N.p. [Washington DC]: Metropolitan Police Dept, 1905. Broadside. Single sheet, printed recto only; ca. 10.5" x 8" (26cm x 20cm). Old folds and edgewear; minor splitting; faint indication of postal cancellation on verso; complete and Good. Signed in type by Richard Sylvester, Chief of Police.
Relic of the briefly celebrated case of Gessler Rosseau, an ultra-patriotic domestic terrorist who, for a period of a few years around the turn of the century, made it his mission to "rid the country...of foreign things." At the time of release of this broadside, Rosseau/Russell was under incarceration in the District of Columbia jail for attempting to dynamite the statue of Frederick the Great at the D.C. Arsenal; under questioning, Rosseau admitted to being behind the plot to sink the steamer "Umbria" at the New York pier in 1903, and also claimed responsibility for a host of other actions (not all of them credible) including the sinking of the White Star Liner "Naronic" in 1893 and supplying explosives to both Cuban revolutionaries and Irish nationalists. "Rosseau" (apparently a misspeling of "Rousseau") was a pseudonym; the subject's identity appears never to have been conclusively established, though several contemporary accounts identified him as Gessner Russell, a one time Cape Nome gold miner and demolition expert. A police psychiatric profile, published in a March, 1905 New York Times article, described Rosseau thus: "...while by nature tender and averse to violence, and always insisting that it was never his intention to harm or take human life...Russell has developed his Anglophobia into acute mania and has thus been led to employ the results of a lifelong study of explosives for the purpose of rendering what he terms "object lessons" to the hated race."