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Source: True Witness and Catholic Chronicle
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President McKinley”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Montreal, Canada
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 51
Issue number: 10
Pagination: 4

“President McKinley.” True Witness and Catholic Chronicle 14 Sept. 1901 v51n10: p. 4.
full text
McKinley assassination (international response); assassinations (comparison); rulers (protection); presidents (protection); anarchism (international response); anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (legal penalties).
Named persons
William McKinley.


President McKinley

     We had gone to press last week when the shocking news of the shooting, by an anarchist assassin, of President McKinley, one of the greatest Presidents of the United States, was flashed from Buffalo to all quarters of the civilized world. In those [sic] later days of rapid communication, such important events are made known with electric swiftness; consequently the daily press, since last Friday, has kept every country in the world acquainted with the facts of the horrid attempt upon the life of that noble, gifted and loveable [sic] ruler. It is too late, as a matter of news, for us to furnish full details of the mournful and sensational series of events that have marked the most astoundingly criminal deed of the new century. But it is never too late, provided the earliest opportunity is taken, to give expression to the sentiments of horror and of sympathy that animate us—horror at the crime, so totally inexcusable and unjustifiable, that has been committed, and sympathy for the victim of the foul deed, as well as for the frail and loving wife of the good President, and with all the true and honest citizens of the great Republic whose destinies he has so patriotically guided during the past few years.
     When the press of all countries and of every imaginable political color, when the rulers and heads of every form of government known to civilization, when the pulpits of every section of Christendom, when, in our own church, from the Sovereign Pontiff down the whole line of the hierarchy and priesthood, are perfectly harmonious in the grand universal expression of hope that the [Hand?] of Providence would frustrate the evil desires of the lawless assailant and of prayer for the speedy restoration to perfect health of the great man thus stricken down, we can do little more than blend our humble voice with those of the tens of thousands and unite in that accentuated sympathy and in those fervent prayers[.]
     Of the countless number of writers who have paid tribute to President McKinley, during the past week, one remarked that “lightning invariably strikes in high places, and that is why there are few persons who are in such constant danger of death by violence as those who either by inheritance or by the election [of?] their fellow-citizens, are raised high above the level of their fellow-creatures.” The history of the last half century, and of the rulers in various lands during that period, furnishes ample proof of the exactness of this statement[.] If we consider that within a few years, comparatively speaking, three Presidents of Republics—one of France and two of the United States—have been murdered by anarchist, or maniacal hands, and that now the assassination of a third President of the American Republic has been attempted, we must conclude that it is as safe to be Czar of Russia, or Shah of Persia, as it is to be the head of a constitutionally-governed country—a land of liberty[.] When the Nihilist flings his death-dealing bomb at the autocratic ruler in a land where certain liberties are restricted, deeply and seriously as we may denounce the act, still we cannot help feeling that there may be some ground-work, insufficient and frail in fact, but yet enough to afford an explanation of the individual’s conduct[,] but when the arm of the same species of organization is raised with deadly purpose against the inoffending, the liberty-loving, the purely democratic ruler—who occupies his post of honor by virtue of the popular suffrage, and only for a limited time—speculation is at a loss to assign a reasonable, or even an excusable motive for the deed. If it be not mania, it must be the deepest-dyed villany [sic].
     We have noticed, from time to time, that sections of the American press sneered at the precautions taken by royal personages when going abroad, or even travelling [sic] through their own dominions. The insinuation intended is to the effect that in a land of perfect freedom and of republican principles no such precautions are necessary[.] And, as a matter of fact, men occupying such positions as those held by the Presidents of France or America, have such unbounded confidence in their fellow-citizens that they decline to be hedged in by unnecessarily numerous precautions and they blend unhesitatingly with citizens of every class[.] The result is that they expose their persons to death and they discover, when too late[,] that they are men who are not capable of appreciating liberty[.]
     It is not a boon but a curse to accord freedom of action, and even of expression to these members of murderous and secret organizations. They are a perpetual menace to mankind; they are the enemies of God and man; they possess perverted natures that cannot be tamed, not even as much as the nature of a tiger, or a serpent. To legislate against them is no easy matter, for they bid defiance to all authority and all laws. We can see no way of meeting them than [sic] by denying them every benefit accorded by law to ordinary citizens. They should be outside the pale of executive consideration[.] Once one of them is known to be what he is he should no longer be allowed abroad amongst his fellow-creatures. It is insane to wait until some dreadful crime is committed in order to punish the culprit; a preventative course would be preferable and that can only consist in making professed anarchy a crime against the State[.] It should suffice that his connection with such societies be established in order to justify his removal from the pathway of humanity—we do not mean by death, but by incarceration for a sufficient term to frustrate all designs that he might form, or that might be formed by others for him.
     At all events we trust that this sad and severe lesson will not be lost on our American cousins[.] It is high time that greater value should be placed upon the lives of such personages as the President of the Republic[;] it is a national duty of the highest moment[.] For our part, we can only pray that the days of anarchy are numbered, and that the boon of pure Christian education may be afforded the masses.



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