Confession of the Assassin; His Almost Toy Pistol
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 7.—The statement
of Leon Czolgosz made to the police, transcribed and signed by the
prisoner, is as follows:
“I was born in Detroit nearly twenty-nine
years ago. My parents were Russian Poles. They came here forty-two
years ago. I got my education in the public schools of Detroit and
then went to Cleveland, where I got work. In Cleveland I read books
on socialism and met a great many Socialists. I was pretty well
known as a Socialist in the West. After being in Cleveland for several
years I went to Chicago, where I remained seven months, after which
I went to Newburg, on the outskirt of Cleveland, and went to work
in the Newburg wire mills.
Hears Emma Goldman Lecture.
“During the last five years I have
had as friends Anarchists in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and other
Western cities, and I suppose I became more or less bitter. Yes,
I know I was bitter. I never had much luck at anything and this
preyed upon me. It made me morose and envious, but what started
the craze to kill was a lecture I heard some little time ago by
Emma Goldman. She was in Cleveland and I and other Anarchists went
to hear her. She set me on fire.
“Her doctrine that all rulers should
be exterminated was what set me to thinking so that my head nearly
split with the pain. Miss Goldman’s words went right through me
and when I left the lecture I had made up my mind that I would have
to do something heroic for the cause I loved.
Goes to Buffalo from Chicago.
“Eight days ago, while I was in Chicago,
I read in a Chicago newspaper of President McKinley’s visit to the
Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. That day I bought a ticket for
Buffalo and got here with the determination to do something, but
I did not know just what. I thought of shooting the President, but
I had not formed a plan.
“I went to live at 1078 Broadway,
which is a saloon and hotel. John Nowak, a Pole, a sort of politician,
who has led his people here for years, owns it. I told Nowak that
I came to see the fair. He knew nothing about what was setting me
crazy. I went to the exposition grounds a couple of times a day.
“Not until Tuesday morning did the
resolution to shoot the President take a hold of me. It was in my
heart; there was no escape for me. I could not have conquered it
had my life been at stake. There were thousands of people in town
on Tuesday. I heard it was President’s day. All these people seemed
bowing to the great ruler. I made up my mind to kill that ruler.
I bought a 32-caliber revolver and loaded it.
“On Tuesday night I went to the fair
grounds and was near the railroad gate when the Presidential party
arrived. I tried to get near him, but the police forced me back.
They forced everybody back so that the great ruler could pass. I
was close to the President when he got into the grounds, but was
afraid to attempt the assassination because there were so many men
in the bodyguard that watched him. I was not afraid of them or that
I should get hurt, but afraid I might be seized and that my chance
would be gone forever.
“Well, he went away that time and
I went home. On Wednesday I went to the grounds and stood right
near the President, right under him near the stand from which he
Wanted to Shoot during Speech.
“I thought half a dozen times of
shooting while he was speaking, but I could not get close enough.
I was afraid I might miss, and then the great crowd was always jostling,
and I was afraid lest my aim fail. I waited on Wednesday, and the
President got into his carriage again, and a lot of men were about
him and formed a cordon that I could not get through. I was tossed
about by the crowd, and my spirits were getting pretty low. I was
almost hopeless that night as I went home.
“Yesterday morning I went again to
the exposition grounds. Emma Goldman’s speech was still burning
me up. I waited near the central entrance for the President, who
was to board his special train from that gate, but the police allowed
nobody but the President’s party to pass where the train waited,
so I staid [sic] at the grounds all day waiting.
Carries Pistol in His Hand.
“During yesterday I first thought
of hiding my pistol under my handkerchief. I was afraid if I had
to draw it from my pocket I would be seen and seized by the guards.
I got to the Temple of Music the first one and waited at the spot
where the reception was to be held.
“Then he came, the President—the ruler—and
I got in line and trembled and trembled until I got right up to
him, and then I shot him twice, through my white handkerchief. I
would have fired more, but I was stunned by a blow in the face—a
frightful blow that knocked me down—and then everybody jumped on
me. I thought I would be killed and was surprised the way they treated
Intended to Kill President.
Czolgosz ended his story in utter
exhaustion. When he had about concluded he was asked: “Did you really
mean to kill the President?”
“I did,” was the reply.
“What was your motive, what good could
it do you?” he was asked.
“I am an Anarchist. I am a disciple
of Emma Goldman. Her words set me on fire,” he replied, with not
the slightest tremor.
“I deny that I have had an accomplice
at any time,” Czolgosz told District Attorney Penny. “I don’t regret
my act, because I was doing what I could for the great cause. I
am not connected with the Paterson group or with those Anarchists
who sent Bresci to Italy to kill Humbert. I had no confidants; no
one to help me. I was alone absolutely.”