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Title: Throttled! - The Detection of the German and Anarchist Bomb Plotters
Author: Tunney, Thomas
Language: English
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[Illustration: Inspector Thomas J. Tunney]





  Head of the Bomb Squad of the New York
  Police Department



  Author, with John Price Jones, of “The German
  Secret Service in America”




  Copyright, 1919



Formerly Police Commissioner of the City of New York, now colonel in
the United States Army, whose vision and coöperation made the work of
the Bomb Squad possible, this volume is respectfully dedicated


Inspector Tunney’s Squad was formed early in August, 1914, to
specialize in organized crimes of violence. It did some radically
effective work against Black Handers, and handled several cases
against domestic enemies of law and order, but as time wore on and war
developed, the Squad’s energies became directed solely against the
nefarious activities of Germans among us.

Inspector Tunney is a most skilful detective, resourceful, persistent,
understanding human nature, a good leader. He picked a squad of
fearless, tireless men, who not only worked long and hard, but showed
marked skill and tact. They proved themselves to be Americans all
the way through, aggressive, loyal, bound to put the job through, no
matter what the difficulties might be. They were occupied in hunting
out Germans who were outraging our neutrality; and then--after we
finally started to make war against those who had so long been warring
against us, on the high seas and in our very midst--they set to work to
thwart and capture active German enemies. The results they got went
far toward making it possible to maintain order in New York during
those months and years which were full of such menace to the safety of
the city, when the national danger seemed so plain--so increasingly
plain--and the national military strength was so woefully weak. In
many cases the Inspector worked in coöperation with one or more of the
Federal Secret Service forces. The Federal work was seriously hampered,
however, at first by hopelessly inadequate organization, and, later,
by the existence of several entirely distinct forces, instead of one
powerful, unified body.

Inspector Tunney has written a most interesting book. Much of what
he tells I knew about at the time, from conference with him, or with
Major Scull, Colonel Biddle, or Major Potter, and some of the events
described I had intimate knowledge of because of personal attention
to the cases. Some, however, I personally know nothing about, as they
have taken place since I left the Department on January 1, 1918. And a
vast amount of good work, of real public service, was done by Inspector
Tunney and his men that is not touched upon in this book, that probably
will never be written, since, though of great value to the public
peace, it lacks some of the dramatic features which characterize the
tales that are told.

No one can read the book without seeing how brutally active our
enemies were here in this country, even while we were at peace with
them, how they flouted our neutrality brazenly and contemptuously, how
they busied themselves through their accredited officials and their
many secret agents in trying to paralyze our industrial life. Their
deliberate effort was to prevent the shipment of all vital supplies to
the Allies, and they sought this end by fomenting labor troubles, by
burning factories, by blowing up ships. It mattered not the slightest
to them that in this kind of activity they destroyed the property of
a people at peace with them, nor did they give a deterring thought to
the fact that they were maiming and killing human beings with their
burnings and blastings. It did concern them, however, to keep things
dark, to work under cover, so that they might continue this underhanded
war against us without being found out. It was the warfare of the
savage, who knows not fair play, who is guided by no rules or customs,
who strikes down his enemy in the dark, from behind.

The lessons to America are clear as day. We must not again be caught
napping with no adequate national Intelligence organization. The
several Federal bureaus should be welded into one, and that one should
be eternally and comprehensively vigilant. We must be wary of strange
doctrine, steady in judgment, instinctively repelling those who seek
to poison public opinion. And our laws should be amended so that
while they give free scope to Americans for untrammeled expression of
differences of opinion and theory and belief, they forbid and prevent
the enemy plotter and propagandist.

There was another part of the Squad’s work, which had to do not with
foreign, but with domestic, enemies. The industrial condition of
unemployment, which was so sharp in 1914 and 1915, was exploited by
those who believed in propaganda by violence, hoping to find eager and
bitter listeners in the thousands who could not get work. To ameliorate
the hardships of the situation the police in New York tried several
plans which were at that time rather new as police methods. They found
jobs for people; they afforded relief in cases of distress from funds,
more than half of which were subscribed by policemen. When street
meetings were held and excitement ran high, they held unswervingly to
the line of conduct mapped out for them. They not merely permitted free
assemblage but protected meetings so long as they kept the laws; and
the law was kept if the meeting did not incite to violence or obstruct
the highways. In case of threatened violence, action, prompt and
strong, was taken to prevent it. Order must be maintained. Inspector
Tunney’s Squad were actively engaged here, not in trying to bottle up
the preachers of any particular doctrine, but simply in finding out who
were the plotters of violent deeds and bringing them to justice.

I believe the police methods in these times were wholesome and
effective, and are the right ones to follow in times of public
excitement and industrial disturbances. They make it clear in practice
that leeway will be given to all for the full exercise of their lawful
rights; and equally clear that adequate means will be taken to prevent
recourse to unlawful measures. In many places in this country where
serious disorder and bloodshed have come to pass, the trouble seems to
have been fostered, at least, by the denial to groups of people of some
of their lawful rights.

I hope this book will help to teach another lesson also: the need in
our police forces of brains and high morale; the need of cultivating
the professional spirit in them, that shall dignify the work, shall
banish political influence and all other influences that go to break
the heart of the policeman who tries to do his plain duty; the need of
having the public take an intelligent interest in police methods and
results, doing away with the smoke-screens of mystery and concealment
which are traditionally employed to cover dishonesty or incompetency.

                                             ARTHUR WOODS

  February, 1919.


 CHAPTER                                                            PAGE
     I  THE BOMB SQUAD                                                 1

    II  WESTPHALIAN EFFICIENCY                                         8

   III  PLAYING WITH FIRE                                             39

    IV  THE HINDU-BOCHE FAILURES                                      69

     V  A TRUE PIRATE TALE                                           108



  VIII  MR. HOLT’S FOUR DAYS                                         183

    IX  THE NATURE FAKER                                             217



  Inspector Thomas J. Tunney                              _Frontispiece_

  Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Biddle, Military Intelligence            4

  Paul Koenig                                                         10

  Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”   22, 23, 26, 27, 36, 37

  Alexander Dietrichens and Frederick Schleindl                       30

  Carmine and Carbone in Court                                        46

  Pages from the bomb-thrower’s textbook                              52

  A postcard received by Commissioner Woods after the arrest of the
      Anarchists                                                      60

  Detectives in Disguise--George D. Barnitz, Patrick Walsh, James
      Sterett, Jerome Murphy                                          64

  Threats to Polignani                                                66

  Frank Abarno and Carmine Carbone                                    66

  A Handbill, printed in Hindu, used by the Hindu-Boche Conspirators  72

  The Hindu-Boche Conspirators                                        76

  The _Annie Larsen’s_ Cash Account                                   80

  Gupta’s Code Message                                                80

  How the Hindus used Price Collier’s “Germany and the Germans” as
      a cryptogram                                                    90

  Alexander V. Kircheisen and his application for a certificate as
      able seaman                                                    106

  Lieutenant George D. Barnitz, U. S. N.                             118

  Robert Fay and Lieut. George D. Barnitz                            130

  Fay, Daeche and Scholz arraigned in Court                          130

  The Fay Bomb Materials                                             138

  Lieutenant Fay’s Motor Boat                                        150

  Rudder Bombs                                                       154

  Franz Rintelen                                                     160

  Henry Barth, who posed as the German Secret Service Agent          164

  Ernest Becker                                                      168

  Captain Charles von Kleist and Captain Otto Wolpert                168

  Sergeant Thomas Jenkins, U. S. Army, who located part of one of
      the bombs in the German Turn Verein in Brooklyn                174

  Norman H. White, of Boston, a civilian attached to the Military
      Intelligence, who unearthed numerous German intrigues          180

  Mrs. Holt’s Mysterious Letter                                      208

  The First Word from Texas                                          208

  Fritz Duquesne prepared for a Lecture Tour as Captain Claude
      Stoughton                                                      224

  From Fritz Duquesne’s Past                                         230

  Papers found in Fritz Duquesne’s effects                           236

  Lieutenant Commander Spencer Eddy                                  248

  Major Fuller Potter, Military Intelligence                         252

  Lieutenant A. R. Fish, Naval Intelligence                          260

  Captain John B. Trevor, Military Intelligence                      268




For the past twenty-three years I have been a member of the police
department of the City of New York. It is a long time, in any
single job. The department is comparable in size to a manufacturing
establishment of the first magnitude--it employs more than ten thousand
men--and its occupations are varied enough to suit the inclinations and
ambitions of any man. And so I went through the mill, graduating from
one duty to another until in 1914 I was an acting captain, and had been
in charge of various branches of the Detective Bureau in Brooklyn and

My duty was the detection of crime, my specialty, meaning by that
the special branch of crime with which I had been most often thrown
into contact, was bomb-explosions. As far back as 1904 there were a
number of mysterious explosions in New York which caused considerable
property damage, and there I made the acquaintance of the bomb itself.
It was an interesting subject for study, and a wicked weapon in use.
I managed to pick up information of bomb-manufacture in several ways:
Black-Handers, in prison, told me how they had made their missiles;
at the New York office of the Du Pont explosives company I had an
opportunity to study blasting; the publications of the Bureau of Mines
furnished more information, the practice of the Bureau of Combustibles
of our own department proved interesting and instructive, and I found
myself before long forced to become something of a student of chemistry.

The difference between our work and the work of the laboratory chemist,
however, was that in our case there was no time to make an explosive
mixture and test it--some criminal usually had done that for us, and we
were called to the scene to find out, from such clues as the wreckage
afforded, the name and address of the criminal. The laboratory chemist
mixes ingredients and counts his work done at the moment of explosion;
the detective begins at that moment a stern chase, and a long one, back
to the ingredients and the man who mixed them.

By the early part of 1914 I had seen a good deal of experience in
tracing bomb outrages to certain of the anarchistic and Black Hand
elements in the population of the city. As the year wore on these
occurrences became so numerous as to warrant special attention, and
on August 1, the approximate date of the outbreak of war in Europe,
Police Commissioner Arthur Woods created in the police department the
Bomb Squad. I was in command, and reported direct to the Commissioner.
As the volume of work increased, and more men were taken on, the
Commissioner delegated his supervision of the Bomb Squad to Guy Scull,
who was then Fifth Deputy Police Commissioner, and who is now a major
in the United States Army. That supervision was later passed on to
Nicholas Biddle, a Special Deputy Commissioner, who, as I write this,
is lieutenant-colonel in the United States Army, in charge of the
Military Intelligence Bureau in New York; and following Mr. Biddle,
Fuller Potter, another special Deputy Commissioner, and now a major in
the Military Intelligence, directed the policies of the Squad.

Within a few months the personnel of the Bomb Squad included the
following picked men: George D. Barnitz, Amedeo Polignani, Henry Barth,
George P. Gilbert, Edward Caddell, Patrick J. Walsh, Jerome Murphy,
James J. Coy, Valentine Corell, James Sterett, Henry Senff, Michael
Santaniello, Joseph Fenelly, Joseph Kiley, Charles Wallace, William
Randolph, Thomas Jenkins, and Anthony Terra--all detective sergeants,
and George Busby, a lieutenant. To this list were added the names of
James Murphy, Robert Morris, Thomas J. Ford, Walter Culhane, Vincent E.
Hastings, Thomas J. Cavanagh, Louis B. Snowden, Thomas M. Goss, Daniel
F. Collins, Frederick Mazer, Edward J. Maher, Walter Price, William
McCahill, and Cornelius J. Sullivan. It made a list of fine material
for the work which we were called upon to do, and no one will begrudge
me here a word of tribute to their aptitude, their courage--to all of
the qualities which made them such able and vigilant guardians of the
neutrality of our country during the years preceding our entrance into
the war. Many of the Bomb Squad went to war later: Barnitz became a
junior lieutenant in the United States Navy, in intelligence work of a
high order. Barth, Caddell, Corell, Fenelly, Jenkins, Walsh, Sterett,
Santaniello, Randolph, James Murphy, Morris, Ford, Culhane, Hastings,
Cavanagh, Snowden, Goss, Collins, Price, Mazer, Maher, McCahill and
Sullivan became sergeants in the Corps of Intelligence Police of
the National Army. And after I became connected with the Military
Intelligence Branch of the War Department, I had frequent occasion to
deal during the war in coöperation with the men whom I have mentioned
in service.

[Illustration: Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Biddle, Military

My first desire in taking charge of the Squad was to suppress the
activities of persons using explosives to destroy life and property.
What knowledge of the physics and chemistry of explosives my experience
had accumulated I passed on to the men. These periods of instruction
went into considerable detail. We discussed the kinds of explosives
used, their relative strength, their ingredients, the methods of
detonating them, the containers into which they were loaded, and the
use of clockwork, fuses, acids and gas-pressure to explode them.
Special and explicit instruction was given for the handling of
unexploded bombs--a bomb bearing an electrical attachment should not be
placed in water, for example, as water is a conductor of electricity;
it is wise never to smoke in the presence of explosives, even if you
think you know that certain kinds of explosives “_never_ explode by
fire.” The only thing you can depend on explosives to do one hundred
times out of one hundred, is what you don’t expect them to do. The Bomb
Squad was told never to--and why never to--carry bombs on passenger
trains, cars or ferries, or anywhere near where metals were being
shipped. The Bomb Squad was instructed not to remove a bomb found in a
position where its explosion would not endanger life and property, but
to send for an expert and wait until he arrived on the scene, and was
told which positions were dangerous and which were not. Altogether we
conducted a rather thorough course in explosives.

As the war grew in proportions, and the interest of America in the
conflict became more and more intimate, the activities of the Bomb
Squad became somewhat diverted from the object for which it had been
primarily organized, and its title was changed to the “Bomb and
Neutrality Squad.” We had not expected in August that the German would
try to tip over our neutrality with bombs, but that is what he did, and
that is what kept us grimly busy for three years, until our own nation
had gone to war with those who had so long been waging war upon her.
And that is how the stories which follow come to be told.

Not that the entrance of the United States into the war put a stop to
the activities of the Squad. I have already cited those who entered
the national service. Their presence in the Naval and Military
Intelligence, their close relations with those whom they left behind in
headquarters, with such men as Commander Spencer Eddy and Lieutenant
Albert Fish of the Navy, Colonel Biddle and Major Potter of the Army,
and with the Corps of Intelligence Police, made possible a degree of
coöperation in spy-hunting in New York which would have been impossible
to develop within a short time with any other set of men, and which
went far towards preserving our domestic security.



The trend of events in early 1915 made it apparent that the Bomb
Squad would be called upon to handle more and more cases of attempted
violation of neutrality. Anyone who remembers our national mind at that
time will recall that it was not yet made up and very liable to attacks
of brainstorm. Every person was seeing events of unheard of violence
and magnitude pass him pell-mell, giving no warning, and not waiting
for comment, and he was too dazed to watch any single event with any
high degree of balanced judgment or reasoning partisanship. It was a
troubled hour, and one in which it behooved us of the Police Department
to keep our heads cool and our eyes open. The Bomb Squad had to act as
a safety valve.

By the summer of 1915 war orders placed by the Allied governments in
the autumn and winter of 1914 were being filled and shipped overseas
in great quantities. By this time, too, the German navy showed no more
sign of coming out of Kiel in force than it had shown for a year past.
The task of delaying, diverting or destroying those shipments devolved
upon the Germans in America. It took no superhuman amount of reasoning
to combine the abnormal destruction of property in New York with the
strong suspicion of German activity and to arrive at a decision to
check up wherever it was humanly possible the sources and agencies of

Late in the autumn, in our work on the waterfront, we found a man who,
we decided, was worth watching. We learned gradually that Paul Koenig
was a pretty well-known figure along both banks of the Hudson, and that
he carried, as chief detective for the Hamburg-American Line, a certain
amount of authority. That steamship line, which within a week of the
outbreak of war had attempted to send ships to sea under false cargo
manifests to supply the German naval raiders, now had more time than
business on its hands as its entire fleet was tied up in Hoboken. And
yet in spite of the dull times which we knew had been thrust upon them,
their man Koenig was curiously busy, and we became busily curious to
find out why.

We were more curious than successful at first. We assigned men to
follow him and observe his habits and haunts. This was not as easy as
it might have been with another man, for the Department of Justice had
already tried it and had come to the conclusion that he was not worth

Now a good shadow is born, not made. The moment the man followed
realizes or even suspects that he is being followed, he becomes a
problem and either gets away or conducts himself in a way which disarms
suspicion and sometimes embarrasses the pursuit. Koenig, a man of keen
animal senses, was unusually quick in discovering his shadower. It used
to confuse certain agents considerably to have him disappear around
a corner, and when the agent quickened his pace and swept around the
same corner after him, to have Koenig pop out of a doorway with a laugh
for his pursuer which meant that the day’s work had gone for nothing.
I have known men who were excellent detectives and poor shadows.
Sometimes they were too large and conspicuous, sometimes they were
over-zealous, sometimes they excited suspicion by being over-cautious;
rare enough was the combination of artlessness and skill which made a
man a good shadow, told him when to saunter away in the opposite
direction, when to pass his man, and how to efface himself. It is,
I think, the instinct of the good fisherman who knows just how much
line to run out, and just when to exert the pressure. For Koenig was a
slippery fish.


  _Copyright, International Film Service_

Paul Koenig, the Hamburg-American employe, who supplied and directed
agents of German violence in America]

By a new method of “tailing” or shadowing, we learned that he
frequented several popular German places in the city, such as Pabst’s
in Columbus Circle, the German Club, in Central Park West, where Dr.
Albert, Boy-Ed and von Papen frequently went, Luchow’s restaurant in
14th Street, as well as the good American hotels Belmont and Manhattan.
Both of the hotels are centrally situated, and have several entrances,
including direct connection from the basement with the Subway--one of
the easiest places to lose oneself in the city. (A murderer not many
months ago avoided arrest for two days by riding back and forth in
Subway trains.) But such places as these were no more than the natural
points towards which any German might gravitate, and we could never
pick up a scrap of conversation to give us a lead in any specific

The fact remained that he was busy, going and coming, and that
he conducted a good deal of his business from his office in the
Hamburg-American building at 45 Broadway. We might as well have
tried to penetrate to Berlin with a brass band as to have entered the
building for information. But there was one advantage we could take: we
could “listen in” on his telephone wire.

When the men tailing him reported in that he was in the
Hamburg-American Building, and probably in his office, we cut in on
his wire, and posted an officer at our receiver to take down all
conversations which passed. The outgoing calls were disappointing.
Koenig was no fool--or rather was a highly specialized fool--and was
not careless enough to give information of aid and comfort to the
enemy through such a gregarious medium as a public telephone wire. We
listened for a long while, in vain....

Then came a call which offered possibilities. A man’s voice told Paul
Koenig that it thought Paul Koenig was a “bull-headed Westphalian
Dutchman,” and added other more lurid remarks. The conversation was
short, but while it lasted indicated that someone was not pleased with
Mr. Koenig. Within the next few days the same voice called “P. K.”
again and told him several things it had forgotten to mention, all
pointing to the fact that the owner of the unknown voice had been

We hunted up the number from which the disgruntled calls had been
made. It was a public telephone pay-station in a saloon. Crucial
events can almost always be traced to some trivial circumstances--the
poem “for the want of a nail the battle was lost” is an illustration
of what I mean. We are not dealing here with possibilities but with
facts, yet I cannot sometimes help speculating on the extent to which
German atrocities might have been carried in New York and Canada,
if we had not found a bartender with a good memory in that saloon.
Yes, he remembered a fellow who had come in there at certain times to
telephone. Yes, he came in once in a while. Didn’t know his name, but
thought he lived around the corner at such and such a number. At that
number we found out the man’s name--the bartender’s description had
been accurate. The name was George Fuchs.

So to George Fuchs we mailed a letter, typed on the stationery of a
wireless telegraph company, suggesting that we had a position for which
we believed he was the proper man, and that we would be pleased to have
him call at the office of the company, at an appointed hour, to discuss
the work and wages. Fuchs did not show up at the appointed hour, which
disturbed the plans momentarily, but when he did arrive, he was
greeted cordially by an executive of the “company” who proceeded to get
acquainted with the applicant. The manner of the wireless person was so
disarming, his German was so good, and his certainty that Fuchs was the
man for the job so taken for granted that the two adjourned to a nearby
restaurant. (Detective Corell had a very good working knowledge of

“Who did you say you were working for?” Corell asked, across the crater
of Fuchs’s glass of beer.

“That bull-headed Westphalian Dutchman,” Fuchs sputtered. “He is some
relative of my mother’s. She was a Prussian, though, _Gott sei dank!_”

Corell laughed at the right time, and in the conversation which ensued
drew out the man’s grievance against Koenig. In September Mr. and
Mrs. Koenig had paid a visit to the Fuchs household in Niagara Falls,
N. Y., where Fuchs lived with his mother in the Lochiel Apartments. The
wonders of the Falls had received proper attention from the strangers,
and Koenig showed some interest in the Welland Canal, the channel
through which shipping circumnavigates the Falls. He said that the
waterway was closely guarded, otherwise he would like to go over and
have a look at it, and suggested, as a convenient substitute, that
Fuchs go over to Canada and take some snapshots of the locks for him.

“Why don’t you go yourself?” Fuchs asked.

“They would probably pick me up if I did,” Koenig replied.

“Well, that’s just why I won’t take any camera over there with me,”
Fuchs rejoined. “But I’ll go if you want a report.”

The bargain was closed. Fuchs, Koenig said, was the very man, as he was
known on the Canadian side as George Fox, was an American by birth, and
would not excite suspicion. So at 7 P. M. of September 30--slightly
more than a year since Horst von der Goltz and Captain von Papen
had made their first abortive attempt to destroy the Canal--“Fox”
registered at the Welland House in Welland, close by the waterway.
There he spent the night. The next morning he went to Port Colborne,
the Lake Erie mouth of the Canal, and during the balance of the day
followed its course northward, making mental notes of the shipping and
the construction and guarding of the locks. By night he had reached
Thorold, where he found a room, jotted down his observations, and spent
the night. The next day he covered the balance of the 27 miles to Lake
Ontario, noting the number of locks, and the fact that there were two
or three armed soldiers on guard at each. With his head full of good
ideas for bad plans he reached Niagara Falls again that night--October

Koenig was enthusiastic over his report, but when Fuchs had written
it down he decided that it would be hazardous to have such a document
found on his person. “Mail it to me at Post Office Box 840 in New York.
Sign it just ‘George’--nobody would know who that was even if they did
find it.” He went back to New York. Fuchs heard nothing from him for a
few days, except that action had been deferred. Then the country cousin
began to importune the city cousin, and Koenig suggested that he come
down to New York to work for him. Which Fuchs did, and on October 8
was placed on the payroll of the “Bureau of Investigation” at eighteen
dollars a week. Koenig arranged that Fuchs was to hire men who would
row a boatload of dynamite across the upper Niagara River to smuggle
it into Canada, and he had meanwhile arranged with two others, Richard
Emil Leyendecker, his chief assistant, and Fred Metzler, his secretary,
to carry out a definite plan to sever the main artery of lake traffic
by blowing it to pieces.

By Sunday, November 7, Fuchs had been occupied in several odd jobs for
Koenig, such as spying on outward-bound cargoes along the waterfront,
doing special guard duty at Dr. Albert’s office, and going over to
Hoboken to frighten a poor German agent named Franz Schulenberg, who
had come on from the west to collect money from von Papen. On that
Sunday he was sick and did not report for duty. He asked for his
regular pay, however, and Koenig refused it, doubting that Fuchs had
really been too ill to report, and holding that illness should never
interfere with service to the Fatherland. This created bad blood
between the two. On November 22 Koenig discharged him for “constant
quarrelling with another operative, drinking, and disorderly habits,”
and announced that he would not be paid for his services of the
previous day, when he had refused to go on duty in a river-launch. That
$2.57 due Fuchs had poisoned his soul against Koenig, and he had grown
so bitter that the result we already know--evidence was at last in our
hands for an arrest.

It was a case for federal prosecution, obviously, so we called in
Captain William Offley and Agent Adams, an able operative of the
Department of Justice. A few hours later Koenig was placed under
arrest. He resented the intrusion, and snapped to Barnitz: “Anyone who
interferes with Germans or the German Government will be punished!”
His house up-town was searched and that search disclosed, among other
matters, an item which is unquestionably one of the richest prizes of
the spy hunt in America.

It was Paul Koenig’s little black memorandum book--a loose-leaf
affair, scrupulously typewritten, and brought down to within a day of
his arrest. A fanatic on office efficiency might have conceived it,
but none but a German would have kept it posted up. For it told the
story of his Bureau of Investigation with a devotion to detail almost

The Hamburg-American Line probably never thought that when they
assigned a shrewd ruffian named Paul Koenig to investigate an alleged
case of wharfage graft in Jersey City away back in 1912 they had
established a “Bureau of Investigation.” But Paul Koenig knew better.
He surrounded his lightest activities with an air of mystery and
efficiency true to the best of amateur-detective tradition. He called
his first case by a mystic number, he conferred the ominous alias of
“xxx” upon himself, hired a man named Fred Metzler as his secretary,
and convinced himself that he and Metzler were a bureau. In the light
of the all-absorbing importance which his bureau held for him, we are
not surprised (and we must not smile), when we see chronicled neatly
in his little black book that on May 13, 1913, he rented a room at 45
Broadway for “new offices,” on May 24 his first private telephone was
installed, on Nov. 19 a steel cabinet was purchased for the files of
the department, on May 28 of 1914 the adjoining room was added to Room
82, and Room 82 was converted into a _private_ office for the chief,
and on July 14 a new safe was purchased and placed in the office. It
may be that the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand had something
to do with that last item, for it is certain that the Hamburg-American
Line knew that war was coming well in advance of the declaration. At
any rate, we find that on July 31, 1914, before England and Germany
had actually gone to war, and on the same day that the director of the
Hamburg-American in New York received instructions from Berlin that
war was coming and that he was expected to supply German naval vessels
in American waters--on that day Paul Koenig began his war duties by
placing a special guard on all the piers and vessels of the Line in New
York Harbor.

Up to this time the cases Koenig had handled were matters of
shipping--stowaways, fires, steerage rates, charges against ships’
officers. On August 22 he became a German military spy. We find it
entered in his own words:

    “Aug. 22. German Government, with consent of Dr. Buenz,
    entrusted me with the handling of a certain investigation.
    Military attaché von Papen called at my office later and
    explained the nature of the work expected. (Beginning of
    Bureau’s services for Imperial German Government.)”

The “certain investigation” consisted in sending two men to Canada
to spy on the Valcartier training camp where the first Canadian
Expeditionary Force was being mobilized, and to report to the military
attaché their state of readiness, in order that he might try some means
of keeping them at home if it were not already too late. What von Papen
had in mind was dynamiting the Welland Canal; it failed, but the case
is of momentary interest to us here because it marked the beginning of
a service on Koenig’s part which grew very fast and extended in many
and diverse directions.

The Bureau was divided into three parts, the pier division, the special
detail division, and the secret service division, or “Geheimdienst.”
No one was allowed to forget that P. K. was head of all three. In his
rules and regulations he records, among other gems, these:

    “#2. In order to safeguard the secrets and affairs of the
    department prior to receiving a caller, hereafter my desk must
    be entirely cleared of all papers excepting those pertaining to
    the business in hand.

    “#9. All persons related to me, however distant, will be barred
    from employment with the Bureau of Investigation. This does not
    apply to my wife.

    “#6. It has been found detrimental to the discipline of the
    Office to invite direct employees of the Bureau to my residence
    or other place socially, or to accept their invitations,
    therefore this practice must cease. This ruling does not
    apply to agents of the Secret Service Division nor to direct
    employees if engaged with me on an operation which requires
    either social entertainment or travelling.”

He had an elaborate and complicated outlay of badges, shields and
photographic identification cards for each operative, for which each
operative stood the expense. His meticulous attention to detail, and
the diligent caution which he observed at all times is indicated in a
list of aliases which he set forth in the memorandum book. In 26 cases
listed he used 26 different names--none of them his own. For example,
in what he called “D-Case 250,” in dealing with an operative named
“Sjurstadt” Koenig was known to Sjurstadt only as “Watson”; in D-Case
316, when he negotiated with his agent von Pilis (a propagandist who
was later interned, by the way) Koenig was “Bode.” He devised a new
name for himself for every new case, and sometimes used two or three
names in dealing with different individuals in the same case. Naturally
a man of as many identities as Koenig had to keep a record of who
he was, and so his list of aliases furnished the government with an
excellent catalogue of the pies in which he had his tough fingers. Each
of his own employees in the Secret Service Division was known to him in
three ways: by his Christian (or rather, his German) name, by a number,
and by a special pair of initials. Thus Richard Emil Leyendecker, the
art-woods dealer associated with him in the Welland Canal affair, was
Secret Agent Number 6, known as “B. P.”; Otto Mottola, a member of the
New York Police Department was Secret Agent Number 4, known as “A. S.
(formerly A. M.).” The connections of the bureaus were mentioned in
his reports by numbers, the Imperial German Embassy being 5000, von
Papen being 7000, Boy-Ed 8000, and Dr. Heinrich Albert, the commercial
attaché of the embassy, 9000.



_List of Aliases Used by XXX._

  Sjurstadt     #250   Watson
  Markow        #260   von Wegener
  Horn          #277   Fischer
  Portack       #279   Westerberg
  Berns         #306   Werner
  Scott         #309   Werner
  McIntyre      #311   Bode
  Miller        #314   Reinhardt
  Harre         #315   Kaufmann
  Kienzle       #316   Wegener
  Wiener        #316   Wegener
  von Pilis     #316   Bode
  Burns         #325   Reinhardt
  Stahl         #328   Stemmler
  Coleman       #335   Schuster
  Schleindl     #343   Wöhler (Paul)
  Leyendecker   #344   Heyne
  Feldheim      #357   Winters
  Warburg       #362   Blohm
  Van de Bund   #358   Taylor
  Lewis         #366   Burg
  Hammond       #357   Decker (W.P.)
  Uffelmann     #370   Schwartz
  Hirschland    #371   Günther
  Neuhaus       #371   Günther
  Ornstein      #371   Günther
  Witzel        #371   Wöhler
  Plochmann     #375   Breitung
  Archer        #289   Mendez
  Bettes        ----   Goebels
  Reith         #382   Brandt


_Ciphers Used In_

_Confidential Reports_

(Oct. 1914-Sept. 1915)


  5000    I. G. Embassy
  7000    ”  ” Military Attache
  8000    ”  ” Naval Attache
  9000    ”  ” Commercial Attache
  7354    von Knorr
  7371    Tomaseck
  7379    Tokio
  7381    Copenhagen
  7600    Burns Agency
  9001    Herbert Boas

Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]




Operatives of the S. S. Division, when receiving instructions from me
or through the medium of my secretary as to designating meeting places,
will understand that such instructions must be translated as follows:

_For week Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 (midnight)_

A street number in Manhattan named over the telephone means that
the meeting will take place 5 blocks further uptown than the street

Pennsylvania R. R. Station means Grand Central Depot.

Kaiserhof means General Post Office, in front of P. O. Box 840.

Hotel Ansonia means Cafe in Hotel Manhattan (basement).

Hotel Belmont means at the Bar in Pabst’ Columbus Circle.

Brooklyn Bridge means Bar in Unter den Linden.

_For week Dec. 5 to Dec. 12 (midnight)_

Code to remain the same as previous week.

_For week Dec. 12 to Dec. 19 (midnight)_

A street number in Manhattan named over the telephone means that the
meeting will take place 5 blocks further downtown than the street



_Rules and Regulations._


    #1. Beginning with November 6th, no blue copies are to be
        made of reports submitted in connection with D-Case #343, and
        the original reports will be sent to H.M.G. instead of the
        duplicates, as formerly.

    #2. In order to accomplish better results in connection with
        D-Case #343, and to shorten the stay of the informing agent at
        the place of meeting, it has been decided to discontinue the
        former practice of dining with this agent prior to receiving
        his report. It will also be made a rule to refrain from working
        on other matters until the informant in this case has been
        fully heard; and all data taken down in shorthand. (11-11-15)

    #3. Beginning with November 28th, 1915, all operations
        designated as D-Cases will be handled exclusively by the Secret
        Service Division, the Headquarters of which will not be at
        the Central Office, as heretofore. This change will result in
        discontinuing utilizing operatives or employees attached to the
        Central Office, Division for Special Detail and Pier Division.
        On the other hand, great

Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]

In the same way he disguised his meeting places. In his instructions to
the Secret Service Division we find this:

    “Operatives of the S. S. Division when receiving instructions
    from me or through the medium of my secretary as to designating
    meeting places will understand that such instructions must be
    translated as follows:

    “_For week Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 (midnight)._

    “A street number in Manhattan named over the telephone means
    that the meeting will take place 5 blocks further uptown than
    the street mentioned.

    “Pennsylvania R. R. Station means Grand Central Depot.

    “Kaiserhof means General Post Office, in front of P. O. Box 840.

    “Hotel Ansonia means café in Hotel Manhattan (basement).

    “Hotel Belmont means at the bar in Pabst’s Columbus Circle.

    “Brooklyn Bridge means bar in Unter den Linden.”

Each week he rearranged this code, so that anyone who thought that
cutting in on a telephone call meant knowing where Koenig was bound
was not likely to find him there. The man knew his German New York,
and had numerous convenient meeting places where he could meet an
agent and converse undisturbed, such as a German hotel at Third Avenue
and 42d Street, or a German bar at Broadway and 110th Street, or a
lodging house at South and Whitehall Streets, near the lower tip of
the island, or a saloon connected with a Turkish bath in Harlem. He
not only made it almost impossible to trace him by tapping his own
wire, but his operatives were instructed to call him from pay-station
telephones in locations where there was not one chance in a million
of identifying the person who had called. Fuchs, of course, was the
one-millionth chance, but Fuchs was no longer obeying Koenig’s orders,
was persistent, and careless. Altogether Koenig had built up a system
of caution on paper which almost beat the game, and which enabled him
to conduct a large volume of business.

The functions of his departments were clearly defined. The pier
division guarded the piers and vessels of the Line, and furnished him
information of sailings from the New York waterfront, which he in turn
passed on to the naval attaché, Boy-Ed. Through this division he was
able to keep in touch with the waterfront element for whatever service
of violence might be necessary, and to keep a fairly complete record of
shipping. The special detail division was assigned to the guarding of
von Bernstorff’s summer place at Cedarhurst, Long Island, Dr. Albert’s
office in the Hamburg-American building, von Papen’s office at 60 Wall
Street, and the Austrian consulate in New York. This division conducted
every week a test to determine whether or not Dr. Albert was being
shadowed. We find entered in his notes on his operatives this:

    “_H. J. Wilkens_ is commended by me for good service rendered
    thus far as attendant on Dr. Albert. This commendation is based
    on a note received from the latter under date of November 12,
    reading as follows:

    “‘Dear Mr. Koenig:

    “‘The service rendered by your bureau’s operative, H. J.
    Wilkens, have proven entirely satisfactory.

                                “‘Yours truly,
                              (Signed) H. T. ALBERT.’”

Apparently Koenig’s performance of his duty to the German cause
encouraged the high officials of the German government in the United
States to rely upon him, for these posts were gradually placed under
his direction during the summer of 1915, the Embassy at Cedarhurst on
July 3, Dr. Albert’s office on Sept. 1, von Papen’s office on Oct.
26, and the Austrian Consulate on December 15--three days previous to
Koenig’s arrest, and less than a week after Captain von Papen, who was
returning to his own country by the request of our country, had called
P. K. to the German Club to “express his thanks for the services this
Bureau have rendered to him.” “At the same time,” the little notebook
confides, “he bid me Good-Bye.” We find these functions mentioned with
a suggestion of reverence.

But the autobiography of Paul Koenig resumes its dark shroud of mystery
when it turns to the functions of the division of secret service. There
he is the dominating figure, a sort of cross between a Dr. Moriarity
and a gorilla, a slippery conniver one minute and a pugnacious bully
the next, convicted by his own complimentary reports. It was in
handling the “D-cases” already mentioned that he employed his many
false names, his secret numbers, his elusive places of appointment, and
his essentially Teutonic discipline. The nature of the work of this
division may best be suggested by citing a case which appears rather
often in his records--Case D-343.


        may not be in my interest. The stenographer of the Central
        Office, however, will continue to write out checks as
        heretofore, but the check-book itself, will always be kept
        under lock and key. (11-23-15)

   #11. Operatives of the Pier Division in future will carry as
        their means of identification only the Bureau’s identification
        card, on the reverse side of which a photograph of the bearer
        will be pasted, with my signature written above and below the
        photo. The front side of the card will also bear my signature.
        These men will not carry any more shields, as in the past.
        Any changes in the personnel of the Pier Division, such as
        attachments and detachments, will be brought to the attention
        of the Marine Superintendent or other Superintends at whose
        piers they are stationed. There will be special operatives
        selected to check up operatives of the Pier Division and
        employees of the piers, who will not be named to anyone in
        advance, but who will, at Intervals, make their inspections,
        carrying with them as their means of identification, a
        commission consisting of a letter on Company’s stationery,
        setting forth their authority, which will be duly signed by
        me and counter-signed by one of the Company’s Vice Directors.
        These special operatives are to be known as Central Office men,
        and do not come under the jurisdiction of the Pier Division.

   #12. Beginning with today, specific plans have been decided
        upon as to the best manner in which to keep newspapers and
        clippings dealing with the war and political subjects.
        Clippings that refer to D-Cases of this Bureau will continue to
        be placed in the private files, together with their respective
        reports. An exception to this particular rule may be made in
        the event that there are too many clippings at hand, in which
        case they may be bound together and kept separate, as is being
        done in the case of operation D-#332. Other clippings are to be
        mounted on cardboard, and the name of the newspaper and date
        typewritten thereon. Articles of interest that cover an entire
        page or more will not be clipped, but will be kept whole in
        a temporary folder in view of binding same later. This, also
        applies to copies which deal with matters on which reports have
        been rendered. (12-7-15)

Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]


    covering G. G. Station #3 on Sunday, November 21st, from 10
    A.M. until 5 P. M. Contrary to the list of assignments for the
    Pier Division he did not do guard duty at the Hoboken Piers
    during the night of November 20th to 21st. In order to be at
    his new post, G. G. Station #3, he was given this night off
    with pay, to be charged to Case #242. Wages while on duty at
    G. G. Station #3 will be the same as heretofore.

    _H. v.Staden_ on November 22d, at 10 A. M., reported to Central
    Office duty as instructed. He will work jointly with Opt.
    W.H.M., his salary to remain unchanged.

    _H. Pearsall_, on Saturday, November 20th upon being instructed
    by Opt. H.J.W. that he was to be assigned to the Pier Division,
    declared that he refused to accept this post, and tendered
    his resignation. According to a written report submitted
    by Opt. H.J.W., H. P. acted insolently, and belittled this
    Bureau’s service. As H. P. did not tender his resignation
    to me personally or by mail, I did not take cognizance of
    what he told Opt. H.J.W. regarding leaving the department,
    but discharged him at once upon hearing of his conduct. His
    services ended on November 21st at 10 A.M. While he has been an
    alert watchman, he has often proven to be a cranky, quarrelsome
    employee, who was the cause of a great deal of trouble while on
    the piers.

    I congratulate myself on having ridden this Bureau of an
    ignorant, stubborn and hot-headed man of the caliber of
    Pearsall, whose last words to stenographer F. Metzler were that
    he would not trust me for a dollar. While it is understood that
    this former employee is disbarred from reinstatement, he will
    never be given any sort of a recommendation, nor will I receive
    him. He is to be kept out of the office entirely.

    _George Fuchs_ was dismissed from the Bureau’s services
    on November 22d at 4.30 P.M. The reason for his discharge
    is general conduct displayed on Company’s piers, constant
    quarreling with another operative, drinking and disorderly
    habits. He will receive no pay for the night of November 21st
    to 22d, during which he refused to join Opt. J.P.C. in his
    duties on Company’s Launch #4.

    _William McCulley_, on November 16th at 3 A.M., was appointed
    Chief of the Secret Service Division, his duties to commence
    on Sunday, November 28th, at 9 A.M. Salary $28. per week. Upon
    his word he promised to remain in this capacity for at least
    six months and to be at my disposal at all hours. He is to take
    a residence in New York City, and will be known as “William
    MacIntyre” at the Headquarters of the Secret Service Division
    to be established on December 1st, 1915.

    _R. E. Leyendecker_, on November 23d, at 11 P.M., was appointed
    Assistant to the

Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]

Rule number 1 of the division stated:

    “Beginning with Nov. 6 (1915) no blue copies are to be made
    of reports submitted in connection with D-Case 343, and the
    original reports will be sent to H. M. G. instead of the
    duplicates, as formerly.”

“H. M. G.” we learned from the key to special personages for whom the
division was conducting investigations, was von Papen himself. Rule 2

    “In order to accomplish better results in connection with
    D-Case 343, and to shorten the stay of the informing agent at
    the place of meeting, it has been decided to discontinue the
    former practice of dining with this agent prior to receiving
    his report. It will also be a rule to refrain from working on
    other matters until the informant in this case has been fully
    heard, and all data taken down in shorthand.”

The book revealed that in D-Case 343 Koenig’s alias was Woehler, and
his agent’s name Schleindl. In his notes on operatives Koenig had
written that “Friedrich Schleindl ... who was first known as Operative
#51, and later as Agent C. O., beginning with October 21st will be
called Agent B. I.” This enabled us to interpret a further regulation
of the division, to this effect.

    “Agent B. I. has been requested not to call again at the
    Central Office, this ruling to take effect immediately. Other
    arrangements will be made to meet him elsewhere. Whether or not
    the stenographer of the Central Office will continue to write
    reports covering D-Case 343 will be determined later.”

Rule 4 read:

    “Supplementing Rule 2, it has been decided that I refrain from
    drinking beer or liquor with my supper prior to receiving Agent
    B. I., for the reason that I wish to be perfectly fresh and
    well prepared to receive his reports.”

And Rule 3 contained this passage:

    “... great care is to be taken that operatives and agents of
    the Secret Service Division remain entirely unknown to members
    of the Central Office and other divisions. These regulations
    do not apply to D-Case 343, which has been handled since the
    beginning of July (1915) with the knowledge of employees not
    belonging to the Secret Service Division. Until more favorable
    arrangements can be made this practice may be continued.”

Here clearly was an unusually important case. The notes indicated
that Koenig was receiving frequent reports of great value from this
Schleindl, had been receiving them for at least five months, was
reporting them to von Papen, and intended to safeguard his obtaining
further information. When a German voluntarily forswears his beer,
something serious is on foot.

Lieut. Barnitz, with Detectives Walsh and Fenelly, arrested Schleindl
the same day we closed in on Koenig. In his pocket was a cablegram
referring to Russian munitions. He was a German reservist, born in
Bavaria. At the outbreak of war he was a clerk in the National City
Bank of New York, and lived away up in the Bronx, and in the first
reaction to war he reported at the German Consulate for duty. Months
passed, and he had not been called upon, when one night he met a German
who told him to report at the Hotel Manhattan to meet another German
named Wagoner. “You’ll find him in the bar,” added his informant.

“Wagoner,” who was Paul Koenig himself, met the youth, and playing
on his patriotism drew from him the information that he had access
to many cablegrams to and from the Allied governments through the
bank concerning the purchase and shipment of war supplies. Offering
Schleindl a retainer of $25 a week, Koenig told him to steal from the
files all such messages he could lay his hands on, together with
copies of express-bills showing when the goods were delivered to the
piers for shipment, all data relating to the prices paid, detailed
descriptions of the purchases, and any other particulars which would
help the German Government to complete its knowledge of what supplies
America was shipping abroad. Schleindl grew quite enthusiastic in the
work. Starting with light thefts, he gradually grew bolder, until he
was in a position to steal documents night after night, take them
to his appointment with Koenig, have them copied, and arrive at the
Bank early enough the following morning to put them back where they
belonged. Friday night was the regular appointment, but often messages
of big shipments came in and he relayed the news at once to his chief.
The extra $25 a week practically doubled his earning power, and made
devotion to the Fatherland very attractive--so much so that he began
to be afraid that Koenig, who was merely the receiving station for
his reports, and who took no risks himself, would receive more than
his share of credit. If there were any iron crosses to be given out,
or any ribbons for foreign service, Schleindl felt that he had earned
his, so he forwarded to his brother in Austria from time to time
stenographic notes written in the Bavarian dialect which would be
especially difficult of translation. In order to evade the censor he
tore them into scraps and sifted them into the folds of newspapers
which went unmolested through the British mail censors at Kirkwall.
These scraps, pieced together and translated into reports, were
forwarded by his brother to German officials.

[Illustration: Alexander Dietrichens]


  _International Film Service. Inc._

Frederick Schleindl]

[Illustration: Schleindl and Dietrichens at a German party]

Schleindl’s zeal had led him into other channels of German activity.
At college in Germany he had had a friend named Alexander Dietrichens,
later known variously as Willish, Sander, Glass, and Lizius--one of
those Riga Russians of German parentage who have served Bolshevism so
eminently in Russia. In 1915 Dietrichens was in America, and the two
renewed their friendship. He said he was eager to serve the Fatherland,
and that he only wanted to know who was supplying munitions to the
Allies to start a campaign of destruction against them. He suggested
the Du Pont factories at Wilmington, and asked the young bank clerk
to come along. Schleindl, impressionable and emotional, had not the
courage. He confessed to me that he wept at the thought, and that he
asked Dietrichens whether any harm could come to him if the explosion
killed anyone. “Very likely,” Dietrichens answered cheerfully.
Schleindl then declined, but he helped the dynamiter to the extent of
keeping an occasional bomb or a package of dynamite for him during the
day in his locker or under his desk at the bank. The main cache where
Dietrichens stored his explosives was near Tenafly, New Jersey, but
when Schleindl and I visited it, in a deserted spot almost a mile from
the nearest building, the shanty was empty.

Schleindl was tried, convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate term
in the penitentiary, for the theft of documents. Koenig pleaded guilty
to the charge, but sentence was suspended on him owing to the greater
importance of the Welland charges.

The Schleindl and Dietrichens cases are only two examples of many to
which the little black book gave clues. It suggested investigations
into many others, for it was a real storehouse of names, and knowing
Koenig’s close relationship with the highest German authorities in
the United States, it contributed a large number of items to the bill
of complaint against Germany which provoked the President’s Flag Day
warning of 1916. Koenig’s mere mention of the name of “Horn” in D-Case
277 gave evidence of the German sponsorship of the attempt of Werner
Horn to blow up the Vanceboro bridge in February, 1915; the name
“Stahl” in D-Case 328 indicated by Koenig’s own hand that it was he who
paid Gustave Stahl for the false affidavits that the _Lusitania_ had
carried guns; the name “Kienzle” in D-Case 316 was the name of a man
who was involved in trying to blow up vessels sailing for France and
England; the name “Hammond” in D-Case 357 led to the disclosure that
the Bureau of Investigation, although chiefly engaged in spying and
destroying plots, sometimes ran other and more delicate errands for von

Posing this time as “W. H. Becker” Koenig called on one J. C. Hammond,
a writer and publicity man who had offices at 34th Street and Broadway.
To Hammond he stated that from the standpoint of the Germans in America
two newspapers were taking irritating and unfriendly attitudes. These
were the _New York World_ and the _Providence Journal_. Both papers had
taken, soon after the outbreak of war, definite stands on the American
issues involved, and both pursued the subject in a typically thorough
fashion, the Providence paper obtaining much of its information from
sympathetic British sources, and the _World_ having an influential
position politically which led it across the trail of what the
newspaper men call “big stories.” The _Providence Journal_ in fact
emerged from comparative obscurity during the early months of war with
startling charges against German agents both here and abroad, supported
by evidence which seemed incredible though of sound origin. These
stories were republished widely through the country. It was undoubtedly
having a powerful effect upon the public, for the country, dazed with
the fact of war, was ready to take sides against the nation which was
apparently guilty of the worst acts. Some of those charges were true,
and although they seemed at that time so fantastic as to be almost
impossible, the members of the German Embassy knew they were true and
squirmed inwardly every time a fresh one burst out. The _World_ had
a habit of not only spreading exciting news articles over its front
page, but lending color to them by publishing photographs of supporting
documents to prove their authenticity. So von Bernstorff and the
attachés, after having tried to bring influence to bear in many subtle
ways to curb the publications, called in Koenig, and he made his little
pilgrimage to Hammond’s office.

He offered the publicity agent a large sum of money to find out what
exposures the two papers had still in the ice-box, ready to release.
Later, he increased this to a blanket offer of any sum which Hammond
should name, provided the latter could induce the papers to turn over
to him the articles and affidavits in their possession. The offer was
not accepted. Hammond did not bite at the offer of a later reward of
$100,000 which Koenig hung up to silence the publication of anti-German
news in certain other large newspapers in the country, nor did he, as
Koenig requested, go to England to visit Rintelen, to find out where
Rintelen had left a trunk full of valuable papers when he fled the
United States.

The name “Lewis” mentioned in the citation of another case in the
little black book revealed a further variation of the services of the
Secret Service Division. The United States owned a large quantity
of Krag-Joergensen rifles for which in that year of peace it had no
use, but which several foreign governments would have been glad to
buy. Commercial bachelors who were looking for war brides all took
turns paying court to the rifles, and all without success. Readers
of the newspapers may recall a small tempest which raged around the
alleged sale of the rifles, and the charges levelled at one after
another German of the attempt to purchase. Each new charge was denied
by its victim, and it finally developed that a Mrs. Selma Lewis had
been involved in the negotiations, and was willing to pose as the
purchaser. The “man behind” was Franz Rintelen, acting for the German
Government, and the name “Lewis” here in Koenig’s notes, amplified by
the full name and address of Mrs. Lewis in a small address book which
we also captured, indicates that Koenig worked for Rintelen as well
as the abler and more authentic members of the embassy of destruction
which Germany kept in America.

I think I have made it clear that when the United States interned
Paul Koenig it made prisoner one of the busiest men of the German
spy system, and one of the strangest. He was physically powerful and
mentally quick with a German sort of quickness. He had the most supreme
self-confidence it has been my pleasure to meet, and that caused his
downfall. If he had administered his bureau in a manner calculated to
breed loyalty in his employees he would have been more successful,
but he conceived his work as a one-man job, and made his subordinates
goose-step to his tune. It is certain that had he not set down with
such care every item which would be useful to the United States in
unearthing his actions, no one can say how long they would have
continued. Napoleon had his Waterloo, however, and Paul Koenig had his
notebook, and with the same scrupulous foresight the indomitable “xxx”
left that notebook where we would be most likely to find it.



    #1. I have decide to refrain from chewing tobacco in the
        office, as it disagrees with my health, thereby interfering
        with my work. (12-1-15)

    #2. I shall drink no more whiskey. (12-6)

    _HEALTH TABLE #1._


    9-12-14-17-17-21-23-24-25-28-28-  11



Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]


             safeguarding of the Imperial German Embassy at Cedarhurst,
             L. I.

    Sept. 1. Bureau was entrusted with the safeguarding of the
             offices of Commercial Attache Dr. Albert.

    Oct. 26. Bureau was entrusted with the safeguarding of the
             offices of the Military Attache.

    Nov. 12. Began first investigation for Austro-Hungarian

    Dec. 13. As 6.30 P.M. Captain von Papen, German Military
             Attache, received me at the German Club to express his
             thanks for the services which this Bureau have rendered
             to him. At the same time he bid me Good-Bye.

    Dec. 15. Bureau was entrusted with the safeguarding of the
             offices of the I. & R. Austro-Hungarian Consulate General.


    - 1913 -

    C.#17. Investigation Re: Jersey City Wharfage Graft.

    C.#24. Investigation of Baggage Department, Hoboken.

    C.#32. Chinese Stowaways on S.S. “PRINZ JOACHIM”, Voy. 77.

    C.#40. Investigation Re: Thefts of Cargo on the Atlas Pier, New
           York City.

    C.#41. S.S. “FRIEDRICH DER GROSSE”, Arrival at New York July 2,

    C.#49. Charges Made Against W. Barbe, Chief Officer, S.S. “CARL

    C.#54. Investigation Re: S.S. “PRINZ FRIEDRICH WILHELM”,
           Arrived at New York on June 3.

    C.#67. Fire on Board S.S. “IMPERATOR” on August 28.

    C.#69. Fire Patrol on S.S. “IMPERATOR”, & etc.

    C.#70. Max Ludwig Thomsen, Alias Thomspson.

    C.#95. Charges Against Paul Koenig.

Random Pages from “P. K.’s Little Black Book”]

It is a rare treat, aside from its now past informative value. And it
contains one real mystery which the Westphalian himself can alone clear
up. The page headed “Health Rules” reads as follows:

    “#1. I have decided to refrain from chewing tobacco in the
         office as it disagrees with my health thereby interfering with
         my work. (12-1-15.)

    “#2. I shall drink no more whiskey. (12-6.)”

Which leads one to believe that he saw the practical value of an
exemplary life. But we must wait for him to explain the page headed
“Health Table,” which reads:





The “XI” is evidently November, of 1915, the “XII” December. What did
he do on those dates so accurately mentioned? Did temptation lead
him twice from the path on the 17th and 28th of November? If so,
what could this temptation have been? Is it possible that the same
conscience which made him typewrite his rules of conduct weakened, and
then remorse turned about and forced him to set down his lapses from
grace? Is it further possible that each of the dates cited means that
Paul Koenig broke his brand new health rules ten times in November and
eight times in December, and _chewed tobacco in office hours_?

We must wait in patience--some day his Westphalian conscience may



The business of crime prevention and detection depends largely on
the confidence one man has in another. That is one reason why a
“stool-pigeon” is an uncomfortable ally on a case. You can not be
sure that a man who associates with criminals and is giving them away
is not giving the case away at the same time. His gang hates him for
squealing, his evidence is the evidence of a traitor, and he is a good
person not to depend on. I make that point here because I have always
tried to avoid using stool-pigeons, and because the story to follow
will illustrate what can be accomplished by a dependable man.

The story really starts about twenty years ago. In the spring of 1900,
an Italian from Paterson, N. J., Brescia by name, attended a meeting
of anarchists in a house in Elizabeth Street, New York. The group was
composed of two parties, one which we may call the progressives, and
one the inactives. Brescia assailed the inactives, denounced them as
cowards, and stirred up so much dissension that the meeting broke up
for fear of a police raid, and several of the members retaliated at
Brescia by accusing him of being a police spy. He sailed for Italy, and
on July 29, in the little Lombardi town of Monza, murdered King Humbert
the Good. When the news was cabled to America it was hailed with proper
grief by the public and with great joy by the anarchists who had called
Brescia a traitor. His execution, which followed swiftly, made him a
martyr. So to do him honor, the group was named the Brescia Circle.

By 1914 the membership of the circle was nearly 600. A cosmopolitan
lot: Italians, Russians, Russian Jews, Germans, Austrians, Spaniards
and Americans, of both sexes. The leaders were agitators whose speaking
ability had lifted them out of the ranks and who found an easier living
by their wits than by their hands. The Bomb Squad knew something of
their activities and habits, for the past history of anarchist cases
linked up certain names in a pointed way. We knew their fondness for
bombs, and the records of the police department contain many instances
of anarchists inspired to violence by the inflammatory speeches of
such agitators, as their idol, Francisco Ferrer, had preached violence
in Spain. The outbreak of war in Europe, from which so many of the
group had migrated to America, and the promise of social confusion
which it held for them had stirred the Brescia Circle more than a
little. The active members met regularly in the basement of a building
at 301 East 106th Street, a shabby house in a shabby district east of
the New York Central tracks. These meetings, which occurred usually
on a Sunday, as many of the members were working during the week,
were addressed by such notorious anarchists as Emma Goldman, Becky
Edelson, Frank Mandese, Carlo Tresca and Pietro Allegra--names probably
unfamiliar to the general public, but names with which the Police
Department had “auld acquaintance.” Occasionally an editor of an
anarchist newspaper in Lynn, Massachusetts, Gagliani by name, came to
speak in the cellar, and Plunkett, Harry Kelly, and Alexander Berkman
were usually to be found in the group.

The winter of 1913–1914 was one of industrial depression. Many of
the radical labor element rallied to the I. W. W. and the unemployed
readily joined them. The methods of the anarchists and I. W. W.’s
were similar, and the advocates of unrest were enlisted under both
standards. In the late winter demonstrations began and multiplied
until in March a youth named Frank Tannenbaum, to whom Emma Goldman
later took a fancy, led a mob of I. W. W.’s into St. Alphonsus’ Church
demanding food. The police waited until they had passed inside, then
locked the doors, and arrested the whole lot. This was but one instance
of a number which promised more trouble. Whatever nice distinctions of
creed separated the Industrial Workers from the anarchists were paper
distinctions; the performances of both bodies made it fairly plain that
if you scratched an anarchist you found an I. W. W. underneath.

There may have been some intimation from abroad of the impending
war, among the anarchists, for in July certain of them began to
grow demonstrative. On Independence Day Mandese was arrested in
Tarrytown, in uncomfortable proximity to the estate and person of
John D. Rockefeller. Carron, Berg and Hansen, three members of the
Brescia Circle, were engaged on that same day in perfecting a bomb in
their rooms at Lexington Avenue and 104th Street, when the machine
exploded prematurely and killed them. That bomb had been intended for
the Rockefeller family. Naturally everyone with a shred of respect
for order who read of these episodes recoiled from them, but it was
necessary to judge them from the anarchist’s own standpoint to see that
while one of the cases had resulted in death, and the Mandese incident
in arrest, both had been successful in creating a disturbance. The
anarchist likes disturbance as well as he dislikes order, for unrest is
contagious, and means new recruits to the cause. It became our duty,
therefore, to make a careful investigation of these disturbances at
their source, and we insinuated a detective into the Brescia Circle

He spoke only English--a good language for social intercourse, but
not the key to the affairs of the group in the 106th Street basement.
Whenever the more prominent agitators had a really important matter to
discuss they used the Italian tongue, and it was impossible for our man
to eavesdrop. Perhaps he was over-eager, for twice he was brought to
trial by the Circle charged with spying. Twice he was acquitted. But
when his enemies had him formally charged a third time with treachery,
the anarchists decided that although they had no evidence against him
beyond a powerful suspicion, he would be better outside. Outside he

On October 3, the anarchists gave a grand ball at the Harlem Casino in
honor of Emma Goldman, and at that affair announcement was made that
October 13 would be observed by those of the cause with a celebration
at Forward Hall, in East Broadway, fitting to the anniversary of the
“assassination” of Francisco Ferrer. The orator, Leonard Abbott, also
reminded the gathering that “the Catholic Church had been responsible
for Ferrer’s death.” At five o’clock in the afternoon of October 12
a vicious explosion occurred in the north aisle of St. Patrick’s
Cathedral. It was an anarchist’s bomb. The nave of the church held
numerous worshippers, who were panic-stricken, but who fortunately
escaped injury with the exception of a young man struck in the face by
a flying splinter from one of the altars. Shortly after midnight of
the next day a bomb placed in the front area of the priests’ house of
St. Alphonsus’ exploded with violence enough to break every window in
the house and every window in the house across the street. Ferrer’s
“assassination” had evidently been appropriately observed.

The situation was disturbing. We had to put a stop to bombing before
the anarchists grew bolder and began to kill someone beside themselves.
Of course we wanted all the evidence we could lay hands on, and
yet the evidence we had been able to obtain had not prevented two
outrages. We felt that undoubtedly the best place to look for it was
still the Brescia Circle, as it constituted the chief organization
and headquarters for the element which we believed guilty. And we now
return to the question of the stool-pigeon.

It would have been possible to employ one of the Circle, perhaps. It is
certain that I should have been uneasy with only his evidence to depend
upon, for a bomb does not wait to be investigated. Planting a man in
the Brescia Circle had not been successful, but I felt that it could be
made successful. So out of five or six candidates from the department I
chose Amedeo Polignani for the work.

He was a young Italian detective who kept his own counsel, short,
strong, mild-mannered and unobtrusive. And he knew Italian. “Your name
from now on is Frank Baldo,” I said. “Forget you’re a detective. You
can get a job over in Long Island City, so as to carry out the bluff.
You are an anarchist. Join the Brescia Circle and any other affiliated
group, and report to me every day. The older members may be suspicious
of you, and they’ll probably follow you, so we had better arrange when
you are to telephone and I’ll let you know whenever and wherever I want
to see you.” We discussed every possible angle of the work in order
to anticipate and forestall whatever accident either of omission or
commission might occur to make Polignani’s position suspicious. He was
instructed to call me by telephone at certain hours, using a private
number, telephoning from a public pay-station in a store in which
there was not more than one booth, so that no one might follow him and
hear his conversation through the flimsy walls of a booth adjoining.
He was to deport himself in a retiring manner, and to throw himself
earnestly into the part he was to act. I felt sure that his quiet,
agreeable nature would disarm any suspicion of him as a newcomer, and
that complete concentration upon the spirit of the masquerade would
gradually draw out important information. First and foremost, he was
to be on the watch for evidence of the man who had committed the two
bomb outrages in October; secondly, he was to cover the activities and
intentions of the anarchists in general; thirdly, he was to keep his
eyes and ears open and his mouth shut, and to deal with any emergency
which might arise.


  _Copyright, by International News Service_

Carmine and Carbone in Court]

It often happens in fiction that a man journeys to a far country
and somewhere on the voyage sheds his identity like an old suit of
clothes to proceed through years of adventure as another individual;
in the movies it is no feat at all for a girl to disguise herself as a
man and hoodwink the rest of the actors through several hundred feet
of film; but it remained for a New York detective to discard his name
and his associations for six months, and without once stirring outside
his jurisdiction, without any disguise, and without miraculous power,
to add to the records--and consequently to the efficiency--of his
department a store of information of one of the most troublesome groups
of anarchists in the United States.

He bade his little family in the Bronx good-by, got employment at
manual labor in a Long Island City factory, and hired a cheap room at
1907 Third Avenue. Throughout November he attended meetings of the
Brescia Circle, listening to bitter speeches full of wild plans to
overthrow the government, and the organized church, and getting the lay
of the land. To such members as chose to speak to him he was courteous
and friendly, but they were not many. The more important members had a
way of gathering in corners and whispering to each other, and the new
member was not invited to join the charmed inner circle. So he held his
peace, and memorized names and faces, and presently his opportunity

Polignani had noticed on November 30 a young Italian cobbler, named
Carbone, who seemed to have influence in the Circle, and he confirmed
this judgment on the next two Sunday evenings as he saw Carbone in
whispered conversation with Frank Mandese and one Campanielli. The
next Sunday night the same trio was in star-chamber session when a
good-natured wrestling match started in another part of the room, and
Carbone turned to watch it. Polignani was tossing various members to
the floor, and as he was smoothing his ruffled hair after a short
bout, Carbone tapped him on the shoulder and said, “You’re a strong
fellow--I’m glad to see you a member of the Brescia Circle!” The
detective smiled, and the two fell into conversation, which continued
as they left the society’s rooms and strolled up Third Avenue.

“The trouble with those fellows,” said Carbone, “is that they talk too
much and don’t act enough. They don’t accomplish anything.”

“That’s right,” Polignani agreed.

“What they ought to do is throw a few bombs and show the police
something,” Carbone continued. “Wake them up! Look--” he held up the
stumps of five fingers of his right hand--“I got that making a bomb.
Some day I’ll show you how to make ’em.”

That arrangement suited Polignani perfectly. He had a lead, after
tedious “watchful waiting,” which had been punctuated by the explosion
of a mysterious bomb at the door of the Bronx County Court House on
November 11. He had listened to reams of oratory against the ruling
classes, law, order and the churches, had heard his fellow members
chided because the bombs at St. Patrick’s and St. Alphonsus’ had been
too weak, and had heard speakers advise any members who contemplated
the use of dynamite not to take too many people into their confidences.
Carbone was deliberately confiding in “Baldo,” and the detective made
up his mind to cultivate him.

This extract from his notebook will illustrate how the acquaintance

    “I did not see Carbone again until Sunday the 27th. On this day
    he spoke to me of a friend named Frank and said that if all
    anarchists were like his friend they would be all right. He
    thinks nothing of making and throwing a bomb. On January 1st
    about 1.45 P. M. Carbone met me as per appointment. We went to
    where the meeting of the unemployed was being held and both
    of us shook hands with Louise Berg, Mandese, and Bianco.... He
    introduced me to his friend Frank....”

Enter the third conspirator, Frank Abarno, 25 years old, and a native
of San Velle, Italy. Almost on the heels of his introduction to the
promising new member, the new member began to take a new interest
in life, for on January 3 Carbone drew Polignani out of the meeting
after the speeches and said quietly, “Come on up to the 125th Street
Station. It’s warm up there, and we won’t be bothered. I’ll tell you
something about making bombs.” And on the way up Lexington Avenue
Carbone explained that he needed some caps about two inches long. All
the dynamite he wanted he could get from his uncle, a contractor “out
in the country.” “We’ll get some dynamite, and then you and Frank and
me will blow up some churches, see?”

“Sure,” the detective answered. “What church?”

“St. Patrick’s is the best. This time it’ll be a good one too--not like

“Did you hear what Mandese was saying the other night?” Polignani
asked. “He was scrapping with another fellow and the fellow says, ‘If
they wouldn’t give me no work I’d throw bombs.’ And Mandese said to
him, ‘The only kind of bombs you shoot are the kind you shoot with
your mouth,’ and he says, ‘What kind of bombs do you shoot then?’ And
Mandese says, ‘The kind that went off at Madison Square and the two
churches, see!’”

Carbone apparently did not care for the results of the previous
explosions, for he said:

“Well, they were no good. That bomb that killed Carron and Berg and
Hansen wasn’t made right. It was wound too tight--that’s why it went
off too soon. I can make a bomb from a brass ball off a bed-post that
will start something.”

A fortnight passed, and Carbone turned up at the Brescia meeting-place
in company with Abarno. They beckoned to Polignani and the three walked
down Third Avenue, Abarno mouthing anarchy, and suddenly suggesting
that he would like to go into St. Patrick’s, find Cardinal Farley
alone, and choke him to death. The gentle soul then remarked: “Carbone,
you make some bombs!”

“If I can get those caps I’ll make a bomb that will destroy the
Cathedral clear down to the ground, but if I can’t get the caps then
I’ll have to make the other kind.”

“Well, you make two bombs,” said Abarno. “We’ll set them off on the
outside of the church about six o’clock some morning and then we
can get away clean and get to work on time and nobody will know the

Carbone asked Abarno to get him some sulphur, and turned to Polignani a
slip pencilled, “Collorate di Potase, 1 lb.” and “Andimonio.” “You get
that at a drug store, Baldo,” he said.

“Baldo” complied, and a few weeks later the materials were assembled.
Carbone instructed Polignani to call on Abarno for a booklet on bomb
manufacture, and about six in the evening of February 4 Abarno gave the
detective the pamphlet to read while he went out to get some spaghetti,
as the two had an appointment with Carbone at 7.30. Polignani was
hardly out of Abarno’s sight when he sprinted to a telephone and called
me. I met him at once, at headquarters, and turned the booklet over to
the photographer, who got to work immediately photographing the pages.
Our time was short, and before we had the job done I had to restore the
book to Polignani. On Lincoln’s Birthday Carbone gave the book to our
man again, to study, and this gave us time to finish the photographic



  Una bilancia usata                             L.   8.--
  Un termometro                                   ”   2.50
  Misure                                          ”   3.--
  Matracci di vetro                               ”   6.--
  Tre imbuti di vetro e tre bacchette di vetro    ”   2.--
  Lampada a spirito                               ”   1.--
  Un mastello di legno di 30 o 35 litri           ”   3.--
  Spese varie e impreviste                        ”  20.50
                                         TOTALE  L.  46.--

    Raccomandiamo a coloro che si vogliono mettere a questi lavori,
    di procurarsi prima di tutto il denaro necessario; altrimenti
    arrischiano di doversi fermare a mezza strada, di tirar le cose
    in lungo ed esporsi inutilmente.

    Raccomandiamo agli stessi di non trascurare nessuna delle
    precauzioni necessarie per non attirare l’attenzione della
    polizia, di non mettersi in vista colla propaganda pubblica, di
    non farsi vedere coi compagni conosciuti, e di non lavorare mai
    nelle case soggette ad essere perquisite.

    Sopratutto raccomandiamo non mettersi a fabbricare esplosivi
    per il gusto di fabbricarli. Tutto ciò che si può avere bello e
    fatto, è inutile, è stupido il volerlo fare da sè, quando non
    si ha la pratica ed i mezzi che hanno quelli del mestiere. Nei
    posti in cui si può avere la dinamite--e oggi la si può avere
    quasi dappertutto--perchè mettersi a fabbricarla?

    Bisogna poi che fra i diversi esplosivi, le diverse bombe,
    ecc., ognuno scelga le cose che per lui sono più facili e più
    pratiche ricordandosi sempre che: =E’ meglio una cosa piccola
    fatta, che una grande restata in proposito.=


    stessa: si legano bene con fil di ferro intorno alla rotaia,
    si mette capsula e miccia, si copre con terra e la mina è
    pronta. Questa produce una rottura di mezzo metro. Per avere
    rotture più estese non v’è che preparare parecchie di queste
    mine, a debita distanza e munirle di miccie di eguali qualità e
    lunghezza; e raccogliere insieme i capi delle miccie, in modo
    che dando fuego alle miccie lo scoppio è contemporaneo in tutti
    i punti. Spesso è vantaggioso per far saltare gli scambii, cioè
    i punti dove s’incrociano diverse linee. Per mettere fuori
    d’uso una locomotiva o una macchina a vapore qualsiasi, basta
    far scoppiare 3 o 4 petardi in un tubo intemo della caldaia.


    Sono recipienti di metallo pieni di materia esplosiva, che
    scoppiando si rompono in pezzi e feriscono i circostanti.
    Possono avere qualunque forma, ma la sferica è più efficace.
    Per farle scoppiare si può adoperare una capsula con miccia
    che brucia rapidissimamente tanto da aver giusto il tempo
    per accenderle e lanciarle. Si può anche applicarvi tutto
    a l’intorno dei luminelli con capsule o altri apparati, in
    modo che per l’urto della caduta il fulminato scoppi e faccia
    scoppiare la carica della bomba, come in quelle all’Orsini.

    La bomba fa tanto più effetto quanto più il metallo è
    resistente, sempre che la carica abbia la forza di farla
    scoppiare. Quindi il miglior metallo è il ferro o l’acciaio,
    poi il rame, l’ottone, il bronzo, quindi la ghisa ed infine
    lo zinco solo o legato con stagno; il piombo non serve. LO


Pages from the bomb-thrower’s textbook]

I realized when I saw the translation how Carbone knew so much about
making bombs.

“La Salute e’ in voi!” read the cover, or “Health is in you!” Evidently
a toast to the brotherhood for which it was prepared. It was a pamphlet
of some sixty pages, measuring about four by eight inches, and cleanly
printed in Italian. It was nothing less than a text-book on how to go
about making bombs--a sort of guide to anarchist etiquette. It would be
unwise to reproduce its instructions here in detail, as they were too
accurate for the general peace, but the index which follows will give
a conception of the thoroughness with which the anonymous writers in
far-off Italy covered their subject.

      First principles                     1
      Instruments                          7
      Manipulation                         8
      Explosive material                  11
      Powder                              14
      Nitroglycerine                      14
      Dynamite                            20
      Fulminate of mercury                23
      Gun cotton                          27
      Preparation of fuses                31
      Capsule and petard                  34
      Application of explosive materials  35
      Bombs                               39
      Incendiary materials                44”

Yes, it was accurate--and very practical. To quote from its advice to
struggling anarchists:

    “We recommend most earnestly that if you wish to engage in
    this line of work, you procure, before all else, a sufficient
    amount of money, otherwise you risk being put out in the middle
    of the street, only to find your long work and trouble all in
    vain. We recommend at the same time that you do not omit any
    precaution necessary to avoid attracting the attention of the
    police, and avoid mixing with the public, nor be seen with
    known companions. And do not work at it in the house except
    when necessary....

    “The work should be done in a well ventilated room provided
    with a good chimney place and furnished in such a way that you
    can hide things if anyone enters, and this room ought to be on
    the top floor of the house on account of the odors that are
    always being produced....

    “Above all we recommend that you never make explosives for
    the mere pleasure of making them. All you do beyond enough is
    useless and stupid--especially so when you have neither the
    practice nor the proper means for making them. As to the place
    to keep the dynamite, why make it until it is needed? Take
    heed that among the various kinds of explosives, bombs, etc.,
    always choose the one that will be most easily used and most
    practical, remembering always that it is better to do a little
    thing well than to leave a big thing half done....”

The little booklet contained a list of the necessary tools with their
estimated costs, and said of the chemicals to be used, “The materials
to be employed should be sufficiently pure. They may be had of dealers
in chemical and pharmaceutical products, and it is well not to buy all
the stuff from the same merchant, in order that he may not know what
you wish to make....” It explained the relative forces of explosives
in this way: “The relative force which the various explosives have
is as follows: Shot-gun powder has a force of 1; an equal amount of
‘Panclastite’ has the force of 6; of dynamite 7; of dry gun-cotton 9
(if with 50% of salts of nitre, 5); of nitroglycerine 9; of fulminate
of mercury 10 or 3½; of nitromannite 11.... All the other explosives of
which we speak, such as melenite, etc., have nitroglycerine for their
bases, therefore have no greater force than that of nitroglycerine.”

After an exposition of the method of making nitroglycerine--the mere
reading of which would make your hair bristle--the compilers conclude
“... it is not very dangerous to use when cold, notwithstanding
all that has been said. It would be a great work if some American
manufacturer would devise some means of congealing it so that it would
be less sensitive to shock, so that it might safely be carried on the
railways.” Of fulminating cotton they remark, “As it ignites with
instantaneous rapidity it is best to use a fuse that burns the most
quickly; for example, when for use in bombs made to throw at a person,
it will be enough to twist the cord, etc., etc.” Minute directions are
given for the home-laboratory manufacture of the explosives listed, and
the experimenter who cared to attempt their manufacture was warned in
the simplest and most emphatic terms of the caprices of the different
materials. He was told how to make cord-fuses that would burn at the
rate of 8 hours to the yard, and of 6 hours to the yard; paper fuses
which would reach the explosive two hours after a spark had touched the
corner of a sheet of prepared paper; thread fuses which would sparkle
fifteen seconds to the metre, or three minutes to the metre; and,
finally, an instantaneous fuse which “Because it will burn with all the
speed of electricity ... may be made to serve many important purposes:
to fire a mine under a passing train, under gatherings, or troops of

If the bomber wished to blow up a wall, he was told how to compute
by simple mathematics the quantity of explosive required. A bridge
“will require twice the charge needed for a wall”--and the vulnerable
points of the bridge were indicated. Telephone and telegraph poles and
wires, street gratings, street railways, locomotives, steam-boilers,
all came in for their share of attention. “It is very easy to find
suitable receptacles for bombs,” the writer went on. “For example,
large inkwells, brass handles such as are used on letter-presses....
For certain purposes a bottle may be made to serve as a bomb--they
are suitable for throwing from a window.... Fragile glass bottles
when filled with this solution (an incendiary mixture) make handy
incendiary bombs to hurl among troops, official gatherings, etc.; also
to pour from windows upon troops, or to throw from a drinking glass or
pail....” I have wondered whether Gavrio Prinzip of Sarajevo ever saw
this book, and whether it may not have been translated into Italian
from the original German.

Mere possession of this wicked treatise would suggest that the owner
was up to no good, especially if the owner, as in this case, was known
to be a volatile member of an anarchistic circle who had already
declared his intentions of wrecking something. It was reasonable to
assume that there must be such a book of instruction in existence, that
the bombers had not been handling delicate explosives with no better
knowledge than word-of-mouth, hearsay chemistry, but I am free to
confess that my first sight of the pamphlet brought the plots of the
men we were watching very close to grim reality. I never knew just when
we would get an ambulance call and have to go and pick Polignani out of
the wreck of a premature explosion, and I never heard him report in on
the telephone that I didn’t experience a momentary apprehension of his
latest news. The detective himself was calm enough, and enthusiastic
over the fact that the trail was growing hotter all the time. The
question of evidence of the previous explosions was in the background
now, and the activities of the Brescia Circle as a political unit did
not concern us nearly as much as the activities of three of its members
with their “andimonio, collorate di potase” and their pamphlet, and
their hatred of the Catholic Church.

Polignani had seen this hatred demonstrated many times by Carbone.
They passed two Sisters of Charity one chilly evening near the Harlem
station, and the anarchist spat, and cursed them. So the detective
was not surprised by Abarno’s proposal on the night of St. Valentine’s
Day that the three conspirators plant their bombs in St. Patrick’s
Cathedral. “We’ll go over there some day soon and look for a good place
to set them. And then we’ll plant the bomb on some good holiday--say on
March 21, eh?”

“What’s that day?” Polignani inquired.

“The Commune!” Abarno answered.

Polignani bought the antimony and the chlorate of potash, and at a
subsequent meeting watched uneasily while Carbone tried to pulverize
the antimony with a hammer. It was too hard work, however, and “Baldo”
was directed to buy a small quantity of the pulverized substance. This
he did. The three had meanwhile been trying to pick out a good room in
an English-speaking lodging house in 29th Street, but finally gave it
up and hired a furnished room at 1341 Third Avenue. There they brought
their materials, consisting of twelve yards of copper wire, a trunk
full of odds and ends, tools, fuse cord, and various ingredients. To
this supply they wanted to add some hollow iron balls, but the hollow
iron ball market was sparse, and they finally substituted three tin
hand-soap cans. On February 27 Polignani and Abarno made a tour of
inspection of St. Patrick’s, and as they were descending the steps
Abarno remarked that when he had destroyed the Cathedral they would
turn their attention first to the Carnegie residence at 90th Street and
Fifth Avenue, and then to the Rockefeller home. “We won’t wait till
March 21,” he observed impatiently. “Let’s get this job done soon. Say
Tuesday morning.”

[Illustration: A postcard received by Commissioner Woods after the
arrest of the Anarchists

The message reads:

    My Dear Sir

    Your police Espionage may go as far as you like for the
    promotion of your Bankrupt Law & Order of Society. The
    Anarchists of New York have but one Life to give for the Ideal
    of Humanity and absolute Freedom of mankind the world over.
    yours The Society for the Propagation of absolute Liberty and
    Human Freedom....”

High noon of the following day saw the three plotters cheerfully at
work in the furnished room. Abarno and Carbone measured carefully the
proportions of sulphur, sugar, chlorate of potash and antimony; Carbone
filled the tins with the mixture, and led the fuses into the heart of
the mass, glancing up from time to time to the detective with real
pride, as if to say: “See, Baldo? That’s how an expert works!” “Baldo”
had contributed his share of the materials--a few lengths of iron rod.
Carbone bound these to the outside of the cans with cord, and added a
few bolts which he found in a bureau drawer, and a coat-hanger, twisted
out of shape. Round and round this shapeless tangle of metal he wove
copper wire, and so produced two heavy, compact bombs. Polignani had
grown almost gray when, after boring the fuse holes in the can-tops,
Carbone casually picked up a hammer and began to tattoo the cans.
The detective promptly took refuge behind the bed, near the floor.

“No use to hide there, Baldo!” This with a laugh from Carbone. “If
she goes off she’ll blow the whole house down. How’s that, Frank?” he
added, showing the finished product to Abarno.

“I’ll throw that one and you can throw the other, Carbone,” Abarno
said. “Now listen. We will meet here Tuesday morning at six o’clock
to the minute. We will get to the Cathedral just at 6.20. Then we’ll
light the bombs, and the fuses will burn slow for twenty minutes, so
as we can get over to the Madison Avenue car and then we can all get
to work on time, and we will have a good alibi all right. Then we’ll
get together Tuesday night and go some place and have a good time to
celebrate throwing a scare into Fifth Avenue, boys! Tuesday morning,
six o’clock sharp?”

Carbone and Polignani assented, and Abarno left.

Polignani kept in close touch with me from that moment forward. Ever
since the day when Carbone had sent him to the drug store for black
antimony, with instructions to bribe the drug clerk if he could not
easily obtain it, we had had a double check on the conspirators, for I
had assigned two men to shadow them constantly. The case was building
towards a climax. Polignani had shrewdly kept the slip on which
Carbone wrote the prescription for the explosives, and when Carbone
asked where it was he said, “I tore it up. I didn’t want it to be
found on me. It would get me into trouble.” The anarchist praised the
detective for his forethought. The two men from the Bomb Squad never
let Abarno and Carbone out of their sight, so that for a month we had
not only the direct evidence of Polignani of what the conspirators
said and did in his presence, but evidence from the two shadows which
accounted for their time more fully, probably, than they could have
recalled themselves. And so when Polignani--who did not know he was
being observed--told me of the final plans, I passed the information on
to the two shadows, and we formulated a counter-campaign for Tuesday

Shortly after sunrise on Tuesday, Polignani tumbled out of bed and into
his clothes. He ate a hasty and nervous breakfast at a cheap lunch-room
around the corner, and hurried to the sidewalk before 1341 Third
Avenue, arriving a few minutes after six. Abarno joined him at 6.30.

“Where’s Carbone--isn’t he here?” he said by way of greeting.

“No,” replied “Baldo.”

“Well, we can’t wait for him. We can’t lose any time. I got to be at
work at 7.30. Come up and get the bombs with me. We’ll probably meet
him on the way down the street. Or maybe he’s at the shoe-shop.”

The two men went upstairs and into the third-floor-back. “Give me the
key,” Abarno muttered. Polignani did so. Abarno opened the trunk and
took out the two bombs. “You take one and I’ll take the other,” he
whispered. “Come on. Put it under your coat.”

When they started down Third Avenue the two shadows--who had also risen
early--disengaged themselves from the doorways where they were idling
and proceeded at an even pace down the Avenue behind the men. A few
hundred yards or so in the rear of the procession was a limousine, and
I was in the limousine. I could spot the men distinctly, and I had to
chuckle when I saw them catch sight of a uniformed officer a block or
so ahead and hastily cross the street. The same thing occurred twice
again in the course of the march. Our parade continued. No one but
ourselves paid any attention to the two laborers who were carrying
lumpy bundles under their coats.

At Fifty-third Street my chauffeur turned west and slipped into high
speed. We were at the Cathedral in a minute more, and I jumped out and
hurried into the vestibule. No one there but three or four scrub-women,
puttering around in the half-light with their mops and pails. Several
hundred worshippers were already gathered in the front of the nave,
where Bishop Hayes was conducting early mass. As I passed into the body
of the church there was no one near except an elderly usher, with white
hair and beard. I stepped into a dark corner and waited.

[Illustration: 1. Detective George D. Barnitz

2. Detective Patrick Walsh

3. Detective James Sterett

4. Left to right: Patrick Walsh, Jerome Murphy and James Sterett]

A matter of two or three minutes passed, though it seemed much longer.
Then I saw Abarno and Polignani enter the vestibule, cross it and enter
the church itself, taking their cigars out of their mouths as they
turned towards the north aisle. Abarno led the way. At the tenth pew
he motioned to Polignani to sit there, and Polignani obeyed, dropping
to his knees in prayer. Abarno continued to the sixth pew ahead. Two
of the scrub-women had deserted their mops, and were dusting the pews
along the north aisle near the newcomers. Abarno rested for a moment in
his pew, with his head and body bent as if in prayer, then rose and
rejoined Polignani. Again he rose, and this time moved toward the north
end of the altar, where he crouched for several seconds, placing his
bomb against a great pillar. With his other hand he flicked the ashes
from the coal of his cigar and touched the glowing end to the fuse. He
had taken perhaps three steps down the aisle again when the scrub-woman
stopped plying her dust-cloth. She fastened an iron grip on Abarno’s
arms and hustled him down the aisle so swiftly that no one remarked the
affair. The scrub-woman was Detective Walsh, disguised. The elderly
usher passed the two and hurried to the spot where Abarno had crouched
by the pillar. He saw the lighted fuse and pinched it out with his
fingers. The elderly usher, underneath his makeup, was Lieutenant
Barnitz. Polignani was promptly placed under arrest and led to the
vestibule with Abarno--for the evidence was not yet all in.

Abarno immediately suspected Carbone of treachery. He protested
violently that the missing conspirator had instigated the whole affair,
that it was his idea, that he had made the bombs, and that he could
be found living with a Hungarian-Jewish family on the fourth floor of
a house at 216 East 67th Street. He was fluent in the accusations he
made against Carbone, and he grew more fluent as he recovered from the
fright of his arrest. So while we escorted the two bombs and the two
prisoners to headquarters, other members of the Bomb Squad visited
Carbone and placed him under arrest.

From them at headquarters we verified the story as we already knew it.
Each man accused the other. Both men exonerated Polignani of any part
in suggesting the plot or in making the bombs for several days after
their arrest. But Polignani’s true identity could not be unknown to
them indefinitely, of course, and when they found out that they had
been confiding in a full-fledged detective--ah, then the storm broke!
Prompted, I suspect, by pseudo-legal advice, they cried “Frame-up!”
until they grew hoarse, but it was too late, for in the possession of
Assistant District Attorney Arthur Train was already a sworn statement
which fixed their guilt by their own confession.

[Illustration: 1. The Dagger Threat to Polignani

2. The Black Hand Threat

3. Frank Abarno

4. Carmine Carbone]

The anarchists rushed to their rescue, but their efforts were chiefly
verbal. At the Brescia Circle, and at I. W. W. headquarters at 64 East
4th Street, it was common gossip that counsel for the defendants were
going to supply 45 or 50 witnesses to swear that Polignani had invited
them to make bombs. This I had enjoined him strictly not to do,
as a newcomer who talks bombs is a suspicious character in anarchist
circles. I know he obeyed. There was organized a “Carbone ed Abarno
Defence Committee” with headquarters at 2205 Third Avenue, which
solicited other neighboring Italian clubs with anarchistic tendencies
for support of the two. Polignani’s photograph appeared presently in a
New York Italian newspaper with this caption:

    “The filthy carrion who by order of the Police of New York
    devised the bomb plot which led up to the arrest of Abarno and
    Carbone, now before the Courts. All of us comrades will keep
    this in mind.”

He received several threatening anonymous letters, some bearing the
familiar “black hand,” others sketching on newspaper photographs of him
the point in his anatomy at which he might expect to feel the dagger of
revenge; others mere bombastic defiance. (The anonymous letter-writer
is very often a courageous soul who spells out his messages with
letters and words clipped from newspapers, so that his handwriting will
not betray him.)

What was the reward of those five months invested in patience? The
two prisoners convicted and sentenced to terms of from six to twelve
years, was one result. But a far greater one was a sharp decrease in
bomb-throwing in New York, and perhaps the most gratifying was the
discord which grew in the Brescia Circle. The group was frightened,
and the members began to suspect each other of espionage. One former
anarchist was quoted as saying that he wouldn’t even trust himself--he
had been dreaming the night before that he was a spy. The Brescia
Circle became disorganized, and several other similar groups in the
city suffered the same fate. Their leaders drifted away--and got into
more trouble, as we shall see later.

We never found the original of the treatise on bombs. Carbone said he
had destroyed it. But there are probably other copies from the same
press in the hands of accredited bomb-throwers. If not, they may apply
to the New York police department.



Bret Harte said that “the heathen Chinee” was peculiar. The British
have learned long since that the Hindu, being an Oriental, cannot
help being equally “peculiar,” and it is a great tribute to British
persistence that it has labored so hard and so successfully in the good
government of a people so temperamentally complex. They have studied
the Hindu, and have understood him as well as may be. Understanding him
they have watched him. When war broke out, this great Oriental empire
presented to Britain a grave problem, for as a Hindu editor in the
United States phrased it, “England is Germany’s enemy. England is our
enemy. Our enemy’s enemy is our friend.”

It is not in my intention or power to discuss the methods which England
employed to maintain strict loyalty in the Indian peninsula, but to
outline here the part we played in uncovering a plot which threatened
seriously to complicate her efforts around on the other side of the

Scotland Yard told us in February, 1917, that Hindus were conspiring in
bomb plots with certain Germans in the United States. If it was true,
it was against the laws of our country. They supplied us with a few
names, but tactfully suggested that inasmuch as it was our country and
our laws which the plotters were attempting to disturb, we would prefer
to develop the case ourselves. Various authorities in this country had
already had strong suspicions of the British claims, but as yet those
suspicions had not grown to proof of any specific act. So we went to

Among other names which were furnished us was that of one Chakravarty,
whose address was 364 West 120th Street, New York. For more than a
fortnight men of the Bomb Squad under Mr. (now Lieut.-Col.) Nicholas
Biddle, as special aid to the commissioner, watched that house. They
hired a room opposite, where through a slit in the window shade they
could keep the doorway under observation. At the hours when working New
York leaves its home to make money, and comes home at night having made
it, the door was rarely used, but sometimes at mid-forenoon, sometimes
in the small hours of the morning, the men on watch saw several
dark-skinned individuals pass in and out of the house. The building
itself gave no sign of suspicious activity. We were on the brink of
war, and as was the case in most of the other houses in the block, an
American flag hung draped in the front window. What went on behind the
camouflage screen we did not know. Now and then our men, hiding in the
shadow of the areaway, would go quietly up into the dark doorway and
listen, but the house never gave out a sound. There was certainly no
indication that these Hindus were conspiring with the Imperial German
Government in dynamite plots.

We knew certain East Indians who could be depended upon, and told them
to call upon Chakravarty. This ruse failed because Chakravarty never
presented to the callers anything but a guileless reception. So far
as they could learn his occupation was that of manufacturer of pills;
he and a certain Ernest Sekunna constituted the Omin Company, which
company packed in aluminum boxes and sold to a limited clientele pills
which like most patent remedies were recommended for any ailment from
indigestion up or down--if the pill sold, then it was a success. This
news did not quiet our impatience, and we decided on a raid.

On the night of March 7, 1917, Detectives Barnitz, Coy, Randolph,
Murphy, Jenkins, Walsh, Sterett and Fenelly called at the house,
Sterett, pretending to be a messenger, and carrying a dummy package,
presenting himself at the front door, and the rest of the party
covering other avenues of escape. The portal was opened by a little
Hindu who looked up innocently to Sterett and said that Dr. Chakravarty
was not in--he had gone to Boston. The detectives announced their
intention of searching the house. The little man protested, and was
given certain short reasons why the search was in order. Surprise,
injured innocence, and irritation crossed his olive-drab face, and
he announced that he was a patriotic American and that he had never
done anything to break the laws of the United States. If we wanted
Dr. Chakravarty, he said, we should go and get him, and not disturb a
peaceful household in this way, and he added that Chakravarty had left
for New England months before, leaving no address. In this the little
Hindu was borne out by the answers which the other occupant of the
house gave to our questions--this was Sekunna, a German of thirty-five
or so. We searched the house, and took the two prisoners and
considerable material to headquarters.

[Illustration: A Handbill, printed in Hindu, used by the Hindu-Boche

The search disclosed a supply of literature of the Omin Company
describing the properties of its pills, a photograph of Sekunna and
Chakravarty as the turbaned benefactors of an unhealthy world, and a
number of express money-order receipts, deeds and a bank book which
showed the missing Chakravarty to be one who had acquired a good deal
of money during the past two years. The photograph on closer inspection
revealed that the little prisoner was Dr. Chakravarty himself. Sekunna
verified this, and Chakravarty, confronted by it, admitted it.

We asked the prisoner how he had suddenly come by the $60,000 which
his books showed. He said that it was his inheritance from the estate
of his grandfather in India, and that no less a personage than
Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian poet, had paid him, in December, 1916,
$25,000 of the $45,000 due from the estate. About $35,000 had been
given him, he added, by a lawyer named Chatterji, from Pegu, Burma, in
March, 1916.

So far as he gave us his history, it related that he had graduated from
the University of Calcutta, and had lived for a time in London, and
later in Paris, before coming to the United States. He had heard that
there was a warrant out for his arrest in India for sedition, probably
due, he suggested, to his having written several articles on the
subject of British Rule.

“Have you been to Germany recently?” I asked.

“Of course not,” he answered. “How could I get there, with the British
watching for me? They would arrest me if I tried to go. Why do you ask

“Because I wanted to know,” I answered. I had good reason to believe
that he had been there because among his effects we found several
exhibits which pointed toward such a trip. A letter from a woman in
Florida dated December 13, 1915, said:

“I would never for one moment try to deter you from the effort or
achievement of your lofty ideals and noble aims, for in this as in many
other things my spirit accords with yours. Brother dear, _do_ nothing,
_say_ nothing, _trust_ nobody, without extreme caution. God speed you.
God hasten your return to those who are interested in you, and in all
in which you are interested. Bless you, precious brother.”

This indicated a journey, clearly. A cablegram dated Bergen, Norway,
Dec. 23, 1915, addressed to Sekunna, read, “Safe arrival here,” and
took him as far as the Continent, at least. Three postcards supplied
the rest of the information; they were addressed by Sekunna to
himself at a Berlin address, and bore the instructions, “Return to
Sender, E. A. Sekunna, Omin Company, 417 E. 142nd Street, New York
City”; postmarked Berlin in December and January, they suggested
that Chakravarty had used them as part of a pre-arranged system of
communication with America in which he did not wish his own name used.

I found among the papers a photographic print of Chakravarty wearing
a fez, which I knew was not an orthodox head-dress for a Bengalese.
Furthermore, it struck me that the print was of the size and finish
usually used on passports for identification of the bearer. I showed it
to him, with the remark:

“Why do you tell me you haven’t been in Berlin, when you used this
photograph so you could get a passport as a Persian?”

He bit. “I see you got me,” he replied. “I lied to you. I want to tell
you a different story--the real one. I did go to Germany.”


“To see Wesendonck. He is a secretary for India of the German foreign
office. He wanted to make plans for propaganda for the liberation of
India from British rule.”

Chakravarty sat there and unfolded an amazing story. He touched
gingerly upon his own part in it at first, then evidently sensed the
fact that there were others in the plot guilty of perhaps no less
reprehensible but more violent crimes, and the little doctor’s capture
and confession not only gave clues to the authorities which enabled
them to follow up the outstanding German-Hindu plots in America, but
developed prosecutions of the first magnitude and the keenest general

[Illustration: 1. Franz Schulenberg

2. Ram Chandra

3. Ram Singh (on the left)

4. Dr. Chandra Chakravarty and Dr. Ernest Sekunna

5. Dr. Chandra Chakravarty in his Persian Dress]

The enterprises must be recounted out of their actual sequence.
The first he claimed to have had little part in--the project of an
uprising in India which its sponsors hoped would repeat the Mutiny of
1857--but with a more successful outcome. Captain Hans Tauscher, the
New York agent of the Krupp steel and munitions works, was in Berlin
when war broke out. He reported for active duty to Captain von Papen,
in New York, as soon as he could cross the Atlantic, and one of his
earliest services was the purchase of a large quantity of rifles, field
guns, swords and cartridges, which he stored in 200 West Houston
Street, New York. On January 9, 1915, he shipped a trainload of arms
and ammunition to San Diego, California. There it was loaded into a
little vessel, the _Annie Larsen_, which had been chartered by German
interests, and the _Annie Larsen_ put to sea, ostensibly for Mexico,
where revolutionary arms were in demand. Her real destination was a
rendezvous off Socorro Island with the _Maverick_, a tank-ship which
had been bought in San Francisco with German money. The _Maverick_
was to trans-ship the arms, flood them with oil in her cargo tanks in
case she might be searched, and proceed by way of Batavia and Bangkok
to Karachi, a seaport in India which is the gateway to the Punjab.
There she would be met by friendly fishing vessels who would land her
cargo, and if all went well, there would be a massacre of the garrison
of Karachi, and hell would break loose over India. The effect of such
an uprising upon Great Britain’s sorely tried military condition of
early 1915 would have been incalculable. The native troops in France
who were helping to stop the breach until England’s great armies could
be trained would have to be recalled, the semi-loyal tribes would have
seen their opportunity, Germany would hardly have hesitated to throw a
Turkish force at the northern passes, and altogether it would not have
been pleasant for the integrity of the British Empire.

The _Maverick_ and the _Annie Larsen_ missed connections at Socorro.
The _Annie Larsen_ wandered about the Pacific for some weeks and
eventually put into Hoquiam, Washington, where the United States
seized the arms. The _Maverick_ blundered from Socorro to San Diego,
to Hilo, Hawaii, to Anjer, Java, by way of Johnson Island, then to
Batavia, Java, where she was received with disappointment by a German
agent and where she was finally sold. The filibuster ended in flat
and costly failure: the arms cost not less than $100,000 and probably
$150,000, the freight to the Pacific Coast some $12,000, the charter
of the _Annie Larsen_ $19,000, the purchase of the _Maverick_ involved
hundreds of thousands, not to mention the individual fees of the
numerous agents employed.

We knew in a general way of this plot, though it remained for the
tireless efforts of United States District Attorney John W. Preston in
San Francisco to unearth the details. In a raid which had been made on
the office of Wolf von Igel, von Papen’s secretary, at 60 Wall Street,
New York, agents of the Department of Justice had found von Igel’s
memoranda of correspondence in arranging the expedition through the
San Francisco consulate. But Chakravarty said that the revolutionary
end of the project had been handled by another Hindu, Ram Chandra, and
denied that he was guilty of any part in it. Ram Chandra had negotiated
with the German consuls in Seattle and San Francisco, and through
them with Tauscher and von Papen. Chakravarty supplied the names of
Hindus who had sailed on the _Annie Larsen_, said that there had been
Filipinos and Germans aboard as well, and added that the Filipinos had
been transferred to a German ship, and had later escaped from her in a
motorboat while she was being pursued by a Japanese cruiser. But, he
said, he had nothing to do with it--it was Ram Chandra who was the real

It was this Ram Chandra who was editor of the Hindu revolutionary
newspaper _Ghadr_ (Mutiny) published at Berkeley, California. He
succeeded to the editor’s chair in 1914 when his predecessor, Har
Dayal, out on bail after an arrest for ultra-free speech, had fled
across the continent and the Atlantic Ocean to Berlin. There Dayal
established the Hindustani Revolutionary Committee, collaborating with,
taking orders from, and financed by the German Government, under the
direction of Herr Wesendonck of the Foreign Office. Ten million marks
had been placed to their credit, and German consulates throughout the
neutral world had instructions through their parent-embassies to render
all possible assistance to the revolutionary project, and to spend
whatever money might be necessary, charging it to the account of the
Indian Nationalist Party. Three hundred thousand dollars was invested
in China and Java. Hindus were sent through Persia and Afghanistan into
India with German credit to foster unrest, and Afghanistan itself was
full of spies trying to break the Amir’s promise, given to the British
Government at the outbreak of war, that he would maintain strict
neutrality. It was this same Har Dayal who conferred with Chakravarty
when the latter made his visit to Berlin in December, 1915. The reason
for this visit to Berlin came out very soon, and that will lead us in
turn to the second of the German-Hindu plots hatched in America.

[Illustration: The _Annie Larsen’s_ Cash Account

Gupta’s Code Message]

Chakravarty got bail from a surety company without much trouble. Two
or three days after his arrest he called me up on the telephone and
said that a man named Gupta had threatened him. “He says I must give
him $2,000. And there is another man named Wagel. He is a Hindu.
He wants $10,000 from me, otherwise he will do me harm. He already
has had $7,000 from the German Government in Mexico. He has demanded
$20,000,000 of Count von Bernstorff to finish up the revolution in

“Wait a minute, now,” I suggested. The figures were going to my head.
“Where is Wagel?”

“I do not know,” Chakravarty answered.

“Well, where is Gupta?”

“He is a student at Columbia,” replied the little man.

“All right, doctor,” I said, “we’ll not let any harm come to you.”

Detectives Coy and Walsh at once got on the trail of Gupta. They found
him in his dormitory room at 73 Livingston Hall, Columbia, and brought
him to headquarters. “I saw of Chakravarty’s arrest in the paper,” he
said, “and I thought I might be arrested if he implicated me.” Gupta
knew full well he would be arrested, for there was jealousy between the
two, and he went on to reveal why.

Heramba Lal Gupta was then thirty-two years old. Since his boyhood
in Calcutta he had been all over the world, and had studied in the
United States. In the spring of 1915 he had several conferences with
Captain von Papen in the city in which the military attaché conceived
such confidence in the young Hindu that he gave him $15,000 for
expense money and sent him to Chicago to confer with Gustav Jacobsen,
an ex-German consul. With him went Jodh Singh, another Hindu who had
migrated from Brazil to Berlin and thence to Captain von Papen, and an
art collector named Albert H. Wehde. They were joined by George Paul
Boehm and a German named Sterneck, and two plans were arranged. Gupta,
Singh and Wehde were to proceed to Japan to establish connections and
obtain assistance for fomenting Indian revolt. Boehm and Sterneck
were to go to the Philippines, pick up a third plotter, Chakravarty’s
lawyer-friend Chatterji, proceed thence to Java to meet two escaped
officers of the destroyed German cruiser _Emden_, and thence to the
Himalayan hills north of India, where Dr. Frederick A. Cook, the Arctic
romancer, was on an expedition. There they were to overpower the Cook
party, Boehm was to assume the explorer’s identity and travel about the
hills spreading sedition among the native tribes. This wild plan failed
completely, as the Germans never kept their appointment in Java. (Gupta
believed in preparedness to the extent of taking Boehm to several
shooting galleries in Chicago and practising pistol firing with him.)

Gupta, Singh and Wehde set sail from San Francisco in the _Mongolia_
and landed in Yokohama, September 16, 1915. Gupta immediately got
in touch with various prominent Hindus. Although their conferences
were enthusiastic and the prospect of obtaining Japanese arms for the
revolution was good, his work was hampered by the discovery on the part
of British agents that Gupta was in Japan. He was notified within a
week of his arrival that he must leave by the next steamer: the next
steamer was bound for Shanghai, a British port; the order was equal to
delivery into the hands of the British, and death. A Japanese friend
came to his rescue. He took him to his house, followed by the police.
By a subterfuge the police were distracted long enough to allow the
Hindu to slip out the back door, jump into an automobile, and flee
to the interior of the country. There he was hidden for six months,
between the flimsy walls of his friend’s house. It was May of 1916
before he could escape, smuggled out in an eastbound vessel, and it was
June before he returned to New York. There he found that the following
order had been issued from Berlin:

    “Berlin, February 4, 1916. To the German Embassy, Washington.

    “In future all Indian affairs are to be exclusively handled by
    the committee to be formed by Dr. Chakravarty. Dhirendra Sarkar
    and Herambra Lal Gupta, the latter of whom has meanwhile been
    expelled from Japan, thus cease to be representatives of the
    Indian Independence Committee existing here.

                              “(Signed) ZIMMERMANN.”

Gupta, in short, found himself displaced. His expedition had been a
failure. Chakravarty had had his job for nearly six months. He tried
to negotiate with Chakravarty for a restoration of some of his lost
prestige, but the little man would not have much to do with him. In
January, 1917, the French secret service intercepted at the Swiss
border a letter postmarked New York, November 16, 1916, and addressed
as follows:

  “Mr. Albourge
    “Hotel Des Alpas
        “Montreau, Switzerland.”

The letter was in cipher, and was seized and returned to French
agents in the United States, and by them turned over to the American
authorities for investigation, at about the time when diplomatic
relations were broken off with Germany. Search here disclosed little.
The letter was typewritten, and the only clue to its message was a hint
suggested by a sub-address on the back of the envelope:

                              “Mr. Chatterjee”

who was apparently a Hindu. (This, by the way, was the same Chatterji
who persists in cropping up in the wings of this story from time to
time). Now there is no “Hotel Des Alpas” in Montreux; the name of the
inn referred to is the “Hotel des Alpes.” Again, the name “Territel”
was apparently a misspelling of “Territet,” and “Montreau” probably
meant “Montreux.” When we captured Gupta we found in a memorandum book
not only the address cited above, but the _same misspellings_--pretty
conclusive proof that he was the author of the letter. This address was
later found with the same misspellings, in the mailing list of _Ghadr_,
the revolutionary paper published in California. Thus little errors
combined to forge important links.

The code of the Gupta letter was a popular and scholarly volume by an
American author: Price Collier’s “Germany and the Germans,” published
in New York in 1913. The letter was so written that the words which
contained the meat of each sentence were carefully enciphered. The
letter said, for example:

    “... I do
    not believe there
    are very many men
    ”Who can show much
    better results a-
    long the line of

Turning to page 98 of “Germany and the Germans,” we see that the second
letter of the fifth line is _b_; the first letter of the first line is
_h_; the ninth letter of the first line is _u_; the first letter of
the fourth line is _p_; the eighth in the fifth line is _e_; and the
third in the third line _n_. Sum total: B-h-u-p-e-n--a Hindu name. On
page 97, the first few lines read:

  “am willing to concede that perhaps even an emperor
  has been baptized with the blood of the martyrs,
  and feels himself to be in all sincerity the instrument
  of God; if we are to understand this one, we must
  admit so much.

  “In certain ...” etc.

Thus 97-1-3 is _w_, 97-1-11 is _o_, 97-6-5 is _r_, 97-8-4 is _K_; total
w-o-r-k. 132-1-1 is _I_. Our translation reads therefore:

    “_I do not believe that there are very many men including
    Bhupen, who can show much better results along the line of work
    I undertook._”

Four columns to the typewritten page it ran on over seven sheets of
foolscap, and wound up with a plea in plain English which showed that
Gupta was angry:

    “Seems no action taken yet. If want work, change methods
    completely. I insist the man in charge is not only useless but
    spoiling the work; important workers wasting time for want of
    coöperation and funds while that man is squandering money. Do
    not care what you decide, I inform you as it is my duty but you
    don’t seem to pay any attention. This is my last warning for
    the cause. Again I appeal to you to think more seriously and
    not spoil the work by leaving it in the hands of irresponsible
    and insane person. I again tell you that no one is willing to
    work with him because he does not understand anything, secondly
    he spends money in a ridiculous way, thirdly he does not do any
    work. Think seriously and reply.”

In order to show why Gupta was upset and also in passing to show how
innocently he had coded his letter, we shall quote it in full, with
those words in italics which had to be decoded months later:

    “Dear _Chatto_: Am back from _Japan_. Had lots _trouble_.
    _Thakur_, real _name Rash Behari Ghose_, splendid worker in
    _India_ still in _Japan_. Sent report twice, besides messages
    through _German_ sources. Went to _Japan_ as planned. Am
    surprised to hear from _Tarak_ you said I had no _right_ to go
    to Japan. See my reports submitted to the committee. Before
    leaving _Berlin Shanghai_ authorities also wanted me for
    important work. This I was told at _German Embassy_ so cannot
    understand why you failed to know anything about me. Have sent
    two reports since my return. Hope you got them. _Tarak_ said
    you were not satisfied with _my work_ and _Bhupen Dutt_ said
    that such incapable men as _I_ should not have been sent to
    America. _Bhupen_ before leaving _America_ said to _Chakravarty
    ‘Gupta_ nothing but _adventurer_; should not have been sent,’
    and as usual everybody knew and it naturally prejudiced men
    _I_ had to work with. What right had _Bhupen_ to make such
    remarks? I don’t claim to be a very capable man. You remember
    I did not want to _come here_. But how _Bhupen_ measured my
    abilities? If no report was received how could anybody pass an
    opinion on unknown things? You may _criticize my_ reticence.
    I do not believe there are very many men including _Bhupen_
    who can show much better results along the line of _work I_
    undertook. Results of such work cannot be shown in _black and
    white_ but I challenge anybody who dares ignore the _solid
    work_ done through _our agencies_. Time alone can prove it.
    You cannot compare the _work_ lately undertaken with the
    _program_ we started with. If we _failed to start a revolution
    in Bengal_ as asked by you it has been for the best. If we
    _failed land arms_ it was due more to _Germans_ than anybody
    else. Our _men worked, suffered_. Still _suffering_. The whole
    plan under the direct supervision of _Germans_ of more capable
    _brains failed_ too. We have succeeded in laying foundation
    for _future work_. Our _work_ in _Japan_ has been unique. Even
    _Lajpat Rai_ who slights our _work_, quite often admits in
    three months more _solid work_ done there than any other part
    of the world outside _India_ in number of years. I understand
    _Chakravarty_ has charge of affairs. Met him. _Tarak Harish_
    says he was given instruction to form a _committee_ of five
    including _myself_. He did not agree. Said all depended on his
    discretion. Fact is he has grudge against me and the fault lies
    with _you_. Report went to _Berlin_ concerning his _relations_
    with _Mrs. Warren_. You told him I did it. I did not. Even if
    I did you had no business to mention my name. I like also to
    know how did the _committee_ satisfy itself as to the charge
    being false. From _Chakravarty’s letters_ only? He wanted me
    to _apologize_. I did not: will not. First I did not _report_;
    secondly suppose I did, in the interest of the _cause_. I was
    of opinion he had _connection with Mrs. Warren_. She came to
    know many things about _work_ through _him_. Am still of same
    opinion. I do not care how many _women man enjoys_ but he has
    no right to talk about serious _work to women_. I do not know
    what _work he_ doing. Does not give me any information. The
    _house_ he took with _princely furniture_ shows at once _German
    connection_. Some of his _pamphlets_ nothing but _German
    propaganda_. It may be your _policy_. We have _centres in
    Japan, Burmah, Manila_; regular _communication_ with _India_
    through _Japanese_ sources. _Working_ but badly _in need of
    funds_. Started _work_ with impression _balance of funds
    credited_ to my _account_ would be forthcoming but no sign of
    it. For better _work_ need send at least one more _man_ to
    _Japan_. _Tarak_ going _China, Chakravarty_ told him his
    men would _watch Tarak_ for a month. If behaves well will be
    helped, given facilities. What _grand diplomacy! Chakravarty_
    told me _committee_ not sure of _Tarak_ so sent him away.
    _Tarak_ said large _funds_ have been sanctioned. He can draw
    without receipt. Will you blame me (if this be true) if I fail
    to understand the policy? _Ram Chandra working_ in his own
    way. I did not interfere for _fear_ of creating divisions.
    Only helped getting _funds_. Have now influence over him but
    as _Chakravarty gone San Francisco_ I consider my duty keep
    quiet until hear from you. Have _worked_ to best abilities and
    shall work but cannot do so at the instance of people who I am
    sure do not know the exact nature of work _done last year_ and
    _half_. Am surprised at _mean jealousies_, even sacrificing
    _work_. Am shocked at your _faith shaken in me_ and _my work_.
    Hope to hear soon all regarding _work_. Remember me to all.
    Did not mail the first letter as waiting for information from

[Illustration: How the Hindus used Price Collier’s “Germany and the
Germans” as a cryptogram]

Followed the postscript in English already cited.

The reader will probably be interested, even at the cost of
interrupting the narrative, in the way in which this cipher code was
discovered and the letter translated. By a partial decipherment by
common methods of deduction, it was found to be almost sure that on a
certain page of the code book--the name of which was of course not
then known--the phrase “foreign legation” would appear. The cipher
experts deduced, too, that the phrase “rush to a newspaper” must appear
in a certain line of another page of the volume, and working further
they assembled some twenty-five fragmentary words and phrases of whose
position in the missing volume they were certain. The problem was to
find the volume. The nature of the words and phrases suggested that
the work was a recent one, probably dealing with history--and perhaps
with the nature of a people. These limitations reduced the field of
possibility to a minimum of 100,000 volumes, and the cipher experts set
agents at work searching for such books. The caption of the letter,
“Hossain’s Code,” threw them off the scent and they spent some time in
scouring Allied Europe and America for such a code. There was none,
for “Houssain” was merely a Hindu agent in Trinidad. Then, one of the
agents hunting for the needle in the haystack found it--Mr. Collier’s

Gupta, it is evident, was a prejudiced judge of Chakravarty’s ability.
Even when Gupta was arrested Chakravarty wiped out past scores, and
went bail for the man who had blackmailed and traduced him. But Gupta
was definitely in trouble this time. The evidence supplied of his trip
to Japan, its purpose, and his collusion with Germans brought him to
trial in Chicago with Jacobsen, Wehde, and Boehm. (Mr. Chatterji was a
witness for the prosecution.) The three Germans, after a trial in which
the State’s case had been admirably handled by U. S. District Attorney
Clyne, were convicted and sentenced to serve five years in prison and
pay fines of $13,000. Gupta was sentenced to two years, fined $200, and
released on bail, pending an appeal. He jumped his bail and escaped to
Mexico in May, 1918, while a number of his countrymen were being tried
in San Francisco.

His escape was probably due to fear. The Hindus are a vengeful lot, and
it is no more than possible that the “grapevine cable” had informed him
that friends of the men on trial in San Francisco were planning to get
even with him for having supplied part of the evidence used against
them. Some of that evidence we found in his room at Columbia, and more
in his safety deposit box in a Columbus Avenue bank. Among other items
was the list of addresses in Switzerland already mentioned, and this
was amplified by a letter which we found in Chakravarty’s house, from
Sekunna to the little doctor, which read:

  “My dear boy,

    “Enclosed please find addresses from Wesendonck. Send your
    reports to: Mr. Director Karl Hirsch, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.”

Chakravarty, in turn, furnished us with two more codes which were used
in writing to these addresses: One which cited pages and word-numbers
in a certain German-English dictionary, and a second, based on an
entirely different principle. The second and third were often used in
the same letter, as this fragment from one of Chakravarty’s reports
will show. The letter reads, in part:

    “50337069403847695228, 265-3, 331-6, 497-2, 337-10-3, 335-14,

The first series of figures is written in the third code mentioned, and
must be deciphered by using the following square:

         _1 2 3 4 5 6 7_
    _1_   A B C D E F G
    _2_   H I J K L M N
    _3_   O P Q R S T U
    _4_   V W X Y Z

Each letter is indicated first by the digit marking the horizontal
row in which the letter falls, second by the number of the vertical
column. Thus “A” is 1-1, or 11: “K” 2-4, or 24, and so on. But if the
Hindu wished to transfer a message in cipher, he would not stop with
this simple designation of the letters, for they would recur too often
and fall too readily under the “laws of repetition” by which most
ciphers can be untangled. So after he had his word translated by this
square chart, he added four key numbers to it, those key numbers being
fixed and permanent, and being added in rotation. In order that we may
find out what this word is, we must therefore subtract the key number

    _Message_ 50337069403847695228 (or divided into letters)

                   50 33 70 69 40 38 47 69 52 28
    _Key numbers_  25 11 26 32 25 11 26 32 25 11

    _Result_       25 22 44 37 15 27 21 37 26 17

Consulting our chart again, we see that 25 is “L,” 22 is “I” 44 is “Y,”
and that the message deciphers thus:

    _L I Y U E N H U N G_

The line we quoted above read:

“_Li Yuen Hung is now the president of China_” After transmitting the
proper-name in the second cipher (as the name of course would not have
appeared in the dictionary code), Chakravarty had lapsed back into the
first code, as being swifter.

Gupta, we observed, was harshly critical of Chakravarty. Let us see
whether he was justified. Chakravarty said he had been commissioned to
deal only with the broader propaganda. From captured reports which he
transmitted through the German embassy as well as through the mails
to Switzerland, he had been delegated to form a committee of five,
with Ram Chandra as one of the other members, to handle Indian affairs
here. They were to send an agent to the West Indies to stir up the
Hindu coolies there, of whom there were estimated to be 100,000, and
to send back to India all who would volunteer for revolution. The same
policy was to be followed in British Guiana, Java, and Sumatra. From
Ram Chandra’s _Ghadr_ press were to be issued reams of propaganda in
the various Indian dialects for circulation throughout the East and
West Indies, in Hindustan itself, and even for German aviators to drop
upon Hindu troops in France. Chakravarty was to procure letters of
introduction to parties in Japan which would assure a safe welcome to
an emissary to be sent there to carry out what Gupta had failed to do,
and an envoy was to be sent to China for a similar purpose. It was a
broad program, and the doctor set to work immediately upon his return
to organize his staff.

In all his work he had the coöperation of von Bernstorff and the
embassy at Washington. Chakravarty organized a Pan-Asiatic League as
a blind, so that Hindus posing as its members could travel without
exciting suspicion. His work was somewhat handicapped in the early
spring by an automobile accident which took him to the hospital, and by
the seizure of the military attaché’s papers in von Igel’s office. He
hired a Chinaman named Chin as the delegate to China, and shipped him
off on a Greek vessel from New York. Referred by Berlin to Houssain,
the spy in Trinidad, Chakravarty established contact with him, and
supervised the formation of an organization there. In July Chakravarty
started for a tour of the West, in the course of which he visited two
disloyal Hindus in Vancouver and determined upon a plan of action for
that section. Then he swung down to San Francisco, where he called
upon Ram Chandra, the western head of the committee. He conferred with
friendly agents of Japanese newspapers who proposed to attack the
Anglo-Japanese treaty. He conferred with W. T. Wang, private secretary
to the new president of China, as the secretary was leaving for Peking,
and learned that “some of the prominent people are quite willing to
help India directly and Germany indirectly--on three conditions, those
conditions being a secret treaty with Germany for military protection,
to last five years after peace had been declared, and to be secured by
giving China one-tenth of all the arms and ammunition which she would
undertake to smuggle across the Indian frontier.” By the late autumn of
1916 Chakravarty was acting as the master-wheel in a most elaborate and
complicated machine for disturbing British rule in almost all of her
colonial holdings, and it is safe to say that if the _Maverick_ affair
had not roused shipping inspectors to unusual vigilance to prevent
filibustering, the United States might have seen the bloody result of
his work by March of 1917, when we arrested him. Even as it was, he was
the general manager of a going concern.

It may be wondered how he was able to perfect an organization. The
answer to that we found in Gupta’s safety deposit box--a list of two
hundred or more members of an Indian society in the United States, a
large proportion of whom were students in American colleges, sent
here for education on scholarships, in the hope that they would return
to their native country and uplift it. Some of them were influential
agents, and they were scattered conveniently about the country. Add to
this force the coöperation of almost innumerable German agents and pay
it with a share of the $32,000,000 which Chakravarty said had been set
aside in Berlin for anarchistic, race-riot and Hindu propaganda in the
western world, and you have a real factor for trouble. It is perhaps
surprising that the organization worked undiscovered as long as it
did, but it is more surprising that having worked under cover for more
than fourteen months it did not break out into a grave demonstration.
Chakravarty’s arrest, however, came in time, and the authorities were
on the whole satisfied that so much time had elapsed because it gave
them more clues to work on and a larger group to round up.

And Chakravarty himself was pleased, I think. When he confessed his
trip to Berlin, he was on the horns of a dilemma, for he feared the
British would revenge themselves on him. I assured him that he would be
protected as an American prisoner. He said, “Well, if I tell you about
what I have done for the Germans, and they hear about it, they will
kill me. And in any case my own people will kill me. You don’t know
them!” I again quieted him and suggested that he tell me now where he
got the money which he said had come to him from his estate in India.

“Von Igel gave it to me,” he answered. “I could not go to his office
downtown, so I sent Sekunna. In all I got $60,000. I spoke of the
poet, Tagore, because he won the Nobel prize, and I thought he would
be above suspicion.” He had bought the house at 364 West 120th Street
and equipped it comfortably as a residence. He bought a house in
77th Street to open a Hindu restaurant. He bought a farm at Hopewell
Junction to use as a rendezvous for the plotters. And when he had given
us valuable information, and had appeared at the trial, and had been
himself convicted and had served his sentence (a short term) in jail,
and the smoke had cleared away, he was the owner of three nice parcels
of real estate and a comfortable income. Dr. Chakravarty, although
a failure as a Prussian agent, fared pretty well as an investor of
Prussian funds.

After a series of digressions which I hope have not led us too far
from the path, we may return to the third of the Hindu-German projects
in which we of the Bomb Squad were especially interested. Ever since
Captain von Papen’s check-book had been captured by the British at
Falmouth in January, 1916, students of the German plots in the United
States had wondered why two of the stubs bore the entries:

  “Feb. 2, 1915, German Consulate, Seattle
      (Angelegenheit)                         $1,300.

  “May 11, 1915, German Consulate,
          (for Schulenberg)                      500.”

In December, 1917, Barnitz, Randolph and I had gone to San Francisco
to testify in the _Annie Larsen-Maverick_ case. It so happened that a
German who was unable to give a satisfactory account of himself had
just been picked up at San Jose. His name was Franz Schulenberg, and
at the invitation of the San Francisco authorities we assisted in the
examination of the prisoner. He testified that in the early months
of 1915 he had met Lieutenant von Brincken, of the San Francisco
Consulate, who had sent him to the consul at Seattle. There von Papen
in person paid him $4,000 to buy fifty guns, fifty Maxim silencers, a
ton of dynamite, and deliver it to one Singh, at the border between
Sumas, Washington, and Canada. There Singh was to deliver it to a
small army of coolies, who would start a reign of terror in the
Canadian northwest, dynamiting bridges, railways and shipping, and
shooting guards. Schulenberg had actually bought some of the munitions
when he received a letter from von Brincken telling him to break off
relations with the Hindus. After some time he tried to get more money
from von Brincken, but Franz Bopp, the consul, spurned him, and von
Brincken sent him to New York, to get it from von Papen. Von Papen
refused to pay him further. While Schulenberg was in Hoboken, three men
from Paul Koenig’s staff approached him and posing as United States
agents offered him $5,000 for any information which would incriminate
Count von Bernstorff. Von Papen had had Koenig send them--although
Schulenberg did not know this--to test him. One of the three was George
Fuchs. The air was getting thick around von Papen’s head at the moment,
and he could not afford to have a disgruntled and unpaid henchman
gabbling about the saloons in Hoboken. But Schulenberg believed that
the three were really American secret service men, and refused to
divulge what he knew. The next morning a German whom he had not seen
before appeared at his lodging house and gave him a railroad ticket
to Mexico. “They’re after you--the secret service,” he said. “Here’s
a ticket. Use it.” Schulenberg was half sick anyway, and evidently it
did not enter his mind to squeal. He fled to Mexico, and von Papen thus
disposed of a troublesome source of information. When we talked to
Schulenberg, two years later, he was a sorry reminder of another German

Although we three members of the Bomb Squad had made the trip to San
Francisco to testify to the circumstances of Chakravarty’s arrest, and
to the statements which he and Gupta had made, we were not in at the
death of the Hindu hunt. The trial was a long affair, with more than a
hundred defendants. Aided by the revelations of the little doctor, the
Government had presented to the Grand Jury a picture of violation of
Section 13 of the Federal Code which caused indictments to be returned
against the entire German consulate of San Francisco, its accomplices
among the shipping men who chartered the _Annie Larsen_ and bought
the _Maverick_, its Hindu agents from the nucleus of Berkeley and Ram
Chandra’s editorial rooms, and a list of other notorious characters
which included von Papen and von Igel, both of whom were by this time
safe in Germany. We did, however, have opportunity to observe the
Indian prisoners, and we noticed that they did not seem altogether
fond of each other. They were forever whispering, wagging their heads,
stuffing notes down each other’s necks and when the testimony of one of
their number grew too truthful they squirmed and scowled. Chakravarty’s
life was threatened during the trial. The officials in charge of the
case all had more than their usual share of responsibility to maintain
order. The trial lasted more than six months. The Germans upbraided
each other in the court room: von Brincken, who had been jealous
of Bopp, and had accused him of indifference to his duties, openly
showed his independence of his chief, and ill feeling spread among
the defendants. Its climax came on April 24, 1918, the day when, with
the testimony all in, Judge Van Fleet ordered a recess preparatory to
delivering his charge to the jury. Ram Singh, one of the defendants,
suddenly rose in the court room and fired two shots at Ram Chandra from
a revolver. Ram Chandra fell dead, and as he did so, a bullet from the
revolver of United States Marshal Holohan broke Ram Singh’s neck. The
jury then received its charge, retired, and returned convictions of the
great majority of the conspirators.

So, just as Holohan’s bullet broke Ram Singh’s neck, Chakravarty’s
statements had broken the neck of the Hindu plot. But there was one
more incident related to it in store for us; it will conclude our
story. The men in charge of the _Annie Larsen_ were a spy named
Alexander V. Kircheisen and a Captain Othmer. Kircheisen’s name had
appeared in several German secret service reports as “K-17.” As late
as 1917 he was arrested in Copenhagen, Denmark, and on his person
was found a letter addressed to another agent, La Nine by name. The
letter advised La Nine that if he arrived in the United States before
Kircheisen, he was to call for the former’s mail at “Kotzenberg’s, 1319
Teller Avenue, in the Bronx.”

When this information reached us, Detectives Randolph and Senff called
at Mr. Kotzenberg’s house. He knew nothing of Kircheisen, he said,
except that he was a friend of his cousin’s.

“Who is your cousin?” asked Randolph, in German.

“His name is Othmer,” Kotzenberg replied. “He escaped from San
Francisco, and he came back across the whole country, half by train and
half in automobile. He stayed here for a while. One morning he put on
some overalls and he left and he went away on a Norwegian boat, and I
guess now he is back into Germany.”

Randolph and Senff searched the house. They found among other papers,
an application which Kircheisen had filled out in New York on January
9, 1917, for a certificate of service as an able seaman. In order to be
granted such a certificate he had to swear that he was a naturalized
citizen of the United States, and that he would “support and defend
the Constitution of the United States against all enemies ... and ...
bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” which he swore without any
qualms of conscience. Furthermore, his character was attested to by one
Charles A. Martin, who also wanted a seaman’s certificate. The records
of the office show that Kircheisen obligingly turned about and swore
to Martin’s good character. I have often wondered who Martin was....
We found in Kotzenberg’s house an expense account which the fugitive
Othmer had submitted to von Papen after he had left the unfortunate
_Annie_ at Hoquiam. And finally, we found two scraps of a memorandum
book, which constituted the log of _Annie_ herself. It reads:

  “Mar. 8. left S.D.
  Mar. 18. arr Soc.
  Apr. 5. Start Digg. wells.
  Apr. 9 boat _Emma_ arrived.
          2 sailors.
  Apr. 10. _Emma_ arrived.
    two crews working on well
  April 16. Well 22 feet struck hard rock bottom no water gave up
  Apr.17. left for Mex. coast
    ” 22  went ashore in boat look for water
  Apr.24th. arr at Acapulco
        U. S. S. _Yorktown_ _Nansham_(?)
     _N. Orleans_ _Annapolis_
  April 27 left Acapulco
  May 19 gave up Socorro
        made for coast
  June 7 (_two illegible words_)
        got provisions
  June 29 arr. Hoquiam
  July 1 arr. W.
        1 arr. Investigator
  Jul. 4 _aus_”

So, in a word, Othmer summed up all the efforts of the Hindus and the
Germans to hatch revolution in America. All, all “_aus_”!

[Illustration: Alexander V. Kircheisen and his application for a
certificate as able seaman]



Of all the stories of the sea to which the war has given rise, here is
one that is certainly not the least entertaining. It is not a story of
hunting a criminal. The only part which the Bomb Squad played in it
was bringing the prisoner back to justice. It called for no service on
our part save that of examining the prisoner, and returning him, with
his statements and the statements of others who had dealings with him,
to New York. And I think those statements themselves had best tell the

(_From Detective Corell to the Commanding Officer of the Bomb Squad,
April 1, 1916_)

    Sir: In compliance with orders received I went to Lewes,
    Delaware, to investigate and if possible bring back one Ernest
    Schiller, an alleged German spy....

(_From, a statement taken by Corell at Lewes, Del., March 31, 1916_)

    My name is Ernest Schiller. I am a native of Russia, 23 years
    of age.... My occupation is that of textile engineer. I arrived
    in New York in April, 1915, in the steamship _Colorado_ from
    Hull, England, as a member of the crew, my assignment on the
    ship being greaser. My name on the ship was Frank Robertson.
    When I arrived at New York the captain gave me some of my money
    and I left the ship. I worked all told about eight or nine
    months, in Pawtucket, R. I., Lawrence, Mass., Whitinsville,
    Mass., Newton Upper Falls, Mass., and finished erecting a
    factory in Salem, Mass....

(_From the examination of Clarence Reginald Hodson, alias Ernest
Schiller, Robinson, Robertson, A. Henry, New York, April 1, 1916_)

    _Question._ What is your full name?

    _Answer._ Clarence Reginald Hodson.

    _Q._ What other names are you known by?

    _A._ Robinson, Robertson, A. Henry, and Ernest Schiller.

    _Q._ Where were you born?

    _A._ Petrograd, Russia.

    _Q._ Where were your father and mother born?

    _A._ My father in Russia, my mother in Germany. We lived in
    Petrograd until I was about 10 or 11. Then we went to England.
    My father and mother left me in Chatham House College, in
    Ramsgate. I stayed there three years....

    _Q._ What is the name of the head of that college?

    _A._ A. Henry.

    _Q._ Did you graduate?

    _A._ No. I was put on a Cadet--a Marine ship--named _Conway_,
    to train as a marine officer. I was on that ship two years.
    I left when I was 17 and went to work in a machine shop in
    Oldham, outside Manchester, and learned the trade of machinist
    there. I left there in August, 1914, and I joined the English
    Army.... I was asked to leave the job--was told that they would
    not have any young fellows on the job.... My boss said that
    sooner or later I should have to leave and that it would be
    better to go now, and that there would be a better opportunity.

    _Q._ At that time were your sympathies with the English?

    _A._ They were never with England. I just wanted to see what
    it was like to be a soldier. I didn’t intend to fight against
    Germany. I did not think the war would last long--only a few
    months--and I knew all the time I could run away if I wanted
    to. So in December I left.

    _Q._ What was the occasion of your leaving?

    _A._ I commenced to discriminate the soldiers and make them
    out as to what they really were, and I found them a lot of
    rats. I saw that I was not a Britisher in my ideas, and that
    I favored the cause of Germany. I used to stay away from the
    other soldiers all I could, and go out with a newspaper and
    read in the fields. They were always bullyragging me, and one
    time I almost killed two soldiers for it. They chastised me for
    a German spy. I got away, and worked in Bath for a week, and
    then the police caught me and brought me back, and I was later
    discharged by my colonel when I explained that I could not
    agree with their theory of the war....

(_From the statement of “Schiller” to Corell_)

    A few months ago I received a letter from my mother and she
    wanted me to go back to Russia. I came down to New York to get
    my passport, but it did not arrive, so I waited a month. My
    money was gradually going down, so I borrowed some money, I
    won’t say from whom....”

(_From the examination of Hodson_)

    _Q._ While in Lawrence, Mass., where did you stop?

    _A._ At the Saxsonia House, with Germans....

    _Q._ What are the names of any other people that you met at the
    Saxsonia House?

    _A._ Met a gentleman named Gruenwald at a German party. He
    invited me to come to his saloon in Lawrence....

    _Q._ While up in his saloon was there anybody else you were
    acquainted with there?

    _A._ Nobody, but I knew a young lady who stopped at the same

    _Q._ You were quite friendly with her?

    _A._ Yes, platonic friendship.

    _Q._ Did she loan you any money?

    _A._ She loaned me money from her own will. Two hundred
    dollars.... I only asked for $30, but she brought $200 in gold,
    all in gold....

    _Q._ How long after that before she loaned you any more?

    _A._ About a month later.... Telegraphed to her “Want money
    immediately.” I received by 12 o’clock $40. She said some more
    money coming tonight. Next morning I went to the address in
    Hoboken and there was a letter and there was another $40 in
    the letter. Then I received $10 another time from her.

    _Q._ That’s $290.

    _A._ Yes, all I can think of.

(_From the “Schiller” statement_)

    ... so I borrowed some money, I won’t say from whom. I went
    to Boston again and was looking for work. I could not get the
    work I wanted, so I returned to New York, and in Hoboken I ran
    across a few fellows, I do not know their names, and we made a
    plan to get some money....

(_From the Hodson examination_)

    _Q._ Now where did you meet the Germans?

    _A._ When I arrived in New York, in a saloon near the Cunard
    Steamship Company in West Street about 12th, I met a man who
    I thought was a German, and I talked to him about blowing up
    ships, and we then went to Hoboken where I met the man Haller
    in a saloon.... Then we proposed which ship to blow up. That
    was the Cunard liner _Pannonia_....

    _Q._ And how did you come to decide upon that boat?

    _A._ Because I knew perfectly well that all were carrying
    plenty of ammunition.... I went down to the piers, and I saw
    this boat, and I thought that would be the right kind of a
    boat.... I met the three men in the vicinity of Pier 54. I
    bought them their suppers.... I then told the unknown man to
    get some dynamite ... and I gave him $6. Becker said that he
    had a boat, and I gave Becker $8 to buy gasolene, then to buy
    two revolvers out of a pawnshop.... I bought Haller a revolver
    and 100 cartridges....

    _Q._ Did you see them after that?

    _A._ Yes, I saw them Saturday morning and asked Becker about
    his motorboat and he said that he did not expect it would be
    frozen up, and acted as if he would have been willing to go
    into the plot only that the boat was frozen up. Becker said
    that the boat could be launched in two hours, and although I
    do not know anything about running a motorboat it is my belief
    that it would have taken six hours to launch this boat---the
    boat we were supposed to use to go over in to blow up the
    _Pannonia_--and this would be too late to get to the ship
    before she sailed.... Since that time I have not seen any of
    these men....

(_From the “Schiller” statement_)

    ... but the other fellows left me, so I went on my own accord.
    I saw the steamship _Mattoppo_ was going to leave, so I stowed
    away on her, in a life boat, where I remained for five days.
    The sixth day we left....

(_From the statement of Captain R. Bergner, of the British S. S.

    At 3:30 P. M. on the 29th March, the British S. S. _Mattoppo_
    sailed from 12th Street pier, Hoboken, destined to
    Vladivostock, Russia.

(_From the “Schiller” statement_)

    That night ... I came out from my hiding place and walked
    towards the captain’s cabin....

(_From Captain Bergner’s statement_)

    At about 7:45 P. M. ... when at a point about twenty miles from
    Sandy Hook Lightship, I was talking to the Chief Engineer in
    his room, and at 8:05 P. M. left and went to my own cabin, and
    as I entered my bedroom, which was adjoining, I was held up at
    the point of two revolvers by one Ernest Schiller, who said to
    me: “Hands up! I am a German. I am going to sink your ship.” He
    then made me turn round and gave me a frisk. He found nothing
    on me. He ordered me to shut my cabin door; then stood me in
    a corner and kept me covered with the two revolvers. Then he
    said: “Where is the safe? You have two thousand pounds aboard,
    and I want the money!” He told me he had placed bombs aboard
    the ship and was going to blow her up.

    At 8:20 P. M. the Second Engineer knocked at my door, and
    receiving no reply opened it. Schiller instantly covered him
    with one of the revolvers and ordered him to come into the
    room, which he did. He then locked and bolted the doors on the
    inside and asked me for my keys.... He got them and proceeded
    to go through all the ship’s papers and my private effects. He
    opened my cash box and took four pounds in gold and five pounds
    in silver and said it was the first time he had ever robbed
    anyone but he needed the money. On seeing from the ship’s
    papers that she had barbed wire in her, he said: “That is
    contraband, and I am going to sink her.” He then inquired where
    I was bound for, and on my telling him she was going to Russia
    he seemed to hesitate about sinking her as he said he loved
    Russia. The conversation continued until about midnight....

(_From the “Schiller” statement_)

    While I was in the Captain’s room the Second Engineer came up,
    and after searching him to see if he had any revolvers on him,
    I told him to sit down and make himself comfortable. I asked
    the Captain if he had any whiskey, as I was cold and had not
    had much to eat for five days, so the Captain gave me a bottle
    of whiskey and biscuits. After wishing one another good health
    we sat there for a couple of hours....

(_From Captain Bergner’s statement_)

    At midnight he said that he was going to disable the wireless,
    and on hearing someone in the chart room he bound me on my
    honor not to leave the cabin saying that if I did he would
    shoot me on sight....

(_From the statement of the Second Officer Allen Maclurcom_)

    When I came on watch at midnight I passed someone outside the
    chart room, but it being dark, and thinking it was the Captain,
    I walked on into the chart room, where this party followed
    me, and told me to throw my hands up. He told me the ship was
    under German command, and not attempt to make any resistance
    as it would mean the sacrifice of the Captain’s and Second
    Engineer’s lives. He said if the ship had been going to England
    he would have destroyed her immediately, but as she was bound
    for Russia he would probably spare her. Then he told me to
    walk ahead of him to the port-after-lifeboat, and get the axe,
    which was in the forward end of it. He then took me back to the
    Marconi room....

(_From the statement of the wireless operator, Alexander Dunnett_)

    I was on watch in the wireless room when this man came along
    with the Second Officer. He held me up with two revolvers, and
    brought me along to the apprentice’s room, together with the
    Second Officer. The latter told the apprentice, who acts as
    second operator, to come out. Schiller held him up, and told us
    both to go up to the chart room....

(_From the Second Officer’s statement_)

    He then took me back to the Marconi room, and proceeded to
    demolish the installation, holding the revolver against my
    ribs. From there he went to the Chief Engineer’s cabin and
    demanded his rifle, I accompanying him, and after obtaining it,
    threw it overboard. From there he made me walk ahead of him
    to the Chief Officer’s cabin, who he disarmed whilst he was
    asleep. He then ordered me to the bridge to steer south-west by
    compass, and as I was going on the bridge the Third Officer
    came down and he held him up, I going on the bridge in the

[Illustration: Lieutenant George D. Barnitz, U. S. N.]

(_From the Wireless Operator’s statement_)

    Schiller came back again, and took us into the Captain’s
    room. Some time later he came back again and brought me down
    to the wireless room to see if I could repair the wireless
    installation, which he said he had smashed. I told him it might
    be possible to repair one instrument, and he said, “We will
    leave it until morning,” and then brought me along the deck
    to the Fourth and Fifth Engineers’ cabins and I opened the
    door and he went in. Both engineers were asleep and he made me
    search all the drawers; he brought out a revolver and a box of
    cartridges, which he made me throw over the side. He then took
    me to the Third Engineer’s cabin, and searched all the drawers
    there. He brought out of there a bottle of whiskey, and asked
    me if I had any money. Then he marched me up to the Captain’s
    cabin and ordered me to remain there until 6 A. M.

(_From “Schiller’s” statement_)

    I went into the various officers’ rooms and took all the
    revolvers from them. From the Steward I took ten dollars, and a
    two-dollar bill from the Second Mate.

(_From the Second Officer’s statement_)

    At 1:30 A. M. he returned to the bridge and ordered me to steer
    south by compass.

(_From the “Schiller” statement_)

    Then I went to the Captain’s cabin again, and told him I should
    sink the ship, but the Captain said he has worked since a boy
    on ships for a few shillings a week and he has worked himself
    up to this and surely it has not come to this. He said he has
    a wife and a child--a girl--and showed me on the wall the
    portrait of the child, and I asked him suppose the ship went
    down would he get another job, and he said he would have to
    work as a longshoreman. He said it was too rough for the boats
    to be lowered, so I did not want to commit murder. And knowing
    that the Captain would lose his position, and as I am a young
    man and can always find work, I asked the Captain if he will
    put me ashore in the morning. He gave me his word of honor that
    he would....

(_From Captain Bergner’s statement_)

    At 5:30 A. M. ... he let me take charge of the ship, and I made
    for Delaware Breakwater....

(_From the Wireless Operator’s statement_)

    At 6 A. M. he told me I could go below, but not to go into the
    wireless room. I was along near the carpenter’s room when he
    was searching it, and he made me bring out an axe and took me
    to the wireless room again; there he told me to smash up one of
    the instruments, and he stood in back of me threatening me. I
    asked him then if that would do, after I had partly demolished
    the instruments, and he told me to leave the axe and lock the
    door, which I did. He then left me.

(_From “Schiller’s” statement_)

    When we sighted shore the Captain said that we would have to go
    straight towards the lighthouse, or else, if we went the other
    way (the way I wanted to) we should run ashore, so I left it to
    the Captain and trusted to his word, as he said he would land

(_From Captain Bergner’s statement_)

    On approaching land he ordered one of the ship’s boats to be
    manned, and said that he was going to take two of the ship’s
    officers along as hostages to guarantee that I should not run
    him down, and he wanted three Chinese from the crew to row him

(_From the statement of John S. Wingate, Keeper of the Cape Henlopen
Coast Guard Station_)

    At about 11:30 A. M. I noticed a steamship coming in from off
    shore. I said to the crew that it was a war vessel coming but
    I didn’t know whether it was German or British. At 11:45 the
    lookout reported to me that the steamer was headed direct for
    Hen and Chicken Shoal. I immediately ordered the signal “J. D.”
    hoisted on the pole, which means, “You are standing into
    danger.” When we supposed the ship saw our signal, he stopped,
    and laid to for about ten minutes, when he hard a-port and went
    clear of the shoal.

    A few minutes later he lowered a boat--we thought to take
    soundings, for the boat pulled away from the ship and headed
    direct for the beach.

(_From the Second Officer’s statement_)

    At approximately 11:45 A. M.... I got into the small boat at
    his command, with four of the crew, and we proceeded toward
    shore, but were stopped by the pilot cutter _Philadelphia_ who
    told us that if we attempted to land we would be drowned. The
    _Philadelphia_ then towed us into smooth water....

(_From Captain Wingate’s statement_)

    Meanwhile the pilot boat was heading down on the ship, blowing
    her whistle to warn the ship of her danger. By this time the
    ship hoisted a signal “K. T. S.,” which means “_Piracy_.” I
    ordered my boat made ready at once when I saw the “Piracy”
    signal; five minutes later he started for the ship. At 12:20 I
    had called Keeper Lynch of the Lewes station telling him what I
    was going to do, and to meet me off the Point.

(_From the statement of Captain John S. Lynch of the Lewes Coast Guard

    I and my crew launched our power lifeboat and started for the
    steamer. Before I could get to the steamer I saw the pilot
    boat towing in the steamer’s skiff. The pilot boat let go of
    the skiff right off the Capes, and the occupants of the skiff
    started to row for shore. I called to them and they stopped. We
    went alongside, and I told them I would take the man ashore and
    save them the trouble. So he got into our boat.

    I then run off and picked up Captain Wingate, whose boat is a
    rowboat, and we went alongside the steamer. I asked for the
    Captain of the steamer, and they told me he was going ashore in
    the sail pilot boat, so we run alongside the sail pilot boat,
    and I asked the Captain of the steamer to come along with me.
    He says, “I will not. Not with _that_ man in your boat. He’s
    got five guns on him!” I then told him that I did not care how
    many guns he had as I was not afraid of him and he requested me
    to take the man ashore myself. Then this man Ernest Schiller
    began to throw his guns overboard: Schiller throwed one gun
    overboard, Captain Wingate, who had come aboard my boat throwed
    two overboard, and C. A. Jenkins throwed another one overboard,
    Schiller having thrown them into the bottom of the boat. He,
    Schiller, throwed a lot of cartridges overboard, and when
    we came ashore we searched him and took the balance of the
    cartridges which he had on him and throwed them overboard. I
    then brought him up to the Customs Office and left him there.

(_From “Schiller’s” statement_)

    I am willing to go back to New York ... immediately, and
    confess my guilt. I swear on oath that there are no bombs
    placed on the ship, to my knowledge. I simply made that
    statement to the Captain as a bluff.

Thus this venturesome Russian, Hodson by birth, Schiller by preference,
and German by conviction, who single-handed captured a steamship,
returned to New York, thirty-six hours after he had left port. He
walked the plank to the United States Penitentiary at Atlanta for life,
for “piracy on the high seas.”




_Sugar and Ships and Robert Fay_

Anyone familiar with the waterfront of a great port can appreciate its
difficulties as an area to be policed. One of the busiest sections of
the community during the daytime, it is little frequented at night. In
districts where you find few people you will rarely find lights, and
where there are no lights you may well expect crime. The contours of
the shoreline are irregular, following usually the original margins
of solid ground lining the natural harbor, and for every thoroughfare
which can pass as a street there are a dozen or two alleys, footpaths,
shadowy recesses and blind holes. Locks and keys and night watchmen
will protect the land side of the piers, but from the water side
entrance to any pier is easy, concealment still easier, and flight no
trick at all.

If New York harbor in 1914 had presented the aspect of the same harbor
of twenty years before, I could hardly estimate the confusion which
would have resulted from the coming of war. But there is probably no
port in the world which handles New York’s volume of shipping with
greater orderliness--I speak now from the standpoint of “law and order”
rather than of the terminal facilities of the port. Its waterfront was
physically clean and its longshore population, thanks to a competent
police force, manageable. And yet, as Shakespeare said, “there are land
rats and water rats--”

From August, when war was declared and the Bomb Squad formed, through
the fall of the year 1914, certain changes came over the waterfront.
Great German liners of the Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd
Lines, freighters of the Atlas Line, and a miscellany of other vessels
flying the red-white-and-black lay idle in port when England’s fleet
blockaded the seaward channels. Some eighty German vessels were tied
up at their piers. They dared not move, for Germany’s only available
convoys were in southern waters trying to dodge the British and prey
upon shipping. The Hamburg-American Line and Captain Boy-Ed made
several abortive attempts to supply the raiders, but the considerable
merchant fleet caught in port by the war stayed in port. This dumped
on the longshore population some thousands of ardent Boches. Meanwhile
the great steamship lines owned by neutral and allied capital entered
on a period of activity such as they had never seen before. The first
ships from abroad brought purchasing agents and European money to
barter for American supplies, for immediate delivery. Any man who owned
anything that bore a speaking likeness to a cargo-boat suddenly found
himself potentially wealthy. The whole United States began to pour into
the New York waterfront a huge volume of supplies for the Allies--and
for a time for Germany, via neutral Holland and Scandinavia--and out of
the Hudson and East rivers flowed a steady, swelling current of this
overseas trade.

By the arrival of the year 1915 the current was well under way.
The piers were extremely busy and the facilities for trouble were
multiplying. On January 3 there was an explosion on the steamship
_Orton_ in Erie Basin for which there was no apparent explanation.
A month later a bomb was discovered in the cargo of the _Hennington
Court_, but no one could say how it came there. Toward the end of
February the steamship _Carlton_ caught fire at sea--mysteriously. Two
months passed, then two bombs were found in the cargo of the _Lord
Erne_. We might have had a look at them, for that was the business of
the Bomb Squad, if those who had found the bombs had not dumped them
overboard rather hastily. A week later a bomb was found in the hold of
the _Devon City_. Again no explanation. Nor any reasonable cause why
the _Cressington Court_ caught fire at sea on April 29. Our attention
had been directed to each of these instances, and we had investigated,
and folders waited in the files for the reports which properly
developed would lead to an arrest, and the sum total of those reports
was--nothing. Then our luck turned for a moment.

The steamship _Kirkoswald_, out of New York, laden with supplies for
France, docked at Marseilles, and in four sugar-bags in her hold were
found bombs. The French authorities commandeered them, and removed
and analyzed the explosive charge. The police commissioner cabled at
once to Marseilles requesting the return of one of the bomb-cases,
together with the bag in which it had been found, and an analysis of
the contents. No answer. So he cabled again. The bomb-case then began
a journey back to the United States, presented with the compliments
of the Republic of France by M. Jusserand to the State Department
at Washington, and forwarded in turn to Mayor Mitchel of New York.
Our study disclosed that it was of a new type: a metal tube some ten
inches long, divided into two compartments by a thin aluminum disc. One
compartment had held potassium chlorate, a powerful explosive, and the
other had contained sulphuric acid. The acid had been expected to eat
through the thin disc separating the compartments, and explosion was to
have followed, but for some reason it had failed. The metals were of
good quality, and the workmanship was thorough.

Here was our first clue on the case. Many policemen work on theory
so determinedly that they exclude really important facts which do
not fit comfortably into the theory. I have always believed in
taking the evidence, building a theory upon it, and then trying to
confirm or reject that theory as new facts appear. It was well that
we followed such a policy here, for we had nothing but the bomb-tube
itself to build our theory upon. What did it offer? First, we were
fortunate in having a bomb to study, for usually the fire following
an explosion leaves no trace of its origin. We had its construction
and ingredients as real, if vague, clues. Second, we knew that
the _Kirkoswald_ had carried supplies to France, and that all of the
vessels on which bombs had been found or fires had broken out, had
also been carrying supplies to the Allies. The list, by this time, had
grown, for there were three more ship cases of fires or bombs in May,
one in June, and five in July. Our primary theory was, therefore, that
the bombs were made and placed on the vessels either by Germans or
their paid agents.


  _Copyright, by Underwood and Underwood, N. Y._

Lieut. Robert Fay (on right) and Lieut. George D. Barnitz after Fay’s


  _Copyright, by Underwood and Underwood_

From left to right: Fay, Daeche and Scholz, arraigned in Court]

The _Kirkoswald_ carried sugar. By examining the cargo-records of the
other ships which had suffered near or actual mishaps, we found that
they had also carried sugar, and that in the instances when fire broke
out, the highly inflammable sugar gave a lot of trouble to the fire
crew. The vigilance of the waterfront and harbor police had of course
been keyed up to detect anything suspicious, but a bomb-planter does
not often carry his bomb under a policeman’s nose, and it seemed not
unreasonable to suspect that the bombs had gone aboard with the sugar.
So I went to a sugar refinery to see how sugar was made.

I followed the process from the entry of the raw sugar to the bagging
and shipping of the finished product. All of the sugar shipped abroad
went in bags, which were sewn tight either by hand or by machinery.
After considerable testing I found that it was fairly easy to open a
hand-sewn bag and sew it up again without leaving evidence of what I
had done; the machine stitches, however, resisted any intrusion, and
were hard to duplicate once they had been taken out. I put that fact
away for future reference and looked in on the shipping department, to
learn there that the only two persons who could know of the destination
of a consignment of sugar before it was actually loaded into a vessel’s
hold were the shipping clerk of the refinery and the captain of the
lighter who took the sugar from the refinery to the ship.

So we first paid court to the lighter captains and their aids. We
followed shipments of sugar from the refinery doors to the lighters,
saw the shipping clerk hand over his bill to the captain, saw the
lighter pull out for a pier somewhere about the harbor, followed him to
the pier, and watched the transfer of the cargo into the vessel’s hold.
If a lighterman knew that hand-sewn bags could be ripped open, and
wished to insert a bomb and close the bag again, he would have to do it
on the way from the refinery to the pier--of that we were confident,
for as soon as the lighter pulled up to the vessel’s side the
stevedores rushed the cargo into the hold, the hatches were sealed, and
the cargo-checker, employed by the vessel, turned over to the lighter
captain his receipt for the consignment. There was apparently no other
time for tampering with the bags.

How to watch the bags themselves from the refinery into the vessel was
a troublesome problem. The river, during the daytime, is in constant
traffic, and navigation for a cumbersome lighter in the river-paths is
about as comfortable as crossing Fifth Avenue on foot at rush hour.
The river at night was comparatively free, and it was then that most
of the lightering was done. A waterman can identify the uncouth shapes
of queer craft on dark waters, a landsman cannot, but we had to make
the best of a bad bargain and chase the lighters in a motorboat, often
diligently following a blinking light through the mist for hours to
discover finally that it was on the wrong ship. Ships on a dark river
are like timid spinsters in a dark street--they exhibit, perhaps
through fear of collision, perhaps because ships are feminine, a strong
suspicion of anything that approaches. Our barking motorboat advertised
itself half a mile away. If we drifted we lost our quarry. We tried to
smuggle men aboard the lighters, but there were so many, and they were
bound in so many different directions, that we were not manned for this.

So passed June and July. It was a thankless task, and one which had
its risks. Detective Senff fell into the river one night when he was
chasing a suspicious character around under a pier at the foot of West
44th Street and nearly drowned before he could be pulled out. The case
seemed to be getting no further than abstractions. Ashore, however, we
learned that most of the lighter captains in the harbor were Germans,
and in an effort to reduce the field we learned the names of the
captains of the lighters which had most frequently visited the vessels
on which fires had occurred. This took time and an exhaustive study of
lighterage receipts, but it brought out the fact that in every case
of a delivery of sugar to an outward bound vessel, the captain of the
lighter had returned a full receipt--which exploded the possibility
that a lighterman might take a bag from one shipment, put a bomb in it,
and add it to the next.

I am happy now to say that we did not give up. We couldn’t, for the
ship fires were going right on, increasing in frequency, and somebody
was making bombs, for they continued to be found. On the assumption
that a lighter captain who would place a bomb in a sugar-bag must first
get the bomb, we began to shadow the captains, not only afloat but
ashore, and then suddenly the case took a queer twist and our theory of
German intrigue got badly balled up.

We followed certain lightermen to their homes, their drinking haunts,
and their other places of business, and among their other places of
business found the residence--on the lower West Side of Manhattan--of a
man known to be a river pirate. That was enough for an arrest, and on
August 27 we brought Mike Matzet, Ferdinand Hahn, Richard Meyerhoffer
and Jene Storms, Germans, and John Peterson, Swede, to headquarters
for examination. Matzet confessed that he, and “all the rest” of the
lighter captains, as he expressed it, had been regularly stealing sugar
from the consignments, and selling it to river pirates for ⅙ the market
price, which allowed the pirates to re-sell it at ⅚ the market for 400
per cent. clear profit. The pirates in a motorboat would steal into the
shadow of a lighter as she lay at her anchorage, take off a few bags,
and slip away. We had seen such boats, but had never been able to close
in and see what they were doing. The checkers who were supposed to
render a true and just account of the number of bags which later passed
into the hatches of the ocean vessels were merely accomplices who
shared in the profits when the stolen sugar was sold.

There were no bombs on the captains (who presently went to jail) but
they were all fully aware of the conditions along the waterfront, for
one said to a pirate who was “buying” sugar: “Take all you want--the
damn ship will never get over anyway!” No bombs--and what if there had
been? We were reasonably certain that the ships were being fired, but
we did not know now whether it was for German reasons, or merely to
efface the sugar thefts before the cargoes reached the other side of
the ocean and were discovered by the consignees. The conviction of the
thieves was not much consolation for the slow development of the case,
and it fixed no guilt for bombs.

But when you are bound on a long trip, and you have mislaid your
ticket, it is second nature to go through your pockets one by one,
knowing full well that it is not in any of them, for you “just looked
there.” Then you find it in one of the pockets where you knew it could
not be. Acting on a not dissimilar instinct we began to retrace our
steps from June to September, and to follow again the progress of
sugar from the refinery to the hold of the outward bound steamer. Our
theory that the bombs had some connection with the sugar was either
to be proven or destroyed this time. It was in this more or less dull
review that we made the acquaintance of the Chenangoes.

They were nothing more romantic than fly-by-night stevedores whom the
lighter companies engaged at the sugar wharves to load cargoes. They
worked by the day, or by the job, there were always plenty loitering
around to be hired, and they drew their pay and went their way. No
one ever had to wonder who they were or where they came from, for a
stout body was all the recommendation a Chenango required. They were
a nondescript type of common labor, the same, I suspect, that carried
materials for the Tower of Babel, and speaking almost as many tongues.
The same face rarely appeared a second time to be hired--not that there
was anything particularly unpleasant about the work, but rather that
all work is repulsive to a Chenango. He is the hobo of labor and if the
same man had been re-hired, no one would have noticed or cared. We paid
such attention to them as their variety permitted--followed them to all
the points of the compass, and watched them closely while they worked,
to see whether any of them seemed to linger aboard in the cargo, or
carried any suspicious package. The wickedest thing we found was an
occasional pint flask on the hip, which was no proof of any special
criminal affairs.

Ever since we had examined the _Kirkoswald_ bomb we had had lines
out to follow the sale of chlorate of potash and sulphuric acid--the
ingredients of the bomb. We examined reams of sales’ records submitted
by explosive and chemical manufacturers, traced dozens of reports from
drug stores, and found nothing of consequence. Those two substances are
widely and harmlessly used, and rarely purchased in small quantities by
any individual whose intentions might excite suspicion. Under our rigid
city explosives’ laws investigation of purchases was facilitated for
us, but all the facility in the world could not help the case without
anything to investigate. So passed September and a part of October, and
just about the time when the bomb case was growing dull and the ship
fires which were constantly occurring had almost found us calloused,
the French Government, with traditional courtesy, helped us out again,
and blew our sugar theory into many and small pieces.

[Illustration: The Fay Bomb Materials

Suit cases containing an atlas, two maps of the harbor, drawing
instruments, tools, a wig and two false mustaches, a telescope bomb,
and several packages of ingredients]

Captain Martyn, the French military attaché in New York, telephoned to
say that he thought we would be interested in a man who he believed was
trying to buy some explosive. What kind? Trinitro-toluol, or “TNT,” one
of the most violent propellants used in modern shell. Yes, we would be

A war exporter, Wettig by name, had told Captain Martyn that a fellow
with whom he shared office space had asked him to obtain a quantity of
TNT--a small quantity, for trial purposes. The purchaser, who was known
both as Paul Siebs and Karl Oppegaarde, and who lived at the Hotel
Breslin, directed Wettig to deliver the material to a Jersey address
and said he would then receive payment. On the axiom that a bomb in the
hand is worth two in someone else’s, we were introduced to Wettig, and
formulated with him a plan to follow the explosive. So on Thursday,
October 21, Detective Barnitz accompanied Wettig to a “dynamite store”
at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where the latter bought some 25 pounds of
TNT. The two returned to New York with their package. We looked up Mr.
Oppegaarde and asked him what he proposed to do with his purchase. He
said he really hadn’t the slightest idea: an acquaintance of his, a war
broker named Max Breitung, had referred a certain Dr. Herbert Kienzle,
a German clock-maker, to him as a likely person to obtain explosives.
Dr. Kienzle had placed the order, had wanted it delivered at a garage
in Main Street, Weehawken, to a man who bore the name of Fay, and who
had assured Siebs that when he had it delivered he would be paid for
his services. Further than that he knew nothing. Nobody seemed to know
anything, although here was a considerable amount of vicious explosive
in which five men were very much interested. We spent the rest of that
day in looking up what we could of the players in this little game of
“passing the TNT”--from Kienzle to Breitung to Siebs to Wettig to Fay.

Six men were assigned to the case: Murphy, Walsh, Fenelly, Sterett,
Coy and Barnitz, and they most admirably stayed on the job. On Friday
Detectives Barnitz and Coy took the explosive to the Weehawken garage.
Fay was not there, but a man who was there told the detectives he lived
at 28 Fifth Street, so the men from the Bomb Squad and their package
called at the boarding house where Fay lived. Again he was not to be
found, but our men had a chat with the landlady, who told them that Mr.
Fay was a real nice gentleman who had lived there with his friend Mr.
Scholz for a month, always paid his bills, subscribed to a magazine,
and was working on inventions, or at least so she thought, because he
used a table to draw plans on. Sociable, too--

They left the TNT for him. I ought to remind the reader that it is
harmless unless confined or heated, and cannot be properly exploded
without a proper detonating charge. It may have been a bit rough on the
boarding house, but we had gone to deliver the goods to Fay; Wettig had
told him they would be delivered (though not by whom) and we had to
carry out the plan even though Fay was not at home.

At the same hour, across the Hudson Detectives Coy, Walsh and Sterett
learned why Fay had not been receiving visitors, for they found him in
Siebs’s company in the Hotel Breslin. Effacing themselves until the
interview was over, they tailed Fay to the West 42nd Street ferry, then
across the river to Weehawken, up the long hill to the town, and to his
garage at 212 Main Street. In the early evening an automobile emerged
from the garage, driven by Fay and containing another passenger, and
wound out of town in a northerly direction along the Palisades. Behind
it was a police car. North of Weehawken a few miles where the country
is inhabited by installment-plan “villas,” moving-picture studios and
scrub-oak trees, Fay stopped his car at the roadside and disappeared
with the other man into the underbrush and then into the deeper woods.
The police car waited until they returned, and followed them back to
their boarding house, where the detectives took up a vigil outside.

A New York policeman has not the power of arrest in another state, and
it began to look as though we might have to make an arrest in Jersey,
so Chief Flynn assigned Secret Service Agents Burke and Savage to
the case and they joined forces with us Saturday morning. Detectives
Barnitz, Coy, Walsh, Sterett, Fenelly and Murphy were watching the
house in Weehawken. About noon Fay and his companion appeared, and got
aboard a Grantwood street-car. The Bomb Squad followed at a discreet
distance to the point where the men had dodged into the woods the
night before. Barnitz, who was in command, sent Sterett and Coy in
after them. But nature was against us, for the fallen leaves carpeting
the woods crackled under foot, and to snap a twig was to shout one’s
presence through the clear air. Twice Fay turned sharply around and
peered through the trees. The two detectives were nearly discovered
on both occasions. They finally decided that it would be impossible
to approach their men without alarming them, so they returned to the
waiting automobile. The police party waited an hour or more, and then
realized that Fay and his companion had evidently gone out the other
side of the woods and so worked their way back to civilization.

Barnitz thought and acted swiftly. He sent Sterett and Coy at once to
New York to cover Dr. Kienzle, on the chance that Fay might get into
communication with him--it was a long chance, but the only one that
offered, for the men were now lost to us. Barnitz, Murphy, Fenelly and
Walsh returned to Weehawken to watch Fay’s house. For two hours nothing
happened to interest them, and Barnitz was beginning to wonder whether
he would ever see his quarry again when an express wagon drove up and
stopped at 28 Fifth Street. The driver presently trundled a trunk out
of the house, swung it up into his wagon and drove off. The police car
idled along behind him for a mile or so through the Weehawken streets,
and the wagon stopped at another house. While the driver was indoors
this time, Fenelly, who was roughly dressed and light of foot, slipped
up behind the wagon, vaulted into the back of it, took one look at the
trunk and rejoined the others. “There’s a plain calling-card on the
trunk. It reads ‘Walter Scholz,’” he said. Again the expressman headed
a small parade, which terminated when the detectives saw him leave
the trunk in a storage warehouse. Barnitz dared not follow it there
for fear of arousing suspicion, and he figured that the trunk would
probably not be removed during the week-end at least. The detectives
once more returned to the boarding house and resumed their tedious

The evening passed, and there was no word either from Coy and Sterett
or the lost men. Late fall evenings in Weehawken are cold. Some time
after midnight two figures came up the street, and as they turned in
to the boarding house we saw they were Fay and Scholz. Out of the
shadows a moment later Sterett and Coy slipped up to the car--“I could
have kissed ’em both,” Barnitz said afterward. They had covered the
office of the Kienzle Clock Company at 41 Park Place, picked up Dr.
Kienzle as he left the office, tailed him until five in the afternoon,
and then saw him enter the lobby of the Equitable Building at 120
Broadway--where he met Fay and Scholz! The men conversed for a few
moments, and Fay excused himself. He went to a telephone booth and
closed the door. Sterett went into the next booth. Through the thin
partition he heard Fay call the garage, ask whether a package had been
delivered to him there, then say “it hasn’t, eh?” and hang up the
receiver. He rejoined Scholz and Kienzle and the three went to a Fulton
Street restaurant to dine. The detectives went to the restaurant but
did not dine, and when the Germans left, and Kienzle parted from the
others, they tailed Fay and Scholz to Grand Central Palace, saw them
appropriate two young women, dance with them, pledge them in a few
drinks, and finally leave them and return to Weehawken.

That trunk episode made us uneasy. It might have meant that they
had been frightened and were going to disappear, and it certainly
signified their intention of moving. We decided to force the issue, and
accordingly in the small hours of Sunday morning we directed Wettig,
of whom, of course, Fay had no suspicions, to call at Fay’s house
later in the forenoon to arrange to test the TNT. From the automobile,
which was parked at the street-corner some distance from the house,
the detectives saw Wettig enter, and in a few moments saw him come
out-of-doors with Fay and Scholz. They strolled to the street-car line,
allowed two cars to pass unsignalled, and then, suddenly, hailed a
third. It had closed doors, and when Murphy, Fenelly, and Coy, seeing
the men climbing aboard, tried to reach the car themselves, the doors
had slammed in their faces and the car was on its way. Somewhere in
the shuffle Walsh had been mislaid--he had been last seen up the block
covering an alley which led back of the boarding house. There was no
time to pick him up, and the automobile followed the car to Grantwood
and the now familiar woods. At times the car was out of sight of the
pursuers, and they fully expected to lose their men again. But from far
in the rear they saw the car stop opposite the woods. The doors snapped
open, and the first person to set foot on the ground was Walsh. The
second and third were Fay and Scholz, and the last, Wettig. Walsh had
seen them climb aboard in Weehawken, and had promptly sprinted for the
next corner ahead, where he caught the car! That was good shadowing

The Germans slipped into the protection of the underbrush immediately.
Barnitz was not disposed to let them get away again, so he spread out
his forces so as to follow the party and finally surround it, and the
Bomb Squad, the Secret Service and two members of the Weehawken police
entered the wood and wove a circle about their victims. As they closed
in they saw Fay enter a little shack in the depth of the brush, and
bring out a package, from which he took a pinch of some material and
placed it on a rock. With a nice new hammer he dealt the rock a sharp
blow, there was a loud report, and the handle snapped in his hand. The
detectives closed in at once, and Barnitz said, “You’re under arrest!”

“Who is in charge of you all?” Fay asked.

“I am,” Barnitz replied.

“Well, I will tell you that I am not going to be placed under arrest,”
Fay announced. “If I am, great people will suffer! You will surely have
war. It cannot be--it is impossible. I will give you any amount of
money if you will let me go.”

This was good news, not for its financial content but because we had
no previous evidence against this man Fay save that he had TNT in his
possession. Here he was, trying to confirm our suspicions.

“How much will you give me?” Barnitz parleyed.

“All you want--any amount!”

“Fifty thousand?”

“Yes, fifty thousand, if you want it.”

“Got it with you?” Barnitz asked instantly.

“No, I haven’t got it all, but I can get it. I’ll pay you a hundred
dollars now as a guarantee, and I’ll give you the balance at noon

Barnitz called two of the other men. “Get this,” he said, and turning
to Fay: “All right, where’s your money?” Fay paid him. Then they
took him to the Weehawken headquarters, guilty at least of attempted
bribery, and Barnitz turned in the cash as Exhibit A.

We suspected that he had something more than the possession of
explosives to conceal, and so he had, for a search of his rooms and the
garage brought to light the parts for a number of thoroughly ingenious
mechanical contrivances which, although they were of a new type, we
immediately recognized as bombs. In a packing case at the storage
warehouse were four bombs finished and ready to fill. He had apparently
intended to manufacture them on a large scale, for in addition to his
trial quantity of TNT Fay had twenty-five sticks of dynamite, 450
pounds of chlorate of potash, four hundred percussion caps, and two
hundred bomb cylinders. Apparently, too, he had German sympathies, for
we found in his rooms a regulation German army pistol, loaded. The
discovery of a chart of New York harbor, and the information, which
we soon got, that he had a motorboat in a slip opposite West 42nd
Street, pointed the finger of guilt toward the waterfront--which after
all those months of waiting was the direction in which we were most

Fay told his story. He was a lieutenant of the German Army, detached
for special secret service. He ascribed his detachment from his command
to his own brilliant realization, as he was on the fighting front in
France, that if all the American shells that were being fired at him
from French seventy-fives and British eighteen-pounders could be sunk
before they reached France they would not cause his countrymen so
much annoyance, and also that pushed to its capacity that idea would
probably influence the outcome of the war. The fact is that Fay’s
career, training, education, languages and character were well known
to the secret service in Berlin, and that when they wanted to assign a
reliable and desperate man to Captain von Papen in New York, they sent
him. They knew that Fay had spent years in America, and that he was
trained in mechanics. They gave him $4,000 and a plan of campaign, and
said: “Go west.”

It was natural that when he landed he should seek out his
brother-in-law, Walter Scholz, who was working as gardener on an
estate in Connecticut. It was natural, too, that when he set about
getting supplies for his bombs he should call on Dr. Kienzle, who made
clock machinery, for Dr. Kienzle had already written to the German
secret service in Berlin recommending just such work as Fay had come to
undertake. When he came to require explosives, it was only natural that
Kienzle should refer him to his friend Max Breitung, with the result
which we have seen, and naturally Paul Daeche, who was a good friend
of both Kienzle and Breitung (he had tried to return to Germany with
both of them on the _Kronprinzessin Cecilie_ when she put out of New
York and put in to Bar Harbor in late July, 1914)--naturally Daeche was
interested in Fay’s projects and devices, and helped him with them.
Daeche was one of those doubtful Germans who had come to America to
“study business methods”--in short a commercial spy, willing to make a


  _Copyright, by Underwood and Underwood, N. Y._

Lieutenant Fay’s Motor Boat]

Fay was crestfallen after his arrest. He worried, first, over what his
government would think of him when he had left home promising that not
a single munitions’ ship would leave New York and reach the Allies;
second, because revealing his commission to destroy those ships would
place Germany in a bad light with other neutral nations; third, for
fear he might implicate the Imperial German Embassy at Washington. He
protected the Embassy for a time, and then admitted that his plans had
only been waiting a word from von Papen and Boy-Ed for consummation.
His mines were all ready to be set, and the attachés, whom he had met,
had not given the word. All his clever craftsmanship had gone for

The bombs were so constructed that they might be attached under water
to the rudder-post of a vessel as she lay at her pier. Inside the
bomb case was a clockwork, so poised as to fire two rifle cartridges
into a chamber of ninety pounds of TNT. Lieut. Robert S. Glasburn, of
Fort Wadsworth, who testified at Fay’s trial, is my authority for the
statement that the government requires only 100 pounds of TNT, exploded
at a depth of fifteen feet under water, to destroy a dreadnought;
Fay’s ninety pounds would have torn the rudder out like a toothpick
and ripped away the entire after part of the vessel. The helmsman of
the vessel himself was unconsciously to have set the bomb off, for the
clockwork was geared to a wire attached to the rudder itself in such a
way that each normal swing of the rudder would wind up the mechanism
until it fired the cartridge. The bomb chamber was fitted with rubber
gaskets so that no water would be admitted before the charge had done
its work. Fay was a skilful hand, and had done the assembling himself.
Scholz bought the materials at various machine shops about New York,
Kienzle supplied the mechanisms and approved the finished product.
Breitung contributed 400 pounds of chlorate of potash to make a German
holiday, and Daeche just hung around and helped everybody.

Fay knew it was easy to approach a pier from the water-side, for he
had spent hours fishing idly in the river to determine that very fact.
Just as soon as the military attaché said the word, he and Scholz were
to put out into the darkness of the river in their fast motorboat and
visit ten ships sailing for England and France, donning a diver’s suit,
and attaching a bomb to each rudder. He would first slip alongside the
police patrol boats, whose haunts he knew, and steal the guns from
them, counting on the swiftness of his own craft to get away from
pursuers. He even entertained the possibility of visiting the British
patrol cruisers outside the harbor to fix bombs to them--though hardly
seriously, I suspect. He had made a different type of bomb, resembling
a telescope, in which the carefully timed dissolution of a white
powder would release a firing pin on a large quantity of potassium
chlorate. This type he proposed to smuggle into the cargo. When he had
created such a reign of terror in New York harbor that no ship dared
leave, he would go to Boston and Philadelphia and do likewise, then
to Chicago and Buffalo to paralyze lake shipping, and thence to New
Orleans and San Francisco and home by way of New York or Mexico. It was
a great pity, he said, that he had been arrested, for this program had
been cancelled. He wished he had got word to start sooner. He had had a
few bombs ready for some time. Then there came a slack period, and he
sent Daeche to Bridgeport on a little side mission for Germany: to get
some dum-dum bullets. These Fay intended to forward to Berlin through
von Papen to support a protest from Germany to the United States that
we were shipping dum-dum bullets to the Allies. We were not, naturally,
but that did not prevent his bringing back a few bullets with the
jackets carefully notched by a German agent in Bridgeport.

We had heard enough of what he had intended to do, and of his
disappointment. What had he accomplished? What ships had he blown up?
Was he responsible for the five fires in the hold of the _Craigside_
on July 24? No. Did he make the bombs found on the _Arabic_ on July 27?
Did he cause the fires on the _Assuncion de Larrinaga_, the _Rotterdam_
or the _Santa Anna_, and did he put a bomb aboard the _Williston_? He
did not, he assured me.

I showed him the _Kirkoswald_ bomb.

“Did you ever see that?”

“No,” he answered.

“Didn’t you make that?”

“I did not,” he replied, and laughed. “That’s a joke. I see now why
they sent me over to this country--they wanted someone to make bombs
that would do some damage. That’s crude work.”


  _Copyright, by Underwood and Underwood, N. Y._

The Rudder Bomb

A Closer View of the Rudder Bomb]

His answer was truthful. We had to admit it for there was absolutely no
evidence to connect him with any specific act outside his confession,
and we had to find comfort in the fact that he was guilty at least of
having intended to continue the reign of terror along the wharves.
Bombs had been found or fires had broken out on no less than twenty-two
vessels bound out of New York up to the time we closed on Fay--and not
one was his prey. He was tried with Scholz and Daeche. The only law
then applying to his case, and the one under which he was tried,
charged him with “conspiracy to defraud the insurance underwriters”
who had insured cargoes on certain ships. When the charge was read to
him, Fay innocently asked: “What are underwriters?” He found out. Fay
went to Atlanta for eight years, Scholz for six, and Daeche for four.
Kienzle and Breitung were not brought to trial and after we went to
war were invited to join various other Germans in an internment camp.
Fay had been at Atlanta a month when he escaped. German friends gave
him clothes and helped him to Baltimore, where Paul Koenig met him and
paid him $450, with injunctions to go to San Francisco and get more.
For some reason the fugitive feared that there was a plot against his
life in San Francisco, although he had protected the “great people,” so
instead of going west he fled immediately to Mexico. From there he fled
to Spain, and it was not until the summer of 1918 that he was caught

He was a bold and important criminal in his field, and we were glad
to have brought him in. He was not the one we wanted most, not if our
sugar theory was sound. The pursuit of Fay had certainly scared that
theory up an alley. It was high time we got out of the alley and back
into Main Street.




“_Damn Him, Rintelen!_”

The pursuit of Robert Fay unearthed what trial lawyers delight in
calling “not one scintilla of evidence” that he had actually set fire
to a ship. Fay was punished for what he intended to do and not for any
real achievement for the German cause.

Yet the thought persisted in our minds that he knew who was making and
placing ship bombs. He professed ignorance. “I do know this much,” he
said, after a long session of futile questioning, “I do know that a
certain man paid another man $10,000 to make those bombs. I won’t tell
you who he is, because I think he is now a prisoner in the Tower of
London, and he might get into more trouble. You can make what you like
out of that.”

We made this out of it--that the prisoner then in the Tower to whom
Fay referred was probably Franz Rintelen. He was a German of prominent
station who had had a vision quite like Fay’s--a vision of interrupting
American shipping, and so damming the flood of war supplies. In early
1915 he had come to America equipped with plenty of authority and a
bank credit limited only by the resources of the German Empire, and
had spent six months here trying to exercise that authority and spend
the money in numerous ways. He had tried to buy rifles of the American
government, he had fostered peace demonstrations, promoted strikes,
lobbied for an embargo on munitions and made himself busily useless in
numerous other ways, only to sail for home in the fall of the year--and
fall into the hands of the British.

But the charges which I have just cited, and which are now fully
confirmed against this man, were not then known to us, and Fay’s tip
was too ambiguous to help us at the moment. Instead of ceasing after
his arrest, the fires continued. The day after we caught Fay in the
woods the steamer _Rio Lages_ which had sailed a few days previously
took fire out at sea. A week later a blaze started in the hold of
the _Euterpe_. The _Rochambeau_, of the French line, caught fire at
sea on November 6, and the next day there was an explosion aboard
the _Ancona_. The _Tyningham_ suffered two fires on her voyage east
during early December. There was a maddening certainty about it all
that suggested that every ship that left port must have nothing in her
hold except hungry rats, parlor matches, oily waste and free kerosene.
Never in the history of the port had so many marine fires occurred in
a single year. Marine insurance was away up and our patience was away

The steamship companies put on special details of guards to watch the
vessels from the moment they entered port until they sailed again.
We resumed patrolling the river in various disguises. Fay’s swift
motorboat had disappeared, but there were plenty of others, and the
men of the Bomb Squad suffered real hardship in all sorts of inclement
weather. It seemed as though every item of cargo was watched as it
passed into the hold, and every stranger about the piers carefully
followed, but there was absolutely nothing to excite suspicion. So we
returned to our sugar theory and the Chenangoes.

I mentioned the fact that they were a floating tribe in more senses
than one, and that the same man rarely came back twice for employment.
A few familiar faces, however, could occasionally be spotted in the
crowd at work loading the lighters. We made it our business to study
these steady workers and found them for the most part a harmless lot of

Those who came, worked once, and vanished, were of all nationalities,
with a considerable German representation. Some of them used to come
from Hoboken, and by a process of elimination we found that certain of
the Hoboken delegation were sailors from the idle North German Lloyd
and Hamburg-American ships. We followed them and asked enough questions
about them to learn the entire history of any civilized people, but
nothing in the form of legal evidence resulted. A friend who knew the
methods taught in the Wilhelmstrasse for destroying property said it
would be futile for us to follow those men anyway, for the destroying
agent himself rarely knows the men higher up, the real conspirators.
So it began to look as if even the arrest of a guilty Chenango would
not supply the background necessary to picture the bomb system in its

On one of the early days of 1916 Detectives Barth, Corell and Senff
reported for duty and were assigned to Hoboken. They were instructed
to hang about the restaurants, saloons and hotels where the officers
and petty-officers from the German ships were accustomed to gather,
and posing as confidential German agents they were to fish about for
whatever might take their bait. All three men are fine Americans of
German descent, with an excellent command of the German language, so
they got on well with the longshore folk they met in the “stubes” of
Hoboken. They occasionally suggested in a vague way that they Were
the picked servants of the Kaiser, and aroused some interest and no
suspicion among their new acquaintances. Every man has more or less
desire to be a “secret service man” and in looking back on the German
antics in America during the war I think one may attribute as much of
their activity to the dramatic instinct, as to their cupidity or their
real patriotic zeal. (Paul Koenig is an exaggerated example of what
I mean.) And so it was with those to whom the three Bomb Squad men
talked: a nod here, and a wink there, a whisper and a wag of the head,
and they took on some importance.


  _Copyright, by International Film Service, Inc._

Franz Rintelen]

Their reward came when a German whom Barth had picked up suggested
quietly that he knew a man who had been doing work for the government
(German) and wouldn’t Barth like to meet him? Barth would. So with
some ceremony Barth was introduced as one of von Bernstorff’s special
agents to a funny little old man who looked like a cartoon of the late
Prussian eagle. He was Captain Charles von Kleist of Hoboken. The three
lunched together in Hahn’s restaurant, in Park Row, New York, and von
Kleist found Barth agreeable. He was very glad to meet a real agent,
for he had a grudge against a fellow over in Hoboken who said he was a
member of the German secret service.

“You can’t be too careful of those fellows,” Barth said. “There are a
lot of fakes around. What’s he done to you?”

“This Scheele, he has a laboratory, where he has been doing work,
making some things. I was his superintendent now for a long time, and
he owes me several hundred dollars, but he does not pay me. I think von
Igel ought to know about it, and perhaps Captain von Papen himself.”

“So do I,” said Barth. “I’ll see that it gets to him. What was it you
were doing over there?”

Von Kleist was a chemist. Dr. Walter T. Scheele had been employing him
in his laboratory at 1133 Clinton Street, Hoboken, in a factory which
was ostensibly for the manufacture of agricultural chemicals. The real
business they transacted was the manufacture of bombs. Ernest Becker,
the chief electrician of the North German Lloyd liner _Friedrich der
Grosse_, and Carl Schmidt, her chief engineer, had made the containers
out of sheet metal. These Becker had delivered to Scheele, and up in
the laboratory the containers had been filled with explosive. Becker
would come then and take them away, and the bombs had been used to
great advantage, von Kleist continued, in harassing the shipping. But
what good did it do him, he asked Barth, if he got no pay for it?

“You wait,” returned the “secret agent.” “I’ll get you fixed up. I know
a man who is close to von Igel, and I’ll have him meet you. If what you
say is true, you certainly have something coming to you. Wait till I
get this other man.”

A few days passed. Then von Kleist came again to Hahn’s restaurant, and
was introduced to “Herr Deane,” who Barth said spoke no German, but
was a good man in spite of the handicap. A trace of suspicion crossed
the old chemist’s face, and Barth hastened to add: “We have to use all
kinds of people to fool these stupid Yankees, see?” This bit of heavy
satire reassured von Kleist, and he found Deane a likable person, who
seemed interested in his case against Scheele. He went over the ground
again. “If you want any more proof I’ll show you,” he concluded. “Come
to my house.” “Deane” (who votes under the name of George D. Barnitz,
of the Bomb Squad) joined Barth and accompanied von Kleist to his house
at 1121 Garden Street, Hoboken, and out of the muddy back yard the old
man dug up an empty bomb container, _almost an exact duplicate of the
“Kirkoswald” bomb_! “There is one of them--and I have filled dozens
like that,” he said.

“Let’s go for a ride,” Barth suggested. “We can go down to Coney
Island and have supper--the hotel has opened up--and we’ll talk things
over.” The old man felt very amiable towards his new friends, and was
a talkative and appreciative guest. They dined at the Shelburne and
later Barnitz wrote out a statement of von Kleist’s services as the
latter outlined them. “This is just for the sake of regularity, you
understand. I have to have a written report to give to the chief, or
else you won’t get yours. You can sign this as your formal statement.”

“All right,” von Kleist agreed, and signed. “How long do you think it
will be before I could get some money?”

“Oh, don’t worry about that part of it,” Barth said. “I tell you what
we’ll do. We’ll all three go up to see the chief now--I want him to
meet you anyhow, and you can supply any more facts that we may not have

So they came up to my office--not von Igel’s. Barnitz and Barth said
his expression changed when he entered headquarters and knew he had
been betrayed. He said, “I see now why you have been so good to me.”

The prisoner was docile. He said he knew he was caught and he wanted to
help us round up the rest. I showed him the _Kirkoswald_ bomb, and told
him where it had been found. “Yes,” he said, “Captain Steinburg and
Captain Bode came to the laboratory after they saw in the paper that
the bomb had been found in Marseilles and they gave Dr. Scheele the
devil because it had not gone off. It was supposed to explode within
four days, but it didn’t explode in twelve.” “How many did you make?”
I asked. “I don’t know how many,” the prisoner answered. The ones that
were put on the _Inchmoor_ and the _Dankdale_ went off all right, and
there were two fires on the _Tyningham_. “I gave one box of thirty
of them to two Irishmen from New Orleans, O’Reilly and O’Leary. They
took them down there to set fire to ships with them.”

“Did you give the rest to Becker?”

“Yes. And he gave them to Captain Wolpert. Wolpert is superintendent of
the piers of the Atlas Line over in Hoboken. Captain Bode, he is also
a superintendent, for the Hamburg-American Line. Captain Steinburg I
don’t know much about, but he is in Germany now.”

[Illustration: Henry Barth, U. S. Army, who posed as the German Secret
Service agent in the von Rintelen ship bomb cases]

I thanked him for his information, and asked him if he would tell me
everything about the plot, from its beginning up to the moment. He said
he would; that he was going to help the United States now. I excused
myself for a moment and left the room.

Von Kleist saw an electrician in a rough shirt and overalls repairing
the lights in the room, and struck up a conversation with him. The
electrician’s English carried a slight German accent, and von Kleist

“Sie sind deutsch, nicht wahr?” (You’re German?)

“Ja,” replied the workman.

Still using the mother tongue the prisoner asked the workman to do
him a favor. “Deliver these notes for me, will you? I can’t go out of
here, and I would like to send word to some people.” And he wrote on
two messages, one addressed to Wolpert and Bode, the other to Schmidt
and Becker. The substance of both was the same: “Beat it--I’m pinched.”
Detective Senff had been disguised as an electrician and stationed in
the room for the express purpose of getting any statement the prisoner
made--a practice not usually necessary, but this was a serious case.
Evidently von Kleist’s profession of transferred loyalty to the United
States was only a scrap of paper. We locked him up.

That night Walsh and Murphy watched Captain Bode’s house in a New
Jersey suburb, while Sterett and Fenelly covered Wolpert’s house
nearby. Both men reported at their respective piers for work the next
morning, and both were invited by the detectives to come over to
headquarters “to consult with us in a little waterfront investigation
we were carrying on.” Senff went to the North German Lloyd piers to
call on Becker. The guard at the pier-head put through a telephone
connection, and Senff told Becker he wanted to see him on an urgent
matter. Presently Becker appeared at the pier gates, and through the
bars Senff whispered: “Von Kleist wants to see you. Trouble--” Becker
returned in an instant with his hat and came to headquarters. A little
later in the day the net caught Schmidt, and after a year and a half of
waiting we had rounded up in twenty-four hours five promising prisoners.

Von Kleist, we knew, was not altogether reliable; Bode was positively
robust in his denial of any knowledge of the affair. Becker, a thin
blond youth, made a complete confession. Yes, he had made the bomb
containers--several hundred of them, under Schmidt’s orders. He had
filled them with chlorate of potash and sulphuric acid at the Scheele
laboratory and had seen Captain Wolpert take them away. At that
moment Wolpert, a hulking red figure, who had been conversing fairly
freely, shut up tight, and refused to answer further questions. Becker
acknowledged that he had made the _Kirkoswald_ bomb, and added that the
later cases were larger than that.

“Captain Wolpert,” I said, “don’t you think you’re doing Germany more
harm than good by doing this sort of thing?”

“Damn it!” he exploded. “I gave it up June first. But you’ve got to do
what those bull-headed fellows tell you, haven’t you?”

“Did you know Robert Fay, Captain?” I asked.

“Yes--I met him one time in Schimmel’s office with Rintelen,” he

“You mean _von_ Rintelen?” I asked, using the aristocratic prefix which
Rintelen had assumed.

“No!” bellowed Wolpert. “Not _von_, damn him--_Rintelen_!”


  _Copyright, International Film Service_

Ernest Becker

  _Copyright, International Film Service_

Captain Charles von Kleist (left) and Captain Otto Wolpert (right)]

The result of our first examination of the four was the arrest of Carl
Schmidt, chief engineer of the _Friedrich der Grosse_, and three of
his assistants, Georg Praedel, William Paradies and Friedrich Garbade.
We covered the laboratory, but Dr. Scheele had fled, to Florida. There
he received a telegram telling him it was safe for him to return to
New York. He had traveled as far as Baltimore when another telegram
informed him of the arrests, and he fled to Cuba, and it was March
of 1918 before he was arrested by the Havana police and extradited
to New York. The laboratory was in a secret room on the top floor of
the factory, accessible only through a trap door, and the trap itself
was pierced with eyeholes so that anyone at work inside could see
who was outside. We found a rich store of explosive and incendiary
chemicals--all the ingredients of the bombs, which Lieutenant Busby
brought back as evidence. Scheele was a finished chemist, and a German
spy of 23 years’ standing. It had never occurred to him that von
Kleist would squeal for want of money. “How good a German are you?” he
had asked von Kleist when he engaged him in March, 1915. (The first
project of the two was to saturate fertilizer with lubricating oil and
thus smuggle the oil into Germany.) “I’m as good a German as you ever
pretended to be,” von Kleist answered. “You are not,” said Scheele,
“or you wouldn’t have taken out naturalization papers here. I didn’t
do that.” “Well, I couldn’t have got my captain’s sailing license if I
hadn’t,” said von Kleist.

Loyalty to Germany alone had not satisfied the appetite of von Kleist,
for he had caught a glimpse that night of the check for $10,000, signed
“Hansen” which Scheele proudly waved as evidence of what Germany
thought of his ship-destroying ability. In the Austrian-subsidized
Transatlantic Trust Company, where von Rintelen had deposited a large
amount of money on his arrival from Germany, he had an account in the
name of Hansen. Here then was the explanation of Fay’s remark about his
friend who was a prisoner in England.

So far, so good. We knew that Becker, Schmidt and the other engineers
had made the bombs, and that Becker and Scheele had filled them. On
the evidence the four were convicted; Becker and von Kleist were sent
to Atlanta for two years, and the other four to the penitentiary for
six months. We were satisfied, but could not prove, that Wolpert and
Bode had disposed of the bombs where they would do the most damage.
They refused naturally to convict themselves, were admitted to bail of
$25,000, which was provided by friendly Germans, and were interned when
we went to war. The four assistants served their terms and then were
extended the privileges of internment camps as dangerous enemy aliens.

So far, so good, but the snake was not yet dead--we had only cut off a
section of his tail. To be sure, he could not get about with his former
vigor. The ship fires, which had continued through February, stopped,
and one can count on his fingers the fires that broke out on ships
after that date. Our theory had served its purpose--but who were the
men higher up?

When Paul Koenig had been taken into custody in late December, 1915, we
had found in his house in West 94th Street an address book containing
some hundreds of names of folk with whom he apparently did business.
The memorandum book is mentioned elsewhere in this volume in detail,
but the present case may show just what specific use we made of the
catalogue of spies which the obliging Koenig had left in our hands.
Among other entries was this:

    “Boniface during the day--3396 Worth--ask for

     Boniface at night 1993 Chelsea--Never home until 10:30 P. M.”

We had gone systematically through the book, checking up our knowledge
of each person mentioned, in order to see whether the trail of Koenig,
von Papen, Boy-Ed and the Hamburg-American interests might not lead us
to other unexpected outrages, and so we were seeking this Boniface who
was “never home until 10:30 P. M.” For months he proved elusive, but
not long after the arrest of the Hoboken bomb-manufacturers we located
a certain Bonford Boniface.

He had only a single room for lodgings, and we called there one day
while he was known to be elsewhere and made a careful examination of
its contents. Our first signal that Boniface might be off-color was the
discovery of a file of clippings from newspapers describing the arrest
of von Kleist and his crew. Apparently he was interested in German
bombs. There was no evidence of the reason for his interest, however,
and the detectives were about to ‘leave the room as they had found it
when they ran across two letters signed “Karl Schimmel,” one postmarked
Buenos Aires and one from Holland. Both were colorless messages asking
how fortune was treating Boniface.

Now a cat may look at a king, and a man may receive friendly notes from
the Argentine and Holland without molestation, but I recalled something
of this name Karl Schimmel. He had come under suspicion before, first,
when the so-called “Do-Do Chemical Company” of 395 Broadway had applied
to the fire department for permission to store dynamite on the premises
of its executive, Karl Schimmel, at 127 Concord Avenue, the Bronx. The
application had been denied, and the fire department had asked the
Bomb Squad to look up the Do-Do Chemical Company and its officers. It
had no factory, no visible business, and as we presently found out no
Karl Schimmel, for he became alarmed at our investigations and fled to
Mexico, and South America, and then, with the aid of Count Luxburg he
made his way back to Germany. Again, Wolpert had spoken of having met
Fay in Schimmel’s office with Rintelen--but Wolpert would not talk.
There was a reasonable margin of doubt in our minds of Schimmel’s
behavior--enough to warrant Barth’s going to Boniface and asking him to
come to headquarters.

Schimmel, Boniface told us, had employed him for a time at $25 a week.
And what had he done in return? Nothing more than provide Schimmel
with a list of weekly sailings of all steamships leaving New York for
Europe, together with a description of their cargoes. Why had Schimmel,
a lawyer, been interested in sailings and cargoes? Boniface said he
did not know. How had Boniface compiled the list? At first, he said,
by scouting along the waterfront, picking up scraps of conversation
here and there and keeping an observant eye on the trucks bound for
the piers. Pier-guards began to notice him a trifle too attentively,
the waterfront was too many miles long, twenty-five dollars a week was
only twenty-five dollars a week, and Boniface, it must be remarked, was
racially thrifty. So he adopted the much simpler expedient of buying
each morning a copy of the _New York Herald_, a newspaper which pays
some attention to shipping, net cost in those days one cent, copying
sailing dates, hours and destinations from its columns, and conjuring
the cargoes out of his imagination.

Where had he delivered his reports? To Schimmel in his office at 51
Chambers Street. Whom had he seen there? Why, Rintelen, once, but he
didn’t know what his business there was. Another time a man named
Herman Ebling. (Ebling, it developed later, had been directed by
Wolpert, who had had his orders from á Captain Steinburg, to take a
tube of glanders germs and a dipping stick, seek out the wharves where
horses were being shipped abroad for artillery and transport, and
insert the germ-soaked stick into the nostrils of every third horse he
could reach, in order that a serious epidemic might presently break
out. Ebling claims he threw the tube overboard without fulfilling his
mission.) Where was Ebling? Boniface professed not to know. Whom else
had he seen? Well, there was another German lawyer, Martin Illsen,
counsel for the _New Yorker Herold_, a German daily.

We sent for Illsen and questioned him of his dealings with Schimmel.
He had written an article which he sent to the newspapers protesting
against the shipment of arms and ammunition to the Allies, for which
Schimmel had paid him $100. That he said was the extent of his service.

[Illustration: Sergeant Thomas Jenkins, U. S. Army, who successfully
located a part of one of the bombs in a locker in the German Turn
Verein in Brooklyn]

“Did you ever see this man Ebling there?” I inquired, feeling that
in Ebling we might find the missing link between the bomb-makers and
the fires. “Yes,” Illsen replied. “Where is he now?” Illsen did not
know. “Do you remember meeting anyone else in the office?” “Yes, there
was a lithographer. His name is Uhde. He comes, I think, from Brooklyn
but I do not know where he is.”

It is our business to find out where people are, and as the reader may
already have observed, to follow a case through from one man to another
if we have to question a thousand individuals on the way to our goal.
We took up the search for Uhde, and investigated everyone of that name
in Greater New York. More months had passed before we finally found the
man we were after--Walter Uhde. We pounced on him without the formality
of an examination, and searched his room, to find some correspondence
with Schimmel and more newspaper accounts of the arrest and trial
of the Hoboken gang. It was this evidence and the pressure which it
brought to bear upon his conscience that made Uhde give up evidence
enough to picture the bomb plot in its entirety.

It began, as the outbreak of the ship fires already had indicated,
in the early months of 1915. One winter night there was a secret
meeting in the restaurant of the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum. In a private
dining-room sat Dr. Scheele, the chemist, Captain Wolpert, the
dock-superintendent, Karl Schimmel, the lawyer, Uhde, the lithographer,
Eugene Reistert, the proprietor of the restaurant, and a certain
Captain Steinburg. This man was particularly dangerous to the welfare
of the United States. His real name was Erich von Steinmetz, and he was
a captain in the German navy. At that time he had just come to America
by way of Vladivostock, dodging the immigration examiners by travelling
in woman’s dress, and evading the quarantine authorities by concealing
in the fold of the dress the same tubes of glanders germs with which
he sent Ebling to inoculate the horses for the Allies. Steinmetz was
Rintelen’s first and ablest assistant, and Schimmel was his second.
The two men outlined to the dinner party a plan to manufacture and
plant the bombs. The sailors would make the containers, Scheele would
see that they were filled and would act as paymaster for the group,
Schimmel and Wolpert would keep in touch with the sailings and cargoes,
and Wolpert, Uhde and Reistert would deliver them to the small fry who
could be hired to place them in sugar-bags and other freight.

How well the plan succeeded we already know. Wolpert distributed the
bombs to several local points of German operation in the greater city,
and even Scheele had on one occasion carried a box full of bombs packed
only in sawdust from the laboratory over to the Labor Lyceum. Reistert
and Uhde tested a few of the infernal machines in the rear of the
building, and Uhde fancied them so much that he kept one as a souvenir,
stowed away in the toe of an old boot in his locker at the Turn
Verein, where Detectives Barth and Jenkins found it. The conspiracy
had originated in March; the first day of May, Wolpert gave a bomb to
a Chenango who smuggled it aboard the _Kirkoswald_, with the result
which we have followed. On May 7, 1915, the glorious _Lusitania_ was
torpedoed, and on the following morning, Karl Schimmel, coming into his
office and finding Illsen and Boniface there, exclaimed:

“Ah--that U-boat commander has done well enough, but he has stolen all
the glory away from me. I had nine cigars on the _Lusitania_.” (For
“cigars” read “bombs.”) “If they had not torpedoed her the cigars would
have done the work!”

He may have told the truth. His secret is at the bottom of the Atlantic
now, along with what shreds of respect the civilized world might
otherwise have had for Germany. It is certain that Schimmel tried to
place his “cigars” aboard the vessel, for Reistert had given Uhde $100
and a little man named Klein a package of bombs with instructions to go
to a saloon in West Street near the White Star piers. There they were
to meet a third man, to whom they would deliver the package, and that
man would see them safely aboard the ship. The man did not appear at
the appointed hour, so they left the package with the bartender, and
went to the missing man’s house in Harlem, where they paid him his fee.
It was the same Klein who had been carrying a bomb in his pocket one
afternoon when Schimmel had sent him to South Ferry to place it aboard
a ship. But the bomb caught fire, and before he could rid himself of it
it had burned through his clothing, so Schimmel magnanimously gave him
$20 for a new suit and his trouble. And it was the same Klein whom we
found dead of disease in a hospital, beyond the law’s reach, when we
finally were tracing him for arrest.

The stories of the culprits combined to lay at their door the origin
of most of the ship fires with which we had been afflicted for the
past two years. If nothing else had proved it, the cessation of the
fires would have been enough. We were anxious, after our twisting,
winding search, rather to have the guilty men convicted and placed in
safe-keeping than to fix definitely upon them the guilt for all of the
fires--that would have been practically impossible--but the very fact
that the fires ceased is sufficient evidence of their complete guilt.
It was not until October 17, 1917, six months after the United States
had gone to war, that our long hunt came to an end, and we arrested
Boniface, Reistert, Uhde and one Peter Zeffert. It was Zeffert who
confessed to having gone to Schimmel’s office one afternoon to help him
fill the bomb containers with chemicals. Reistert was there, and the
three took the bombs away in a taxi-cab to meet a destroying agent in
a waterfront saloon. The agent did not show up, and Messrs. Schimmel,
Reistert and Zeffert thereupon returned to the Chambers Street office
and unloaded the tubes.

I am sorry that our laws were not at that time drastic enough to punish
the men as they deserved. James W. Osborne, the assistant United States
Attorney who tried the case, wove an admirable prosecution, and Judge
Harland B. Howe turned a stern face upon the prisoners. Wolpert had
been haled from Atlanta to answer to the new charge, as had von Kleist
and Becker. The engineers were brought out of their internment camps.
And last, and foremost of all, Franz Rintelen was there--returned
to us by the British to answer to a series of charges which he had
tried hard and expensively to conceal. The best our laws of the moment
could do for these men who had defiled our hospitality and destroyed
millions of dollars’ worth of property on our soil was to sentence them
to one-and-one-half years in Atlanta. It is to the everlasting credit
of Judge Howe that Rintelen, Wolpert, von Kleist, Becker, Praedel,
Paradies and Garbade received the maximum prison term, and the maximum
fine of $2,000 each. Under the espionage act later adopted each of them
could be sentenced to twenty years and fined $10,000.

Popular consent would have made short work of these men’s lives.
Justice had to preside over their trials, however, and they were
punished to the full extent of an inadequate law. A more drastic
criminal code would probably have frightened the German spies in the
United States, and it is equally true that German agents who were
caught in the net of the law laughed up their sleeves as they made use
of one after another of the law’s technical provisions and privileges
to avert what would have been certain and swift death had they worn
the field-gray uniforms of their nation. They have not suffered in
proportion to their crimes. But their nation is paying the price.

[Illustration: Norman H. White, of Boston, a civilian attached to the
Military Intelligence, who unearthed numerous German intrigues]

There is something in the spectacle of Rintelen serving his sentence
at Atlanta--a long sentence, which he tried numerous tricks to
evade--that is peculiarly German, and that comes more nearly satisfying
our popular desire for retribution than the plight of any of his
wretched employees. He came to America arrogant, rich, defiant, cruel,
and sly--to wage war upon us. One of his first acts was to sign his
check for $10,000 to manufacture bombs to destroy our shipping. When
certain Americans crossed his reeking trail he ran away in terror.
By great good luck he was captured, discovered, and returned and by
considerable persistence and patience on the part of the Bomb Squad
one of his trails was laid bare. (He had many others.) He suffered
great indignity, as he thought, at being tried with the manual laborers
whom he had employed and left in trouble. He was convicted and sent
to prison. He pleaded ill-health, though he was a strong man, and
he tried to be transferred to a more lenient prison. He invoked the
aid of his crumbling government, who informed Washington that unless
he were surrendered to Germany that nation would take the lives of
American soldiers captured in battle. Every trick failed, and Franz
Rintelen, tried not as a prisoner of war for what morally were acts of
war against the United States, but by our peace courts, and under our
lenient peace laws, must now serve out his term in an American prison,
although his nation has given up the war and begged for clemency.

Rintelen used to suggest that he was an illegitimate relative of the
late Kaiser. It may be true: the two have something in common. The
Kaiser has become plain Hohenzollern, and the chief German bomb-plotter
in the United States, is, as Wolpert angrily said that day at
headquarters, “not _von_ Rintelen, damn him--_Rintelen_!”



The facts were apparently unrelated to each other. Only a flight of
imagination would have connected them, and imagination, though it is
often valuable in speculating on what probably happened, is not court
evidence of what did happen. In the order of their occurrence, the
facts were these:

1. On April 16, 1906, Leone Krembs Muenter, wife of Erich Muenter, an
instructor in German in Harvard College, died, soon after the birth
of her second baby. The circumstances of her death were suspicious,
and the Coroner directed that the stomach of the body be taken to the
Harvard Medical School for examination. Dr. Muenter, on the following
day, requested that he be allowed to escort the remains from Cambridge
to Chicago for burial, and this permission was granted. With the
children he made the gloomy pilgrimage west. The body of the dead wife
was cremated. Dr. Muenter wrote at once from Chicago to the New York
Life Insurance Company directing that the policy on his wife’s life be
made payable to her sister, instead of to himself. The examination of
the lining of the stomach had indicated slow arsenical poisoning and a
warrant was issued at once for the husband. But it reached Chicago to
find him gone--no one knew where.

2. In a corridor of the main floor of the Senate wing of the United
States Capitol at Washington used to stand a telephone switchboard. On
the night of Friday, July 2, 1915, an explosion near it blew fragments
of the board through the walls of the telephone booths adjoining. No
one was about, which was lucky, for the wrecked switchboard was not the
only damage done: plaster rained from the walls and ceilings, every
door nearby was blown open (one was a door into the Vice-President’s
office which had not been in use for forty years), the east reception
room was wrecked, a gaping hole was torn in the stonework of the wall,
and fragments of windows, mirrors, crystal chandeliers and telephone
apparatus flew in every direction.

3. In his country home on East Island, where Long Island reaches out
into the Sound to form Glen Cove, John Pierpont Morgan was having
breakfast on the morning of Saturday, July 3, 1915. It was nearly
half past nine, and the members of his family, together with several
holiday guests, were in the breakfast room, which is on the eastern
side of the house. An automobile drove up to the front door, and the
butler was confronted by a man of dingy appearance who asked, in an
accent suggesting German, to see Mr. Morgan. He presented a card
bearing the legend “Society Summer Directory: represented by Thomas C.
Lester.” The butler wanted better credentials and asked for them. The
stranger pulled a revolver from his pocket, covered the butler with it
and stepping inside the door demanded, “Where is Morgan?”

With good presence of mind the butler answered, “In the library,”--the
library being in the west wing of the house, and away from the
breakfast room--and stepped toward the library door. Unfortunately it
was open, and the intruder, who was following with his gun aimed, saw
that the room was empty, and that the butler had lied. At the same
moment Physick, the butler, realized that his ruse had not worked. He
shouted, “Upstairs, Mr. Morgan! Upstairs!” hoping by the urgency of his
cry to convey to the banker a warning that something was distinctly
wrong and at the same time to get him out of range. Mr. Morgan at once
hurried up a rear stairway and began to search for the trouble. A
moment later Mrs. Morgan joined him. They proceeded from one room to
another, found nothing, and asked a nurse what was wrong. As the little
search party reached the head of the main staircase, with Mrs. Morgan
in the lead, she caught sight of a strange man with a revolver in each
hand. Lester had come up the front staircase. Mr. Morgan saw his wife
between himself and the guns, brushed her aside, and charged. The man
fired twice as the two went to the floor, grappling, and the hammer
of his revolver clicked twice more on caps that did not explode. Two
wounds, one in the front of the abdomen, and the other in the left
thigh, did not prevent Mr. Morgan, from overpowering his assailant: he
lay with the full weight of his 220 pounds on the man’s body, pinning
down the revolvers to the floor. One of the guns Mrs. Morgan and the
nurse wrenched from the man’s hand; the other Mr. Morgan captured.
Physick had meanwhile roused the servants, and he stunned the intruder
with a lump of coal as he lay on the floor. Lester’s unconscious form
was then trussed up and taken to the Glen Cove jail.

There, briefly, were the facts. The Morgan shooting I have recounted
in some detail to show the desperation with which the stranger
trespassed, and attempted murder. It was not an affair which suggested
a motive of robbery, but apparently a cold attempt at assassination.
The Capitol explosion had been fruitless in its results so far as the
loss of human life was concerned, and its origin was at that time a
complete mystery. The Muenter affair had long since passed out of my
memory. How to get evidence to establish motives for the crimes, fix
the entire responsibility, and punish the offenders?

Never, probably, has long-distance communication played a swifter or
more helpful part in a case. In order to show just how a nation which
has been called to the hunt can enter into the pursuit, let us follow
the developments in their strict chronological order.

At seven o’clock Saturday morning, before Lester had appeared at the
door of the Morgan house, the newspapers in Washington received a
typewritten form letter, signed “R. Pearce,” protesting in excited
terms against the shipment of munitions to the nations at war. Its
second paragraph read:

    “In connection with the Senate affair would it not be well to
    stop and consider what we are doing?”

The writer stated further:

    “Sorry, I, too, had to use explosives (for the last time I
    trust). It is the export kind, and ought to make enough noise
    to be heard above the voices that clamor for war and blood
    money. This explosion is the exclamation point to my appeal for

Again he wrote:

    “By the way, don’t put this on the Germans or Bryan. I am an
    old-fashioned American...”

And he added, in a penned postscript:

    “We would, of course, not sell to the Germans if they could buy
    here, and since so far we only sold to the Allies, neither side
    should object if we stopped.”

At half-past nine o’clock the shooting occurred at Glen Cove. About the
same time Dr. Charles Munroe, consulting expert of the Bureau of Mines,
was called to the Capitol to make an examination of the wreckage of the
explosion. He soon arrived at the conclusion that the shock had been
caused by no spontaneous combustion, but by a fair quantity of high

While he was prying about among the débris, Lester was being lodged in
the Glen Cove jail. His bonds were loosened, leaving him a very sore
set of ankles and wrists, his cut forehead was bound up, and when he
was questioned, he gave out the following statement:

    “I, Frank Holt, of Ithaca, N. Y., and lately professor of
    German at Cornell, do hereby freely make to William E. Luyster,
    justice of the peace, the following statement of the facts
    concerning my visit to the home of J. P. Morgan at East Island,
    Glen Cove, N. Y.

    “I have been in New York City about ten days and had made a
    previous trip to the home of Mr. Morgan last week. My motive in
    coming here was to try to force Mr. Morgan to use his influence
    with the manufacturers of munitions in the United States, and
    with the millionaires who are financing the war loans, to have
    an embargo put on shipments of war munitions, so as to relieve
    the American people from complicity in the death of thousands
    of our European brothers.

    “If Germany should be able to buy munitions here we would of
    course positively refuse to sell to her. The reason that the
    American people have not as yet stopped the shipments seems
    to be that we are getting rich out of this traffic, but do we
    not get enough prosperity out of non-contraband shipments?
    And would it not be better for us to make what money we can
    without causing the slaughter of Europeans?

    “I am very sorry that I had to cause the Morgan family this
    unpleasantness, but I believe that if Mr. Morgan would put
    his shoulder to the wheel he could accomplish what I have
    endeavored to do. I wanted him to do the work I could not do.
    I hope that he will do his share anyway. We must stop our
    participation in the killing of Europeans, and God will take
    care of the rest.”

Lester, then, was not Lester at all, but Frank Holt.

Meanwhile I knew nothing of what had transpired. I had risen that
Saturday morning looking forward to a day of relaxation and pleasure,
for there was to be a field day for the police at Gravesend Bay. On the
way down to the track I read with some interest of the explosion in the
Capitol, and then dismissed it from my mind: the newspapers, which had
been printed about one o’clock of that morning, carried no news except
a description of the effects of the explosion. Furthermore, it was a
holiday, with another to follow, and I proposed to enjoy it.

About noon Police Commissioner Woods called me to the telephone, told
me hurriedly that Mr. Morgan had been “shot by a German,” and told me
to get down to Glen Cove as fast as possible. “Find out the man’s
motives and any accomplices he had,” the commissioner said. “Keep in
touch with me.” And hung up. I found Detective Coy of the Bomb Squad,
and a patrolman who knew German in case we should need an interpreter,
and after some delay in getting a car, we hastened to the little Glen
Cove jail.

Then, at four o’clock, for the first time, I was told the facts as
Glen Cove knew them. A search of Holt’s person had disclosed two
revolvers, three sticks of dynamite, a number of loose cartridges, a
cartoon clipped from a Philadelphia newspaper, an express receipt, and
a scrap of paper bearing the names in pencilled handwriting of Mr.
Morgan’s children. Frank McCahill, the constable in charge, showed
me the statement Holt had made, and supplied the further information
that Holt had been identified by some of Mr. Morgan’s employees as a
man who had been seen on the estate two days before--on Thursday. Glen
Cove had been in a turmoil since the shooting. Newspaper reporters
and photographers had flocked to the jail, had taken photographs of
the prisoner, and already prints of the photographs were on their way
to every large newspaper in the country. His statement, as well as a
description of the man, had been telegraphed over the Associated and
United Press wires in every direction. So I decided to have a talk with
the prisoner himself.

He was brought out of his cell, and we sat in comparative privacy on
two camp-stools in the corridor. He was a frail, slight fellow, with
deep eye-sockets, a prominent hook-nose, and a retreating chin. His
accent was certainly German. His name, he said, was Frank Holt, and
he was born in the United States. He told me he was forty years old,
that his father and mother had been born in America, although they had
both French and German ancestors, and that his wife and two children
were in Dallas. For several years, he said, he had taught in Vanderbilt
University, and during the year just past had been instructor in German
in Cornell University, at Ithaca. He had left Ithaca two weeks before,
and had stopped at a Mills Hotel in New York before coming down to Glen

“What did you try to kill Mr. Morgan for?” I asked.

“I didn’t intend to kill him. I want to persuade him to use his
influence to stop the shipment of ammunition to Europe.”

“Well, you chose a pretty strong means of persuading him, didn’t you?
What was the dynamite for?”

“I was going to show him what was causing all the trouble--explosives.”

He answered frankly, but not completely. The scrap of paper bearing
the names of the Morgan children, he said, was only a memorandum;
he had intended to hold them hostage until Mr. Morgan promised to
exert himself to stop the export of supplies to the Allies. No amount
of questioning would bring an answer as to where he had bought the
dynamite, but he readily volunteered the approximate addresses of the
shops where he had purchased the revolvers and cartridges. These facts
gave me something to work on, and I went outside to a telephone while
he was locked up again.

Meanwhile the whole United States had been taking a keen interest in
the case. Holt’s statement had reached Washington on the Associated
Press wire, and was delivered to Captain Boardman of the Washington
Police. Captain Boardman had been busy all morning throwing out lines
on the Capitol case, and attempting to trace the author of the R.
Pearce letters, which had been mailed in the city about nine o’clock of
the previous evening. He read the Pearce letter over several times in
search of some clue to the writer. Presently the Holt statement came
in. From the two communications these sentences met the Captain’s eyes:


    “We would, of course, not sell to the Germans if they could buy
    here, and since so far we only sold to the Allies, neither side
    should object if we stopped.”


    “If Germany should be able to buy munitions here we would, of
    course, positively refuse to sell to her.”

Captain Boardman’s next move was to wire to his chief, Major Pullman,
who happened to be in New York to attend that same field day that Coy
and I had missed. His message, dated 2 P. M. (while we were on the way
to Glen Cove), read:

    “Ascertain from F. Holt, in custody at Glen Cove, N. Y., for
    shooting J. P. Morgan, his whereabouts Thursday and Friday, as
    he may have placed the bomb in the Capitol here Friday night.”

This message, sent in care of Inspector Faurot, was relayed to us at
Glen Cove by Guy Scull, deputy commissioner, but not until after the
Associated Press man at the jail had had a tip telegraphed from his
Washington office to ask Holt the same question. Holt denied that he
had been in Washington, flatly. But McCahill knew he had been in Glen
Cove Thursday, so at 5 P. M. he telegraphed Captain Boardman:

    “F. Holt was in Glen Cove Thursday, July 1, P. M.”

I telephoned headquarters the numbers of the revolvers, and the
neighborhood in which Holt said he had bought them. Several members of
the squad started out from headquarters to identify the pawnshops, and
to find out what they could of the history of three sticks of dynamite
marked “Keystone National Powder Company. 60 per cent. Emporium, Pa.”

Holt had proved obstinate to all questions of the source of his supply
of dynamite. The man was getting tired: he had had a hard day, had been
considerably battered, had been interviewed, photographed, harried with
questions, his ankles and wrists ached, his head throbbed, and his
mind, which though alert and active, was none too stable, was showing
signs of exhaustion. His condition suggested that he might be in a mood
to supply some of the further information we needed, so I suggested
that we take an automobile ride and he could show me where he had been
the day before. He protested at once.

“No! My head is aching, and you want to take me on a ride and make a
show of me to the morbid crowd. I will not tell you--not until later.
Later perhaps, but not now!”

“All right,” I answered. “Later.”

Then I decided we had better get our information down on paper in a
formal examination.

The meeting convened at once, with Coy, McCahill, a county detective
from Mineola, two deputy sheriffs, two patrolmen, a stenographer and
myself as board of inquiry. It may serve to describe the fellow’s
manner, as well as to bring out what the examination further disclosed,
if we make use here of extracts from the proceedings:

_Question._ Where were you born?

_Answer._ Somehow my brain is in such a shape that I can’t
remember--Wisconsin, I know. I don’t know what it is that affected
me--something inside of me--maybe it is the shock I got from that.

_Q._ You speak with a German accent. Were you born in Germany, or in
any of the European countries--tell me the truth.

_A._ Now listen. That has been said before--that I speak with a foreign
accent. That is because I speak several languages. I speak French,
German, Spanish, and all that. That is the cause of that, you see?

_Q._ We will eliminate the trouble of asking you questions if you will
tell us the town or city in which you were born.

_A._ Yes. Now I am trying to think (a pause) I will have to disappoint

_Q._ Your memory is very clear on other things.

_A._ As I told you, I have been lying there, thinking, thinking.

I took up the matter of the express receipt found on him:

_Q._ On June 11, 1915, you shipped a box by the American Express
Company to D. F. Sensabaugh, 101 South Marsalis Street, Dallas, Texas.
What did that box contain?

_A._ It evidently must have been a typewriter. I would not be sure now,
I think it was a typewriter.

And then the cartoon, clipped from the Philadelphia paper, brought out
a very unexpected fact:

_Q._ How many times have you been in Philadelphia?

_A._ No time.

_Q._ You came to New York from Ithaca?

_A._ Yes.

_Q._ Do you mean to truthfully answer my question by saying that you
have not been to Philadelphia at any time since you left Ithaca?

_A._ At no time.

_Q._ You have a clipping of a Philadelphia newspaper in your
possession. Where did you get that?

_A._ I think I got that out of a Philadelphia paper of course, that I
found lying around. I think it was a cartoon.

_Q._ Were you not in Philadelphia when you purchased that paper?

_A._ I did not purchase that. I saw that lying around somewhere,
probably in the Mills Hotel.

_Q._ Where did you sleep last night?

_A._ Now, I will tell you. A reporter from the Associated Press asked
me about this Washington business, and he was trying to connect me with
that. I suppose that is what you are trying to do.

_Q._ I am not trying to connect you with anything. I want truthful
answers. I am very frank and honest with you. I will fairly investigate
every answer that you make.

_A._ Yes, I thought that over since he was here, and I think it is just
as well to say that I wrote that R. Pearce letter. I was in Washington
yesterday and came back on the train. I think it is just as well to say.

Here was news! McCahill slipped out of the room, and sent this telegram
to Captain Boardman:

“Holt was in Washington Friday. Will wire full particulars later,” and
returned for the particulars, which Holt continued to unfold.

He had gone to Washington early Friday, arriving at 2 P. M., hired a
furnished room near the Union Station, and two hours later walked over
to the Capitol and found the Senate wing deserted. He placed a bomb
near the telephone booth, timed so as to explode in eight hours. He
idled away the evening, mailed the R. Pearce letters, took a midnight
train to New York, stopped at the Mills Hotel for mail, and took an
early train to Glen Cove Saturday morning. What his activities had been
since then we well knew. But while the confession of his responsibility
for the Washington outrage was a really surprising bit, it did not
conclude our work, for he had pointed out several new alleys of
possibility which we must search.

By seven o’clock we had, first, a sketch of Holt’s recent career as
a teacher. This we proceeded to verify by telephone to New York and
by telegraph thence to Ithaca, Dallas, Nashville, and Philadelphia.
His account of the Washington bombing Mr. Scull telephoned to
Washington, and Major Pullman left at once for Long Island to secure
a more complete confession. We had the numbers of his revolvers and
were already at work upon that clue. We had no information except
the trade-mark of where he had got his dynamite, and knowing the
strict city restrictions on its sale, I felt confident that he had
accomplices who supplied it to him. The chances were, too, that Holt
had more dynamite than the three sticks which he said had made up the
Capitol bomb, and the three on his person. We knew he had called at
the Mills Hotel, and we sent a man to search his room. We had a wholly
unsatisfactory statement of his birthplace, which he had already
contradicted once, and which lent color to the Germanic origin of his
accent. And finally, Holt had given a description of the methods he
used in making his bomb which I cannot detail here for obvious reasons,
but which from my acquaintance with explosives I knew to be untrue. By
no means all the particulars of his acquaintance with dynamite had
been explained, and the fact that this remarkable teacher of foreign
languages, a man apparently of fair intellect, had committed one major
crime and confessed to another all in the same day, made the motive all
the more obscure. But we had learned that he talked freely, and that
meant that he would give us more information, either consciously or

Holt was moved about half past seven that night to safer keeping in
the county jail at Mineola, and we reconvened there an hour later for
further examination. Major Pullman joined us in the course of the
evening and took part in the questioning. By that time I had word from
New York that a telegram had arrived for Holt at the Mills Hotel signed
by D. F. Sensabaugh, and inquiring for particulars. Thinking that this
was a clue to possible accomplices I tried, taking several different
angles of attack, to find out whether Holt had told Sensabaugh (who
he said was his father-in-law), what he was going to do, and why he
had written that evening to his wife. The result of this questioning
was nil. Then we went over his course in Washington, step by step, and
brought out nothing of significance; then returned to the topic of his
views on the shipment of munitions, and tried to draw out any talks
which he might have had with friends on that subject. His answer to
this was:

“I have not talked to my friends about it, because my friends, in
my position, they are not the kind of people who would talk on such
things. Do you suppose that a university professor would undertake that
sort of thing? I think that can be easily figured out that I could not
have anybody else with me.”

That was the conclusion which we were being forced to accept. But the
mystery of the dynamite purchase was still unsolved. Holt said we could
not guess the reason why he was withholding the answer to it. I was
inclined to agree with him just then. I couldn’t guess. But he betrayed
in one of his replies the real factor which was to solve the mystery.
Major Pullman asked:

“Why did you decide to go to the Capitol?”

“Merely,” replied the thin figure in the chair, “to get the most
prominent place in the country. You see I wanted to call attention to
my appeal.”

In this he had succeeded. The whole country was working on the case.
If our feeling that Holt had bought more explosives was no more than a
theory at first, it was strengthened when he admitted that he had spent
nearly $275 in two weeks, had only six sticks of dynamite to show for
it, and was able to account for only $50. He denied that he had ever
been in the German Club in New York, reiterated that he was born in the
United States, dodged the exact city, then suggested Milwaukee, said
that the name of the college he had attended in Texas “wouldn’t come,”
and sidestepped cleverly any admission which might allow us to trace
the dynamite purchase. Thus ended Saturday, July 3, which had started
out as a holiday. I left two men to watch Holt, and went home, tired
out, and not at all satisfied.

While we had been busy with the prisoner, the wires to Boston and
the trains to Chicago had been carrying out their routine tasks
of syndicating news. A police officer in Cambridge in reading the
description of Holt which had flashed out to the newspapers detected
a familiar ring to the natural phrase “shambling walk” which had been
used to describe Holt’s gait. Thousands of men whom we encounter in
daily life have shambling walks, but to this officer only one man had
a shambling walk in which he was interested, and that man was Erich
Muenter, a Harvard instructor, whom he had suspected of wife-murder
nine years before. Nine years is a long time, and the average person
cannot recall offhand the gait of anyone whom he last saw nine years
ago, but those two words had evidently typified to the Cambridge
officer the murderer who got away. When the news photographs followed
the description to Boston and the Cambridge police saw them, they
were not so sure, for Muenter had had a beard, and in his Cambridge
days his head was not bandaged. But suspicion had been aroused, and
that was enough to issue the news throughout the country during the
night. Reporters in Ithaca tried to verify it from Holt’s associates at
Cornell, and failed, reporters two thousand miles away in Dallas tried
to verify it from Holt’s confused father-in-law, and failed. Dallas,
however, supplied the particulars of his previous life so far as
anyone seemed to know them, and these particulars were again relayed,
verified, and amplified in every city in which Holt had ever been known
in recent years.

Sunday morning, Independence Day, I went early to Mineola and
questioned Holt again, with little result. Meanwhile the Bomb Squad
at work in New York had found one of the shops in Jersey City where
Holt had purchased a revolver. He gave his name to the proprietor as
“Henderson,” and his address as Syosset, Long Island--a little station
not far from Glen Cove. I asked him why he gave this fictitious name
and address; he replied he had happened to see Syosset on a timetable,
and that the name Henderson popped into his head. We then returned to
my favorite subject, dynamite, and Holt finally said that he would tell
me on the following Wednesday, July 7, where he had bought it. Why
Wednesday, July 7? He would not answer, and no amount of questioning
served any end except that of further confusion.

The day was not without developments, however. During the afternoon
District Attorney Smith of Nassau County paid a visit to the jail, and
identified the wretched Holt as a former acquaintance in Cambridge,
Erich Muenter. At almost the same hour the Chicago authorities came
into possession of the news photograph of the man mailed from New York
the day before. They hurried with it to the home of two spinsters,
known to be sisters of the missing Muenter, and obtained from them an
unqualified identification: it was their lost brother, and “the news
would kill their mother.” This Pearce-Lester-Holt-Henderson-Muenter
was becoming more interesting every minute. Wife-poisoner, dynamiter,
gunman--what next?

“Next” was Monday. The second revolvershop had been discovered, and
again the use of the alias Henderson and the address Syosset. Holt,
when I called on him in the morning, repeated only what he had told
the day before, and reiterated, “Wednesday I will tell you,” until it
became almost a refrain. He denied that he was Muenter, and that he had
ever heard the name. I returned to New York to spend the rest of the
daylight in investigation among the explosives’ manufacturers. From the
records of the Ætna Company, of which the Keystone was a subsidiary, we
learned during the afternoon that one Henderson had telephoned an order
for 200 sticks of dynamite to be delivered at Syosset. I was just ready
to start for Syosset with Commissioner Scull when, as if we had not
already had enough to interest us, our friends the anarchists exploded
a bomb in Police Headquarters itself. Curiously enough, although it was
a delay, this did not prove the disturbing incident which one might
believe. We had had anonymous threats of it some weeks before; it was
one year and a day after the accidental death of the anarchist Berg,
who was killed making a bomb, and it seemed to have no connection
whatever with the Holt case. No one was injured, and after steps had
been taken to follow the case, I went home to sleep what was left of
the night.

Tuesday arrived.

I went to Syosset, and interviewed the station agent, George D. Carnes.
Carnes said he knew a man named Henderson. Henderson had seen him first
about three weeks before when he came to the little station to claim a
new trunk which had been shipped down from New York, apparently empty,
as it weighed only thirty-six pounds. Henderson had signed for the
trunk, and gone away. He reappeared some days later and asked Carnes
whether he had received two boxes of dynamite and two boxes of fuses
and detonating caps--he had to blow up some stumps and he expected the
explosives. They had not arrived. Henderson made inquiries for several
days, and when the boxes came, claimed them, signed the name of Frank
Hendrix to the receipt, and drove away in a Ford. At last we seemed to
be on the right trail.

He had received the material, we knew, but where was it? In the trunk,
perhaps. Had the trunk been shipped out of Syosset? No, Carnes said.
We telephoned several stations in the vicinity, and finally at Central
Park, a few miles west, we struck the trail again. The baggage records
there revealed that a Henderson had checked a trunk to the Pennsylvania
station, New York, on July 2--Friday. That was enough to take us to
Central Park.

The check number I telephoned to New York for detectives to trace
from the station if they could. Information of a stranger is freely
offered in a village, and we found shortly that Holt had employed a
small boy with a wheelbarrow to convey his trunk from a shanty in the
woods to the station, and to the shanty we went. Near it lay a charred
dynamite-box, and there were a few wax-paper wrappers from sticks of
dynamite which the weather had left for our information. No explosive
was to be seen, but there was evidence that he had burned some of it

[Illustration: Mrs. Holt’s Mysterious Letter

The First Word from Texas]

If he had not burned it all, the balance of those two hundred sticks
were in the trunk. The day was growing old. Carnes and I sped back to
Mineola, and the station agent identified Holt as the dynamite man. I
repeated my questions; Holt replied, “I will tell you Wednesday.”

“Look here,” I said. “I have the number of that check. That dynamite
is in the trunk. It’s liable to go off any minute and kill a lot of
people. I can trace that check, but it will take time, and you
better tell me quick where you left the trunk.”

“All right,” Holt answered, and said that he had sent it to a storage
warehouse whose office was somewhere near 40th Street and Seventh
Avenue. Two minutes later Lieut. Barnitz and I were out of the jail and
in a motor bound for New York.

It took just 28 minutes to cover the 20 miles to Fifty-Ninth Street
and Fifth Avenue, and we turned south to the section around Fortieth
Street. We found the office of the storage company--empty. The
warehouse itself was at 342 West 38th Street, and we hurried over
there, arriving simultaneously with the detectives who had been tracing
the check number from the Pennsylvania station. An old watchman was
in charge who knew nothing whatever of the records of the office, but
who turned bright green when we told him what we were after. While
Detectives Barnitz, Coy, Murphy, Sterett, Walsh and Fenelly went up
into the recesses of the warehouse to hunt for the trunk, I called

“Commissioner Woods just called and wants you to call him at the
Harvard Club,” the office said. I did so, and reported our progress.

“Get that trunk as fast you can and find out exactly what’s in it,”
said the Commissioner. “Washington just called me to say that Governor
Colquitt down in Dallas just wired them. He says Holt’s wife got a
letter from Holt dated July 2 saying that he’s put dynamite on a ship
now at sea, and that it will sink on the seventh!”

On the fifth floor of the great dark barn they discovered the trunk,
with a dozen others on top of it. There were no lights, and it was
necessary to roll it over, haul it out, snake it across other piles,
and carry it down four flights of steep stairs in the dark to the
office. Barnitz picked up an axe and hacked the lock away. He lifted
the cover, and there we found one hundred and thirty-four sticks of
dynamite--one hundred in their original box, and the rest packed in
small spaces between hammers, nails, bolts, and other tools, several
bottles of sulphuric and nitric acid, and 197 detonating caps--a pretty
package to trundle down four flights of dark stairs and open with an

Fifty sticks of the original 200 were unaccounted for. I telephoned the
report to the Commissioner, and followed it to the Harvard Club, in
44th Street, while Barnitz telephoned for the inspector of combustibles
to come and take possession of the explosives. The Commissioner, with
Guy Scull, were sitting in the lounge, and I was reporting in greater
detail when the Commissioner was called to the telephone. He returned a
moment later, and his first remark was this:

“_Holt is dead at Mineola!_”

And there went our case.

The first wild report from Mineola had it that Holt had been shot by
a German. The international consequences of the case, which had been
hovering just out of reach for the past four days, now seemed certain.
A nation which was still bitterly angry over the recent _Lusitania_
sinking would certainly not brook the violation of its Capitol and the
attempted assassination of one of its chief figures by a German agent,
and if Holt had been shot by a German, it was more than likely that he
had been killed to prevent a further confession which would implicate
the Imperial German Government. These thoughts passed through our minds
as we motored back across the Queensboro Bridge, and retraced the route
Barnitz and I had just traveled.

Holt was not shot by a German. Holt was not shot at all. An aged guard
had been left to watch him that evening, just after Barnitz and I had
left, for the prisoner, despairing over the Muenter identification, had
already made one attempt with a bit of tin from a lead pencil to cut
the arteries of his wrists, and we did not want him to try again. The
old bailiff who sat outside the cell cage had not only left the cage
door unlocked, but had been careless enough to leave Holt’s cell door
ajar. The prisoner seemed quiet enough, and the bailiff fell asleep. He
woke to find Holt’s body in a twisted heap in the center of the floor
of the cell corridor. Holt had evidently been feigning sleep and while
the bailiff dozed had crept out, climbed to the top of the cage, and
dived headforemost to the concrete floor.

There we found him. The man’s skull was crushed from the impact of his
dive. Rumors that he was shot by a mysterious rifle bullet from outside
notwithstanding, Holt bore no wound except the bruise Physick gave him
with the lump of coal, and the wound which was the result of his fall.
If Holt was a German agent, he died with his secret.

We had no time to analyze the question. We knew that Holt had written
his wife he had placed dynamite aboard a ship which was at sea, and
that July 7, the date on which he had promised an explosion, was less
than two hours away. On the theory that he might have shipped an
express parcel containing a bomb overseas from some nearby station, Mr.
Scull and I spent the night in an exhaustive canvass by telephone and
motor of every station in Nassau County. Many of the station agents
were asleep, but we woke them, and searched until dawn. The net result
was record of two shipments to Europe since the day Holt received the
dynamite: One from Syosset the other from Oyster Bay. Back to New York
again we raced, and at the office of the Adams Express Company found
the Syosset package, opened it, and found--no dynamite at all. The
Oyster Bay package had already been shipped to Europe; we telephoned
the consignor, and learned that it contained clothes for a poor
relative in England.

Apparently Holt had not shipped a bomb. While we were opening his trunk
at the warehouse the night before, the government was issuing from
Washington a wireless bulletin to all ships at sea, warning them to
search the cargo thoroughly for a bomb. One by one the vessels which
had sailed during the past week reported that they had investigated
with no result, and as these reports came in we began to rest easier
in our minds. Yet he had so persistently refused to tell us of the
dynamite “until Wednesday” that we could not ignore the prophecy he
had made to his wife--“With God’s help, a ship that sailed from New
York July 3 will sink on July 7.” At noon, of Wednesday, July 7,
an explosion occurred in the hold of the steamship _Minnehaha_, in
mid-ocean, so strong as to blow out a section of the upper decks. The
_Minnehaha_ had left New York on July 3. Happily there was no loss of
life, and she reached port safely.

Two and two make four, but we must not add them for a moment. Holt--or
Muenter, as he was fully and finally identified--may have placed a
bomb in the _Minnehaha_. His promise may have been valid, but there
is another possible origin for that explosion, namely, the activities
of Paul Koenig’s little group. He may have placed a bomb on the
_Minnehaha_ which was exploded by a bomb placed there by another. He
may have placed a bomb on quite another ship--which did not explode,
and which may have traveled harmless to its consignee in England. That
consignee may have been fictitious, or he may have been an accomplice;
if an accomplice he may have been German. We must not add two and two
until we have gathered up the loose threads as they were gathered up
during those last active days, and begin to sort them out.

If we do, we shall see that the Ithaca police found in Holt’s rooms
a scrapbook curiously replete with newspaper reports of crimes,
fratricides, patricides and plain murders. But no cases of wife-murder,
nor of arsenical poisoning. And no clippings dating back of 1906;
for all the evidence of the scrapbook, Holt had never existed before
1907. His wife, who, by a queer coincidence, bore the same maiden
name, Leona, as the one whom he had poisoned, apparently knew nothing
of Holt’s life before she met him in Texas in 1909, loved him, and
married him. She did not know that he was born in Germany, and educated
in Germany or that he had fled from Chicago to Mexico in 1906 and had
then worked back into Texas as a student. He probably wrote to her
from Ithaca in September, 1914, that he had just had the pleasure of
meeting Professor Ernest Elster, of Marburg, Germany, who was visiting
Cornell, and that Elster had highly commended him for his articles on
Goethe--but if he did write to her, what then? Perhaps Herr Professor
Elster had commended Holt for some other past or projected service to
_Kultur_. There is a queer development of the story in the fact that
on September 4, 1915, Mrs. Frank Holt, writing from Dallas, Texas, to
Griffithe’s warehouse, enclosed one dollar to pay for storage on a
trunk left there by her husband July 2, and signed her name: “F. H.
Henderson.” Perhaps the rumor is true that a woman appeared at the
offices of J. P. Morgan and Company in New York on July 2, 1915, and
attempted to warn Mr. Morgan of “something that was going to happen the
next day” and perhaps she was a friend of von Rintelen’s. Mr. Morgan
never saw her. But it is a fact that Rintelen had said to an American
with whom he was dealing: “Morgan and Root ought to be put out of the

Probably--not perhaps--speculation has already carried this story too
far. The facts are that Mr. Morgan recovered from his wounds, and that
two and two make four.



Richard Harding Davis could have done justice to this story.

In December of 1917 we had been eight months at war. We would be an
innocent and purposely ignorant nation if we did not acknowledge that
even after we had been eight months at war there were German spies
in the United States practising their quiet trade in order to make
our waging of war as difficult as possible, just as for three years
they had practised to keep us out of the war entirely. It would be as
absurd to assume that there are not German spies in America to-day who
have been here throughout our part in the war, and who have done their
utmost to cripple us.

But there is one who will not be here indefinitely....

In December, 1917, I received a complaint that valuable papers had been
stolen from a certain Captain Claude Staughton, who lived at 137 West
75th Street, Manhattan. The Captain himself said that the lives of
thousands of American soldiers were in jeopardy, and that neither they
nor he would rest in conscious security until those papers were found.
So two other Thomases of the Bomb Squad, Sergeant Thomas J. Ford and
Detective Thomas J. Cavanagh, were sent to investigate the theft.

They found that Captain Staughton lived in an apartment on the second
floor of the premises at 137 West 75th Street and that his rooms were
shared by a Captain Horace D. Ashton. Staughton, they learned, was a
captain of West Australia Light Horse--or was supposed to be--and a
photograph they found of the captain in his uniform revealed four gold
wound-stripes on his sleeve, which suggested an interesting and heroic
experience overseas. The detectives’ first assumption was that the
missing papers had had to do with British war work on which the captain
was detailed to the United States. Then they found several photographic
prints in which he was dressed in the uniforms of other nations than
Great Britain, and their second assumption was that he might be another
of the nervy little band of counterfeit officers which had done all its
fighting in the restaurants and sympathetic check-books of New York
during the war.

The detectives learned that Ashton had his mail forwarded to the
“Argus Laboratories” at 220 West 42d Street. They called upon Ashton,
and inquired about his room-mate. Duquesne was all right, Ashton
said--was employed by an engineering company downtown as an inspector
of airplanes, was in Pittsburg at the moment, but was expected shortly
to return. Duquesne returned, and was placed under arrest on the charge
(we had no better one at the moment) of unlawfully masquerading in the
uniform of one of our allies, a uniform to which he had no title. A
thousand questions sprang up in our minds about the man: why was he
in disguise, how long had he been posing, how could he carry out the
bluff without being discovered, especially by the highly reputable firm
which employed him?--those were a few. We began to investigate, and
from Ashton and other sources we pieced together the checkered pattern
of his career. Many of the fragments are missing, and some of them are
probably in the wrong places, but this is the picture we found.

He had applied for work at the J. G. White Engineering Company on
September 18, 1917, and in his rather detailed application for
employment set forth that his name was Fred du Quesne. He stated
further that he was 39 years old, married, and a United States
citizen, though born in a British colony. His nearest relative was
“A. Jocelyn du Quesne,” in Los Angeles, and he had evidently had some
trouble in parting the name in the middle, for it was written over an
erasure. His next nearest relative was set down as “Viscount François
de Rancogne, Prisoner of War, Germany,”--an address safe enough from
prompt investigation. Last of all his relatives was cited Edward
Wortley, “Colonial Secretary, Jamaica, B. W. I.” The three names
were impressive, and with the possible exception of Los Angeles, the
addresses were too remote to enable the J. G. White Company to find out
quickly what sort of man this du Quesne might be.

He described himself as a graduate of St. Cyr, the French West Point,
as master of French and English (not German or Portuguese or Spanish),
and as having lived in England, France, Africa, Australia, Central
America, Brazil, Argentine, and the United States (but not Germany).
Present position he had none, but he would like one as “Inspector
of military devices, purchasing agent for same, or army supplies
transportation.” You or I, were we working for the Kaiser, would
have liked just such a position. He gave as references the name of
Thomas O’Connell, a relative employed by the J. G. White Company in
Nicaragua; Ashton, Senator Robert Broussard of Washington, and the
Marquis (not “viscount” this time) de Rancogne, “Lieutenant General of
Cavalry, France.”

He then set forth his previous experience, which I may quote direct in
the light of later events:

“1898 to 1899. Secretary to board of selection on military devices
and contracts. South Africa reporting Genr. de Villiers. (salary) £10

“1899 to 1902. South African War. Was inspector of military
communication and reported secretary of war.” (_He does not state which
secretary of war_) £12.2.6 weekly.

“1902 to 1903. Lived in United States to start residence. Had an
experience job in the subway looking on. $25.00.

“1903 to 1904. Went on tour of Congo Free State in the interests of
making favorable publicity in this country for King Leopold. Gerard
Harry in charge of campaign for the King. Received $10,000 for the job,
with expenses.

“1904–5–6. Headed Eldu expedition and industrial research party in
Australia. Sir Arthur Jones financed me. Received £2,000 yearly.

“1907–8. Toured Russia for _Petit Bleu_. Publicity. 1,000 florins

“1908–9–10. Organized and built string of theatres in British West
Indies. Financed and erected hydro-electric plant for S. S. Wortley &
Co., Kingston, Jamaica. Made percentages.

“1911–12. Lived in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Was with Mr. Thomas
O’Connell in Nicaragua for one year. Made industrial and investment
investigations, especially ore, fibre, rubber. $5,000 and expenses
yearly. Mr. Hite financed. Address New Rochelle.

“1913–14–15–16. Explored and travelled in South America, Brazil,
Argentine, Peru, and Bolivia, on own account. Also conducted special
expedition for Horace Ashton of 220 W. 42d St., New York.”

An eventful record, certainly. We asked Ashton to cast a little light
on it. Captain Fritz Joubert Duquesne, he said, was a scout in the Boer
war--“the leading scout” were his exact words--but not for the British,
but the Boers. There may have been a touch of irony in Duquesne’s
description of himself as “inspector of military communications” for
he had been captured eight or nine times in his migrations through the
British lines and had escaped each time--until the last, when he was
made a prisoner of war at Cape Town, and according to an entry in the
records of Scotland Yard, “was sent to Bermuda, whence he escaped after
the declaration of Peace.” The same records say: “The man Duquesne
was acting as correspondent for a Belgian paper, the _Petit Bleu_; he
was however in reality working for the Boers....” Duquesne fancied
photographs of himself, as he made up rather dashingly, and an old
print which the Bomb Squad men found in his effects bore out the fact
of his imprisonment, for there he stood in his Bermuda jail with the
shackles on his ankles and a grim, martyred expression on his face.

The lure of Africa called to him, evidently, and he went back. We
need not take too seriously his statement that he made a junket for
King Leopold through the Belgian Congo, but anyone who remembers the
uproar over the slavery by which the depraved old monarch was turning
his colony into gold to pay for his excesses will also recall the
international complications which the Congo threatened. It was a likely
spot for an international spy. During his survey of the publicity
possibilities of the jungle Duquesne conceived a few publicity
possibilities for himself, and he came to America as a mighty hunter of
big game.

“I ran across him first,” said Ashton, “in 1909.--At that time he was
writing an article for _Hampton’s Magazine_ called ‘Hunting Big Game
in Africa.’ In publishing his articles he needed photographs, and he
came to me. I was interested in his conversation and I said to him:
‘Why don’t you lecture?’ So he went down to the Pond Lyceum Bureau. He
went on a lecture tour for the Lyceum and later on a tour of the Keith

We found in his effects a program of the lectures he gave, its cover
decorated with a small round photograph of Colonel Roosevelt in hunting
costume and a large studio photograph of Duquesne in khaki, wearing
boots and a revolver, and looking sternly out of the picture as
tradition says a lion-hunter should look. Page two carried a synopsis
of his lecture, of which one topic was “Hunting with Roosevelt,” and
a reproduction of a number of newspapers which were then publishing
his “Hunting Ahead of Roosevelt,” an article written for _Hampton’s
Magazine_. On page three Captain Duquesne figured again in effigy, this
time standing beside the prostrate form of “A Rare Specimen--the ‘White
Rhinoceros,’” and we are to believe that he killed the beast. Page four
(and last), reproduced a cartoon from the _Washington Star_ of January
26, 1909, which portrayed President Roosevelt pointing to a picture
of an elephant, and enthusiastically inquiring of a hairy hunter
labelled “Duquesne”: “I want to know his vital spot!”

[Illustration: Fritz Duquesne prepared for a Lecture Tour as Captain
Claude Stoughton]

A quotation from _Hampton’s Magazine_, also printed in this program,
gives a new vision of the man’s life from 1900 to 1909. It is probably
as truthful as any--here it is:

“When the British succeeded in cutting cable communications between the
Boer Republic and the rest of the world, Duquesne carried the news of
the Boer victories over the Mozambique border, and from there he wrote
his despatches to the _Petit Bleu_, the official European organ of the
Boer Government. He was once captured by the Portuguese and thrown into
prison at Lorenzo Marques. Later he was taken a prisoner to Europe at
the request of the British Government. When the ship that conveyed him
and his guard touched at Naples, he was suffering from a fever and in
consequence was placed in an Italian hospital. On his recovery he was
allowed to go free. He went to Brussels and was sent back to the front
by Doctor Leyds, with plans for the seizure of Cape Town by the Boer
commandos then mobilized in Cape Colony.

“Everything was ready for the taking of the city when, a traitor
having revealed the plot, Duquesne and a number of others were captured
in Cape Town inside the British defenses. This was the climax of what
has come to be known as the ‘Cape Town Plot.’ Some of the prisoners
were shot and some sentenced to death who later had their sentences
changed to life imprisonment. Captain Duquesne was among the latter.
Ten months later he escaped from the Bermuda prisons, got aboard the
American yacht _Margaret_ of New York while she was coaling at the
dock, and was conveyed to Baltimore.

“Back to Europe he went again, as war correspondent and military writer
on the _Petit Bleu_; thence to Africa, where he took a commission on
the Congo. In East Africa he hunted big game for sport and profit, and
finally he came to New York to do newspaper and magazine work.”

He cut a figure in America as a hunter. Back in 1910, when Congress
amused itself with light diversions, when President Taft was in the
White House and when President Roosevelt was in Africa, the eyes of the
nation were turned perforce toward that great preserve of wild game. On
March 24, 1910, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture
went into session with the Honorable Charles F. Scott in the chair.
Late March in Washington has a hint of spring, and that Thursday was
probably an off-day, with nothing much to do, for the committee’s
business was the consideration of H. R. 23261--a bill “to import into
the United States wild and domestic animals whose habitat is similar to
government reservations and lands at present unoccupied and unused....
_Provided_, that such animals will thrive and propagate and prove
useful either as food or as beasts of burden, and that two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars ... be appropriated for this purpose.” The
bill was Representative Broussard’s, of Louisiana; he had in mind the
re-population of the unyielding backwaters of his constituency with
happy families of--what? Foreign sheep, or parrots, or egrets, or fish?
Not at all. Families of hippopotamuses.

The Gentleman from Louisiana addressed the meeting briefly, saying
that he had brought to the hearing three distinguished specialists in
the matter of wild beasts, Dr. Irwin of the Bureau of Plant Industry,
Major Frederic Russell Burnham, a fine old pioneer whom Richard Harding
Davis did describe in his “Real Soldiers of Fortune,” and “Captain
Fritz Duquesne, formerly in the Boer army, who is lecturing and writing
on this subject....” Dr. Irwin spoke earnestly for the introduction
of the hippo, Major Burnham made an absorbing address on the habits
of wild animals he had known--and a herd of camels he once pursued in
Texas--and our bright and voluble Captain Fritz then told the committee
extraordinary things of the home of the hippopotamus, the delicacy of
its flesh, the amiability of its temperament, and the carelessness
of its appetite. “During my boyhood,” he said at one stage of the
proceedings, “the French soap manufacturers used to come down there
and pay us all sorts of prices, competing with one another, to get the
fat of the hippopotamus; and we made a considerable amount of money
from saving the fat when we killed a hippo. The Boers were in the habit
of going down to the river and killing a hippo and bringing it in and
dividing it among the different families in the district. It is pretty
hard to get rid of four and a half tons of meat. In the case of the
bones of the animal, we would take an ordinary wood saw and saw them
in halves, and make a great big pot of soup for a large number of the
people, including the Kaffir servants on the ranch, or the farm, as we
call it.” Again: “My father was instrumental in sending the camel to
Australia from Africa, and also in introducing it into the Kalahari
desert. The German Government now uses the camel exclusively for its
cavalry in the Kalahari desert, which is practically the counterpart of
the deserts in this country. My father had the contract to take them
over to Australia for the West Australian Government and I took them
over there. To-day camels and ostriches from Africa are being raised in

Mr. Chapman asked: “Do you think animals such as you have mentioned
would become acclimated here without difficulty?” Duquesne replied:
“Yes, I was over there recently in one place where Colonel Roosevelt
passed through, and the frost was that thick (indicating about one
inch). That is where he went to get some of his best animals....” In
discussing the zebra he said: “There is nothing wrong with the animal.
The English in Africa want to get percentage, you know. They put an
animal out and they want to break it in right away, and they want to
get some money for it right on the spot. That is what they are in
Africa for. They want to take on the animals and break them in at
once. The Germans are more scientific than the English. In German East
Africa they are making a great success of domesticating these animals
I have spoken of, and crossing the zebra.... The Germans in Germany,
France, and Belgium, not to mention those in the United States, tried
scientifically to make the leopard change his spots, too.”

The man really exhibited an unusual acquaintance with wild beasts, and
he summed up the picturesque argument for the bill when he said: “If
there is vegetation in a river, the hippopotamus will never leave the
river. If you had the hippopotamus in Louisiana and it ate up all your
water plants you would be quite willing to let the hippo live down
there. You see the water plants have to live on a certain amount of
air, and the fish live on a certain amount of air. Neither the plant
nor the fish can live on air that is not there. As the plant is the
stronger, and is able to take the air from above, it will draw it at
the bottom and draw it from the top, and the fish is suffocated in the
water. Then when a storm comes and blows the water plants, which are
floating, all to one side, the fish are netted up against them and kept
in one place until they die. These plants exhaust the air in the water
that is passing through the fishes’ gills and that destroys the fish.”
I wish there were space here to reproduce all the proceedings of that
hearing--it is historic vaudeville: a German spy teaching a class of
American congressmen about the hippo, and suggesting subtly that when
they purchase a fleet of the great beasts for the Louisiana bayous,
they let him round them up. He would have done it if there had been
American money in it.

[Illustration: 1. Fritz Duquesne as a War Correspondent

2. Duquesne as a Boer Soldier

3. From Duquesne’s Press Notices

4. As a British Prisoner of War

5. A Prisoner’s Bank Note Found in Duquesne’s Effects]

American money appeared from another source, however, in 1911. Duquesne
had been working in a desultory way for the moving pictures, and he
interested one Hite, a functionary in the Thanhouser Film Company, in
a plan to explore Central America with a moving-picture camera. Ashton
said he also obtained financial support from Frank Seiberling of the
Goodyear Rubber Company of Akron, a great patron of sports, and the
financier of the ill-fated balloon “Akron” in which Walter Wellman once
tried to cross the Atlantic. He set sail in 1911 for Jamaica, where he
enlisted the finances of his father-in-law, Wortley, in the project,
and then moved on to Guatemala. There he was suspected of revolutionary
activities, and after cabling Washington and receiving a satisfactory
report from the state department, he was released, and made his way
through Honduras to Nicaragua. There he spent some time, and saw
something of O’Connell, the railroad man--enough to receive a pass
over all lines of the Nicaraguan railroad.

In 1913 he returned to the United States. Among the papers which we
discovered was a record of an insurance policy for a maximum of $80,000
worth of moving picture film at $4 a foot, which Duquesne took out
with the Mannheim Insurance Company in New York on December 17. He was
setting out on another expedition, and he wished to insure his reels of
film on shipboard from

    “seas, fires, pirates, rovers, assailing thieves, jettison,
    barratry of the master and mariners, and all other perils,
    losses and misfortunes that have or shall come to the hurt,
    detriment or damage of the said goods and merchandise or any
    part thereof.”

By a separate certificate the company also insured Duquesne against
further risk, thus:

    “It is agreed that this insurance covers only the risk of
    capture, seizure or destruction by men-of-war, by letters of
    marque, by taking at sea, arrests, restraints, detainments
    or acts of kings, princes and people authorized by and in
    prosecution of hostilities between belligerent nations....”

and off to the Spanish Main and the pirates and the assailing thieves
sailed Fritz Duquesne.

His migrations during the years of 1914 and 1915 are not clear. This
much is certain: that on June 16, 1915, Sir C. Mallet, the British
minister at Panama, wrote to the foreign office in London the following
note, setting forth an observation he had made that day in the Zone:

“Through a Canal Zone detective I learnt confidentially that a
passenger named Captain F. Duquesne, travelling with a passport issued
by the United States Consul at Mañaos, Brazil, had embarked for
Trinidad on the R. M. S. _Panama_ on the 14th instant.

“My informant stated that Captain Duquesne poses as an American officer
but in reality is an intelligence officer in the service of the German

“I have warned the Governor of Trinidad by telegraph so that a watch
may be kept on Captain Duquesne’s movements.”

The wily captain had been cruising rather busily through the Caribbean,
over the Isthmus, and into South America. His passport connected him
with Mañaos, the British message established his presence at Panama
and Trinidad, a German war communiqué dated “December 20,” and signed
by the German consul, Lehmann, in Guatemala, showed that he was an
acceptable guest at the outposts of the German Empire. And he had
visited Nicaragua before he entered Panama in 1915, for we found in his
possession this letter:

                              “Managua, May 5, 1915.

  “Imperial German Consulate
    for Nicaragua:

    “It is a pleasure for me to recommend to you, my countrymen,
    the bearer of this, Mr. Fritz Duquesne, Captain of Engineers to
    the Boer army, very warmly.

    “The same gentleman has on many occasions given many notable
    services to our good German cause.

            “The Imperial German Consul,

Enclosed in the envelope was Uebersexig’s personal card, reinforcing
his recommendation of Duquesne as an accredited German agent.

Trinidad is a good jumping-off place into the far tropics, and it
is quite possible that as Ashton said Duquesne disappeared into the
interior of Brazil, and “explored the unknown regions of Brazil and
the Amazon.” It is not hard to find unknown regions of Brazil within
a few miles of the coast. He probably did not penetrate far into the
interior, for in January of 1916, he showed up in lower Brazil.

He emerged from the interior as a valiant explorer, preceded by native
carriers whom he had hired to transport his precious movie-film. As
he approached the port of Bahia Duquesne’s personality underwent a
perceptible change. Duquesne suddenly became George Fordham. Among his
papers we found an application for shipment by a Brazilian broker which
read as follows:

    “Honorable Superintendent.

    “Francisco Figuerado requests a permit to ship for New York
    via steamer _Verdi_ to sail on January 28, 1916, a case as
    described below:

    “Bahia, January 27, 1916.

      “Raul E. de Oliveira, Custom House Broker.

    “1 case weighing 80 kilos               00$500

    “One case of potter’s earth in dust (samples)”

Potter’s earth may have been included in the materials in the case,
but that is doubtful, for on October 4, 1916, “Mrs. Alice Duquesne
being duly sworn deposes and says that she accompanied her husband,
Captain Fritz Duquesne, during his trip through Central America in the
Spring and Summer of 1914. That in the baggage was an iron trunk used
to carry moving picture films and negatives which she presumes to be
the same trunk that was subsequently shipped by Capt. Duquesne per
the S. S. _Tennyson_ from Bahia to New York sailing in January, 1916.
That the said trunk was about ½ inch thick, and made of iron about 45
inches in length by 30 inches in height by 26 inches in depth ... had
a hinged cover that overlapped the sides of same, and fastened down
with two thumb screws and a lock. That two iron bands went around the
trunk and were riveted to same. That the cover was lined with packing
where it overlapped the sides of the trunk. That the said trunk was
of very solid construction, painted a dark green, almost black, and
that two men were required to lift same.” Hardly a suitable receptacle
for potter’s earth. Furthermore, George Fordham, whose handwriting is
identical with that of Fritz Duquesne for the simple reason that the
two men were the same, on February 11 signed an invoice at the American
consulate in Bahia stating that he solemnly and truly declared that
the 28,000 feet of moving picture film and the 4100 negatives which
he was shipping back to the United States were to the best of his
knowledge and belief of the manufacture of the United States and had
been exported from the United States in 1913.


    1. A significant clipping found in Duquesne’s effects

    2. A German Communique found on Duquesne

    3. The United States Customs invoice by which Duquesne, as
         “George Fordham,” shipped his “Films”

The _Tennyson_ sailed quietly out of the river-mouth into the Atlantic
and Duquesne vanished just as quietly. On February 26, when the ship
was coasting along the Brazilian forest toward the Equator, a terrific
explosion occurred in her hold, and three sailors were killed. The iron
trunk never reached New York. The news of the catastrophe set fire to
the British in South America and the English press seethed with such
paragraphs as this--which we found in Duquesne’s papers, clipped from
an Argentine newspaper:

                              “Rio de Janeiro.

    “The confession of the clerk Bauer, arrested in connection
    with the _Tennyson_ outrage, which led to the discovery of the
    papers and funds of the band of German bombers in an English
    safe deposit institution reveals a plot of far-reaching
    consequences fraught with danger to the neutrality of a number
    of South American republics, as well as peril to the lives of
    their citizens.

    “Besides a number of important documents, the police seized
    $6,740 in American bills, which were in an envelope marked
    ‘On His Majesty’s Service’ and addressed: ‘Piet Naciud.’
    When this name was published it caused quite a shock in the
    Allied circles here, as this man always cultivated their
    society and even recited at their benefits. He was ever loud
    in his denunciations of the Germans, and as he was a Boer,
    or pretended to be one, was doubly liked for his seemingly
    praiseworthy attitude. Little did the English dream that they
    were harbouring a black-hearted spy in their midst whom they
    now know as one of the leading plotters whose audacity is
    beyond belief. The safe deposit was in his own name, and he
    gave his home address as Cape Town. Neither he nor the agent
    Niewirth and his fellow conspirators have yet been arrested. It
    is believed that they left with Naciud in a powerful motorboat
    that he owned.”

How Captain Fritz Duquesne, alias Fordham, alias Naciud, must have
chuckled as he sat safely in the neutral Argentine and read this
flattering tribute to his audacity. For he did turn up presently
in Buenos Aires, and embarked on a new audacity--nothing less than
collecting the insurance of $80,000 for the loss of the film which he
claimed to have shipped in the iron box!

Let Ashton take up the story:

“... his wife ... tried to collect the insurance, but was advised
that she would have better chances ... if he would disappear. He
then assumed the name of Fredericks. In 1916 a report was published
in the New York _Evening Post_ and the New York _Times_ that he had
been assassinated by Indians in the interior of Bolivia, and being
interested I called at the office of the N. Y. _Post_ and asked Mr.
A. D. H. Smith, editor, to look this report up, and he found that
the report came from the Associated Press, the same being signed
‘Fredericks.’ They also had a cablegram signed, ‘Captain Duquesne,’ and
it said: ‘I am still alive.’ The report also said that he was the sole
survivor of an attack from the Indians and that he was somewhere in
Bolivia recovering in a hospital, the location being unknown. He sent
the message signed ‘Fredericks’ himself from Buenos Aires.

“He then became connected with the Board of Education of the Argentine,
supplying films for the schools, and a certain politician in Buenos
Aires claims he gave him $24,000 with which to purchase films (certain
educational films). He claims to have come to New York with a man named
Williamson and purchased the films, paying $24,000 in cash.”

Mrs. Duquesne was already in New York, having a hard time collecting
her claim against the German-owned Mannheim Insurance Company for the
“sympathy verdict” for damage to the films. He stored the new films
he claims to have purchased in the Fulton and Flatbush Warehouse, 437
Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn--stored them as “statuary,” and used to visit
the warehouse frequently. On one occasion he arrived after hours, and
tried unsuccessfully to bribe the watchman to admit him. He moved to
a small hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and about two weeks after the
storage of the cases of “statuary” in the Brooklyn warehouse, the
warehouse mysteriously caught fire.

By a queer coincidence the “films”--Duquesne has never proved that he
did buy them--which of course were destroyed in this fire too, had been
insured by their purchaser, “Mr. Frederick Fredericks,” for $33,000 by
the Stuyvesant Insurance Company, and he set out to collect the $33,000
for the total loss of his property. If both claims proved successful,
he and his wife would have gathered in some $113,000. But they found it
one thing to be insured and another thing entirely to get the money.
Times were not treating Duquesne well.

Along in July, 1917, when the United States was in the throes of
buckling down to the business of war, and Washington was sweltering
under its increased load of war-time population and business, Ashton,
Duquesne’s old friend, happened to have business in the capital. He
dropped in to call on Robert F. Broussard, of New Iberia, Louisiana,
who in 1915 had been elected senator from this state ... the same
Broussard who had been the author of the hippopotamus bill. Ashton
asked the United States Senator from Louisiana if he had heard from
Captain Duquesne. Ashton continues: “his secretary overheard the
conversation (his secretary is a charming young lady) and I took her
out to dinner, and about five days later she wrote me and said, ‘You
may be interested to know that Captain Duquesne is in Washington, but
does not want it known.’ I immediately became interested and concluded
that if Captain Duquesne was in Washington and did not want it known,
especially to me, I ... would investigate. So I went to Washington ...”
and learned something of Duquesne’s whereabouts and circumstances.

“After hearing this story in Washington,” Ashton continues, “I learned
that this man was in desperate need of assistance and I offered to
help him in any way that I could.... Senator Broussard was trying to
secure a position for him with General Goethals,... also at this time
he had plans on file with the Secretary of the Navy, of an invention
to destroy mines in harbors, and was hoping that he might secure a
position with the Navy Department. I had been offered a position
with George Creel, and I also introduced Duquesne to him, and I then
got in touch with Major Kendall Barnelli. I advised him to listen to
Duquesne and to give him a position. I also advised Barnelli that I was
investigating Duquesne’s story.”

Damon Ashton then brought Pythias Duquesne back to New York and put him
up in the apartment in which the Bomb Squad men had first been called
to investigate the theft of papers. Duquesne begged his friend not
to make him known under his own name, as the insurance case for the
warehouse fire was still pending. So Duquesne continued to masquerade
as “Fredericks.” His health was poor, and he did not go to work at
once. At times Ashton’s charity seemed to irk Duquesne, and he even
went to the telephone and called up an agency to discuss a lecture
tour. The lecture agents told him that only war lectures were making
money. There was a real inspiration, and after working for several
days to assemble a uniform of the West Australia Light Horse, correct
in every detail, he dressed up in it and called at the lecture bureau
as Captain Claude Staughton. His Australian experience as chaperone
to the camels stood him in good stead, and he went about town mixing
with British Army officers without arousing suspicion. He even got on
famously with the late Sir George Reed, prime minister of Australia,
whom he met one night at the Hotel Astor.

The Pond lecture folk took him up and arranged a tour for him.
Consciously or unconsciously, they swallowed Duquesne whole. They
had him photographed in his new uniform, with the ribbons of three
decorations over his heart, and they reproduced the natty figure on the
cover of a publicity folder announcing the subjects on which Captain
Claude Staughton was prepared to talk. “Captain Staughton,” read the
folder, “has perhaps seen more of the war than any man at present
before the public.... He wears ribbons showing that he has received
five medals: two of these the King’s and Queen’s for service in the
Boer war, carrying seven clasps; one is for service in Natal, and two
for bravery in saving lives. A sixth French medal for which he has been
cited is yet to be awarded. At the outbreak of the Boer war, Captain,
then Lieutenant, Staughton, was an officer in one of Australia’s crack
horse regiments, the Mounted Rifles. He went with his regiment to
Africa, and served in Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Natal
and Basuto Land. He was with Kitchener at the Battle of Paardeburg when
General Cronje was captured; was with Lord Roberts at the Capture of
Bloemfontein; at the fall of Johannesburg and the seizure of Pretoria.
Later, in pursuit of DeWet’s army, he was attached to General Knox’s
flying column as intelligence officer and commandeering officer for
the Australian Bushmen. He later entered the Cape forces and took
active part in the clearing up of Basuto Land, and in the last Natal
insurrection he fought with the Natal forces.”

That is a mere fragment of the fighting in which this eulogy proceeded
to sketch Captain Staughton’s modest part. New Guinea, Gallipoli,
Flanders, the Somme, Arras (illustrated by motion pictures), four
times gassed, three times bayoneted, once pronged by a German
trench-hook--those were the high lights of the career which, the folder
assured the public, had finally brought him face to face with the most
fearless lecture audience in the world--the United States. He would be
pleased to lecture on the story of the Anzacs, underground warfare--or,
on “German Spy Methods,” of which “he had learned much in Egypt.”

One of the sub-topics in this lecture on German spy methods was this:
“Germany pays nothing for its spying on us.--We pay it all.--How long
will we stand it?”

Well, we stood it for a long time--too long a time by half. But
not long enough to permit Captain Staughton to lecture before many
audiences, nor to ask this question too frequently. He gulled a few
suburban Sunday schools, but his arrest put an end at least to his
attempt to pick up a bit of odd change by collecting insurance.

For the steamship _Tennyson_ was British territory, and, as this is
written, the report comes that this picturesque charlatan is going back
across the Atlantic, to be tried for the murder of a British sailor. So
begins the last chapter in the story of Fritz Duquesne.



We caught a glimpse, in the chapter describing the attempt to wreck St.
Patrick’s Cathedral, of the peace-time game of the anarchist group;
we looked into their meeting places and their disorderly minds; and
those of us who are familiar with the localities which were their
haunts in New York City will have been enabled to visualize with some
clearness the squalid surroundings in which they worked. War gave
them new opportunities, and possibly a few high-lights which the Bomb
Squad caught of the anarchist, I. W. W., and Russian activities since
1914 may prove to be readable. If they are readable the author should
be content, but he will not be unless he has put before his people
something which may serve as a warning for the period of readjustment
which the end of war has opened.

An anarchist publication appeared in New York, dated November 15, 1918,
four days after Germany had signed the armistice, with this legend on
its front page, in large type:

    “The War Is Dead: Long Live the Revolution!”

It reflects the joyful frame of mind with which orthodox anarchists
received the news of peace, and hailed the beginning of what they
thought would be unrestrained guerilla warfare on law and class. They
had done very little to help the war, and their two chief figures, Emma
Goldman and Alexander Berkman, were in prison for obstructing the draft
of America’s army. Yet the anarchists as a class were extremely happy.
Let us review some of the reasons why.

On October 25, 1915, Har Dayal, who had fled at the outbreak of war to
the protection of Berlin, where he was placed in charge of the Indian
Nationalist Committee, wrote from Amsterdam, Holland, to Alexander
Berkman in New York. The letter follows:

  “Dear Comrade:

    “I am well and busy and sad. Can you send me some earnest and
    sincere comrades, men and women, who would like to help our
    Indian revolutionary movement in some way or other? I need the
    coöperation of very earnest comrades. Perhaps you can find
    them in New York or at Paterson. They should be real fighters,
    I. W. W.’s or anarchists. Our Indian party will make all
    necessary arrangements.

    “If some comrades wish to come, they should come to Holland. We
    have a centre in Amsterdam, and Dutch comrades are working with
    us. If some comrades are ready to come, please telegraph me
    from New York to the following address:

        “‘Israel Aaronson, c/o Madame Kercher,
          “‘116 Oude Scheveningerweg,
              “‘Scheveningen, Holland.’

    “My assumed name is ‘Israel Aaronson.’ Kindly don’t
    telegraph in your own name. The word ‘yes’ will suffice. The
    Rotterdam-Amerika Line will receive instructions from us here
    to give tickets, etc., to as many persons as you recommend. All
    financial arrangements will be made by our party.

    “News from India is good. We have lost (?) some very brave
    comrades in the recent skirmishes.

    “It would be better if you could intimate in your telegram how
    many comrades wish to come. For instance, put the number in
    some sentence. I shall understand, e. g., Five months’ holiday
    coming. Etc., etc.

    “The need for the services of comrades is urgent. Please do
    come to our help. We are fighting against heavy odds.

    “With love and respect.

                  “Your for the Fight,
                              “HAR DAYAL.”

    “P. S. Kindly be very careful in keeping everything secret
    and confidential. When comrades arrive they should go and
    see Domela Nieuwenhuis, 20 Burgmestre Schooklaan, Hilversum
    (near Amsterdam). He will tell them where to meet me. Please
    also write a letter to the above address in Scheveningen, in
    addition to the telegram. Telegram may be intercepted.

                                            “H. D.”

[Illustration: Lieutenant Commander Spencer Eddy]

Not satisfied apparently that this letter would reach Berkman, Har
Dayal wrote another a week later, which read as follows:

            “Address: Israel Aaronson,
                    “c/o Madame Kercher,
                “116 Oude Scheveningerweg,

  “Dear Comrade:

    “I am well and busy. Can you send me some earnest and sincere
    comrades men and women, to help our Indian revolutionary party
    at this juncture? They should be persons of good character. If
    Tannenbaum is free, would he like to come?

    “Please keep this matter strictly _secret_ and _confidential_.
    Kindly don’t discuss it with too many people.

    “This is a great opportunity for our party. I need the
    coöperation of earnest comrades for very important work.
    Several of our comrades have come from India with encouraging
    news and messages.

    “If some comrades can come, please _wire_ and _write_ to the
    above address to my assumed name, ‘Israel Aaronson.’ I shall
    send you money immediately to the name which you telegraph. Let
    it be a name beginning with a B. I shall understand. Please
    don’t telegraph in your own name.

    “Kindly also word the telegram in such a way that I can
    understand how many comrades are coming. If five comrades wish
    to come, please wire:

    “‘Five hundred dollars job vacant come.’ Just put the number of
    comrades before the ‘_hundred_.’ Or use any other device.

    “Kindly also send me names and addresses of the prominent
    anarchist comrades in Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden,
    Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and other European
    countries. Please also send letters of introduction for me to
    them from Emma or yourself, if you know them.”

And so on. There is enough to show the company the Hindu-German
intriguers kept, and to show that the Hindu committee in Berlin had
enough money to buy mercenaries from the American anarchist group, for
which the American brokers would hardly go unrewarded. Rintelen, within
a week of his arrival in the United States in May, 1915, had tried to
hire anarchists to blow up shipping and start strikes in munitions
plants. It further shows that during that week in October of 1915,
Har Dayal had a bright thought that if he could only get letters from
Emma Goldman or Berkman introducing him to the anarchists of Europe,
and could perhaps introduce to them in turn his lieutenant, Frank
Tannenbaum, from America--the same who stormed St. Alphonsus’ church
with a gang of I. W. W.’s in 1914, demanding food--he could hoodwink
the anarchists into believing that he was playing their game, and
really make good use of them in playing his game--which of course was

As it happened, Tannenbaum was busy. So was Emma. So was Berkman,
who received the letter. He was just formulating plans to go to San
Francisco and become an editor--not a new avocation, for he had for
ten years helped Emma Goldman issue a publication known as “Mother
Earth”--and to carry out certain radical and novel ideas. Before we
sketch the way in which he put those ideas on paper, it may be well
to see what experiences he had had to generate ideas, and just what
promise his career contained that he would be of guiding benefit to
these United States.

Alexander Berkman was a Russian by birth, and was then about 44 years
old. When he was a youth of 20 he became involved in the famous
Homestead strike in Pennsylvania, and on July 22, 1892, he burst into
the office of Henry Frick, a steel manufacturer, in the Carnegie
Building in Pittsburg and shot that gentleman in the neck. He then went
to the Western Penitentiary and served fourteen years. This qualified
him as a rare martyr among anarchists. After he got out of prison he
was occasionally arrested in various cities, for wherever he appeared
among advocates of violence there was pretty certain to be trouble.
The long prison term had given him a chance to develop his mind, and
he had written 512 pages on “The Prison Life of an Anarchist,” which
the “Mother Earth Publishing Company” brought out, and which sold for
$1.15--a very interesting book indeed.

So he went to San Francisco in the fall of 1915. A short time before he
left New York his friend Bill Shatoff gave him a farewell dinner. As
the evening wore on the diners adjourned to the neighborhood of Second
Avenue and Fifth Street for a frolic, and Berkman and Shatoff playfully
mauled a policeman, and took his club away, for which both men were
arrested. But that did not interfere long with Berkman’s departure for
the Coast, and the purpose and fruit of his journey appeared within a
short time.

[Illustration: Major Fuller Potter, Military Intelligence]

It was called _The Blast_. According to its own description _The
Blast_ was a revolutionary labor weekly, which meant that it preached
revolution every so often to those who had a grievance against their
employers and to those who had no employers but who had a deep contempt
for anything of the sort. Alexander Berkman appeared as editor and
publisher, E. B. Morton as associate editor, and M. E. Fitzgerald
as manager. It sold for five cents a copy, unless you bought it in
bundles, in which case you paid half that price.

In the first issue, dated January 15, 1916, the title of the paper is
explained by the editor. “Do you mean to destroy?” he asks. “Do you
mean to build? These are the questions we have been asked from many
quarters by inquirers sympathetic and otherwise. Our reply is frank and
bold: We mean both: to destroy and to build. For socially speaking,
Destruction is the beginning of Construction.... The time is NOW. The
breath of discontent is heavy upon this wide land. It permeates mill
and mine, field and factory. Blind rebellion stalks upon highway and
byway. To fire it with the spark of Hope, to kindle it with the light
of Vision, and turn pale discontent into conscious social action--that
is the crying problem of the hour. It is the great work calling to
be done. To work, then, and blasted be every obstacle in the way of
the Regeneration!” In a congratulatory telegram in the same issue,
Emma wrote to Alexander: “Let _The Blast_ re-echo from coast to coast,
inspiring strength and courage into the disinherited, and striking
terror into the hearts of the craven enemy, now that one more of our
brothers has fallen a victim to the insatiable Moloch. May _The Blast_
tear up the solidified ignorance and cruelty of our social structure.
Blast away! To the daring belongs the future.”

A sample of the methods by which _The Blast_ proposed to begin its
regeneration of the disinherited is this delicate editorial paragraph:

“_Judas Made Respectable._

    “Judas Iscariot delivered the Nazarene agitator into the hands
    of the Roman District Attorney. This base betrayal incensed the
    people against the mercenary stool-pigeon. Judas had enough
    decency to go and hang himself.”

A slap evidently at the person whom Emma referred to in her telegram,
who had just sold out to Moloch.

It was a cardinal principle of the paper to be scurrilous and direct
in its attacks upon the enemies of anarchy. General Harrison Grey
Otis, a Los Angeles publisher whose newspaper building was bombed in
1912 after labor trouble, was referred to as “General Hungry Growl
Otis,” Colonel Roosevelt as “The Human Blowout.” The leading cartoon
of the second issue, drawn--and well drawn--by Robert Minor, showed a
huge figure of a laborer bearing on a tray the figure of a tiny though
corpulent judge, its mouth open in speech, and its chair guarded by
three stolid elephantine policemen. The laborer is bearing the dish to
a feast of anarchists, the title of Minor’s contribution is “The Court
Orders--.” The court had evidently ordered in the direction of _The
Blast_, and Berkman did not like the order. In the same issue he wrote
editorials against conscription in England, against the convention
of the American Federation of Labor which had just been held in San
Francisco, against its president, Samuel Gompers, and against national

I have quoted these extracts not because they are specially interesting
or readable, but because they will give one who is not wholly familiar
with the practical platform of anarchy a suggestion of anarchy’s tone
of voice. It is not friendly, but is on the contrary quite snobbish.
Selig Schulberg, in an article on Mexico, gently suggested: “Toilers
of America, if the Hearsts, Otises and Rockefellers have property, for
which they want protection, in Mexico, let _them_ protect it!” The
editor says: “The Fords, the Bryans, the Jane Addams may be sincere.
If so they are blind leaders of the blind.” A writer signing himself
“L. E. Claypool,” wrote, under the title “Preparedness is Hell,” this
tribute to our tortured Ally in Europe: “Most of you gents that yell
(i. e., yell, ‘What about Belgium?’) never heard of Belgium till this
war broke out. A lot of you probably don’t know that the language
of the Belgians is French. Further, you don’t know that Belgium had
a treaty with England and France which placed the little nation in
the war before the German invasion. You may not know that French and
English engineers and military experts had surveyed the land and were
preparing to make it a battle ground long before the Germans did
so.” That statement was typical German propaganda of a very crude
sort, calculated to appeal by its insinuation to the class of readers
who affected _The Blast_. The platform of the paper, in a word, was

Berkman was in a rich field for labor unrest. California is a strong
labor state. The whole country, outside as well as inside California,
had been excited over the _Los Angeles Times_ bomb affair in 1912, and
it revived that excitement when two of the culprits were prosecuted
three years later. One finds constant reference to the case in the
files of _The Blast_, and to the strikes at Lawrence, Mass., and
Ludlow, Colorado, and Youngstown, Ohio. Anti-capitalistic rough-house
in any corner of the continent was good copy for Berkman. If it
flagged for a moment he took up the cudgels for his friend Emma, who
had just been arrested in New York and sentenced to the workhouse for
distributing birth-control literature. Or he dove into international
relations, comparing in one instance Villa and President Wilson, with
little mercy for the latter. The issue of April Fool’s Day, 1916,
carried a leading editorial directed against the Pacific Coast Defense
League, just organized to bring the national guard of the Pacific and
Mountain states into a condition of higher efficiency and to start
a program of “healthy physical and military training” in the public
schools. This editorial was signed by Tom Mooney, who soon appeared in
the columns of the paper in another capacity.

The publication did not go unheeded by the Post Office department.
On May 1 Berkman burst out with an article headed, “To Hell With The
Government,” in which he used language that would make any ordinary
head of hair curl up. He was angry because the Government had issued an
order holding up all succeeding issues of the paper. In an editorial
he said he welcomed the uprising in Ireland--the Easter Day affair in
Dublin which cost several Sinn Feiners their lives. Other anarchistic
publications in the country were meeting the same fate. _The Alarm_, in
Chicago, _Revolt_ of New York, _Regeneracion_, a Mexican revolutionary
sheet issued in Los Angeles, and _Voluntad_, a Spanish paper in New
York, were closed up. But Berkman went on publishing, and howling about
the constitutional freedom of the press. Back in New York other friends
of his had been making more trouble: Mrs. Max Eastman and Bolton Hall
were arrested for circulating birth-control pamphlets, and Bouck White
was jailed for distributing an effigy of the American flag bearing a
dollar-mark. Berkman took up their cases and howled. He sent appeals
for help in his fight against the Post Office department, and raised
a little money. One of his liberal contributors was a writer named
John Reed, who sent him five dollars from New York. Then a strike
broke out, fostered by the I. W. W., on the iron ranges in Northern
Minnesota, and William M. Haywood wrote Berkman an appeal for help
which the latter published in _The Blast_ with a eulogy. He found
no dearth of subjects to fill his pages, and then suddenly came an

San Francisco turned out in a great preparedness parade on July 22.
Someone threw a bomb into the ranks of the marchers. Nine people were
killed. The next issue of _The Blast_ said substantially: “Well,
they might have expected it,” and said actually: “To try to connect
the Anarchists, the I. W. W., the Labor elements or the participants
in the peace meeting with the bomb tragedy is stupid. The act was
obviously the work of an individual who evidently sought to express
his opposition to Preparedness for Slaughter by using the ammunition
of Preparedness. Terrible as it is, it is merely a foretaste in
miniature of what the people may expect multiplied a million times,
from the Preparedness insanity.” When two men, Nolan and Tom Mooney,
were arrested and charged with the crime, _The Blast_ rushed to their
defense. When Warren Billings and Israel Weinberg were added to the
list of accused, _The Blast_ ran sketches of the defendants by Minor,
the staff artist. The case was of consuming interest to the anarchist
group, and they rubbed their hands, in _The Blast_ office, over their
good luck that it had happened right in their own little circle. _The
Blast_ ceased firing random shots and focussed on the bomb case in
salvos, followed the course of the trials, drew a parallel between the
condition of the San Francisco suspects and that of Fielden, Neebe and
Schwab, three of the anarchists who were implicated in the Haymarket
bomb outrage in Chicago in 1886 and pardoned.

The business of being an anarchist became surrounded with more and
more difficulty as the year drew toward a close. Caplan, the fourth
Los Angeles bomb suspect to be tried, was convicted and sentenced to
ten years; a group of laborers who had engaged in violence in strikes
against the United States Steel Corporation were under sentence in a
Pittsburg prison; Carlo Tresca (whom we recall as a speaker at the
Brescia Circle in 1915), and ten others were in jail in Duluth charged
with murder in the I. W. W. strike on the Mesaba Iron range; the Magon
brothers, two Mexican revolutionary anarchists, were in prison, and the
days of _The Blast_ were numbered. Berkman came back to New York in the
fall. While he was absent, _The Blast_ sputtered once more in its
issue of January, 1917, with a venomous cartoon by Minor, and went out,
for want of funds.

[Illustration: Lieutenant A. R. Fish, Naval Intelligence]

Berkman found Emma Goldman well and prosperous. She had visited him in
March in San Francisco, and again in June and July had delivered two
series of birth-control lectures there. After her first visit, _The
Blast_ had blossomed out with a book advertisement, which included
the list of volumes sold by the Mother Earth Publishing Company in
New York. There were the usual texts on anarchy, revolution, and
syndicalism, and it is interesting to note among the books sent to
Berkman for review the following titles: “A Few Facts About British
Rule In India. Published by the Hindustani Gadar, San Francisco,”
“India’s ‘Loyalty’ to England. Published by The Indian Nationalist
Party,” and “The Methods of the Indian Police in the Twentieth Century.
Published by the Hindustan Gadar.” Har Dayal had been the editor of
_Ghadr_ until 1914; apparently his acquaintanceship with Berkman was
being kept fresh by his successors at the nest of Hindu intrigue in

But when Berkman got back to New York he found that birth-control was
no longer the thing. A new development had taken place, half-way
around the earth, and it looked promising for the anarchistic
interests. So we must leave the two for a moment.

On January 9, 1917, the Russian premier resigned. A fortnight later
the newspapers announced that the Germans had recaptured considerable
important ground on the Riga front. On February 3, the United States
severed diplomatic relations with Germany, gave Bernstorff his papers,
and sent him home two weeks later. On March 11 a revolutionary
demonstration broke out in Petrograd, and the next day the Czar of All
the Russias abdicated his throne. A new cabinet was formed, its foreign
minister told the Allies that Russia would continue to fight, and the
United States recognized the new régime. The news was hailed with a
good deal of fraternal spirit in America, and with special cordiality
in New York, where there were great numbers of Russians who had left
Europe to escape the persecution of the old régime.

Many of the New York Russians knew what was going to happen in
Petrograd. The Bomb Squad made friends with an anarchist as early as
February 1, 1917. On that day at a spot not far from where Shatoff
and Berkman had attacked the policeman a year before, a certain
Mr. Plotkin met a Mr. Bogdanovitch. Plotkin urged Bogdanovitch to
call a special conference of all the revolutionary organizations in
the city to protest against militarism. “No,” said the conservative
Bogdanovitch. “Our group will either have to pass a resolution as a
single unit, or else go over to Group 2 and see what they are doing
about this news that we are going to have war. Don’t be too ready to
jump to conclusions.” So the two went to call on Group 2, which was
in session--some 50 Russians and Russian Jews, who spent the evening
harmlessly reading the war prospects from American newspapers. No
resolution was passed.

The next night, however, there was a lecture at Beethoven Hall, at 210
East 5th Street. The speaker was introduced as “Mr. Bornstein,” who had
just returned from Russia. “Mr. Bornstein” was Leon Trotzky.

Trotzky, using the Russian language, told of the plans that were being
developed for revolution. “You anarchists here,” he said, “don’t want
any militarism or any government which is of no help to the working
class, and is always ready to fire on the workman. It’s time you did
away with such a government once and forever!” After his speech, the
chairman, Comrade G. Chudnofsky, rose and addressed the crowd of 300
in the hall, to this effect:

“Comrades, some of you can’t read English. You don’t know what is
going on until you see it in the Russian papers. Only to-day I noticed
that the Police Commissioner is going to call out all the reserves he
can get to handle the situation, since Germany notified America what
she would do. The capitalistic government is _afraid of us_! They are
afraid of the working class. Remember that, for in case of war, we can
protest against militarism and start our own war. Here is a resolution
which I propose to prevent any of our loyal number joining the army. I
will read it.” And he read it.

The next day Bill Shatoff was scheduled to speak at a meeting at Number
9 Second Avenue, but he was suddenly called to Boston, and a substitute
took the platform. He was howled down because he made a speech which
reflected loyalty to the United States. The audience consisted of 75
Russians, of whom some 30 were anarchists known to the Bomb Squad. The
United States severed diplomatic relations with Germany that night.

On February 4 the representatives of several of the Russian anarchist
groups were to meet at 534 East 5th Street and pass the resolution
against militarism, but they could not agree upon it, and the session
ended by postponing the matter. Most of the delegates present adjourned
to 64 East 7th Street (almost within earshot of the Washington Arch),
to hear Chudnofsky rave against enlistment, the police, the government
and the war.

Those little meetings were typical of the eruptions which occurred
throughout the poorer districts of the great city during the remainder
of the month of February. Such propagandists as Chudnofsky and Trotzky,
uttering their exhortations to a multiplication of such groups as
gathered in the Fifth Street house, spread among the gossipy East
Siders and into the remotest slums the news that great things were
about to happen in Russia, and rumor and expectancy set the stage for
the arrival of the news of the revolution on March 12. The leaders then
began to mobilize their forces and act quickly. Under Shatoff, Schnabel
and Rodes the revolutionary fire was passed along from one to another.
The story was that Russia was free, reclaimed from Czardom and all that
it had meant of oppression.

The lid was off, and it was a case of first come, first served. The
Provisional Government was no better than any other, these men said.
“Russia shall be ours.” “How?” asked the eager disciples. “By helping
yourselves,” answered Shatoff and Schnabel and Rodes. “That’s all very
well,” said the proletariat, “but we haven’t the price.” “Oh, in that
case, come to the farewell meeting on March 26 for Leon Trotzky, at
Harlem River Casino, and all will be made clear to you.”

Some 800 people were at Trotzky’s farewell party, which was held under
the auspices of the German Socialist Federation. Alexander Berkman and
Emma Goldman were among those present. A blond Russian made a speech in
which he said: “Comrades, some of us are going back to Russia to push
the revolution as we think it ought to be pushed, and those who remain
here must get ready to do their share of the work as it ought to be
done.” Trotzky then rose and speaking first in German, then in Russian,
repeated the advice the previous speaker had given, and added: “You who
stay here must work hand in hand with the revolution in Russia, for
only in that way can you accomplish revolution in the United States.”
He was cheered to the echo.

(There are still those who wonder why we have not recognized the

The pier of the Norwegian-American line the next morning was a strange
sight. Trotzky, with his wife, Chudnofsky, Plotkin, and a group
of fifty more Russians, including such names as Muhin, Rapaport,
Dnieprofsky, Yaroshefsky and Rashkofsky, sailed for Norway. An
undersized, wild-eyed, fanatic little plucked-bantam of a Russian
expatriate literally set out from Hoboken to upset the Provisional
Government of Russia, prevent the formation of a republic, stop the war
with Germany and prevent interference from other governments--that was
his open boast. And, if such a mission can be crowned with success, he

The leaders of the groups left behind began that very afternoon to
examine recruits for the return to Russia. They met at 534 East 5th
Street and elected a committee of five to serve as examining board
for applicants for the $20 to $50 free passage money extended by the
Provisional Government to help Russians who had fled the persecutions
of the old days to repatriate themselves. It is unnecessary to state
that the Provisional Government hardly knew how thoroughly these homing
pigeons were going to re-establish themselves. All those who passed
muster were put down for a sailing date.

The Norwegian ship bearing Trotzky and his party put into Halifax and
the British detained the entire passenger list. On April 15 a mass
meeting of anarchists, socialists, and Industrial Workers of the World
was held at Manhattan Lyceum to make a formal protest to the British
government against their detention. Kerensky asked for their release,
and they were allowed to go on. By this time a second consignment had
left, but by a different route. On April 3 George Brewer, H. Gurin,
Mr. and Mrs. David Rohlis, one Kotz, one Schmidt, one Nemiroff and 27
others left the Pennsylvania Station for Chicago, Vancouver, Japan
and Siberia. On April 23 Comrades Bogdanovitch, Bendetsky, Albert
Greenfield, John (or Ivan) Stepanoff, Michael Smirnoff, Henry Shklar
and 89 more left on the Erie Railroad for Seattle, Japan and Siberia.
On the 12th day of May, “Dynamite Louise” Berg, sister of the anarchist
who was killed July 4, 1914, by the accidental explosion of a bomb,
boarded the steamship _United States_ of the Scandinavian-American Line
in Hoboken for Christiania and Russia. On that ship sailed nearly a
hundred others of the anarchist and revolutionary element. Ninety more,
including Sokoloff, a prominent I. W. W., left for San Francisco
and Japan two days later. On May 26 Mrs. Bill Shatoff, with Alexander
Broide, J. Wishniefsky, and 18 more members of the Coöperative
Anarchist Organization sailed from Hoboken on the _Oskar II_. Two days
passed and Meyer Bell, an anarchist who had seen the inside of many an
American jail for revolutionary agitation, and Mrs. Meyer Bell, with
110 others took their departure for San Francisco and the Orient. The
last consignment but one, a group of 90 more potential Bolsheviki,
followed them on June 24.

[Illustration: Captain John B. Trevor, Military Intelligence]

Shatoff and Wolin waited until their flock had been herded out of
the country, and then vanished themselves. No one knew their route,
but they were heard from in Seattle. Altogether some 600 anarchists
made the pilgrimage. Some never reached Russia. Others who did get
back found that conditions offered slim picking, and the Chinese and
Manchurian ports are sprinkled with them to-day--men without a country,
who cannot live in Russia, and who may not return to the United States.

Those who did get through to the capital of Russia straightway joined
the organization. Trotzky had found Lenine there with plans already
well advanced. The Provisional Government superficially was adequate
to handle the situation, and during June it gave some slight promise
of being able to prosecute its share of the war, but a breach was
coming. A Council of Workmen and Soldiers had sprung up to oppose the
Duma and the government when the Duma voted for an immediate offensive
in Galicia, the Council voted for a separate peace. Kerensky swung
himself back into balance for a month, and led a military offensive. It
turned into a retreat, the retreat into a rout. Korniloff took command
of the army on August 2, and the following day the military governor
of Petrograd was assassinated. The deposed Czar was taken to Siberia.
On September 2 Kerensky tried the expedient of arrest against his
rising enemies in Moscow. On September 16 he proclaimed a new republic,
but political structures could not keep out the terrifying German
military advance that already was threatening Petrograd nor the German
propaganda which was already there. Mid-October saw the government in
flight to Moscow. On the 21st of October Leon Trotzky, at the head of
the Bolsheviki in the Council, declared his party for an immediate
democratic peace, and left the hall at their head, cheering. Municipal
elections on November 1 rejected the Bolsheviki, but they would not be
rejected, and on November 7 the Maximalists deposed Kerensky and took
possession of the Government. Lenine became premier, Trotzky minister
of foreign affairs.

The New York delegation won influential positions under the new
régime. A United States senator has described the current Russian
government as nothing but “Lenine and a gang of anarchists from New
York, Philadelphia and Chicago.” Wolin took charge of a branch of the
press--a sort of commissioner of public misinformation. Shatoff, in
America a humble syndicalist and I. W. W., rose to the eminence of
chairman of the “Extraordinary Commission for the Struggle Against
Speculators and the Counter Revolution” in Petrograd, a commission
whose activities are perhaps better described by its common title
in the capital. It is called the “Blood and Murder” or the “To the
Wall” committee. He has filled in his spare time as Commissioner of
Railroads, and has been commonly credited in Petrograd with the murder
of the Czar and his family. Ouritzky, Shatoff’s predecessor at the
head of the Committee, had amassed a fortune of some four million
roubles during his tenure of office. He died a violent death. Shatoff,
in October of 1918, had not followed suit. The same John Reed who
contributed to the support of the _Blast_ appeared in Petrograd as a
sympathetic correspondent, and was made consul to New York--a portfolio
which he was unable to use when he returned to New York because of
his indictment, along with Max Eastman and several other editors of
a paper known as _The Masses_, for attempting to obstruct the draft.
The balance of the New York anarchists who made up the expeditionary
force of 1917 found their way, such of them as escaped the rigors of
Petrograd life, into positions of influence in the government of one
hundred or more millions of Russian people. To be sure, their hold is
not too secure, but they are enjoying for the moment a sense of power
which is intoxicating. Nothing seems to please a Bolshevik of the New
York City group more than power--the same thing he tried to overthrow.
I suppose it makes a difference whose power it happens to be.

Neither Goldman nor Berkman returned to Russia. Their publishing and
bookselling business kept them here, and both were always in demand as
lecturers. Both had pictured themselves for many years as the champions
of anarchy in the United States, and it is conceivable that they
did not wish to pass over their sceptres to any less well qualified
successors. Unlike the ringleaders of the I. W. W., these anarchists
did not dodge real work. Both had active minds, and were happiest when
they were busy. Berkman’s writing at times shows a certain cheerful
tenderness underneath its bombast, and Emma Goldman had a rather
good-natured sarcasm at times as a speaker.

The two cast their lot in with the pacifists, the
anti-conscriptionists, and the factions whose chief aim was to
interfere with America’s going to war. Emma began to lecture on the
subject. On the night of May 18 she spoke to a meeting in the Harlem
River Casino. After a preamble advising the audience that government
agents were present and that violence would be out of order, she drew
what she probably considered a logical conclusion from this advice and

“And so, friends, we don’t care what people will say about us. We
only care for one thing, and that is to demonstrate to-night, and to
demonstrate as long as we can be able to speak, that when America went
to war ostensibly to fight for democracy, it was a dastardly lie.
It never went to war for democracy!... It is not a war of economic
independence, it is a war for conquest. It is a war for military
power. It is a war for money. It is a war for the purpose of trampling
underfoot every vestige of liberty that you people have worked for,
for the last forty or thirty or twenty-five years, and therefore we
refuse to support such a war....

“We believe in violence and we will use violence.... How many people
are going to refuse to conscript? I say there are enough. I could count
fifty thousand, and there will be more.... They will not register! What
are you going to do if there are 500,000? It will not be such an easy
job, and it will compel the government to sit up and take notice, and
therefore we are going to support, with all the money and publicity at
our hands, all the men who will refuse to register and who will refuse
to fight.

“I hope this meeting is not going to be the last. As a matter of fact
we are planning something else.... We will have a demonstration of all
the people who will not be conscripted, and who will not register. We
are going to have the largest demonstration this city has ever seen,
and no power on earth will stop us.... If there is any man in this hall
that despairs, let him look across at Russia ... and see the wonderful
thing that revolution has done....

“What is your answer? Your answer to war must be a general strike, and
then the governing class will have something on its hands....”

She wound up her speech with an appeal for funds, and said that her
paper, _Mother Earth_, was going to support the rebellion against
the draft law which had been signed by the president that very day.
_Mother Earth_ spoke, in her next issue, which appeared shortly before
registration day, June 5, and spoke in fairly disapproving terms toward
conscription. But the sun went down into New Jersey on registration day
without having witnessed the greatest demonstration New York City ever
saw, or any demonstration whatever save the quiet, cheerful enrollment
of what later became a heroic national army.

On June 15 Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were arrested in the
office of _Mother Earth_ at 20 East 125th Street. On June 27 they were
arraigned for trial. On July 9 the jury pronounced them guilty of
having attempted to obstruct the draft. Judge Mayer thereupon sentenced
Berkman to two years in the Federal penitentiary at Atlanta, Goldman
to the state penitentiary at Jefferson City, Missouri for two years,
and fined each of them $10,000. It was a stiff blow to organized
anarchy--the maximum sentence possible, and the judge followed it by
directing the District Attorney, Harold A. Content, to notify the
Commissioner of Labor of the conviction, in order that when the two
emerged from prison, they might be deported as aliens convicted of two
or more crimes to the country from which they came, bringing uplift to
down-trodden America.

Their work has since been carried on in a more or less desultory way.
They, too, have become official martyrs to the cause, whose names will
be inscribed along with those of Brescia, the Haymarket murderers, and
a score of others, on the anarchist service flag. The undercurrent
of opposition appeared spasmodically during the war and it became
necessary for an Alabama Judge, sitting in the District Court of New
York, on October 25, 1918, to impose maximum sentences under the
espionage act upon three more advocates of unrest, Jacob Abrams, Samuel
Lipman and Hyman Lachnowsky, the ringleaders of a group who circulated
leaflets denouncing armed intervention in Russia and advocating a
general strike. They were sentenced to twenty years apiece; a fourth
member got three years and a $1,000 fine. A woman in the group, Mollie
Steiner, was sentenced to fifteen years.

The efforts at “demonstration” which the imported anarchists in America
have employed are neither as picturesque nor as popularly received as
those of their comrades in the old world. Anarchy is out of tune in
America. Prussianism has already had its answer from the United States.
Bolshevism is not for a well-educated, deep-breathing nation like ours.
And anarchy, the poorest wretch of the three, must make terrifying
faces through some other window than that of a country full of people
who are going to continue to make this democracy safe for itself.


Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in the original book; otherwise they were not
changed. Inconsistent hyphenation was not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs
and outside quotations. In versions of this eBook that support
hyperlinks, the page references in the List of Illustrations lead to
the corresponding illustrations.

Transcribers improved readability of some numbers in some
illustrations, and switched the transcribed sequence of the text of one
pair of “random pages” (following page 26) to make it easier to follow.

Transcriber corrected the Title page misspelling of “SMALLL, MAYNARD &
COMPANY” to “SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY”, which is how it appears on the
Copyright page.

Transcriber removed redundant book title just above the title of the
first chapter.

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