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Source: New York Times
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “M’Kinley Memorial Services at Albany”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 5 March 1902
Volume number: 51
Issue number: 16274
Pagination: 8

“M’Kinley Memorial Services at Albany.” New York Times 5 Mar. 1902 v51n16274: p. 8.
full text
McKinley memorial services (Albany, NY); William McKinley (memorial addresses); Charles Emory Smith (public addresses).
Named persons
Thomas Martin Aloysius Burke; Chauncey M. Depew; William C. Doane; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; John Lothrop Motley; Benjamin B. Odell, Jr.; Thomas Collier Platt; Charles Emory Smith; George Washington; William I.


M’Kinley Memorial Services at Albany


Tribute to Late President by Assembly and State Officers.
An Address of Eulogy Delivered by Ex-Postmaster General Charles Emory Smith.

     ALBANY, N. Y., March 4.—The memory of the late President, William McKinley, was appropriately honored by the Legislature of the State to-night. The exercises were held in the Assembly chamber, and were presided over by Gov. Odell.
     Seated on the platform were United States Senator Thomas C. Platt and the members of the Legislative Committee which arranged for the exercises. Senator Depew had expected to be present, but he was summoned to New York early this morning and found it impossible to get back in time. The Chamber was decorated with American flags, while royal purple draperies were hung from the various galleries. Palms and potted plants in profusion were placed about the speakers’ stand.
     The opening prayer was delivered by the Right Rev. William Croswell Doane, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Albany. The choir of All Saints’ Protestant Episcopal Cathedral rendered appropriate music. Gov. Odell then introduced the speaker of the evening, Charles Emory Smith, formerly Postmaster General, who said in part:


     “‘As long as he lived he was the guiding star of a whole brave Nation, and when he died the little children cried in the streets.’ So wrote Motley of William, the great Prince of Orange, who enlarged a republic and fell under the hand of an assassin. So may we speak of the dead President who by a cruel fate was slain within the borders of your State and whose memory you are assembled to honor. Thrice has our country been called to mourn a murdered President. The hot passions engendered by civil strife impelled the first blow. The aberration of a disturbed brain, distorted by a perverted view of partisan contention, struck the second. The third came in an hour of profound calm, at a time of universal good feeling, and it was aimed not in any disordered frenzy at the gentle individual, but with cool and stealthy design from the lair of lurking anarchy at the head of the State. The first two left a helpless sorrow; the third leaves a relentless duty. The grace of President McKinley’s life and the vicariousness of his sacrifice for the Republic added to the poignancy of the public grief. ‘As long as he lived he was the guiding star of a whole brave Nation, and when he died the little children cried in the streets.’
     “Heritage molds character and character shapes opportunity. The preparation of William McKinley for his great work began long before he was born. It began with a sturdy and rugged ancestry, imbued with high principle and with patriotic impulse. He blended the thrift and force and enthusiasm of the Scotch-Irish blood with the strength of the Puritan character. For more than a century the robust union had been tempered with the uplifting influence of our free institutions and with the glorious air of American liberty, and an original stock of unsurpassed quality was developed into the full flower of purest Americanism. On both sides his ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, as he fought in the war for the Union, and frugal lives, sound intelligence, and sterling citizenship distinguished the race through successive generations.
     “Both of his parents, neither high-born nor low-born, but well representing the plain people, were of superior quality. In the benignity of the maternal love he was signally blest like Washington, whose mother, when the whole world rang with his fame, could proudly and modestly answer the paeans of praise with the simple words, ‘He has been a good son, and I believe he has done his whole duty as a man.’ Under the nurture of such a mother, whom he always cherished with the fondest affection and who, happily, lived to see him President, he learned the elemental lessons of piety and faith and duty, and in his heart were early implanted the enduring principles of conduct and the fixed sense of obedience to obligation which ruled his whole life.”
     The speaker reviewed briefly Mr. McKinley’s record in the civil war, his return to civil life, and his entrance into politics and a public career. Mr. Smith then continued:


     “His success was swift and certain. His incomparable charm of manner and beauty of character made friends of all within his range. His skill and ability in counsel and in speech marked him for sure and recognized leadership. Within three years he was chosen Prosecuting Attorney, and in 1876, at the age of thirty-three, he was elected to Congress and entered on his extraordinary political career. Thenceforward to the untimely end he advanced with an unbroken growth and a widening power till at last he stood the foremost ruler with the broadest influence on the loftiest pedestal in the world.”
     Of Mr. McKinley’s course throughout the events leading to the war with Spain and his conduct of the war the speaker said:
     “No one who did not see the President at close hand during those stormy and trying days could measure the greatness of his spirit or the courage of his purpose. Of all men in the land he was the coolest, the calmest, and the most clear-sighted. Profoundly moved, anxious beyond all expression he was, with his waking hours and his sleepless couch filled with brooding care, but tranquil, self-contained, sure of his own heart and sure of his own lofty and unselfish aim. It were easy then to lead the way in the passion for war. It needed only to ride the tempest and be borne along by the swift and turbid current. There was everything in such yielding complaisance to appeal to selfish ambition. War is full of glory. This war was certain to be triumphant. Success in war is the sure passport to fame and power. It would inevitably bring enlarged domain, and his would be the honor. Beyond all, this was a war with a righteous cause and a just object, as righteous and just as ever impelled men to take up arms. But there was another side. War at the best has its costly sacrifices. It makes widows and orphans; it brings tears to the eyes of mothers, and fills households with mourning. From all this sadder side the great and gentle soul of William McKinley recoiled. Not for him the pathway of personal ambition strewn with the bloody sacrifices of his people. Not for him the mingled glory and misery or war, however just, unless it were made clear that its rightful and necessary purpose could not be accomplished through peaceful measures.


     “He did not despair of such a pacific and acceptable solution. In his purpose of rescuing Cuba he never faltered. In more sober understanding and aim he shared the hot determination of the country that the intolerable wrongs in the unhappy isle must cease; he had reiterated the protests of other Presidents, and, as the offenses grew, had gone further in action, but he still hoped and believed that the redemption could be effected without the dread necessity of war. With this conviction he judiciously moderated and restrained the impetuous ardor of Congress, and, man of the people as he was, stood undaunted while the storm of popular clamor raged about him. The country does not yet know the full extent of the effort he made to save Cuba and at the same time avert war. For sixty days he held back an excited and impatient country. With one hand he curbed his own impulsive people and with the other he sought to lead a proud-spirited power up to such concessions as would alone render peace possible. The conscience, the courage, and the steadfastness of that joint undertaking cannot easily be overstated. It must ever rank with the great acts of moral heroism among the rulers of men. But it was not met with the same ingenuous spirit; events outran every plan; the mighty issues hastened to their deadly grapple, and the war was on.
     “Once decreed it was fought with the utmost vigor and power as the most humane mandate. Our arms were triumphant on sea and on land. Our navy, always great in action, repeated and added lustre to its earlier glories. The army was rapidly organized, and on new fields, under tropic skies, with unwonted experiences, separated by half the girdle of the globe, it exhibited the eager spirit and unquailing courage of the American soldier. It is but just to say that not only in the general direction, but particularly in the culminating and crucial hour of the struggle, when large consequences hung on grave questions in the field, the President was literally the Commander in Chief, and when his judgment was vindicated by the result of his orders, with characteristic generosity, he discountenanced any ascription of the credit which was rightfully his, lest it might in the slightest degree detract from the well-won laurels of the Generals he delighted to honor.”
     Of Mr. McKinley’s achievements in the disposition of issues that grew out of the war and the foreign policy of the United States, Mr. Smith said:
     “His was the authority, his the responsibility, his the decision in what, let us fully recognize it, was a turning point in American history, and a new epoch in the course of civilization. If there had been nothing else, this great act alone was sufficient to give him a sure niche in the Temple of Fame. We do not undertake to pass upon the questions of the future, but whatever may be its course it is certain that the freedom which has spread its glorious light in the Philippine Islands can never be dimmed. The Filipinos may say with the hero of Italy: ‘We had rather take one step forward and die than one backward and live.’ It was William McKinley who lifted them out of the thralldom and darkness of three hundred years into the liberty and enlightenment of the twentieth century, and, whatever the vicissitudes of circumstance, it is sure that in the coming time the millions of dark-visaged and disenthralled people and their ten of millions of descendants will recognize him as the blacks of America recognize Lincoln, and that not only in the stately squares of Manila, but in the remoter provinces of Luzon and among the dusky Viscayans of Cebu and Samar, then advanced in civilization, will be found rising in honor the worthy monuments of bronze or of granite, with the benignant face and figure so well known to us, which shall commemorate the great Liberator.


    “The first Summer of the President had been given to the restoration of the conditions of prosperity; the second to the war with Spain; the third to the insurrectionary troubles in the Philippines; and the fourth, the year of his campaign for re-election, was absorbed with the sudden and appalling outbreak in China. That startling assault on civilization served to show that the United States had taken its place at the council table of the nations. The establishment of our authority in the East gave us a recognized voice in dealing with the issues of the great Eastern empire; the presence of our forces in the Philippines permitted the quick transfer of a fair contingent to the new scene of action. We were there by right, and we were there with visible strength. In facing this trying and unforeseen exigency, for which there was no precedent and no guide, the President evinced the easy assumption of responsibility and direction to which the large experience of four years, with the preparation of twenty years behind it, had brought him.
     “Under his guidance the United States proceeded without hesitation and without truculence, acting with other nations when their policy suited it, asserting its independent judgment when occasion required it, entangling itself with none and friendly with all. In two directions at least the United States took the distinct lead. It was foremost in insisting that despite the furious fighting and the dreadful conditions at Peking, there was not a state of war, and thus localizing the conflict. It was no less strenuous in upholding the integrity of the empire and in moderating the terms of settlement. Whatever differences may remain on controverted questions there is universal concurrence that our Government handled the Chinese complication in a masterful and faultless manner, and emerged from the arduous ordeal with increased prestige and influence throughout the world.
     “At last it seemed that for the President a time of tranquility and measurable repose and well-earned enjoyment of his great honors had come. He had been re-elected with every mark of the high confidence of his countrymen. His great achievements were secure, and his fixed and well-defined policies remained only to be fulfilled on the lines he had marked out. He went to Buffalo, and amid the brilliant surroundings of its beautiful Exposition he made the impressive speech which, in its elevation of spirit, in its clearness of vision and in its breadth of statesmanship, is his fit legacy to the American people. He had renounced no article of his lifelong creed. He only saw the consummation of the policy he had sustained, only the expected results he had done his part in bringing about. In his view reciprocity was but the ripened fruitage of the harvest of protection, and when his unfaltering faith and patient labor were rewarded by seeing his country in full command of her own boundless resources, his hopes and aspirations naturally reached out to the extension of her sceptre in the exchanges of the world.
     “His fate on the day following this final speech gave it a sanctity commensurate with its significance. If he was great in life he was sublime in death. The cruel shot rang with horror around the world. His country and all mankind followed the changing aspects with alternations of high hope and of deepest gloom. But through all the fluctuations of that anguishing week, whether encouraged by the highest human skill or looking through the open portal to the eternal morn, he and he alone waited with unquailing spirit, with serene patience, and with supreme trust. In what hour he was lifted to his full height. What a noble exhibition of a God-like nature! Would you know his generosity?—recall his words as he looked upon the miscreant, ‘don’t let them hurt him.’ Would you understand his thoughtful chivalry?—remember his immediate admonition,‘do not let them alarm my wife.’ Would you appreciate his considerate courtesy?—turn to his fine sense, ‘I am sorry that the Exposition has been shadowed.’ Would you measure his moral grandeur?—dwell upon that final utterance of sublime submission, ‘It is God’s way; His will, not ours be done.’”
     The closing benediction was pronounced by the Right Rev. T. M. A. Burke, Roman Catholic Bishop of Albany.



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