Leon F. Czolgosz, Cowardly Assassin, Makes Statement
He Is an Anarchist and Was Inflamed to Do the Deed
by Emma Goldman.
It was after midnight when the District
Attorney and the police got through with the prisoner. At that time
he was completely exhausted. He made a full confession, which was
taken down by the District Attorney’s stenographer, transcribed
by a typewriter and signed by the prisoner. His correct name is
Leon F. Czolgosz. The statement filled over a dozen pages. It gave
the following facts:
He was born in Detroit 28 years ago.
His parents were Russian Poles, who came to this country about 40
years ago. He received some education in the common schools of Detroit.
For awhile he worked in Cleveland. While there he became interested
in the Socialist movement, read quantities of Socialist literature
and soon became prominently known as a Socialist in the West.
Several years ago he left Cleveland
and went to Chicago, where he lived for several months. Then he
returned to Cleveland and procured employment in the wire mills
in Newburgh, a suburb of Cleveland. During the last few years he
has gained quite a reputation in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and
other Western cities as an Anarchist of the most bitter type.
Some days ago Czolgosz attended a
lecture given by Emma Goldman in Cleveland. Her doctrine that all
rulers should be exterminated was accepted by him. He went away
from the lecture determined to do something heroic for the cause.
A little over a week ago, while in Chicago, he read in a Chicago
paper of the intended visit of President McKinley to the Pan-American
Exposition. A day or two later he bought a ticket for Buffalo. He
came to this city with a half-formed purpose. The idea that he might
have an opportunity to assassinate the President was in his mind,
but the plot had not taken form at that time.
Upon arriving in Buffalo he went to
1078 Broadway. No. 1078 Broadway is a saloon-hotel owned by John
Nowak, a Republican Pole, who has been a political leader among
his people in this city for years. He engaged a room and told Nowak
that he had come to see the Exposition. He went to the Exposition
On Tuesday morning the plot to murder
which had occurred to him days before, took definite and final shape
in his mind. He bought a 32-caliber revolver and loaded it. That
evening he went to the Exposition early and was near the railroad
gate when the Presidential party arrived. He tried to get through
the gate to the railroad station outside so that he might be better
able to approach the President, but the police forced him back.
He stood close to the President when the latter got into his carriage
for the drive through the grounds, but he was afraid to attempt
the assassination owing to the presence of so many detectives. He
feared he might not be able to draw his revolver and use it before
they would discover him, and then his chance would be gone. So he
permitted the President to escape. The next morning, he went to
the Exposition early and took up a position close to the stand from
which the President spoke.
Several times the idea came to him
of shooting the President while he was delivering the address, but
he could not approach sufficiently close to make his aim certain.
So he waited. When the President got into his carriage again the
mounted escort formed a cordon about him and Czolgosz became hopelessly
entangled in the crowd.
Yesterday morning Czolgosz was at
the Exposition again. He waited near the Railroad Gate for the President
who boarded his special train at that point, but the police were
too watchful and nobody but the President’s party was permitted
to pass through the station where the train was in waiting. He remained
at the Exposition all day waiting for the President to return. In
the meantime he had hit upon the scheme of concealing his revolver
under his handkerchief. He was one of the first in the Temple of
Music where the public reception was held. He fell into line with
the rest of the people and when his turn came to shake hands with
the chief executive of the nation he fired two shots with the muzzle
of the revolver close to the President’s body.
He said he would have fired more,
but for the fact that some one struck him a frightful blow.
“Did you mean to kill the President?”
asked District Attorney Penney.
“I did,” replied Czolgosz.
“What was your motive?”
“I am a disciple of Emma Goldman,”
was the only reply he would make.
Czolgosz at no time expressed any
regret for his act. If he regretted anything, it was the fact that
his attempt to kill the President apparently had failed. He positively
denied that he had any accomplices or confidants. He said he had
conceived the plot to murder alone and that he was the agent of
He also declared he was in no way
connected with the Anarchists whose agent, Bresci, assassinated
King Humbert of Italy.
The police are satisfied that no one
else is implicated in the crime.
Nowak, Czolgosz’s landlord, and a
number of other Poles who make his place their headquarters, were
taken to Police Headquarters near midnight and examined, but were
not placed under arrest. After Czolgosz had attested his confession
he was locked up at Police Headquarters, and two detectives guarded
him during the night.