Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of James K. Magie, 1886 July 19.

Volume I, 310-324, 15 p.
Magie, James K.

Direct examination by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

At meeting at Turner Hall attended by Spies and Fielden in October 1885 in which a resolution was passed to use force instead of the ballot to create change. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): weapons and explosives (vol.I 323), advocating revolution (vol.I 313), call for workingmen to arm themselves (vol.I 312), 1885 Oct. 11 meeting at Turner Hall (vol.I 310), eight-hour movement (vol.I 316), Spies, August (vol.I 310), Fielden, Samuel (vol.I 310).

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a witness for the people having been duly sworn, was examined in chief by Mr. Grinnell, and testified as follows:

Q What is your name?

A James K. Magie.

Q Did you attend a meeting, a public meeting at the twelfth street Turner Hall on the 11th day of October last?

Objected to; objection overruled.

A I did.

Q Do you remember whether or not any of the defendants were there?

A Mr. Fielden was there, and Mr. Spies that I remember.

Q Do you remember whether or not any resolution was offered there by anybody--presented to that meeting?

A I remember that some resolutions were offered.

Q You may look at that resolution there (handing witness newspaper), and say whether or not a resolution which that purports to be a copy of, was introduced there?

Objected to first as immaterial and incompetent; second as improper.

Mr. BLACK: If they desire to prove anything that took place there, it should be by direct examination in the first instance, to see what the witness remembers, without in the first instance placing before him a paper and asking him if

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that is a copy of what there occurred. I object to the paper being shown to the witness until after he testifies.

Mr. GRINNELL: You may state, Mr. Magie, what you know about the rsolutions that were offered, not stating their contents yet. Did you have your attention brought to them that night? Were the resolutions read before the meeting there? Were there any resolutions read before the meeting?

Objected to; objection overruled.

A Resolutions were read at that meeting.

Q Now, by whom were they introduced?

Mr. BLACK: If you remember.

A I think they were introduced by Mr. Spies.

Mr. GRINNELL: By the defendant Spies?

A Yes sir.

Q Who read them?

A I think that he read them.

Q From the platform?

A Yes sir.

Q Or from the hall?

A From the platform.

Q Now when, after that, was your attention first brought to the resolutions again in print, if ever?

A I think that they were published in the newspapers of the next day in the city.

Q Do you remember of seeing them at that time?

A My recollection is that I did. I think I saw them the next day.

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Q When next was your attention brought to the resolution?

A Two weeks ago, may be; somewhere about two or three weeks ago.

Q In my office?

A Yes sir.

Q And again today?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, you may give us as near as you can the purport of those resolutions in the order of the sentiment suggsted by them?

Mr. BLACK: We interpose a special objection now in behalf of the seven defendants other than Mr. Spies in addition to the general objection that we interposed.

THE COURT: Well, proceed.

A I remember that I was disposed to protest against the resoltuion.

Mr. BLACK: Never mind what you were disposed to do.

THE WITNESS: I did protest against the passage of the resolution.

THE COURT: What were the resolutions themselves? As well as you can recollect. What do you remember? Tell the substance.

A They were revolutionary and proposed force.

Mr. BLACK: If the court please, this witness is a witness of sufficient intelligence to understand when you speak to him. I ask your Honor to instruct him.

THE COURT: That is not proper.

Mr. GRINNELL: Give the phraseology as near as you can.

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THE COURT: What, as nearly as you can remember, was the language used in the resolutions? Repeat as nearly as you can, the words?

A Relying upon my memory, and not upon these resolutions, as I have read them to-day, they have left upon my mind the impression that those resolutions proposed force.

Mr. BLACK: Never mind as to that. I move that that answer be stricken out.

THE COURT: Yes, that is not competent. That is not any repetition of the substance of the resolutions.

Mr. GRINNELL: I will ask Mr. Magie to give as near as you can, before I show you this paper--give as near as you can--

THE COURT: What did the resolutions say?

Mr. GRINNELL: What did it start with? Were there any where ases?

A There were several resolutions, I think, and the general tenor of the resolutions I was very much opposed to.

Mr. BLACK: We are not interested in that.

THE COURT: What did they say?

Mr. GRINNELL: Supposing that you were asked outside of the question of what happened there, or any other place-- suppose you are asked now as you have been and are, what did the resolution in fact say? Give the idea in the language that you can remember now.

A I could not remember the words of the resolution sufficiently to repeat them.

THE COURT: It is not necessary that you should be able

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to repeat the resolutions in their terms, but if you can tell in substance what was said in the resolutions--not what you thought the efect of it was, but if you can tell the substance, what the words were, why, that will do.

A Well, that is the only point that is clear in my mind--that in substance the resolutions proposed force instead of reason or the ballot, and I spoke against the resolution.

Mr. BLACK: We move, if the court please, the exclusion of that answer.

THE COURT: Now, if you will tell how you know that they proposed force, p rhaps we will get at it. How do you know that they proposed force? What did they say?

Mr. FOSTER: What is the ruling of the court on Mr. Black's motion?

THE COURT: I do not think that is admissible. The motion is sustained.

Mr. GRINNELL: Now, I will show you the paper here and you read it over and refresh your recollection about what those were (handing witness newspaper entitled "The Alarm".)

Objected to as incompetent, it not having been shown that the newspaper is a memorandum made by the witness; objection overruled.

Q Now, Mr. Magie, after reading this and refreshing your recollection, please state as near as you can the language

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of the resolutions as you remember them to have been introduced and read there by Mr. Spies.

Mr. BLACK: I would like to know first whether the witness's recollection is refreshed.

THE COURT: Oh well, shape your question that way--if you now remember anything of the contents of those resolutions, tell what you do remember.

Mr. BLACK: Tell what you remember of them now.

Mr. GRINNELL: Never mind what is in here)the paper)

Mr. BLACK: Tell what you remember of the resolutions.

A Well, I remember the resolutions that were passed, and if I am permitted to refer to those, if I must make no reference to them, I have answered the question.

Mr. GRINNELL: Now, Mr. Magie, you have read these resolutions?

A Yes sir.

Q You have just read them?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, will you tell the jury from your refreshed memory, from what you remember of those resolutions as introduced--give these gentlemen here so that they may understand what the purport of the resolutions is? Give it in words. Explain to them now. They are the gentlemen that want to hear what you say those resolutions contained.

Mr. BLACK: Not the efect of them, but the contents of them.

Mr. GRINNELL: No, I do not expect he can give the whole phraseology.

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Q Begin with the whereas and cite it down as near as you can so that these gentlemen may know.

Q Well, the resolutions advised workingmen to arm themselves to enforce the eight hour law after the 1st of May. That was my recollection of the resolutions.

Q What if anything was said in the resolutions as to the advisability of the eight hour law?

A Well, there was a general distrust.

Q Well, the resolutions themselves?

A Yes; the resolutions rather expressed a distrust that the eight hour law could be enforced without arms to enforce it.

Q Did it express the sentiment further that the eight hour law would not accomplish the results that the laboring man desired, but that they must use force, revolution.

Objected to as leading and argumentative.

THE COURT: If anything was said about force, in the resolutions which the witness can remember, let him tell what the resolutions did say about the use of force and under what circumstances and why.

Mr. GRINNELL: What was said by the resolutions, if anything about force?

A I do not know as I can give expression to my recollection any better than I have. That in general terms the resolutions proposed force, proposed or advised workingmen to arm themselves. Other features of the resolutions have not impressed themselves upon my mind.

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Q Did the resolutions contain any time as to when this movement should take place? As to when the laboring man should be ready? Arm themselves for what particular time?

A For the 1st of May, 1886.

Q Now, after the reading of the resolutions you replied. After that did August Spies have anything to say in support of the resolution?

Last part of question objected to.

Q Did he have anything to say?

A Mr. Spies had something to say.

Mr. BLACK: Of course it is understood that all this is under our general objection, and special objection on behalf of the other defendants other than Spies.

Mr. GRINNELL: What did he say?

A Well, he spoke after I had spoken.

Q And what did he say?

A Well, he denounced me in general terms.

Q What else?

THE COURT: Go on and repeat what he said.

A Well, I think I can remember that he spoke of me as a political vagabond.

Mr. GRINNELL: What else did he say?

A Well, his precise words, however, left no impression upon my mind. I only know that he spoke in defense of the resolutions and made

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some remarks of that tenor against me.

Q What language, if any, can you remember that he used in regard to the resolutions in support of them or in the defense of them as you speak of?

A Well, I cannot exactly say, except that he was warmly in favor of the resolutions; he supported the resolutions.

Q What words did he use to support it?

A Those words have not left an impression upon my mind so that I could repeat the words.

Q Did he mention any means or remedies? Did he say in that connection, that the time of argument had gone by? The time of argument had passed and that they must prepare themselves for force with guns and dynamite?

Objected to as leading. Objection sustained.

THE COURT: It is easy enough to get at the subject without leading questions. If the dfendant said anything about dynamite, about arms, about argument, about what alternatives there were, why, let the witness repeat if he can remember.

A I remember that the word dynamite was used. I remember that there was a general proposition to arm. This was both in the speeches and in the resolution.

Mr. GRINNELL: Did Fielden speak there?

A Yes sir.

Q What did he say?

A I cannot remember any more specific than I have been giving.

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Q Give me in general terms so that I have the impression, so that these gentlemen have at least an impression as to the character of his speech. What did he advise or say?

A It was in defense of the general sentiment of the resolutions, and it is all summed up in the words, "force, arms and dynamite"; I cannot remember any more than that.

Mr. SALOMON: We move to strike out the latter part of the witness's answer in which he says, "it is all summed up" and so forth.

THE COURT: If he remembers that those words were used, that is legitimate.

Mr. SALOMON: He does not say those words were used.

THE WITNESS: Yes, those words were used, and hat is the impression left upon my mind with reference to that matter.

Mr. GRINNELL: I will ask you, Mr. Magie, if you know that man that sits there (indicating a person sitting at the reporter's table in the court room)?

A No sir, I do not; unless--I think he was the man who presided on that occasion. I wont be sure of that I wont be sure of that; but I think he presided on that occasion.

Q Now I wish to ask you this question, and don't answer it until they have an opportunity to object--what it was that you said in opposition to those resolutions, for which cause Mr. Spies replied?

Objected to as immaterial.

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THE COURT: The whole proceedings of the meeting would be admissible, if any portion is admissible.

Mr. BLACK: I suppose so, but we are objecting to all of them.

THE COURT: Let him go on.

Exception by defendants.

Mr. GRINNELL: Tell what you said, Mr. Magie, to those resolutions or against them?

A Well, I spoke against the passage of the resolutions. I believed--

THE COURT: Tell what you said.

A I said that all reforms could be brought about by the ballot; I was opposed to force. I believed this was the best government that I know anything about. I spoke in general sympathy with the working men and that I was in favor of even less then eight hours, and six hours I thought was enough. I remember that I spoke ten minutes about in that tenor.

Mr. GRINNELL: The chairman of that meeting put the resolutions to vote?

A Yes sir.

Q Was it carried?

A Yes, the resolutions were adopted.

Q By what kind of a vote?

A By a very strong vote. Very few noes.

Q Enthusiastically carried?


Objected to.

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Q Well, you voted no?

A I did.

Q Now and then another stray no in the house?

A There were very few noes.

Q How many people were there there?

A Well, I should say there were five hundred.

Q Who else spoke at that meeting, either to or about the resolutions?

A You have spoken of Fielden, of Spies and yourself.

A Well, let me see.

Q Do you know Simpson?

A I know Simpson.

Q Is he sitting over there with the glasses? (indicating a person present).

A Yes sir.

Q Did he speak?

A He did, but he spoke, I think, before the resolution.

Q Do you know a man by the name of Dusey?

A Yes sir.

Q Did he speak at that meeting?

A I cannot remember.

Mr. BLACK: Is that material?

THE COURT: Whatever happened there is admissible. If anybody on this trial is to be affected by the sentiments of that meeting, then it is necessary to find out what sentiments were there expressed, and who concurred, and who disapproved.

Mr. BLACK: My exact objection is that they do not propose to show that it was any of the defendants but outsiders with whom we had nothing to do, and as yet they have not evn proposed to show what the outsiders said.

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THE COURT: They are going step by step; it has to be done piece meal.

Mr. GRINNELL: Q Now, you may state what you remmber of Simpson's speech and then in turn of Dusey's?

A Well, I was rather favorably impressed with Mr. Simpson's speech--at least I thought that Mr. Simpson had spoken more sensibly, and I think I said so, in my remarks. I was not pleased with the others.

Q Dusey--what did he utter?

A I cannot remember; I cannot remember what Mr. Dusey said. That has left no imppression upon my mind--what he said.

Cross Examination
By Mr. Black.

Q Mr. Magie, do you remember when Mr. Fielden spoke in that meeting with reference to the introduction of the resolution--whether before or after?

A I think he spoke before the resolutions were introduced.

Q Do you remember whether Fielden used the term "dynamite", as a matter now of distinct and independent recollection?

A No sir; I do not remember that Mr. Fielden used he the word dynamite.

Q Do you remember what language he did use?

A I could not repeat the words.

Q Now, do you remember as a matter of independent and

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distinct recollection, whether Spies used the word "dynamite", or have you simply an impression that you brought away from there, that the word was used in the meeting, and possibly in the resolution?

A I think I can remember that Mr. Spies used the word "dynamite".

Q Are you pretty certain of that?

A I would not-- that impression is I think, upon my mind, but I do not want to--

Q Do not want to swear to it?

A Do not want to swear to it.

Q But you do distinctly remember that he called you a political bummer--political vagabond?

A Words to that effect. He explained afterwards that he meant it as a compliment.

Q By the way, Mr. Magie, where are you living in the city now?

A On South Hoyne avenue, 281.

Q What are you now engaged in?

A I am now out of employment.

Q Are you in politics?

A Yes sir.

Q Are you the James K. Magie whose names has been prominently mentioned in the papers as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress, recently, in the 3rd Congressional District?

A I have been mentioned, but not prominently.

Q You are not now a candidate for any office?

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A No sir.

Mr. SALOMON: We move to exclude all the testimony of Mr. Magie, your honor please, and we reserve the point for argument.

Motion overruled and exception by defendants.

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