Rams' Horn editors
were excited about the 1897 inauguration of William McKinley. They published this emotional account of the event
in the March 11, 1897 edition (pp. 4-7):
Man of March Fourth
wonderful Stranger Participated In The Inauguration
with the President
the gray dawn of March 4th stole softly in the wake of the humid darkness
of the previous night it ushered in a day pregnant with history of importance
to the world, to 70,000,000 Americans in particular, and to two families
and two men individually. The nation looked upon March 4th as the natal
day of prosperity, which is to follow the long night of panic and woe
which for three years has hung like a pall over this fair continent.
people who were the chief actors in the day's drama were the man who gave
over the scepter of power, and the new ruler who received it. One passed
from the summit of ambition and henceforth will go down life's rocky slope,
the other approached it, gained it, and for four years at least, life
permitting, he will stand poised on the highest eminence of human distinction.
As the late President awoke on this eventful morning, which closed his
public career, he may have looked out of the low window of his chamber
and his eye may have traveled far across the wide meadows and rested upon
the turgid waters of the Potomac, whose current was swollen by winter's
snow and rain. As he lay in silent reverie and watched the river surging
forward to the ocean he saw quickly ho lent career. In fancy he followed
the course of the stream backward, and far back where, as a tiny spring
or noisy brook in the Pennsylvania mountains, it picked its devious way.
This was the river's childhood, and it reminded him of his own, for like
the path of a small brook, which now lies open to the son and again passes
under cover of stones or thickets and is obscure even from a small distance,
so the period of childhood reveals to later years only patches of white
where some event more striking than ordinary stands forth clearly. For
the rest it is mostly in shadow. But soon this waking roan traced his
life history in the current as it grew deeper and of broader volume. It
now ran fresh and strong and yet he could count the stories in the bottom-it
was so clear. This recalled his early youth, when his mother's influence
and his mother's prayers were the safe embankment which fortified his
course and kept his heart and mind pure. He recalled the evening prayer,
the family altar, and the small Bible, which, in later time, he carried
in memory of his mother and which twice he kissed when he took each time
the oath of supreme office in the Republic. But youth's days passed too
soon. The stream had not tarried long in the mountains and it soon swept
through the lowlands. It now approached a city, where it passed under
viaducts and huge walls of masonry and constricted passages and a part
of it was even diverted into a mill race and was forced through slotted
water gates child then crowded into precipitous vaults, where, falling
by its own gravity, it was caught in the maelstrom of turbines and was
churned and lashed into foam. Ah, faithful simile of human experience.
Sooner or later one must enter real life, quite likely the city. At any
rate, every real life has its millrace; that is duty. Then on to
the water wheel which drives industry; that is experience. It grinds and
churns and beats into foam, but the result is character. The waters of
the main stream flow on leisurely and without care; that is the great
gay or indolent world. The main stream and the millrace soon reunite.
They are one, as humanity is one, and yet composed of integers, endowed
with will and accountability. Every particle of the river is propelled
in the same direction, but those parts which lately moved the wheels of
commerce would, if they were sensate, have the sweet joy of knowing that
they had done their work and that a "well done" awaits them.
It may be that these reflections were shared by the man in the White House
chamber as he still lay and watched the moving river. He observes that
as it leaves the city with factories and mills on either side, discharging
pollution, its current is far less clear. And as it travels southward
it receives the tribute of other streams and some of them are fouler than
itself, and the man who is reading his own history in this vision, blanches
slightly as he recalls the sins of his early manhood and counts the influences
of a bad environment and the tributes of flattery, which were once
sweet in his ears, and the discharge of the city into the limpid stream
he likens to the cursed distillations of appetite, passion and lust, which
are poured into every life whose walls of virtue are not banked high on
either side. The face of the watcher betrays regret, but not remorse,
for remorse is never the fruit of repentance, and Mr. Cleveland, I believe,
has repented the sins of earlier years. He knows that if given a fair
chance under the sun and fresh winds of heaven, swiftmoving streams
will soon clarify and every trace of pollution will vanish, and lives
which were once soiled may, thanks to God, forsake their sin, and, through
industry, free will, and by the aid of God's moral sunlight and the breath
of His spirit, resume the purity of their first estate. It was this thought
that brought calmness to the face of the watcher and as he traced the
Potomac's course in the other direction and saw it leave the Capitol city
and fade away into the distant expanse of a limitless ocean, he read his
own destiny. He accepted it cheerfully and instantly arose. This morning
he dressed and took his mother's little Bible from the shelf and read:
grass withereth, the flower fadeth.
the word of our God shall stand forever." Isaiah xl:8.
and for a moment looked out again upon the broad Potomac, then closed
his eyes in prayer.
a few blocks distant the other chief actor of this great day was also
waking from sleep. The curtain was raised and the first distant object
to meet his sight was the tall monument of Washington, which rises far
above any other object within miles and miles. As Mr. McKinley's eyes
rested upon this towering monolith he studied its plain smooth surface,
which, on four sides, bears scarcely any carving or decoration, and, there
he a man more conscious and less modest, he would have, read his own plain,
unadorned symmetrical and successful career in that memorable shaft. As
it was, his eye traveled slowly from the base to its lofty apex and this
dizzy height reminded him that today he was to reach the summit of his
human ambition. Not thoroughly awake he easily fell back on his pillow
in dreamy reverie and soon fancied, as one will in a waking dream, that
he was climbing the spiral stairway of this monument and at last stood
at the top, unsupported and alone. The morning was clear and fine
and the view was thrilling. Suddenly a current of wind came from the Blue
Mountain range. It was too strong and unexpected. He clutched at the railing,
but was carried over and downward, down, down that five hundred and eighty
awful feet, almost to the ground below. "Almost," for merciful
nature always permits one to awake from such a dream as this, just an
instant before we are dashed to frightful, though imaginary, death. Of
course, it was only a dream, but it brought the man to a waking state
in a perspiration of temporary fear, and a serious frame of mind. He is
too practical to be superstitious, but it would be a dull mind and callous
heart which would not have stopped for an instant to read the possible
meaning of this vision. Could it be that this man of destiny was to reach
today the summit of his ambition, the very apex of honor and greatness,
as men count greatness; then, after, standing for a period on this dizzy
height and being caught by sudden assault, inspired by his own rash folly,
would he be carried downward, down, to real, and not imaginary, ruin?
The simile was too strong even for his practical mind to ignore. His face
blanched for an instant and his brows knit hard. "I see," he
cried. "In my dream I stood unsupported and alone." He arose
and dressed. After breakfast he descended to the lobby of the Ebbitt House
and soon forgot his disagreeable vision in the surging crowd of friends
and admirers and petitioners who besieged him. There was sincere
respect and unselfish regard written in the faces of some, but the majority
was made up of that class of men who prowl in the wake of a, new administration,
greedy for office and insistent upon being heard and rewarded. The most
conspicuous exception to this number, made so by manner and appearance,
was a man who stood leaning gently against the mail box in the lobby.
He followed Mr. McKinley constantly with a close, but tender scrutiny,
half questioning, half admiring. Once or twice the new President saw him
and started to speak and then caught him self, half doubtful. At last,
drawn by an uncontrollable fascination, he passed quickly across the marble
floor and stood before the stranger, who stood up and looked considerate
and gentle, but not deferential. It was the sight of two noble-looking
men and the stranger did not suffer in the comparison. He was slightly
taller and more lithe than McKinley and his face and dress brawled analysis,
so that it could not be said whether he was a states man, a scholar, or
a man of affairs. Perhaps he was all three, for he was in strong contrast
with the multitude of politicians and idlers who made up the great bulk
of the inauguration multitude. Mr. McKinley passed his hand quickly over
his eyes and brow, as if seeking to summon from the archives of memory
a longforgotten vision. At last he said: "I think I know you.
I know I have seen you." The stranger smiled and looked firmly and
kindly into the eyes of his companion. He held his hand long and warmly
while he talked in a manner low and earnest, but calm and selfpossessed.
At last their hands parted, find Mr. McKinley held in his a small white
card. He did not stop to read it. He excused himself and went quickly
to his chambers.
central figures in the inaugural event rode together from the White Houses
to the Capitol in President Cleveland's carriage. It was drawn by four
magnificent horses, whose glossy coats and large, lambent eyes of brown
revealed high breeding and a quick intelligence. They seemed to participate
in the spirit of the great occasion. They arched their necks proudly and
moved their limbs at the knee and in unison as though keeping time with
a quickstep march. As the carriage swept out of the White House grounds
and down through the exit at the gate the steeds turned in the direction
they usually take when they carry the President on his daily drive. The
cruel coachman gave the leaders a savage wrench of the Bit and it brought
the front "off horse" to his haunches, and the smooth asphalt
pavement being slippery, he fell helpless on his side and the weight and
momentum of the heavy carriage on the downgrade brought the wheel
horses upon him and one of them spiked the fallen yokemate deeply
in the hip. It was about the only accident of the inauguration which related
directly to the chief participants. The driver looked vexed and many have
swore. He tried to urge the bruised and fallen beast to rise, but it evidently
could not. Many in the gathering crowds would have given it a kick or
a curse, but only cone leaped forth and seeing that it leas nearly strangled
by a tight throat-band, unloosed it, and stroking its noble face, gently
spoke kind word and helped it rise. The driver repaid the assistance with
an oath. The crowd, though ashamed of its own unfeeling sense, cheered
the lordly act and praised the doer. "Who is he?" queried a
rolled by and the President-elect recognized his friend of the morning.
inaugural exercises vast crowds assembled in the spacious plaza in front
of the Capitol building. The number was estimated at 50,000. Long before
noon the dense mass had gathered and packed closer and closer in against
the temporary stand where the oath was to be administered. Anybody who
never computed the weight of 50,000 people, cannot realize what danger
lies in such a multitude when its vast bulk begins to surge with the unrest
of impatience, or when moved by excitement, or fear. Fifty thousand people,
averaging one hundred and forty pounds in weight, would tip the scale
at seven million pounds. Start this ponderous mass in one direction and
it will be seen what terrible deaths would come to any animate beings
that got in its way. Exactly such an accident as this happened in the
plains out side Moscow at the late crowning of the czar. And just such
an accident might have happened a dozen times at the Worlds Fair had not
the farseeing and experienced officials forestalled such by placing
men as lookouts on the great buildings and when the crowds became dense
and when that swaying motion set in, which is so ominous and leads to
such fatal consequences at a second's warning, the lookouts gave the signal
and attractions were set going in other parts of the grounds so that the
mass was depleted of its numbers and. the congestion relieved. This day,
the 4th of March, and one of the gladdest days in American
history, might have been draped at its close in sable mourning had not
the motion of the crowd been arrested instantly by a striking sight. Long
waiting was proving irksome and the impatience of many tribe as near as
possible to the seat of interest, made the crush fit the center almost
unendurable. When the experienced eyes of those on the raised platform
saw the impending calamity, the danger was ill creased by the breaking
of a box in the densest part of the mob. Curiosity, impatience and fear
were now setting to work and the ponderous mass began to heave and surge
and settle toward the platform like a slow tidal weave. At this instant
I saw a ragged little colored boy thrown over the heads of some rough
men and their curses followed him as they told him to make room for his
betters. I saw him caught in the arms of a man, and he staid there, wrapt
tenderly about with strong protection. The look of terror fled from his
face as he heard a whispered assurance from his guardsman. The crowd began
to mutter and protest, for in Washington the negro knows his place, as
was demonstrated by the heavy band of black faces which on all sides hemmed
the borders of the throng. The negro knew he did not belong near the center.
How this wretched, homely, ragged little fellow got there I do not know,
but when the anger of the mob seemed likely to vent itself, not on him
but upon his savior, and when the same tremendous surge began to drift
again in that direction end each second seemed to mark the last point
of tension in the awful strain, then the colored urchin weal held aloft
far over the heads of all and the strong, clear voice of his protector
rung out over the multitude.
he become as this little child he cannot enter into the kingoom of God."
either a miracle or a stroke of genius. The solemn, truthful warning spoken
with the tone as of one having authority was the only thing to arrest
the ready human current that might have turned the happiest of recent
events into gloom and death. Though everybody asked who this strange mien
might be, it seemed that no one knew him. I recognized, however, the same
face as that which I saw in the morning, and my suspicions were confirmed,
for at this very moment the presidential party appeared on the stand and
Mr. McKinley saw the act of courage at a glance. Wishing to reward such
bravery and as he thought, quick wit, to avert a panic, he sent to have
the hero brought to the stand and given a seat. He came, but he
brought the negro child with him. The President elect changed color as
he recognized in the brave man, his stranger friend of the morning. He
took the latter by the land and led him to the highest seat of honor,
higher than that of Chief Justice or Prime Minister or President. He gave
him the seat which he himself had just left--between his wife and mother.
is more than a political event. One would say so if he were to see the
deep religious sense which spreads over the broad assemblage when the
Bible is held aloft by an official of the Supreme Court and when the oath
has been administered the President kisses its sacred page. The lines
which Mr. McKinley's lips touched were these, from the First Chronicles:
"Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before
this people, for who can judge this, the people, that is so great."
I saw the eye of the stranger kindle with light as he saw this act, and
I saw him revoke to earnest expectancy and interest as the President took
a deep breath before beginning his inaugural speech. The voice of the
speaker trembled width emotion as he repeated these words: "I assume
the arduous and responsible duties of President, relying on the support
of my countrymen, and invoking the guidance of A1mighty God. Our faith
teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers,
who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trust,
all who will not forsake us so long as we obey his commandments, and walk
humbly in his footsteps." The eyes of the stranger gleamed
with a holy Joy; the eyes of the old mother flooded with tears. She bowed
her head in her wrinkled hands and I think she prayed. She shivered in
the chilly wind as it swept around the Capitol. The stranger drew his
fine soft coat from his shoulders and threw it around hers. She looked
into his eyes. THEY SEEMED THOSE OF AN OLD FRIEND. It was no time
for words. The company was silent till the President had finished. Then
congratulations were poured in upon him from every side. His wife shared
them with him. There two were the center of interest. For the moment every
one seemed to forget the aged mother. But she was not alone. He was with
her, and though He was unknown by name, his manner was so knightly and
unaffected that no one could dispute his right to stand in that privileged
circle. Yet he said but a few words more. But they seemed to make the
aged woman very happy. Her face bore the marks, not of pride in the triumph
of her distinguished son, but the marks of peaceful assurance that the
strong and noble man at her side was in some way her friend and the friend
of her son. She asked his name send he gate her a small white card. She
put it on the inside of her buttoned glove.
evening the family of the new President sat late at the library fire.
Those who had gone to the inaugural banquet had returned. The day's events
were of course the topic of conversation. Notes and impressions were compared,
and strange to say they all centered, not in the grand pageant, nor the
grand inaugural assemblage, nor in the grand review, but in the
grand deeds done by a noble stranger. The President related the misfortune
to the horse at the mansion gate, another described more particularly
the occurrence on the plaza, when a stampede was threatened. A younger
member of the family had seen Him give his point of vantage in the line
of watchers to a crippled veteran of the Republic, who wanted to see his
battered regiment go by, though he was too feeble to march with them.
Another saw Him hold the champing horse of brave old General Howard while
he mounted, for he has only one arm, and had to hold the bridle reins
fin hits teeth when he took off his hot to the President before the reviewing
stand. Another, a young woman of the household, had seen a waiter at the
inaugural ball fall heavily with a tray of dishes on the marble floor
and as he threw out his hand to ease his fall he placed it over a broken
glass and cut himself most piteously. The caterer came up and cursed the
man for his stupid carelessness and wended him that he must pay For the
broken dishes. The wonderful stranger was at his elbow at once; he Yachted
for money, paid liberally for the loss and was heard to say,
mean he that he beat my people to piece and grind the faces of the
poor?" Isaiah iii:15.
left the banquet hall by the servant's door, and the crippled waiter was
on his arm.
coincidence of selfsacrifice, menial service and ?Tonal bravery
enacted in one day at one place and by one man was nothing short of miraculous,
if not divine. "Who is this man? What is his name? Where his residence?
No place within the gift of the administration is too eminent for him.
If he is too modest, as seems likely, to claim his just rewards
the whole detective force of the government must be put to work to establish
his identity." Thus spoke the President. But the grandmother thought
she might find a quicker ?unit cheaper method. She whispered to a servant
and the latter soon brought a small white card, which hitherto had been
overlooked. The old lady of 87 years adjusted her goldbowed spectacles
very slowly and read these lines:
Down to old age all me people shall prove the sovereign, eternal, uncbangeab1e
love; hno then when grad bairs shall their temples adorn
lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.
this in silent interrogation to her son. He read the lines with surprise
and interest, then reached in his vest pocket for a card. It was of the
same shape and size as the first. In the same unconventional text it read:
shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways; the
shall bear thee up in their bands lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
read these lines in the morning and he recalled again his dream
and saw the application of the verse. He turned the card over and read
these words, which had until now escaped him:
all thy ways acknowledge God and be shall Direct thy path." rov.
remembered the first paragraph of his inaugural address and was thankful
that he had not listened to the counsel of godless men and omitted those
words. But the question remained, "Who was the stranger?" The
President held up both small cards between his eyes and the red coals
of the fire and as his family hung over his shoulder they all saw the
water mark in the paper gradually appear and it was a naked hand marked
only by a scar.
It the master?" some one inquired.
STEP AT A TIME.
day's work you I have simply to take one step at a time. To take that
step wisely is all that you need think about. If I am climbing a mountain
to look down may make me dizzy; to look too far up may make me tired and
discouraged. Take no anxious thought for the morrow. Sufficient far the
day-yes, and for each hour in the day-is the toil or the tria1 thereof.
There is not a child of God in this world who is strong enough to stand
the strain of today's duties and all the load of tomorrow's anxieties
piled upon the top of them. Paul himself would have broken down if he
had attempted the experiment. We have a perfect right to ask our heavenly
Father for strength equal to the day; but we have no right to ask him
for of extra ounce of strength for anything beyond it. When the morrow
comes, grace will come with it, sufficient for its tasks or for its troubles.-Sel.
not the morrow, but forgive me now;
what fate tomorrow's dawn may bring?
not part with shadow on thy brow,
my heart hungering.
some day I may redeem the wrong,
the fault-I know not when or how.
do not wait-it may be long-
forgive me now.
said that John Wesley was once walking with a brother, who belated to
him his troubles, saying he did not know what he should do. They were
at that moment passing a stone fence to a meadow, over which a cow was
you know," asked Wesley, "why the cow looks over that
replied the one in trouble.
will tell you," said Wesley; "because she cannot look through
it And that is what you must do with your troubles-look over and above
a thin, fragile young preacher, but not half so helpless as he looked.
He could see and hear what was during the last prayer. Just before the
very closing service he said calmly, but with a good deal of impressiveness
to the square inch, "Those of the congregation who did not get their
things all on during the prayer, can do so while I pronounce the benediction."
which, however, the audience could hear each other's watches tick.
MILLIONAIRE AND HIS CLERK.
the infidel millionaire of Philadelphia, one Saturday ordered all his
clerks to come on the morrow to his wharf and help unload a newly arrived
ship. One young man replied quietly:
Girard, I can't work on Sundays."
know our rules."
I know. I have a mother to support, but I can't work on Sundays."
step up to the desk and the cashier will settle with you."
weeks the young man could find no work, but one day a banker came to
Girard to ask if he could recommend a man for cashier in a new bank. This
discharged young man was at once named as a suitable person.
said the banker, "you dismissed him."
because he would not work on Sundays.
who Would lose his place for concience's sake would make a trust-worthy
casher." And he was appointed.
remember at one of The meetings at Nashville, during the war, says D.
L. Moody, a young man came to me, trembling from head to foot.
is the trouble?' I asked.
is a letter I got from my sister, and she tells me every night as the
sun goes down she goes down on her knees and prays for me.'
man was brave-had been in a number of battles; he could stand before the
cannon's mouth, but yet this letter completely upset him.
have been trembling ever since I received it.'
hundred miles away the faith of this girl went to work; and its influence
was felt by the brother. He did not believe in prayer; he did not believe
in Christianity; he did not believe in his mother's Bible. This mother
vitas a praying woman, and when she died she left on earth a praying daughter.
And when God saw her faith and heard that prayer, He answered her. How
many sons and daughters could be saved if their mothers and fathers had
ago, in a New England town, a new minister had been called and settled.
In that town was a forsaken old reprobate whom nobody respected or spokes
to who could avoid it. He had never been known to go inside a church.
He only worked when driven by necessity to do so, and loafed about the
town, a common nuisance.
days after the new minister came to the town he met the old sinner on
the village street, and bowing, spoke a pleasant "Good morning,"
and passed on his way. The old man turned and looked after him, and made
inquiry of some as to who it might be who showed him such an unaccustomed
attention. The same thing happened a day or two afterward, and again during
the space of a week or two. Some one told the minister that he had made
a friend of old ---, and laughingly told him that he was wasting his politeness
on that old reprobate, whose acquaintance what not desirable.
don't know him," said this person, "or you wouldn't speak to
him at all."
mind," said the minister, "it does not east much to be polite,
and no more to an old reprobate than to the 'squire' of the town."
not long till old --- was noticed creeping into the corner of the church
farthest from the pulpit and nearest to the door. He had come in late
and was the first to leave the church. He came again and again, and was
finally brought to Christ, and during the rest of his life he lived consistent
and earnest Christian life. He said the minister's bow was what had started
him on the upward path.-Christian Work.