The Exposition and the Assassination
A portion of President Roosevelt’s
message was devoted to the three great expositions, the Pan-American,
the Charleston and the prospective commemorative one at St. Louis.
The following is what the president
said about the late exposition at Buffalo:
The Pan-American Exposition at
Buffalo has just closed. Both from the industrial and the artistic
standpoint this exposition has been in a high degree creditable
and useful, not merely to Buffalo but to the United States.
The terrible tragedy of the president’s assassination interfered
materially with its being a financial success. The exposition
was peculiarly in harmony with the trend of our public policy,
because it represented an effort to bring into closer touch
all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and give them an
increasing sense of unity. Such an effort was a genuine service
to the entire American public.
The presence of President McKinley
at the exposition drew many thousands of persons there on the two
days of his attendance; but the tragedy which occurred on the second
day practically wrecked the enterprise financially. There were some
big days later, but the exposition was closed for several days on
account of the assassination, and the public mind throughout the
country was so excited and diverted for two or three weeks that
the exposition lost its grip on the interest of the people.
Had the president not gone to Buffalo
he would not have been shot—at least, not then, and probably not
at all. But Buffalo gave him a splendid welcome and during those
sad days after the shooting the bearing, labors and sacrifices of
her leading men and citizens generally were in the highest degree
unselfish and noble.
It is undoubtedly true, as President
Roosevelt says, that the assassination interfered materially with
the financial success of the exposition. The subscribers to the
stock never will receive a dollar of their money back. But that
is not all. There will be heavy default in paying the contractors
and the bondholders unless some way shall be found to increase the
funds at present in [sight?]. It is understood that a bill will
be introduced in congress appropriating $1,000,000 to help pay the
claims against the company which represent, over and above the stock,
actual expenditures for which at present there is no available money.
Senators Platt and Depew have given assurances that they will support
As Buffalo received no aid from the
general government for its exposition it would seem that the country
might well agree to contribute the amount named in behalf of so
worthy an enterprise so disastrously affected by the event which
plunged the nation into mourning.