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According to Spies's testimony, shortly after he arrived at work about 8:30 on Tuesday morning, May 4, he received and accepted the request to speak in the Haymarket that evening. A notice for that meeting appeared in the Briefkasten ("Letter Box") of that day's Arbeiter-Zeitung, which also contained the word Ruhe! further down the same Briefkasten column at whose top the word Ruhe! (see previous entry).

At about 11 a.m., Spies first saw the circular for the meeting that Adolph Fischer had prepared. This circular (left) was shown to Spies by Fischer's friend Johann Grueneberg, who had picked the circulars up at the printers. Spies objected vigorously to the closing line "Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force," and he said he would not speak at the rally.

When told by Grueneberg that the circulars were not yet distributed, Spies said that he would speak only if the line was removed. The two men consulted with Fischer, who agreed to change the line, which resulted in a second version of the poster with the offensive line removed (see middle image). Gruenberg testified at the trial that he picked up about twenty thousand copies of the corrected handbill, which he quickly disseminated throughout the city. Somehow a few of the objectionable posters also found their way into circulation. After the bombing, the police eagerly confiscated other posters from the Arbeiter-Zeitung office.

Both posters are signed "The Executive Committee," but just who constituted this committee is not apparent. In his remarks before sentencing, Fischer proudly admitted that he had written the line advising workers to come prepared for battle, but that he was only counseling self-defense. "In the original of the 'copy' I had the line 'Workingmen, appear armed!'" he stated, "and I had my reason too for putting these words in, because I didn't want the workingmen to be shot down in that meeting as on other occasions." But the words "Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force," the prosecution contended, showed a clear intention of which the bomb was the result.