England and McKinley
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,—Englishmen and English newspapers
have given a splendid example of sympathy and regret for the death
of the late President William McKinley. As an American, I have been
amazed at the universal kindness and interest shown; this, notwithstanding
past evidences of the truest friendship between the two great nations.
When the news came last Saturday morning of the final calamity that
had befallen the United States the display of grief and the signs
of mourning in this metropolis of the world far exceeded that demanded
by mere international courtesy. The extremely generous tone of the
English Press for the week previous had shown in a great measure
how this kingdom regarded the Republic’s misfortune. Although I
had read the newspapers not only of London, but of many large cities
throughout Great Britain, I had not found a false note in one single
instance. American newspapers themselves could not have condemned
the assassin’s crime more severely nor have spoken in more generous
terms of the fallen chieftain. When this was capped on Saturday
by the further signs of genuine grief, marked in many cases by heavy
black mourning borders, the newspapers had omitted nothing that
generosity and sympathy could devise.
But the Press was not alone in taking
such—as it seems to all Americans—a splendid attitude. It was recorded
early on Saturday that, although, for official reasons, it was impossible
to close the Stock Exchange of London, the members and stockbrokers
quietly resolved to refrain from doing business. At Glasgow and
Edinburgh the Exchanges were closed, and the Liverpool Exchange
suspended business to adopt a resolution of condolence for the American
people. From all parts of the United Kingdom came messages to the
American Ambassador from mayors of cities and corporations. Justices
in the Courts, coroners at their hearings, and ministers at the
Œcumenical Methodist Conference paused in their proceedings to take
note of the death of the President. Flags on all the public buildings
in London were lowered, and scores of private flags were flying
in a similar position of mourning. The Strand, Regent-street, and
Oxford-street in particular resembled, for that day and yesterday,
at least, almost the appearance of an American city, so frequently
were the Stars and Stripes to be seen. There must have been a great
many of these shops and places of business that have no direct mercantile
connexion with the United States. It was not uncommon—in fact I
saw a number of instances of it—for the Union Jack and the Stars
and Stripes to be together, both draped in black, and both at half-mast.
Reports were published that ships in the harbours brought down their
ensigns. The pulpits of London yesterday echoed what must have been
spoken in the pulpits of America.
So all over and in every way in which
it is customary to show grief publicly the people of this English-speaking
kingdom did show it. It was all done so spontaneously as to leave
not a shadow of doubt that it was genuine.
I was in Bombay when the late Queen
Victoria died, and I read in a newspaper there that the American
flags over the National Capitol at Washington had been lowered.
It was, so it was stated, the first time this had ever been done
upon the death of a foreign Monarch, Sovereign, or ruler. There
happened to be a number of Americans at Bombay, and it was agreed
among them that no more fitting occasion could have been selected
for breaking this United States precedent of 125 years. The American
feeling is that they have more of a right to share both in the grief
and the glory of the mother country than has any other nation; and,
while they have a friendship for all, they have for England the
added feeling of kinship which at a crisis must outweigh all others.
This latest manifestation of true and lasting relationship is perhaps
the brightest and best product of that black outrage at Buffalo;
and as this sentiment is constantly growing stronger, neither the
powerful motherland nor the giant child of her getting need fear
Your obedient servant,
| London, Sept. 16.
HERMAN L. COLLINS.