During these days the President was dying in Buffalo, though the country did not know it until Friday.

Wednesday and Thursday the reports were so assuring that all danger seemed past; but, as it turned out afterwards, there was not a moment from the hour of the shooting when the fatal processes of dissolution were not going on. Not only did the resources of surgery and medicine fail most miserably, but their gifted prophets were unable to foretell the end. Bulletins of the most reassuring character turned out absolutely false. After it was all over, there was a great deal of explanation how it occurred and that it was inevitable from the beginning; but the public did not, and does not, understand how the learned doctors could have been so mistaken Wednesday and so wise Friday; and yet the explanation is simple, - medicine is an art and surgery far from an exact science. No one so well as the doctors knows how impossible it is to predict anything with any degree of assurance; how uncertain the outcome of simple troubles and wounds to say nothing of serious; how much nature will do if left to herself, how obstinate she often proves when all the skill of man is brought to her assistance.

On Friday evening, and far into the night, Herald Square was filled with a surging throng watching the bulletins from the chamber of death. It was a dignified end. There must have been a good deal of innate nobility in William McKinley. With all his vacillation and infirmity of political purpose, he must have been a man whose mind was saturated with fine thoughts, for to the very last, in those hours of weakness when the will no longer sways and each word is the half-unconscious muttering of the true self, he shone forth with unexpected grandeur and died a hero.

Late in the evening a bulletin announced that when the message of death came the bells would toll. In the midst of the night the city was roused by the solemn pealing of great bells, and from the streets below there came the sounds of flying horses, of moving feet, of cries and voices. It seemed as if the city had been held in check and was now released to express itself in its own characteristic way. The wave of sound radiated from each newspaper office and penetrated the most deserted street, the most secret alley, telling the people of the death of their President.

Anarchy achieved its greatest crime in the murder of President McKinley while he held the hand of his assassin in friendly grasp.

Little wonder this country was roused as never before, and at this moment the civilized world is discussing measures for the suppression, the obliteration, of anarchists, but we must take heed lest we overshoot the mark.

Three Presidents - Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley - have been assassinated, but only the last as the result of anarchistic teachings. The crime of Booth had nothing to do with anarchy; the crime of half-witted Guiteau had nothing to do with anarchy; but the deliberate crime of the cool and self-possessed Czolgoscz was the direct outcome of the "propaganda of action."

Because, therefore, three Presidents have been assassinated, we must not link the crimes together and unduly magnify the dangers of anarchy. At most the two early crimes could only serve to demonstrate how easy it is to reach and kill a President of the United States, and therefore the necessity for greater safeguards about his person is trebly demonstrated. The habit of handshaking, at best, has little to recommend it; with public men it is a custom without excuse. The notion that men in public life must receive and mingle with great masses of people, or run the risk of being called undemocratic, is a relic of the political dark ages. The President of the United States is an executive official, not a spectacle; he ought to be a very busy man, just a plain, hard-working servant of the people, - that is the real democratic idea. There is not the slightest need for him to expose himself to assault. In the proper performance of his duties he ought to keep somewhat aloof. The people have the right to expect that in their interest he will take good care of himself.

As for anarchism, that is a political theory that possesses the minds of a certain number of men, some of them entirely inoffensive dreamers, and anarchism as a theory can no more be suppressed by law than can any other political or religious theory. The law is efficacious against acts, but powerless against notions. But anarchism in the abstract is one thing and anarchism in the concrete is another. It is one thing to preach anarchy as the final outcome of progress, it is quite another thing to preach anarchy as a present rule of conduct. The distinction must be observed, for while the law is helpless against theories, it is potent against the practical application of theories.

In a little book called "Politics for Young Americans," written with most pious and orthodox intent by the late Charles Nordhoff, the discussion of government begins with the epigram, - by no means original with Nordhoff, - "Governments are necessary evils."

Therein lurks the germ of anarchism, - for if evil, why should governments be necessary? The anarchist is quick to admit the evil, but denies the necessity; and, in sooth, if government is an evil, then the sooner it is dispensed with the better.

When Huxley defines anarchy as that "state of society in which the rule of each individual by himself is the only government the legitimacy of which is recognized," and then goes on to say, "in this sense, strict anarchy may be the highest conceivable grade of perfection of social existence; for, if all men spontaneously did justice and loved mercy, it is plain that the swords might advantageously be turned into ploughshares, and that the occupation of judges and police would be gone," he lends support to the theoretical anarchist. For if progress means the gradual elimination of government and the final supremacy of the individual, then the anarchist is simply the prophet who keeps in view and preaches the end. If anarchy is an ideal condition, there always will be idealists who will advocate it.

But government is necessary, and just because it is necessary therefore it cannot be an evil. Hospitals are necessary, and just because they are necessary therefore they cannot be evils. Places for restraining the insane and criminal are necessary, and therefore not evil.

The weaknesses of humanity may occasion these necessities; but the evil, if any, is inherent in the constitution of man and not in the social organization. It is the individual and not society that has need of government, of hospitals, of asylums, of prisons.

Anarchy does not involve, as Huxley suggests, "the highest conceivable grade of perfection of social existence." Not at all. What it does involve is the highest conceivable grade of individual existence; in fact, of a grade so high that it is quite beyond conception, - in short, it involves human perfectibility. Anarchy proper involves the complete emancipation of every individual from all restraints and compulsions; it involves a social condition wherein absolutely no authority is imposed upon any individual, where no requirement of any kind is made against the will of any member - man, woman, or child; where everything is left to individual initiation.

So far from such a "state of society" being "the highest conceivable grade of perfection of social existence," it is not conceivable at all, and the farther the mind goes in attempting to grasp it, the more hopelessly dreary does the scheme become.

When men spontaneously do justice and love mercy, as Huxley suggests, and when each individual is mentally, physically, and morally sound, as he must be to support and govern himself, then, and not till then, will it be possible to dispense with government; but even then it is more conceivable than otherwise that these perfect individuals would - as a mere division of labor, as a mere matter of economy - adopt and enforce some rules and regulations for the benefit of all; it would be necessary to do so unless the individuals were not only perfect, but also absolutely of one mind on all subjects relating to their welfare. Can the imagination picture existence more inane?

But regardless of what the mentally, physically, and morally perfect individuals might do after attaining their perfection, anarchy assumes the millennium, - and the millennium is yet a long way off. If the future of anarchy depends upon the physical, mental, and moral perfection of its advocates, the outlook is gloomy indeed, for a theory never had a following more imperfect in all these respects.

The patent fact that most governments, both national and local, are corruptly, extravagantly, and badly administered tends to obscure our judgment, so that we assent, without thinking, to the proposition that government is an evil, and then argue that it is a necessary evil. But government is not evil because there are evils incidental to its administration. Every human institution partakes of the frailties of the individual; it could not be otherwise; all social institutions are human, not superhuman.

With progress it is to be hoped that there will be fewer wars, fewer crimes, fewer wrongs, so that government will have less and less to do and drop many of its functions, - that is the sort of anarchy every one hopes for; that is the sort of anarchy the late Phillips Brooks had in mind when he said, "He is the benefactor of his race who makes it possible to have one law less. He is the enemy of his kind who would lay upon the shoulders of arbitrary government one burden which might be carried by the educated conscience and character of the community."

But assume that war is no more and armies are disbanded; that crimes are no more and police are dismissed; that wrongs are no more and courts are dissolved, - what then?

My neighbor becomes slightly insane, is very noisy and threatening; my wife and children, who are terrorized, wish him restrained; but his friends do not admit that he is insane, or, admitting his peculiarities, insist my family and I ought to put up with them; the man himself is quite sane enough to appreciate the discussion and object to any restraint. Now, who shall decide? Suppose the entire community - save the man and one or two sympathizing cranks - is clearly of the opinion the man is insane and should be restrained, who is to decide the matter? and when it is decided, who is to enforce the decision by imposing the authority of the community upon the individual? If the community asserts its authority in any manner or form, that is government.

If every institution, including government, were abolished to-morrow, the percentage of births that would turn out blind, crippled, and feeble both mentally and physically, wayward, eccentric, and insane would continue practically the same, and the community would be obliged to provide institutions for these unfortunates, the community would be obliged to patrol the streets for them, the community would be obliged to pass upon their condition and support or restrain them; in short, the abolished institutions - including tribunals of some kind, police, prisons, asylums - would be promptly restored.

The anarchist would argue that all this may be done by voluntary association and without compulsion; but the man arrested, or confined in the insane asylum against his will, would be of a contrary opinion. The debate might involve his friends and sympathizers until in every close case - as now - the community would be divided in hostile camps, one side urging release of the accused, the other urging his detention. Who is to hold the scale and decide?

The fundamental error of anarchists, and of most theorists who discuss "government" and "the state," lies in the tacit assumption that "government" and "the state" are entities to be dealt with quite apart from the individual; that both may be modified or abolished by laws or resolutions to that effect.

If anything is clearly demonstrated as true, it is that both "government" and "the state" have been evolved out of our own necessities; neither was imposed from without, but both have been evolved from within; both are forms of co-operation. For the time being the "state" and "government," as well as the "church" and all human institutions, may be modified or seemingly abolished, but they come back to serve essentially the same purpose. The French Revolution was an organized attempt to overturn the foundations of society and hasten progress by moving the hands of the clock forward a few centuries, - the net result was a despotism the like of which the world has not known since the days of Rome.

Anarchy as a system is a bubble, the iridescent hues of which attract, but which vanish into thin air on the slightest contact with reality; it is the perpetual motion of sociology; the fourth dimension of economies; the squaring of the political circle.

The apostles of anarchy are a queer lot, - Godwin in England, Proudhon, Grave, and Saurin in France, Schmidt ("Stirner"), Faucher, Hess, and Marr in Germany, Bakunin and Krapotkin in Russia, Reclus in Belgium, with Most and Tucker in America, sum up the principal lights, - with the exception of the geographer Reclus, not a sound and sane man among them; in fact, scarcely any two agree upon a single proposition save the broad generalization that government is an evil which must be eliminated. Until they do agree upon some one measure or proposition of practical importance, the world has little to fear from their discussions and there is no reason why any attempt should be made to suppress the debate. If government is an evil, as so many men who are not anarchists keep repeating, then the sooner we know it and find the remedy the better; but if government is simply one of many human institutions developed logically and inevitably to meet conditions created by individual shortcomings, then government will tend to diminish as we correct our own failings, but that it will entirely disappear is hardly likely, since it is inconceivable that men on this earth should ever attain such a condition of perfection that possibility of disagreement is absolutely and forever removed.

Anarchism as a doctrine, as a theory, involves no act of violence any more than communism or socialism.

Between the assassination of a ruler and the doctrine of anarchy there is no necessary connection. The philosophic anarchist simply believes anarchy is to be the final result of progress and evolution, just as the communist believes that communism will be the outcome; neither theorist would see the slightest advantage in trying to hasten the slow but sure progress of events by deeds of violence; in fact, both theorists would regret such deeds as certain to prove reactionary and retard the march of events.

The world has nothing to fear from anarchism as a theory, and up to thirty or forty years ago it was nothing but a theory.

The "propaganda of action" came out of Russia about forty years ago, and is the offspring of Russian nihilism.

The "propaganda of action" is the protest of impatience against evolution; it is the effort to hasten progress by deeds of violence.

From the few who, like Bakunin, Brousse, and Krapotkin, have written about the "propaganda of action" with sufficient coherence to make themselves understood, it appears that it is not their hope to destroy government by removing all executive heads, - even their tortured brains recognize the impossibility of that task; nor do they hope to so far terrify rulers as to bring about their abdication. Not at all; but they do hope by deeds of violence to so attract attention to the theory of anarchy as to win followers; - in other words, murders such as those of Humbert, Carnot, and President McKinley were mere advertisements of anarchism. In the words of Brousse, "Deeds are talked of on all sides; the indifferent masses inquire about their origin, and thus pay attention to the new doctrine and discuss it. Let men once get as far as this, and it is not hard to win over many of them."

Hence, the greater the crime the greater the advertisement; from that point of view, the shooting of President McKinley, under circumstances so atrocious, is so far the greatest achievement of the "propaganda of action."

It is worth noting that the "reign of terror" which the Nihilists sought to and did create in Russia was for a far more practical and immediate purpose. They sought to terrify the government into granting reforms; so far from seeking to annihilate the government, they sought to spur it into activity for the benefit of the masses.

The methods of the Nihilists, without the excuse of their object, were borrowed by the more fanatical anarchists, and applied to the advertising of their belief. Since the adoption of the "propaganda of action" by the extremists, anarchism has undergone a great change. It has passed from a visionary and harmless theory, as advocated by Godwin, Proudhon, and Reclus, to a very concrete agency of crime and destruction under the teachings of such as Bakunin, Krapotkin, and Most; not forgetting certain women like Louise Michel in France and Emma Goldman in this country who out- Herod Herod; - when a woman goes to the devil she frightens him; his Satanic majesty welcomes a man, but dreads a woman; to a woman the downward path is a toboggan slide, to a man it is a gentle but seductive descent.

It is against the "propaganda of action" that legislation must be directed, not because it is any part of anarchism, but because it is the propaganda of crime.

Laws directed towards the suppression of anarchism might result in more harm than good, but crime is quite another matter. It is one thing to advocate less and less of government, to preach the final disappearance of government and the evolution of anarchy; it is a fundamentally different thing to advocate the destruction of life or property as a means to hasten the end.

The criminal action and the criminal advice must be dissociated entirely from any political or social theory. It does not matter what a man's ultimate purpose may be; he may be a communist or a socialist, a Republican or a Democrat, a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian; when he advises, commits, or condones a murder, his conduct is not measured by his convictions, - unless, of course, he is insane; his advice is measured by its probable and actual consequences; his deeds speak for themselves.

A man is not to be punished or silenced for saying he believes in anarchy, his convictions on that point are a matter of indifference to those who believe otherwise. But a man is to be punished for saying or doing things which result in injuring others; and the advice, whether given in person to the individual who commits the deed, or given generally in lecture or print, if it moves the individual to action, is equally criminal.

On August 20, 1886, eight men were found guilty of murder in Chicago, seven were condemned to death and one to the penitentiary; four were afterwards hanged, one killed himself in jail, and three were imprisoned.

These men were convicted of a crime with which, so far as the evidence showed, they had no direct connection; but their speeches, writings, and conduct prior to the actual commission of the crime had been such that they were held guilty of having incited the murder.

During the spring of 1886 there were many strikes and a great deal of excitement growing out of the "eight-hour movement in Chicago." There was much disorder. On the evening of May 4 a meeting was held in what was known as Haymarket Square, at this meeting three of the condemned made speeches. About ten o'clock a platoon of police marched to the Square, halted a short distance from the wagon where the speakers were, and an officer commanded the meeting to immediately and peaceably disperse. Thereupon a bomb was thrown from near the wagon into the ranks of the policemen, where it exploded, killing and wounding a number.

The man who threw the bomb was never positively identified, but it was probably one Rudolph Schnaubelt, who disappeared. At all events, the condemned were not connected with the actual throwing; they were convicted upon the theory that they were co-conspirators with him by reason of their speeches, writings, and conduct which influenced his conduct.

An even broader doctrine of liability is announced in the following paragraph from the opinion of the Supreme Court of Illinois:

"If the defendants, as a means of bringing about the social revolution and as a part of the larger conspiracy to effect such revolution, also conspired to excite classes of workingmen in Chicago into sedition, tumult, and riot, and to the use of deadly weapons and the taking of human life, and for the purpose of producing such tumult, riot, use of weapons and taking of life, advised and encouraged such classes by newspaper articles and speeches to murder the authorities of the city, and a murder of a policeman resulted from such advice and encouragement, then defendants are responsible therefor."

It is the logical application of this proposition that will defeat the "propaganda of action." If it be enacted that any man who advocates the commission of any criminal act, or who afterwards condones the crime, shall be deemed guilty of an offence equal to that advocated or condoned and punished accordingly, the "propaganda of action" in all branches of criminal endeavor will be effectually stifled without the doubtful expedient of directing legislation against any particular social or economic theory.