Florida Day [excerpt]
An address of welcome was given with much cordiality
by Director-General William E. Buchanan. [H]e welcomed the Governor
of Flor[id]a with special interest, he said, as one among the first
of the State executives to personally pay a visit of sympathy to
the wounded President.
Governor Jennings responded in an
address of muc[h] feeling, and [th]en presented the best array of
facts and agricultural statistics concerning the [St]ate of Florida
to which we ever [li]stened. It was a strong paper, an[d] a universal
desire prevailed for its publication and [di]strubution [sic]. As
the Governor stood on the little platform, under the beautiful drapery
of the Illinois Building, with the members of his staff around him
it presented a very graceful picture.
Seated at the end of the sofa was
little Bryan Jennings, who applauded his father’s closing eulogy
of McKinley as heartily as any of the en[th]usiastic sons of Ohio
Something of a sensation
was created by Mr. T. M. Weir, Florida Commissioner, declaring in
his closing address that if the President’s assassin had attempted
his deed in Florida, he would not have known the next morn- of the
earth” [sic] so quick [th]at people would not have known t[h]e next
morning what he had for breakfast, what his pedigree was, or even
ha[d] time to spell his name (Czolgosz).
P. S.—Dear Friend Trice:
This very meagre sketch of “Florida Day” exercises is written under
It is now the morning (Saturday) of
the announcement of the deat[h] of th[e] President. I am seated
alone on th[e] terrace of the great esplanade, facin[g] the electric
tower, the mammot[h] buildings and the most beautiful wate[r] way
of fountain jets and statuary i[n] the world.
The now famed “Temple of Music[”]
is within twenty-five feet o[f] me as [I?] write, w[hi]le two American
Indian[s] (real ones) sit on the steps and I a[m] scribbling on
the arm of a bench.
From where I now sit I can look i[n]
through the window to the very spo[t] where the President was shot.
(H[e] stood on the main floor, just to th[e] right of the organ.)
But what a transformation scen[e]
from yesterday * * * Last night I sa[w]
50,000 or 75,000 people passing like [a?] flowing tide through this
great cour[t?] of honor and magnifcense [sic]. To-day [I?] scarcely
see one. Even the expos[it]io[n] guards are gone or invisible.
The lights are out, the fountains
ar[e] stopped, and the scene is that of d[e]serted magnificence.
Where the hum of tens of thousand[s]
of voices was heard yesterday, silen[ce] now reigns supreme. Even
the flags on the apparently neglecte[d] [b]uildings droop and flutter
On[l]y from the great Temple of M[u]sic
does any sound come. The buildi[ng] itself is a poem in architecture
an[d] from the great organ within there no[w] comes the solemn strains
of almost [a] funeral dirge. The notes of the orga[n], now [p]laying,
were [th]e last heard [by] President McKinley until he hims[e]lf
repeated the lines of the hymn last night, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
He was shot standing near the organ.)
As I conclude, a full regiment [o]f
sol[di]ers just passed me, powerless [in?] their strength, and I
will follow the[m] now to where the dea[d] President [lies?].