Sad Breakdown of Best Precautions
Three Secret Service Men Guarded the President.
Others on the Way.
PHILADELPHIA, PA., Sept.
6.—Not since Garfield fell at the hand of Guiteau has the Quaker
city felt such horror as it did this afternoon when the wires flashed
the intelligence of the attempted assassination of President McKinley.
Excitement was intense. The principal streets, especially in the
vicinity of the newspaper offices, were dense with people, men,
women and children, passing the messages bulletined.
If the president ever had a premonition
of such a fate as has befallen him, it is certain that it was unknown
to those who stood closest to him. On all official occasions, and
whenever it was possible at other times, Chief Wilkie of the secret
service kept the president under the eye of his men. Speaking from
personal knowledge, I know that the president was always irritated,
if not displeased, at the official espionage.
The president showed his absolute
fearlessness on all occasions. He disposed of a story—sensationally
exploited a few days before election—that he was to be the victim
of an anarchist plot, by driving alone, and with Secretary Cortelyou,
not only about the public streets, but across country through woodland
President McKinley, both before and
since his elevation to the presidency, invariably objected to the
employment of secret service men during public demonstrations, frequently
saying to his intimate friends:
“I have never done any man a wrong,
and believe no man will ever do me one.”
Owing to rumors of violence and the
activity of anarchists in recent years, unusual precautions have
been taken on all occasions of public festivity to guard the president.
It has always been customary for members of the secret service of
the treasury department to travel with presidents, and Mr. McKinley
was under the protection of three en route to and while at Canton.
There were with him at Buffalo Agents Foster, Ireland and Gallagher,
and another was on his way to Cleveland.
President Cleveland, owing to threats,
had sentry boxes placed in the White House grounds, and a force
of policemen were detailed for duty there day and night. Several
policemen have been constantly on service at the Executive mansion
since the first inauguration of President McKinley, but the sentry
boxes have been removed and the force reduced.
It is the opinion of the secret service
officials that the shooting of the president is an outcropping in
some obscure way of the Haymarket riots, and that it will be found
eventually that Nieman, the would-be assassin, has some connection
with the group of persons associated in the Chicago anarchists riot.
The secret service officials are of this opinion because of the
name of the man, and the fact that he is probably from the same
general section of the country as some of the Haymarket participants.
The secret service bureau had the
Paterson (N. J.) group of anarchists very thoroughly under surveillance
and are confident that Nieman has no association with these people.
Three secret service operatives were in Buffalo about the president
at the time of the shooting, and another was on the way to Cleveland.