Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: New-York Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “The Character of Czolgosz”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 18 September 1901
Volume number: 61
Issue number: 20030
Pagination: [4?]

“The Character of Czolgosz.” New-York Tribune 18 Sept. 1901 v61n20030: p. [4?].
full text
presidential assassinations (comparison); Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY); Leon Czolgosz (trial: predictions, expectations, etc.); Thomas H. Rochford (public statements); Leon Czolgosz (as anarchist); anarchism (personal response).
Named persons
John Wilkes Booth; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; Abraham Lincoln; Thomas H. Rochford.


The Character of Czolgosz



     Buffalo, Sept. 17.—Among assassins Czolgosz appears to belong to a unique type, especially when he is compared with the two other murderers of Presidents of this country. John Wilkes Booth, the murderer of Lincoln, was a man full of impulse and passionate activity. Everything about him at all times indicated the keenest quality of intelligence, and while an actor by profession, and one of high achievement, he never attempted any deception or stupidity after he was caught. Guiteau, the murderer of Garfield, may best be described as a typical crank, a stage villain, dark, vicious, erratic and cruel.
     Czolgosz belongs to another class altogether. He is of the big eyed, gentle kind. His face indicates a simple, tranquil nature. There is nothing about him in his face or his manner suggestive of violence or intensity. His voice few have ever heard.
     Czolgosz has no luxuries, but receives humane treatment at the hands of the Erie County officials. His cell contains a comfortable bed and such light as gets in from the grated door. His cage is in the inner row of cells, having no communication with the outside world and no opportunity to hear or know what is going on. He is not a troublesome prisoner, except that he makes frequent and urgent demands for tobacco, which is denied him[.]
     He suggested yesterday to the officer watching at his cell door that he would like to be shaved, but no razor will be placed near his throat, at least, not until after the trial. He eats well, but last night he slept little and spent most of the time rolling about on the bed or pacing up and down the floor. During the day he lay stretched out on the bed, most of the time gazing up at the ceiling. There is no doubt that he is wearing down under the strain, and that the gravity of the situation is beginning to take hold of him. To-day, as he stood in the courtroom, it was easy to see that his face had changed much from yesterday. His eyes were further back in his head, the lids were red and had that watery appearance that comes from protracted sleeplessness. Yet the guards say that he sleeps well.
     The prevailing belief among the men who have seen most of him is that he is simply playing out the part planned long before the President was shot, and that when the foreman of the trial jury shall have pronounced the verdict of death he will be suddenly awakened from the assumed torpid condition and give forth a dramatic speech proclaiming the principles of anarchy and giving himself as a martyr to the death chair.
     Police Justice Thomas H. Rochford, of this city, who has had considerable experience with anarchists and their doings, said to-night:

     This man Czolgosz is simply playing out the part that has been given him to play. He is not insane; he is not stupid or oblivious of what is taking place around him, but he is simply acting out what he has practised and rehearsed probably for months. I have known a great deal about these people. I know a lot about the nest in New-Jersey, and it makes my blood boil when I read in the newspapers that after the President was shot the Paterson anarchists held a meeting and toasted Czolgosz with beer glasses to their lips. That sort of thing could not happen in New-York State, not if the authorities knew it. But as far as this grovelling [sic] cur Czolgosz is concerned there is no doubt whatever that he is merely acting. I am informed that in the secret councils of the anarchists they have dummies which they practise upon in the way of firing at them or giving them a knife thrust, just as our American boys punch a sand bag in gymnasiums, and there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the part this cur is playing here in the courtroom now has been many times rehearsed by him long before he ever saw the Temple of Music on the exposition grounds. It stands to reason that this is the case, for what man among us could go in there under the circumstances with the face of a poet frozen in marble like that wretch?



top of page