Address of Samuel Fielden.
And tho' ye caught your noble prey within your hangman's sordid thrall;
And tho' your captive was lead forth beneath your city's rampart wall;
And tho' the grass lies o’er her green where at the morning's early red
The peasant girl brings funeral wreaths—I tell you still—she is not dead!
And tho' from off the lofty brow ye cut the ringlets flowing long,
And tho' ye've mated her amid the thieves' and murderers' hideous throng,
And tho' ye gave her felon fare—bade felon garb her livery be,
And tho' ye set the oakum task—I tell you all—she still is free!
And tho' compelled to banishment, ye hunt her down thro' endless lands;
And tho' she seeks a foreign hearth, and silent 'mid its ashes stands;
And tho' she bathes her wounded feet where foreign streams seek foreign seas;
Yet—yet—she never more will hang her harp on Babel's willow trees!
Ah, no! she strikes it very strong, and bids their loud defiance swell,
And as she marked your scaffold erst, she mocks your banishment as well.
She sings a song that starts you up astounded from your slumbrous seats,
Until your heart—your craven heart—your traitor heart—with terror beats!
No song of plaint, no song of sighs for those who perished unsubdued.
Nor yet a song of irony at wrongs fantastic interlude—
The beggar's opera that ye try to drag out thro' its lingering scenes.
Tho' moth-eaten the purple be that decks your tinsel kings and queens.
Oh, no! the song those waters hear is not of sorrow, nor dismay—
'Tis triumph song—victorious song—the paeans of the future's day—
The future—distant now no more—her prophet voice is sounding free.
As well as once your Godhead spake: I was, I am, and I will be!
Will be—and lead the nation on the last of all your hosts to meet,
And on your necks, your heads, your crowns, I'll plant my strong, resistless feet!
Avenger, Liberator, Judge—red battles on my pathway hurled,
I stretch forth my almighty arm, till it revivifies the world.
You see me only in your cells; ye see me only in the grave;
Ye see me only wandering lone, beside the exile's sullen wave—
Ye fools! Do I not live where ye have tried to pierce in vain?
Rests not a nook for me to dwell in every heart and every brain?
In every brow that boldly thinks, erect with manhood's honest pride—
Does not each bosom shelter me that beats with honor's generous tide?
Not every workshop, brooding woe? not every hut that harbors grief?
Ha! Am I not the Breath of Life, that pants and struggles for relief?
'Tis therefore I will be—and lead the people yet your hosts to meet,
And on your necks, your heads, your crowns, will plant my strong, resistless feet!
It is no boast—it is no threat—thus history's iron law decrees—
The day grows hot, oh, Babylon! 'Tis cool beneath thy willow trees!
That is a piece of poetry written by Freiligrath, called "Revolution." Freiligrath is a German writer, and every intelligent German in the civilized world has that piece of poetry upon his book-shelves.
Revolution—it is a crime in what is sometimes called the foremost civilized country in the world, to be a Revolutionist, and yet all those who can read the works of Freiligrath have read that poem with rapture. It makes a great deal of difference, perhaps, what kind of a Revolutionist a man is. The men who have been on trial here for Anarchy have been asked the question on the witness stand if they were Revolutionists. It is not generally considered a crime among intellectual people to be a Revolutionist, but it may be made a crime if the Revolutionist happens to be poor.
Your honor, I was brought into this court by the police officers and the civil authorities of the city of Chicago to answer to the charge of murder. I was arrested on May 5, held by the coroner's jury on the same evening as accessory to the crime of murder. I was furnished after some time with an indictment which the grand jury had passed, or approved, charging me with that crime. I answered that charge in this court. My attorneys in my behalf met that charge; we brought evidence which we thought was competent to rebut and meet the charge of murder. After all our evidence was put in, after all the speeches had been made on both sides, with the exception of one, we were suddenly confronted with the fact—and there is in that statement of the State's attorney, in his closing argument, an acknowledgment that the charge of murder had not been proven—when all the witnesses had been heard, I am suddenly told that I am being tried for Anarchy. If I had known that I was being tried for Anarchy I could have answered that charge. I could have justified it under the constitutional right of every citizen of this country, and more than the right which any constitution can give, the natural right of the human mind to draw its conclusions from whatever information it can gain, but I had no opportunity to show why I was an Anarchist. I was told that I was to be hung for being an Anarchist, after I got through defending myself on the charge of murder. Now, your honor, my reputation, my associations, my history, as far as the lynx-eyed detectives of Chicago could get it, has been raked up, as Mr. Foster has said, from the cradle to the grave. I have been charged here with being a disturber of the peace, an enemy of public order, and generally a dangerous man. I choose now, it being the last time that I shall have an opportunity to speak, to go back a few years into my past history, and perhaps in doing so I shall show your honor the reasons that led me to be what I have been, and for which today I am not ashamed and have no apology to make.
I was born, as I have told you, in Lancashire, and if there is a place—I know that the so-called patriots of this country have from mercenary motives of their own, tried to create a quarrel between England and America from time to time in order to gain a certain vote, and I know that there is some justification behind it—but if there is a place on this footstool that Americans ought to look to with gratitude, it is Lancashire. I was born there. I learned there to hate slavery. I learned to hate kings and queens, and unlike the State's attorney in this case, I was a Republican, though I was born in a monarchy.
There are some men who never grow out of their environments. They never progress. They never advance one step. If they are born in Russia, Russia is the grandest country in the world, and has the grandest institutions. If they are born in China it is the same. If they were born in Patagonia it would have been the same. But I, as a child, inquired, and I began there to hate kings, and I tell you that when your cotton ports on the southern seaboard were blockaded—and this fact has gone into the literature of both countries—the patience of the starving operatives of Lancashire was remarkable, and the noble Lincoln, acknowledging that, sent two ship-loads of provisions to keep them from starving. The propertied class of England, in sympathy with the slaveholders of the south, I know, would have interfered in order to prevent the cementing of the union and the success of the north. But the operatives, the intelligent operatives of Lancashire, one of whom I was when a child, were the friends of the north, and they cheerfully and patiently bore with all the starvation which they suffered through that terrible struggle.
I say there are some people who never get out of their environments. I was a Republican when I was a child. I recognized the fact that I might be wrong, and, recognizing that fact, I grew from one point to another. The first speech I ever delivered in my life was in the streets of my native town, and I was but a mere child; it was in support of the union as against the views of those who denounced the north in their struggle for supremacy in the late war. That was the first speech I delivered, and it shows that then I had some sympathy in my heart for those who could do me no good; that I could feel for others. Mr. Ingham has said that while other people were making their fortunes these men were advocating sedition or drinking beer. It is as noble a thing for a man to drink beer as it is for a man to make his fortune off other people's labor; and I tell you that a man is of no use to this world, of no use to society or the neighborhood in which he lives, who has no other object in view than making a fortune for himself and his family, little caring what becomes of those around him. And it is because we have recognized this fact—and it is a philosophical fact, a logical fact that no man can get away from, and Mr. Ingham has not got the intelligence to perceive it—that the greatest security to human happiness depends upon the widespread happiness of those around you. You have no security for your fortunes. You can have no security for your comforts as long as there is around you a dissatisfied, a despoiled, and suffering community. I assert here as a fact, that Vanderbilt and Jay Gould would be happier men today if they had but $20,000 to their names and every employee who is now in their employment were above want and above the danger of want. There would be less irritation, less of that trouble and bother of clashing and conflicting of interests that there is, which must necessarily bother these men considerably, and keep them awake nights possibly.
I have never hesitated when I have seen my way clearly according to my lights, to follow it. I have always endeavored to hew to the line, let the chips fall where they would. Some people do not do that. That is what is the trouble with the world. A great many people ask, when they find what their duty is, does it pay? If it pays they will follow it, and they care not where the payment comes from.
About the second speech, perhaps, that I ever made in my life was after I had become a member of the Methodist church, and to show that I was a perambulating talking machine then, I will say here that I visited different towns in Lancashire and spoke in the open air to audiences because my thoroughness of character compelled me to do it. I felt that that religion which I thought I possessed, and which I thought was calculated to better the world, was something that was worth while for me to use my energies in propagating, and I did it. I could not help it. There are sloths that are sometimes called men who are never influenced by anything of that kind, but I was not of that character and that is the reason that I am here today. So intense and earnest was I at that time that I was at one and the same time the Sunday school superintendent of a little Sunday school, a class teacher, a local preacher, and what was called an exhorter; held four different positions.
I came to the United States in 1868. I have preached in Ohio, and I came to Chicago in 1869. There are monuments of beauty, of stability, and evidences of progress in the city of Chicago, and you can hardly go through a street in this city that I have not dropped my sweat upon, that had been produced by the labor of my hands. And just here let me tell you that when the indictment had been procured against me and my comrades here it was accompanied by the statement that these men had been deluding their dupes in order to make money out of them. When the trial was in progress the only man who could have answered the question as to whether we had made money out of our agitation was Zeller, the secretary of the Central Labor Union, and when he was asked the question whether we ever received any money for speaking and organizing unions in that organization, the gentleman who had been instrumental in attaching that to the indictment in order to prejudice the people against us before the trial should come on against us—for there is nothing in the world that can prejudice a man so much as to be charged with having imposed upon some one for mercenary motives and this is creditable to society-when the trial came on and this man who could have testified to that, who could have substantiated it if it had been true, was asked the question, each one of the gentlemen who were interested in its being proven true for their side of the case at once sprang to their feet and objected to the question being asked. We have been fried by a jury that has found us guilty. You will be tried by a jury now that will find you guilty.
Being of an inquiring disposition or turn of mind, and having observed that there was something wrong in our social system, I attended some meetings of workingmen and compared what they said with my own observation I knew there was something wrong.
My ideas did not become settled as to what was the remedy, but when they did, I carried the same energy and the same determination to bring about that remedy that I had applied to ideas which I had possessed years before. There is always a period in every individual’s life when some sympathetic chord is touched by some other person. That is the open sesame that carries conviction. The ground may have all been prepared. The evidence may all have been accumulated, but it has not formed any shape; in fact the child has not been born. The new idea has not impressed itself thoroughly when that sympathetic chord is touched, and the person is thoroughly convinced of the truth of the idea. It was so in my investigation of political economy I knew there was something wrong, but I did not know what the remedy was, but discussing the condition of things and the different remedies one day, a person said to me that Socialism meant equal opportunities—and that was the touch. From that time I became a Socialist; I learned more and more what it was. I knew that I had found the right thing: and I had found the medicine that wag calculated to cure the ills of society. Having found it I had a right to advocate it, and I did. The constitution of the United States, when it says: "The right of free speech shall not be abridged," gives every man the right to speak his thoughts.
I have advocated the principles of Socialism and social equality, and for that and no other reason am I here, and is sentence of death to be pronounced upon me. What is Socialism? Taking somebody else's property? That is what Socialism is in the common acceptation of the term. No; but if I were to answer it as shortly and as curtly as it is answered by its enemies, I would say it is preventing somebody else from taking your property.
But Socialism is equality. Socialism recognizes the fact that no man in society is responsible for what he is; that all the ills that are in society are the production of poverty; and scientific Socialism says that you must go to the root of the evil. There is no criminal statistician in the world but will acknowledge that all crime, when traced to its origin, is the product of poverty. It has been said that it was inflammatory for me to say that the present social system degraded men until they became mere animals. Go through this city into the low lodging houses where men are huddled together into the smallest possible space, living in an infernal atmosphere of death and disease, and I will ask you to draw your silks and broad-cloaths close to you when these men pass you. Do you think that these men deliberately, with a full knowledge of what they are doing, choose to become that class of animals? Not one of them. They are the products of conditions, of certain environments in which they were born, and which have impelled them resistlessly into what they are. And we have this loadstone. You who wish it could be taken from the shoulders of society, what is it? When those men were children, put them into an environment where they would have had the best results of civilization around them, and they would never have willfully chosen a condition like that. Some cynic might say that this would be a very nice thing for these men. Society, with its rapidity of production of the means of existence, is capable of doing that without doing an injury to a single individual; and the great masses of wealth owned by individuals in this and the old world have been produced in exactly the same proportion as these men have been degraded—and they never could have been accumulated in any other way. I do not charge that every capitalist willfully and maliciously conspires to bring about these results, but I do charge that it has been done, and I do charge that it is a very undesirable condition of things, and I claim that Socialism would cure the world of that ulcer.
These are my ideas in short on Socialism. The ultra patriotic sentiment of the American people—and I suppose the same comparative sentiment is felt in England, France and Germany—is that no man in this country need be poor. The class who are not poor think so. The class who are poor are beginning to think differently; that under existing conditions it is impossible that some should not be poor.
Fortunes are made, and I will tell you how it is done. The Chicago Tribune, in its New Year's issue of 1885, I believe, drew attention to the production of the means of human use and necessity in the city of Chicago during the previous year. It carefully estimated the cost of the raw material, the cost of machinery, the rent of buildings, the interest on money, and the wages paid to employees. It went into different lines of production, and, summing up, the result was this: That in a year's time each man working as a wage laborer in the city of Chicago had added to the wealth of this city—by whomsoever it was possessed makes no difference—$2,764. The average wages paid for that average product of each worker was $457—a little more than one-sixth. And yet the political economists of the free trade and the protective schools were asking: "Why is it that we have overproduction?" You compel a man to work and produce $2,764 worth of goods and you give him $457 to buy them with, and you ask: "Why is it that we have overproduction, and why is it that our warehouses are full of goods, and our workshops have to shut up, and our workmen are turned out on the highway because there is nothing to do?" What is this tending to? Let me show the change of conditions as shown in Boston in forty years. Charles Dickens a man of acute perceptions, visited this country forty years ago, and he said that the sight of a beggar in the streets of Boston at that time would have created as much consternation as the sight of an angel with a drawn sword. A Boston paper in the winter of 1884–5 stated that there were some quarters in Boston where to own a stove was to be a comparative aristocrat. The poor people who lived in the neighborhood paid a certain sum of money to rent the holes on the top of the stove that belonged to the aristocrats. You see the change, and there is this comparative change in the working classes of that city and in every large city m the union. It is a noted fact that within the last twenty or thirty years the farms of this country have been gradually going out of the possession of the actual cultivators until today there is a little more than a quarter of the actual cultivators of farms in this country who are renters; and within twenty years in the states of Iowa and Illinois the mortgages on farms have increased thirty-three per cent, of the actual value of the arms. Is it not enough to make any thinking man ask if there is not something wrong somewhere? Possibly it would be answered "Yes, a man has a right to inquire whether there is something wrong or not but for God's sake, don't think that Socialism will do it any good, or if you do we will hang you! It is all right to think, but we win punish you for your conclusions!"
Parsons, in his testimony, repeated what he had said at the Haymarket on the night of May 4, when he stated that this was an American question, because the patriotic tricksters who have been telling the people to worship the American flag, while they quietly put their hands in their pockets and robbed them—they have said that this merely a European question. It is an American question and the close contact of nations cemented by the facilities of civilization, is bringing all the question, that affect one to affect all people equally all over the world. What affects the European laborer and his employer affects the American laborer and his American employer, and the relationship is the same between the two classes.
In the winter of 1884–5 one hundred and twenty American girls of fourteen and sixteen years of age were driven from their homes by their shutting down of the Merrimac mills in Connecticut, and they were compelled to walk through the bleak New England hills and find refuge in out-houses and haystacks, and numbers of them undoubtedly found their way to lives of shame. And I say here and now that the man who can look upon such conditions as these and not know that society is bringing itself to the verge of a crisis which is terrible to think of, is blind; and the man who can look upon suffering like this and not feel stirred to do something to change such conditions, has not got anything in his heart but the feelings of the tiger, hungry for prey. In this city of Chicago children are working at very tender ages. Going home one very cold night in the winter of 1884, two little girls ran up to me and begged of me to go home with them. I asked them why. They said: "A man down there has been offering us money." It was 7 o'clock at night and snowing; I asked them where they had been so late. They said: "We have been working in such a store." Children, babies turned out from their mother's hearth to make a living, their fathers perhaps dead—in this case they were. The civilization that will not and cannot support a widow so that she will not have to turn her children out to such temptations as that is not worth respecting, and the man who will not try to change it is no man. Talking with those children as I went home with them—for they lived not far from me—I could notice the comparative boldness in the two children, they being of the same age. One of them told me she had been working three years and the other a year. There was that shyness, at least something remained of it, the coyness, which is about a child of tender age to a stranger, about the one that had only been away from the hearth-side one year; but in the other one, that had been away three years, there was not a particle of it, and she was a head shorter than the child that had the advantage of living at home two years more of her existence.
Carter Harrison noticed the degraded condition of a class of persons in this community, and he called the justices of the peace of this city to consult with him, a year ago last winter. They wanted to get rid of the street-walkers, who were so numerous that it was a disgrace to the city. It was very laudable in Harrison and the justices of the peace to get rid of them if they could. The remedy proposed was to arrest them, and the first time fine them lightly, and the next time fine them more, and they would keep on fining them more and more until they got rid of them. It is a known fact that there is no possibility of a young, unmarried woman, who has not a brother or father to assist her, getting a living in the city of Chicago, with a few exceptions. A friend of mine, a labor agitator, was asked by a young lady to procure her a position. He went to one of your large establishments, and they said: "Yes, we can give her a position, but she has got to dress tastily and nicely and neatly, and look well, and we will give her from three to five dollars a week;" and you propose to get rid of these things by fining those who are compelled to resort to such extremes to live. I tell you these things to show you that the question is an American question. It is a question of the nineteenth century.
I am charged with having made some inflammatory harangues within the last few years. It has been testified to here that I made a speech at the Twelfth street Turner Hall in 1885. The language I used on that occasion has been referred to. To show the character of that meeting, and that of the organization to which I belong, I have only to say that that meeting was called in pursuance of a desire on the part of the Socialists to find out whether they were right or wrong, and to compare their views with the views of gentlemen who continually asserted that they were wrong. Those gentlemen were invited there to discuss the question, and would have been given an opportunity and as much time as any Socialistic speaker in that meeting to reply to the creed of Socialism. I do not think it was claimed that I said anything very inflammatory at that meeting. The city was placarded with bills inviting the professional and business men to come there and discuss those questions with us. They did not come in any great force. I was charged with having, at Mueller's Hall, as chairman of the meeting, called upon the audience to dispute with the Socialists and controvert anything that might have been said in behalf of private capitalism, as this would be the last opportunity before we began to take their property. The man who testified to that knows under what circumstances it was said. It was said because the critics on Socialism had charged us with a desire to take the property of others, instead of examining into our position; and the audience understood it was a joke as a sort of a take-off on the criticisms on Socialism.
It is well known that the reporters of the papers are a most intelligent (?) class of men. I do not know any class of people among whom I have found so many stupid people, and 1 have a very extensive acquaintance with them. With regard to what was stated about me at one time, when I was charged with making inflammatory statements here, I wish to say that at that time I was in Cincinnati, and I can prove it by a thousand persons of Cincinnati. Mr. Spies went with me to the depot the night before and bought me a ticket. I will speak a little further about my friends, the reporters, because the reporters have been depended upon to produce the conviction in this case. It is well known in this and every reading community that reports in the newspapers cannot be depended upon. There is not a public speaker in this country but what has had cause to complain of the reports of his speeches in the newspapers. So intolerable has this become that the chief magistrate of this country, less than a year ago, stated—and it was published all through the country—that there never was an age in the world in which newspaper lying existed to the extent that it does now, and there never was a country in which it existed to the extent that it does in this. Since my incarceration in jail, Mr. Harrison has been so utterly disgusted with the promises of the reporters to correctly report news, that he has given orders to his subordinates at the headquarters of the city department to refuse to give them any more news "It is no use; you will lie about it. I have tried you and tried you, and you have lied about it, and I will give you no more news," he has said. And yet we have been convicted on this kind of testimony. Reporters have been brought here to prove that I was a conspirator and was intending to sack Michigan avenue, intending to create a riot and revolt in this city, by quotations from my speeches. I have shown you, my friends—I am speaking to you as well as to the court, and I am speaking to the country—that reports of newspapers cannot be depended upon, and a man whose life is placed in jeopardy on the bare report of a newspaper reporter, is as liable to be murdered as not. At Twelfth street Turner Hall I made a speech concerning the riot in London. On that occasion I stated that the same causes in Chicago would produce the same results that we had seen in London, and that the privileged classes of this city who had read of the homeless and down-trodden and desperately poor of London creating the havoc and consternation that they had in the east end of London by throwing bricks through the Carleton Club windows, need not be surprised if the same causes here would bring out a mob which would march down Michigan avenue and throw a brick through the window of the Calumet Club. I said that the same causes existing here would produce the same results. A reporter of one of the morning papers came into the hall after I had got through, and was sitting down in the hall, and the next morning he stated that Samuel Fielden had said that he would lead a mob down Michigan avenue and he himself would throw a brick through the window of the Calumet Club. And it is on such testimony as this that I have been convicted of murder.
The Board of Trade meeting has been referred to, and it has been claimed by that intellectual class of people, the detectives, that that night I advised the people to go in there, and partake of their twenty dollar supper. Johnson, himself, though not the most truthful of persons, says he did not hear anything of that kind. I will say here for the edification of the gentlemen who have produced this conviction, I defy them to find a single report of that meeting in any of the morning papers that bears such a statement, and they all contained reports of it. They come in here and give evidence worse than their remarkable reports. Not one reporter in the next morning's papers reported me as having said anything of the kind. What I did say on that occasion, was that the Board of Trade of this city had received considerable eulogy from the press of this country for the grand structure they had erected in which to trade on the means of existence of the people of the country. It was claimed I said that that monument of architectural beauty had cost nearly $2,000,000. I repeat this now, because any of you who read the papers that morning will remember that you have seen this report. I said before it had been in existence many years as a Board of Trade, it would have cost the people of Chicago and the northwest two billion dollars. I said nothing about going in there. I said that the eulogy that had been given to these men should not go unrebuked; that the working classes, on whose substance the Board of Trade had been built, had been called to that meeting to discuss this question, and to get up a demonstration which would march around the Board of Trade and show them that not all the community was eulogizing them and their business; that there was an element in it which disapproved of Boards of Trade. That was all there was of that speech.
Much has been said of the American Group meetings. In the spring of 1880 a gentleman came here from Washington, and attended our meetings. He had studied the labor question. He listened to what we had to say, and disapproved our position. I challenged him to a public discussion. He came and stayed at the Palmer House, and the next Sunday we had a debate on the principles of Socialism, he claiming that these were not the means by which the condition of society would be renovated, and I claiming that they were. Since this trial has been in progress that gentleman has written a letter to us informing us that be was willing to come upon the stand here and testify that our meetings were not for the purpose of inciting people to riot, but merely for the discussion of economic questions. And that was all the meetings were for. I was not indicted for inciting to riot. If I bad been, I could have brought a good deal of this evidence in. Twenty men were in the witness room ready to testify to the Board of Trade meeting and the language used there on that and other occasions where we had spoken; but we thought we were being tried for murder. We found out afterwards we were being tried for Anarchy, and that was the reason we did not think it necessary to bring those men upon the stand. There was a separate indictment for inciting to riot, as well as the indictment for murder, and that evidence would have been proper to combat the charge of inciting to riot.
After the Board of Trade demonstration we came back to No. 107 Fifth avenue, and Mr. Parsons and Spies and I spoke from the window. I told the people on that occasion that they had shown that they disapproved of Boards of Trade; that they had possibly put a bee in the bonnet of the Board of Trade men. I advised them to go home and study political economy and learn what was their position in society, but not one word advising them to go to Marshall Field's. But it is very clear why there should have been so much testimony brought in here regarding Marshall Field. The foreman of the jury was one of Marshall Field's salesmen. He depended upon him for his daily wages; he depended on him for preferment. A witness was brought in here who testified before the coroner’s jury to hearing a conversation in Crane's alley previous to the Haymarket meeting, between Spies and Schwab, and got them held to the grand jury, and Marshall Field has given that man a job. This is brought in before the man on the jury, who is dependent on Marshall Field for his living. He has given a job to the man who gave such damaging testimony before the coroner’s jury in order to get our conviction. Why, was it not plain to anybody why there should have been so much Marshall Field lugged in here? When it was shown to the employee of Marshall Field, who is on the jury, that his employer has given a job to the principal witness against the prisoners, since giving his evidence against them at the coroner's inquest, was it not a hint to the juror as to what kind of a verdict his employer wanted? On no occasion, except as illustrating a point has anybody, at any Socialistic meeting that I ever attended, advised anybody to go to Marshall Field's and taking anything. We have pointed, perhaps to Marshall Field. I, on the lake front, have pointed to Pullman's building there to illustrate a point; and the English language might as well be changed to the Patagonian language if illustrations are not to be used. At the large demonstration at the Market Square, when there were 10,000 people there before they marched to Ogden's Grove, Parsons and I spoke there, and I distinctly told them that the Socialists did not propose the destruction of property or the robbing of houses. I pointed at the buildings, but did not propose anything of that kind. I have told them so many a time.
All the meetings of the American Group were for the purpose of discusing things. Of course, in the discussion the persons on the different sides always advocate their own views; therefore they were for the advocacy of anything, and the discussion of anything, and many men of different shades of opinion have been at those meetings, and know that there were no meetings of the American Group held for the purpose of treason or inciting to riot. You may have satisfied these twelve jurymen that there was, but these men outside know it was not so.
I went to a special meeting on the night of the 4th of May, at 107 Fifth avenue, and it was necessary that I should go there, for I was treasurer of the organization, otherwise I should not have been at the Haymarket meeting. On the Sunday Previous I met a man at No. 54 West Lake street, who told me he had been at a meeting of the Trade and Labor Assembly, and at that time the organizer of the Central Labor Union came to me and asked me to speak Tuesday night at Workingmen’s Hall, No. 376 West Twelfth street. I think I agreed to go there. Monday night I was at No. 54 Lake street, and spoke to the wagon makers, and went home; Tuesday I was out of town all day. I went ten miles in the country as a teamster, in which business I have been engaged in deluding the workingmen and making money out of them! I was out of town all that day, and could not personally have known of any arrangements for the meeting at the Haymarket until I got to No. 107 Fifth avenue, about 8 o'clock. I should have gone to the other meeting, but what little things change so much the current of a man’s life 1 Just the fact of my seeing an advertisement in the News will cause my death, for if I had not seen it 1 should not have gone. I have committed no more crime, and have no more knowledge or intention of committing crime, than I had when I was on my wagon that day. It has been ingeniously urged that the American Group never met there before, meaning to convey the idea to the jury that they went, there in pursuance of a conspiracy. The fact of the matter is that they met there many a time, and there were many reasons why an honest man might have assumed that their meeting there that night was not suspicious, for all the halls in Greiff's were occupied long before, for the days on which they were to be used came during the eight hour excitement. Even if it were true that the American Group had not met there before, this is a plausible reason in itself. I have shown the jury here a handbill calling upon the working-women to organize, and it was for that reason that I was called to No. 107 Fifth avenue, on the night of the 4th of May; and after Rau came back from the Haymarket, he said there was nobody there but Spies and a large audience. That is enough to show that Spies should know I was at No. 107.
Your honor has repeated my Haymarket speech very frequently here, and it would seem as though it was a tender morsel to roll under the tongue of those interested in this conviction. On that occasion I said that Mr. Foran had made a speech in the House of Congress. I claim here that there is no man that understands the English language but will say that there was more threat, more violence, more of an incitement to riot in the speech of Foran than anything said on the Haymarket that night. Foran's speech was published in Chicago. In discussing the Arbitration Bill he said that it was useless for the workingmen of this country to expect a remedy for their grievances by legislation. He said further: "Only when the rich men of this country understand that it is dangerous for them to live in a community where there are dissatisfied workingmen, then and not till then will the labor question be solved." There is nothing in the speeches of the Haymarket that is as violent as that. What would have been said throughout the country if the police force of Washington had gone into the chamber of Congress and cleaned it out on account of what Foran had said? Would it have been justified anywhere?
It was claimed here that it was because of the violence of Fielden's speech that the police were called. I would humbly submit to those who make that claim that they read up the testimony given at the coroner's inquest by the detectives and policemen who testified there. There was hardly one of them that knew a word that Fielden had said; but something must be done to hold Fielden. They knew that his statement before the coroner was true. The prosecution knew it. They undoubtedly, with their detectives, had inquired, and they knew he had done nothing. Therefore, they must present this speech to the jury and claim that it was that which brought out the police. The statements before the coroner's jury did not claim anything of that kind, and it was not brought out at the coroner's jury until I made my statement there, and that was the last statement made there. Coroner Hertz said: "Did you say this?" No man knew I had said it until I acknowledged it. Bonfield did not know that Fielden had said anything of that kind, and he did not testify to it. Captain Ward did not know.
There are many things about that coroner's inquest. It has been stated by several policemen and two detectives that when I got down from the wagon I called out "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty and I'll do mine." And a lieutenant of a very intellectual cast of countenance swore here that when the police came up to the crossing, half a block away he heard Fielden say: "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty and I will do mine." He has sworn here—and I think the fact that a policeman could be made to swear to such an apparent lie as this, must, to any intelligent person, be disgusting—that when they got to the wagon, and Captain Ward told the meeting to disperse, I deliberately, on that wagon pulled a revolver and shot at Bonfield and Ward. Bonfield said he could have touched me with his hands when I stepped from the wagon, and Ward said the same thing, and they didn't see it. Lieutenant Steele, in a very significant manner, when asked if he saw me shoot, or heard me say, "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty, and I'll do mine," said: "I will tell nothing but what I know." He was standing at the tail end of the wagon, where he could touch me and he says: "I heard no such language." Wessler stated that he ran up the sidewalk, and when he came back I was firing at the police. He claims that he shot me, and he brings Foley, whom he claims to have run up the sidewalk with him and come back with him, to substantiate the fact that Fielden was standing at the wagon and shooting at the policemen when they came back, and that he shot me as I stood behind the wheel, on the sidewalk. He says: "Fielden rolled under the wagon after he was shot." Foley says the man that Wessler shot at the wagon was lying under the wagon between the two fore wheels, one on each side. If it had been a fair jury would it have convicted any man on that testimony?
Krueger, who claims to have had a duel with me there, claims that as soon as I jumped from the wagon I ran there and began firing at him, and that he shot me as I ran into the alley. And yet I was shooting there as these men came back from up the street, and was shot by Wessler as they say, after their return. This other man claims he shot me as I was running up the alley. Then comes the truthful James Bonfield, who claims to have sneaked around the corridor of the Central Station jail on the night of the 5th of May. He sneaked up against the wall where Fielden could not see him, and he listened to a conversation between Fielden and Knox and Graham, reporters. He is brought on to corroborate the statement of Krueger that Fielden ran into the alley. He claims he overheard Fielden admit to these reporters that he ran through the alley. The State brings the reporter Knox upon the stand. They did not bring Graham after they got through with Knox. Knox was asked: "Did Fielden say to you that he went through the alley?" "No; he said he went around the corner." Now, no man would state that if he gone into the alley, because the wagon was close to the alley, and the corner meant the corner of Randolph street. I did state that I went around the corner after I had passed the alley. That proves somebody was lying. They did not bring Graham on to substantiate James Bonfield. I ask any reasonable man to consider ail this testimony; to consider whether there could have been a jury that was fair-minded that could have said beyond all question of doubt, that Fielden did fire into that crowd of police. That is all I have to say on that question. But even the worst newspaper in the city of Chicago admitted before the conclusion of this case that it was exceedingly doubtful whether Fielden had fired a shot there or not, or whether he had ever hallowed out, "You do your duty and I will do mine. Here come the bloodhounds." Let us put a hypothetical question now: If I had said something which might have been construed into an incitement to riot, but if, the policemen came there, I did everything a man could do to have the meeting disperse peaceably, in obedience to the demand of Ward to have it disperse—and there is no other claim than this, which is contradicted by the State's attorney's claim against me, and that I did nothing but walk away peaceably—could a fair-minded jury have convicted me? You will remember that the reporter, Freeman—and Freeman is a State witness—who knelt down on the sidewalk within three feet of the wheel where it is said I was shooting, swears positively that there was nobody at that wheel. It is acknowledged by Foley and Wessler that there were two young men standing up against the wall of Crane's factory nearly opposite the wagon. Those men came here voluntarily and swore there was no shooting done from that place; and the State's attorney in his closing argument practically admits that it is doubtful whether this testimony is the truth. He said if Fielden did not shoot at the police, then he is not made of as good clay as I thought him to be, which means, if Fielden did not shoot, then he is no man. He ought to have done so if he was any good. This is not garbled, it is not colored. Is it not as strong as it could be against the possibility of my having done anything of that kind there? Now, if I did not shoot there, if I did not call to the people "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty and I will do mine," and if I, as testified by Bonfield, Steele and Ward, went away peaceably, giving an example to the meeting, if someone else goes and commits murder, am I responsible for his act? Mr. Ward will corroborate me when I say that I had no desire that that meeting should be anything else than peaceable, and that there should be resistance to the officers. If it had not been intended that I should be connected with some act of that kind, and by that means, the papers of this city would call Fielden a coward, who would run at the first sight of the police. But no. They elevate me to the very pinnacle of bravery in order to hang me.
I do not suppose that there ever was a criminal asked to state why death should not be passed upon him, that ever succeeded in convincing the judge that it should not. I do not expect that this will be any exception to the rule. I can only conclude that the reason this is asked of each prisoner is that he may, having failed to convince the jury that has tried him, convince the great jury that will sit upon his case when he is gone, that he is not guilty. I expect to succeed in convincing the latter, though I have failed in the former. I claim here now, on a reasonable interpretation of the language which I have used at the Haymarket, and which 1 have admitted I have used, and there is not a man in the row by the State’s attorney who will claim that I have shown a desire on this witness stand to deny anything that I have done—everything that I have done has been open and above-board. If there is anything that I have hated in this world ever since I knew anything at all, it was trickery. If I had been a trickster I could have possibly been somewhere else today.
I have been charged with having said: "Throttle the law!" Your honor will bear in mind that I had quoted from Foran's speech when I said that and it was a deduction, assuming that Foran spoke the truth. If it is true as Foran says, that nothing can be got by legislation-legislation is supposed to be for the interests of the community—if it is not for their interest, it certainly operates against that portion of them whose interests it does not subserve.
Legislation cannot be made that will not affect somebody in some particular way. It must affect them in some way. Then if nothing can be got by legislation, and hundreds of men are paid every year to legislate for the community, it is a foregone fact, and its logic cannot be disputed, that if that portion of the community which can receive no benefit from legislation does not throttle that law which is doing this legislation it will throttle them. The word "throttle" is supposed to be a terrible word. There would not have been anybody in this community who would have claimed that the word is a bad word to use if the bomb had not been thrown on the night of May 4. It is a word widely used as meaning to abolish; if you take the metaphors from the English language, you have no language at all. It is not necessary, your honor, that because a man says "throttle the law" he means "kill the policemen." There is no such necessary connection. If I were to advise a man to kill Phil. Armour, would you conclude by that that I advised somebody to kill his servant or somebody employed by him? I was speaking, of these laws which could do no benefit to the working classes, and which have been referred to by Foran. Now, policemen generally are not men of very intellectual calibre. They are not men who ought in any civilized community to be made the censors of speech or of the press. If I, on that night, had used language which could reasonably have been interpreted as being incendiary, how is it that every witness on both sides of this case has testified that the meeting was getting on more peaceful during the delivery of my speech? Surely that shows that the meeting did not understand it as inciting to riot, and that it had no such effect upon the meeting.
When Harrison left Mr. Bonfield, it is claimed by both of them that Harrison said to Bonfield, "I guess there is no danger. There will be no trouble." And Bonfield says, "Well, I will keep the police here and see if there will be any trouble." The testimony as to the character of the meeting shows that it became more quiet during the delivery of Fielden's speech. Where was the danger then that justified the marching of 200 armed police upon it? If I had said something that should not have been said—something that was an incitement to riot, there was still no necessity of these policemen provoking a riot that night, because there was no indication that there was going to be trouble. It has never been claimed by the prosecution that we had anything to do with what they had heard as to the possible blowing up of the freight house. They could have let the meeting disperse peaceably, of its own volition, and they could have come to my house and arrested me for that incendiary language, if it had been such. There was no necessity for provoking a collision that night, because the meeting has been proven overwhelmingly to have been a peaceful meeting up to the close, and I claim that the language, reasonably interpreted, was not necessarily incendiary. A newspaper of this city is discussing the coal monopoly, as it is called—perhaps that is incendiary language. The constitution of the United States has never clearly defined what incendiary language is, that I know of. If it had I should have informed myself of what it was, and tried to keep myself within the bounds.
A recess was taken until two o'clock.
Upon the reconvening of the court in the afternoon, Mr. Fielden continued his speech.
Your honor: When we adjourned for dinner I was speaking to you about my version of the meeting, of the language used at the Haymarket on May 4. I was speaking to you about the character of that meeting and the unjustifiable interruption of it. I was trying to point out to you and show you by the evidence that it was a peaceable meeting; that there was no indication in the demeanor of the crowd of a desire to commit any act which would make them liable to arrest and punishment. I was giving you my version of the sentence, "Throttle the law." I told you that it was a deduction based upon an assumption, and, in my opinion was a logical deduction, that if laws are enacted for the community, which cannot benefit one class in that community, it is the interest of that class that the law's should be abolished and the law-making machines discontinued. I ought to know, myself, what I meant. Your honor has put an interpretation on the expression, "throttle the law," that it meant to kill the police because they were the servants of the law; and that throttling the law could not mean what I said in its literal sense, it being an intangible thing to do. Now, in the light of the principles that have been sworn to on this stand by witnesses for the State, I say in the definition which Parsons gave of the intentions and objects of the Socialists, in addressing the meeting at the Haymarket, it was not the intention of that organization to take any man's life; that it w'as merely the system that made such men possible that we are aiming at. When we consider that it has been proven by witnesses on both sides that that was the object of the organization to which Mr. Parsons and I belonged, will not the words, "throttle the law," bear another interpretation, and a more plausible one? The law is an institution; the policemen are a necessary part of it. It is the doing away with the institution, not the policeman—and I defy anyone to prove that, on a fair interpretation of the language used that night, there was anything in that speech that could reasonably be called incendiary.
You will bear in mind that I said "Men in their blind rage attacked McCormick's, and the police shot them down." Now, certainly a man who charges a class of people with doing something "in their blind rage," cannot be said to approve of their acts; cannot be said to be encouraging that blindness, and the fact that I said "in their blind rage," shows that I did not approve of attacking McCormick's; that there was an underlying meaning to it, which, when read between the lines, explains all that it should logically have meant. "When men in their blind rage attacked McCormick's, the police shot them down." There was a conflict between these men. As I have claimed here and elsewhere in the city, these men did it in their ignorance. They did not understand it. They looked upon McCormick as a cause of their trouble. We have been represented—or at least they had drawn that inference from disputes which had occurred with McCormick in the last year or two—that it was such men as McCormick that were the cause of their trouble, and in their blindness and their ignorance they attacked McCormick's building. It is not disputed that I said the words just quoted. Now, if these men had understood, as Socialists understand it, this industrial question, they would have known that it was foolish and ridiculous to think that they could better their condition by attacking a person's property. If they had understood this social question as Socialists understand it, they would have understood that it was the system and not the instrument of the system, not the victim of that system. I claim that McCormick, Jay Gould, and William H. Vanderbilt are as much the victims of the system which obtains, and which I claim is an unjust one, as are the beggars who walk the streets and crowd the station houses to keep themselves from being frozen to death in the winter. And it is these particular classes that are arrayed against each other. True, one of the victims gets a better share of the profits of the system than the other. They are no lees the victims, and the conflicts and quarrels that exist among them affect them both more or less. Therefore I say that when I said "Men in their blind rage attacked McCormick's, and the police shot them down," it was carrying out that idea, which was intended to be conveyed to these people, that it was the system which protected McCormick's interests. But, as I went on, I said: "When McCormick attacked their interests the police did not attack McCormick." I bad claimed that the present social system is sustained more in the interests of one class than in the interests of another. I claim that it is necessarily so. Now, McCormick's factory may be said to be his tools, if you please—his means of getting a living. And certainly when the rioters attack his factory they attack his means of livelihood. The police came to McCormick's defense. I believe, your honor—and I am well acquainted with the policemen in the district in which I live—that there is not one of them who believes that I entered into a conspiracy to kill a policeman. I have no better friends than the policemen who have traveled that beat. And I do not say that policemen go to attack rioters because it is their desire to do so. It is because they are the preservers of peace under the present social relations, and they were sent there to keep these men from destroying the means of livelihood of McCormick.
I have frequently said that there was a conflict between two classes of society. They must necessarily come into contact with each other under the present regulations. And there are times when McCormick, in his blind conception of what he thinks is his interest, attacks the means of livelihood of those who have no property and no machines. I said that when this side of the case was presented to the present organization, which maintains the present social relation, there was nobody that came to the assistance of the classes which were attacked by McCormick. I drew the inference that the arrangements were wrong, because of the fact that those who protect McCormick when he is attacked, do not protect the working classes when they are attacked by McCormick. They will necessarily come in conflict under these regulations. How? Sometimes McCormick has reduced wages. Wages are the means of existence to those who have no property, and who are compelled to live by the sale of their labor. It is their machinery, and the police have never come to the assistance of the working classes, when their means of living have been attacked in that way. Sometimes they are attacked by a machine. Do not understand me to say that I blame McCormick for buying a machine, because under the present social and industrial system men have the right to buy machines, if the system is right. But if the system is wrong, they have not, and it is the system that is responsible, and not they.
I am given to understand, and I believe it to be true, that about a year ago McCormick introduced some moulding machines into his factory. McCormick employed about 125 moulders before the introduction of these machines. Before that time he had a strike of his men owing to a dispute about wages, or about the regulations of the Union to which these moulders belonged. McCormick had acceded to certain terms. He had to do it because of the strength of the Union. He could not get any moulders to do his work because the Union resolved that it would not work except its terms were acceded to. But there was something else which McCormick found out that was not subject to any Union. That was a moulding machine. And when McCormick had got possession of the moulding machine he had got possession of machinery which did with the assistance of twenty-five men what it had required 125 men to do before. Don't you think, your honor, that that was an attack upon the interests of these twenty men out of twenty-five, or 100 out of 125? It would not make any difference whether he had a right to do it. 1 am not speaking of that phase of the question. These men had families after the introduction of those machines as they had before. The families cried for bread. The children cried for shoes, and the women cried perhaps for a sewing machine. These hundred men were turned out, and then McCormick said: "Now I am master of the situation. I will take back all the conditions that I have made with my men when I needed 125 of them."
The rate of wages is regulated by the number of men who are out of employment. When four men out of five are turned out of employment, there is nothing in the world for these four men to do but to bid and see how much lower each one can work on that man's job who is retained than the others. It tends to a reduction of wages. And the introduction of machinery in that way is a direct attack upon the interests of those who have no means and cannot have any. Maxwell Brothers introduced some box-making machines about a year ago. There was quite a lively quarrel between them and the box-nailers. I understand that after the introduction of those box-making machines only one man was required to do the work that was formerly done by two and a half—two persons could do the work of five. Now, I claimed in public speeches and discussions that these men who fought about the introduction of the box machines did not understand the real question at issue. Improved machinery—I claim now what I have claimed all along in the discussion of this industrial problem—is calculated to benefit all classes of humanity and society. But it is the use to which they are put. If they can be bought by one person and used in the interests of that person, so that he can hire labor cheap, or dispense with labor, they are a benefit to no person save the man who has money enough to purchase a machine, and they are a direct injury under such regulations to those who cannot purchase a machine. It is ridiculous to argue that it rt quires men to make machines and it makes work in that way. If it required as much labor to make them and as much expenditure to make them as it did away with labor, there would be no object in a man's buying the machine. That answers itself. So that under the present regulations,—and this language of mine will bear the interpretation which I have given, when you take everything into consideration, and I think it is the more plausible interpretation—and I will say to you here that, when Mr. English brought this report, he admitted it to be but a garbled report of my speech—my conception of justice is this, that a man ought never to be allowed to testify against a man who is on trial for his life, when he admits, before he gives his testimony, that it is incorrect. I do net think that it is in the interest of justice that such testimony should be given. Mr. English admits that before he left the Tribune office that night to go to that meeting, he was advised not to bring a correct report. If he had brought a correct report he might have been discharged. He was instructed not to do it. That was his work for that night, to only take what he considered the inflammatory or incendiary portions of the speeches. You can take no speech delivered by any person and do it justice by extracting what you consider the inflammatory portion. I have heard men make speeches in my time, and I have bad to pay very close attention to know what they were driving at. They would take an hour to prove a position. If you judged them in half an hour you would not get at all the position they were trying to prove. It is often the case when listening to public speakers that I have noticed they will speak along and along, and then in the last few minutes of the speech they will show exactly what they mean. There will be some language used there that modifies your conception of their meaning, and opens it all up, and you see the beauty of the whole argument. Maybe you would not have seen it if it hadn’t been for that unlocking of the secret.
I am charged with having spoken of rebellion. But before I speak of that, I will refer again to some of the words which have been introduced here I am charged with having said "stab the law." No one claims but that it was in connection with my conception of the meaning of Foran's speech, and the word "stab" is not necessarily a threat of violence upon any person. Here at your primary elections you frequently hear the adherents of different candidates state before the primaries are called that they will "knife" so and so Do they шеап that they are going to kill him, stab him, take his life away from him? They are forcible expressions—very emphatic expressions. They are adjectives which are used in different ways to carry conviction and perhaps make the language more startling to the audience in order that they may pay attention. I remember now when the dispute was going on in England as to the extention of the franchise in 1866 and 1867, when such large meetings were called all through England to dispute the assertion of Disraeli, afterward Lord Beaconsfield, that the working classes did not want the franchise, that John Bright replied to the letter of Beaconsfield, saying that there might be some excuse for Beaconsfield if he had said this in the heat of a speech, but having sat down and coolly written it out, there was no excuse for it, showing that such a parliamentarian as John Bright is, with perhaps no superior in his time, thought there was an excuse for men dropping into language in the heat of speeches which afterward they might have thought it would have been better not to have used, as their speech might have looked better without it. I say this language does not necessarily mean an incitement to violence. I have used the word "rebellion." Now, you know the word "rebellion" is not necessarily an incitement to violence. And if it were, let me call your attention to an incident which occurred in the House of Commons a hundred years ago. When the ill-starred attempt was made under Montgomery to capture Quebec and he lost his life, a member of the House of Commons, generous as he was, brought up the question of the death of Montgomery, whom many there had known. He spoke of him as a gallant, brave, generous, able, and amiable gentleman. Another member said he was a gallant, generous and an amiable rebel. Lord North rose in his majesty on the floor of the House of Commons, and said: "I am far from conceding that it is a disreputable term to be called a rebel. The very principles and the privileges which we in constitutional England enjoy on this floor today, were acquired by rebellion." That language could be used on the floor of the House of Commons a hundred years ago, and it was not thought to be an incitement to violence.
I return once more to call your attention to the coal monopoly. I believe I called your attention to it before, but did not finish. It has raised the price of coal by restricting the output. It has deprived men of their labor. The coal monopoly wants money for its coal. The miners want coal to burn. They must pay money for the coal. It turns its miners away from the mines and restricts the output, and then it raises the price of coal. Of course it does not need a very great logician to know that when a man is turned out of employment he cannot pay more for his coal than he could before. Looked at in this way, this is the logic of the coal monopoly and the injustice it has done to the public. A Chicago—I will not mention the paper—a prominent Chicago paper advises the "throttling of the coal monopoly." Henry George, in his work on protection, advises the throttling of protection. He does not mean to say that he wants to throttle Judge Kelley or James G. Blaine. I also said the law turns large numbers out on the wayside. Does anybody deny it? If it is true that the law does not make laws in the interest of the working classes, but makes laws—and it must necessarily make them in the interests of the other class if it does not for them—then it does turn men out upon the wayside! I have reference to the introduction of machinery—twenty out of twenty-five turned out of employment. Are they not turned out upon the wayside? Any question about it? If they were laws that did not turn men out upon the wayside, and I knew that they did not, I would not tell anybody that they did.
Thomas Cooper, a chartist in England, was once visited in his old age by a friend of his. A little girl came up to him with a book in her hand with pictures in it, opened the front of it and showed him the fly leaf, and she said, "Mr. Cooper, write something for me." And Mr. Cooper wrote:
“Love truth, my child, love truth;
It will gladden thy morn of youth,
And in the noon of life,
Though it cost thee pain and strife
To keep the truth in its brightness.
Still cleave to thy uprightness.”
If I am to be convicted—hanged for telling the truth—the little child that kneels by its mother's side on the West Side today, and tells its mother that she wants her papa to come home, and to whom I had intended, as soon as its prattling tongue should commence to talk, to teach that beautiful sentiment—that the child had better never be taught to read; had better never be taught that sentiment—to love truth. If we are to be convicted of murder because we dare to tell what we think is the truth, then it would be better that every one of your school houses were reduced to the ground and not one stone left upon another. If you teach your children to read, they will acquire curiosity from what they read. They will think, and they will search for the meaning of this and that. They will arrive at conclusions. And then, if they love the truth, they must tell to each other what is truth or what they think is the truth. That is the sum of my offending. It turns them out upon the wayside when it is used as it is.
Mr. Powderly, in his official address to a large assembly of the representatives of labor at Richmond, Va., said the other day that Anarchy was the legitimate product of monopoly. I have said you must abolish the private property system. Mr. English said that I said "it had no mercy; so ought you." Probably if I said "it had no mercy," I did not say the latter part of the sentence in that way. I probably said, "So you ought not to have any mercy." Is it doubted by anybody that the system has no mercy? Does it not pursue its natural course irrespective of whom it hurts or upon whom it confers benefits? The private property system then, in my opinion, being a system that only subserves the interests of a few, and can only subserve the interests of a few, has no mercy. It cannot stop for the consideration of such a sentiment. Naturally it cannot. So you ought not to have mercy on the private property system, because it is well known that there are many people in the community with prejudices in their minds. They have grown up under certain social regulations, and they believe that these social regulations are right, just as Mr. Grinnell believes that everything in America is right, because he happened to be born here. And they have such a prejudice against any one who attacks those systems. Now, I say they ought not to have any mercy upon a system that does not maintain their interests. They ought not to have that respect for them that would interfere with their abolishing them. And that is all that they can possibly mean by any kind of gymnastics. When I say it does turn them out upon the wayside; when I know—and Captain Schaack knows how man men there were last winter, and the winter before that, who came to him and asked him if he would please allow them to sleep on the station floor, to keen them from the inclemency of the weather—I say it has no mercy. And why should such men have mercy upon it as to keep it in existence? Why should they not destroy it as long as it is destroying them?
Your honor, after the Haymarket meeting, after I had escaped form the showers of bullets with a slight wound, and after I had been around, as I told you on the witness stand, trying to find my comrades who had been at the meeting, to find out whether they whether they were alive or not, I went home. The explosion of the bomb was as much a surprise to me as it was to any policeman. You can judge how I felt at that time, not knowing what damage had been done, the suddenness of such a calamity coming down upon one, and knowing, as I must have, that I should be held in some respect, at least, responsible. After getting my wound dressed I went home. It was late. My mind was racked with the thought of what would occur on the morrow, and I finally resolved, as any innocent man would have done, if they wanted me to explain my connection with this catastrophe, let them come and ask me to do so. Mr. Slayton has testified here that, when he came to my house, I was sitting in my room.
I didn't attempt to run away. I had been out walking around the street that morning, and there was plenty of opportunity for me to have been hundreds of miles away. When he came there I opened the door to him. He said he wanted me I knew him by sight and I knew what was his occupation. I said: "All right, I will go with you." I have said here that I thought when the represent»byes of the State had inquired by means of their policemen as to my connection with it, that I should have been released. And I say now, in view of all the authorities that have been read on the law and regarding accessories that there is nothing in the evidence that has been introduced to connect me with that affair. One of the Chicago papers, at the conclusion о the State's attorney's case, said that they might have proven more about these men, about where they were and what they were doing on the 2d and 3d of May. When I was told that Captain Schaack had got confessions out of certain persons connected with this affair, I said: "Let them confess all they like. As long as they will tell only the truth, I care nothing for their confessions." I had nothing to do with it, no knowledge of it, and the gentlemen there know it.
I am going to speak about something that has not come out in the testimony I have a right to tell it now. I do not do it with any vindictive feeling I do not do it to hurt anybody, but in the hope that, in the last few days that I have to live, I may do some good by telling it, and I hope what I am going to state will have the tendency to do some good. I was arrested and brought to the Central Station. I had always understood that a man who was arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime was to be considered innocent until he was proven guilty. I have received a great deal more consideration since I have been proven guilty in this court than before I was so proven—in the opinion of the jurors. I was taken into the corridor of the court house. Lieutenant Shea was sitting on the table with about twenty-five detectives around him. Mr. Slayton said, "This is Fielden." Lieutenant Shea said, "You ⸻ Dutchman, before you came to this country people were getting good wages." I said, "Mr. Shea, I am not a Dutchman." He said, "You are ⸻ ⸻ worse, you ⸻ ⸻ ⸻." That is the language of the officers of the law. It makes no difference whether they are Democratic or Republican officers, I speak of them as a whole. And this is a prominent official in the police department of the city of Chicago. I replied somewhat sharply, using no epithets. It certainly occurred to me when I looked around at those policemen, that perhaps this man, who will treat a helpless prisoner in this way, is trying to provoke me. Perhaps he will shoot me. I think it was a logical conclusion to draw. A man who is mean enough and contemptible enough to use that language to a helpless prisoner, would go further. And I said to myself, "If he does, who is there here to testify that he murdered me? Are there not twenty-five professional liars here to testify that I tried to murder him?" These were the thoughts that went through my mind, and I said no more. I said "You have me here now, you can do as you like with me." I will not repeat that again in your honor's presence and in the presence of ladies. I am sorry that I repeated it now. It came out unthinkingly, and it is a very unpleasant word to use anywhere, and ought not to be used by anybody. 1 was met by the worthy chief before I got down into the cellar, Mr. Ebersold. He was informed that I was wounded and told me to take off the bandage and show him. I did so. He said: "⸻ ⸻ your soul, it ought to have gone in here," (pointing to his head between the eyes). This is the chief. And when I was about to be brought here, and had begged and begged for some one to dress my wound (because the doctor who dressed it the night before had told me that it must be dressed in the afternoon following), I was told by a detective whose name I don't know, or an official, that they ought to put strychnine into it. Your honor may not believe this. I know that it is the custom of all classes of criminal who are charged with crime to turn around and charge indiscriminately everything they can possibly imagine against those who arrest them. I can only make the statement. Your honor may not believe me. Mr. Shea and Mr. Ebersold may come here and say they did not say it. You may believe them in preference to me. But I will tell you one thing, there is no man who knows Samuel Fielden but will believe him.
Your honor, we are charged with being opposed to the law. I believe your honor knows a great deal better than I do what the law is. It would take a man a great number of years to find out what it is. I have seen wagon loads of books brought into this court to find out what the law is. It is generally thought and asserted, and I believe it is a fundamental principle of the law, that no man is to be exempted from punishment for a violation of the law because of his ignorance of it. Now, working at my occupation as teamster fourteen hours a day. I don't think that I could have read all of those authorities that have been quoted here to find out what the law is, in ten lifetimes. But we are required to answer to the charge of being lawless individuals who violated the law, who advised the abolition of the law and all government. Your honor has put it "The government," as though we were conspirators against this particular government. The very fact that hundreds of authorities can be quoted on both sides and on a dozen sides of any particular question, is because of the impossibility of any one man prescribing laws to fit any other man or number of men.
I believe there is a law, and I don’t know that there is any authority which can be quoted against it, that before a man can go into a house of a citizen, be must have the authority of the law, and show that he is an officer of the law and in pursuit of a lawful purpose. If any man calling himself a policeman may go and search a house and say, "I am an officer of the law. I want to search your house," the law requires, if I understand it, that before anyone can search a house he shall have a search warrant. In every instance that any house has been searched in the prosecution of this case, there has been no search warrant presented. Now, if men can violate the law who are its sworn supporters, and who get their living by the pursuit of the law, do you think it naturally tends to produce respect for the law on the part of those on whom they prey, when they violate the law? If you say that very often justice could not under circumstances and emergencies be carried out if every technicality of the law were obeyed, does it not show the impossibility then of applying the law justly and rightly to every case? Now, I think that it is the natural tendency to beget disrespect for the law when those who are its representatives show so little respect for it. And I wish to say that I was arrested without a warrant. Another violation of law ; I was taken out upon the sidewalk, while three men went through my house, turned it upside down, as the leader has admitted here, although they found nothing that indicated that I was a dangerous character—not even an empty cartridge of a revolver. They not only did this, but my wife tells me that about ten men went back there again, and, without presenting any search warrant, went through the house—her husband and protector in jail. Your honor, I merely state these things to show that men hired by the law to defend it are the very ones who throw discredit upon it. Any one could have gone there at any time, searched that house, and robbed it of everything there was in it, and have just as much justification in going in as any of these men had. I wish to call your attention for a little while—it is going back to the question I spoke of before, but I think it is necessary in my own defense—one of this class of persons who have been in the habit of going into houses without authority of law, testified at the coroner's inquest, and he testified upon this case in court, that he had said in the coroner’s jury room that he had heard me say, "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty and I will do mine.” I would submit to your honor that it would be a very good thing for you to ask one of the counsel on either side of this case to allow you to look at the report of the coroner's jury, and see whether that man lied here or not. I have no fear of the result of that investigation.
An interview has been held with Mr. Grinnell, and published in one of the papers of this city since his return from his vacation, in which Mr. Grinnell is reported to have said—but perhaps the reporter lied; I should not wonder if he had, they have done it before, and it would not be surprising—"Why, these men have no principles. They did not defend themselves with their principles." I have said before that we were not here to defend our principles. We were here to respond to the charge of murder. If we were guilty of murder we were guilty whether we had principles or not. After we got all our testimony in we were then told that we were being tried because we had no principles. What are the duties of a prosecuting attorney? The lawyers can give technical definitions, I suppose, but the general idea of the duties of a prosecuting attorney is—and I do not call in question the fact that they are necessary under our present social regulations—to see to it that no guilty man shall escape, if he can possibly prevent it. It is also the duty of the prosecuting attorney, as much as it is of the defendant's attorney, to see to it that no innocent man should suffer for any crime. Lawyers have a peculiar code of morals. Their success in their particular avocation depends upon their gaining suits. And I am afraid there are lawyers to be found who care little as to whether their suit is right or in the interest of justice and truth, so long as they can gain their case and make a reputation for themselves. Now, it is not the duty of the prosecuting attorney to take that view of his position. And when I call upon your honor to go back and review the proceedings of the coroner's inquest, I also ask Mr. Grinnell to review them. I ask him to see whether any man testified at the coroner's inquest, with the events of the 4th of May fresh in his mind, that Fielden said on that night, "Here come the bloodhounds; you do your duty and I will do mine." I will state further that coroner Hertz came to me shortly after my incarceration in this building, and asked me to sign a synopsis which he had of the testimony given in the coroner's room, in which synopsis there was not one word of the kind attributed to me in this trial.
We claim that the foulest criminal that could have been picked up in the slums of any city in christendom, or outside of it, would never have been convicted on such testimony as has been brought in here if he had not been a dangerous man in the opinion of the privileged classes. We claim that we are convicted, not because we have committed murder. We are convicted because we were very energetic in advocacy of the rights of labor. I call your attention to a very significant fact—that on this day, at this time when the sentence of death is going to be passed on us, the Stock Yards employers have notified their employees that they will be required to work ten hours next Monday or they will shut down. I think it is a logical conclusion to draw that these men think they have got a dangerous element out of the way now and they can return again to the ten-hour system. I know that I had considerable to do with the eight-hour question, although I only spoke once in that neighborhood, every man being a stranger to me—but I went down there in March previous and made an eight-hour speech and formed the nucleus of an eight-hour organization there, and the Stock Yards succeeded in starting the eight-hour system, though they have not been able to keep it up in its entirety. We claim we have done much.
Mr. Neebe has told you of the advantages that have been gained by classes of workingmen in this city through his organization of Trades Unions for the purpose of getting a reduction of the hours of labor. If we have succeeded to the extent that he has told you, our lives will not have been spent in vain.
And whatever may be our fate—and there seems to be but one conclusion on that question—we feel satisfied that we have not lived in this world for nothing; that we have done some good to our fellowmen, and done what we believe to be in the interest of humanity and for the furtherance of justice. It is a satisfaction to know that. I repeat the language, as near as I can remember it, of Lady Cavendish, after the murder of her husband, in Phoenix Park. She said: "If the death of my darling has tended in any way to bring about a better understanding and a better condition of things between these two elements, I willingly give him up." If my life is to be taken for advocating the principles of Socialism and Anarchy, as I have understood them and honestly believe them in the interest of humanity, I say to you that I gladly give it up; and the price is very small for the result that is gained.
Your honor, with due respect to your years, I wish to say this: That it is quite possible you cannot understand, having lived in a different atmosphere from what we have lived in, how men can hold such ridiculous ideas. I have no doubt you felt that way. Yet it is well known that persons who have lived to a ripe old age seldom change their opinions. I impute no wrong motive in that. It is a natural result. But we do claim that our principles will bear discussion, investigation, and criticism. We claim that so far as we have been able to find out in trying to find a cure for the ills of society we have not found out anything that has seemed to fit the particular disease which society, in our opinion, is afflicted with today better than the principles of Socialism, and, your honor, Socialism, when it is as thoroughly understood in this community and in the world as it is by us, I believe that the world, which is generally honest, prejudiced though it may be, will not be slow to adept its principles. And it will be a good time, a grand day for the world; it will be a grand day for humanity; it will never have taken a step so far onward towards perfection, if it can ever reach that goal, as it will when it adopts the principles of Socialism. They are principles that ignore no man. They are the principles that consider the interest of everyone. They are the principles which will do away with wrong, and injustice and suffering will be reduced at least to a minimum under such an organization of society. As compared to the present struggle for existence, which is degrading society and making men, as I have said in the Haymarket speech, merely things and animals, Socialism will give them opportunities of developing the possibilities of their nature. But under our present existing economic relations, there can be nothing. .And, your honor, it is only, in my opinion, a short time before this system will have outlived itself, so as to compel the adoption of the Socialistic system. The existence of the vast army of unemployed men; the existence of crime which is becoming an almost intolerable burden upon the different communities in this country and in Europe to keep in check, is showing us that there is something radically wrong. These conditions will force us to ask what that wrong is, and force us to adopt some antidote for the evil.
I have read somewhere of a historical character who in ancient times is reported to have killed his comrade. Spartacus was a gladiator who lived to pander to the amusement of the Roman nobles of old. He is reported as having on one occasion spoken to his fellow slaves in some such words as these—or, rather, these are his sentiments. In speaking of his home, before be became a captive, he tells them of the pleasures of his youth; he tells them, as they listen to the Numidian lion's roar, that tomorrow it will feast and satisfy its hunger upon them, "Yesterday I met in the arena a gladiator, and I killed him. I thought of the time when I was a child on the hills of Thrace, of a little boy that belonged to a neighbor, and who shared with me my humble meal as we tended our separate flocks on the hillsides, and when I lifted the cowl of the gladiator that I had killed, I found that it was the comrade of my youth. Why should it be that we should struggle? Why should it be that we should fight? Why should it be that we should kill each other for the amusement of the Roman nobles?" And I say now, in an era in which there is an intense struggle for existence among the class that has no money or property, that it is a struggle for the amusement of the property nobles. The children that play together in the streets of Chicago and the villages that dot this continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, will grow up and engage in a life and death struggle for existence, for the amusement and for the benefit of nobody but their masters, the American nobles. I say, my friends, as you draw the line tighter and tighter, the conflicts that are going on and will go on between these men, will array them against their masters. If I can say anything in the interests of humanity, in the interests of liberty, equality, and fraternity, I would say it now. Take heed, take heed! The time, my friends, is not far off. The swift process of reduction of the masses into a condition of depravity and degradation, as is evinced by the number of men out of employment, shows us clearly where we are going. We cannot deny it. No thinking man, no reasoning man, no friend of his kind, can ignore the fact that we are going rapidly on to a precipice. If I call a halt, I consider that in the interest of humanity. I make no threats. I have never made any threats. I have merely spoken and told the people what was the natural result of present existing conditions. I tell them now that I do not advise any man to commit any act which would render himself liable to the law or to punishment; but I say to those who have the means of existence in their possession, that there may come a time when the people will no longer be crowded together, when the rate, as Mr. Grinnell has said, will come out of their holes. I would ask you to read Victor Hugo, read in that grand work, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," the description of the vermin that crawled out of the Latin quarter. Unpleasant as these are, they are human beings. Look at the result of the degradation that the masses had been brought to, and at the time of the French Revolution of 1789. They knew nothing. They only knew the blind rage of an enraged tiger to kill something—to destroy something, when their condition had become so desparate that life was no longer desirable and death had no terrors. It is a lesson of history. No man ever willfully throws his life away.
It is not probable that there will be any revolt in America, that there will be any rebellion in any country under the sun, until the time has come when the people can no longer live. They will never do it until then. It is for society to think; it is for them to compare. It will not do for a man to look around at his little home, his own hearthstone, and imagine how comfortable he is, and think because of that, that everything is lovely and everything is safe. It is not. Outside are the men who are suffering; men with appetites, men with passions; men with desires; men with sentiments as fine, perhaps, some of them, as those of some of the most intelligent portions of the community; men being driven to the wall. They will continue to be unless the system is changed. When I have told you, or indicated, rather, how the people's means of existence have gradually been concentrated into the hands of the smaller quantity and number of the community, it is an indication that points unerringly to a danger. I wish society would avert this. I have said upon the witness stand that it was not pleasant for me to contemplate anything of the kind. It is not a pleasant thing, but in the interest of peace, as I told these people.
Your honor, there is one thing I wish to say about my own particular case, and then 1 have done. Dynamite has been spoken of here, and it has been charged by Mr. Ingham that all of us knew that violence was to be used at the Haymarket. If he didn't say as much, it was indicated as much in that assertion that we were all equally guilty. That may be so. I don't now the extent to which any of the others are guilty. Fischer, Lingg, and Engel are men that I have not associated with for a year. I knew Fischer; I didn't know Lingg. Mr. Engel I have seen, but quite a while before the Haymaiket affair, and I know at one time he did not belong to our organization—had left it, and so had Fischer, and I didn’t know they belonged to it. I could not have been then conspiring with them to do anything in the Haymarket square on the 4th of May. I hadn't seen these other gentlemen since the Sunday previous. I believe I didn't see Mr. Parsons on that Sunday at all and had not seen him for a week before that. I don't know what the ingredients of dynamite are. I had never seen, before I came into this court room, a dynamite bomb. I have never seen any experiments or taken part in any experiments with dynamite in any shape or form. And I never knew—and I only know now, if I may believe the testimony of the detectives in this case—that there was dynamite kept in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building. I say these things, not because I believe that I shall be believed—because I know, as I have stated before, that every defendant, almost, asserts his innocence, and it is about all that he can do—and it undoubtedly has been the case that many a man, as guilty as he could possibly be, has said with as much apparent sincerity as I say it today, that he was innocent, and yet was guilty—but I wish to say this, that if the State's attorney or the authorities of this city should arrest уour honor tomorrow for any crime they choose to charge you with, they could prove you guilty if they wanted to. That is an advantage that they have. Whether it is intentional—and I am not going to charge anything of the kind against any man—I know that intentional falsehoods have been stated here, I will charge that where I know it—I will not injure any man's feelings; I will not charge for the sake of saving my life, any man with being a murderer, until I know him to be that; I do not and cannot know, having been confined the length of time I have, what influences may have been brought to bear upon the State's attorney, that there should have been the evidence brought in here against me which has been, and which I know to be false—therefore, I will not charge that it was intentional to convict me on his part, but I have suggested here that he can find out many things if he will look up certain records that I have referred to which will controvert much that has been asserted here in my particular case.
Your honor, I have worked at hard labor since I was eight years of age. I went into a cotton factory when I was eight years old, and I have worked continually since, and there has never been a time in my history that I could have been bought or paid into a single thing by any man for any purpose which I did not believe to be true. To contradict the lie that was published in connection with the bill by the grand jury charging us with murder, I wish to say that I have never received one cent for agitating. When I have gone out of the city I have had my expenses paid. But often when I have gone into communities, when I would have to depend upon those communities for paying my way, I have often come back to this city with money out of my pocket which I had earned by hard labor, and I had to pay for the privilege of my agitation out of the little money I might have in my possession.
Today as the beautiful autumn sun kisses with balmy breeze the cheek of every free man, I stand here never to bathe my head in its rays again. I have loved my fellowmen as I have loved myself. I have hated trickery, dishonesty, and injustice. The nineteenth century commits the crime of killing its best friend. It will live to repent of it. But, as I have said before if it will do any good, I freely give myself up. I trust the time will come when there will be a better understanding, more intelligence, and, above the mountains of iniquity, wrong and corruption. I hope the sun of righteousness and truth and justice will come to bathe in its balmy light an emancipated world. I thank your honor for your attention.