P , P .,
Oct. 14, 1901.
You will be amused to learn how
helped to get me into trouble here. Previous to the recent calamity
at Buffalo, I was assisting, with three other convicts, the clerk
to keep the books of this prison. It happened that all three of
my companions were “in” for “abstracting funds” from banks with
which they had been connected. Thinking they might be interested
in a commonwealth where the motive, much less the need, for “abstracting”
other people’s money would be absent, I introduced the subject of
Socialism and loaned them T C
and some other papers to read. Strange to say, the successful thief
is always the first to cry out against any change in existing social
conditions. For, while the two younger, whose petty peculations
to keep up social appearances had ruined them, became interested,
the other, whose cool filching of thousands suggested premeditation,
took strong exception to “all papers that preach discontent.” The
steel strike, he continued, was a consequence of their teachings.
His son, it might be interesting to remark, is buying up “scrap”
for the trust.
Then came the assassination. When
I enentered [sic] the office that morning all three were looking
over the ledger. Parallel with the startling news stood another
flaring column: “Effects upon stock market,” “Money still firm,”
etc. The glaring commercialism of the thing drew from me the remark
that money greed is robbing us of all decency, that we watch the
pulse of the money market with even greater interest than we do
the sufferers: that, in fact, we are not above the level of the
London merchants, who, between their sobs for their beloved Queen,
petitioned Parliament to shorten the period of official mourning
lest it injure the sale of colored goods.
Whereupon our ex-banker, who got away
with only $109,000 of the people’s savings, forcibly classified
me, the editor of T C ,
and “all the lot of you” as anarchists, as much to blame for the
assassination as for the steel strike. To the latter, of course,
I assented. But the meaning of his comprehensive ebullition became
clearer when I learned that a quiet “pull” was being “worked” upon
McKinley for a pardon. To escape half 
his sentence, to dig up his buried loot, to go into business under
his son’s name as one of the “respectability,” who but an envious
anarchist inspired by T C
and its ilk could frustrate such a laudable ambition as that?
Next came the Record, containing
a dispatch from York, Pa., that H. Gaylord Wilshire, editor of T
C , had attempted to speak there
against the government and was confoundedly mobbed. This was such
an unlikely lie (and you have since shown that you were 500 miles
away), I thought I would cut it out and send it to you as a capitalistic
sample of free advertisement, when, lo! I found it already gone.
Never mind, I am only sorry you didn’t get it instead of the officials
here; I might not then have been called up to show cause why I should
not be locked back in my cell as a sympathizer with Czolgosz. Yes,
verily! Of course, I tried to explain that I abominated the anarchists
and all their doings. But it was of no use. In such times nothing
explains. It was sufficient that I confessed myself a convert to
that political party which alone can ever reduce anarchy and crime.
So the bars were put up. Capitalism can turn its key upon us, but
never upon justice, our long-deferred but eternal hope. Sincerely,
. H. S .