Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “On Picket Duty”
Author(s): Tucker, Benjamin R.
Date of publication: April 1907
Volume number: 16
Issue number: 1
Pagination: 1-24 (excerpt below includes only pages 5-6)
|Tucker, Benjamin R. “On Picket Duty.” Liberty Apr. 1907 v16n1: pp. 1-24.|
|Ernest Howard Crosby; Benjamin R. Tucker; McKinley assassination (personal response: criticism).|
|Leonard D. Abbott; Ernest Howard Crosby; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
On Picket Duty [excerpt]
And finally there is a word to be said of Mr. Abbott’s declaration that he “never heard Crosby say an unkind word of any living being.” To be sure, the statement describes that side of Crosby with substantial accuracy. But I know of at least one very shameful exception. Mr. Abbott could not have been present at the dinner (a Henry George dinner, I think) given in New York a day or two after the shooting, and before the death, of McKinley. Crosby presided at that dinner, and proposed a toast to the preservation of the life of McKinley in which he angrily characterized Czolgosz as a wretch, using also, I think, some very harsh adjectives. I was in Europe then, but saw a report of the dinner in the New York “Times,” whereupon I wrote Crosby a letter of indignant protest, saying that, had I been present at the dinner, I should have moved, as a substitute, a toast to the preservation of the life of McKinley, who had murdered thousands of innocent Filipinos, and equally to the preservation of the life of Czolgosz, who had attempted to murder the guilty McKinley. Crosby, in his reply, made an attempt at defence, but it was a very feeble one. I have not preserved the correspondence. But surely on that occasion Crosby not only  spoke unkind words of a living being, but did so at a time when the entire nation was a pack of wolves howling for the blood of the object of his wrath,—a fact which added a peculiar cowardice to his cruelty. In the excitement Crosby lost his head and heart. I recall the fact because I think it not well to forget such things, and not from any desire to dim the lustre of Crosby’s glory. Surely, taking his life as a whole, gentleness was one of its conspicuous characteristics.