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Source: True Witness and Catholic Chronicle
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President M’Kinley Dead”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Montreal, Canada
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 51
Issue number: 11
Pagination: 1

“President M’Kinley Dead.” True Witness and Catholic Chronicle 21 Sept. 1901 v51n11: p. 1.
full text
McKinley assassination (international response); McKinley assassination (religious response); William McKinley (last words); anarchism (international response); William McKinley (personal history); William McKinley (political character); William McKinley (public addresses); William McKinley (presidential character); McKinley assassination (religious interpretation); anarchism (dealing with).
Named persons
George Bancroft; James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.


President M’Kinley Dead

     Scarcely had the “True Witness” gone to press with its last issue when the sad, but not totally unexpected news of the death of President McKinley was received. It would be no easy task to chronicle the outburst of sorrow and indignation that followed the momentous announcement; it would occupy many a column to tell of the universal expressions of sympathy that swept in from all directions—sympathy with the bereaved wife and family whose life-companion and head was so suddenly and cruelly taken away, as well as sympathy for the whole American nation, whose chief executive officer, whose chosen ruler, was laid low by the fell hand of a miserable assassin. Now that the first tide of astounding grief has subsided and the tumult of sentiment consequent upon the immediate news of the catastrophe has given place, in a measure, to a calmness that is equally intense, we may reflect upon the dramatic and tragic events of the past couple of weeks with a more self-possessed feeling.
     Undoubtedly the name of President McKinley would have, under any circumstance, occupied a conspicuous and elevated place on the tablet of America’s history. But, at present, and after what has occurred, above all shall he be remembered as a martyr. If Lincoln fell the victim of an insane enthusiasm, and Garfield of a manical [sic] infatuation, McKinley has actually given his life for the future salvation of his country. The chosen ruler of seventy-five millions of people, the popularly elected potentate of one of the greatest nations on earth, the man of power, of honors, of emolument, of authority, in his very last words, as his grand spirit hovered over the brink of eternity, he bequeathed a legacy of faith in God and of submission to the Almighty Ruler of all men and of all nations, that will go ringing down the vestibule of the future, and may yet be the keynote of America’s salvation and of the Republic’s glory in centuries yet to come.
     “It is God’s way! Let His will, not ours, be done.” In grand relief and fruitful contradistinction to the prayerless, faithless, soulless vaporings of anarchistic infidelity will this grand adieu and act of resignation shine before the eyes of untold millions yet unborn; and it may be the death-knell of that infamous frenzy which seems to have wormed its way into the heart of a people whose constitution and whose liberties are the envy of the oppressed and the down-trodden in all lands. If by his death McKinley has aroused the people of his love, whom he served so faithfully and governed so nobly, to such a realization of the dread enemy that menaces their entire future, that their indignation will stamp out forever that hydra of destruction, like the Roman Consul of old, from his blood will have sprung the glory, the greatness and the stability of the Republic for all time. And, personally, he was of that heroic class of men who would gladly make the sacrifice for the salvation of the country.
     Was it the hand of anarchy that effaced that splendid life? Or was it the hand of an irresponsible maniac? In either case, we feel confident that the so-called principles, the loud-voiced teachings of those enemies of all order and authority, constituted the primal cause of the terrible crime. Of all the men, in prominent positions, either on this or on the other side of the Atlantic, surely McKinley was the very last to have been made the target of vile assassination[.] We will not ask if the poor creature who has been the immediate cause of so much misery knew aught of William McKinley[.] In all probability, even did he know the story of the late President’s life, such knowledge would not have deterred him in his murderous purpose; such beings are incapable of appreciating goodness, virtue, nobility, or greatness.
     In 1875 an event took place, which had a telling influence upon the future career of McKinley. It was in Stark County; the miners had been in strike; the mining shanties had been burned, and about forty of the miners were arrested and tried for the offence. McKinley defended the miners, and such was his eloquence, the fervor of his plea, the logic of his arguments, that only one of the forty was found guilty—and he soon obtained that one’s pardon from the Governor. He then so identified himself with the workman’s cause that the labor element carried him forward from that day, into succeeding positions, until it eventually landed him in the White House.
     And it was this friend of the working man, of the poor, of oppressed, of the common people, that the arm of a misguided fanatic has wiped out of mortal existence!
     Who, that has read the life and speeches of McKinley, does not recall his magnificent oration on Lincoln. It was shortly after his first election as President that he delivered that address, every line of which even to the word-painting of the tragic death of Lincoln, might apply to his own life, his own character, his own qualities of heart and brain, and above all his own death. Quoting Bancroft, the historian, and referring to Lincoln’s love for the people, Mr[.] McKinley said:—
     “As a child, of a dark night and on a difficult path, grasps his father’s hand for help and protection, so Lincoln took the hand of his people in his own, and walked with calm assurance through every storm.”
     Might we not to-day repeat those same words and apply them to McKinley’s own career? Yes; was he not in the literal and actual act of “taking the hand of his people” when he met his death by that very hand—or rather by a hand that, in his confidence and generous love of mankind, he believed to represent the people over whom he ruled and by virtue of whose mandate he was a ruler? Could the great soul of McKinley see a masked weapon, or suspect the presence of one, in the hand that his people extended to him and which he clasped “like a child of a dark night, on a difficult path, grasping his father’s hand?”
     And this was the class of ruler that the principles of anarchy have laid low! He grasps the hand of what he supposes to be a free and independent citizen of a liberty-abounding Republic; the contact means death to him, the friend of the poor, the oppressed, the struggling; and, dying, he declares to the world that “it is God’s way,” and asks that “His will be done.” In very truth, it may be one of the mysterious ways of Providence for the awakening of a whole nation on the brink of social ruin to a sense of the danger that lurks within its bosom. Let the American people take the lesson to heart; let them efface, once for all, the “phantom of the threshold,” the evil spirit of anarchy; let them realize the terrible results of infidelity, of Godless education, of anti-Christian propaganda; let them bow to the will of Heaven, and the last wish of their dead President will be fulfilled, and his martyr’s ending will not be an entirely fruitless sacrifice.



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