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Fremont Older, Who Started Crusade Against Boss, Condemns Himself as Savage.,

Related Museum Links
Biography of Fremont Older

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Biography of Abe Ruef

Kidnapping of Fremont Older

“Rejoice at the Fall of Schmitz...,” by James D. Phelan

1909 Report on Municipal Corruption

Fremont Older Wants Abe Ruef Released from Prison

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Restoration of the Fremont Older Home

Fremont Older, editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, who sent Abraham Ruef to jail and now wants him set free, was asked by a reporter for The World at the Hotel Plaza [in New York] last evening to explain his position, inasmuch as his attitude toward the convicted grafter seems paradoxical to many persons.

"I thing vengeance–and by vengeance I mean punishment–make us all worse rather than better," replied Mr. Older. "I have asked mercy for Ruef because I feel I did most to bring about his downfall. The Bulletin fought Ruef long before the rest of San Francisco woke up. I attacked him with all the invective I could command and all that I could hire. I cartooned him in stripes. I described him on his way to the penitentiary at San Quentin.

abe ruef photograph or picture"I was vindictive, unscrupulous, savage. I went to Washington and enlisted Heney in the fight. William J. Burns came and I persuaded Spreckels to help us. At last, after years of man-hunting debauch, Ruef became what I had longed and dreamed that he might become–a convict.

"Then I said to myself, 'You've got him He's in stripes. He is helpless, beaten, chained. You've won. How do you like your victory? How do you enjoy the picture you've painted? Every savage instinct in your nature is expressed in the canvas.'

"Well, my soul revolted. I thought over my own life, the many unworthy things I have done to others, the injustice, the wrongs I have been guilty of, the human hearts I have wantonly hurt, the sorrow I have caused, the half truths I have told, the mitigating truths I have withheld and the lies I have allowed to go undenied. I see myself now stripped of all sham and pretense and self-righteouness, holding the key to another man's cell. If society will let me I want to unlock that barred door and for the rest of my life try to get nearer the spirit of Christ."

San Francisco Chronicle
October 16, 1911

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