September 14, 1901

On the Day of McKinley’s Death, Asst. Secretary of State Cridler Writes of His Horror and Fury to the U.S. Counsel in Montreal

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On the day of President McKinley’s death, Thomas W. Cridler, Third Assistant Secretary of State, writes of his horror and fury to diplomat John L. Bittinger, United States Consul General to Montreal.
 
Only God Almighty knows how badly I feel at the President's death. I would like to be at the end of the rope to help the assassin to eternity. Any death would be too short for such a cur. Just why my God permitted him to be born into the world or to commit the deed, surpasses my limited comprehension. But the deed is done and the nation will live notwithstanding… Hard it is to bear- cannot endure the shock - the fortitude of the President as he realized he must go to "that bourne from where no traveler returns" was beautiful and reflected the manhood and courage that was in him. He died leaving a nation in tears and the world a mourner at his bier. His life was glorious, so was his death at such a time. The life of his assassin was a failure from the day he entered into existence, and death, which God grant may come soon, will scarcely be spoken of except with reproach

Ironically, McKinley’s murder and Roosevelt’s ascension to the Presidency meant the end of Cridler's and Bittinger’s Washington careers. Both men would be sacked by the new president.

Autograph Letter Signed in the hand of Assistant Secretary of State Thomas W. Cridler, 4 pages, recto and verso, octavo, on the decorative letterhead of the United States Hotel, Sarasota Springs, September 14, 1901. To Major John L. Bittinger in Montreal.

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Transcript

United States Hotel
Gage & Perry Proprietors     Saratoga Springs N.Y.

Sept 14, 1901

Dear Mr. Bittinger,

Only God Almighty knows how badly I feel at the President's death. I would like to be at the end of the rope to help the assassin to eternity. Any death would be too short for such a cur. Just why my God permitted him to be borne into the world or to commit the deed, surpasses my limited comprehension. But the deed is done and the nation will live notwithstanding. It is better to bear up under the sorrow than to put hope behind and feel that we, as a people, no matter how hard the task may be - and hard it is to bear - cannot endure the shock-- The fortitude of the President as he realized he must go to "that bourne from where no traveler returns" was beautiful and reflected the manhood and courage that was in him. He died leaving a nation in tears and the world a mourner at his bier. His life was glorious, so was his death at such a time. The life of his assassin was a failure from the day he entered into existence and his death, which God grant may come soon, will scarcely be spoken of except with reproach--

We leave hear today for New York and hope to be in Washington early next week.

Our recollection of Canada - of Montreal to be more exact and your kindness will live in our memories as a pleasant theme. We hope sometime in the near future to see you in Washington and to have you break bread with us at our modest little home. We shall treat you kindly.

We part from Dr. Norman today with regret. Our travels together have deepened our love and regard for our friend who has been thoughtful and kind to a degree beyond my poor words to fittingly speak of them. I think he feels the parting quite as keenly and is, like we are, sadly depressed on account of the President's death.

Mrs. Cridler joins me in kindest regards and best wishes.

 Sincerely your friend,

THO W. CRIDLER

Major
John L. Bittinger
Con Genl. of the US
Montreal Canada