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Publication information
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Source: Zion’s Herald
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “International Sympathy”
Author(s): Aliquis [pseudonym]
Date of publication: 2 October 1901
Volume number: 79
Issue number: 39
Pagination: 1257-58

 
Citation
Aliquis. “International Sympathy.” Zion’s Herald 2 Oct. 1901 v79n39: pp. 1257-58.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
William McKinley (death: international response); William McKinley (mourning); McKinley memorial services (Canada); Albert Carman (public addresses).
 
Named persons
Arthur; Albert Carman; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; William Sewell; Victoria.
 
Document

 

International Sympathy

WE are safe in saying that no crowned and sceptred king was ever so widely and so deeply mourned as was the nation’s chief, William McKinley. The death of Queen Victoria, it is true, touched the heart of the civilized world; but this was largely a feeling of chivalry to the Queen as woman, wife and mother, and to veneration for her long and noble reign. The very suddenness and tragic mode of the taking off of the President made more poignant the universal grief. Not even in his own country was that grief more sincere, more deep and heartfelt, than in the Dominion of Canada. Our very nearness to the scene of his death, our intimate relations, social, religious and commercial, with the people of the United States, brought home to every man’s business and bosom the sense of loss.
     The pomp and pageantry of the visit of the Duke of Cornwall and York were saddened and chastened by this national bereavement, many of the social functions were abandoned, and over those that it was impossible to forego was cast the shadow of a great sorrow. Nothing more commanded the homage of our hearts than the chivalrous devotion of the President in his place of power to the elect lady who had shared for so many years the joys and sorrows of his home. This picture of strength protecting weakness with the tenderness and solicitude of a lover endeared him to all our hearts. Not more saintly or chivalric was the passing of King Arthur or any of his knights than that of the kingly soul of William McKinley.
     The day of the President’s burial at Canton was set apart by the Dominion Government as one for public mourning. Our courts were closed; the busy wheels of trade and commerce stood still; our flags everywhere hung at half-mast; our churches were draped with sombre weeds of woe, their bells tolled slowly and solemnly, and funeral marches expressed the heartfelt grief of our people. At almost all the services the favorite hymns of the President, “Nearer, my God, to Thee,” “Lead, Kindly Light,” and “Forever with the Lord,” were sung.
     More than anything which has ever occurred has this great international sorrow brought together the hearts of the kindred people of the United States and Canada. At the hour of the President’s burial, in many of the churches in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and elsewhere memorial services were held. One of the most impressive of these was that in the Metropolitan Church, Toronto. [1257][1258] The presence of the American Consul, Colonel Sewell, and of the mayor and members of the city council gave an official importance to the occasion. Our General Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Carman, had already, in behalf of the whole Methodist Church, sent a message of condolence to the stricken household at Canton. His address was one of great power and pathos. He referred to the American sympathy in our recent sorrow for the death of Queen Victoria:
     “We were drawn toward them in a sweeter amity and bound together in firmer bonds of national friendship. Now they, our kindred and brethren, are overwhelmed with a severer affliction and pierced with even a keener sorrow than had fallen upon ourselves. Their chief ruler, their President, chosen and beloved, is the victim of a dark, heinous plot and of treacherous, cruel and ungrateful assassination. Bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; spirit of our spirit and soul of our soul; alike in all civil, social and political institutions and aims; one in our Christianity and our common civilization, we mingle our tears with theirs around the grave of their precious dust. Their loss is ours; their bereavement is ours; their admiration and cherished memory of their wise and faithful, their magnanimous Christian President are ours; and so are their calmness and good hope and their strong confidence in the stability of their government under the sudden stroke and violent strain of so enormous a public calamity. Ours, also, is their faith in justice, in humanity, in the God of love and truth.

‘“Two empires by the sea,
   Two nations great and free,
        One anthem raise.
   One race of ancient fame,
   One tongue, one blood, we claim,
   One God, whose glorious name,
        We love and praise.’

And so it is ours out of full hearts and minds much oppressed to share in the inexpressible grief of so tremendous an hour.”
     Similar services were held in the leading Presbyterian Church and in the Anglican Cathedral, Toronto.
     It fell to the lot of the present writer to take part in a memorial service at the hour of the obsequies of President Lincoln six and thirty years ago. On that occasion we found in the words of the great bard who is the possession of the whole English-speaking world, words which seemed singularly appropriate to your three martyr Presidents. This man

“Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
 So clear in his great office, that his virtues
 Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
 The deep damnation of his taking-off.”

     Another quotation from the great bard is equally appropriate:

“Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
 To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not;
 Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
 Thy God’s and truth’s; then if thou fall’st,
 Thou fall’st a blessed martyr.”

     The address of President McKinley to the young Methodists of San Francisco, his message to the Epworth League Convention in that city, and his address of welcome to the League Convention when it met in the city of Cleveland, all show his earnest interest in the moral and spiritual welfare of the church which he loved so loyally and served so well. At the Cleveland Convention the duty was assigned the present writer to reply to the President’s address of welcome. He was at the time one of the best abused men in the country by the yellow press of the day. Referring to this, we remarked in our address: “When we were introduced to His Excellency we looked him well over to see if he had either horns or hoofs. We were glad to find that he had neither. To hear some people talk you would think he had both! But you who know the man, you in whose love and confidence he has lived these many years, have learned to discount all this disparagement and to prize his true worth.” Mr. McKinley seemed very much amused at this rather audacious criticism. We little thought then that the reckless words of anarchists who scatter firebrands, arrows and death, should nerve the hand of an assassin to smite down the foremost man in all the land.
     A Canadian living in New England wrote to us yesterday: “Then you and I and all of us fell down.” These words express the common sympathy and common sorrow which fill all our hearts.

     Toronto, Canada.

 

 


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