Assassin Czolgosz Says He Loved President McKinley
Anarchist Plotter and Would-Be Slayer Deems Himself
a Savior of
Mankind—Glories in His Deed and Declares He Is Ready to
Pay the Penalty—Police, It Is Hinted, Are Resorting
to Harsh Measures to Make the Prisoner Tell
What He Knows of Murderous Plot.
IN PERSONAL APPEARANCE ASSASSIN CZOLGOSZ IS HANDSOME.
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 11.—Leon Czolgosz
deems himself a savior, and fondly places himself upon a plane equal
to that which the carpenter of Judea occupies in the estimate of
the Christian people of the world. He believes in his doctrine of
blood as do the men and women of Christian faith believe in their
religion, and Czolgosz looks upon himself as a sanctified messenger
sent to bring salvation to all people through the lane of murder,
and speaks of the man he attempted to murder in terms of profoundest
Czolgosz, all reports to the contrary
notwithstanding, is a handsome youth, with a face of exceptional
purity and beauty. He says he is 29 years of age. He looks 21. His
brow is white and his eyes are blue. His mouth has the Cupid curve
as the mouth of a sweet and sensitive girl. He has nothing of the
swaggerer, the braggart, the tough, about him. He is a clean-cut
young man, whose mind on all subjects except that of anarchy, seems
to be wholesome.
This estimate of the man who has thrown
the nation into a panic of grief is made by a high official of Erie
County, from whom information concerning the anarchist conspiracy
against the President is obtained. This official has had exceptional
opportunities of judging the prisoner. He has told of the torture
to which Czolgosz has been subjected by those who believe in applying
the “third degree.” He looks upon the prisoner with horror and loathing,
and yet so vigorous is the treatment to which Czolgosz has been
subjected that, on one occasion, the official protested that it
is America, and not Russia, in which we live.
Says He Loved McKinley.
“I loved President McKinley,”
said Czolgosz to the gentleman who had spoken the first semikind
word he had heard since his arrest.
“‘I have been a constant reader of
the newspapers, and all that I have read of the President has convinced
me that he is a man who is good in all of the small particulars
of human existence. He loved his wife. He was fair to all. He was
kind. McKinley the man, I loved; McKinley the ruler, I hated. Him
I killed and I am glad. McKinley the man I injured, and for that
my hearted is grieved.
“‘I killed the President. I feel that
what I did I was ordained to do, and I do not regret it. I glory
in it, and am willing to pay the penalty. What will they do with
me? What do I care? I thought of all that in advance. I figured
it out and tested my soul. I knew that I was strong enough to suffer
death for my fellow men. It was a life for a life. Mine is ready
when it is called, for I have suffered much already here.’”
And the remarks of the blue-eyed and
white-browed anarchist did not refer to the mental agony which many
believe he must have undergone. He referred to his physical sufferings.
Imagines His Deed Was Noble.
“He is a revelation
to me,” said The Republic’s informant. “He is not of the commonly
accepted type of anarchists. In his wildly distorted mind his horrible
deed is as noble and glorious as were the deeds of the Savior. The
wretch feels to-day that he is a Messiah of the common people. He
thinks that he has made a great stride in raising the bar of inequality
and making all men equal, feeling, poor fool, that equality means
nothing more nor less than an equal division and possession of wealth.
“When last I saw him I heard him strongly
declare that he was alone in the plot to kill the President.
“‘I figured for days and weeks how
to do it,’ said he. ‘I waited for an opportunity, and when it came
I was so well drilled with myself that I knew it would not and could
not fail. I wrapped the revolver in my handkerchief and shot him
when he reached out his hand to me.’
“‘I killed him’—here the fellow stopped
a moment and a tear fell.
“‘You are sorry that you shot him?’
“‘I am proud and happy that I killed
him,’ said the youth, who now believes that the President is dead.
“‘That is, I am happy that I killed
the ruler of this cursed nation. But it makes me sad to think that
in doing that I was forced to kill Mr. McKinley. He was good. I
loved him. He was a noble man. He was a loving husband, a good friend,
but he was the creature who was placed in a position to torture
and drag down his fellow-man. I grieve for the death of the good
man, McKinley. I glory and feel happiness unsurpassed in the death
of the ruler. McKinley, the autocrat, who put his iron heel upon
the necks of the suffering millions of America. I killed him.’
Smiles as He Boasts of Shooting.
“There was a smile,
not the savage smile of a beast, but the smile of a martyr, on the
face of the young wretch, whose mind has been distorted by the incendiary
teachings of older anarchists.
“‘For that I am glad, and I am willing
to pay. I did not want to run away. I did not try to escape. I was
willing to give my life for his, for that tribute may bring about
that which we all want—equality— that is what we pray and fight
and die for. My life may be the forfeit. Let them come and take
it when they wish.’
“It’s hard for the police to believe
that the fellow may be sincere,” said this gentleman. “It was hard
for me; yet I have no sympathy with the beliefs or teachings that
are opposed to the teachings of centuries.
“This wretch is sincere, however,
and he should die for his sincerity. But the police believe that
he is constantly lying to them on trivial points, and when he has
failed to tell things that they wished him to tell he has received
the third degree in rapid and thorough style. He has been treated
brutally in a number of instances, but as yet, has not broken down,
and it may be days before they shatter his will and make him say
what they wish to have him say.”