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Publication information
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Source: Wilshire’s Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: none
Author(s): Stephens, George H.
Date of publication: January 1902
Volume number: none
Issue number: 42
Pagination: 52-53

 
Citation
Stephens, George H. [untitled]. Wilshire’s Magazine Jan. 1902 n42: pp. 52-53.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
George H. Stephens; socialists; socialism; anarchism (personal response); McKinley assassination (sympathizers).
 
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; George H. Stephens; H. Gaylord Wilshire.
 
Notes
Challenge (see below) is the predecessor to Wilshire’s Magazine, both being published by H. Gaylord Wilshire. Challenge’s final issue was published 12 October 1901.

Click here to view H. Gaylord Wilshires’s response to news reports of his being mobbed (as described below).
 
Document

 

[untitled]

 

EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY,               
PHILADELPHIA, PA., Oct. 14, 1901.     

     You will be amused to learn how THE CHALLENGE 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 THE CHALLENGE 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 THE CHALLENGE, 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 [52][53] 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 THE CHALLENGE 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 THE CHALLENGE, 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,

GEO. H. STEPHENS.     

 

 


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