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Before this bulletin was issued, it was clear to those at his bedside that he was dying. Preparations were made for the last sad office of farewell from those who were nearest and dearest to him. Oxygen had been administered steadily, but with little effect in keeping back the approach of death. He came out of one period of unconsciousness, only to relapse into another.
DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT.
About eight o'clock at night oxygen was given him again, and under its influence he slightly revived. He told Dr. Rixey that he realized that he was about to die, and asked for Mrs. McKinley.
She came and knelt down by his bedside, and his eyes rested lovingly upon her. He put out his hands, laid them upon hers, and tenderly drew her to him. What he said in that feeble whisper, only he and she knew.
Mrs. McKinley raised her tear-stained face and said to Dr. Rixey: "I know that you will save him. I cannot let him go. The country cannot spare him."
The President's strength did not last long. Unconsciousness returned and they led her gently away.
At 10 o'clock she was summoned to him again. He was awaiting her. With his last strength he strove to clasp her hand. She tent over him, and his lips moved feebly.
"Good-by, all, good-by," he said. "It is God's way. His will, not ours, be done." Then, as he sank into unconsciousness for the last time, he murmured: "Nearer, my God, to Thee.
At 2:15 o'clock, on the morning of September 14, 1901, the President died. His last breath passed calmly and almost imperceptibly. Peace and forgiveness were written on his white face. He had been unconscious for several hours and his death was free from pain.
Again the wires flashed the news around the world. United in a common sorrow, eighty million American hearts ached as one. Throughout the night many thousands had been anxiously waiting for news. The blood-red sun arose upon countless flags that drooped at half-mast.
ARRIVAL OF ROOSEVELT SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT.
All day messengers were hunting for Theodore Roosevelt, who, fully believing in the recovery of his chief, was in the mountain woods, far away from civilization. Through the Adirondacks bugles sounded imperiously, calling him to the highest office in the land.
It was late afternoon when he was found. The sun was sinking behind the distant peaks. The yellowed leaves of early autumn, as now and then one fell in the silence of the forest, shone like gold in the last light of the day.
The breathless messenger told him what had happened. He leaned upon his gun, looking far out across the hills toward the sun which had risen upon the third martyred President of the republic. There were tears in his eyes. Then he set his teeth together and went back with the messenger, having said not a single word.
After a record-breaking journey he arrived at Buffalo, going first, as the humblest citizen might, to the bier of the dead President. In the library of the Milburn house, he took the oath of office, being sworn by Justice Hazel of the supreme court.
Proclamation by President Roosevelt. Funeral
President Roosevelt on Saturday evening, September 14, issued the following proclamation:
"By the President of the United States, a Proclamation:
"A terrible bereavement has befallen our people. The President of the United States has been struck down; a crime has been committed not only against the chief magistrate, but against every law-abiding and liberty-loving citizen.
"President McKinley crowned a life of largest love for his fellow men, of most earnest endeavor for their welfare, by a death of Christian fortitude, and both the way in which he lived his life and the way in which, in the supreme hour of trial, he met his death will remain forever a precious heritage of our people.
"It is meet that we as a nation express our abiding love and reverence for his life, our deep sorrow for his untimely death.
"Now, therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do appoint Thursday next, September 19, the day on which the body of the dead President will be laid in its last earthly resting place, as a day of mourning and prayer throughout the United States. I earnestly recommend all the people to assemble on that day in their respective places of divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to pay out of full hearts their homage, of love and reverence to the great and good President whose death has smitten the nation with bitter grief.
"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal at the United States to be affixed..
"Done at the city of Buffalo, the fourteenth day of September, A. D. one thousand nine hundred and one, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-sixth.
"By the President.
"john Hay, Secretary of State."
There were three funerals. The first, of William McKinley the martyr, was held in Buffalo, where he died. The second, of William
McKinley the President, was held in Washington, at the seat of government. The last, of William McKinley the man, was held in Canton, his old home.
The service in Buffalo, which was held in Milburn house, was simple. It was marked by none of the pomp of state. It was such as the humblest might have had, if he had been loved by his fellow men.
The funeral train was made ready for the sad journey to Washington. On the observation car, attached to the rear of the train, elevated so that it might be readily seen, was the heavy cedar casket which contained the body of the President, guarded by men from the army and the navy, of which he was commander in chief.
The locomotive was heavily draped in black, and the windows of the train were shaded. Only the flag shone brightly, lying over the body of him who had served it well.
Along the way the church bells tolled as the cortege passed through. Flags hung at half-mast, and from each one hung the streamer of black. Women and children strewed flowers upon the track, as if to soothe the passage of the chief.
The night of September 16 was spent in the White House. The President was there for the last time. Only relatives and friends were admitted. The servants who wept over the body of the President, by their tears paid an eloquent tribute to the man.
For a long time, in the evening, Mrs. McKinley sat by him alone. The room was cleared of even the naval and military guard. At last she was led away, so utterly bowed down with grief, that Dr. Rixey decided thai she could not attend the public funeral the next day.
The cortege was formed at the White House by nine o'clock. While muffled drums beat the long roll and the military band played softly "Nearer, My God, to Thee," the casket was lifted by the guard of soldiers and sailors and placed in the hearse. Then "The Dead March from Saul" was heard, and the line moved.
President Roosevelt, in a carriage drawn by four black horses, and with a band of crape around his arm, immediately followed the hearse. The justices of the supreme court, in their black robes of office; the men of the army and navy, in the full dress of their rank; representatives of foreign governments, in all their trappings of state, were also in line.
The people, by their government, followed his cortege down the avenue, which they had twice traversed in his train to a triumphal inauguration. Under the dome of the national capital, the people, by their government, bowed beside his bier.
The pictured symbolism of a free nation's rise looked down from the