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The Assassin's Defense

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Challes J. Guiteau, the asaassin of President Garfleld, has made a statement to the Herald correspondent at Washington, in which he gives the history of his lif e f rom birth until the 2d of July, when he shot and killed the President of the nation. His story of his life prior to this event is the history of a shiftless man who did not deserve success, and for that reason did not secure it. He went into politics ia 1880, and at this time the real story of the assassination begins. "I was," he says, "in New York from July 1, 1880, until the 5th of March,1881. During this time 1 was around the headquarters of the National Committee, on Ffth avenue, and the Republican State Committee, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. I was in the habit of goinff to those places. During this time I made the personal acquaintance of the leading men of the Republican party. I had my speech, entitled 'Garüelcl Against Hancock,' printed on Aug. 6, at the time the Republican conference was held at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. I gave or sent this speech to all tho leading men at that ence. This was my lust muouuuuuu to tlicm. Afterward as I met them I introduced myscll and called their attention to that speech. They scemed to be highly pleased with it, and that was tlio beginning oC my personal acquaintance with tliem. I sent it to Gen. Arthur and Senator Conkling, and Gen. Logan and Senator Cameron, and all that kind of men. I wanted to take tho stump ior Gen. Garfield in August, and I wrote Mr, Blaine (in I Mainel about it, and called Gov. ell's attenüon to my wish, uut tnere was a great pressure on Mr. lilaine from other quarters for speakers. Not having a national reputation he did not use me in Maine. üov. Jewell was very kind to me personally. lie disability I labored under was this: I had ideas, but I did not have a national reputation. lmmediatdy alter the Indiana election Guiteau began to Uiink it was time to look around ior something. He wrote to the President-elect suggesting that he might be a candidato for the Austrian mission. Early in March he went to Washington, lie says, ior me purpose of getting an office. He had nothing to do in New York, except solicit for some insnrance companies. He eays: "I addressed a letter to President Garfield andSecretary Blaiue some time in Maren, I shouldsay, calling their attention to my services dnring the canvass, and to my eariy suggestion to Gen. Garfield at Mentor, inOctober and also in January, touching the Austrian mission. I heard nothing about the Austrian mission until I noticed in the Dauer that William Walter Phelps, of New Jersey, had been given the misBioii. and of course that ended it. I then soughtthe Paris Consulship. "I conceived the idea of removing the President," Guiteau declares, "pending the answer, and as f ar as the Paris Consulship liad any influence on my mind at all it would have deterred me from the act, because I expected as a matter of fact that I would get the Paris Consulship. After I conceived the idea of removing the President I did not gonear Mr. Blaine or near the ident to press rny application. About two or tlnee weeks intervened from tbe time that I called at the President's, whcn the door-keeper said, -Mr. Guiteau, the President says that it will be impossibleforhim to seeyouto-day,' to the time that I conceived the idea of removing him, during whichtime I was waiting patiently formy answer.which, as a matter of fact, I have never yet received. I had been pressing the President and Mr. Blaine for an answer, and I thonght that it would be better for me to keep away from them. They liad my address and I thought if they concluded to give me the Paris Consuiship they would notify me or Í should see an announcement of the appointment in the papers, and, as I have stated. af ter I coneeived the idea of moving the President I did not go near the President or Mr. Blaine. My conceptiou oï the idea of removing the President was this: Mr. Conkling resigned on Monday, May 16, 1881. On the following Wednesday I was in bed. lthink I retired about 8 o'clock. 1 feit depressed and perplexed on account of the political situation, and 1 retired imich earlier than usual. 1 feit wearied in mind and body, and 1 was in ray bed about 'J o'clock, and 1 was thinking over the political situation, and the idea flashed through my brain that if the President was out of the way everything would go better." Guiteau, in liis slalemeut, saya that be watched for an opportunity to shoot tlie President from May 18 until July 2, when he finally succeeded in executing hls plans. Ho was ready at the depot in Washington to shoot President Garfield on the day when he carne to Long Branch with his wife. With regard to this day he says: "I went to the depot all prepared to remove lam. I had the revolver with me. 1 had all my papers nicely prepared. 1 spoke to a man about a carriage to take me, as I told Mm, over near the Congressional Cemetery. He said that he would take me over for $2, and seemed to be a very ele ver f ello w and glad to get the job. 1 got to the depot about 9 o'clock, and waited there until the Prcsident's AVhite House earriage droveup. About 9.25 the President and his carriage and servants and friends came up. He got out of his carriage. I stood in the ladies' room, about the middle of the room, watching him. Mrs. Garfleld got out and they walked through the ladies' room, and the presence of Mrs. Gavfield deterred me from flring on him. I was all ready; my mind was all made up; I had all my papers with me; I had all the arrangements made to shoot him and to jump into a carriage and drive over to the jail. Mrs. Garfield leoked so tlnn ami sue ciung so tendcrly to the l'resident's arm that I did not have the heart to fire on him. He passed right through the ladies' reception-room, through tho main entrance, and took the cars. i waltod a few moments. I went outside the depot and walked up town toward the Kiggs House and Arlington and the park. I think that I went to the park, and sat there an hour or two thinking about it, and I went to my lunch as usual, and after my lunch I went to tho library of the Treasury Department and reiul the papers as usual, and I think 1 staid there until 3 o'elock on Saturday, and then 1 went out. I do not remember wliere I went particularly; I think I went to the Kiggs, the Arlington, or the park. That was after I lelt tho library." The story of the tragedy is lold by Guiteau as follows"Having heard on Friday lïora tho papers, and also by my inquiries oï the door-keeper at the White House, Friday ovening, that the President was going to Long Branch Saturday morning, I resolved to remove him at the depot. I took my breakfast at the Riggs House about 8 o'clock. I ate well and feit well in body and mind. I went into Lafayette square and sat there some little time aiter breakfast, waiting for 9 o'clock to come, and then I went to the depot and I got there about 9:10. I rode there f rom the park in i 'bob-tailed' car. I left the car, walled up to a bootblack, got my boots blari ed, and inquired for a man named John Taylor, whom, two weeks before, I had spoken to about taking me out toward the Congressional Cemetery. Thev told me that Taylor's carriage was not there, and there were three or four hackmen there who were very anxious to serve me, and finally I ticed a colored man, and I said to him, 'What will you take me out to the Congressional Cemetery for?' He says, 'Well, I will take you out there for $2.' 'All right,' said I, 'if I want to use you I will let you know.' At that moment these other hackmen were pressing me to get my business, and I said to them : 'Keep quiet; you are too fast on this,' and i told thi3 colored man privately that if I wanted his services I would let him know in a few minutes. I then went into the depot and took my private papers, which I intended for the press, (including a revised edition of my book, -The ïruth, a Companion ,0 the Bible, ) and steppeil up to uie lews-stand and askeil the young man n charge if I could leave those papers witli him a few moments, and he said, 'Certainly;' and he took them and placed them up against the wall on top of some other papers. ïhis wa3 about 9:20, and I went into the ladies' waiting-room and I looked around, saw there were quite a good many people there in the depot and carriages outside, but I did not seo the President's carriage. I examined my revolver to see that it was all right, and took off the paper that 1 had wrapped around it to keep the moisture off. I waited flve or six minutes longer, sat down on a seat in the ladies' room, and very soon the President drove up. He was in company with a gentleman who, I understand, was Mr. Blaine, and I am aatisfied that he was Mr. Blaine, although 1 did not recognize him. This gentleman looked very old, and he had a peculiar 'kind of headgear on, that 1 did not recognize as that of Mr. Blaine. I am satisfled that it was Mr. Blaine, now that my attention has been specially called to it, because it was the same gentleman that 1 saw with the President tlie night bef ore, and I know positively that the gentleman was Mr. Blaine. The President and this gentleman drove up in a plain single-seated carriage witli ono horse; this gentleman, I think, wás driving It was a single carriage - a single-seated top bnggy. The President seemed to be in very earnest and private conversation with this gentleman, who evidently was Mr. Blaine, although at the time I did not recognize him as Mr. Blaine. ïhey sat in the carriage, I should say, some two minutes; they had not completed their conversation when they reached the depot, and during the interview of two minutes they flnished their conversation. During this time they were engaged iu very earnest and private conversation, as I have said. The President got out on the pavement side and Mr. Blaine on the other side. They enter ed the ladies' room; I stoed there watching the President and they passed by me. Before they reached the depot I had been promenading up and down the ladies' room between the ticket office door and the news-stand door, a space of some 10 or 12 feet. I walked up and down there I should say two or three times working myself up, as I knew the hour was at hand. The President and Mr. Blaine carne into the ladies' room and walked right by me. They did not notice me as there were quite a number of ladies and children in the room. "There was quite a large crowd of ticket purchasers at the gentlemen's ticket office in the adjoining room; the depot seemed to be quite f uil of people. There was quite a crowd and commotion around, and the rresident was in the act of passing f rom the ladies' room to the main entrance through the door. I sliould say he was about four or five feet from the door nearest the ticket office, in the act of passing through the door lo get through the depot to the cars. He was about three or four feet from the door. I stood five or six feet behind him, right in the middle of the room, and as he was in the act of walking away from me I pulled out the revolver and fired. He straigh tened up and thiew his head back, and seemed to be perfectly bewildered. He did Bot seem to know what struck him. I looked at him; he did not drop; I thereupon pulled agaiu. He dropped his head, seemed to reel, and feil over. I do not know where the firstshot hit; 1 aimed at the hollow oL his back; I did not aim for any particular place, but I knew if I got those two bullet3 in his back he would certainly go. I was in a diagonal direction f rom the President, to the northwest, and supposed both shots struck. "I was in the act of putting iny revolver back into my pocket when tlie depot policeman seized me and said, 'you shot the President of the United States.' He was terribly excited; he hardly knew his head from his feet, and I said, 'Keep quiet, my friend; keep quiet, my friend. I want to go to jait. A moment after the policeman seized me by the left arm; clinched me with terrible force. Another gentleman - an older man, I should say, and less robust - seized me by the right arm. At this moment the ticket agent and a great crowd of people rushed around me, and the ticket agent said, 'that's him; that's him;' and he pushed out his arm to seize me round the neck, and I says, 'Keep quiet, my f rienda; I want to go to jail;' and the oflicers, one on each side of me, rushed me right off to the Pólice Headquarters, and the offlcer who flrst seized me by the hand says: 'This man bas just shot the President of the Unitrcl States,' and he was terribly excited. And I said: 'Keep quiet, my friend; keep quiet I have got some papers which will explain the whole matter.' They let go of me and they held my hands up - one policeman on ono side and one on the other - and they went througli me, took away my revolver and what little change I had, my comb, and my toothpick, all my papers, and I gave them my letter to the White House, told them that I wislied they would send that letter to the White House at once, and the offlcer began to read my letter to the White House, and in this envelope containing my letter to the White House wasiny speech, 'Garfield against Hancock.' He glanced his eye over tho letter and 1 was telling him about sending it at once to tho White House to explaln tho matter, and he said: 'We will putyou into the White House!" So I said nothing alter that. ïhey took me around a littlc dark place and put me into a cell; they locked the door and went off, and I diil not see any one for 10 minutes, and Uien one or two partios carne and took a look at me; they were policemen and detectives, and said, 'I don't know that man; novev saw him before.' " Guiteau roviewed the legal aspect of his case in a manner which show that as a lawyer, at least, he is peifectly sane. He says: "I shot the President without malice or murderous intent. I deny any legal liability in this case. In order to constitute the crime of murder two elements must coexist. First, an actual homicide; second malice - malice in law or malice in fact. The l;vw presumes malice from the fact of the homicide; the degree of malice depends upon the condition of the man's mind at the time of the homicide. If two men quarrel and one shoots the other in heat or passion, the law says that is manslaughter. Tlie remoteness of tho shooting from the moment of its con ception fastens the di'gree of the malice. The f urther jou go from the ception to the shooting the greater the malice, because the law says that in shooting a man a few hours or a few days af ter the conception the mind has a chance to cool and, lierefore, the act is delibérate. Malce in fact depends apon the circumtances attending the homicide. Malice n law is liquidated in this case by the acta and circumstances, as set forth in hese pages, attending the removal oí he President. I had none but the best of feelings, personally toward the President; 1 ahvays thought of him and spoke of him as Gen. Garfleld. "I never had Uie slightest mea 01 romoving Mr. Blaine or any member of the administraron. My only object was to remove Mr. Garíield in his official capacity as President of the United States, to imite the Republican Party and to save the Republic from going into the control of the rebels and Demócrata. This was the solé ideathat induced me to remove the President. I appreciate all the religión and sentiment and honor connected with the removal; no one can surpass me in tliia, bnt 1 put away all sentiment and did my duty to God and to the Americau people."


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Ann Arbor Democrat