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respective public positions. Mr. McKinley was, as I have said, extremely solicitous of his reputation. From the day he was first elected President he was represented as being under Mr. Hanna's control far more than was actually the case and to an extent which must have been galling. In matters of public policy he was always his own master — at least so far as Mr. Hanna was concerned; and even in the latter's own special field of political management he by no means merely submitted to Mr. Hanna's dictation. Mr. George B. Cortelyou, who had the best opportunities for judging, considered that Mr. McKinley was an abler politician than Mr. Hanna — and this in spite of the fact that he ranks Mr. Hanna's ability very high. Mr. McKinley did not get the credit for being either as independent, as courageous or as self-dependent as he really was. Furthermore, as time went on, Mr. Hanna increased rather than diminished in public stature; and as he increased the President became not absolutely but relatively smaller. Comic papers like Life published cartoons, in one of which Mr. Hanna was represented as a tall robust English gentleman with Mr. McKinley at his side dressed in a short coat and knee breeches. It was entitled "Buttons." Such a portrayal of their relationship would have been exasperating even had it been true; but it was not true.
If there had been any truth in it, the friendship between the two men could not have lasted. Mr. McKinley was bound to overlook the occasional public perversion of their relation one to another, because as a matter of fact Mr. Hanna had always recognized in his behavior towards his friend the essential difference in their positions. Mr. McKinley was the master, Mr. Hanna was only the able and trusted Prime Minister. The latter never presumed upon his friendship with the President, upon the contribution he had made towards Mr. McKinley's nomination or election or upon the increasing independence and stability of his own public position. Everybody most familiar with their private relations testifies that Mr. Hanna asked for nothing in the way of patronage to which he was not fully entitled. The extent of his ability or his willingness to obtain favors on merely personal grounds was very much overestimated. He was erroneously credited, for instance, with many of Mr. McKinley's own appointments to offices in Ohio. Of course he was more assertive in urging upon the President appointments which were in his opinion necessary for the welfare of the party, and his judgment about such matters frequently differed from that of the President. But even in this respect their peculiar relationship was mutually helpful, because each could in some measure protect the other against excessive demands on the part of Republican politicians.
At bottom the central fact in the relationship was the disinterestedness of Mr. Hanna. He was able to maintain his friendship with the President under very trying conditions because his recommendations were made, not in his own interest but in that of the President, the party or the country. He never sought to use his existing power, from whatever source it came, for the sake merely of increasing it. His waxing personal influence was always the by-product of his actual services to some individual, organization or cause. The late Bishop Potter said of his management of the Civic Federation that he had grown up to the job; and the comment supplies the clew to all the success of his career. He had grown up to one job after another. He had grown up to the job of nominating his friend as Presidential candidate, to the job of managing a critical and strenuous national campaign, to the job of securing the personal confidence of the American business interest, to the job of making himself personally popular with the people of Ohio, to the job of becoming one of the steering committee of the Senate, and finally, as we shall see, to the job of obtaining effective influence over organized labor as well as organized capital. But in his assumption and exercise of these activities he had never planned his own personal aggrandizement. He was loyal, that is, to the proper limitations of his various official and unofficial duties; and this just estimate of the limits of his power was merely another aspect of his personal loyalty — of his disposition to allow other people a freedom of movement analogous to his own. He did not pervert his opportunities, because he would not bring pressure to bear upon his friends or demand of them excessive and unnecessary sacrifices.
In the case of President McKinley he was the more bound to scrupulous loyalty because of his affection for the friend, because of his reverence for the office and because of his admiration for the man. He spoke and wrote of Mr. McKinley, particularly after the latter's death, in terms that may seem extravagant, but which are undoubtedly sincere and which really revealed his feelings at the time. "It is difficult," he says, "for me to express the extent of the love and respect which I, in common with many others, felt for him personally. The feeling was the outgrowth of an appreciation of his noble selfsacrificing nature. My affection for him and faith and confidence in him always seemed to be reciprocated, to the extent that there was never an unpleasant word passed between us, and the history of his administration, his Cabinet and his associations with public men was entirely free from intrigue and base selfishness. I had the closest revelations of William McKinley's character, I think, in our quiet hours of smoking and chatting when all the rest had retired. For past midnight we have sat many times talking over those matters which friends always discuss — and the closer I came to the man, the more lovable his character appeared. There was revealed the gentle growing greatness of the man who knew men, respected them and loved them. These pleasant episodes of a purely personal nature are emphasized more and more as I think of him, and it is these that I most cherish in the memory of the man. His greatness as a statesman was but the reflection of his greatness as a man." And in an address delivered at Toledo in September, 1903, on the occasion of the unveiling of a memorial statue to Mr. McKinley, Mr. Hanna said: "The truest monument of the life of William McKinley was built and erected stone by stone as he lived his noble useful life until it touched the sky and was finished by the hands of the angels. It is the monument of a good man's great love for his country and will forever and forever remain as an example to us all."
The preceding quotations must not, of course, be considered as a critical judgment on Mr. McKinley's character and career, but as the tribute of a friend, the warmth of whose admiration had been increased by the President's tragic death. In Mark Hanna's life Mr. McKinley had been the personal embodiment of those qualities of unselfishness, kindness and patriotism which in the preceding quotations the Senator celebrates with so much emotion. There was just enough difference between the ideas and standards of the two men to enable one to have a profound and edifying effect on the other. Neither of them was a political idealist or reformer. Neither of them had travelled very far ahead of the current standards of political morality and the current ideas of political and economic policy. Both of them combined in a typically American way a thoroughly realistic attitude towards practical political questions with a large infusion of traditional American patriotic aspiration. These agreements in their general attitude towards public affairs made the chief difference between them all the more influential in Mr. Hanna's life and behavior. While not a reformer, Mr. McKinley was more sensitive to the pressure and the value of a reforming public opinion; and he was more scrupulous in considering whether the end justified the means. He had no call to eradicate American political and economic abuses, but he did not want his own success to be qualified by practices which might look dubious to posterity. He succeeded in making Mr. Hanna realize the necessity and the value of these better standards, and by so doing stimulated in the latter a higher realism, which increased with age. Each of the two friends, consequently, owed much to the other, and each of them paid his debt. Their friendship was worthy of the respect and of the renown which it inspired in their contemporaries.
> CHAPTER XXIV
THE PANAMA CANAL
In view of the intimate association between the political careers of William McKinley and Mark Hanna, the former's death might have been expected to injure the political power and prestige of his friend. Nothing of the kind occurred. If anything the assassination of President McKinley strengthened the position of Mr. Hanna and made the sources of his power flow more abundantly. The interval of two years and some months between Mr. McKinley's assassination and Mr. Hanna's death constituted the culminating period of the latter's political career — the period in which his influence was most effective, his activities most varied and wholesome, his personal merits most widely understood and appreciated and his prospects most flattering.
The mere fact of Mr. McKinley's assassination reacted in Mr. Hanna's favor. There was a general feeling that the rancorous abuse of which the dead President had been the victim had at least indirectly contributed to the tragedy. The public knew that Mr. Hanna had been even more malignantly and systematically abused than had his friend, and they knew better than ever how little he had deserved it. His hold on popular confidence was increased by the grief and indignation caused by Mr. McKinley's assassination and by the belief that the martyred President's mantle had descended on his shoulders. The conservative public opinion of the country came more than ever to consider Mr. Hanna as its leader and representative, and to have faith that his leadership would be both politically and economically successful.
One of the clearest expressions of the change in public sentiment towards Mr. Hanna which had been gradually taking place, was given in an address made at a dinner which Mr. Hanna offered to the Gridiron Club of Washington in March, 2 B 369