Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Examination of James H. Cole (first appearance), 1886 June 22.

Volume A, 137-144, 8 p.
Cole, James H.
Bookkeeper, C. B. & Q Railroad.

Examined by Mr. Foster. Accepted as a juror in the case of Illinois vs. August Spies et al.

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Mr FOSTER. What is your name?

A James H. Cole.

Q Where do you live?

A 987 Lawndale avenue.

Q How long have you lived in this city?

A Seven years.

Q What business are you in?

A I have been in the railroad business. I have no business now.

Q What other business?

A Book keeper for the Continental Insurance Company up to April 1st.

Q What business are you engaged in now?

A None.

Q Since when?

A Since April 1st.

Q You heard about the haymarket meeting?

A Yes.

Q You read the newspaper accounts from day to day from that time up to the present time?

A Yes.

Q Did you believe the statements?

A I did not believe all that I read in the newspapers.

Q Did you believe enough to form an opinion upon the question of the guilt or innocence of these defendants, or any of them?

A I don't think I ever have.

Q Have you any prejudice against a class of people called communists, or anarchists, or socialists?

A I have a prejudice against all secret societies.

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Q Have you any prejudice against them more than any ordinary secret societies?

A No sir.

Q Do you know anything about the doctrines of these societies?

A Not of my own knowledge.

Q From what you know and what you have read, have you any prejudice against them as such?

A I have a prejudice against all organizations that violate the law.

Q From what you know now of socialists, communists and anarchists have you a prejudice against them as a class?

A Yes.

Q You have a prejudice?

A Yes.

Q Is that prejudice such that you cannot render a fair verdict and an impartial verdict sitting as a juror in which they are on trial?

A No sir.

Q It is not so great as that?

A No sir.

Q Your verdict would be rendered then the same as against any other man, as I understand it?

A Yes.

Q You could lay aside the prejudice that you have against the class and return a verdict according to the evidence introduced in court?

A That is the way that I have always tried to live.

Q According to your best judgment could you lay aside all unfavorable opinions which you have formed and be guided entirely and exclusively from the testimony from the witnesses upon the

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stand in court and the instructions from his Honor, the Judge?

A I think I could.

Q You think you could?

A Yes.

Q Are you acquainted with Mr. Grinnell?

A No sir.

Q Or Mr. Ingham, or either of the other gentlemen?

A No sir.

Q You don't know them at all?

A No sir.

Q Are you intimately acquainted with any members of the police force?

A Only at Lawndale.

Q Are you acquainted with any of the police force who were present at the haymarket square?

A No sir; I don't know any of them.

Q You had no conversation with any of them?

A No sir.

Q Or with any of the detectives of the City of Chicago?

A I don't know any of them.

Q I understand you to say that you have had no conversation with any one in regard to the occurrences at the haymarket?

A Only in a general way.

Q Not sufficient to cause you to form an opinion?

A No sir.

Q What papers have you read the accounts in?

A Well, I have read mostly the News and the Herald, and the Tribune.

Q This question that I now read to you I don't wish you to answer until the court has passed upon it; You have answered that you are prejudiced against Socialists, communists and anarchists.

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Upon the trial in this case if it should be established by competent evidence that a meeting of socialists, communists, anarchists and others was held at the haymarket square in this city on the evening of May 4th, 1886, and that a bomb was maliciously thrown by some one in sympathy with such meeting and in sympathy with the principles advocated by socialists, communists and anarchists, and that by reason thereof Mathias J. Deegan was killed: but if the evidence introduced upon the trial fails to show beyond a reasonable doubt that such bomb was thrown by these defendants, or any one of them, and that they nor any of them either assisted, aided, abetted, advised or counselled the throwing of such bomb, would your projudice against socialists, communists and anarchists prevent you from rendering an impartial verdict and acquitting the defendants, or are you now so prejudiced against the classes to which I have referred that you cannot act impartially and fairly as a juryman in this case under the facts assumed in this question?

Question refused by the court.

Exception by defendants.

Q Where did you reside before coming to Chicago?

A Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Q At what age did you leave Chattanooga?

A I was 43 years when I left there.

Q Were you in the army at any time?

A I was in the army from '61 to October, '65.

Q In the Confederate army?

A No sir, in the Union forces.

Q What regiment?

A The 41st Ohio as captain, and I served as major.

Q You enlisted in Ohio?

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A I did not enlist. I was commissioned as an officer in the beginning.

Q Was your residence Chattanooga at that time?

A No sir: Cleveland, Ohio.

Q What is your present age?

A Fifty years.

Q And you were 43 years whon you left Chattanooga?

A Yes, I have been here seven years. I was 43 when I left Chattanooga.

Q Then you lived in Ohio before you went to Chattanooga?

A Yes.

Q What year did you go to Chattanooga?

A I don't just remember just how long I was in Chattanooga; it was either two or three years. I had a great deal of trouble there and I had yellow fever myself.

Q Your birth place then was in Ohio?

A No sir.

Q Where were you born?

A In Utica, New York.

Q What age did you go to Ohio?

A I went to Ohio from Chicago in 1856.

Q What business were you engaged in at Chicago at that time?

A I was not doing anything except a little extra work in the Marine Bank.

Q Then you removed to Ohio?

A From here to Ohio, yes sir.

Q Ohio was your residence at the breaking out of the rebellion?

A Yes.

Q And you were commissioned as an officer in 1861?

A Yes sir.

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Q And served until 1865?

A Yes.

Q And remained there for some time after that?

A Yes, I remained there until 1869.

Q And then went to Chattanooga?

A No sir; I went to Boston and Syracuse. I was traveling for Sweet's Steel Works, and then I went to Boston afterwards.

Q From Boston where?

A To Rutland, Vermont.

Q What was your business there?

A In the insurance business.

Q How long did you live at Rutland?

A About two years.

Q And from there where did you go?

A Then I went back to Cleveland.

Q From there where?

A From there to Chattanooga.

Q Are you a man of family?

A I have a wife and four children.

Q Is your family here?

A Yes sir.

Q Are you satisfied that notwithstanding all the information you have in this case from any and all sources, that you can sit impartially and render a verdiet solely and purely upon the tostimony that should be introduced and the law as given you, in the court's charge?

A I think I could, sir.

Q I will ask you whether you would give as much weight to the testimony of a witness if it appeared that he was a socialist or a communist as you would to any other witness.

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Question refused by the court.

Exception by defendants.

Q Now, all things else being equal, would you give as much credit to such a witness as you would to any other witness?

Question refused by the court.

Exception by defendants.

Q Is your bias or prejudice against a communist or anarchist such that it would in any way bias you against the testimony of a witness who was a communist or a socialist?

Question refused by the court.

Exception by defendant.

Q Is your bias on socialists and communists such that it would in any way influence you in returning a verdiet upon the trial of a socialist or communist?

A I don't think it is. I should be governed by the testimony and the law as it is given to me.

Q I will ask you whether your prejudice against socialists, communists or anarchists is such that you would not give the same credence to their testimony---everything else being equal--- that you would to another witness, and whether that is your opinion now at the present time?

THE COURT. You have already had that question once, but then you can save your point again.

Mr. FOSTER. Have you any conscientious scruples against the infliction of the death penalty in proper cases?

A No sir.

Q The opposition that you have to secret societies, is that on account of any religious teachings?

A No sir, not at all.

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Q Simply your own views on that question?

A That is all.

Q You are not a member of any society or church?

A I am a member of the Episcopal Church.

Q And attend that church regularly I presume?

A Yes; as often as I can.

Crowley excused peremptorily by defendants.

Adjourned to 2 P.M.

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