Czolgosz, the cacophonously-named
murderer of President McKinley, is still the subject of discussion
in the United States, the question having been raised whether he
was not insane rather than a criminal.
Expert testimony was excluded from
the trial, with the result that both the medical and lay mind is
in ignorance of the grounds and methods of inquiry on which the
opinion of Czolgosz’s responsibility was arrived at.
The examination lasted three weeks,
and was assisted by a very full statement of premeditation by the
assassin. How far reliable evidence of his past life was obtained
is not publicly known, but only strong evidence of previous insanity
and insane conduct could shake the conclusion arrived at. If such
evidence existed it should certainly have been produced before the
trial. Dr. Channing, of Boston, believes that he has evidence of
a distinct history of insanity in Czolgosz, and there will probably
be much future debate on this question.
That an insane person should have
been executed as a criminal would be regrettable, and also that
he should be ranked as an anarchist, for although anarchism is a
strong presumption of insanity, the converse is fortunately not