Whom to Kill?

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Whom to Kill?

D. D. Lum. in the "Alarm," indicates Jay Gould for assassination. He does not mention the reasons for this distinction among millionaires. Suppose his verses move a hand proper to the deed. The lesson would be nearly lost by public ignorance. The "Alarm" might very usefully give biographical sketches of the men most pernicious to the country's health, by whose taking-off in systematic succession some sensible good may be achieved. Now, in my ignorance, if I were ready and anxious to expose my life in killing somebody, I should be utterly at a loss where to strike. Merely to scatter a great fortune among greedy heirs does not appear to me a desideratum. It touches neither class nor system.

On the other hand, if, to obviate this objection, we were to blow up the Capitol during a session of congress, though the lesson would be plain enough, yet the number of innocents sacrificed might provoke a reaction unfavorable to Liberty. This is a delicate question. To kidnap some intelligent scoundrel, to indoctrinate him impressively with a cat o' nine tails, brand him, and then let him loose like a rat with a bell on his neck, might be more to the purpose than to kill either one or many. In a reign of terror the characters most pernicious to social welfare will probably gain the ascendant, as in the French Revolution. Let us have rather a reign of judgment. If revolutionists were united on the question of land limitation and forfeiture of the grants to railroads, foreigners, and speculators generally, it would be easier to distinguish men by their behavior with regard to such a measure.


  • Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, “Whom to Kill?,” Liberty 3, no. 23 (February 6, 1886): 8.