Q: (By Prosecution: Retired Judge John K. Porter) Are you conscious of being a man of very considerable ability?
A: (The Witness Guiteau) I express no opinion on that, Judge.
Q: Have you not expressed opinions on that subject?
A: I think not, sir.
Q: Have you an opinion?
A: Have I an opinion on it?
A: Well, I decline to answer.
Q: You are a man of truth, are you not?
A: Most decidedly, sir. I am dead in earnest in anything I do.
Q: I think you were converted at the age of seventeen or thereabouts?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: From that time on, you have been uniformly telling the truth, have you not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you are, as you believe, a Christian man?
A: I hope so, Judge.
Q: You have hated all shams?
A: Most decidedly.
Q: And always?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You do now?
A: I do.
Q: You have had no bad habits?
A: I think not.
Q: Did you pass through the ordeal of the Oneida Community and maintain your virtue?
A: Well, not absolutely.
Q: I thought you said yesterday that you did?
A: I said, and I intended to say, although they misreported me, I notice, that I had been mostly a strictly virtuous man there. They left out the word “mostly.” That is what I intended to say. As a matter of fact, I had to do with three distinct women in a very short time, if you want to know the truth; but aside from that, I was strictly virtuous.
Q: Officer John R. Scott says that on leaving the depot you said, “General Arthur is now President of the United States.” Is that true?
A: I decline to say whether I did or not.
Q: Have you any objection that the jury should know whether you said that or not?
A: Well, it is possible I did say so.
Q: You think you did?
A: My impression is that I said something to that effect.
Q: You thought so, did you not? You are a man of truth?
A: I think I made that statement; something to that effect.
Q: That you thought he was President?
A: I suppose at the time he was.
Q: You thought you had killed President Garfield?
A: I supposed so at the time; yes, sir.
Q: You intended to kill him?
A: I thought the Deity and I had done it, sir. I want it distinctly understood that I did not do that act in my own personality. I unite myself with the Deity, and I want you gentlemen to so understand it. I never should have shot the President on my own personal account. I want that distinctly understood.
Q: Who bought the pistol, the Deity or you?
A: (Excitedly.) I say the Deity inspired the act, and the Deity will take care of it.
Q: Who bought the pistol, the Deity or you?
A: The Deity furnished the money by which I bought it. I was the agent of the Deity.
Q: I thought it was somebody else who furnished the money?
A: I say the Deity furnished the money with which I bought it.
Q: He furnished you all the money you ever had on earth, did He not?
A: I presume He did. I have great respect for the Deity’s fatherly care.
Q: Through whose hand was it that you were furnished the money to buy that murderous weapon?
A: It is of no consequence whether it was Mr. Jones or Mr. Maynard, or anybody else. Mr. Maynard swore that he lent me $ 15.
Q: Did he lend it to you?
A: He loaned me money; yes, sir.
Q: What did you do with that money?
A: I used it for several purposes.
Q: What were they?
A: It is of no consequence. I have no objection to stating decidedly that I got $ 15 of Mr. Maynard’s and used $ 10 of it to buy the pistol with.
Q: Were you inspired to borrow $ 15 of Mr. Maynard?
A: I do not think I was specially; no, sir. It was of no consequence whether I got it from him or somebody else. Mr. Maynard did not know what I wanted the money for. I simply went to him and said, “I owe you $ 10 and I want to get $ 15 more, and I will give you a due-bill for the whole.” He said to come in, in about fifteen minutes. It was then a quarter to 10 or such a matter, and I came in again and he gave me the money. That is all there is to it. It is of no consequence where I got the money or what I did with it.
Q: Were you inspired to buy that British bull-dog pistol?
A: I do not claim that I was to do the specific act; but I claim that the Deity inspired me to remove the President, and I had to use my ordinary judgment as to ways and means to accomplish the Deity’s will.
Q: The only inspiration that you had, as I understand you, was to use a pistol on the President?
A: The inspiration consisted in trying to remove the President for the good of the American people, and all these details are nothing.
Q: Were you inspired to remove him by murder.
A: I was inspired to execute the divine will.
Q: By murder?
A: So-called; yes, sir; so-called murder.
Q: You intended to do it?
A: I intended to execute the divine will, sir.
Q: You did not succeed?
A: I think the doctors did the work.
Q: The Deity tried, and you tried, and both failed, but the doctors succeeded?
A: The Deity confirmed my act by letting the President down as gently as he did.
Q: Do you think that it was letting him down gently to allow him to suffer that torture, over which you professed to feel so much solicitude, during those long months?
A: The whole matter was in the hands of the Deity, and I do not wish to discuss it any further in this connection. Of course, I appreciate the mere outward fact of the President’s disability in his long sickness as much as any person in the world. That is a very narrow view to take of this matter–just the mere outward fact of the President’s disability and sickness
The Will of God
Q: Did you believe it was the will of God that you should murder him?
A: I believed that it was the will of God that he should be removed, and that I was the appointed agent to do it.
Q: Did He give you the commission in writing?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did He give it in an audible tone of voice?
A: He gave it to me by His pressure upon me.
Q: Did He give it to you audibly?
A: No, sir.
Q: He did not come to you in a vision of the night?
A: I don’t get my inspiration in that way.
Q: It occurred to you, as you laid there on the bed, that if President Garfield were dead, it would solve the whole question?
A: Yes, I say so.
Q: Did it occur to you that you were the very man to kill him?
A: Not at that time, sir. My mind was unsettled. I tried to throw it off.
Q: Whom did you think then was the man to kill him?
A: I had no thought on the subject, sir.
Q: You had no thought of his being killed by anybody then?
A: The mere impression came over my mind that if the President was removed, everything would go well.
Q: Did you contemplate his removal otherwise than by murder?
A: No, sir; I do not like the word “murder”; I don’t like that word.
Q: I know you do not like the word; it is a hard word, but it is there.
A: It don’t represent the actual facts in this matter.
Q: It does not represent the inspiration?
A: No, sir; it does not. If I had shot the President of the United States on my own personal account, no punishment would be too severe or too quick for me; but acting as the agent of the Deity puts an entirely different construction upon the act, and that is the thing that I want to put into this court and jury and the opposing counsel. I say this was an absolute necessity, in view of the political situation, for the good of the American people, and to save the nation from another war. That is the view I want you to entertain, and not settle down on a cold-blooded idea of murder. I never had the first conception of his removal as murder.
Q: Do you feel under great obligation to the American people?
A: I think the American people may some time consider themselves under great obligations to me, sir.
Q: My question was not whether they were under great obligations to you, but whether you were to them?
A: I do not know why I should be, sir.
Q: Were you under great obligations to the Republican party?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: That reminds me of a very deliberate utterance of yours, made on the 16th of June, the day on which you intended to murder him.
A: I intended to remove him under divine pressure. Put it right. I never intended to murder him.
Shooting the President
Q: I understand you.
A: Put it in proper language then.
Q: On the 16th of June, in an address to the American people which you intended to be found on your person after you had shot him, you said, “I conceived the idea of removing the President four weeks ago.” Was that a lie?
A: I conceived it, but my mind was not fully settled on it. There is a difference in the idea of conceiving a thing and actually fixing your mind on it. You may conceive the idea that you will go to Europe in a month, and you may not go. That is no point at all.
Q: (Reading.) “I conceived the idea myself.”
A: That is correct.
Q: “And I kept it to myself.”
A: That is correct.
Q: I ask you why you concealed it and kept it to yourself?
A: You use the word “conceal.” I do not use the word “conceal.”
Q: You did not?
A: No; but you did.
Q: I did. I ask you why you concealed it by keeping it to yourself?
A: Why should I go and tell it? That is no point.
Q: Had you made up your mind then whether it would or would not be murder?
A: After I got the conception, my mind was gradually being transformed and fixed as to the necessity of the act. My mind was not fully made up until about two weeks after–the two weeks I was resisting.
Q: The question was not whether you were resisting, but whether the act was necessary.
A: I was finding out whether it was the Lord’s will or not. Do you understand that? I was finding out whether it was God’s will, and at the end I made up my mind that it was His will. That is the way I test the Lord.
Q: You made up your mind?
A: I have said that it was His will, for the best good of the American people.
Q: If you made up your mind it was not His act, was it?
A: I say it was. I say that the Deity has confirmed the inspiration, thus far, and that He will take care of me.
Q: Why were you praying to God and professing to be in doubt? Were you in doubt?
A: For two weeks I was in doubt, but I have never had any doubt since that time.
Q: What was your doubt about?
A: Because all my natural feelings were opposed to the act, just as any man’s would be.
Q: You regarded it as murder, then?
A: So-called, yes, sir; so-called.
Q: You knew it was forbidden by human law?
A: All my natural feelings were opposed to it.
Q: Were you aware that it was against human law?
A: I expected the Deity would take care of it.
Q: My question was not that. I want you to tell this jury whether you thought that the killing of President Garfield was against human law?
A: Well, sir, I never entertained the idea of murder in the whole matter. I have never had any conception of the matter as a murder.
Q: Whose will did you think it was if it was not His?
A: It was the Deity’s will; no doubt about that.
Q: But you were in doubt as to its being His will?
A: I was not in doubt.
Q: Not even the first two weeks?
A: There was no doubt as to the inception of the act from the Deity; as to the feasibility of the act I was in doubt.
Q: You differed in opinion from Him?
A: No, sir; I was testing the feasibility of the act–whether it would be feasible.
Q: Did you suppose that the Supreme Ruler of the Universe would order you to do a thing which was not feasible?
A: No, sir; in a certain sense I did not suppose it. Anything the Deity does is always right. He directed me to remove the President for the good of the American people.
Q: Did He use the word “remove”?
A: That is the way it always came to my mind. I never had any conception of it being a murder in the ordinary sense. I say the Deity killed the President, and not me.
Q: Do you believe in the Ten Commandments?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Have you higher evidence that the Supreme Ruler of the Universe said to you, “Thou shalt kill,” than you have that He said, “Thou shalt not kill”?
A: I do not entertain the idea, sir, that there was any murder in this matter. There is no more murder in this matter than there would be to kill a man during the war. There was a homicide but no murder in it. I do not wish to discuss this matter with you any further, Judge Porter. It is altogether too sacred a matter for you to make light of, and I won’t have it. You know my position on that point just as well as if you talked about it six weeks. It is too sacred to be discussed in this foolish, sickening kind of a way.
Q: Passing from that: When did you come to Washington?
A: About the first week of March.
Q: Don’t you know what day?
A: It was the Saturday night after the inauguration. I don’t know the date. I think it was the 5th or 6th of March. I don’t know whether that is correct or not as to date, but that is the fact. I left New York Saturday night and reached here Sunday morning.
Q: Where were you boarding in New York when you left?
A: I had been boarding up–I don’t know. I guess it was on Twenty-Second Street. I had only been there a short time–a few days.
Q: At what place?
A: I do not recall the name, sir.
Q: Why; didn’t you pay your board when you left?
A: I didn’t have any more money than I needed to get to Washington.
Q: How much was that?
A: Ten or fifteen dollars.
Q: When you arrived in Washington, where did you go to board–where did you stop?
A: I stopped at the Ebbitt House one day.
Q: Did you enter your name in the book?
Q: How long did you stay there?
A: I stayed there one day.
Q: You left on Sunday, did you?
A: I stayed there Sunday and left on Monday morning.
Q: Did you pay your board on Monday morning?
A: No, sir. I object to this line of testimony as to whether I did nor did not pay my board. As a matter of fact, I owe several parties for board, but that has not nothing to do with this issue.
Q: Do you prefer that the jury should not know how you acted in this matter?
A: I decline to go into this boarding-house business. It has no bearing on this case whatever. The fact is, I always paid my board while I had the money, and I expect to pay the balance as soon as I can.
Q: Having overruled my question, I proceed now to the next one. Where did you next board?
A: I decline to go into this boarding-house business or state anything about my circumstances in this matter. It has got no bearing on the issue whatever.
Q: When you went to Mr. Maynard to borrow $ 10 of him did you tell him you needed it to pay your board?
A: I did not. I will tell you how I do it, Judge, and perhaps you can learn if you want to borrow money. You are an older man than I am. I come right out square with a friend. I do not lie and sneak and do that kind of business, or anything. I say, “I want to get $ 25; I want to use a little money;” and the probability is that if he has got the money about him, he will pull the money right out and give it to me. That is the way I get my money. I take it and thank him and go about my business. That is the way I went to Mr. Maynard. I never told him what I wanted the money for. If a man has the money, he gives it to me on a sudden impulse, I suppose; and if he has not, that settles it.
Q: When did you expect to pay him?
A: I expected to pay him very shortly, when I got it.
Q: How soon did you expect to get it?
A: I expected to have $ 200 probably within a week or two after I saw Maynard.
Q: You expected it within a week or two?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How soon then did you intend to kill the President?
A: That had nothing to do with my killing the President, as you call it.
Q: How soon did you expect to buy the pistol?
A: That has nothing to do with this matter.
Q: Has it not? I think you used $ 10 of it to buy the pistol.
A: It don’t make any difference, so far as that is concerned, where I got the money.
Q: That is for the jury to say. My question is as to the fact. Did you expect to buy the pistol with that money?
A: As a matter of fact, I did buy the pistol with that money–$ 10. It don’t make any difference whether I pawned my coat to get it or got it by remittance, so far as actually getting the money is concerned.
Q: How soon after you got the money did you go for the pistol?
A: I could not tell you, sir; probably several days. I don’t remember exactly.
Q: Did you buy the pistol the first time you saw it?
A: No, sir; I went in there once or twice and asked the gentleman about it.
Q: Why did you not buy it the first time?
A: I was not ready to use it, for that matter.
Q: That was before you borrowed the money?
A: Yes, sir; of course.
Q: After you got the money you went and bought the pistol. Did you tell him what sort of pistol you wanted?
A: I saw the pistol, and I noticed it the first time in a show-case. I saw a lot of pistols exposed for sale, and I saw this particular one, and I looked at it.
Q: Was it the largest pistol there?
A: I don’t know about that. I am no expert on fire-arms at all, and never had a pistol before in my life, and knew nothing about using it.
Q: After you had bought the pistol, what did you do with it?
A: The man loaded it for me and I put it in my pocket.
Q: Then did you put the cartridges in your pocket?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where did you take it?
A: I went out in the street. I do not know where I went with it.
Q: You never had fire-arms before?
A: No, sir.
Q: What did you buy the pistol for?
A: I bought it to execute the divine will in removing the President.
Q: Did you tell him so?
A: Tell who so?
Q: The man you bought it of?
A: Of course not. He knew nothing about me more than any other stranger, I expect.
Q: There were two pistols there: one was white-handled and the other was plain?
A: Yes, sir; one was $ 9 and the other was $ 10, I think.
Q: Why did you prefer the one that was most expensive?
A: Well, one had an ivory handle and the other did not; the other had a wood handle.
Q: Why did you prefer the pistol with the ivory handle?
A: I thought it was worth a dollar more than the other.
Q: Did you think it would look better in the Patent Office?
A: I do not know about that.
Q: Did you say so?
A: I think I said something of the kind, about putting the pistol in the library of the State Department, in one of my notes. I never mentioned it to a human being.
Q: You thought it would be put there?
A: Possibly it might have been put there.
Q: You thought it would be exhibited in future time as the weapon you used in killing the President?
A: In removing the President; yes, sir. You seem to delight in that word “killing” and “murder.” I had no conception of it in that way, and never have had.
Q: Well, after you had bought it, being unused to fire-arms, did you practice with it?
A: I went down to Seventeenth Street and fired it off, I guess, twice.
Q: Why did you go there?
A: Because the man I bought it of said I would have to go outside of the city limits to fire it.
Q: You took it down there, what then?
A: I went down there one evening–sometime, I guess, in June it was.
Q: Did you take your box of cartridges with you?
A: I think so; yes, sir. I fired it off, I guess, twice at that time–ten cartridges.
Q: What did you shoot at?
A: At a sapling, and sometimes in the water.
Q: Why did you want to shoot the sapling. You had no divine command for that, had you?
A: I wanted to fire it off two or three times, as I knew nothing about a weapon, and I expected to be obliged to use it, and I wanted to familiarize myself with the outward uses of the weapon. I knew nothing about it, no more than a child.
Q: You did not know how to shoot a pistol?
A: I knew nothing about it at all.
Q: But it was the Deity that was to shoot; didn’t He know how?
A: There is no use of your whining in that kind of way; you may as well rest on that. You are making altogether too much talk about the mere outward act. I wish your mind to go back and look at the motive; the motive is what we are looking at.
Q: The motive was to kill, was it not?
A: To remove the President of the United States for the good of the American people, and the mere outward fact of how and when and where are all irrelevant matters. There is no use of your whining on this kind of talk any more.
Q: After firing ten times more, what did you do?
A: I put the pistol in my pocket and went back to my room.
Q: Did you have it with you on the day you intended to kill Garfield, the 16th of June?
A: It was on the 18th of June that I first went down to the depot.
Q: Did you have the pistol then?
A: Yes, sir; and all my papers.
Q: During all this time, were you on the look out for General Garfield’s movements?
A: I was; yes, sir. I may say that I was looking out for him and watching his movements somewhat.
Q: When did you begin watching the President’s movements?
A: It was the time he and Mrs. Garfield went to Long Branch together.
Q: Do you mean to swear that you did not watch his movements at the White House before that?
A: I mean to say that I did not watch his movements at the White House at that time or any other time.
Q: You never went to the White House grounds?
A: I frequently passed through there. That was, I think, the last of June, however. I used to sit in the park a good deal opposite the White House, between the White House and the Arlington.
Q: Why? For the purpose of observing him?
A: For the purpose of observing him; yes, sir.
Q: You were waiting for a chance to kill him?
A: I wanted to execute the divine will. I want to say right here, to obviate all this kind of loose talk, that I should have removed the President any time from about the middle of June until I actually shot him if I had had an opportunity.
Q: You would?
A: Yes, sir; I should have executed the divine will at any time between about the middle of June and the actual day I did shoot him.
Q: I thought your mind was just as clear from the 1st of June as it was in the middle of June?
A: It was perfectly clear from the 1st of June, but I was not actually ready to do the act until about the middle of June. I had a good deal to do in the two weeks after the 1st of June until about the middle of June getting ready. For instance, I went to work and revised my book, The Truth. I knew there would be some demand for that. I also did several other matters, personal to myself, that I had to attend to; so, as a matter of fact, any time from the middle of June until the 2d of July if I had had an opportunity at the President, I should have shot him.
Q: And you were watching for the opportunity?
A: I was watching for the opportunity during those two weeks. At any time during those two weeks I should have executed the divine will if I had had an opportunity; so that dispenses with all this loose talk about the mere outward act. I say that the entire responsibility of that thing is on the Deity; that He has taken care of it thus far, and that He will continue to take care of it. That disposes of all your loose talk.
Q: Why, then, is it necessary that you should be a witness in the case–if the Deity has charge of it?
A: The Deity uses certain men to serve Him. He is using this honorable court, and this jury, and all these policemen, and these troops to serve Him and to protect me. I do not want any more talk on that subject. If you want to go on, to some other subject, I will discuss it with you.
Q: In that address to the American people, dated the 16th of June, you say: “I conceived the idea of removing the President four weeks ago. Not a soul knew my purpose.”
A: That is correct. Not a soul did know.
Q: You formed that purpose?
A: That purpose was gradually forming in my mind during the two weeks intervening between the middle of May and the 1st of June.
Q: Did you state truly, in your address to the American people, what was the cause for which you intended to kill him? (Reading.) “Because he proved a traitor to the men that made him, and thereby imperiled the life of the Republic.”
A: That was the idea.
Q: You stated that the reason you shot him was because he proved a traitor to the men that made him–
A: (Interrupting.) I never should have shot the President on that account. I want you and the American people and this honorable court and the jury to understand it. I say, the political situation and the Deity pressing me into the act resulted in the shooting.
Q: Did the Deity tell you to whom he had been a traitor?
A: That was the result of my own judgment.
Q: You say, “Today, owing to the misconduct of the President and his Secretary of State, they could hardly carry ten Northern States?”
A: That was true, and I can prove it.
Q: What was that conduct?
A: That was the misconduct of the President. He had gone back on Grant and Conkling and Arthur, the very men that carried New York, and without which he could not have been elected, and he then put himself right under the influence of Mr. Blaine.
Q: Suppose he had appointed Senator Conkling Secretary of State, then you would not have killed him?
A: That is a supposition that I do not care to discuss now.
Q: Have you any objection to telling the jury whether you would or would not have killed him in that case?
A: In that case, they would not have got into any such snarl, and the Republic would not have been imperiled.
Q: And consequently you would not have killed him?
A: No, sir.
Q: If Secretary Blaine had been Vice-President, you would still have killed Garfield, would you not?
A: That is a proposition that did not exist; I decline to discuss it.
Q: You would not like to have the jury know your opinion on that question?
A: I decline to give any opinion on a mere suppositions case. If you will state facts, I will try to meet you.
Q: Suppose that you had been appointed Minister to Paris.
A: I wish to just fasten you solid now. I would not have accepted the Paris consulship, if the President had urged it and Mr. Blaine had urged it upon me with the utmost determination, any time after the 1st of June. Now, you understand that. I would not have done it, because my mind was fully fixed as to the necessity of the President’s removal for the good of the American people. I would not have taken the Paris consulship at any time after the 1st of June. Just put that down.
Q: That if General Garfield had sent your name to the Senate for the Paris consulship, and it had been confirmed, you would have lain in wait and murdered him?
A: I would have sent it right back any time after the 1st of June. My whole heart and mind and inspiration was in removing him.
Q: Ingratitude, you say, is the basest of crimes?
A: Most decidedly.
Q: Do you think it would have been a grateful return to General Garfield after appointing you to that high office to murder him?
A: Didn’t I tell you, sir, that I would not have accepted the office after the 1st of June if he and Blaine and everybody else had pushed it upon me? I would not have taken it.
Q: You wrote to him: “You have been fairly elected, and now make the best of it. With two terms in the White House and a trip around the globe, you can go into history by the side of General Grant.” Did you use that language?
A: I wrote that letter, sir. If General Garfield had had the proper respect for those letters, things would have been very different today. But what did he do but sell himself, soul and body, to Mr. Blaine.
Q: It was his fault that he was killed?
A: Yes, sir; he did not appreciate the sentiment and kindness of those letters, but put himself into Mr. Blaine’s hands, and allowed Mr. Blaine to use the Presidency to crush Grant and Conkling, and the very men that made him.
Q: On the whole, you are of the opinion that he committed suicide?
A: Political suicide, sir.
Q: Personal suicide?
A: Political suicide by quarreling with the very men that made him. If he had been a wise man, he would have stuck to Grant and Conkling that made him, and not let the Blaine element run him.
Q: You think it was his fault that you killed him? Do you think that he committed suicide?
A: I decline to discuss that with you.
Q: Would it incriminate you if you were to answer truly?
A: No, sir. I decline to have anything to say to you on that matter.
Q: On the 2d of July you wrote a letter to the White House?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Whom did you mean by the White House?
A: I meant all the inmates of the White House.
Q: Including Mrs. Garfield?
A: Certainly; of course; the entire White House family.
Q: On the 2d of July, the day of the assassination, did you say, in writing to Mrs. Garfield and the other inmates of the White House: “I presume the President was a Christian, and he will be happier in paradise than here”?
A: I thought so, sir; and no doubt he is a great deal happier now at this very moment than any man that is on earth.
Q: You have no doubt that when you killed him, he went directly to paradise?
A: I presume he was a Christian man; I have no doubt of it at all.
Q: You thought that the Supreme Power which holds the gifts of life and death wanted to send him to paradise for breaking the unity of the Republican party and for ingratitude to General Grant and Senator Conkling?
A: I think his Christian character had nothing whatever to do with his political record. Please put that down. His political record was, in my opinion, very poor; but his Christian character was good. Garfield was a good man, as far as I know, although they used to tell very hard stories about him on the Credit Mobilier business, and all that I don’t know whether it was true or not.
Q: Did you believe these stories?
A: In my speech I defended him on that matter. Many papers were denouncing him as a thief and a Credit Mobilier rascal, and all that sort of thing, and we had fought very strongly against the attacks made upon him.
Q: Did you believe it?
A: No; I did not believe it. I, myself, looked upon him as a good Christian man.
Q: Did you so look upon him when you killed him?
Q: In your letter to the American people, written on the 16th of June, more than two weeks before the assassination, did you say, “It will make my friend, Arthur, President”?
A: I considered General Arthur my friend at that time, and do now.
Q: Had General Arthur, now President, ever done anything for you?
A: Not specially, sir; but I was with him every day and night during the canvass in New York.
Q: Do you mean to tell this jury that you talked with President Arthur every night during that canvass?
A: No, sir; I do not say so and I did not mean to say so. I mean to say that when I went up to see General Arthur, I went right into his room.
Q: As everybody did?
A: No, sir; he had his private room, and only those who were supposed to be his personal friends were admitted. He had two or three rooms, and the crowd stayed back.
Q: You never had any conversation with him about murder, did you?
A: No, sir; I did not. Neither he or General Grant knew anything about this inspiration.
Q: On the 18th day of June, 1881, at Washington, on Saturday evening, you wrote as follows: “I intended to remove the President this morning at the depot as he took the cars for Long Branch; but Mrs. Garfield looked so thin and clung so tenderly to the President’s arm, my heart failed me to part them, and I decided to take him alone.”
A: That speaks well for my heart. All my natural feelings, as I told you, were opposed to the act. Notwithstanding that, the pressure upon me from the Deity continued so strong that I had finally to do it.
Q: Did you kill the President?
A: The doctors killed him; I did not kill him.
Q: Did you shoot him that day?
A: I shot at him twice and hit him once.
Q: Did you ever speak one word with General Sherman?
A: No, sir; I have known him very well by sight for a number of years.
Q: Did you write him a letter?
A: I wrote him a letter as the General of the Army.
A: The letter was among my papers, and they were all prepared about the 16th or 18th of June, some two weeks before the shooting. I simply addressed General Sherman because I knew that he had command of the troops. That is all.
Q: And you wanted them to protect you?
A: I wanted them to protect me until such time as the public had had a chance to know my position.
Q: Until such time as they should find out it was not a murder?
A: Until they should find out it was not murder. That is what they are doing now.
Q: Did you write to him, “I have just shot the President’?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You intended to shoot him then?
A: I have told you several times I intended to remove him under divine authority. It was not dated; it is among the papers.
Q: Did you say, “I shot him several times, as I wished him to go as easily as possible”?
A: That was the intention.
Q: You intended to shoot him several times?
A: I only shot twice, as a matter of fact, and hit him once.
Q: But you intended to shoot him several times?
A: I intended to remove him.
Q: You intended to shoot him?
A: Certainly; you may put it in that shape if it suits you. We do not deny the mere outward act of killing the President or shooting the President, or murdering the President. You can put it in that way, if you want to.
Q: Did you not say to General Sherman that it was a political necessity?
A: Yes; and that is the literal truth about it. It was a political necessity.
Q: Did you tell him that God commanded you to do it?
A: I did not say anything in my note about that, sir.
Q: Did it occur to you that there was a divine command that you should shoot him?
A: Most decidedly.
Q: But you did not write it?
A: It was not necessary to write it. I told General Sherman what I had done, and requested him to order out the troops and take possession of the jail. I did not know what would be the effect of the act on the popular mind. I did not want to be torn to pieces by a lot of infuriated men. I wanted them to have time to reflect upon this matter, and in the meantime, I wanted protection from the troops at the jail.
Q: And you expected that without that protection you might be in danger of being torn to pieces by those who did not approve of the murder?
A: I did not know what the effect on the public mind might be.
Q: Did you tell him that you were going to jail?
A: Yes, sir. I told him I was going to jail; that was what the note said.
Q: Why did you think you would go to jail for obeying the command of God?
A: I wanted to go there for protection, sir. I wanted the troops for my personal protection. I did not want a lot of wild men going to jail there. I would have been hung and shot a hundred times if it had not been for those troops.
Q: Would there have been any wrong in hanging you?
A: That is a matter for the Lord to pass upon. I won’t have any more discussion with you on this sacred subject. You are making light of a very serious subject, and I won’t talk to you.
Q: But you think to shoot General Garfield without trial–
A: (Interrupting.) I decline to discuss the matter with you, sir.
Q: Would it incriminate you if you were to answer the jury that question?
A: I don’t know whether it would or not.
Q: When you wrote, “I have just shot the President,” you wrote it because you meant to shoot him?
A: I knew that I would have no time to write these things after the shooting, and therefore I prepared them before the shooting. I had certain papers I wished to give to the American people justifying the act of removing the President.
Q: Did you state the cause of your killing him in these words: “His death was a political necessity, because he proved a traitor to the men that made him, and, thereby, imperiled the life of the Republic”?
A: That is what I wrote, sir.
Q: And that was true, sir?
A: That was true, sir.
Q: That was your motive?
A: You are going to try to twist that, because I did not make some reference there to the Deity. The reason I did not put the Deity in there every time was because it was not necessary.
Q: You did not think that was your justification?
A: My justification was, sir, that the Lord inspired the act on account of the political situation, for the good of the American people.
Q: Why did you forget the very ground of your justification?
A: I did not want to put it formally in all my letters which you are dragging up here and twisting in all sorts of shapes.
Q: Was it one of your purposes in removing the President to create a demand for your book?
A: One of the ideas, sir, was to preach the gospel as set forth in my book.
Q: Was one of your purposes in removing the President to create a demand for your book?
A: I have answered it, sir.
Q: I have not heard the answer.
A: That is all the answer I have to make on that subject.
Q: Do you wish to answer it?
A: I have answered it, I leave it to the court if I haven’t.
THE COURT: You have not answered it directly. You can answer it yes or no, and then explain it afterwards.
THE WITNESS: Ask the question again.
MR. PORTER: Was one of your purposes in removing the President to create a demand for your book?
A: Yes, sir; with the modification that I have previously stated–to preach the gospel as set forth in the book.
Q: And you said in the paper which you wrote on the 20th of June, “It will save the Republic and create a demand for my book”?
A: That is correct, sir; that was the object of the inspiration to do those two things.
Q: Your book, I understand, you regard as the gospel?
A: I regard it, sir, as an important explanation of the Bible.
Q: Do you regard it as the gospel?
A: In a certain sense I do, sir.
Q: You believe in the doctrine of predestination, do you not?
A: Most decidedly. I claim that I am a man of destiny. I want to tell you and the public that I am a man of destiny. I claim that I am a man of destiny as much as the Savior, or Paul, or Martin Luther, or any of those religious men of the kind I was.
Q: And being a man of destiny, your destiny was to kill President Garfield?
A: My destiny was to obey the divine will.
Q: And from that day to this, you have never felt remorse for the dead?
A: Why, of course, I felt remorse so far–
Q: That is all. The cross-examination is ended.