at large and by the world he was known and will live in grateful annals as a gentleman of noble heart, an affectionate husband, a sturdy friend, and a faithful and illustrious President. In a long public life, ever open to his fellows, nothing was ever found, even by intemperate partisan zeal, that would cast a shade upon his character. The kindly and unselfish attributes which his colleagues knew and loved the public felt, and now men of every faith and following join in reverent acknowledgment of those distinctive virtues and abilities that lift him among the truly great of all ages.



     To the Princeton students Mr. Cleveland said in part:

     All our people loved their dead President. His kindly nature and lovable traits of character and his amiable consideration for all about him will long live in the minds and hearts of his countrymen. He loved them in return with such patriotism and unselfishness that in this hour of their grief and humiliation he would say to them, “It is God’s will; I am content. If there is a lesson in my life or death, let it be taught to those who still live, and leave the destiny of their country in their keeping.” Let us, then, as our dead is buried out of our sight, seek for the lessons and the admonitions that may be suggested by the life and death which constitute our theme. First in my thoughts are the lessons to be learned from the career of William McKinley by the young men who make up the student body of our University. These lessons are not obscure or difficult. They teach the value of study and mental training, but they teach more impressively that the road to usefulness and to the only success worth having will be missed or lost except it is sought and kept by the light of those qualities of the heart which it is sometimes supposed may safely be neglected or subordinated in university surroundings. This is a great mistake. Study, and study hard, but never let the thought enter your mind that study alone, or the greatest possible accumulation of learning alone, will lead you to the heights of usefulness and success. The man who is universally mourned to-day achieved the highest distinction which his great country can confer on any man, and he lived a useful life. He was not deficient in education, but, with all you will hear of his grand career and his services to his country and to his fellow-citizens, you will not hear that the high plane he reached or what he accomplished was due entirely to his education. You will instead constantly hear as accounting for his great success that he was obedient and affectionate as a son, patriotic and faithful as a soldier, honest and upright as a citizen, tender and devoted as a husband, and truthful, generous, unselfish, moral and clean in every relation in life. He never thought any of those things too weak for his manliness. Make no mistake. Here was a most distinguished man, a great man, a useful man—who became distinguished, great, and useful because he had, and retained unimpaired, qualities of heart which I fear university students sometimes feel like keeping in the background or abandoning.



     At the memorial services in the cathedral in Baltimore, Cardinal Gibbons, in the course of a long eulogy, said:

     The Redeemer of mankind was betrayed by the universal symbol of love. If I may reverently make the comparison, the President was betrayed by the universal emblem of friendship. Christ said to Judas, “Friend, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” The President could have said to his slayer, “Betrayest thou the head of the Nation with the grasp of the hand?” He was struck down surrounded by a host of his fellow-citizens, every one of whom would have gladly risked his life in defense of his beloved chieftain.
     As President he was thoroughly conversant with the duties of his office, and could enter into its most minute details. His characteristic virtues were courtesy and politeness, patience and forbearance, and masterly self-control under very trying circumstances. When unable to grant a favor, he had the rare and happy talent to disappoint the applicant without offending him.
     It is a sad reflection that some fanatic or miscreant has it in his power to take the life of the head of the Nation, and to throw the whole country into mourning. It was, no doubt, this thought that inspired some writers within the last few days to advise that the President should henceforth abstain from public receptions and hand-shaking, and that greater protection should be given to his [242][243] person. You might have him surrounded with cohorts, defended with bayonets, and have him followed by argus-eyed detectives, and yet he will not be proof against the stroke of the assassin. Are not the crowned heads of Europe usually attended by military forces, and yet how many of them have perished at the hand of some criminal! No. Let the President continue to move among his people and take them by the hand. The strongest shield of our Chief Magistrate is the love and devotion of his fellow-citizens. The most effective way to stop such crimes is to inspire the rising generation with greater reverence for the constituted authorities and a greater horror for any insult or injury to their person.



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