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The Great Republic by the Master Historians
Anarchy's Exalted Victim
by Bancroft, Hubert H.

On the 14th of April, 1865, five days after the surrender of General Lee closed the long drama of the Civil War, President Lincoln fell the victim of an assassin. It was to the fierce passions engendered by the war that he owed his death. On the 2d of July, I88I, President Garfield also fell before an assassin's weapon. Here, too, passion had been excited, and his death was a lamentable incident in the history of the great Civil Service Reform. On September 6, I90I, President McKinley, the third of America's rulers to fall by the hand of an assassin, suffered a similar fate. But his murder was the more flagrant and unpardonable in that there was not a shadow of warrant for the dastardly deed. He fell at the end of a career as President distinguished for its brilliant success; fell when the country had attained the most prosperous stage in its whole history; fell while attending a great celebration of the progress of civilization in America, and while surrounded by a multitude of his admiring and applauding fellow-citizens. Never was known a deeper treachery, a fouler outrage, a baser crime than that of the unmentionable wretch who shot the honored head of a great nation while grasping his hand in seeming friendship and esteem.

This fatal act occurred six months after President McKinley took his seat a second time as the executive head of the great Republic of the West, and a suitable preliminary to the story of his death will be that of the public incidents of his second administration.

We may briefly describe the election campaign of I900, whose result so strongly indicated the sentiment of admiration of the American people for the man who had held the helm of the ship of state during four years of warlike event and public excitement. In the Republican National Convention, assembled at Philadelphia on the I9th of June, 1900, the feeling of the party was decisively expressed by William McKinley's unanimous nomination on the first ballot. A similar honor was paid to the candidate for Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt, the only vote not cast for him being his own. This unanimous nomination of the candidates for both President and Vice-President on the first ballot was, we believe, the only instance of the kind in American history.

William J. Bryan, McKinley's opponent in I896, was his opponent still, his associate for Vice-President being Adlai E. Stevenson, who had served for one term in that office under President Cleveland. The election campaign was significant in the fact that the old party war-cries, so prominent in the past, now sank into insignificance, new and burning issues having risen to take their place. For forty years the tariff question had stood in the fore-ground, being for most of that period the main subject of controversy between the two great parties. Now it sank out of sight so completely that it was hardly mentioned in the campaign. The question of free silver coinage, the leading issue in I896, was now also of declining interest. The finances of the country were in such a flourishing state that no voting capital could be made out of this question. While the country was being flooded with free gold, no stringent demand for free silver could be aroused.

In this decline of the old questions, new ones came into prominence, the main points in debate being the Trusts and the policy of so-called Imperialism. The Democratic party maintained that the vast development of great combinations of capital, known as Trusts, with their threatened enslavement of the hosts of industry, had taken place under Republican auspices and support, and that their opponents were the sustainers of monopoly. Yet this allegation was difficult to prove. The Trusts were commercial, not political enterprises. No laws had been recently passed in their favor, while laws had been passed looking to their suppression. Both parties condemned them in their platforms. It was, therefore, not easy to hold the Republicans responsible for this growing evil, or to make the Trust a leading issue in the campaign, though this was strongly attempted.

A second prominent question in controversy was that of Imperialism versus Anti- Imperialism; the policy of expansion adopted by the administration in its effort to subdue and control the people of the Philippines, and the sentiment of the opponents to this policy. Opposition to the war in the Philippines had grown to such proportions that Anti-Imperialism was taken up as a leading principle of the Democratic platform, and in the campaign that followed the orators thundered, with all the eloquence at their command, upon the exciting problem of the conquest or the independence of the Filipinos.

In the election campaign President McKinley remained at home. He had his record to speak for him, and addressed only those who visited him at Canton. Mr. Bryan, on the contrary, traversed the country widely, speaking with his remarkable oratorical ability and his extraordinary powers of endurance. His favorite theme, especially towards the end of the campaign, was the trust evil and the plutocratic tendencies of the Republican government, against which he poured forth burning denunciations.

When election day came its result showed decisively the feeling of the people upon the question at issue. McKinley was chosen President by a much larger majority than in I896, he receiving the great majority of I37 electoral votes, 42 more than in I896. The popular vote was 7,206,777 for McKinley against 6,374,397 for Bryan.

William McKinley was thus a second time chosen President of the United States, and went on in the duties of his great office without a break, and with nothing to warn him of the coming fatal end to his distinguished career. And Theodore Roosevelt, who had reluctantly consented to be the candidate for Vice-President, fully expected to spend four years in honorable retirement as presiding officer of the Senate, no vision arising to notify him that within a year he would be ranked among the sovereign rulers of the earth.

Thus fate moves on, and no man can foresee what lies hidden for him on its unfolding scroll. The past spreads out behind us fully revealed; the face of the future is deeply veiled. Whether joy or sorrow, fortune or ruin, life or death await us in the coming time, no man can tell. Destiny hides its decrees until the time for their accomplishment is at hand.

On the 4th of March, I901, President McKinley was again inaugurated into his great office, with every promise before him of guiding the ship of state safely over the unstable seas of public events. Everything seemed propitious. Prosperity ruled supreme in the land. The depression which had prevailed some years before was now replaced by a magnificent activity; money poured into the national treasury much more rapidly than it flowed out; in city and country alike an extraordinary outburst of industrial energy was manifest, and on the seas a mighty fleet of merchantmen bore the product of our factories and fields to the most remote quarters of the earth. It was especially in commerce that the activity of our people displayed itself. The United States had become the granary of Europe, the generous "Lady Bountiful" who gave of her abundance to the thronging millions of the earth. And the exports of foodstuffs were closely competed with by those of manufactured goods, while imports fell off to such an extent that in the fiscal year ending June 30, I90I, the balance of trade in our favor reached the magnificent total of $664,900,011, a phenomenon unequalled and even undreamed of in the preceding history of the world.

In the political world affairs seemed equally propitious. After two years of warfare the struggle in the Philippines was practically at an end, some dregs of guerrilla resistance alone remaining, while the people were widely returning to the pursuits of quiet industry and accepting with seeming satisfaction the American rule. The Taft Commission, appointed by President McKinley to establish a liberal form of government in the islands, was meeting with great success in its work, and a large number of teachers had been sent out to carry the blessing of education to the islanders, and thus give them the highest boon in the power of this country to bestow. Thus the question of Imperialism, so prominent during the year just passed, was fast dying out before the logic of events.

The difficulties which had arisen in Cuba and Porto Rico were similarly approaching an amicable settlement; the former by the acceptance of the Platt amendment which fixed the relations between this country and Cuba; the latter by the decision of the Supreme Court, which definitely settled the commercial relations of the United States and her new dependencies. The latest notable event in President McKinley's official career was his proclamation, in July, 1901, that all import and export duties on the trade of Porto Rico with the United States were abolished, and that commercially as well as politically that island had been taken into the family circle of the United States. He had proposed proclaiming a full system of civil government in the Philippine Islands on July 4, 1901, but this was delayed awaiting a decision of the Supreme Court concerning our commercial relations with those islands. But a partial system was put in operation on that date.

Thus it was as the executive head of a nation practically at peace with the world, the most prosperous and acknowledged as one of the most prominent and commanding nations of the earth, that William McKinley took his seat on March 4, 1901. With his administration unchanged, his well-tried heads of departments still in office, the sky clear above him, the last floating clouds of the troubles which had darkened his late administration fast vanishing, all looked hopeful for a quiet and peaceful period in office, unvexed by the political cares which had made his past term anything but a bed of roses.

The principal event of his new administration was indeed a private rather than a public one. Shortly after his inauguration he projected a tour of the country far more extensive than had been undertaken by any President before him, its limits being the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans on the east and west, the great lakes and the Gulf of Mexico on the north and south. His purpose was to be present at the approaching launch of the battle-ship Ohio in San Francisco, that city being reached by a journey through the South, while the return was to be made by the northern route.

On April 29 the President and his party left Washington in a special train, the most admirably equipped one that railroad art could provide. Every convenience and luxury and all the appliances for comfort known in travel were supplied, while the utmost pains were taken to insure ease and safety upon the many lines of rail to be traversed. The early part of the route led through the Southern States to New Orleans, the President being received everywhere with a generous welcome and warm enthusiasm which spoke volumes for the growing unity of sentiment in the country. His well-chosen responses to the addresses of welcome added greatly to the kindly feeling manifested by the people, and there was no indication that there had ever been any sentiment of disunion between the two great sections of the country.

In truth, sectionalism had been rapidly dying out during President McKinley's administration. The Spanish war, with the warm rapport which it brought about between North and South, had gone far to develop the sentiment of union. The sections were drawn together by the common tie of the war and the brotherhood of the camp. The personal influence of the President had much to do with this change of feeling, which he warmly exerted himself to bring about, and his gratification at the result was shown by him in words spoken at Atlanta during the Exposition in that city:-

"Reunited-One country again and one country forever! Proclaim it from the press and the pulpit; teach it in the schools; write it across the skies! The world sees and feels it; it cheers every heart North and South, and brightens the life of every American home! Let nothing ever stain it again! At peace with all the world and with each other, what can stand in the pathway of our progress and prosperity?"

His brief addresses during his journey south were well calculated to strengthen this sentiment, and in New Orleans the warmth of his welcome spoke strongly for the feelings of the Southern people. From that city his route lay through Texas and the thinly-settled territories beyond, until the agricultural Paradise of California was reached. Here the enthusiasm of his reception in the Southern States was repeated, and his journey through that fertile land was virtually over a bed of bloom, the profuse flowery wealth of California's gardens and fields being showered at every point where the President halted in his route.

Unfortunately, the fatigue of the journey proved too much for the delicate health of Mrs. McKinley, and after San Francisco was reached she became so violently ill that for several days her life was despaired of. During this perilous interval the President, whose love for his wife was as warm then as on the day in which they were wedded, could not be drawn from her side, while his evident distress added to the respect with which he was everywhere regarded. "The world loves a lover." The people deeply sympathized with their President in an affection which had persisted undiminished during thirty years of married life, and felt for him in the affliction which now hung over him like a threat.

Fortunately the stricken woman began to mend, and her husband was able to leave her side long enough to take part in the ceremonies at the launch of the Ohio. But the projected return trip had to be abandoned, and the enfeebled "Lady of the White House" was brought back to Washington by the shortest route, attended to at every point, with the most anxious and assiduous care, by her loving husband.

Another important event of McKinley's second term-one vitally important in its effect upon his career-was the Pan-American Exposition, a great display of products of the countries of the two Americas, its purpose being to show the progress of the western continent in the nineteenth century, to bring closer together, commercially and socially, the various countries of that continent, and to promote friendly intercourse between their peoples.

The Exposition was held at Buffalo, New York, from May 1 to November 1, 1901. It covered an area of three hundred and fifty acres, the ground chosen including the most beautiful portions of Delaware Park. The grounds and buildings, when completed, presented a magnificent scene. While on a smaller scale than the World's Fairs at Philadelphia and Chicago, the buildings were unsurpassed in architectural beauty. Instead of being pure white in hue, as at Chicago, brilliant colors and rich tints were freely used, giving a glowing effect to the artistically designed buildings. The general style of the architecture was a free treatment of the Spanish Renaissance, this style being adopted in compliment to the Spanish-American countries which participated so largely in the display. There were attractive hydraulic and fountain arrangements which added greatly to the general effect of the installation.

The acknowledged leading feature of the Exposition was its elaborate and magnificent electrical display. Buffalo being in close connection by conducting wires with the enormous electrical plant at Niagara, it possessed unequalled facilities in this direction, and of these a generous advantage was taken. The Electric Tower, 375 feet high, a stately and beautiful building, was the centre- piece of the Exposition, and the effect, as the light was gradually turned on when evening approached, and finally poured out suddenly from thousands of lamps, flooding with brilliance all the buildings within view, was so over- whelmingly beautiful that no observer could put his feelings in adequate words.

This is not all. There were varied-colored electric fountains of striking beauty. There were winding canals, strange and beautiful grottoes and caverns, cascades, towers, domes and pinnacles, not the least among the objects of attraction being the Midway, a diversified collection of curious displays of varied character, such as has become an essential feature of all recent enterprises of this character.

The Pan-American Exposition needed one thing to make it complete, the presence of the nation's ruler. President McKinley was warmly invited by the Exposition authorities to pay it a visit, and with his usual warm sympathy in all the affairs of the people, and readiness to yield to any reasonable request, he accepted the invitation-unhappily so, as the event proved. In anticipation of his visit, and in accordance with the custom of setting aside certain days as special occasions, September 5 was fixed as President's Day. As usual, this fact was widely advertised, with the expectation of attracting an immense multitude of people to the Exposition on that day.

President McKinley left Canton on Wednesday, the 4th of September-exactly two weeks before his sad return to his Ohio home. In the full vigor of life and the buoyancy of health, cheered on his departure by loving friends and admiring neighbors, he set out in the best of spirits on the last journey of his life, accompanied by his wife and a number of relatives and friends.

The Exposition had from the first received the earnest support of the President, to whom it seemed a new link in the chain of friendship and mutual support that was to bind the American republics into one great family of nations. He was, therefore, glad of the opportunity to aid the enterprise by his presence and to speak words of appreciation and encouragement of the purpose to which it was dedicated.

President's Day dawned bright and clear, the air moderately cool, and the weather in all respects very promising. The city was gayly decorated with flags and bunting, and banners were stretched across the leading avenues, many of them bearing expressive words of welcome to the nation's chief. The President had been entertained since his arrival on the previous day at the house of Mr. John G. Milburn, president of the Exposition, who accompanied him when he set out at 10 o'clock on the following morning to make his visit of ceremony to the Exposition grounds. Mrs. McKinley walked by his side.

A welcoming burst of cheers greeted their appearance, the President responding by bowing and lifting his hat. He entered, with Mrs. McKinley, the first of the awaiting carriages, Mr. Milburn and Mrs. William Hammond, of the Board of Women Managers, following in the second. The two carriages, surrounded by an escort of twenty mounted police and twenty members of the signal corps, were driven briskly to the Lincoln Parkway entrance to the Exposition grounds, other carriages and tallyhoes following and the people cheering as the President passed.

At the entrance to the grounds the party was met by detachments of the United States Marines, the Seacoast Artillery and the New York State Infantry, and a President's salute of twenty-one guns was fired. A stand had been erected in the esplanade from which the President was to deliver his address. Around it was gathered the greatest throng which the Exposition had yet seen, the vast multitude filling the broad space and overflowing to the Court of Fountains. In the stands on each side of that of the President many distinguished men and women were seated, among them representatives of most of the American republics.

Ringing cheers greeted President McKinley as he was escorted to the stand, and when Mr. Milburn introduced him with the brief words, "Ladies and Gentlemen: The President," there broke out such a roar of welcome and approbation that several minutes passed before the President could speak. The address that followed was one of the highest interest, not alone as the last speech of one of America's leading orators, but for the new policy which it outlined, and which President Roosevelt afterwards promised to make the policy of the nation. We give in full this inspiring address:-

"President Milburn, Director-General Buchanan, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen:-

"I am glad to be again in the city of Buffalo and exchange greetings with her people, to whose generous hospitality I am not a stranger, and with whose good will I have been repeatedly and signally honored. To-day I have additional satisfaction in meeting and giving welcome to the foreign representatives assembled here, whose presence and participation in this Exposition have contributed in so marked a degree to its interest and success. To the Commissioners of the Dominion of Canada and the British colonies, the French colonies, the Republics of Mexico and of Central and South America, and the commissioners of Cuba and Porto Rico, who share with us in this undertaking, we give the hand of fellowship and felicitate with them upon the triumphs of art, science, education and manufacture, which the old has bequeathed to the new century.

"Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world's advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped to some onward step. Comparison of ideas is always educational, and as such instructs the brain and hand of man. Friendly rivalry follows, which is the spur to industrial improvement, the inspiration to useful invention and to high endeavor in all departments of human activity. It exacts a study of the wants, comforts and even the whims of the people and recognizes the efficacy of high quality and new prices to win their favor.

"The quest for trade is an incentive to men of business to devise, invent, improve and economize in the cost of production. Business life, whether among ourselves, or with other people, is ever a sharp struggle for success. It will be none the less so in the future. Without competition, we would be clinging to the clumsy and antiquated processes of farming and manufacture and the methods of business of long ago, and the twentieth would be no further advanced than the eighteenth century. But though commercial competitors we are, commercial enemies we must not be.

"The Pan-American Exposition has done its work thoroughly, presenting in its exhibits evidences of the highest skill, and illustrating the progress of the human family in the Western Hemisphere. This portion of the earth has no cause for humiliation for the part it has performed in the march of civilization. It has not accomplished everything; far from it. It has simply done its best, and without vanity or boastfulness, and recognizing the manifold achievements of others, it invites the friendly rivalry of all the powers in the peaceful pursuits of the trade of commerce, and will co-operate with all in advancing the highest and best interests of humanity. The wisdom and energy of all the nations are none too great for the world's work. The success of art, science, industry and invention is an international asset and a common glory.

"After all, how near one to the other is every part of the world! Modern inventions have brought into close relation widely separated peoples and made them better acquainted. Geographic and political divisions will continue to exist, but distances have been effaced. Swift ships and fast trains are becoming cosmopolitan. They invade fields which a few years ago were impenetrable. The world's products are exchanged as never before, and with increasing transportation facilities come increasing knowledge and larger trade. Prices are fixed with mathematical precision by supply and demand. The world's selling prices are regulated by market and crop reports. We travel greater distances in a shorter space of time and with more ease than was ever dreamed of by the fathers. Isolation is no longer possible or desirable. The same important news is read, though in different languages, the same day in all Christendom.

"The telegraph keeps us advised of what is occurring everywhere, and the press foreshadows, with more or less accuracy, the plans and purposes of the nations. Market prices of products and of securities are hourly known in every commercial mart, and the investments of the people extend beyond their own national boundaries into the remotest parts of the earth. Vast transactions are conducted and international exchanges are made by the tick of the cable. Every event of interest is immediately bulletined. The quick gathering and transmission of news, like rapid transit, are of recent origin, and are only made possible by the genius of the inventor and the courage of the investor. It took a special messenger of the Government, with every facility known at the time for rapid travel, nineteen days to go from the city of Washington to New Orleans with a message to General Jackson that the war with England had ceased and a treaty of peace had been signed. How different now.

"We reached General Miles in Porto Rico by cable, and he was able through the military telegraph to stop his army on the firing line with the message that the United States and Spain had signed a protocol suspending hostilities. We knew almost instantly of the first shots fired at Santigo, and the subsequent surrender of the Spanish forces was known at Washington within less than an hour of its consummation. The first ship of Cervera's fleet had hardly emerged from that historic harbor when the fact was flashed to our capital, and the swift destruction that followed was announced immediately through the wonderful medium of telegraphy.

"So accustomed are we to safe and easy communication with distant lands that its temporary interruption, even in ordinary times, results in loss and inconvenience. We shall never forget the days of anxious waiting and awful suspense when no information was permitted to be sent from Peking, and the diplomatic representatives of the nations in China, cut off from all communication, inside and outside of the walled capital, were surrounded by an angry and misguided mob, that threatened their lives; nor the joy that thrilled the world when a single message from the government of the United States brought through our Minister the first news of the safety of the besieged diplomats.

"At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was not a mile of steam railroad on the globe. Now there are enough miles to make the circuit many times. Then there was not a line of electric telegraph; now we have a vast mileage traversing all lands and all seas. God and man have linked the nations together. No nation can longer be indifferent to any other. And as we are brought more and more in touch with each other the less occasion is there for misunderstanding, and the stronger the disposition, when we have differences, to adjust them in the court of arbitration, which is the noblest form for the settlement of international disputes.

"My fellow-citizens, trade statistics indicate that this country is in a state of unexampled prosperity. The figures are almost appalling. They show that we are utilizing our fields and forests and mines, and that we are furnishing profitable employment to the millions of workingmen throughout the United States, bringing comfort and happiness to their homes, and making it possible to lay by savings for old age and disability. That all the people are participating in this great prosperity is seen in every American community and shown by the enormous and unprecedented deposits in our savings banks. Our duty is the care and the security of these deposits, and their safe investment demands the highest integrity and the best business capacity of those in charge of these depositories of the people's earnings.

"We have a vast and intricate business, built up through years of toil and struggle, in which every part of the country has its stake, which will not permit of either neglect or of undue selfishness. No narrow, sordid policy will subserve it. The greatest skill and wisdom on the part of manufacturers and producers will be required to hold and increase it. Our industrial enterprises, which have grown to such great proportions, affect the homes and occupations of the people and the welfare of the country. Our capacity to produce has developed so enormously and our products have so multiplied that the problem of more markets requires our urgent and immediate attention. Only a broad and enlightened policy will keep what we have. No other policy will get more. In these times of marvellous business energy and gain we ought to be looking to the future, strengthening the weak places in our industrial and commercial systems, that we may be ready for any storm or strain.

"By sensible trade arrangements which will not interrupt our home production, we shall extend the outlets for our increasing surplus. A system which provides a mutual exchange of commodities is manifestly essential to the continued and healthful growth of our export trade. We must not response in fancied security that we can forever sell everything and buy little or nothing. If such a thing were possible, it would not be best for us or for those with whom we deal. We should take from our customers such of their products as we can use without harm to our industries and labor. Reciprocity is the natural outgrowth of our wonderful industrial development, under the domestic policy now firmly established. What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have a vent abroad. The excess must be relieved through a foreign outlet, and we should sell everywhere we can and buy wherever the buying will enlarge our sales and productions, and thereby make a greater demand for home labor.

"The period of exclusiveness is past. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem. Commercial wars are unprofitable. A policy of good will and friendly trade relations will prevent reprisals. Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times; measures of retaliation are not. If perchance some of our tariffs are no longer needed for revenue or to encourage and protect our industries at home, why should they not be employed to extend and promote our markets abroad?

"Then, too, we have inadequate steamship service. New lines of steamers have already been put in commission between the Pacific coast ports of the United States and those of the western coasts of Mexico and Central and South America. These should be followed up with direct steamship lines between the eastern coast of the United States and South American ports. One of the needs of the times is direct commercial lines from our vast fields of production to the fields of consumption that we have but barely touched. Next in advantage to having the thing to sell is to have the convenience to carry it to the buyer. We must encourage our merchant marine. We must have more ships. They must be under the American flag, built and manned and owned by Americans. These will not only be profitable in a commercial sense; they will be messengers of peace and amity wherever they go. We must build the Isthmian canal, which will unite the two oceans and give a straight line of water communication with the western coasts of Central and South America and Mexico. The construction of a Pacific cable cannot longer be postponed.

"In the furtherance of these objects of national interest and concern, you are performing an important part. This Exposition would have touched the heart of that American statesman whose mind was ever alert and thought ever constant for a larger commerce and a truer fraternity of the republics of the New World. His broad American spirit is felt and manifested here. He needs no identification to an assemblage of Americans anywhere, for the name of Blaine is inseparably associated with the Pan-American movement which find this practical and substantial expression, and which we all hope will be firmly advanced by the Pan-American Congress that assembles this autumn in the capital of Mexico. The good work will go on. It cannot be stopped. These buildings will disappear; this creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight, but their influence will remain to `Make it live beyond its too short living, with praises and thanksgiving.'

"Who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened, the ambitions fired and the high achievements that will be wrought through this Exposition? Gentlemen, let us ever remember that our interest is in accord, not conflict, and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war. We hope that all who are represented here may be moved to higher and nobler effort for their own and the world's good, and that out of this city may come, not only greater commerce and trade for us all, but, more essential than these, relations of mutual respect, confidence and friendship which will deepen and endure.

"Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of earth."

The suggestive words of the orator were frequently interrupted by applause, especially those referring to treaties of reciprocity with other countries, to the Isthmian canal and the Pacific cable, and to the work of Blaine in developing the Pan-American idea. At its conclusion hundreds of persons broke through the lines and the President held an impromptu reception for fifteen minutes, shaking hands with all who approached him.

This formal ceremony was followed by a tour round the Exposition grounds and through the buildings, in which the distinguished visitor showed a full appreciation of the beauty of the edifices and their surroundings and the excellence and significance of the display.

The earlier hours of the following day, Friday, the 6th of September, were occupied by the President and his party in a visit to Niagara. It was afternoon when the again visited the Exposition, Mrs. McKinley not accompanying him on this occasion, as the journey of the morning had wearied her. Driving to the side entrance of the Temple of Music, one of the Exposition buildings, the President, attended by Mr. Milburn, George B. Cortelyou, his private secretary, and several others, entered the building, the party being greeted with a warm outburst of applause from the throng of people that filled the structure.

The purpose of the visit was to hold an informal public reception, and with this intent the President took a position near the edge of the raised platform, on which stood the great pipe organ, at the east side of the structure. The ceremony began with a brief address from President Milburn. Preparations were then made for the reception, Mr. Milburn standing on the left and Secretary Cortelyou on the right of the President, while Secret-Service Agents Foster and Ireland stood close by, there being left a passage a few feet in width for the movement of the people who wished to grasp the hand of the Executive.

It was about 4 o'clock. The throng in the Temple of Music was in the most cheerful humor, a frame of mind which was reflected in the demeanor of the President, who laughingly chatted with Mr. Milburn and awaited with smiling face the ordeal of handshaking through which he was to pass.

A long line of people was formed, extending in circles through the hall and out upon the avenue, and at a signal the movement began. An old man with silvery- white hair was the first to reach the President, and the little girl he carried on his shoulder received a warm salutation.

The crowd had been pouring through hardly more than five minutes, when the organist brought from his powerful instrument its loudest notes, drowning even the scuffle of feet. About half of the people who passed the President were women and children. To every child the President bent over, shook hands warmly and said some kind words, so as to make the young heart glad. As each person passed he was viewed critically by the secret-service men. Their hands were watched, their faces and actions noted.

Fully a hundred persons had passed when a man approached who differed from the others mainly in having his right hand covered with a handkerchief, as if it had been injured and was bandaged. He was a rather tall, boyish-looking person, with smooth, somewhat pointed face, apparently of foreign origin. There seemed no reason to suspect him, and the secret-service men let him pass on, quite unsuspicious of the fact that a loaded pistol lay concealed by the innocent appearing handkerchief.

A young girl had just been greeted, and the President turned with a smile to the newcomer, extending his right hand to grasp the left of the man before him. At that instant the throng in the temple was startled by the sound of two pistol shots, so close together as to be almost simultaneous. At the same moment the President staggered backward, with pallid face, and a fierce commotion began at the spot where he had stood. The stranger had suddenly held a pistol almost against his breast and fired two shots in rapid succession.

Before he could fire again the secret-service men flung themselves upon him, bearing him to the floor. It was stated that a negro named Parker, who was near the assassin in the line, was the first to strike him and seize his pistol hand, but this was discredited by the evidence at the assassin's trial. In truth, the commotion and excitement were so great that the exact details of the struggle were difficult to obtain, and several conflicting stories were told. All that can be said with assurance is that the assailant was hurled to the floor, the pistol struck from his hand, and blows rained upon him by the infuriated detectives and soldiers. Then the multitude began to realize the significance of the scene, and a murmur arose, spread and swelled to a hum of confusion, then grew to a pandemonium of noises. The crowds that a moment before had stood mute and motionless as in bewildered ignorance of the enormity of the thing, now with a single impulse surged forward, while a hoarse cry swelled up from a thousand throats and a thousand men rushed forward to lay hands upon the perpetrator of the crime. For a moment the confusion was terrible.

Inside on a slightly raised rostrum was enacted within those few feverish moments a tragic incident, so dramatic in character, so thrilling in its intensity, that few who looked on will ever be able to give a succinct account of what really did transpire. Even the actors who were playing the principal roles came out of it with blanched faces, trembling limbs and throbbing hearts, while their minds were filled with a tumult of conflicting emotions, which could not be classified into a lucid narrative of events as they really happened.

While the struggle was going on the wounded President was assisted to a chair by Mr. Milburn and his secretary. His face was very white, but he made no outcry and sank back with one hand holding his abdomen and the other fumbling at his breast. His eyes were open, and he was clearly conscious of all that had happened.

He looked up into President Milburn's face and gasped "Cortelyou." The President's secretary bent over him. "Cortelyou," said the President, "my wife. Be careful about her. Don't let her know."

Moved by pain he writhed to the left, and then his eyes fell on the prostrate form of his would-be-murderer, who lay on the floor, helpless beneath the blows of the guard. The President raised his right hand and placed it on the shoulder of his secretary. "Let no one hurt him," he said, and then sank back in the chair.

Cortelyou ordered the guard to take the assassin out of the President's sight. The outer garments of the wounded man were then hastily loosened, and when a crimson stream was seen flowing down his breast and leaving its telltale stain upon the white surface of the linen, the fears of those around him were confirmed.

An ambulance from the Exposition Hospital was summoned immediately and the President, still conscious, sank upon the stretcher. Secretary Cortelyou and Mr. Milburn rode with him in the ambulance, and in nine minutes after the shooting the President lay in the Exposition Hospital, awaiting the arrival of surgeons, who had been summoned from all parts of the city and by special train from Niagara Falls.

The President continued conscious and conversed with Mr. Cortelyou and Mr. Milburn on his way to the hospital.

"I am sorry," he said, "to have been the cause of trouble to the Exposition."

The character of President McKinley was clearly conveyed in the first three remarks uttered by him. None of these referred to himself; the first having in view the distress of his wife, the second the safety of his assailant, the third the good of the Exposition. It was a manifestation of unselfishness such as has seldom been witnessed under such circumstances.

Meanwhile the assassin had been removed into a side room of the Temple. Here he was searched, but nothing of importance was found upon him. When first questioned he remained silent, but finally gave his name as Neiman and said that he came from Detroit. He further declared that he was an Anarchist and said that he had only done his duty. It was subsequently learned that his true name was Leon Czolgosz, and that he was a resident of Cleveland, of Polish descent, though born in America. The excitement of the multitude was now taking the form of a desire to lynch the murderer, and it was with no small difficulty that the police forced their way with their prisoner through the infuriated multitude, and conveyed him to a cell at the police headquarters.

While this was going on, several of the physicians summoned had hurried to the President's side. A rapid examination proved that one bullet had merely grazed the left breast, leaving an unimportant wound. The other, on the contrary, had penetrated the abdomen, inflicting a wound which the high pulse of the patient indicated to be dangerous. A hasty consultation ensued, and the physicians decided that an immediate operation was imperative. "Gentlemen," said the President, on being informed of this decision, "I want you to do whatever in your judgment you think is necessary."

Dr. M. B. Mann, an eminent physician of Buffalo, then took charge of the operation; ether was administered to the President, and as soon as he became unconscious an incision five inches long was made in the abdomen through the aperture made by the bullet, and the stomach was drawn out and examined. It was found that the bullet had passed through this organ, the forward hole being clean cut, the posterior one large and jagged. The bullet could not be found; it had apparently buried itself in the tissues beyond.

The wounds in the stomach were quickly sewn up with silk sutures, the abdominal cavity washed with a salt solution, and the operating cut closed, sewn up, and dressed with an antiseptic solution. The body was then wrapped in sheets, around which blankets were folded, and the patient, still unconscious, was placed in an ambulance and conveyed to the mansion of Mr. Milburn, on Delaware Avenue. Hardly two hours had passed since the firing of the deadly shot.

Meanwhile the news of the dastardly crime had been flashed by telegraph from end to end of the land, and the whole country was plunged into grief by the terrible news. Members of the Cabinet took early trains for Buffalo, and Vice-President Roosevelt, who was then on a hunting excursion in Vermont, and who heard of the crime with intense emotion, made all haste to reach the same centre of interest and sympathy.

The news of the assault was gently broken to Mrs. McKinley, who bore the shock with more fortitude than was hoped for. Without delay the Milburn mansion was equipped with electric wires and made the centre of a telegraph office, from which bulletins, giving the public full information of the condition of the exalted patient, were issued at frequent intervals.

From the start the news was reassuring. At noon of Saturday Dr. Parke announced that the President's chances of recovery were excellent, and all the bulletins breathed a spirit of hopefulness. The only disturbing feature was the continued high pulse and temperature, but it was hoped that these would be but temporary.

Towards noon of Sunday, Mrs. McKinley entered the sick room. The President had asked to see her. Both controlled their emotions, Mrs. McKinley displaying quite as much fortitude as her stricken husband. She seated herself beside the President's bed and took his hand. They said little. In each other's eyes they seemed to read what each would say.

The President said quietly: "We must bear up. It will be better for both."

There were tears in her eyes as Mrs. McKinley bowed her head in assent.

Soon afterwards Dr. Rixey led her gently from the room.

A critical period was expected within seventy-two hours of the shooting, and was looked for with anxiety and dread, despite the reassuring tidings which continued to come from the President's bedside. As for the patient himself, he bore up with remarkable fortitude, uttering no word of complaint, and even joking with Dr. Mann.

"I hope with all my heart the operation will prove a success," said the doctor.

"Success!" answered the President; "Why, I will be down to breakfast in a day or so."

The critical period passed and all seemed going well. On Tuesday it was asserted that convalescence had begun, and the whole country breathed more freely at the news. None was more sanguine than the President himself. There had been some slight suppuration from the wound in the chest, but this was cleansed and re- dressed, and was thought of no importance. Such was the confidence felt that the Vice-President, Senator Hanna, Secretaries Gage and Root, and Attorney-General Knox left Buffalo. Even the experienced Dr. McBurney did the same, a fact which strongly signified that all apprehension was at an end.

The story of the next two days is but an iteration and reiteration of the temperature, pulse and respiration of the President. He was fed lightly upon beef juice, as soon as his system would allow it, and on Thursday he was given a piece of toast and some weak coffee, besides the beef juice and a cup of chicken broth.

Then came a moment that was full of alarm. The bulletins announced that the President's condition was without material change except that he suffered from fatigue. "Fatigue" was a new word in the case, and it suggested the unknown to the lay mind of the great outside world. Fear was widely felt that this change presaged what many had contemplated in the privacy of their own thoughts, but would not speak aloud-the death of the President.

Friday morning the country awakened to have this thought almost realized. The earliest intelligence was that President McKinley was sinking. The members of the family and friends had been summoned and the physicians were fearful of the worst. Throughout the day the tidings were full of uncertainty. Late in the afternoon of that day, one week almost to the hour from the time when the attempt was made upon his life, it was rumored that "President McKinley is dead."

The news was untrue, but it seemed as though it must be the shadow of what was to follow. The President had been sinking rapidly, and his life was despaired of, even by those attending him.

Those who had left Buffalo in confidence on Wednesday were summoned back in all haste, especially Vice-President Roosevelt, whose return was imperative. He had received news early Friday morning that all was going well, and had left the Tahawus Club in the Adirondacks for a day's tramp over Mount Marcy. Some three hours after his start, news of the President's critical condition reached the Club and guides and runners were at once sent in all haste on the track of the Vice-President's party. It was late afternoon before he was found, near the peak of the lofty mountain. All that night a stagecoach rushed through the Adirondack woods, bearing the nation's hope to the nearest railroad station, thirty-five miles away. Not until the reached there, at 5:22 a. m., did he learn that the President had been three hours dead. With all possible railroad speed swift trains bore him to Buffalo, which city he reached at 1:40 on Saturday afternoon.

He reached there as President of the United States. President McKinley had never rallied from the sinking spell that attacked him at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon. The physicians sent out as hopeful bulletins as they could, but hope was dying in the public heart. All, indeed, that could now be done was to seek to keep up the heart's action by injections of saline solution and digitalis. Dr. McBurney arrived a little before 8 o'clock, and shortly after his arrival oxygen was administered. The patient aroused under its influence. He seemed to know that the end was at hand, and asked to see his wife.

Mrs. McKinley entered the room and sank on her knees by the side of the bed, her head bowed and both her husband's hands clasped in hers. Sobs shook her for a moment; then she turned to Dr. Rixey and pleadingly said, "I know that you will save him. I cannot let him go; the country cannot spare him."

The President was conscious of her presence and whispered his striking last words: "Good-bye, all; good-bye. It is God's way. His will be done."

Then he lapsed into unconsciousness, and the physicians led his grief-stricken wife from the room. There was no rallying after that impressive moment. As hour after hour passed the last hope fled. Two o'clock came and it was evident that life was now measured by minutes. At 2:15 Dr. Rixey bent forward and placed his ear close to the President's breast.

"The President is dead," he said.

The martyred chief had passed away from life, without a struggle or a sign of pain.

We must briefly give the succeeding events. An autopsy was held by the physicians in attendance in a few hours after the President's death. The result proved that recovery had been hopeless from the first. On examining the bullet wounds in the stomach it was found that gangrene had attacked the surrounding tissues. "There was no evidence of any attempt at repair on the part of nature, and death resulted from the gangrene which affected the stomach around the bullet wounds as well as the tissues around the further course of the bullet. Death was unavoidable by any surgical or medical treatment, and was the direct result of the bullet wound."

Such was the dictum of science. Recovery had been hopeless from the first. Instead of healing, decay had set in, and life ebbed painlessly away. The bullet was not found. It had buried itself so deeply that it could not be reached without a mutilation of the honored body that the physicians did not think justifiable.

There was one other event of that lamentable day which must be briefly told. Two hours after the arrival of Vice-President Roosevelt in Buffalo he took the oath of office as President of the United States, it being administered by United States Judge John R. Hazel. Before performing this ceremony he made the following remark to Secretary Root, one which had a quieting effect upon the whole community, and made its influence manifest by the strong tone of financial confidence that was manifested on the Stock Boards of the great cities:

"Mr. Secretary, I shall take the oath at once, at the request of the members of the Cabinet, and in this hour of deep and terrible national bereavement I wish to state that I shall continue absolutely unbroken the policy of President McKinley for the peace, prosperity and honor of our beloved country."

He further strengthened public confidence by requesting the members of the Cabinet to remain in office, and all went well with the business interests of the great Republic.

Plans for the funeral of the murdered President were made without delay. It was decided that the body should lie in state at the City Hall in Buffalo during Sunday, after a private religious ceremony at the Milburn house. On Monday it would be taken to Washington, reaching there that evening, and lying in state at the Capitol on Tuesday. It would leave for Canton on Tuesday evening, reaching there on Wednesday morning. There the final funeral services would be performed.

It was a stately procession that left the Milburn mansion shortly after noon on Sunday, the 15th of September, and passed through streets filled with a vast concourse of silent and sorrowing citizens. Reaching the City Hall, the coffin was lifted from the hearse and borne to the catafalque which lay within.

On the coffin were the national colors, on top of which lay a wreath of American Beauty Roses and one of white roses. The face of the President wore a look of perfect peacefulness and was not greatly emaciated, though a sallow hue had succeeded its usual pallor. At the right of the coffin, near its foot, stood the new President of the nation, while near by were the Cabinet officials and prominent citizens of Buffalo.

Rain had begun to fall heavily outside, but, despite this, the citizens of Buffalo and visitors to the Exposition swept in thousands through the hall, stopping to gaze in sorrow on the honored face, and passing gravely on. Between 1:30 and 10:30 of that day from 75,000 to 100,000 men, women and children passed in sadness by. Then the casket was closed, the gates were locked, and a guard of honor stood on duty through the night.

At early dawn of Monday, the body was taken to the funeral train, and started on its long journey to the nation's Capital. Up over the Alleghanies, down into the broad valley of the Susquehanna, on and on to the marble city on Potomac's shores sped the swift crape-covered train, through a long line of bareheaded and sorrowing people, who collected in thronging multitudes in every city, and gathered in thin lines at hamlet and roadside throughout the extended route. Everywhere signs of mourning were displayed and the grief of the people seemed genuine and deep. A half million of people gazed on the funeral car as it swept past.

Washington reached, the coffin was borne to the White House, escorted by soldiers and sailors and witnessed by a multitude that filled every inch of the spacious Pennsylvania avenue. It was deposited in the East Room of the executive mansion, where a guard of honor watched it through the night.

The last sad services at the nation's Capital took place on Tuesday, the 17th. The funeral casket, on a black-carved hearse, drawn by six coal-black horses, passed down the avenue towards the Capitol, followed by a procession that included high dignitaries of State, members of Congress and representatives of foreign nations, with military and civic organizations in numbers.

As the coffin was borne into the rotunda of the Capitol the band played the late President's favorite hymn, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," while every head in the vast throng was bared, and tears dimmed thousands of eyes.

The ceremonies in the Capitol were simple and dignified. There was no display of pomp or splendor, but the greatest in the land paid their tributes of respect to the dead ruler of the nation, the new President chief among them, and with him all the members of President McKinley's Cabinet.

Prayers were spoken, and the two hymns which the President had most loved, "Lead, Kindly Light," and "Nearer, My God, to Thee," were sweetly sung; the funeral address being next delivered by Bishop Edward G. Andrews, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who had come from Ohio to speak these last words over the remains of his lifelong friend and parishioner. The services over, the waiting thousands filed through the Capitol, though, as at Buffalo, drenching rain fell at intervals during the ceremony.

As evening fell a new funeral train began its long, sad journey, from Washington to the President's home and final resting place at Canton, Ohio. During this journey as during the former one thousands lined the road to gaze on the passing car of death, all night long and till noon Wednesday, when the train reached its goal.

The whole country round seemed waiting to receive it, and stood in reverent silence as the coffin was borne to the Court House, where until evening the people of President McKinley's home city passed in sorrow by his remains. In the evening the coffin was borne to the dead ruler's late residence. Here it remained until Thursday afternoon, the time fixed for the last sad rites.

The services were held in the Methodist Church which Mr. McKinley, as plain citizen and as President, had so often attended. President Roosevelt and his Cabinet occupied seats near the central aisle, and many of the dignitaries of the nation were present. The services began with prayer and music, followed by an eulogy from Rev. Dr. Manchester, the pastor and friend of the late President. The singing of the hymn, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," closed the services.

On leaving the church the remains were received by the escort of troops, and the column of march was resumed, passing between two solid lines of humanity to West Lawn Cemetery, where the body was to be deposited in a funeral vault:

Bishop Joyce, of Minneapolis, slowly but reverently read the burial service of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As his voice ceased there was a brief silence, and then eight bugles sounded out the notes of the soldier's last call -- "taps." The notes of the bugles died slowly away, and as the honored body was consigned to the vault there were few dry eyes among those who stood around.

Thus ended the solemn ceremony. The martyred President had gone to his long home. Doubtless in many hearts the bugle sounds were echoed by his deep-meaning last words: "It is God's way! His will be done!"


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