Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Examination of G. W. Adams (first appearance resumed), 1886 July 14.

Volume H, 38-46, 9 p.
Adams, G. W.
Painter and paint salesman for George W. Pitkin.

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

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Examination of G. W. Adams by Mr. Foster.

Q What is your name, did you say?

A G. W. Adams.

Q How long have you lived in Evanston?

A 22 or 23 years.

Q How old are you?

A 27.

Q your business is what?

A I am a painter by trade.

Q Have you followed that business?

A I have until this last year.

Q How long have you been engaged in the painting business? When did you learn that trade?

A About 11 years ago.

Q And what have you been doing during the 11 years when you were not engaged in following your trade as painter?

A Up to this year I followed it altogether, right along.

Q What have you been doing this year?

A I have been on the road for George W. Pitkin.

Q As a traveling salesman?

A Yes.

Q Over what territory did you travel?

A Michigan.

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Q Were you here in Chicago on the 4th of May?

A I was not.

Q When did you return to Chicago?

A Sometime about the middle of May - I dont know the exact day.

Q You heard, I suppose, of the occurrences at the Haymarket when you were away?

A I did.

Q Did you read it in the Chicago papers?

A Yes, partly in those and partly in the Michigan papers.

Q And after returning I suppose you conversed frequently with your friends in regard to the Haymarket meeting and what had occurred there - or what was supposed to have occurred there?

A Yes.

Q You formed an opinion of course that an offense was committed at the Haymarket?

A Yes.

Q Did you form an opinion at the same time that the defendants were connected or responsible for the commission of that crime?

A I thought some of them were interested in it - Yes.

Q And you still think so?

A Yes.

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Q Nothing has transpired in the interval to change your mind at all I suppose?

A No sir.

Q You say "some of them" that is in the newspaper accounts that you read the names of some of the defendants were referred to in the articles?

A Yes, sir.

Q Mr. Spies, Mr. Fielden, and Mr. Parsons, whom you understood spoke at the Haymarket - you remember of their names being mentioned?

A I dont remember their names particularly just now.

Q You remember some of the names of the persons who are now on trial - reference was made to their action at the meeting?

A Yes.

Q That caused you to form an opinion upon the question of the innocence or the guilt of some of the defendants now on trial; is that a strong opinion?

A No, sir, I dont think it is.

Q Did you ever belong to any union of painters?

A No sir.

Q You never belonged to any trade union or labor union?

A No sir.

Q Have you ever carried on the business for yourself by

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the employment of other painters?

A Yes sir.

Q That is,you have been an employer of painters?

A Yes.

Q And you have been a contractor of jobs of work?

A Yes.

Q For how many years have you been doing that business?

A Well, I am not doing that now.

Q I understand you; but for how many years were you an employer and a contractor?

A Well, it was only for a few months that I was out at Kansas City.

Q Was it in Kansas City that you engaged in that business?

A Yes.

Q How many men did you have in your employ?

A Only three.

Q Did you take more than one job of work?

A Yes.

Q You Took several?

A Yes.

Q Did you ever have any trouble on account of labor strikes?

A I did not.

Q Have you any prejudice against the organization of

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painters or others belonging to the laboring classes - organized societies or trade unions or labor unions for their own protection?

A No sir.

Q You think it is all right, do you, for them to meet and discuss wages and prices and so forth and determine what they will labor for and what they will not?

A Yes.

Q You have no feeling against any such organization as that at all?

A No, sir.

Q And no feeling against any one who might organize a lodge, society or organization of that kind or character?

A No sir.

Q Yet you say you never belonged to any such union yourself, I understand you?

A No sir.

Q I believe you answered to Mr.Grinnell that you had not made any careful examination into the principles contended for by Socialists, Communists and Anarchists - am I right?

A Yes, I have not.

Q I suppose you have read in the newspapers or perhaps in the magazines some articles on that subject?

A I have.

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Q Now, have you enough information to know whether you have a prejudice against the classes to which I have referred?

A I dont know. I have not got any prejudice against the class of them, as far as I know.

Q You say that you were raised in a Methodist church?

A Yes.

Q Have you ever been a member of the Methodist church?

A I am at present.

Q How long have you been?

A About a year.

Q Notwithstanding the opinion which you now have upon the question of the guilt or the innocence of some of the defendants, is your mind in the condition in which you can say now that you can try this case upon the testimony and only upon the testimony which may be introduced in court?

A Yes.

Q You understand I suppose that it is a duty of the jury in this case,as all other criminal cases, to decide and return a verdict which shall be formed entirely upon legal evidence in court,do you?

A Yes.

Q Did you ever sit on a jury in a criminal case?

A I have not.

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Q You recognize the fact to exist. I suppose, that no man can legally be convicted upon newspaper statements or upon street gossip or talk - you understand that, dont you?

A Yes.

Q You understand that there is but one kind of legitimate evidence which ought to work a conviction in any case, and that is proper and legal evidence introduced into court in the presence and hearing of the jury, and upon that alone - you recognize that fact, do you?

A Yes.

Q There is another principle, that no man can be convicted of any crime unless his guilt is established beyond all reasonable doubt, and if the guilt is not so established he is entitled to a verdict of acquittal, not with standing any prejudice, bias or opinion which a juror might have outside of court - which he might have gained outside of court before he was selected as a juror? You recognize that principle?

A Yes.

Q Then I understand you to say that your mind is in that condition that you can lay aside all prejudice all opinion, all bias, everything which might be either for or against the defendants; you believe now that you can decide this case upon the testimony and the testimony alone, uninfluenced,

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unbiased and unaffected by any opinion which you now have?

A I do.

Q Where is the firm that you are working for now located?

A I am not working just at present.

Q Well, when you were working?

A 217 and 219 South Clinton Street.

Q Did you ever live in the city?

A Yes.

Q How long since?

A Well, I came here in 1881 and 1882.

Q Is that the only time that you lived in the city?

A Yes.

Q You were born at Evanston, were you?

A No, sir, I was born in Danville, Illinois.

Q At what age did you come to Cook County?

A When I was about four years old.

Q You have lived here since you were four years old?

A Yes.

Q And has your home been in Evanston all the time exceptthe two years that you refer to?

A I was away about two years in St. Louis, Des Moines and Minneapolis.

Q What is your number in Evanston?

A I dont know the number.

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Q Where is it located?

A It is on Hinman Avenue, between Dempster and Greenwood.

Q What is your brother's name?

A J.J. Adams.

Q Your father is also residing in Evanston?

A Yes.

Q At the same place?

A No, sir, not at the same place.

Q What is his business or has his business been?

A He is a painter.

Q Has he been conducting the business of a painter ever since you were a boy?

A No sir; the last 12 years he has.

Q He is a contractor I suppose.

A Yes.

Q And employs men?

A Yes, sir.

Q You have also worked with your father I suppose?

A I have.

Q Probably more than anywhere else?

A Yes.

Q Have you ever been affected by strikes at all?

A I have not, not while I have been with him at least.

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