Source: Worcester Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “What the Public Might Think”
Date of publication: September 1901
Volume number: 2
Issue number: 3
Pagination: 99-101 (excerpt below includes only pages 100-01)
|“What the Public Might Think.” Worcester Magazine Sept. 1901 v2n3: pp. 99-101.|
|McKinley memorial services (Worcester, MA); William McKinley (death: public response: criticism).|
|Thomas J. Conaty; James A. Garfield [misspelled below]; G. Stanley Hall; George F. Hoar; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; John R. Thayer.|
What the Public Might Think [excerpt]
LESS than five months ago the city was full of bustle and excitement on account of the expected visit of President McKinley. Nothing in the way of former receptions, accorded distinguished visitors, was to be even a prelude to the extent and magnificence of the honors to be paid him. The sudden and severe illness of his beloved wife changed the entire programme, and Worcester had to give up all the prospects of visit, reception and accompanying glories, though each and every one confidently expected that ere his administration was ended, his well-known friendship for Senator Hoar would eventuate in a journey hither at some date, possibly in 1902, but one  moment, a sad one in our national history, changed it all, and we shall never meet McKinley here.
INSTEAD, a vast audience gathered on the 19th inst. to hear words of eulogy pronounced in Mechanics Hall. While the city mourned sincerely the deaths of Lincoln and Gerfield, seemingly there had not been in the past such a universal turning to solemn reflections as when we learned that our president was dead. While pulpit and platform rang with praises of the dead and denunciations of his slayer, it was not till the final day that the culmination was reached. In the light of experience, it is easy to see how the management might have been very much be[t]t[e]r. Ten thousand people wished admittanc[e] to Mechanics Hall, four times the number that could be accommodated. An imposing array of speakers was listed for the occasion, hence the intense anxiety for admission. For hours before the opening of the doors a dense mass of humanity surged about the main entrance, filling the streets and occasioning intense suffering to many in the throng. Women fainted, and those who did not bore away with them in rent garments and bruised bodies lasting memorials of the day. Then the exercises themselves were too long. Not till five o’clock were they ended. Suppose that every hall in the centre of the city, viz., Washburn, Horticultural and Association, had been opened, that Senator Hoar, Dr. Conaty, President Hall and John R. Thayer had been distributed, or, better, had the latter addressed the thousands who would have gathered around the bandstand on the Common, all might have listened; there would have been no unseemly spectacle of pushing, crowding and shouting, which lent everything but impressiveness to the occasion. However, in the suspension of business, in the decorating of windows, in the evident sorrow of our people, Worcester placed herself in the very van of those who believe in right, decency and order; law and fair play, the golden rule and God.