[GARFIELD, James A.]. GUITEAU, Charles (ca 1840-1882), Assassin of President James Garfield. Autograph letter signed ("Charles Guiteau") to the New York Herald, "Warden's Office, United States Jail," Washington, 27 July 1881. 2 pages, 4to (10 x 8 in.), on rectos only of United States Jail stationery, professional repair to central folds, very minor soiling, otherwise in fine condition.
GARFIELD'S ASSASSIN DECLARES THAT HE IS A "PATRIOT" BUT REGRETS THAT THE PRESIDENT DID NOT DIE INSTANTLY: "THE INTENTION WAS TO REMOVE HIM AT ONCE AND QUICKLY"
Writing from his jail cell less than a month after shooting the President, Guiteau expresses concerns about the President's condition. After failing to receive a patronage job from Garfield, the lawyer determined that he must kill the President. Purchasing an expensive revolver because he believed it would look nice in a museum, Guiteau failed on three opportunities to shoot the President before succeeding on July 2, 1881, at the Baltimore & Potomac Railway Station.
Here, Guiteau writes to the New York Herald concerning his efforts to publish a book: "General Brocker, the Warden has expressed to me your sentiments about my book...I am glad you intend to print it shortly." In an ironic display of sympathy, the assassin displays concern for the President's condition: "I am awaiting the result of General Garfield's painful condition. No one regrets it more than I. The intention was to remove him at once and quickly. The Lord is managing the case, and I humbly leave it with him." Guiteau never regretted shooting the President, claiming later that his motives were pure and that he was performing God's work.
Guiteau praises the Herald and attempts to flatter its owner, James Gordon Bennett: "I send my profound respects to Mr. Bennett. He is a good fellow, and knows brains when he sees it. His sending Stanley to Africa, and John Russell Young, around the World, with General Grant, and the way he runs the New York Herald, shows him to be a man of magnificent perception. Mr. Bennett is doing his work in the civilization of the race; and he is doing it well, too." He concludes with an appeal for compassion: "I wrote this in a crampted [sic] position in my cell. I feel very poorly today. 'Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them,' and that, I am a patriot."
Guiteau was found guilty of murdering the President in January 1882 despite his plea that he was innocent by reason of insanity. Shortly before he was hanged on June 30, he self-published his book The Truth and Removal.