Was Czolgosz Insane?
That the crime of Czolgosz was primarily
of psychological interest rather than of political significance,
the outcome of purely personal idiosyncracy [sic] and not of any
doctrine or propaganda has just be[e]n positively demonstrated by
the only impartial and scientific investigation of the whole case
that has yet been attempted. At the instance of Dr. Channing of
Brookline, Mass., Dr. L. V. Briggs of Boston visited the home of
Czolgosz, his family, former associates, and examined all the evidence
relating to his habits and general mental condition with all the
painstaking thoroness [sic] that the scientific mind could suggest.
The facts collected and conclusions reached were made the subject
of an address by Dr. Channing on January 28, before a body of medical
Some sixty persons in Cleveland, Buffalo,
Auburn prison, and elsewhere were interviewed by Dr. Briggs, whose
purpose was to exclude unauthentic newspaper reports and obtain
data from original sources. Czolgosz appears to have had a taste
for reading. Said Waldeck, his brother, “Leon liked best to read
Peruna Almanack because he said it always told him his lucky days.”
In March, Leon became restless and in July began his trips to the
city. Just before Leon went away from the farm he told Waldeck that
he had to get away. “Why?” asked the brother. Leon anwered [sic],
“I cannot stand it any longer.”
His friends told of him that he would
brush flies away but never kill any. He was never jolly, would not
talk to strangers, and would sit alone all day reading, sleeping
or thinking. He was abnormally suspicious. For years he not only
refused to eat with the others, but prepared his food for himself.
This, says Dr. Channing is the case with people affected with hallucinations
In summing up his conclusions, Dr.
Channing presented them in the following form:
1. The history of Czolgosz for
several years before the assassination throws more light than
we have hitherto had on his mental condition. 
2. This indicates a considerable
degree of mental impairment, probably amounting to actual disease.
3. He appears to have been the
subject of insane delusions, which were systematized and continued
to the day of his death.
4. The assassination was probably
the result and logical culmination of these delusions.
5. He read Anarchistic literature
and went to Anarchistic meetings while his delusions were evolving.
6. There is no proof that Anarchy
was the source of these delusions.
7. The extent of his intercourse
with Anarchists is unknown, but careful investigation in places
where he lived leads us to believe that it has been much exaggerated.
8. His actions from the time of
the assassination to the time of his execution were consistent
with what they had been before, and not inconsistent with insanity.
9. In many respects he presents
a striking example of the typical regicide or magnicide as described
10. There is nothing in the post-mortem
examination to negative a diagnosis of insanity.
11. After weighing all the evidence
from all sources that has come to my attention, I am inclined
to the conclusion that it furnishes more grounds for diagnosis
of insanity than for the diagnosis of sanity.
Dr. Briggs corroborated Dr. Channing’s
statements and said that the law had every opportunity of going
into the history of the assassin. There was no proof of his being
an Anarchist beyond his own statements.
In printing this report, the Boston
Herald in an editorial accepts the above view of the case.
Indeed it goes farther and says that this was its own view presented
just after the occurrence at Buffalo.
If these conclusions are correct they
show how uncalled for was the attitude of some Anarchists in tacitly
accepting Czolgosz at his own estimate and treating the assassination
as of political or sociological significances [sic], which it clearly
did not possess. Dr. Channing’s view also takes all the wind out
of Teddy’s blustering sails and ought to bury the anti-Ana[r]chist
bills of congressional busybodies in a cloud of ever-lasting ridicule.