Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Examination of Alanson H. Reed (first appearance), 1886 July 13.

Volume G, 252-266, 15 p.
Reed, Alanson H.
Piano manufacturer and dealer.

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

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having been duly sworn to answer questions touching his qualifications as a juror, deposed and testified as follows:

MR. INGHAM: What is your name:

A. Alanson H.Reed.

Q Where do you live?

A. 3242 Groveland Avenue.

Q What is your business?

A. Piano manufacturer and dealer

Q How long have you been in that business, Mr.Reed?

A About twenty three or four years.

Q Mr. Reed, you have an opinion, I suppose as to whether an offense was committed or not at the Haymarket?

A Certainly.

Q Have you any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of these eight men or any of them?

A. Nothing excepting from newspaper report, of course.

Q Notwithstanding the opinion which you have, based upon what you read in the newspapers, do you believe that you can give them a fair and impartial trial upon the evidence here?

A. I should, sir.

Q Base your verdict upon that?

A. Yes,sir.

Q You say you have been engaged in this business how long?

A. About twenty three years I think it is.

Q And how long here in Chicago?

A. Twenty five years.

Q Where were you in business before that?

A. I was in

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Q Where is your place of business at present?

A 126 State Street

Q That used to be Reed's Temple of music?

A. Yes, sir, the same thing.

Q Reed's establishment?

A. Yes, sir.

Q Mr.Reed, are you a member of any Church?

A No, sir, I am a free thinker.

Q Do you know any one of the counsel for the defense?

A No, sir; some of these gentlemen's faces are familiar, but I am not personally acquainted.

Q You have no acquaintance that would influence you in the case?

A. Not in the least.

Q Do you know any one of the defendants that you are aware of?

A. No, sir

Q Or any of their friends, pe sons interested in them particularly?

A. No,sir, none at all.

Q A married man, I suppose?

A. Certainly.

Q A family of children?

A. No sir.

Q Mr.Reed, do you believe in the enforcement of the law?

A Certainly I do.

Q Have you any sympathy with any class whose object is the overthrow of the law by violence?

A. Not in any case, sir.

Q Do you believe in capital punishment, punishment for murder?

A. Well, I think it is allowable in extreme

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cases, yes.

Q You think there are cases in which it is justified?

A I do.

Q And in which society has a right to protect it self in that way?

A. Certainly.

MR. FOSTER: Mr.Reed, how long did you say you had resided in Chicago?

A. 25 years.

Q You have been in the music business all that time?

A Except two years that I was studying law.

Q Have you ever been admitted to the bar?

A. No, sir.

Q You studied law in Chicago?

A. Yes, in the Law School.

Q Were you connected with any one's office,or in any one's office?

A. No, sir.

Q And the other 23 years you have been engaged in the music business?

A. Yes, sir.

Q And in manufacturing?

A. Yes a portion of the time manufacturing, and part of the time in dealing.

Q Are you manufacturer now?

A. Yes.

Q And dealer?

A. Yes.

Q How long have you been a manufacturer? Well, we have had an interest in it off and on a number of years, but in Chicago here within the last two years, last year or two.

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Q Before that you had an interest in an eastern manufactory?

A. Yes, sir.

Q Have you a partner now?

A. In the city here, in my business do you mean?

Q Yes.

A. Yes, sir, my brother.

Q Is he also interested in the factory?

A. Yes, sir.

Q How many men do you employ?

A. Oh,we have here in our own establishment from ten fifteen men in all; in our manufactory perhaps half a dozen in all.

Q You manufacture pianos?

A. Yes, sir, only in a small way here.

Q Are you connected with any factory anywhere else?

A Not now.

Q How long has it veen since you were?

A. In the east? Well, of course my manufacturing interest there is under contracts with the manufacturers,and all the goods that are made for me under contracts in accordance with my own specifications are then credited to me and sold as our goods.

Q That is, you have nothing to do with the employment of the men?

A Not in the employment of the men.

Q Nor with the payment of the men?

A. No, sir, not the men.

Q You pay a stipulated price for the work?

A Yes, sir.

Q And they manufacture according to your directions,

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under your order?

A. Yes, sir.

Q That is the only way in which you have ever been interested in the cast manufacturing, I presume?

A Yes, sir, except that we have loaned them money and furnished them goods.

Q And here?

A. Here we have a separate manufactory.

Q And not to exceed half a dozen men, you say?

A No, sir.

Q Have you ever been affected by any labor strikes?

A No, sir.

Q Neither in your store nor in your factory?

A. No, sir; most of my men have been along with me a long time.

Q Have you any prejudice to the organization of laboring men, the formation of unions by laboring men?

A. Not if they keep with the law.

Q If the object is simply their own advancement you haven't any objection to it?

A. If they keep within the law, no sir.

Q Well now, keep within the law - would you say that their organizing meetings for discussing wages, what wages they ought to have, discussing question of practicability of working at a stipulated sum, or for a stipulated number of hours per day - is that within your judgment within the law?

A. Yes, sir.

Q That they have a right to do so?

A. Yes, sir.

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Q And you would have no objection to their quitting if their demands are not paid, provided they did not interfere with anybody else that wanted to work?

A. Yes, sir.

Q That is your idea is it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q You would have no prejudice whatever against such an organization as that?

A. No, sir, not if they did not interfere with other men working.

Q Then you have no prejudice, I presume, against a person engaged in organizing labor unions of that character?

A Well, that would depend upon the way he acted.

Q Well, acting within the law?

A. If he kept within the law.

Q He organizing just the kind of unions that you say you would not object to - you say you would have no objection to the union itself if the object was to discuss question of the general interest for their own protection and advancement?

A. Yes, sir.

Q And the object of which was of course to keep within the law - you would have no objections to those unions?

A No, sir.

Q Now, then, would you have any objections or prejudice against a man establishing just such unions as that?

A No, sir, not unless it was some union that had committed itself publicly to the violation of the laws.

Q Well, suppose that as a union they did not - that it is

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only individual members that go astray?

A. Very well then the union could not be held responsible.

Q So you would have an objection against such person as that?

A. I will explain to you, the point perhaps that I had in my mind was, for instance, in regard to delegates who were employed by a union to go to an establishment and order their men to quit. That I consider a union would be reponsible for, and of course I would have a prejudice against a union of that kind.

Q For instance, there is a union say against which you have no objection, you would have no feeling or prejudice against a member of that union that would go elsewhere in a foreign part of the state, or in any other state and explain the rules, theories and so forth and establish a union of the same character at another place?

A. That would all depend upon the doctrines taught.

Q Well, the same dostrines as taught by the union to which you say you would no prejudice?

A. Well, if they do not teach doctrines to undermine the law, to break the law, then of course there would be no objection to it; there could not be.

Q Do you know anything about the principles contended for by socialists and communists and anarchists?

A. From read the papers and magazines, yes, and little of course from conversation, talk.

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Q Have you a prejudice against those organizations or against individuals expressing or entertaining the views of those classes?

A. Well, of course I could not say that a pronounced socialist or anarchist - I shouldn't be willing to employ.

Q But outside of your employing him - you would not employ him perhaps for fear that he would sow the seeds of discord among your other employes, perhaps?

A. Certainly.

Q But would you have any prejudice against a man because of his views?

A. Personally I might not, no sir.

Q Well, do you think you would?

A. No, sir, not personally.

Q Because of his opinion?

A. Of course I would have a prejudice against any man that I considered undermined the social and political laws of the country.

Q Oh, yes, I understand.

A. For, instance, you may ask me the same question in regard to the Mormons. I look upon it exactly the same thing, the same idea. I could not help but have a prejudice.

Q You may have a prejudice against one of the leading political parties to which you are opposed?

A. Yes, sir.

Q Upon the same theory, I suppose?

A. Yes, sir.

Q Have you ever made any examination and study into the principles of socialists, or communists or anarchists - that is, any investigation or study?

A. No, sir, I have not.

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Q As contained in books upon that subject?

A No, sir, I have not, except in newspaper and magazine articles mostly.

Q Your general opinion then, I suppose, would be rather unfavorable - that is, your views are not inclined to socialism?

A. Not at all.

Q Or communism?

A. Not at all.

Q Or anarchism?

A. In no way - I am an American.

Q Yet any feeling that you might have upon that subject I presume would not, in your opinion now, - you do not believe would weigh a feather's weight in the trial of this case?

A. No, sir, I could not say it would honestly.

Q Nor you would not discredit the testimony of witnesses who might entertain views not in accordance with your own?

A No, sir, not if they were men of good character.

Q Well, men of character would always be an ingredient in determining the weight to give evidence?

A Certainly.

Q I believe you answered that you are not acquainted with any of the defendants at all?

A No, sir.

Q Have never seen any of them except as you see them here in court?

A. No, sir, not that I can remember.

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I may have seen them on the lake shore, but not that I remember.

Q Have you heard any speeches on the lake shore?

A Well, yes, I did once or twice, but it was no one that I remember personally, who did the speaking except one woman.

Q You have formed of course an opinion that a crime was committed at the Haymarket?

A. Yes, sir, without doubt.

Q But I understand your opinion is very qualified as to the connection of the defendants with the commission of that offense?

A. Certainly, I have no proof of that fact.

Q Your mind is clear to hear proof and to act under the proof and nothing else in this case?

A. Yes, sir. I do not see how I could decide in any other way.

Q You understand of course that if you sit as a juror in a criminal case - I suppose you understand the general rule that applies in trials of this kind, the people must establish beyond all reasonable doubt the guilt of these defendants by competent evidence which the jury will receive and believe, and if they do not establish that beyond all reasonable doubt it is the duty of the jury to render a verdict of not guilty, notwithstanding what their opinions may be or what their prejudices might call for. You appreciate that rule, I suppose. Suppose the weight of evidence - not alone the weight of evidence, the greater

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weight of evidence might be in favor of a conviction, and yet if there was a reasonable doubt of the conviction in your own mind, weighing the whole testimony -

A How would I have the doubt except from the evidence if what I have stated was true, that I decided on the evidence?

Q The distinction is this: Of course where the testimony is equally balanced you could not say that they were guilty.

A And there would be no weight of evidence.

Q No, but there might be weight of evidence in your mind, by which you say they were guilty, by the weight of evidence - preponderance of evidence as it is termed?

A. Well, then I would have to decide it to the best of my judgment.

Q But then that is not all, Mr. Reed. The Court will instruct you that it is not enough to convict a man charged with murder, but the evidence must be so strong as to convince your mind beyond all reasonable doubt of their guilt, and if it is not so established it is the duty of the jury to acquit them. Now, could you act upon that instruction and that rule of law, do you believe?

A Well, I certainly would not convict a man that the evidence did not convince my mind was guilty; I could not do that.

Q And beyond all doubt - that is, if you had a doubt in your mind which caused you to hesitate and stop and discuss

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the question with yourself, that then is regarded as a reasonable doubt. You think you could act in that way do you under the instruction of the Court? You could take the law as the Court would give it to you and apply it to this case as you believe?

A. Well, one would have doubts and would stop and think, and reflect until he gave a decision. Then when the weight of evidence had brought a decision or conviction of mind his doubts would be at an end and he could only decide in accordance with the conviction that was shown by the testimony - that I could do, of course.

Q When your mind was convinced in that way?

A. Why, when I arrived at a conviction I could tell what it is.

Q You understand, however, that if you are selected as a juror you are expected not to keep discussing the testimony in your own mind, or coming to a conclusion until the case is submitted to you and you retire to deliberate.

A Oh, certainly I understand that.

Q You say you are a freethinker?

A. Yes sir.

Q So far as religion is concerned?

A. Yes, sir.

Q Were you ever a member of a church?

A. No, sir.

Q Brought up in any church?

A. Yes, sir.

Q What church?

A. In the Episcopal church in the beginning, and I have been through nearly all.

Q That is, simply as a member of the congregation,

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I suppose?

A. Yes, sir. I didn't join any church.

Q I say, as a member - you have attended various churches?

A. Yes, sir. I was raised in the Episcopal church, and then went to other churches, from one to the other until I adopted my present ideas.

Q That is a little different from any of them, perhaps?

A Well, I am a free-thinker: that is, I dont believe in the supernatural, nor inspiration; in other words, what you call an infidel, I suppose, pretty near; not an atheist, though.

Q Was the opinion which you formed upon the question of the guilt or innocence of these defendants simply from what you read in the papers, or would it have any connection with what you have heard?

A. It is all together.

Q Principally from which, if you can tell?

A. Well, of course the basis of it was newspaper talk, because probably the people that I talked with, the majority of them had not their information from the same source, so far as I know.

Q If I remember your answers you did not at any time converse with any one that was at the Haymarket or claimed to have been there?

A. No, sir.

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

A. Not that I could recall to mind at present, sir.

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Q You are not acquainted with any one that was killed by the explosion of the bomb?

A. No, sir.

Q Or anyone that was crippled or wounded?

A No, sir.

Q Are you acquainted with any of these four or five gentlemen representing the prosecution?

A. Well, the faces of most of these gentlemen are familiar to me, but still I am not personally acquainted with them, perhaps.

Q Could you call them by name if you had met them on the street?

A. No sir. It is a bad habit I have.

Q Bad habit of remembering faces?

A. Of faces, not names.

Q You say you have a wife but no children, I believe?

A Yes, sir.

Q Where is your place of residence?

A. 3242 Groveland Avenue.

Q Your business is on State Street?

A. Yes, sir.

MR. SALOMON: How old are you?

A. Forty five. I was born in Boston.

Q Mr. Reed, you are not connected with any union or manufacturing association, are you?

A. No, sir.

Q. You have nothing to do with the furniture union or furniture manufacturer's association?

A. No, sir.

Q Have no connection with any manufacturers' organization?

A. No, sir.

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