ROOSEVELT, Theodore. Printed broadside signed ("Theodore Roosevelt") as President, Washington, D.C. 14 September 1901. Folio broadside (13¼ x 7 7/8 in.), headed at top "By the President of the United States of America." "A Proclamation," with black ink mourning border, very pale stain in upper left corner, otherwise in very fine condition. VERY RARE.
"THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN STRUCK DOWN": ROOSEVELT'S FIRST PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION
A very rare broadside proclamation, boldly signed by the new chief excecutive, constituting Roosevelt's very first Proclamation as President. It is addressed: "To the people of the United States: A terrible bereavement has befallen our people. The President of the United States has been struck down; a crime not only against the Chief Magistrate, but against every law-abiding and liberty-loving citizen. President McKinley crowned a life of largest love for his fellow men, of earnest endeavor for their welfare, by a death of Christian fortitude; and both the way in which he lived his life and the way in which, in the supreme hour of trial, he met his death will remain forever a precious heritage to our people. It is meet that we as a nation express our abiding love and reverence for his life, our deep sorrow for his untimely death. Now, therefore, I, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, President of the United States of America, do appoint Thursday next, September 19, the day in which the body of the dead President will be laid in its last earthly resting place, as a day of mourning and prayer throughout the United States..."
Here, only five days after taking the oath of office, Roosevelt appoints a day of mourning and prayer to commemorate the death of William McKinley. While visiting the Music Pavilion of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, McKinley was fatally shot by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist who claimed that "I don't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none." McKinley's condition initially seemed stable, and Roosevelt, believing that McKinley was recovering, joined his family for a vacation in the Adirondacks. On September 13th, while lunching on the edge of Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds, the source of the Hudson River on the side of Mount Marcy, Roosevelt received the news that McKinley was dying. By the time Roosevelt could return to Buffalo to be at McKinley's side, the President had died and Roosevelt was sworn in on 14 September by U.S. District Court Judge John R. Hazel. At 42, Roosevelt became the youngest man to hold the office of president. Published in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, ed. J.D. Richardson, 10:460.