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By HON. WILLIAM E. MASON, United States Senator from
I have been requested to write an introduction to this work and refer to the great crime of anarchy and give utterance to a few words of heartfelt appreciation of the life and services of our noble martyred chief, President McKinley.
I hope and pray that in the Congress of the United States there will be a man with brains and genius enough to draft a law that will teach the people that there is no room within the borders of this great nation for the flag of anarchy. It must die, and it will die. I think if no other lesson has been taught by the horrible deed which has cast an affliction upon this entire country, the 77,000,000 people which comprise it have registered a vow that anarchy is worse than treason and must be stamped out at any cost.
There ought to be greater protection against the vile reptiles of anarchy in this country. I have often taiked with Mr. McKinley on this subject and urged that he secure better protection for himself, but it was of no avail. He would not have it that way. He always said it was too much like royalty; that he was in a free country and he wanted to be just like any other citizen. If he had been forced to have five or six guards this dastardly deed could never have been committed. This should be regulated by Congress. It is the only way to safeguard the country, for the president is the real and true representative of the country.
Lincoln was assassinated by a man who was an avowed enemy. When Garfield was assassinated it was at a time when party politics were running high. But here in the shadow of peace, with the country brim full of prosperity, a war peaceably over with, and conditions most favorable to tranquillity, there is the school of anarchy with its doctrines taught in public places, and this vile reptile, one of its adherents, springing from the nests of anarchy in Chicago, where it is taught that it is right to kill the ruler, becomes the assassin of our beloved president-a man far above reproach and criticism even by his bitterest political enemies.
But the genius of government is too strong for anarchy. Even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. With all its faults, it is still the best. We can look at other nations even with our president struck down and say that we have the best government.
He was the gentlest man I ever knew. The greatest mer are the gentlest. With the president the more power he had the more gentle and considerate he became. In disagreements of any kind he always left his hand extended and his lieart open. He was clean and fair in debate and never spoke an unkind word of an opponent. His clothes, too, were always remarkably neat and clean, like his character.
At public receptions royalty of other countries, with gold lace and other accouterments, was present, and I would look into the pale, noble face of the president and thank God that I was an American and that McKinley was president.
He never feared assault. He had supreme confidence in his own being that kept him from fearing anarchy. I find the great men are the most gentle. The strong man speaks not widely of his power —the more power you give him the more cautious he is in the exercise of it. I did not always agree with him in matters of policy, but he nevertheless always left his heart open and his hand out. I never heard him complain of anyone. He never spoke ill of his enemies.! He never changed. Some men are frivolous in public office, but Major McKinley always maintained dignity. In his debates he never concealed a fact; no word ever passed his lips that did not come from the depths of his heart. .
He loved truth, he loved geniality, he loved his home, he loved his wife-in brief, he loved all that was pure and good. If all other characteristics had been forgotten, if his record as a soldier and a president were not sufficient, and if he had done nothing for humanity, the picture of his devotion to his invalid wife alone has done enough to teach us loyalty to our homes and families.
DEARLY LOVED NATURE. McKinley loved children—he loved flowers, he loved nature, he was more generous in giving the public a chance to see him and speak to him than anyone I ever knew in similar position. I never saw him when he did not say a few kind words to a child and take the trouble to pluck a flower. He was doing this at the very moment he was shot. If he had not turned to wave a last farewell to a little girl he might have seen the assassin in time to save him from the murderous assault.
Look at the picture of that grand man in his devotion to his invalid wife and see him kneeling by his aged mother's deathbed. If we knew nothing more of President McKinley than this it would be enough to make him a prince of men.
It was President's Day at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. Flags were flying, banners waving, and the strains of martial music were in the air. The prismatic towers of the Rainbow City shone against a sky as blue as the far-famed heavens of Italy.
The chief executive of the United States delivered a masterly address to the assembled thousands, moving his audience as only the gifted orator may. At its close the cheers broke forth and lasted several minutes. It was a personal triumph which amounted to an ovation.
As the last lights sank to dimness and the tired throng went home, all seemed well. Peace and content lay upon the exposition which typified the progress of the Americas. There was no hint of the blow which was soon to fall.
The following day, William McKinley, president of the United States, went to the exposition as a guest. Arrangements had been made for a public reception at the Temple of Music, one of the most spacious buildings in the grounds.
Promptly at half past three, in the afternoon of September 6, President McKinley, accompanied by the president of the exposition, John G. Milburn, Secretary Cortelyou and a guard of detectives, arrived at the railroad depot on the grounds. Two minutes before four o'clock, the hour appointed for the reception, his carriage drew up at the entrance to the Temple.
Twenty thousand people were gathered in and around the building, and as the president bowed to the right and to the left, a great shout of welcome went up on every side. The organ in the Temple broke into the stirring strains of the national air, and the crowd fell back from the doorway through which the chief was to pass.
Inside the Temple a space had been made in the center of the floor for the president to stand and greet the thousands who were waiting to grasp his hand.
Perhaps a hundred men, women and children had gone slowly up the long aisle and looked into the kindly face that met each one with a smile. Then there was a break in the line and a rush of exposition guards toward the door through which the crowds were entering.