Publication information
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Source: Weekly Law Bulletin and the Ohio Law Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: none
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 23 September 1901
Volume number: 46
Issue number: none
Pagination: 134-37

[untitled]. Weekly Law Bulletin and the Ohio Law Journal 23 Sept. 1901 v46: pp. 134-37.
full text
Franklin County Bar Association; William McKinley (death: public response: Columbus, OH); Richard A. Harrison (public addresses); resolutions (Franklin County Bar Association); McKinley assassination (public response); William McKinley (personal character); presidential assassinations (comparison); assassinations (comparison); anarchism (public response); anarchism; anarchism (laws against); law; anarchism (legal penalties); presidential assassination (legal penalties); anarchism (government response); anarchism (dealing with); George K. Nash (public addresses); William McKinley (memorial addresses); William McKinley (personal history); McKinley presidency; William McKinley (presidential character).
Named persons
Michael Arnold; Henry J. Booth; Charles E. Burr; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Henry B. Carrington [identified once as Carrigan]; William Dennison, Jr.; Eli P. Evans; James A. Garfield; Richard A. Harrison; J. T. Holmes; Paul Jones; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; George K. Nash; Selwyn N. Owen; E. L. Taylor; David K. Watson.
Alternate journal title: Weekly Law Bulletin and Ohio Law Journal.



     The adjourned meeting of the Franklin County Bar to hear the memorial prepared by the committee appointed at the meeting of Monday last, was held at the court house in Columbus last Saturday forenoon.
     The Bar of this city attended in a body and a number of other most prominent citizens of Columbus were present. Among those present was General Carrington, who from 1848 to 1860 practiced at the Franklin county [sic] Bar, being associated with the late Gov. Dennison. He was appointed in 1860 by Gov. Dennison adjutant general of the state, and on the breaking out of the war in 1861 was appointed colonel in the regular army, and always remained in the service.
     The Memorial was read by the Hon. R. A. Harrison, and is as follows:

Twenty-fifth President of the United States.

     To the Bar Association of Franklin county [sic], Ohio:
     Your committee, appointed to draft resolutions on the death of President William McKinley, respectfully submit the following report:
     Resolved. That we deeply deplore the terrible crime resulting in the tragic death of William McKinley, which so suddenly plunged a nation into grief, deprived his country of an illustrious chief executive, and shocked the civilized world.
     Resolved. That we wish hereby to place on record our unqualified condemnation and execration of the dastardly blow directed at once against the person of the president, and against the government whose laws he administered with unswerving fidelity to duty, guided always by the sentiment, that: “The strongest and best government is the one which rests upon the reverent affection of its own people.”
     Resolved. That our profession sustained a distinct and permanent loss when William McKinley, then a young man, to quote from his own lips, “turned away from plans which had been formed for a life’s career,” surrendered his law practice, and entered the public service, for, by h[?] [?]lication, his success as an advocate, and [?] mastery of legal principles, he had already given promise of attaining distinction in his profession.
     Resolved. That his unfailing courtesy, his modesty, his uniform kindness, and the peculiar charm of his manner, during the four years he resided here while governor of the state, so endeared him to our citizens generally, including members of this bar, that we feel in his death a deep sense of personal loss.
     Resolved. That his bravery as a soldier, the purity of his private life, his manly and dignified discharge of every public duty, his loyalty to the highest ideals of patriotism, have justly won for him a place in the front rank of modern statesmen, the universal respect of mankind, and the admiration and affection of his fellow countrymen.
     Resolved. That, while joining in the universal expression of grief at the death of President McKinley, and extending to his widow to whom he was so tenderly devoted our warmest sympathy, we wish to record our abhorrence of those doctrines, so destructive in their tendencies to all government, which directly led to his assassination, and we demand that prompt and effective steps be taken, by those who make and administer the laws, to prevent the repetition of such offenses, for the following reasons:
     Three times in our Nation’s history the president, who by virtue of his office is commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, has been assassinated. Of these sad and lamentable chapters in American history, the third is the most alarming. It is the first time the chief executive of the Republic has been murdered by an anarchist, and for no other reason than that he was the official representative of the government of the United States. Mr. Lincoln was assassinated at the conclusion of a great civil war; General Garfield was assassinated at a time of intense party factional and personal feeling and a bitter and unrelenting feud; whereas William McKinley was assassinated at a time of profound peace and of general concord and an era of good feeling throughout the entire country, and solely because he was the chief magistrate of the government of the people, by the people, and for the people of the United States. The assassin and his associates seek to overthrow by violence all constituted institutions of society and of government, all law and order, and all rights of property, with no purpose of establishing any other system of law and order in the place of that destroyed. The propaganda of murder advocated by modern revolutionary anarchists is aimed against all government of whatever character and however liberal and free. The assassination of President Carnot, of the Republic of France, in the year of 1894, was the work of this party of anarchists. Every assassination and attempted assassination of official representatives of government merely because they stand for government, have [134][135] since then been their diabolical work. They have been very active, as their bloody work shows. Within seven years they have shot the president of the two greatest Republics in the world, besides killing the monarch, of a great power, the empress of another great power, the prime minister of still another European Kingdom, and have attempted to take the life of the heir to Britain’s throne. And now, having assassinated the president of the United States, they have slain five of the highest official representatives and administrators of the governments of the great nations of the world, for no other reason than that these five persons stood for government in whatever form.
     It thus appears clear that the anarchistic epoch of assassination is upon the civilized world, and that the United States is not free from the atrocities and terror and destruction which it carries in its train. Revolutionary anarchy evidently regards the free, liberal and beneficial institutions of the United States with as much hatred and malice as it does the harshest despotism in Europe. It is a wild, insensate thing, and by the fatal pistol shot of one of its advocates aimed at the great republic in the person of its chief executive, it has struck a cruel blow at the cause of personal liberty and human freedom in the very land where that cause is most deeply rooted in the minds and cherished in the affections of the people.
     Under these circumstances it is evident that the assassination of President McKinley, by an avowed revolutionary anarchist, demands the most anxious, thorough and profound consideration by the citizens of the United States and their representative bodies, of the question whether it is not high time to enter upon a stern, and, if possible, certain, repressive treatment of all such enemies of free institutions and of government in whatsoever form. These enemies seek to accomplish their diabolical purposes by the means of violence and terror, and in that way they strike at law and order by the murder of the official representatives and administrators of the law of the land. Hence, they indiscriminately and murderously assault the presidents of republics as well as kings and emporers [sic]; and, as was shown in the celebrated case tried in Chicago several years since, they murder the instruments of the laws’ enforcement, the police, chosen for the protection and security of the people from violence and crime. Their leaders place their hope in armed insurrection finally, and until that can be effected, they advocate resort to assassination and other violent means of war upon law and order. Every member of this anarchistic party is taught by its leaders that his first duty is to prepare the way of the revolution in its definite and violent form by spreading their revolutionary doctrines among the people. They proclaim that a total revolution of the existing fabric of society is their ultimate end. They all welcome with enthusiasm the assassination of official representatives of government, as they have celebrated and welcomed the assassination of the president of the United States.
     In this country, anarchists have heretofore attracted little attention or notice except when they have sought to propogate [sic] their diabolical ideas by illegal violence or murder. This want of greater attention to them, resulting, as it has, from the delusion that these public enemies are merely baneful exotics, introduced from foreign countries, that have not taken and cannot take root on American soil, accounts for the fact that proper and needed precautions have not been taken against them. If such precautions had been taken the world would not now be mourning the assassination of our beloved president. These enemies of all law have been allowed license of speech, liberty of organization and privilege of public parade. They have had an unrestrained field for their murderous propaganda. The ports of the country have been open to this society of European destructives, under our ancient custom of asylum to political offenders. In this year, in New Jersey, societies have been [?] to celebrate the assassin of the king of Italy as a martyr, [making?] him the hero of a play in which were reproduced the circumstances of the murder. Should not such organizations be suppressed as criminal conspiracies? Is not the organization of associations to accomplish the avowed purposes of revolutionary anarchists, the most fiendish criminal treachery to the government they seek to destroy? It is a fundamental principle, laid down by all publicists as a self evident maxim, that the first duty of a government is to defend and maintain its own existence. Society can not exist without laws and officers to enforce them. It follows that all legitimate means and instrumentalities should be used to suppress anarchism and to put an end to the crimes of anarchists and to suppress them. Active and strong public opinion against these public enemies can do and accomplish much towards their effectual suppression. But the enactment of wholesome laws and their execution with a firm hand can aid in carrying out the determination of the people, not only to prevent the growth of anarchism, but to finally exterminate it, at least in this land of liberty and law. While all men desire liberty, none but the strongest can realize that desire but for the restraining hand of law. Governments are instituted partly because some men will injure their fellows, and the common desire for liberty can not be gratified without the common safe guard [sic] of law. And every American should ever bear in mind that liberty and law are not only intimately connected, but that liberty is the creature of law essentially different from that authorized licentiousness that trespasses upon the rights of others. Law is the offspring of high civiliza- [135][136] tion. It is an idea which the savage never can understand. And liberty, be it remembered, exists in proportion to the wholesome restraint of law. Anarchy would result in and be succeeded by absolute despotism. The doctrine that the universe is governed by law, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power, is no mere abstract speculation which men may hold or reject, and be none the better or worse for holding or rejecting it. No; it is a doctrine fraught with the most momentous consequences in all the relations of human life. Law is not something arbitrary; it is a function of reason, and a great part of civilization. If they could do so, revolutionary anarchists would dethrone the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and enthrone anarchy in his stead.
     Statutes should be enacted suppressing the promulgation and advocacy by revolutionary anarchists of their teachings. Meetings and parades by them should be prohibited. Membership in any of their associations or organizations should be punished. From accounts of the transactions at many of the anarchistic meetings some of their transactions constitute breaches of the peace. Inciting others to commit crime is a breach of the peace and makes participants amenable to the penalties of an unlawful assembly. The penalties now provided are insufficient for breaches of the peace committed by anarchists. Some years ago an experiment was tried in the city of Philadelphia of breaking up gangs of anarchists by sending them to jail for the brief period that the law in force allowed. Half a dozen of them were placed on trial before Judge Michael Arnold, and were convicted of the offense of “conspiring to destroy government, abolish courts of justice, and subvert the well-being of society.” But the extreme penalty that could be imposed upon the culprits was six months imprisonment and that simply sufficed to confirm them in their antagonism to established authority without deterring them from indulging in further conspiracies for its overthrow. This fact shows that existing legislation is inadequate, and that such crimes as these culprits were convicted of, should be made a felony, rather than a mere misdemeanor. Such anarchists renounce all the obligations of citizenship. Now, no man can be in a community and out of it at one and the same time. No man should enjoy the rights of citizenship which he has deliberately renounced. Have not the people the right to enact that any man who publicly and expressly advocates a violent attack upon our whole civil and political institutions, by murdering their lawfully chosen representatives, or otherwise, thereby forfeits the privileges and protection of the government he would destroy? In some instances the moral turpitude of the instigator is greater than that of him by whose hand the murderous assault is made. Every man who lives under the government of the United States must be taught and made to understand that his rights and privileges are absolutely dependent on its preservation.
     A murderous assault upon the president of of [sic] the United States and the instigation of such an assault, should be made felonies punishable by the highest penalty known to the law. In view of the exceptional nature and the gravity and enormity of these crimes, injuriously affecting many millions of people, such penalty would be neither cruel nor unusual, within the meaning of the constitution. While such punishment will not deter all men from committing these crimes, it may in some degree check their commission.
     So far as anarchists can be prevented from coming into the country, they should, of course, be excluded, and the laws should be amended so as to render their exclusion as certain as possible. A bill is now pending in Congress providing for the creation of a National Bureau of Criminal Identification in Washington, to operate as a clearing-house for all police information that may be communicated to it by those charged with the enforcement of the criminal laws in foreign countries, in our own counties, towns and cities. This bureau is to collect criminal information and disseminate it. Information concerning anarchists throughout the country would thus be exchanged by chiefs of police and other officials who would thus be kept informed of their movements. This bill is endorsed by the attorney general and the chiefs of police associations of the United States and Canada. Its passage would bring about closer relations between the police authorities of this and foreign countries, and an exchange of all information touching anarchists and other criminals.
     The suggestion that all anarchists now residing in this country be expelled therefrom presents a complicated problem, which would require the study of the laws of foreign countries and the solution of novel, difficult and very important constitutional questions.
     Legislation against anarchists should be so deliberately enacted and be so plain that it will place no restrictions upon the liberties of law-abiding and law-respecting citizens. But the plea of free speech and of a free press should no longer be used as a shield to protect what is really nothing but a most dangerous and heinous conspiracy and organization to destroy the government of the United States and of all other nations, and to wreck society itself.

Respectfully submitted,     

     (Signed.) R. A. Harrison, Geo. K. Nash, H. J. Booth, J. T. Holmes, Selwyn N. Owen, E. L. Taylor, Chas. E. Burr, D. K. Watson, E. P. Evans, Paul Jones.


     After the reading of the Memorial which was adopted unanimously by a rising vote and after some remarks by Gen. Carrigan, Governor [136][137] Nash arose and addressed the association as follows:
     “Mr. President and Gentlemen: It is a privilege which I esteem most highly to be permitted to join with my fellow members of the bar of Franklin county [sic] in doing honor to the greatest and most patriotic president the United States ever had.
     “It is proper that we should do so because the bar of Ohio furnished this man to our country. We all mourn his loss most deeply. We miss him as a friend; we miss him as a president and the state and nation have done all the honor they could in laying the remains away to rest in his beloved city of Canton.
     “We ought to be thankful that he has left behind him a noble life, which will forever be remembered by the American people. It will be a lesson to all generations to come of the patriotism of a noble man. The whole life of William McKinley was devoted to the service of his country. When as a private soldier he trudged over the national pike from Columbus to Camp Chase carrying his musket upon his shoulder, he began to teach us that lesson of patriotism. Every act of his during the days of war front 1861 to 1865 ought to inspire the young men of this country to devote themselves to the nation which he loved so well. When he returned home as other soldiers did, he prepared himself for the bar, was admitted and during that short period he showed himself as a man who would make an eminent lawyer.
     “But his love of country called his footsteps in another direction. He became a member of the congress of the United States. In that great body he was inspired by the same patriotism which moved him from 1861 to 1865; his every act, his every thought, all his work was for the benefit of the country which he loved so well. Then he became governor of our beloved sate. As such governor most of us here present knew him personally and learned to love him. We loved him because he was a faithful official; because he was upright and honest and because his every thought was for the benefit of the state which he governed.
     “The people of the United States learned to know William McKinley as we knew him and called him to be president of this great country of ours. He seems to have been called just at the right moment, as Lincoln was. He was called just as this country was engaged in war with the foreign power. The duties which were thrust upon him were irksome; they were exacting, but the patriotism of William McKinley caused him to discharge every duty in the most faithful manner. Victory soon came for this great country of ours, a victory which had been planned for by William McKinley; our armies and our navies were guided by his hand, and it was his faithful heart that sustained our flag in every conflict. Complete victory was achieved; a new and great work was undertaken for the nation. His plans for the greatness and future growth of our nation had been unfolded, and just then God called him home. In this life which I have briefly narrated is a monument to the glory of William McKinley more lasting than any that can be framed or built by the hand of man. It will be a lesson which will be studied by the future young men of this country for all time. It will teach them to love their country, to love their flag and to cause them to ward off danger from this republic whenever it may approach. I thank you.”



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