« PreviousContinue »
in its presence. Its contingency is recognized in the marriage vow, 'Until death do us part,' and is written upon friendship’s ring.
“But the death, even when produced by natural causes, of a public servant charged with the tremendous responsibilities which press upon a President, shocks the entire country and is infinitely multiplied when the circumstances attending constitute an attack upon the government itself.
“No one can estimate the far-reaching effect of such an act as that which now casts a gloom over our land. It shames America ip the eyes of the world; it impairs her moral prestige and gives enemies of free government a chance to mock at her, and it excites an indignation which, while righteous in itself, may lead to acts which will partake of the spirit of lawlessness.
“As the President's death overwhelms all in a common sorrow, so it imposes a common responsibility—namely, to so avenge the wrong done to the President, his family and the country as to make the executive life secure without interfering with the freedom of speech or freedom of the
Mr. Bryan treated of the parting of husband and wife at Buffalo, saying:
“The dispatches report that Mrs. McKinley took a seat at the bedside and held the President's hand; the distinguished sufferer looked into the face of his good wife and said in a low tone: “We must bear up. It will be better for us both.” With tears streaming down her cheeks, Mrs. McKinley nodded assent.
"There may be some people who have no idea of the thoughts that were passing through the minds of this couple at that moment. There are, however, others who can imagine what these thoughts were.
There on the bed of pain lay the strong, powerful man; by his side sat the frail woman, whose physical weakness has been for some years the subject of this husband's tender solicitude. In a humble way they began life together. Two little graves had for them a common interest. In prosperity and adversity they had stood together, participating in the joys and sharing all sorrows of life.
CARDINAL GIBBONS PRAISES M'KINLEY. Memorial services were almost universal on September 19 throughout Maryland, many congregations meeting and uniting in other than their own places of worship. Perhaps the most important and impressive were the ceremonies at the cathedral in this city, at which Cardinal Gibbons delivered the following eulogy:
“It has been my melancholy experience, in the course of my sacred ministry, to be startled by the assassination of three Presidents of the
United States. A'raham Lincoln was shot in 1865, James A. Garfield was mortally wounded in 1881, and William McKinley received a fatal wound on the sixth day of September. Mr. Lincoln was shot in a theater; Mr. Garfield was shot while about to take a train to enjoy a needed vacation, and our late beloved President fell by the hand of an assassin while lending the prestige of his name and influence to the success of a national exposition.
"In the annals of crime it is difficult to find an instance of murder .so atrocious, so wanton and meaningless as the assassination of Mr. McKinley. Some reason or pretext has been usually assigned for the sudden' taking away of earthly rulers. Baltassar, the impious king of Chaldea, spent his last night in reveling and drunkenness. He was suddenly struck dead by the hand of the Lord.
“How different was the life of our chief magistrate! No court in Europe or in the civilized world was more conspicuous for moral rectitude and purity, or' more free from the breath of scandal, than the official home of President McKinley. He would have adorned any court in Christendom by his civic virtues.
"The Redeemer of mankind was betrayed by the universal symbol of love. If I may reverently make the comparison, the President was betrayed by the universal emblem of friendship. Christ said to Judas: 'Friend, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?' The President could have said to his slayer: ‘Betrayest thou the head of the nation with the grasp of the hand?' He was struck down surrounded by a host of his fellow citizens, every one of whom would have gladly risked his life in defense of his beloved chieftain.
"Few Presidents were better equipped than Mr. McKinley for the exalted position which he filled. When a mere youth he entered the Union army as a private soldier during the Civil War, and was promoted for gallant service on the field of battle to the rank of major. He served his country for fourteen years in the halls of congress, and toward the close of his term he became one of the most conspicuous figures in that body. He afterward served his state as governor.
“As President he was thoroughly conversant with the duties of his office, and could enter into its most minute details. His characteristic virtues were courtesy and politeness, patience and forbearance, and masterly self-control under very trying circumstances. When unable to grant a favor, he, had the rare and happy talent to disappoint the applicant without offending him.
"The domestic virtues of Mr. McKinley were worthy of all praise. He was a model husband. Amid the pressing and engrossing duties of his official life he would from time to time snatch a few moments to devote to the invalid and loving partner of his joys and sorrows. Oh, what a change has come over this afflicted woman! Yesterday she was the first lady of the land. Today she is a disconsolate and brokenhearted widow. Let us beseech him who comforted the widow of Nain that he console this woman in her hours of desolation.
“It is a sad reflection that some fanatic or miscreant has it in his power to take the life of the head of the nation and to throw the whole country into mourning. It was no doubt this thought that inspired some writers within the last few days to advise that the President should hencefourth abstain from public receptions and hand-shaking, and that greater protection should be given to his person.
“You might have him surrounded with cohorts, defended with bayonets, and have him followed by argus-eyed detectives, and yet he would not be proof against the stroke of the assassin. Are not the crowned heads of Europe usually attended by military forces, and yet how many of them have perished at the hand of some criminal! No; let the President continue to move among his people and take them by the hand.
LOVE IS HIS STRONGEST SHIELD. “The strongest shield of our chief magistrate is the love and devotion of his fellow citizens. The most effective way to stop such crimes is to inspire the rising generation with greater reverence for the constituted authorities, and a greater horror for any insult or injury to their person. All seditious language should be suppressed. Incendiary speech is too often an incentive to criminal acts on the part of many to whom the transition from words to deeds is easy.
"Let it be understood, once for all, that the authorities are determined to crush the serpent of anarchy whenever it lifts its venomous head.
“We have prayed for the President's life, but it did not please God to grant our petition. Let no one infer from this that our prayers were in vain. No fervent prayer ascending to the throne of heaven remains unanswered. Let no one say what a woman remarked to me on the occasion of President Garfield's death:
“ 'I have prayed,' she said, 'for the President's life. My family have prayed for him, our congregation prayed for him, the city prayed for him, the state prayed for him, the nation prayed for him, and yet he died. What, then, is the use of prayer?'
GOD ANSWERS ALL PRAYERS. “God answers our petitions either directly or indirectly. If he does not grant us what we ask he gives us something equivalent or better. If He has not saved the life of the President, He preserves the life of the