Source: Sydney Mail
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Anarchists and Royalty”
City of publication: Sydney, Australia
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 72
Issue number: 2151
|“The Anarchists and Royalty.” Sydney Mail 28 Sept. 1901 v72n2151: p. 784.
|McKinley assassination (international response); McKinley assassination (impact on society); assassinations (comparison); anarchism (international response).
|Alexander II; Antonio Cánovas del Castillo; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Leon Czolgosz; Edward VII; James A. Garfield; Humbert I; William McKinley; Théodule Meunier [misspelled below]; Oscar II; Ravachol; Stefan Stambolov [variant spelling below]; Auguste Vaillant.
In the newspaper’s table of contents (p. 784) the editorial’s title is given as “The Anarchists and Loyalty.”
Alternate newspaper title: Sydney Mail [and] New South Wales Advertiser.
The Anarchists and Royalty
The shots fired at Buffalo by Czolgosz have evoked
far off echoes. Measures of precaution ha ve [sic] been taken to protect royalty
in two hemispheres from the fate which overtook the late President, and a condition
of things has been called into being which may almost be described as alarmist.
It is a curious note of the age we live in to find the most despotic monarch
in Europe suddenly altering the plans of a diplomatic visit to an allied nation,
decided on in Council of State many weeks before, because the ruler of the most
liberal republic in the world has fallen a victim to anarchist influence. For
whether directly personal and criminal responsibility for this outrage can be
traced to anarchists or not, the moral responsibility remains, and it is from
this point of view that the Czar and his advisers manifestly regard it; at any
rate the Imperial tour was turned into a display of armed force. The Baltic
Canal was lined with soldiers. The route to Rheims and Compiegne is described
as resembling an armed camp. Most significant of all in its own way and most
disappointing to Parisians, the Czar visited France, but avoided Paris. A curious
interpretation might be put on the friendship between despotic Russia and republican
France in the light of this eloquent incident. To say the least, it seems to
draw a sinister distinction between the army of France and the revolution-making
people of Paris. Yet it is hard to think of a more telling rebuke to Paris than
is conveyed by laying it under this kind of interdict, as the shopkeepers and
hotelkeepers of that capital now realise to their cost. The bourgeoisie will
be more out of sympathy with the party of anarchy than ever. But the alteration
in the Czar’s plans was only one result of Czolgosz’s crime as it affected the
movements of royalty. Edward VII. found it advisable to alter his route while
on a visit to King Oscar and returning. The Duke of Cornwall and York, again,
was dissuaded by his advisers from proceeding to Washington to participate in
the obsequies of the President. A special importance attached to this abstention
on account of the ties uniting the two nations and the deep feeling in England
at the President’s decease.
But the real gravity of the situation lies in the circumstances that an unseen but possibly ubiquitous enemy can thus terrorise rulers in all quarters of the globe. The magnitude of the result and the greatness of the personages concerned are out of all proportion with the contemptible character of the instruments employed. A crazy nondescript fires a shot and shakes the thrones of Europe. Stating the case in this way, there seems an almost ludicrous incongruity between cause and effect, but it is felt that there is a great deal more. The world is not thinking of Czolgosz, but of Presidents M’Kinley and Garfield, King Humbert, the Empress of Austria, President Carnot, Premiers Canovas and Stambouloff, and the Czar Alexander, all of whom have perished at the hands of similar mean agents in quite recent years. It is thinking of the number of hair-breadth escapes which rulers, princes, chancellors, and premiers have had from the like attempts. It cannot forget the Barcelona riots, the Vaillant, Ravachol, and Mennier outrages, and the still vivid record of the Commune Suspicion may be allayed for a time, and vigilance may slumber; but every now and then an assassination rudely awakens civilisation from its security with its reminder of the anarchist and nihilist elements of disturbance lurking beneath the surface. The precautions taken by royalty and its advisers are the recognition by the forces of order of the existence of a grave social and political danger. The instruments may be mean, but the state of things which can produce so fruitful a crop of assassinations cannot be contemned. It is not enough to say that the act of a Czolgosz represents nothing but the disorder of some desperate creature’s mind. The real source of danger is the cause which influences these criminals, most of whom belong to the same mental type, to direct their impulses in this particular direction. The assassin can be punished, but that does not touch the essential causes of his crime, and neither life imprisonment nor death suffices to save the life of the next ruler who may become a target for some lunatic crazed by anarchic teachings. The forces or order and law will sooner or later be compelled to strike at the essential root of the evil. Until that is done we must expect to become accustomed to a new use for gigantic standing armies. Up to the present we have looked on Europe as an armed camp for the defence of one nation against another. The scenes along the Baltic Canal and on the road to Compiegne show that the time may come, if it has not already arrived, when the armies whose cost has helped to produce so much social discontent and anarchistic activity will be mainly used to protect rulers and royalties from that which anarchy claims as the direct consequence of these things.