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Source: St. John Daily Sun
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: St. John, Canada
Date of publication: 7 September 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 215
Pagination: 4

“The Assassination.” St. John Daily Sun 7 Sept. 1901 v24n215: p. 4.
full text
McKinley assassination (international response); assassinations (comparison); William McKinley; anarchism (international response); McKinley presidency; freedom of speech (restrictions on).
Named persons
Elizabeth; Humbert I; William McKinley.


The Assassination

     For the third time since the war of the rebellion a president of the United States has been struck down by the hand of an assassin. Of the seven presidents elected to that office since the beginning of 1864, three have so fallen. Within some six years the butchery of a President of France, an Empress of Austria, the King of Italy, and this last tragedy have taken place. The European murders were in all cases the work of professed anarchists, and the wretch who sought the life of President McKinley seems to be a member of the same school of assassins.
     At the time of writing there is some reason to hope that the attempt to take the life of the President of the United States has failed. But the nature of the wound is such as to make the result uncertain for some days at the best, while the worst may be reported at any moment. The life of an eminent and worthy man, who has filled with credit to himself and his country the highest position in the gift of the nation, hangs in the balance.
     President McKinley has been the Governor of his state, the leader of his party in congress both in power and in opposition, and the author of the most important tariff measures in the history of the country. He has been twice elected president[,] and in that position has had the control of the greatest national enterprises which the nation has attempted since the civil war. Whatever objection may be taken to the policy for which he stood, it is everywhere admitted that he has courageously, manfully and honorably worked out his share of it. Moreover, he is a man of a chivalrous nature and kindly disposition, who has made more friends and fewer enemies than most public men in his country. But these things count for nothing with the type of criminal who lies in wait to murder the rulers of the land. When the kindly Empress Elizabeth was slain at Geneva, some of the horde who applauded the act said that there was more need to kill good queens than bad ones, as they made royalty popular. The same doctrine was propounded after the murder of King Humbert of Italy, one of the best of sovereigns.
     This crime would at any time awaken feelings of horror and execration throughout the British Empire. But at this particular period in the history of the kindred nations the expression of sympathy with the afflicted republic will be most generous, hearty, universal and sincere. In truth the British people who were forformerly [sic] disposed to consider the Cleveland school of democrats their friends, rather than the authors of the McKinley bill, and the imperial class of republicans, have learned many things of late. It was not from the Harrison and McKinley governments, but from the two Cleveland cabinets that nearly all the offences against international good manners, good faith and good law were perpetrated against Great Britain and Canada. From President McKinley and his administration it has not always been possible for Canada to obtain what we thought was just, but at least the United States position has been maintained with dignity and courtesy and with a decent regard for the amenities of national intercourse. If Great Britain found the United States repudiating or refusing to confirm a treaty signed by her own secretary of state, the fault was not with the President, but of the senate which rejected his advice. Therefore there are personal reasons, besides the common impulse of humanity, why this murderous act should shock and anger the people of the Empire.
     If this crime prove to be the work of one of the anarchists who have found shelter in the United States, it will lead to some searching of hearts. The man who killed the King of Italy is said to have gone to that country from a New Jersey city, charged to commit this act. We have all read in various New York papers reports of speeches made in Paterson and elsewhere commending this regicide. What wonder that among the men who have heard the murderer praised as a hero, and honored as a martyr, some one or more should be found to imitate him? Here is where the responsibility of the nation comes in. So long as the victims were European sovereigns these encouragers and instigators of assassination were allowed to go on with their propaganda. The orators are not the murderers. As a rule they are too careful of their own skins to adopt that role. But they are a source of crime, and perhaps it will now be found necessary to limit the privilege of free speech in America as has been done in some parts of Europe.



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