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Publication information
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Source: Christian Observer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Death of the President”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Louisville, Kentucky
Date of publication: 18 September 1901
Volume number: 89
Issue number: 38
Pagination: 23

 
Citation
“Death of the President.” Christian Observer 18 Sept. 1901 v89n38: p. 23.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
William McKinley (death); McKinley funeral services; William McKinley (personal history); McKinley assassination (investigation of conspiracy); assassinations (history).
 
Named persons
Alexander II; Abdülaziz [identified as Abdul Aziz below]; José Balta; Justo Rufino Barrios; Alexander Berkman [identified as Bergmann below]; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Grover Cleveland; George B. Cortelyou; Leon Czolgosz; Henry Clay Frick; Gabriel García Moreno; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; John R. Hazel; Humbert I; Abraham Isaak; Ioánnis Antónios Kapodístrias [identified as d’Istria below]; Abraham Lincoln; Antonio Maggio; Matthew D. Mann; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Johann Most; James B. Parker; Paul I; José María Reina Barrios; Theodore Roosevelt; Selim III; Ansley Wilcox.
 
Notes
In the list of assassinated rulers at the end of this article, the entry for President Guthriz of Ecuador appears to be an error since no such president existed; nor can any assassinated ruler from that year (1873) or with that name be identified.
 
Document

 

Death of the President

     Up to last Thursday afternoon, the President appeared to be making good progress toward recovery. The wounds in the stomach had healed, and the danger of blood poisoning seemed past. For the first four days after the shooting, the only nourishment given him was dissolved food, administered by injection. On Wednesday, his improvement had been such that beef-extract was administered by the mouth. On Thursday, it was deemed desirable—indeed it was probably necessary—to begin to give him some solid nourishment. Accordingly, on Thursday morning, he was given chicken soup, toast and coffee. That afternoon unfavorable symptoms were noticed. The food failed to be digested, his pulse increased to 128, and his condition became very alarming. These unfavorable symptoms largely disappeared about midnight of Thursday, and an encouraging bulletin was issued. In a few hours, the hope disappeared. The action of his heart became alarmingly weak; it failed to respond to the strongest stimulants; and early Friday morning, all over the United States, people who had gone to sleep the night before feeling that the President was far on his way toward recovery, were awakened by the newsboys calling out, “The President Dying!”
     All day Friday he lingered, unconscious much of the time. A gleam of hope was felt occasionally, but as evening drew on, even this was abandoned. Shortly after seven o’clock, he was conscious, and saw Mrs. McKinley for the last time. It is said that during this final period of consciousness, he tried to sing “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” and that his last audible conscious words, as taken down by Dr. Mann, one of the physicians, were: “Goodbye, all; goodbye. It is God’s way; his will be done.” About 7:40 in the evening he lapsed into unconsciousness, from which he never roused again. At 2:15 Saturday morning, September 14, he quietly breathed his last. His brother, sisters, nieces and others near to him, with the exception of Mrs. McKinley, were gathered about his bedside.
     When the end came, Mr. Cortelyou, the President’s private secretary, immediately made the sad announcement to the members of the Cabinet, waiting below in the parlor of the Milburn residence. Vice-President Roosevelt, in the full belief that the President would recover, had left a day or two before, for a hunt in the Adirondacks. Some difficulty was experienced in reaching him with the news, as he was away from a telegraph station. He reached Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, and shortly afterward, at 3:32 P. M., took the oath of office as President, at the residence of his friend, Mr. Ansley Wilcox. The oath was administered by Judge Hazel, of the United States District Court, in the presence of the Cabinet. Just before taking the oath, Mr. Roosevelt made this statement: “It shall be my aim to continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley.” The first official act of the new President was to proclaim next Thursday, the day of the burial of President McKinley, as a day of prayer.
     The Funeral Arrangements.—On Sunday morning simple religious services were held at the Milburn residence is Buffalo, where the President died. The body was then removed to the Buffalo City Hall to lie in state until Monday, when it was taken Washington, accompanied by Mrs. McKinley, other members of the family, the Cabinet and friends. It will rest in the White House until Tuesday morning. Then it will be removed to the Capitol, to lie there in state all day. Religious services will be held in the rotunda of the Capitol. At 8 o’clock Tuesday night, the remains will be taken to Canton, Ohio, to rest in the family residence there until the interment on Thursday (Sept. 19). Mrs. McKinley is bearing her sorrow so bravely that it is believed she will be able to go through all these sad journeyings.
     The Autopsy shows that the President’s death was inevitable from the first. The tissue around both bullet holes in the stomach had become gangrenous. After passing through the stomach the bullet passed into the back walls of the abdomen, hitting and tearing the upper end of the kidney. This portion of the bullet track was also gangrenous, the gangrene involving the pancreas.
     Mr. McKinley’s Life had differed little from that of the majority of our public men. He came of sturdy stock, his great-grandfather having served bravely in the Revolutionary war. The President’s father was one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio. William McKinley himself was born at Niles, Ohio, in 1843. His education was obtained by close economy on his part and by sacrifices on the part of those at home. When the Civil War broke out, he was teaching a little school near Poland, Ohio. He enlisted in the Union army and rose to the rank of Major. After the war closed, he studied law, and began to practice it at Canton. A year or two afterward he married Miss Ida Saxton, the daughter of a banker there. He began to be prominent in politics, as a Republican, and in 1877, entered Congress. From the first, his interest in economic questions was noticeable, and in course of time he became the leader of the “protection” party. He served two terms as Governor of Ohio, and in 1896 was elected President of the United States. The great historic events of his first administration, from the sinking of the Maine, through the war with Spain, and then with the Filipinos, are fresh in the minds of all. He entered upon his second term of office last March, and two months afterward started on a tour of the South and West, which was destined to be an important epoch of his life. On this trip, Mrs. McKinley was taken very ill, and for several days death seemed near. The President had always been esteemed, even by his political opponents, as a courteous, tactful gentleman, but his beautiful devotion to his sick wife at this time aroused for him a depth of affection that probably nothing else could have stirred in the hearts of the American people. Sympathy for Mrs. McKinley in the loss of such a husband has given a peculiarly personal element to the mourning caused by his death. He leaves no children. Two were born to him and Mrs. McKinley, but they died when the eldest was not four years old. Since that time, Mrs. McKinley has been almost an invalid. The President united with the Methodist church at the age of sixteen years, and remained an honored member of that communion till his death.
     As a Public Speaker, he seems not to have had so much the quality of “convincingness” which made so many of Mr. Cleveland’s utterances hit like a sledgehammer, but he was gifted in saying the right thing in the right place. This was never more strikingly shown than in his last speech—made at Buffalo, the day before he was shot—when, in speaking of expositions, he used the singularly felicitous expression, “They are the timekeepers of progress.”
     Many Anarchists Arrested.—Besides Isaak and a dozen or more anarchists arrested in Chicago as soon as the President was shot, Emma Goldman, their leader, is also held by the Chicago police. She claims to be a trained nurse by profession. In 1892, she instigated another anarchist, Bergmann, to attempt the assassination of Mr. Frick, of the Carnegie Steel Works. —Besides those arrested in Chicago, Antonio Maggio, an anarchist said to have predicted the assassination of Mr. McKinley, is under arrest at Santa Rita, New Mexico. All these are held on the charge of conspiracy to murder. Herr Most has been arrested in New York as a suspicious person.
     Czolgosz, the actual murderer, is strongly guarded at the Buffalo police station. The one word that seems to fully describe him is that he is a “degenerate”—vicious from his earliest childhood, and made more so by harsh treatment—stupid, gluttonous, and knowing no more of the laws of our country than to believe that the murder of the President would overturn the Government.
     James Parker is the name of the colored man who seized the hand in which Czolgosz held the revolver, and thus kept him from shooting a third time. One of our exchanges suggests that “probably the best way to reward him would be to find out his qualifications and give him as high an office as he may be fitted to fill, and make it permanent.”
     Rulers Assassinated.—The following list of rulers assassinated during the past century is taken from the New York World:

Emperor Paul, Russia, choked
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1801
Sultan Selim, Turkey, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1808
President d’Istria, Greece, sabred
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1831
Duke of Parma, Italy
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1854
President of Hayti, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1859
President Lincoln, United States, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1865
President Balta, Peru, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1872
President Moreno, Ecuador, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1872
President Guthriz, Ecuador, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1873
Sultan Abdul Aziz, Turkey, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1874
President of Paraguay, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1877
President Garfield, United States, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1880
Czar Alexander II, Russia, bomb
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1881
President J. R. Barrios, Guatemala, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1885
Queen of Korea, poisoned
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1890
President Carnot, France, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1894
Shah of Persia, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1896
President Jose Barrios, Guatemala, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1898
Empress of Austria, stabbed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1899
King Humbert, Italy, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1900
President McKinley, United States, shot
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1901

     The large proportion of presidents of republics in the remarkable feature of the list. Rulers chosen by the people are no safer from the assassin than are hereditary monarchs.

 

 


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