Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned
Chemist Aschman Points Out the Improbability of
RESULT OF AUTOPSY IS AGAINST IT
To Poison a Bullet Effectively Is a Difficult Matter, Requiring
Chemical Knowledge. Analysis of Remaining Balls Easy.
Fred[e]rick T. Aschman,
the well known chemist, does not take any stock in the theory that
a poisoned bullet was used by the assassin of the president.
“It seems to me to be highly improbable,”
said he. “It would be a rather difficult thing effectively to poison
a bullet without cutting grooves in it or otherwise roughening it.
I[t] will be very [e]asy [f]or a chemist to [d]etermine by analysis
whether the bulle[t]s left in the revolver were poisoned or [?].
“There are two g[e]nera[l] kinds of
poison that [m]ight have been used,” said the chemist, “organic
and inorganic or chemical. The organic poison might be obtained
from snake venom, [b]acteria of gangrene, or [s]ome other kind of
bacteria. The chemical [p]oison might be an arsenic or copper solution,
or any one of the group of mineral poisons, or some one of the rar[e]
“I[f] an organic poison were used,
in my opinion, it would be rendered harmless by the action of the
lead in the bull[e]t, lead being a poison and destr[u]ctive to all
forms of organic life, and also by the fire of the powder. The lead
and fire ough[t] to kill the bacteria and render them entirely harmless.
“If a chemical poison were used, one
of two things would happen. If the chemical were anything but a
mineral, the lea[d] would render it ha[r]mless, as in the case of
the organic poiso[n], but if it were a mineral, the lead would not
have any effec[t] upon it, [and] could not render i[t] harmless.
“But I do not [b]elieve [t]hat a mine[r]al
poison or any o[t]her kind of chemical poison would produc[e] gangrene,
and hen[c]e the only kind of poison that could be applied by means
of a bullet would not produce the effect that was discovered by
the autopsy of [t]he president’s body. It s[e]ems to me, therefore,
highly improbable that the missile was poisoned.
“I am not enou[g]h of a physician
to speak with authority on this subject, but it looks to me as though
the un[u]sual condition of the wound, the gangrene being present
thro[u]ghout the course of the bullet, was du[e] to a bad condition
of the blood. Even had the bullet be[e]n poisoned it would in a[l]l
probability have been cleaned off entir[e]ly b[e]fore it had plowed
through its whole course. Bu[t] the reports show that the gangrene
was pres[e]nt all along [t]he course of the bull[et], and not only
at the point where it entered.”
Mr. Aschman is also of the opinion
[t]hat the assassin’s intelligence is not su[ffi]c[ie]nt for him
to have had the knowledge of poisons necessary to select the proper
one to carry out [his?] scheme. He d[ec]lared tha[t the] whole controversy
can easily be settled by an analysis, which he says is comparatively