Publication information
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Source: Watchman
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “An Evidence of Civilization”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 83
Issue number: 36
Pagination: 5

“An Evidence of Civilization.” Watchman 12 Sept. 1901 v83n36: p. 5.
full text
McKinley assassination (public response); lawlessness (mob rule); anarchism (compared with lynching).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; T. De Witt Talmage.


An Evidence of Civilization

     Natural as the feeling was that called for the lynching of the assassin, nothing could be more creditable to the law-abiding sense of the people of Buffalo and of the visitors to the Exposition than the fact that they permitted Czolgosz to be protected by the police, and that he was lodged in prison to be dealt with by legal processes. Had the mob seized the prisoner, and, carrying him to the nearby Court of the Fountains, ripped up the park benches for kindling wood, and burnt him alive, the action would have been comprehensible, but it would have covered the American people with an indelible disgrace. It would have been a blow to civilization, felt throughout the world. It would have been a relapse to barbarism. The public men and the ministers of the Gospel, like Dr. Talmage, who are saying, if they are correctly reported, that Czolgosz should have been lynched, allow their passion to override their judgment. In one breath they denounce anarchy and they advocate anarchy as a means of getting rid of anarchy. In a country in which during the last fourteen years fifty per cent. more people have been lynched than have been executed for murder, such talk as this abets the very spirit of anarchy. The self-restraint of the throng in Buffalo, under the strongest provocation, is the best evidence as to the genuineness of our civilization. President McKinley never manifested a loftier spirit than when, realizing that he was wounded, he remembered his wife and then said to the bystanders, referring to the assassin, “Let no one hurt him.”



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