Whole City Aghast
Chicago Filled with Horror and Grief over Attempt
to Kill McKinley.
THRONGS CRY “AWFUL.”
Trial in Criminal Court Halts, When Judge Hears News—Scenes in the
News that President McKinley had
been shot spread like wildfire on the streets of Chicago, but it
was not fully believed until The Daily News extra edition announced
the first reliable tidings of the terrible deed. The crowds besieged
the news stands in frantic anxiety to read The Associated Press
Men walked the streets as though stunned.
Women stopped as though stricken with terror. Throngs gathered in
front of the newspaper and telegraph offices and read the bulletins
with an ominous silence. When they had recovered from the shock
of the tidings the throngs burst forth in wrath and tears. There
was one sentiment on every lip—“Terrible, too terrible to be believed.”
Work Stops in Offices.
Business was almost
at a standstill for a time. Work stopped in many big offices while
workers voiced their sorrow.
The first reports did not definitely
state the condition of the president. Hope that the shots would
not prove fatal was in the hearts of every man, woman and child
in the great mass of humanity that surrounded the newspaper and
Crowds Are Fierce.
Then came a report from
a telegraph office that the assassin had been trampled to death
by the crowd. The throng took up the report and passed it from lip
to lip up and down Washington and Madison streets and 5th avenue.
There was a fierce gleam of joy in every eye in that immense crowd
as this was noised about. The unspeakable sorrow that sealed all
mouths at first gave way to rage. In Chicago he would have been
lynched in a moment.
Women gathered about policemen in
the streets. Another cry that was taken up and passed along was:
“There is no politics in this.”
Even into the quiet court the terrible
A pen could not describe the scene
in Judge Kavanagh’s courtroom at the Criminal court building, when
a reporter for The Daily News burst into the crowded room with the
“President McKinley shot? What do
you mean?” Those were the first words uttered by Judge Kavanagh.
Then the terrible news was known to all. The courtroom was no longer
silenced. One woman, finely dressed, sitting beside one who apparently
was from the lower walks of life, sobbed, “My God, can it be true!”
Then both women were on the same level and their tears, flowing
without an effort to restrain or to hide them, mingled. At the judge’s
exclamation, every one was on his feet. Explanations of the bulletins
thus far received were hurriedly made and again a hush fell on the
room crowded with spectators and witnesses in the case of Dr. Jacob
H. Smyser. The hush lasted but an instant, then an eulogy seldom
heard in such places poured forth.
“He was the sweetest man I ever knew,”
said Judge Kavanagh. “This is too terrible to believe. He was a
grand man. I hardly comprehend that he is to be lost to us, just
when the nation is in such a prosperous condition. He was the greatest
man of the age, and the sweetest.” With this utterance, the judge,
who has just passed through the trying ordeal of his aged father’s
long and fatal illness, mopped his brow, drew his handkerchief over
his eyes to wipe the unbidden tears away and said: “Proceed with
A group of men stood in a LaSalle
street saloon drinking. A boy came in with the extra edition of
The Daily News. They had thought it a canard.
“My God!; it is true!” cried one.
His upraised glass fell from his hand. The others put down their
drinks. It was noticeable that the news seemed to paralyze the men
who heard it.
The newspaper report in The Daily
News reached the street at ten minutes to 4. The vendors ran down
the crowded thoroughfares crying the dread intelligence to all parts
of downtown Chicago and people came from all directions. They ran
from news stand to news stand, buying various editions of every
paper they could find.
“Let no man say that a democrat did
this,” cried a man who stood watching the bulletins. “Every man
to-day is an American. Politics has been wiped out by this atrocity.”
A crowd gathering around him cried: “That is true, that is true.”
Men turned white with rage one moment
and the next stood with bowed heads.
“Not in all his life,” said a man
in front of the Chamber of Commerce building, “did he do a mean
thing. He made fewer enemies than any other republican in the United
“He was always just,” said another,
and the throng took up the sentiment again.
With one accord the thousands on the
streets agreed that the crime had been done by a maniac.