The Assassin and the Anarchists [excerpt]
IT is unfortunate that the name of an assassin must
be linked with that of his victim, and in that way perpetuated;
yet we are sure that whenever mentioned it will be only with reprobation
for his conduct and to hold up his name to execration. Such were
the names of the assassins of Lincoln and Garfield, and the story
of this awful tragedy by which William McKinley was so suddenly
taken off brings into prominence another name which will likewise
Czolgosz, the name of the man who
shot President McKinley, offers a lingual problem to nine-tenths
of those who attempt to pronounce it. It is one of those names which
the English alphabet cannot spell phonetically, and which the average
English-speaking person stumbles over in trying to express after
hearing it spoken by a Russian. Written according to its sound,
the name of Czolgosz, or its nearest equivalent, is “Tchollgosch,”
or, more broadly speaking, “Schollgosch.”
The former pronunciation is given
by one who is familiar with the varied dialects in Polish Russia,
from whence the parents of Leon Czolgosz came to this country.
“Cz” is represented in the Russian
alphabet by a character which is pronounced much the same as though
one were suppressing a sneeze—“tch.” The next two letters—“ol”—are
pronounced in combination as though written “oll,” and the remaining
letters of the name—“gosz”—maybe given the sound of “gosch.”
Leon Czolgosz, the self-avowed disciple
of Emma Goldman and the other radical anarchist leaders, who shot
President McKinley, insisted from the very first moment he was taken
into custody,  that he alone
was responsible for his crime. He stated that he had talked the
matter over in advance in a general way with his friends, but that
he was not advised by them, and that there was no plot or conspiracy
to take the life of the President in which any one else took a part.
He declined to furnish the names of the men with whom he discussed
Czolgosz was subjected to six hours
of examination and questioning at the hands of the police officials.
This lengthy examination proved to be fruitless, save in so far
as his own individual fate was concerned, for while he told nothing
that would implicate any one else in his crime, he went over the
scene at the Temple of Music, when he shot the President, again
and again, completing a confession as ample as the law ever exacted.
He even went to the extent of illustrating to the officers the manner
in which he shot the President, and told with manifest pride how
he had deceived the President and his detective protectors with
the bandaged hand that held the revolver.
The following is a statement
that the assassin is reported as having made upon his examination
before the police of Buffalo:
“I was born in Detroit nearly twenty-nine
years ago. My parents were Russian Poles. They came here forty-two
years ago. I got my education in the public schools of Detroit,
and then went to Cleveland, where I got work. In Cleveland I read
books on socialism and met a great many socialists. I was pretty
well known as a socialist in the West. After being in Cleveland
several years, I went to Chicago, where I remained several months,
after which I went to Newburg, on the outskirts of Cleveland, and
went to work in the Newburg wire mills.
“During the last five years I have
had as friends anarchists in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and other
Western cities, and I suppose I became more or less bitter. Yes,
I know I was bitter. I never had much luck at anything, and this
preyed upon me. It made me morose and envious, but what started
the craze to kill  was a
lecture I heard some little time ago by Emma Goldman. She was in
Cleveland, and I and other anarchists went to hear her. She set
me on fire.
“Her doctrine that all rulers should
be exterminated was what set me to thinking, so that my head nearly
split with the pain. Miss Goldman’s words went right through me,
and when I left the lecture, I had made up my mind that I would
have to do something heroic for the cause I loved.
“Eight days ago, while I was in Chicago,
I read in a Chicago newspaper of President McKinley’s visit to the
Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. That day I bought a ticket for
Buffalo, and got there with a determination to do something, but
I did not know just what. I thought of shooting the President, but
I had not formed a plan.
“I went to live at No. 1078 Broadway,
which is a saloon and hotel. John Nowak, a Pole, a sort of politician,
who has led his people here for years, owns it. I told Nowak that
I came to see the fair. He knew nothing about what was setting me
crazy. I went to the Exposition grounds a couple of times a day.
“Not until Tuesday morning did the
resolution to shoot the President take a hold of me. It was in my
heart; there was no escape for me. I could not have conquered it
had my life been at stake. There were thousands of people in town
on Tuesday. I heard it was President’s Day. All those people seemed
bowing to the great ruler. I made up my mind to kill that ruler.
I bought a 32-calibre revolver and loaded it.
“On Tuesday night I went to the fair
grounds, and was near the railroad gate when the Presidential party
arrived. I tried to get near him, but the police forced me back.
I was close to the President when he got into the grounds, but was
afraid to attempt the assassination, because there were so many
men in the bodyguard that watched him. I was not afraid of them,
or that I would get hurt, but afraid I might be seized and that
my chance would be gone forever. 
“Well, he went away that time, and
I went home. On Wednesday I went to the grounds and stood right
near the President, right under him, near the stand from which he
“I thought half a dozen times of shooting
while he was speaking, but I could not get close enough. I was afraid
I might miss; and, then, the great crowd was always jostling, and
I was afraid lest my aim fail. I waited until Thursday, and the
President got into his carriage again, and a lot of men were about
him and formed a cordon that I could not get through. I was tossed
about by the crowd, and my spirits were getting pretty low. I was
almost hopeless that night as I went home.
“Yesterday morning I went again to
the Exposition grounds. Emma Goldman’s speech was still burning
me up. I waited near the central entrance for the President, who
was to board his special train from that gate, but the police allowed
nobody but the President’s party to pass out while the train waited.
So I stayed at the grounds all day waiting.
“During yesterday I first thought
of hiding my pistol under my handkerchief. I was afraid if I had
to draw it from my pocket I would be seized by the guards. I got
to the Temple of Music the first one, and waited at the spot where
the reception was to be held.
“Then he came—the President—the ruler—and
I got in line and trembled and trembled, until I got right up to
him, and then I shot him twice through my white handkerchief. I
would have fired more, but I was stunned by a blow in the face—a
frightful blow that knocked me down—and then everybody jumped on
me. I thought I would be killed, and was surprised at the way they
Immediately upon the arrest of the
assassin of President McKinley and the news that it was an attempt
of anarchists, active and strenuous measures were taken to ferret
out the conspiracy, if there were any, and to arrest the conspirators.
Immediately, in Chicago, Ill., Paterson, N. J., and other large
cities, the police  located
suspicious characters and those affiliated with anarchistic organizations.
In Chicago nine men were arrested and lodged in jail upon very strong
suspicion that they had criminal knowledge at least of the crime.
Emma Goldman, whom the assassin had named as the author of writings
and speeches by which he was inflamed, was also arrested and held
to answer to the charge of inciting to murder, but was later discharged
for lack of evidence.
From the closing of
the Haymarket case until the present day anarchists in Chicago remained
in a dormant state, although at times they asserted themselves.
Up to the time of the assassination of King Humbert of Italy the
anarchists all over the world had been working for the building
up of their organization. They had expended their efforts in making
converts, in educating leaders, and had given not a little attention
to training up children in the disbelief in law, order and religion.
Chicago was the  great meeting-place
of the anarchists, and supplied the literature that went out to
The assassination of King Humbert,
July, 1900, was the most fiendish act of the anarchists up to that
time after the Haymarket riot. Bresci, who committed the deed, was
from Paterson, N. J., yet he was not unknown to the anarchists in
Chicago, and it is suspected that funds were raised there to send
him to Italy to murder the ruler of that country.
The plot said to have been discovered
for the killing of the heads of five governments seems to have originated
in Chicago. Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley, was believed
to have been in Chicago only a short time before he committed the
deed. In jail in Chicago there were lodged nine anarchists accused
of being conspirators with him; and it was there that Emma Goldman
lectured and was afterward captured. Chicago is the city where The
Fire Brand, the official organ of the anarchists, is published.
From Chicago have emanated teachings that have fairly set the world
afire. It has been the scene of the greatest anarchistic demonstration
and wholesale murder in history. And when the police of the whole
country and the United States Secret Service were working to place
the guilt for the murder of President McKinley, Chicago again proved
to be a hotbed of anarchistic sentiment.