Comment on Things Doing [excerpt]
A BIT OF HISTORY
FOR the benefit of those of a persistently blithesome view of Capitalism
in the United States, here are a few facts that may be deemed pertinent
on the present occasion.
At the time Czolgosz shot President
McKinley the power in this country that the Capitalists most hated
and feared was the power of William Randolph Hearst. He has since
seen fit to join hands with his former deadly foes, but there is
no doubt that their detestation of him was then both savage and
The assassination of the president
gave them what they believed was their opportunity to destroy Hearst.
The Hearst papers had printed some cartoons ridiculing McKinley
and some foolish editorials by Brisbane that might be construed
as personal attacks. Mr. McKinley himself was so far from resenting
these things that he used to laugh about them, and sent to Opper
for the original drawing of one of the cartoons. But the scheme
of the Capitalists was to create the belief that the assassin had
been inflamed and instigated by these attacks and to throw the responsibility
for the murder upon Hearst.
It happened that, united as to the
main object, they were divided as to the best means. Some believed
that Hearst could be indicted 
as accessory before the fact, convicted and hanged, and secured
the opinion of a very eminent authority that such a plan was perfectly
feasible. Others thought the best way was to create such a frenzy
of public indignation that Hearst would be lynched.
To this end the story was prepared
and widely circulated that copies of a Hearst paper containing some
of the McKinley cartoons had been found in the pocket of Czolgosz
and more in his lodgings. Some of the same journals that are now
asserting that Schrank is a Socialist helped them to spread the
other lie. The Catholic priest that had been Czolgosz’s confessor
was approached and offers were made to him of great sums of money
for himself or for his church if he would say that Czolgosz had
told him of reading a Hearst paper. The priest indignantly spurned
the proposal. Desperate efforts were made to find some alleged friend
or acquaintance of the assassin that would make a similar statement.
Some were reported, but were promptly run down and proved to be
All the time the kept press continued
to print the most inflammatory appeals to prejudice and passion.
At one time a mob was organized in Brooklyn with the avowed purpose
of marching to Manhattan and hanging Hearst, but being composed
only of shifty criminals and hired thugs its courage gave out before
it had reached the bridge.
And yet all the time Czolgosz was
an absolute maniac with a badly diseased brain. He was not even
an Anarchist. He was merely insane. The mental examination before
his trial indicated this and the autopsy after he had been put to
death gave additional ground for the conclusion.
Nothing but the failure of the American
people to be as hysterical and hare-brained as the Capitalists believed
them to be prevented his mad and terrible deed from being followed
by others still more bloody. The purpose of the Capitalists was
there and would be there again under similar conditions.