“Ladies and gentlemen—the President.”
With those words, and those words
only, John G. Milburn introduced William McKinley to those assembled
at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo yesterday. The delicious
brevity of Mr. Milburn’s remarks is worthy of the highest praise.
It is safe to say that there was not a man or woman in all the vast
throng but had gathered there for the express purpose of seeing
and hearing the distinguished visitor. They all know him by sight,—or
the lithographs and photographs would be at fault. Assuming that
they knew him, what more was necessary? The hypercritical might
find fault with the exodium of Mr. Milburn’s speech, “Ladies and
gentlemen,” but it accords with common usage. Passing over this,
we can all dwell upon the other part of his speech with infinite
satisfaction “The President” [sic].
We doubt if there be a man in Utica
who could have introduced Mr. McKinley so gracefully and well. Let
us go further and declare our belief that we question if there be
in all this broad land another man who could have “blue-penciled”
his eloquence as effectively and well as John G. Milburn. “Ladies
and Gentlemen: I now have the great honor of presenting to you a
gentleman who needs no introduction: the Honorable William McKinley,
the President of the United States.” That was the speech that required
cutting down. The first clause is unadulterated egotism. Let it
go. The second is redundant and unnecessary,—all except the words
“The President.” Of what did you suppose Mr. McKinley was President
if not of the United States? And who is President of the United
States if not William McKinley? It’s all as plain as a pikestaff.
But, nevertheless, we admire Mr. Milburn—the man who made an eloquent
speech of two words, preceded by three words of introduction, which
universal use sanctions. Here’s to John G. Milburn of the Pan-American!