The Dignity of the Proceedings-The Testimony Taken Under Oath of Great Interest - The Trial Brought Out the Wretched Weakness of the Miscreant Murderer - He Played His Ghastly Part in a Cringing Way, and Made a Most Miserable Show of Himself - His Cowardly Collapse When He Arrived at the Prison and Found the Way He Stood With the People - Scenes of his Trial and Sentence
The first lesson one has to learn who gets into the hideous clutches of the Blood Societies, and are taught that the ballot by which a free country must be governed, or chaos comes, is "no good", and the murder of the foremost men in governments is the true way to reform abuses and raze out the wrongs of society-the first lesson is, that there must be denial of accomplices, and that the faith of a hero is pledged and proven to stick to it that there was no guilty knowledge of the purpose of assassination. In the case of the assassin of Mckinley, the miserable wretch who handled the pistol was well instructed in the primary lie underlying his crime. It is fortunate that this creature was preserved to exhibit how fearful a thing it is to be an anarchical assassin; how feeble his wits; how base his cowardice. The scene on his arrival at Auburn, where the peculiar machinery with which the State of New York metes out punishment is located, is an object lesson that may serve a good purpose until the public opinion now formed appears in law. Up to the time of his arrival at Auburn, where his house of death awaited him, he had not been brought to a realizing sense of the way the people feel toward him. He has been guarded as if he was presumed to be a precious trust of a public character, and he has known about enough to be sure there were dens in which he would be held in high esteem. The bitterness of his soul was centered on the refusal to allow him tobacco. It need not be forgotten that the mortally-wounded President wanted a mild cigar, but it was opposed to the physician's policy, and the murderer was also refused cigars, and, strange to say, there have been no cries around the country yet about this cruel treatment of the young man, moved by the teaching to be pleased that he had succeeded in murdering the President. When he arrived at Auburn he came into closer contact with the people than at any time since he committed the crime for which he was duly tried, found guilty and sentenced, and the result was when taken to the prison at 3:10 a.m., September 27th, he was dragged from the train which brought him from Buffalo through a crowd of three hundred persons surrounding the prison gate, and fell howling on the floor of the prison.
During his progress from the train to the prison gate, between two deputies to whom he was handcuffed he was mauled by the crowd. One burly fist reached his head and brought instant collapse. His guards had to drag him up the stairs to the prison office. Here he tumbled to his knees in abject terror, frothing at the mouth and uttering the most terrifying cries.
He stumbled to a cane seat and lay there moaning in terror, while the crowd hung on to the iron gates and yelled: "Give him to us! Let us in at the murderer!"
So unexpected was the onslaught of the crowd that the police and deputies had scarcely time to draw their revolvers and clubs. The advance guard made a dash for the crowd. A dozen prison-keepers threw ajar the gates. Then came a short, sharp conflict.
Jailer Mitchell and the guard, Bernhardt, pushed the assassin through the great gates, but not before a dozen fists had landed on them and their prisoner. The officers hustled him over fifty feet of space to the steps leading to the prison office. His legs went back on him on the steps. The top was reached, with Mitchell and Bernhardt dragging him, limp and shrieking into the office. His cries were terrible-a series of prolonged, agonized howls-"Oh, oh!"
By the time he was thrown on the settee he was drooling at the mouth and every muscle of his body was shaking in the palsy of fear.
But scant ceremony was accorded him. The handcuffs were taken off. He was dragged through the heavy oaken, iron-barred door to the warden's office. As a matter of fact, he was carried, with his feet dangling behind him on the ground. Four husky keepers held his shoulders and arms.
They dumped him into a chair, a limp, disheveled figure, his cries echoing down the long corriders and arousing all the other convicts. He was in a state of absolute collapse, and when left alone rolled over to the floor, where he lay stretched at full length,his eyes rolling in a frenzy and his frothing lips twitching convulsively.
Two keepers seized him and commanded him to stand up. His knees shook and he fell to the floor.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" he shrieked again as the howls from the crowd with out came through the windows.
"Shut up! You're faking! said Dr. Gern, the prison physician. The assassin obeyed the command except that he moaned dismally in a quieter tone and continued to writhe in agony. Two keepers stripped him of his clothing and placed on him a prison suit of clothing. He was not then bathed, nor was his pedigree taken. These formalities were complied with later on.
Five keepers picked him up and dragged him from the office to the condemned cell, from which he will never emerge again except to go to his death. Dr.Gern went with him. He made an examination of the assassin. When he came out of the condemned man's cell he said; "It was just pure fright. He is a miserable coward and collapsed when he saw the crowd and the prison. Now that he is safe in his cell I guess he will brace up. He was partially recovered from his fright."
Much secrecy was observed in the preparations at Buffalo for the assassin's removal to Auburn prison. Sheriff Caldwell, with sixteen picked men, left police headquarters shortly before 10 o'clock the morning before the removal, closely guarding Czolgosz. A special car had been attached to the rear of the second section of the 9:30 New York Central train, and to this the assassin was quickly taken.
Over the door of the prison was a portrait of Mckinley heavily draped in black.
Signs of mourning marked the building, grim reminders of the fact that it was in reality the "house of death"-for Leon Czolgosz.
The trial of Czolgosz began at 10 a.m. Monday, September 23rd, at Buffalo, in Part 3 of the Supreme Court, Criminal Section, with Justice Truman C. White on the bench. Czolgosz was arraigned, pleaded guilty and a counter plea was ordered by the Court. A jury was secured at 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon. Assistant District Attorney Haller presented the case to the jurors, and at 2:45 the first witness for the people was put on the stand. (It will be observed there was no idiotic, driveling delay about this.)
The assassin seemed greatly changed from what he was when he appeared for his formal arraignment. Then he acted as if dazed.
When admonished by the court crier to rise and look at the jurors when they were sworn in, he rose, but seemed to have no desire to see what manner of men were to sit in judgment upon him. He came out of his lethargy as soon as the first witness, Samuel J. Fields, chief engineer of the Pan-American Exposition, began to testify.
During the afternoon signs of nervousness appeared. Perspiration gathered in drops on his cheeks and forehead and he would remove it with a soiled handkerchief, crushed in the palm of his hand.
This is the jury as completed at 2:45 on the first day of the trial:
Frederick V. Lauer, plumber.
Richard J. Garwood, street railway foreman.
Henry W. Wendt, manufacturer.
Silas Carmer, farmer.
James S. Stygall, plumber.
William Loton, farmer.
Walter E. Everett, blacksmith.
Benjamin J. Ralph, bank cashier.
Samuel P. Waldo, farmer.
Andrew J. Smith, produce dealer.
Joachim H. Mertens, shoe dealer.
Robert J. Adams, contractor.
The remarkable thing about the jury is that every man on it admits that he had formed an opinion regarding the guilt or innocence of the accused, and it goes without saying that the opinion is "Guilty."
The Assistant District Attorney made it a simple statement of the facts. He outlined the crime of which Czolgosz stood accused and indicated the purpose of the prosecutor to show that Czolgosz's deed was deliberate and premeditated. Nothing was said to indicate any attempt to prove a conspiracy implicating Emma Goldman or other anarchists.
While the Assistant District Attorney was speaking the court officials were busy nailing upon a blackboard a large map of the Temple of Music, in which the crime occurred.
Samuel J. Fields, a civil engineer, chief engineer of the Pan-American Exposition, was the first witness. He visited the Temple of Music on the day of the crime to take measurements of the positions of articles at the time the tragedy took place.
Percy A. Bliss testified that on the day following the crime he photo graphed the interior of the Temple of Music at the District Attorney's request. The photographs, which were very large ones, were passed to the defendant's counsel. The latter made no objection to the admission of these as evidence and they were then passed to the jurors.
Dr. Harvey R. Gaylord, of Buffalo, who was next called, testified that he performed the autopsy on the body of President Mckinley. He described the location of the wounds. Back of the stomach, he said, was a "track into which I could insert the tip of my fingers. It was filled with a dark fluid matter." The search for the bullet was not continued after the cause of death was ascertained. The pancreas was seriously involved. The cause of death was a gunshot wound. The other organs of the body, not affected by the wounds, were in a normal condition.
Dr. Herman Mynter was the next witness. District Attorney Penney questioned him closely regarding the operation performed on President Mckinley at the Exposition Hospital. The abdomen was opened. The stomach was turned over and a bullethole was found in the back of the organ. They could not follow the further course of the bullet, and as the President's temperature was rising, it was agreed by the physicians present that no further search for it was advisable at that time. The stomach was replaced and the opening closed with sutures.
Dr. Mynter then described the period of favorable symptoms shown by the patient, his relapse and his death. He epitomized the results of the autopsy as proving three things:
First-There was no inflammation of the bowels.
Second-There was no injury to the heart.
Third-There was a gunshot wound in the stomach, and there was a gangrenous spot back of the stomach as large as a silver dollar.
Mr. Penney-What was the cause of death?
A. The cause was blood poisoning from the absorption of poisonous matter caused by the gangrene. Primarily it was the gunshot wound.
Dr.Matthew D. Mann, another of the physicians who attended President Mckinley, went overt the ground covered by Dr. Mynter and described the operation performed at the Exposition Hospital.
"To find the track of the bullet back of the stomach," Dr. Mann explained, "it would have been necessary to lay open the abdominal cavity. the performance of that operation would probably have resulted fatally, as the President had already grown weak as a result of the first operation."
Dr.Matthew D. Mann was then called for cross-examination.
"Was the condition which you found at the autopsy to be expected from the nature of the wounds which the President received?" asked Mr.Lewis
"It was not expected and very unusual. I never saw anything just exactly like it," replied Dr.Mann
"To what,then, do you attribute the symptoms or indications which you discovered, the gangerous condition of the wound?"
"It is very difficult to explain it. It may be due to one of several things. I think it would be necessary for further examinations to be made before any definite explanations could be made. That would be the duty of the pathologists."
"The President was not in very good physical condition, was he?" asked the attorney
"He was somewhat weakened by hard work and want of air and conditions of that kind," replied the doctor.
"You think that had something to do with the result?"
"Undoubtedly," was the answer.
On direct examination by Mr. Penney, Dr. Mann was asked if there was anything known to medical science that could have saved the President's life.
"No," was the reply, without hesitation.
Louis L. Babcock, who was in charge of the ceremonies in the Temple of Music on the day of the shooting, followed Dr.Mann. He gave details of the arrangements made for the reception, and described the position of the President and the points of entrance and exit from the Temple of Music and told where he stood when the fatal shots were fired.
"I heard two shots. I immediately turned to the left. I saw the President standing still, and he was deathly pale. In front of him was a group of men, bearing the prisoner to the floor."
Edward R. Rice, chairman of the Committee of Ceremonies in the Temple of Music, was next called.
"Where were you at the time of the shooting?" asked District Attorney Penney.
Mr.Rice indicated the spot on the ground floor plan of the temple, near where the President stood.
"Tell us what you saw?" said District Attorney Penney.
As chairman of the committee he stood close to the President. It was just time to stop the reception, and at that instant he "noticed" something white pushed over to the President" and two shots rang out. The white object fell to the floor with the man who had it.
On reaching police headquarters the night of the shooting Mr. Quackenbush, the next witness, said he accompanied District Attorney Penney to the office of Superintendent of Police Bull.
"Tell us what transpired there," said the district attorney.
"Mr.Penney and the assistant district attorney had some conversations, and then the prisoner,in reply to questions, stated that he had killed the President because he believed it to be his duty. He understood the position in which he had placed himself, and was willing to take his chances. Czolgosz said he had gone to the Falls on the previous day with the intention of shooting the President, but was unable to carry out his intention. He came to Buffalo, and got in line with the people at the Temple of Music. The defendant told us how he concealed his weapon; how he kept his hand concealed in his pocket while waiting to reach the President's side. When he reached a point in front of the President he fired. If he had not been stopped, he said, he would have fired more shots."
"Did he say anything about planning to kill the President on any other occasion?" asked District Attorney Penney.
"He said he had been watching the President for three or four days for a favorable opportunity of shooting."
"Did he give any reason for wishing to kill the President?"
"Yes, he said that he did not believe in the present form of government or in any of the institutions of it."
Continuing, Mr.Quackenbush said:
"He (Czolgosz) said he had for several years studied the doctrine of anarchy. He believed in no government, no marriage regulations, and said he attended church for some time, but they talked nonsense and he would not continue there."
"He said he did not believe in the church or state," asked Mr. Penney.
"Yes; he said he believed in free love. He gave the names of several papers he had read-four of them-and mentioned one as Free Society."
"He seemed to be cool and not excited or disturbed?"
"He seemed to be disturbed, but not mentally," was the reply. "He seemed to be suffering some pain, and constantly applied a handkerchief to the side of his face where he was struck, and complained that his eyes hurt him. He had no visible marks on his face."
"What became of the pistol? Do you know?"
"I have it here," interposed the district attorney, as he showed a pasteboard box, but it was not offered as evidence.
"The last time I saw it was at the time of the struggle."
"Did the defendant at this time appear excited?"
"Not at all"
"Was he upbraided by anybody there?"
"Not by anybody."
"Who asked the questions of him?"
"I did myself, and all the other officers. He told us about his place of birth, his bringing up Alpena, and his movements from the time he got to Cleveland and went to work at the wire mill, his father's farm, etc. It was all told in a conversational way."
"Did he hesitate about answering questions at all?"
"He did at first. He answered with deliberation, but never refused to answer a question. He seemed to take a lively interest in what was going on. I asked him to make a brief statement for publication, and he wrote out the following:
"I killed President Mckinley because I done my duty. I don't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none.' This statement he signed. Afterward he made a statement of two hours' duration. At times he volunteered information and went beyond a responsive answer."
Francis P. O'Brien, a private in the Seventy-third United States Coast Artillery, was next called. He had been detailed to guard the President at the Temple of Music, and was standing at the right of the President when the shooting occurred. His story follows:
"When I heard the report I was looking at the President and saw the man. I jumped at this defendant. I saw the smoke coming from his hand. I knocked him over against some one, I don't know whom. I got the revolver and gave it to my commanding officer, Captain Wisser."
"Did you mark it?" asked Mr.Penney.
"I put my initials on it."
Harry F. Henshaw, superintendent of the Temple of Music, was the next witness. He said when the shooting occurred he was just on the right of the President. Mr.Penney questioned him.
"As you stood there were you looking toward the people who approached the President?" he asked.
"I was, very carefully," was the reply, "and I noticed this defendant in the line approaching the President with his hand pressed against his abdomen and incased in something. Then I noticed as he drew near the President he extended his left hand. The President put forward his right hand. Like a flash the assassin pushed the President's right hand out of the way; then I heard two shots and saw the handkerchief smoking. The crowd gathered around the defendant so quickly that he was lost to my view in an instant. I was at the President's side when the President was taken away in the ambulance."
Just before Judge Lewis started his cross-examination he turned to speak to the prisoner, but Czolgosz would pay no attention to him.
Only a few questions were asked by Judge Lewis and Mr.Henshaw was excused.
At the beginning of the afternoon session Judge Lewis held a brief whispered conference with Czolgosz. Mr. Lewis' words were not audible to any but the prisoner, who shook his head emphatically in reply to some question put to him. Judge Lewis spoke again, and again Czolgosz shook his head negatively.
Superintendent of Police Bull of the Buffalo police department was called.
"Where you present at headquarters when the prisoner was brought there on the night of the assassination?" "Yes, sir."
"Tell us what Czolgosz said."
"He said he knew President Mckinley. He knew that he was shooting President Mckinley when he fired. The reason he gave was that he believed that he was doing his duty. He said that on the day President Mckinley spoke at the Exposition grounds, the day previous to the assassination, he stood near the stand, on the esplanade. No favorable opportunity presented itself. He followed the President to Niagra Falls and back to Buffalo again. He got in line while the reception was in progress, and when he reached the President, fired the fatal shots. Czolgosz told me in detail the plans he alone had worked out, so that there would be no slip in his arrangements. I asked him why he had killed the President, and he replied that he did so because it was his duty."
"Did he say he was an anarchist?"
"Did he say any more on that subject?" asked the district attorney.
"Yes. He said that he had made a study of the beliefs of anarchists, and he was a firm believer in the principles. The prisoner also stated that he had received much information on the subject in the city of Cleveland. He said that he knew a man in Chicago named Isaak. The Free Society was the name of an organ mentioned by the prisoner."
"Did he ever say anything about his motives in committing the murder?" asked the district attorney.
"Yes," was the reply. "He said that he went to the Exposition grounds for the express purpose of murdering President Mckinley. He knew he was aiming at President Mckinley when the fatal shots were fired. Czolgosz said that all Kings, Emperors and the Presidents should die."
Clerk Martin Fisher administered the oath to the prisoner in order that his record might be taken. Czolgosz placed his hand upon the Bible and nodded his head in assent when the words of the oath were finished. He did not speak the usual words, "I do."
"Speak out loud so the court can hear," said Crier Hess.
"What is your name?" began Mr.Penney.
"Leon Czolgosz," came a weak response, scarcely audible to the Judge.
"What is your age"
"Twenty-eight," after some hesitation.
"Where were you born?"
"Where did you last reside?"
"In Buffalo," whispered Czolgosz. His voice seemed husky and his mouth dry. He made little effort to speak loudly and moved about nervously while the questions were being asked.
"Where did you live in Buffalo?"
"Where on Broadway?" insisted Mr.Penney. No answer.
"Yes," after a pause.
"What is your occupation? Do you understand the question?"
Czolgosz shook his head. He seemed to hear poorly and not to understand all that was said to him. Mr.Penney repeated his question distinctly and in a loud voice. Then speaking as if half-stupefied, Czolgosz said:
"Yes, sir; I was a laborer."
"Are you married or single?"
"Have you attended school?"
"What schools have you attended?"
"The common schools"
"Did you not attend a church school?"
He hesitated, then replied with his polite "Yes, sir."
"Was it a Catholic school?"
"Yes, sir," again
"What was your religious instruction?" pursued Mr.Penney in the kindly tone of voice he used in questioning the prisoner. "Did you belong to the Catholic church? Were you a Catholic?"
"Yes, sir, I did," came the reply, after the usual pause.
"Now, are your parents living or dead?"
"No, sir," was the answer.
"You don't understand me quite," said Mr.Penney. "Is your father living?"
"Is your mother living?"
"Have you been temperate or intemperate in use of intoxicating liquors?"
No reply came.
"You don't understand me?" queried the district attorney.
"No, sir; I don't."
"Do you drink much?"
"Do you ever get drunk?"
Again there was a pause.
"Do you drink very much?" persisted the attorney.
"Pass on to something else," commanded the Judge.
"Were you ever formally convicted of crime?" asked the attorney, the final question.
The clerk of the court then asked: "Have you any legal cause to show now why the sentence of the court should not now be pronounced against you?"
"I cannot hear that," replied the prisoner.
Clerk Fisher repeated his question, and Czolgosz replied: "I'd rather have this gentleman here speak," looking toward District Attorney Penney. "I can hear him better." At this point Justice White told those in the courtroom that they must be quiet or they would be excluded from the room. Mr.Penney then said to the prisoner:
"Czolgosz, the court wants to know if you have any reason to give why sentence should not be pronounced against you. Have you anything to say to the Judge? Say yes or no."
The prisoner did not reply, and Justice White, addressing the prisoner, said:
"In that behalf, what you have a right to say relates explicitly to the subject in hand here at this time and which the law provides, why sentence should not be now pronounced against you, and is defined by the statute. The first is that you may claim you are insane. The next is that you have good cause to offer either in arrest of the judgment about to be pronounced against you or for a new trial. Those are the grounds specified by the statute in which you have a right to speak at this time, and you are at perfect liberty to do so if you wish."
"I have nothing to say about that," the prisoner replied.
The court then said, "Are you ready?" addressing the district attorney, and Mr.Penney replied "Yes."
"Have you anything to say?" again asked Justice White of the assassin.
"Yes," replied Czolgosz.
"I think he should be permitted to make a statement in exculpation of his act, if the court please," said Judge Titus.
That will depend on what his statement is," the court replied. "Have you (speaking to Judge Titus) anything to say in behalf of the prisoner at this time?"
"I have nothing to say within the definition of what your honor has read," replied the attorney, "but it seems to me in order that the innocent should not suffer by this defendant's crime the court should permit him to exculpate at least his father, brother, and sisters."
From the court; "Certainly, if that is the object of any statement he wishes to make. Proceed."
To this the prisoner said: "There was no one else but me. No one else told me to do it. and no one paid me to do it." Judge Titus repeated it as follows owing to the prisoner's feeble voice: "He says no one had anything to do with the commission of the crime but himself; that his father and mother and no one else had anything to do with and knew nothing about it."
The Court--"Anything further, Czolgosz?"
The Defendant--"No, sir."
The Court--"Czolgosz, in taking the life of our beloved President you committed a crime which shocked and outraged the moral sense of the civilized world. You have confessed that guilt, and after learning all that at this time can be learned from the facts and circumstances of the case, twelve good jurors have pronounced you guilty and have found you guilty of murder in the first degree.
"You have said, according to the testimony of credible witnesses and yourself, that no other person aided or abetted you in the commission of this terrible act. God grant it may be so.
"The penalty for the crime for which you stand is fixed by this statute, and it now becomes my duty to pronounce this judgment against you. The sentence of the court is that in the week beginning October 28,1901, at the place, in the manner and means prescribed by law, you suffer the punishment of death. Remove the prisoner."
Much comment was excited by the fact that the usual phrasing "and may god have mercy upon your soul" was not used by the judge after he had pronounced the fatal word "death." He stopped in the middle of the usual formula, leaving the sentence as harsh in its form as it could be made.
Czolgosz had stood erect while sentence was being pronounced. He did not tremble. Not a muscle quivered. His cheeks, however, were pale and his eyes dilated and very bright.
The death warrant, signed by Justice White, is addressed to the agent and warden of Auburn State Prison, and directs him to execute the sentence of the court within the walls of the prison on some day during the week beginning October 28th next, by causing "to pass through the body of said Leon F. Czolgosz a current of electricity of sufficient intensity to cause death, and that the application of the said current of electricity be continued until he, the said Leon F. Czolgosz, be dead."
On the way to Auburn the convicted man was talkative.
It was while on the way to Auburn, under the soothing influence of a cigar and while surrounded by a chatty company of officers and correspondents, that Czolgosz threw off his reserve and talked of his crime.
"I am sorry I done it," the malefactor finally blurted out in the course of his chat. "I wouldn't do it again and I would not have done it if I had known what I was doing."
The prisoner did not seem to realize the additional feelings of revulsion he had provoked in the breasts of his listeners. He was absorbed in his cigar and his own thoughts. Presently he rambled ahead:
"It is awful to feel you killed somebody. I wish I had not done it. I would like to live, but I can't now. I made my mistake. I was all stirred up and felt I had to kill him. I never thought of doing it until a couple of days before. I did not tie the handkerchief on my hand. I only dropped it over the gun. I did not think it looked like a sore hand, but did not suppose I would be stopped, because the gun did not show. I did not try to kill him at Niagra Falls. I did not tell nobody and nobody set me on. I did it all myself."
The prisoner lapsed into quiet but replied to questions.
"Did you know Count Malatesta or Madame Brusigloli or Bresci or any other foreign anarchists?"
"No, I heard of them, but I never met them. I knew a lot of them in Cleveland but nowhere else. I did not know any one from Paterson.
"I knew Emma Goldman and some others in Chicago. I heard Emma Goldman speak in Cleveland. None of those people ever told me to kill anybody. Nobody told me that. I done it all myself."
"What do you think of your trial?"
"It was all surprising to me. It was more than I expected. I thought I would be sentenced right off. What I heard there was more than I had heard of before. I hated to hear about the wound and all that. I felt glad I killed him and then I felt sorry he did not live after I shot him."
"Had you thought of Mrs. Mckinley?"
"Why, only that she had not ought to be so privileged and get so much."
"Did you know the shock nearly killed her?"
The assassin looked up questionably, hesitatingly.
"I would be sorry if she died," was all he said.
Would you like to have a priest before you die, or a minister?"
This question was a poser for the anarchist. For years he had affected to despise the Christian religion. Now he needed comfort. A shade of reminiscent expression passed over his countenance. It seemed to those studying his countenance that he was thinking of childhood days when the innocent untainted faith he sought and obtained comfort from the father confessor.
Finally he broke the spell. "Maybe a priest," he faltered. That was all.
The moment seemed to represent a crisis in the inner life of the assassin. His questioners respected his silence.
There will be no subject of greater interest in this country than the true intention of those who are generalized as anarchists, and charged with the direct responsibility of the assassination of President Mckinley. It is necessary to clear away from the calm consideration of the policy of the American people a certain obstructive confusion as to the significance of socialism. Socialists are not to be classed as anarchists, and there are professors of anarchy who do not mean murder.
The assassination of the President has put in motion forces of popular sentiment that must result in public policy. Many citizens call continuously for more laws, and assume that the prescription of more stringent law is the thing needful and sufficient.
That which is the remedy is probably revealed already in the public opinion that will be discriminating and in many ways punish the disorderly and dangerous malignants, separating them from the theorists whose revolutionary intentions are bubbles.
There is enough anarchy the logic of which is the massacre of the wisest and best of men, to make the task of extirpation difficult, without including those who are troubled with bad dreams.
We, the people of the United States, have the power to maintain order, to enforce law, to punish criminals, or we have lost the art of the ability of self government. We may regard ourselves as the example before the world, where the people really rule, and have, because it is broadly based, the most powerful government that exists.
Just now "we the people," and we mean the majority of electors, are carrying on an investigation the more formidable because it is not formal. We have had frightful lesson, and the martyrdom of the President must educate us to ascertain our responsibilities and do our duty.
There is power enough. We can pass the needful laws, but they must not be tinged with fanaticism, for so far as they offend our traditions they will be impracticable.
Public intelligence is shaping public opinion. Wether we are self governing depends upon the composure to construct, and the expertness to apply the power of opinion to the elements of disorder, and eliminate them.
It was the first outcry of those who have been denunciatory of our government, declaring that our "rulers," that is to say, the constituted authorities, are the enemies of the poor, forcing the notion that we are a people of classes, and that class should rise up against class. It was to be observed and regarded that they said the murderer of Mckinley was not an anarchist, but a madman. Still he had sympathizers, and there are some unsolved mysteries.
Reasons are noticeable to support the suggestion that we have not found out all about Czolgosz the assassin. He was examined by scientists and found not to be insane, but he has shown surprising weakness. he has not shown a symptom of moral sense. The testimony taken on his trial is curiously instructive but not conclusive. Was he morbid with malignancy and the folly of a fool--or was he an artist? Did he have no accomplices? Was he simply a wild convert of a woman whose occupation has been the utterance of harangues? Was it with his own mind and money that he made journeys, ascertained the location of the President and what his movements were to be? His knowledge of the President's time-table was minute. Did he in a lonesome way pick these things up on his own account, and with absolute secrecy?
His conversation when in the hands of the officers gives some countenance to the statement of the "advanced" radicals who met him that they thought such was his excess in dangerous talk that he was a spy.
In the court there was stupidity in his face and incoherency in his words. He stuck to the one assertion that he alone planned and performed "this crime", as he called it. So obstinate was this persistency that it made the impression of a lesson taught by a stronger person who fancied he might be used as a tool to commit a murder that would be famous.
He seemed to enjoy the ride from Buffalo to Auburn. He talked to the police and the reporters, was almost elated when given a cigar to smoke, and was free in his conversation. he asserted that he had not made up his mind to kill the President more than a day or two. It was a ghastly whim that came to him because the "ballot was no good." That was a sort of pivot around which his mind whirled. It seemed to him that he ought to be sorry for the harm he had inflicted upon Mrs. Mckinley, and said, as if he was conscious of making a good point, that he would be willing to die for the widow of his victim. Clearly during the ride he rather desired the companionship of the man to whom he was united by handcuffs.
To such an ignominious end as this comes the slayer of our beloved President. May the time soon come when the people of our great republic will take a warning from such terrible calamities as have befallen Lincoln, Garfield and Mckinley, and take such action as will in future preserve the lives of the great men of our country.