In a sigued [sic] statement written
for publication Czolgosz says: “I killed President McKinley because
I done my duty.” The grammar is not good, but the sentiment is orthodox.
To do one’s duty fearlessly has always been regarded as the sum
of human excellence. When the question of the destiny of this nation
arose before William McKinley and those who thought they saw in
his policy a tendency toward imperialism, he replied that duty determined
destiny. He meant that if a man or nation attended strictly to duty
destiny would take care of itself. So both the President and his
 assassin are martyrs to
duty, it being perhaps unavoidable that their duties should conflict
and their destinies get mixed.
In the great book wherein the true
basis of anarchy is expounded—to wit, “Instead of a Book,” by B.
R. Tucker—the author lays down the maxim that anarchists have no
duties, and are under obligation to neither God nor man to do anything;
whence it appears that the act of Czolgosz was wholly unphilosophical
and not anarchical. Of a truth, his deed and the motive he alleges
are both fanatical. There is no argument weaker than murder, and
there are few excuses so vague as duty.
Mr. Czolgosz deserves some credit
for not pleading the “higher law.” In consideration of this, when
he is good and dead we will overlook his grammar.
Now the finger of odium is pointed
from press and pulpit at persons who did not observe the day of
McKinley’s burial as a day of worship and prayer. The President’s
friends should stop this. His claim to martyrdom is not strengthened
by creating the impression that he was butchered to make a public
Of course the publishers of the
yellow journals that reviled and cartooned McKinley alive and went
into ostentatious mourning when he died, are hypocritical in the
extreme, and deserve condemnation. But there are mitigating circumstances.
For instance, their abuse was as insincere as their praise.
All the world sang “Nearer, My God,
to Thee,” on the day the President was buried. It was his favorite
hymn. The world and the President were indebted for that hymn to
Miss Sarah Flower, a young Englishwoman. She was the daughter of
a Unitarian minister, Benjamin Flower, who in the early part of
the last century went to jail for criticising the Bishop of Llandaff,
author of Watson’s “Apology for the Bible,” a reply to Paine’s “Age
of Reason.” There were two of the Flower girls, Sarah and Eliza.
Sarah wrote the words of the hymu [sic] in 1840, and Eliza set them
to music. Both were regular attendants at the South Place chapel,
London, of which Dr. Moncure D. Conway has long been the minister,
during the term of his predecessor, Mr. W. J. Fox. Many years ago
“Nearer, My God, to Thee,” was condemned as a Unitarian hymn, containing,
“not an atom of gospel.”