Source: New-York Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “What Moved Czolgosz”
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 9 September 1901
Volume number: 61
Issue number: 20021
|“What Moved Czolgosz.” New-York Tribune 9 Sept. 1901 v61n20021: p. 1.|
|Allan McLane Hamilton; Allan McLane Hamilton (public statements); William McKinley (recovery: speculation); Leon Czolgosz (mental health); McKinley assassination (opinions, theories, etc.); society (impact on Czolgosz); yellow journalism (impact on Czolgosz); yellow journalism (role in the assassination); Charles J. Guiteau; Leon Czolgosz (compared with Guiteau).|
|James G. Blaine; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; Allan McLane Hamilton; Marcus Hanna; Abraham Lincoln; Matthew D. Mann; William McKinley; J. Pierpont Morgan; Herman Mynter; Roswell Park [misspelled below].|
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 peace.
“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
“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.”