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
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.