ALBERT R. PARSONS, one of the defendants, called and affirmed on behalf of the defendants, was examined in chief by MR. BLACK, and testified as follows:
Q. Will you give your full name?
A. Albert R. Parsons.
Q. How long have you resided in Chicago?
A. Thirteen years.
Q. What is your age?
A. I was born in 1848. I was thirty eight years of age the 20th of last June.
Q. Where were you on Sunday, May 2nd, 1886?
A. The City of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Q. When did you reach Chicago from Cincinnati?
Q. Tuesday morning May 4th following.
Q. At what hour in the morning did you reach the city as you now remember?
A. I think it was between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning.
Q. Did you insert that day in the Daily News a notice calling for a meeting of the American Group at 107 Fifth Avenue on the evening of May 4th?
A. I did, or at least I wrote the notice, and it was carried to the office by some one.
Q. I will ask you whether or not you personally took it to the office, or was it carried there by some one else?
A. I think it was carried there by some one else. I am not sure of that.
Q. On the evening of May 4th, 1886, where were you, the evening of the Haymarket meeting?
A. Do you wish me to relate---
Q. Starting with the time when you went away from home for the evening?
A. Yes sir. I left my house in company with Mrs. Holmes, my wife and two children, About eight o'clock Tuesday evening, to attend this meeting called at 107 Fifth Avenue by the announcement in the Evening News of that day. It was probably after eight, possible half past eight when I reached the office.
Q. What route did you take in going from your house to the office.
A. We walked from home. It was a pleasant night---until we got to Randolph and Halsted streets. There we took a car.
Q. Who of the party that you have mentioned took the car at that place?
A. Mrs. Holmes, my wife and children.
Q. And yourself?
Q. Did you meet at Halsted and Randolph any parties whom you knew?
A. Yes, I met two reporters that I have seen frequently at workingmen's meetings.
Q. Who were the two you saw?
A. One of them was a Times reporter whose name I don't know. The other, My. Heinemann of the Tribune, I am acquainted with.
Q. After reaching the meeting at 107 Fifth Avenue, how long did you remain there?
A. I think it was about half an hour.
Q. What then occurred?
A. well, after the business for which the meeting had been called was through with, or about that time, some one, I understood it was a committee, came over from the Haymarket, they stated that they came from the Haymarket or some one told me they did, and said that there was a large body of people there, and there were no speakers present except Mr. Spies, and it would be a great accommodation, and we were urged to come over, myself and Mr. Fielden, and address the mass meeting.
Q. What did you do?
A. Well, after finishing up the work we adjourned and went over.
Q. How On foot or riding?
A. We walked.
Q. Who of the party walked with you going to the Haymarket?
A. Well, sir, we didn't all go together. They strung themselves along, and possibly all didn't go the same way. Of course when a meeting adjourns that way people go out, but myself and Mr. Fielden I distinctly remember crossed the river through the tunnel. We thought that was the nearest cut, and he was in company with me, and there were three or four others, but I don't remember their names.
Q. About what time did you reach the Haymarket? or rather the meeting on Desplaines street near the Haymarket?
A. I think it was after 9 o'clock.
Q. Who was speaking, if any one, at the time you got there?
A. Mr. Spies.
Q. How much of his speech did you hear, by minutes?
A. I didn't hear any of it. I only observed that he was speaking.
Q. What did you do when you reached the meeting?
A. Well, I managed, with the aid of some friends, to squeeze through the crowd, and as soon as I got to the wagon, I was assisted upon it at once by some gentlemen standing upon the wagon. In a few minutes, possibly within a minute or two, Mr. Spies concluded and introduced me. He said that I had arrived and would address the meeting, and asked their indulgence and attention while I was talking to them.
Q. How long did you speak?
A. Well, possibly---they tell me since it was three quarters of an hour. I suppose it was.
Q. At the close of your speech what occurred?
A. At the close of my speech I got down from the wagon. I think it was Henry Spies who assisted me from the wagon. There was quite a crowd there.
Q. Where was Henry Spies standing at that time, if you noticed?
A. By the wagon; and I went to the wagon North of the one from
I had spoken, about 15 or 20 feet. There was a spring seat upon this
wagon, and my wife and Mrs. Holmes were seated upon this listening to
us; and I got into the wagon, and I asked them how they were enjoying
themselves, and if they felt interest, etc., While talking with
them---I possible remained on this wagon with them some ten minutes or
more---there was a coolnesss in the atmosphere which attracted my
attention. I looked up of course for rain, and I observed white clouds
rolling over from the North, and I remarked to the ladies that it
looked like rain, and we better close this meeting at once. I had that
idea because the ladies were there and I didn't want them to get wet,
and I got down from the wagon. Mr. Fielden was still speaking, and I
got onto his wagon where he was speaking,
and says I, "Mr. Fielden, permit me to interrupt you a moment."
"Certainly" he said. And I said, "Gentlemen, it appears as though it
would rain. It is getting late. We might as well adjourn anyway, but if
you desire to continue the meeting longer we can adjourn to Zepf's Hall
on the corner near by." Someone said "No, we can't--" in the
crowd---"it is occupied by a meeting of the furniture workers tonight."
With that I looked and saw the lights through the windows of the hall
and of course saw that it was occupied. I said nothing further. Mr.
Fielden remarked that he would be through anyway in a moment. It didn't
matter---he had only a few words to say. I got down from the wagon and
went over to where the ladies were, and helped them off and told them
to go down to this corner place if it should rain. And the meeting was
about to adjourn anyway, and we would all get together and go home.
There was quite a number of us living in that direction, and usually
when that was the case we went home in company. They walked off and
some one detained me for a moment to say something to me, and then I
followed them in a moment afterwards and met near the edge of the crowd
a man whom I knew very familiarly, Mr. Brown. "Hello Brown", says I. "I
am very thirsty. This is a warm night, and this speaking
Q. Up to the time that you left upon that trip had the police appeared at the Haymarket meeting?
A. No sir.
Q. Had there been any explosion or any disturbance?
A. None whatever.
Q. Now go on---you reached the saloon, you say?
A. As I entered the saloon I noticed some four or five gentlemen standing at the bar. It is quite a large saloon, very long bar. There were possibly as many as ten people sitting at tables on the other side next the wall. There were probably five or six men standing what I would call around in the centre of the floor talking to each other, and among them I noticed an acquaintance of mine, Mr. Malkoff, and talking to a gentleman whom I never saw before, but of course I supposed at once that he was a reporter, as I am familiar with these men and know them when I see them mostly. I supposed at the time---it was in my mind that he was---
Q. Have you seen that same gentleman upon the witness stand in the progress of this case?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Who was it?
A. I don't know his name.
Q. Mr. Whiting Allen?
A. Yes, I believe it was Mr. Allen.
Q. He is one of the witnesses who has testified in this case on behalf of the prosecution?
A. Yes sir, I recollect that that was the gentleman with Mr. Malkoff at that time. The ladies took seats at---well, the saloon building runs north and south---the bar is upon the west side of the building.
Q. The West or East side?
A. On the East side, and the tables are along near the wall on the West side. The ladies sat down about ten feet from the door in the saloon at the end of the first table with their backs to it looking out the street. I said something to them, and I believe that I stopped just then and introduced some one to Mrs. Parsons. I don't remember distinctly. At any rate afterwards I went to the bar with Brown, and we took a glass of beer together, and afterwards a cigar, I turned then and looked around to see who was sitting about, to see if there was any one I knew, and I observed Mr. Fischer sitting at one of the tables, and I said "Hello Fischer, how is it", something like that---he replied in some such manner, response. I sat down to the table near them I think for a few moments, and then I got up I think and went around to where the ladies were, and I was standing near them looking out wondering if the meeting would not close, anxious to go home, supposing Mr. Fielden was going to be through every moment with his speech. All at once looking directly at the meeting I saw an illumination. It lit up the whole street, and instantly following it a deafening roar; and following that almost simultaneously were volums of shots, every flash of which it seemed to me I could see---of course being in the night. Since, the best comparison I can make since in my mind is that it was as though a hundred men held in their hands repeating revolvers, self cockers, and fired them as rapidly as they could be fired, until they were all gone, and then the shooting was over. That is, that was the first volley. Then there was occasional shots, and a bullet, one or two whistled near the door and struck the sign, at least I heard it, and afterwards, I have since learned that it did on the door and the sills. Well, of course I was transfixed. I looked at this thing and saw it all distinctly. The ladies didn't move. Mrs. Parsons did not, I know, but sat perfectly still. In a moment two or three men rushed breathlessly in at the door. That broke the apparent charm that was on us by the occurence in the street, and with that I called upon my wife and Mrs. Holmes to, come with me to the rear of the saloon. They did, and we remained there until, well, we remained there possibly half an hour, twenty minutes or such a matter.
Q. Now, Mr. Parsons, going back to the meeting -- retracing our steps for a moment -- will you please tell us what was the substance of your speech that night, as fully as you can remember?
A. Well, sir, I have taken some notes of recollection since then to refresh my memory.
MR. GRINNELL: The notes that you have taken since that time ought not to be used.
MR. BLACK: The rule of law is well settled that a party may use anything for the purpose of refreshing his recollection.
MR. GRINNELL: It depends on when he wrote the notes.
THE WITNESS: I recollect distinctly of mentioning all of these
points, but I could not recollect them seriatim from memory unless I
did put them on paper, and that is the reason why I have done so. When
I was introduced I looked at the crowd, and I observed that it was
quite a large crowd. I am familiar with public speaking, and with
crowds, and I should estimate there were three thousand men present,
and I consider myself a judge of such matters. The street was packed
from sidewalk to sidewalk, north and south of the wagon, but especially
south of the wagon for a considerable distance, I faced the south. I
first called attention of those
present to the evidences of discontent among the working classes, not
alone of Chicago, not alone of the United States, but of the civilized
world. I asked the question if those evidences of discontent as could
be seen in strikes and lockouts, and boycotts were not indications that
there was something radically wrong in the existing order of things in
our social affairs. I then alluded to the eight hour movement. I spoke
of it as a peaceable movement, a movement designed to give employment
to the unemployed, work to the idle, and thereby bring comfort and
cheer to the homes of the destitute, relieving the unrelieved and
wearisome toil of those who worked, not alone ten hours, but twelve and
fourteen and even sixteen hours a day. I said that the eight hour
movement was in the interest of civilization, of prosperity, of the
public welfare, and it was demanded by every interest of the community;
and that I was glad to see them assembled upon this occasion to give
their voice in favor of the adoption of the eight hour work day.. I
then referred to the general condition again of labor in the country. I
spoke of some of my travels through the State of Pennsylvania, and
Ohio, where I had met and addressed thousands and thousands of
workingmen. I told of the Tuscarora Valley, and of the Hocking Valley,
and of the Monongahela Valley among the miners of this country, where
their wages averaged twenty-four and a half cents per day. I showed, of
course, that these were not the wages they received while at work, but
that the difficulty was that they did not work, they did not get the
day's work, and consequently they had to sum up the totals, and divide
it throughout the year, and it amounted to twenty-four and a half cents
per day. I asked if this was not a condition of affairs calculated to
arouse the discontent of the people, and to make them clamour for
redress and for relief. I pointed to the fact that in the city of
Pittsburgh a report was made by the superintendent of that city, I
think he was Superintendent of Police, stating that at the Bethel Home,
a charitable institution in the City of Pittsburgh, from January 1st
1884 to January 1st 1885, at this establishment, there were 26, 374
destitute men, tramps, American citizens, had called for a night's
lodging or for a morsel of food in one establishment alone in the city
of Pittsburgh. I referred of course to many other places, and to
similar things showing the general, condition of labor in the country.
I then spoke again of the eight hour movement, that it was designed to
bring relief to these men and to the country, and that surely there was
nothing in it to excite such hostility on the part of the employers, on
the part of monopoly or corporations against it as was witnessed in the
country, and I referred to the refusal of those corporations and
monoplies to grant and to accede to this modest request of the working
classes, and to defeat it. I then referred to the fact that in the face
of all these causes, producing these effects, the monopolistic
newspapers, in the interest of corporations, blamed such men as me,
blamed the agitators so-called, blamed the labor men for these
evidences of discontent, this turmoil and confusion, and so-called
disorder. I called the attention of the crowd specifically to that fact
-- that we were being blamed for this thing, when on the contrary it
was evident to any man who was fair, that we were simply calling the
attention of the people to this condition of things, and seeking for a
redress of this condition of things. I impressed that upon the crowd
specifically, and I remember in response to it several gentlemen spoke
out loudly and replied, said, "We need a great many more just such men
as you to right these wrongs and to arouse the people." I spoke of the
compulsory idleness, of the starvation wages and how these things drove
the workingmen to desperation -- drove them to commit acts for which
they ought not to be held at least responsible; that they were the
creatures of circumstances, and this condition of things was the fault
not of the workingman, but of those who claimed the right to control
the affairs of the workingman. I pointed out the fact that monopoly by
its course in grinding down labor in this country and refusing to
accede anything to them, refusing any concessions whatever, was in
doing this thing, creating revolutionists, and if there was a single
revolutionist in America, monopoly and corporation was responsible for
his existence in this country. I specifically called attention to this
fact in order to defend myself from the charges being made constantly
through the mouth-piece of the Capitalistic press, the paid mouth-piece
of these corporations. I called attention in this connection to the
newspapers. I pointed to the Chicago Times and the Chicago Tribune and
to other newspapers. I called the attention of the workingmen that
night to the strike of 1877 when the Chicago Times declared that hand
grenades should be thrown among the striking sailors who were upon a
strike then upon the river wharves of this city, in order to teach them
a lesson, and other strikers might be warned by their fate. I said then
that the Chicago Times was the first dynamiter in America, and as the
mouth-piece of monopoly and corporation it was the first to advocate
the killing of people when they protested against wrong and oppression.
I spoke of the Chicago Tribune which at that date advocated giving,
when they give by the hand of charity bread to the poor, to put
strychnine upon it. I pointed out that fact. I also called attention
to Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper which declared in an editorial
that the American toiler must be driven to his task either by the slave
driver's lash or the immediate prospect of want. I spoke of the New
York Herald what it said about it, where it said that lead should be
given to the tramp when he should come around; one of you workingmen,
said I, is thrown out of employment and forced to wander from place to
place in search of work away from your families and homes, the New York
Herald said that when you asked for a crust of bread, it advised those
of whom you applied for relief to fill you with lead instead of bread.
I called attention to what Tom Scott said in the strike of 1877. Give
them the rifle diet, said Mr. Scott, the railroad monopolist, and see
how they like that kind of diet. I referred to Jay Gould, how he said
that we would shortly have a monarchy in this republic, and to the
Indianapolis Journal. I was familiar with these, had it at my tongue's
end, these papers. Then I referred to how monopoly was putting into
practice these threats. They not only used these threats, but put them
into practice, and I cited East St. Louis, where Jay Gould called for
men and paid them $5 a day for to fire upon harmless innocent unarmed
workingmen, killing nine of them and one woman in cold blooded murder.
I referred to the Saginaw Valley where the militia was used to put
down strikes. I referred to Lemont, Illinois, where defenceless and
innocent citizens and their town was invaded by militia of the State of
Illinois, and without any pretext, men, women and children were fired
upon and slaughtered in cold blood. I referred to the previous day to
McCormick's strike, and I denounced it as an outrage, the police, their
action at that place; and I asked the workingment if these were not
facts, and if monopoly and corporations were not responsible for this
condition of things; if they were not driving the people into this
condition of things. And then I used some such word, or some phrase in
connection with the use of military or the police and the Pinkerton
thugs to shoot down workingmen, and drive them back into submission and
to starvation wages. I then referred to the Chicago papers of the day
before -- I believe it was the evening Mail of Monday. My attention had
been called to it on Tuesday afternoon. In an editorial it stated that
fact, that Parsons and Spies incited this trouble at McCormick's, and
that we ought to be lynched, we ought to be driven out of the city --
and I was away from Chicago in Cincinnati. I called attention to this
fact. I called attention further to the fact that these papers were
unnecessarily inciting the people against the workingmen; that there
was nothing in this movement calculated to arouse any such feelings.
I denied the charge of this paper that we were sneaks and cowards, and
I defied them to run us out of the city. I pointed to the fact that the
capitalistic newspapers of Chicago, it was notorious that every one of
them was a subsidized agent and organ of monopoly; that they all held
stocks and bonds in the gas companies and railroad companies in this
city, and that no man could be nominated for alderman in this city
unless he had the sanction of some one of those corporations and
monopolies, and such things in that connection. Then I said, "I am not
here, fellow-workmen, "for the purpose of inciting anybody, but to tell
the truth, "to state the facts as they do exist, though it should cost
"my my life in doing it." I then referred to the Cincinnati
demonstration to which I was present the Sunday previous. I said that
the organizations of workingmen of that city, the Trade Unions and
other organizations had a grand street parade and picnic. They sent for
me to come down there and address them. It was an eight hour
demonstration. I attended on that occasion and did speak to them. I
referred to the fact that they turned out in thousands, and that they
marched with Winchester rifles, three or four companies, I suppose
there was a couple of hundred men at the head of the column--the
Cincinnati Rifle Union. And I said that they bore at the head of the
column the red flag -- the reg flag of liberty
Q. When you were referring in your speech to Jay Gould, or to the southwestern system, do you remember any interruption in the crowd, or any responses connected with the name of Gould?
A. Yes sir, some one said -- yes, I omitted that -- it was in connection --
Q. With the East St. Louis strike or southwestern?
A. Yes sir, and how this 85 per cent. business created millionaires, etc. and some one said "hang him."
Q What did you respond to that?
A My response to that was that this was not a conflict between individuals, but for a change of system, and that socialism designed to remove the causes which produced the pauper and the millionaire.
Q But didn't aim at the life of the individual?
A No sir.
Q Now, during the progress of that meeting, or put it another way -- after your speech closed, did you observe as to whether or not the crowd retained its proportion or whether it was diminished?
A Well, sir, the crowd seemed to be very much interested -- that is the reason I continued to speak so long.
Q I mean after you were through speaking, what was the effect upon the crowd as to whether or not a great many of them went away?
A. At the conclusion of my speech, I didn't pay much attention to the crowd. I got down and went to the wagon where the ladies were, but I think I did notice them beginning on the outskirts to move off to the north and south.
Q. Was there during the entire time of your speech, or during the entire time you were there, any disturbance in the crowd, any disorderly conduct that came under your observation?
A Not the slightest.
Q. Have you ever been arrested?
A No sir.
Q You were not arrested under the present charge?
A No sir.
Q When was it that you were taken into custody under the charge upon which you are now being indicted?
A On the 21st day of June in this court room.
Q That was at the time you appeared and surrendered yourself voluntarily?
A. Yes, a voluntary surrender to this court.
Cross Examination by MR. GRINNELL.
Q. Where were you born?
A. The city of Montgomery, the State of Alabama.
Q You have been in Chicago thirteen years?
A Yes sir.
Q What has been your business in Chicago since you came here?
A. Well, for about eight or nine years I was a printer, worked at the printing trade.
Q Worked at the case?
Q Setting type?
A. Yes sir.
Q That is the first eight or nine years of your residence here?
A. Yes sir.
Q Later than that, for the last four or five years, what have you been doing?
A. Well, four or five years ago myself and wife started a little business.
Q How long did you continue to conduct that?
A. I believe it was about a year -- a year and a half probably.
Q Over on West Indiana Street.
A No, it was on Larrabee Street.
Q Then what business did you employ yourself about?
A That was in the suit business on Larrabee Street.
Q What other business did you follow later?
A. Later than that for possibly a year and a half, myself and wife made ladies wrappers and suits, and I went out soliciting orders, and I went to restaurants, hotels, laundries and set places and sold these suits for a living.
Q For the last two or three years what have you been doing?
A For the last two years I believe I have been editor of the Alarm.
Q When did you start the editorship, or when was the Alarm started?
A. In October, 1884.
Q And continued ever since?
A. Yes sir.
Q It is a semi-monthly paper?
A. It was weekly for about a year.
Q And then twice a month?
A. Then it was twice a month.
Q. When did you write down or jot down the memorandum you have made of your utterances on the night of May 4th?
A As they have occurred to me.
Q. From time to time as the trial proceeded?
A Just as they occurred to me, and in looking over Mr. English's reports, and the newspapers and otherwise.
Q. You have picked it up from the newspapers?
A Some of it off course.
Q. And from the Tribune?
A It refreshed my memory somewhat.
Q. You told that crowd that night that the Chicago Times had advocated the throwing of hand grenades to strikers?
Q. And you told them that the Chicago Tribune had advocated the use of strychnine for tramps?
Q. You told them that Scott of Pennsylvania had advocated similar measures for striking workmen?
A. Yes sir, the use of the rifle diet.
Q. Did you tell them that, did you also in that connection give them advice that they should retaliate by use of the same means and weapons?
Q. Did you tell them that they should retaliate. Did you in that connection in substance tell your audience that they should retaliate with similar means, with similar weapons?
A I told them they should defend themselves against such things, protect themselves.
A Anyway they could.
Q. By arming?
A If necessary.
Q. By the use of dynamite?
A If necessary, but I didn't mention dynamite at that meeting.
Q. Not at that meeting -- you have mentioned it at other meetings?
Q. You are an advocate of dynamite as a defensive weapon for the use of the workingman?
Objected to; objection sustained.
Q. You said nothing about dynamite that night?
A No sir.
Q. Did you say anything about bombs that night?
A Not a thing.
Q. You did say to that audience that the capitalists were in the habit of throwing bombs among strikers -- that is the police or the men who work for the capitalists?
A I said that the Chicago Times was the original dynamiter in the interest of monopoly in this country, and of throwing bombs.
Q. Then did you speak of dynamite?
A. No sir.
Q. You have just used the word? You stated the Chicago Times was defending the use of dynamite?
A No sir it was called hand grenades.
Q. You didn't use the word dynamite?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you say anything to the audience whatever about the use of bombs?
A. No sir.
Q. Either as a defensive means or something to use against them?
A No sir.
Q. You did not use that word?
A No sir.
Q. You told them that night that the present social system must be changed?
A Yes, in the interest of humanity.
Q. That was in the interest of humanity -- in the interest of laboring men?
A Including Vanderbilt too.
Q. In the interest of humanity you told them the social system must be changed?
Q. Did you explain to them how that should be changed, or what you meant by being chananged, how it could be brought about, how the social change should be brought about?
A No sir, because I didn't know myself.
Q. Didn't you tell that audience that the only means or manner of bringing about a social change was by force -- the existing order of things must be disposed of by force?
A I think I told the audience that the existing order of things was founded upon and maintained by force, and I think I said that the action of the monopolists and corporations, and congregated and concentrated wealth of the country would drive the people into the use of force before they could obtain redress. I might have stated it -- I am not sure.
Q. You did advise them -- you told them that night that the ballot would do them no good?
A No, I didn't say that.
Q. Did you tell them that night that the ballot was useless for them, the majority was against them, and it was in the hands of capitalists?
A No sir, the workingmen are vastly in the majority. I didn't say the majority was against them at all.
Q. Didn't you say that night that the only means and way they could obtain their rights, or the benefits that you thought they ought to have, was by force, by overturning the existing order of things?
A No sir, I did not.
Q. You said nothing of that kind?
A No sir, I did not.
Q. What did you mean by the expression "to arms, to arms?"
A I said in my remarks here --
Q. Don't repeat what you said in your remarks. Tell us what you meant by the words, "To arms," if you did not mean to overthrow the existing order of things by force?
A I said in view of the St. Louis trouble, and the use of the military and the police upon strikers and upon workingmen etc., that if they would not see their children perishing with hunger, and their wives in misery and want, and themselves cut down like dogs in the street, that they should assert their rights as American citizens to arm themselves, and protect themselves if necessary against oppression and wrong and such things as these.
Q. How many strikers were there there that night?
A Of course I couldn't tell whether there were any strikers or not.
Q. Wasn't that crowd composed almost entirely of socialists -- those immediately around the wagon -- those you knew were socialists?
A. It was not. There were very few socialists there.
Q You are a socialist?
A I am.
Q. Are you an Anarchist?
A I am as I understand it.
Q. The Alarm expressed your understanding of Anarchy, doesn't it?
Q. Do the articles written by yourself and signed by your initials express your idea of Anarchy?
Objected to as not proper cross examination.
MR. GRINNELL: That is all.
Whereupon Court adjourned to 10 o'clock, August 10th, 1886.