Source: St. Louis Republic
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Assassin Czolgosz Says He Loved President McKinley”
City of publication: St. Louis, Missouri
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 94
Issue number: 75
|“Assassin Czolgosz Says He Loved President McKinley.” St. Louis Republic 12 Sept. 1901 v94n75: p. 4.|
|Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY: visitations); Leon Czolgosz (as anarchist); Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY).|
|Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
Assassin Czolgosz Says He Loved President McKinley
Anarchist Plotter and Would-Be Slayer Deems Himself a Savior
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 love.
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 asked.
“‘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.”