140 Years Ago Today
Friday 30th of June 1882Writer, lawyer and assassin Charles Julius Guiteau known for the killing of President James A. Garfield is executed by hanging at the age of 41 in Washington, District of Columbia, United States. Guiteau notoriously danced his way to the gallows and shook hands with his executioner. On the scaffold, as a last request, he recited a poem called "I am Going to the Lordy" which he had written during his incarceration. He had originally requested an orchestra to play as he sang his poem but this request was denied. Guiteau received a letter from a friend informing him that "for some time, most certainly, I have been unable to compose this poem". In his absence he continued reciting poems of the same name, along with a poem of his own where he expressed a desire to be judged by the highest standards because the law of England had recognized that his name must be known, though he had no obligation to do so. Notwithstanding this fact it had taken him a few years before Guiteau was found to be guilty of all sorts of offences, and even there he was sentenced to life in prison. Whereas he had received the same request four years before, he had not received any other. Guiteau, while being sent to the gallows he said 'it is the greatest honour' to be executed as a last request.