What Moved Czolgosz
DISTORTED IDEA OF FREEDOM, SAYS DR. HAMILTON.
BLAMES SENSATIONAL PAPERS—MAN INFLAMED AGAINST HANNA
AND MORGAN BROUGHT TO HIM RECENTLY.
Dr. Allan McLane Hamilton, professor
of mental diseases at Cornell University Medical College, was seen
yesterday afternoon at his home, No. 44 East Twenty-ninth-st., by
a Tribune reporter and asked for his opinion as to the condition
of President McKinley and as to the probable influence which led
Czolgosz to shoot the President. Dr. Hamilton said that he thought
the chances of the President recovering were good. He had formed
an opinion from what he had read of the shooting that the act of
Czolgosz was “largely due to the deplorable influence of certain
sensational newspapers that have worked upon such minds as his.”
He went on to say that a man whose
mind was disturbed by the reading of such papers was recently brought
to him. The man said that he was going to put out of the way several
prominent men whom he referred to as the oppressors of the workingman.
Two of the men whom he said he intended to kill were J. Pierpont
Morgan and Senator Hanna. It may be remembered that Dr. Hamilton
was called by the government as one of the chief experts in the
Guiteau case and testified at that trial.
“Do you think that President McKinley
will recover?” asked the reporter.
“I have thought from the first that
his chances,” replied Dr. Hamilton, “were good, although I am not
a surgeon. To begin with, he fell into the hands of some good men.
Moreover, there was little or no shock, he possessed wonderful vitality,
and the bullet which passed through the stomach did not perforate
the intestines as well. The ball which has not been discovered is
apparently doing no mischief now, and it is not likely to do so.
It is very hard to see how any infection of the abdominal cavity
could have occurred from the escape of any large mass of food from
the stomach. If such had been the case he would have manifested
serious symptoms before this. It looks to me very much now as if
Mr. McKinley would be in a state of convalescence within two or
three weeks, although at best this is only an opinion based upon
evidence of which every one is in possession.
UNDER ABLE SURGICAL CARE.
“The physicians have undoubtedly
made a careful examination of the clothing worn by President McKinley
when he was shot and the handkerchief used by the would-be assassin,
for it is conceivable how parts of either of them might have found
their way into his body, later doing possible mischief. It is a
great pleasure to me to know that he is attended by such men as
Mynter, Parke and Mann, all of whom are skilled, especially in abdominal
Dr. Hamilton, when asked if he had
been called to examine Czolgosz, said he had not. He added that
while he could not express an opinion as to the exact mental condition
of Czolgosz at the time of the assault on President McKinley, he
had no doubt that insanity would be thought of as a desperate defence,
as it was in the case of Guiteau.
Continuing, Dr. Hamilton said:
“There would be some who would consider
the behavior of the prisoner as representative of a group which
included many semi-insane people who are more or less irresponsible,
for the ranks of anarchists are largely recruited from this class
of persons. But in the present state of public feeling it is quite
probable that he will receive his deserts, and that hereafter much
of the sentimentalism that has hitherto allowed such creatures to
escape punishment will be done away with, and a stern example will
be set to would-be murderers and other disturbers of the public
“From what I have read of the case
I am of the opinion that the act was largely due to the deplorable
influence of certain sensational newspapers that have worked upon
such minds as his.
DISTORTED PUBLIC SENSE OF DECENCY.
“No one except a physician who sees
much of insanity or persons whose mental condition is doubted can
appreciate the influence of the present distorted public sense of
decency. This is manifested by a lawlessness which finds expression
in some of the public prints and in the deliberations of societies
instituted for the relief of the oppressed. This literature and
these societies are usually a menace to law and order in putting
into the heads of half cracked people pernicious ideas which they
almost immediately act upon. So far it would seem that little or
no interference has been excited as has been the case in other parts
of the civilized world, and a distorted idea of freedom in action
and speech has been cultivated by a too liberal government and press.
“As far as my own experience goes,
I have of late seen numerous cases of disturbed mental states which
were directly due to these influences. Only the other day a man
was brought to me who drew from his pocket numerous carefully preserved
clippings, which turned out to be incendiary in character, and he
announced his intention of putting out of the way several prominent
men whose names have been before the public as the heads of trusts,
and who were alleged to be the oppressors of the workingman. One
of these was J. Pierpont Morgan, and another was Senator Hanna.
“Persons actually insane have had
new and dangerous delusions started in this way, and individuals
who are harmless and who before had exercised self-control were
put in such condition that they needed restraint.”
GUITEAU NOT INSANE.
“Doctor, is it not generally considered
that Guiteau was insane?” the reporter asked.
“Yes, it was, and I have read in the
morning papers a comparison of the assassins of Lincoln and Garfield
and the assailant of President McKinley. While I have said that
I cannot express an opinion of the last case, I am quite positive
that the popular opinion in regard to Guiteau is erroneous, and
is held by the public who know nothing about the subject except
the information obtained from the newspapers at the time. Guiteau
in court and Guiteau in prison were different people. In the latter
case he was cool, logical, and persistently declined to talk about
his crime or his trial, while in court his whole idea was to impress
people by his conduct that he was insane.
“Secretary Blaine told me some years
after the trial of several things that led me to believe that Guiteau
had acted from a sane though foolish motive, and that he had planned
the crime, as well as his escape, in an ingenious manner. In many
ways the conduct of the prisoner at Buffalo seems to resemble that
of Guiteau. Undoubtedly when the police finish their investigations
there will be much of interest revealed. I do not for a moment wish
to be understood as saying that he is insane or should not be punished.”