Source: Iowa State Register
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Statement by Assassin”
City of publication: Des Moines, Iowa
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: 46
Issue number: 211
Pagination: 1, 3
|“Statement by Assassin.” Iowa State Register 8 Sept. 1901 v46n211: pp. 1, 3.|
|Leon Czolgosz (confession); McKinley assassination (Czolgosz account).|
|Gaetano Bresci; Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; Humbert I; William McKinley; John Nowak; Thomas Penney.|
Statement by Assassin
Czolgosz Confesses His Great Crime When Put under Pressure by
ADMITS HE IS ANARCHIST
But Says He Alone Planned the Attack and Had No Confederates.
HE ADMIRED EMMA GOLDMAN
Read the Lurid Literature of the Female Agitator and His Brain Was Fired.
HIS HOME WAS IN CLEVELAND
His Parents and Other Relatives Beside There—His Mother Interviewed.
WEAK BODILY AND MENTALLY
Apparently Easily Swayed and Drifted into Degeneracy—Efforts to Connect Others with Conspiracy.
CZOLGOSZ MAKES A CONFESSION.
Tells All About His Life and His Anarchistic Tendencies.
Chicago, Sept. 7.—A special to the Daily News
from Buffalo says: The statement of Leon Czolgosz made to the police, transcribed
and signed by the prisoner, is as follows:
I was born in Detroit, nearly 29 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.
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.
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, and 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 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 seeming bowing to the great ruler. I made up my mind to kill that ruler. I then bought a 32-calibre 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 body guard [sic] 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 spoke.
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 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 stayed at the grounds all day waiting.
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 me.
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 cold blooded reply.
“What was your motive, what 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 Penney. “I do not 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.”