Publication information
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Source: Liberty
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Ernest Crosby’s ‘Feels’”
Author(s): Tucker, Benjamin R.
Date of publication: November 1903
Volume number: 14
Issue number: 15
Pagination: 2-4 (excerpt below includes only page 3)

Tucker, Benjamin R. “Ernest Crosby’s ‘Feels.’” Liberty Nov. 1903 v14n15: pp. 2-4.
Benjamin R. Tucker; McKinley assassination (personal response: anarchists); McKinley assassination (personal response: criticism); Leon Czolgosz; Ernest Howard Crosby.
Named persons
William Jennings Bryan; Ernest Howard Crosby; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; Benjamin R. Tucker.
The editorial (excerpted below) begins: “The friendly controversy between Ernest Crosby and myself is continued by Mr. Crosby in the October number of the ‘Whim,’ wherein he makes rejoinder to my article, ‘Logic and Common Sense,’ in the September number of Liberty” (p. 2).

Click here to view an excerpt from Crosby’s comments in the October 1903 issue of Whim.

Click here to view an excerpt from Tucker’s “Logic and Common Sense.”

The two indented portions of text in the excerpt below are quotations from the aforementioned “rejoinder” by Crosby.


Ernest Crosby’s “Feels” [excerpt]

     Even Tucker’s logic is faulty at times. He thinks that it was Czolgosz’s feelings that prompted him to shoot President McKinley. This was clearly not the case. Every feeling in him must have protested against the killing of a smiling elderly gentleman who was receiving him like a father.

     In the whole range of hypnotic phenomena I know nothing to compare with the effect on Crosby of McKinley’s beaming smile. Ever since that fatal day when the old hypocrite stood smiling at and shaking hands with everybody that came along, in artful and abundant dispensation of that universal love common to politician and Tolstoïan, Crosby has forgotten the island-stealer and the Filipino-killer in his overwhelming remembrance of that perpetual and undiscriminating smile. Not so Czolgosz. His feelings for the victims were deeper and more lasting than his feelings for the oppressor, and, had he seen one tear of honest repentance in the tyrant’s eye rather than a smile of self-satisfaction on his lips, he would have been much more likely to relent in his stern, though foolish, purpose. In carrying out that purpose he departed from his logical ideal to practise an expediency at variance with his ideal. In that respect his act was analogous to the course of Crosby in “preaching logic and practising common sense,” and as such I cited it. I have not raised the question whether it was feeling or logic that prompted Crosby to vote for Bryan, nor did I raise a similar question with regard to Czolgosz.

     It was logic that wrecked the lad.

     Whether true or not, the sentence has a kindly ring,—a very different ring from that of Crosby’s former denunciation of Czolgosz as a “perverted wretch.” A case of feelings-plus-feelings, I suppose. And a precious lot of good they have done!



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