Death of President McKinley
Words fail to express the intensity
and depth of the wave of sorrow that swept over the American people
when they realized that their beloved President was dead. How brief
the time even as yet reckoned by only days since happiness and prosperity
reigned throughout our country. In the golden glory of the waning
summer afternoon its beloved President was fatally wounded by the
bullet of a loathsome wretch whose name should never appear in print.
The Chief Magistrate on that fateful Friday afternoon, stood smiling
and exchanging greetings with the long line of men and women who
felt it an honor to take the hand of so truly good and great man
[sic]. Since the early transplanting of two dear children from their
earthly home to bloom henceforth in immortal beauty in God’s garden
above, all childhood had been sacred to both husband and wife. But
a moment before the hand of the President had rested caressingly
upon the head of a little girl, and on the benevolent kindly face
still lingered the loving smile that had greeted her, when there
was extended to him a hand as false as was that of the kiss of Judas.
The cruel bullets that pierced his body, wounded also the loving
loyal hearts of 80,000,000 of his people.
Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley in
their honest endeavors to serve the people in conscientious performance
of the duties of Chief Magistrate of a great and powerful nation,
victims of an assassin’s bullet. What a dark shadow, what gloom
it casts over the nation and over every hearthstone in America and
in other lands where simple goodness of life, purity of purpose
and nobility of character is loved and appreciated.
Like Lincoln, he was esteemed and
beloved by all his discerning countrymen. Pure, patriotic, fearless,
gentle, tender and unselfish. It is no wonder the heart of the nation
is crushed. His ability was always equal to the measure of his responsibilities.
His example of a pure and upright life, that priceless treasure,
cannot be taken from us by his death. The force of his pure, noble
manhood charmed everyone who met him. He was admired and venerated
by his fellow citizens. His whole public career was devoted, with
an untiring energy to the advocacy of legislation which would improve
and maintain the welfare of his country. He was a friend of humanity.
His greatest ambition was to serve his country in the fear of God
and in the love of men. He was a progressive man and led the people,
and under his careful leadership the country attained its highest
degree of prosperity. His last public speech was notable. It was
not only graceful and eloquent, but it struck the popular chord
and received universal approval. It breathed to the whole world
a spirit of peace and good will. The people cannot forget what he
has done and that in the consummation of his policies we are enjoying
the greatest prosperity that we have ever known. He will go down
to history and remain in the memories of his countrymen as one of
the great Presidents. He met the governments of the old world in
the field of diplomacy and directed them to the way out of the Chinese
Question. Long before the dark days at Pekin, the McKinley administration
had secured by diplomacy the consent of the various powers of the
world to the maintenance of the open door. By his courage and splendid
diplomacy he won a signal triumph for our country and left the Chinese
Empire in tact. He succeeded in practically forcing the whole world
to his way of thinking and must, therefore, be considered a strong
man and great President. As an executive he was modest, his aim
and desire the will of the people rather than that of McKinley.
The home and social life of the President
was a valuable example and especially dear to the people whom he
typed in so many of their best traits in his private and domestic
life. Pure, upright, courageous, chivalric and faithful to every
In this time of bereavement to the
cherished wife how tearfully and tenderly are recalled her loving
words when herself ill nigh unto death in California a few months
since. Gently she said, “Ah, no one can 
know him, because to appreciate him they must know him as I do.
It is my proudest pleasure to say I am his wife not because he is
President, but because he is my husband. So kind, so good, so patient,
he gives me all the time he can, he never forgets me no matter how
busy he is.” Alas! the pitiful words that follow: “I did not wish
him to run a second time, but he thought the country needed him,
and when this administration ends we shall live for each other,
he will be all mine then!” His first thought in the hour
of his extremity was of her that an exaggerated report might not
reach her ears.
In the last hours of his consciousness
he was unruffled, fearless and confident of the future. This good
and great man who passed away was strong in his sense of right and
firm in his faith and was thus enabled, as it is given to but few
to be, to face the unknown and whatever it might have in store.
When the final summons came he was fully prepared to meet it. “It
is God’s way, His will be done!” His last words were as brave, as
unhesitating as any of the utterances of his life, and will pass
into history as among the most notable farewells in the whole record
of the human race.