Theodore Roosevelt took the oath
of office of President of the United States at 3:32 September 14.
At the time of President McKinley’s
relapse the then Vice-President was in the Adirondack’s [sic].
Scouts and guides were sent to find his party who had left the club
house on a hunting expedition.
When Colonel Roosevelt was reached
and informed of the critical condition of the President, he could
scarcely believe the burden of the messages personally delivered
to him as so short a time before he had left the President apparently
entirely out of danger and on the rapid road to recovery.
The Adirondack stage company placed
relays of horses at his disposal to cover the 35 miles to the nearest
railroad station. The trip was exceedingly dangerous as mile after
mile was traveled in almost impenetrable darkness. He did not learn
that President McKinley had passed away until he reached the station
at 5:20 in the morning. He reached Buffalo early in the afternoon.
After a brief call at the Milburn
house to offer his condolance [sic] and sympathy to the broken-hearted
widow he took the oath of office at the home of his friend Ansley
The ceremony took place in the library,
Judge Hazel administering the oath. Members of the cabinet and a
few intimate friends were the attendance.
Secretary Root, who, twenty years
ago, had been present at a similar scene, when Arthur took the oath,
after the death of another President who fell a victim to an assassin’s
bullet, almost broke down when he requested Mr. Roosevelt, on behalf
of the members of the cabinet of the late President, to take the
prescribed oath. There was not a dry eye in the room.
The new President was visibly shaken,
but he controlled himself, and 
when he lifted his hand to swear it was as steady as though carved
in marble. With the deep solemnity of the occasion full upon him,
he announced to those present that his aim would be to be William
McKinley’s successor in deed as well as in name. Deliberately he
proclaimed it in these words:
“In this hour of deep and terrible
bereavement, I wish to state that it shall be my aim to continue
absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace
and prosperity and honor of our beloved country.”
President Roosevelt has asked the
entire cabinet to retain their portfolios during his administration
and all but Secretary Hay have consented.
President Roosevelt has expressed
himself as very earnestly desiring to preserve intact the cabinet
of President McKinley, and every effort will be made to induce Secretary
Hay to abandon his reported desire to retire to private life almost
immediately. If these efforts prove successful there will be witnessed
the extraordinary spectacle of the entire cabinet of the dead President
remaining as the adviser and helpers of his successor.