What the Black Journals Have Done
Now that the wild terror
excited by the pirate press about anarchism has subsided and sober
second thought has resumed its sway, the intelligent public, the
public that does not swallow the editorials of the big dailies,
the thinking public, have settled down on two propositions which
they believe to be true: 1. That Czolgosz, though he declared himself
an anarchist, did not belong to any association of anarchists nor
had he ever been recognized by anarchists as one of their number.
2. That he was insane.
At the instance of Dr. Canning of
Brookline, Mass., Dr. L. V. Briggs of Boston visited the home of
Czolgosz, his family, former associates, and examined all the evidence
relating to his habits and general mental condition with all the
painstaking thoroughness that the scientific mind could suggest.
The facts collected and conclusions reached were made the subject
of an address by Dr. Channing on January 28, before a body of medical
Some sixty persons in Cleveland, Buffalo,
Auburn prison, and elsewhere were interviewed by Dr. Briggs, whose
purpose was to exclude unauthentic newspaper reports and obtain
data from original sources.
Czolgosz appears to have had a taste
for reading. Said Waldeck, his brother, “Leon liked best to read
the Peruna Almanack, because he said it always told his his [sic]
lucky days.” In March, Leon became restless, and in July began his
trips to the city. Just before Leon went away from the farm he told
Waldeck that he had to go away. “Why?” asked the brother. Leon answered,
“I can not stand it any longer.”
His friends told of him that he would
brush flies away but never kill any. He was never jolly, would not
talk to strangers, and would sit alone all day reading, sleeping
or thinking. He was abnormally suspicious. For years he not only
refused to eat with the others, but prepared his food for himself.
This, says Dr. Channing, is the case with people affected with hallucinations
In summing up his conclusions, Dr.
Channing presented them in the following form:
1. The history of Czolgosz for several
years before the assassination throws more light than we have hitherto
had on his mental condition.
2. This indicates a considerable degree
of mental impairment, probably amounting to actual disease.
3. He appears to have been the subject
of insane delusions, which were systematized and continued to the
day of his death.
4. The assassination was probably
the result and logical culmination of these delusions.
5. He read anarchistic literature
and went to anarchistic meetings while his delusions were evolving.
6. There is no proof that anarchy
was the source of these delusions.
7. The extent of his intercourse with
anarchists is unknown, but careful investigation in places where
he lived leads us to believe that is [sic] has been much
8. His actions from the time of the
assassination to the time of his execution were consistent with
what they had been before, and not inconsistent with insanity.
9. In many respects he represents
a striking example of the typical regicide or magnicide as described
10. There is nothing in the post-mortem
examination to negative a diagnosis of insanity.
11. After weighing all the evidence
from all sources that has come to my attention, I am inclined to
the conclusion that it furnishes more grounds for diagnosis of insanity
than for the diagnosis of sanity.
Dr. Briggs corroborated Dr. Channing’s
statements and said that the law had every opportunity of going
into the history of the assassin. There was no proof of his being
an anarchist beyond his own statements.
The conclusions above presented are
purely scientific, and, as such, are totally destitute of any sensational
or partizan [sic] admixture. We call special attention to
6 and 7.
Now what have the black journals done?
To accomplish their diabolical purposes of destroying a hated rival
and paving the way for subversion of our republican government,
they worked up the public to such a pitch of frenzy, that the wretched
victim of an insane delusion was railroaded to death by a farcical
trial, in which his attorney betrayed him, and in which judge and
jury lacked the manhood to stand for the laws of the land and the
legal rights of the accused against the torrent of popular fury,
which the black journals had evoked.
So far as Czolgosz was personally
concerned, it was better for him to die than to pine to death in
the padded cell of a madhouse. And your red-handed king-killers,
how they rejoice over his execution and in coming into possession
of another martyr and hero! He is made a new saint in their calendar,
whom their children are taught to revere, and whose last words they
treasure up as a sacred heritage.
Not in Europe would a man be executed
for the killing or the attempted killing of a king, if even a plausible
pretext of insanity could be found to prevent it. It is only in
those cases where deliberation and conspiracy, where a deeply laid
plan and a consistent course of action on that plan shut out all
possibility of supposed insanity that the assassin has been put
to death. Of the numerous attempts upon the life of Queen Victoria
no one has ever been executed. The good sense of the English people
will not admit, unless absolutely impossible to believe otherwise,
that a sane man would kill a sovereign who had done him no injury.
The same is true with regard to the assault made upon the Prince
of Wales and the Emperor of Germany, Bismarck and others.
By all means let the killer of a king
or President be put to death if found sane and guilty after a fair
and impartial trial. We have no sympathy with the maudlin sentiment
that would substitute educational methods for gallows ropes in the
case of cold-blooded murderers. Society must protect itself. The
wolves must be killed. In such cases, an eye for an eye, a tooth
for a tooth, and a life for a life must still be the law.
But there must be policy in the graduation
of punishment. It is true that punishment is founded upon the basic
principle of justice and retribution. This is natural law. But civilized
society adds to this a new element, the element of policy. Hence,
the rule should be that the protection of society being the end
aimed at in punishment, punishments should be so ordered as to best
subserve this end.
Now in the case of Czolgosz, suppose
he were today the occupant of a solitary cell in the awful precincts
of an insane asylum, would anybody be glorifying his name and memory?
Not one. Instead of receiving glory, he would be the object of pity,
and his deplorable situation would be a warning to all to avoid
his footsteps, instead of his being made, as he now is, a saint
and a hero.
What has already been done cannot
be recalled. But the foregoing remarks are not inopportune. There
is a bill before Congress to punish anarchism. Already a bill has
been introduced in the Legislature of New York to make it death
to attempt to kill the Governor of the State. Now it has never entered
the mind of the wildest anarchist to want to kill a governor. What
will be the effect of the bill if passed? It will be an official
declaration that the governor of a State is a man whom anarchists
would naturally single out for death on account of his important
official position. Men who have never dreamed of such a thing before
will now add the governors of States to the high personages they
would like to see destroyed. Heretofore governors have been as safe
as the humblest citizen of the land. Of them it could never have
been said: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Let the States
pass such bills, and governors will be no safer than kings and Presidents
from the hands of murderous fanatics.
It must be borne in mind that the
anarchy bills offered in Congress are not offered in good faith.
Their object is not the prevention of anarchism, but the promotion
of imperialism by investing the President with royal prerogatives
and by the suppression of freedom of speech and of the press in
the United States, as it is already thoroughly crushed in the tyrant-ridden