He praises Benjamin Harrison's "patriotism and devotion to duty" and says the nation is "in the afflictive gloom" of McKinley's "murder".
In retirement, President Cleveland pursued a life in academia at Princeton University and wrote frequently for publications. His two presidential terms were unique in that they were not consecutive, with Benjamin Harrison serving a term in between. Interestingly, Cleveland outlived both the president who proceeded him in his second term (Harrison) and...
In retirement, President Cleveland pursued a life in academia at Princeton University and wrote frequently for publications. His two presidential terms were unique in that they were not consecutive, with Benjamin Harrison serving a term in between. Interestingly, Cleveland outlived both the president who proceeded him in his second term (Harrison) and the one who succeeded him (William McKinley).
It was thus that he was called upon to make statements on the deaths of those two presidents, and produced these two Autograph Manuscripts. Harrison died of pneumonia on March 13, 1901, and Cleveland wrote out a eulogy, which he gave to the Associated Press correspondent H. L. Bowlby in Princeton. “I am exceedingly moved by the sad intelligence of Mr. Harrison’s death, for notwithstanding the late discouraging reports of his condition, I hoped his life might yet be spared. Not one of our countrymen should for a moment fail to realize the services which have been performed in their behalf by the distinguished dead. In high public office he was guided by patriotism and devotion to duty, often at the sacrifice of temporary popularity; and in private station, his influence and example were always in the direction of decency and good citizenship. Such a career and the incidents related to it should leave a deep and useful impress upon every section of our national life.”
Bowlby has written on the top “Statement of Grover Cleveland on the death of ex-Pres. Benjamin Harrison to H. L. Bowlby, Assoc. Press correspondent at Princeton.” Cleveland’s generous words of praise are something of a surprise, seeing as how Harrison ran against Cleveland twice and ousted him from office in 1888.
Just six months after Harrison’s death, Cleveland received the tragic news that President McKinley had been shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. After linqering until September 14, McKinley succumbed.
Cleveland then prepared a second statement for the Associated Press, this one printed in his hand. “This is dreadful news, and the more cruel because it strikes down the confident and comforting expectation which all our people were encouraged to entertain that their President would be saved from death. In the afflictive gloom surrounding this third Presidential murder within the memory of men not yet old, we can scarcely keep out of mind a feeling of stunning amazement that in free America, blessed with a government consecrated to popular welfare and contentment, the danger of assassination should ever encompass the faithful discharge of the highest official duty. It is hard at such a time as this to calmly and patiently await the unfolding of the purposes of God.”
On the verso is a handwritten note by Bowlby, declaring “This statement was given to me by Mr. Cleveland at a few minutes after 8 P.M. on Sept. 14, 1901, at which time I assured him that I would not let it go over the Western Union and telegraph wires to the Associated Press and other news mediums until the A.P. definitely informed me that Pres. McKinley had drawn his last breath. McKinley died about 11:20 that night and open wires carried this statement to the A.P. & other daily papers.” An extraordinary if not unique group, these are the only hand-written eulogies of one president for another that we can recall seeing. From the Forbes Collection.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services