Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Court discussion regarding the defense's objection to the admission of Johann Most's, The Science of Revolutionary War into evidence, 1886 July 23.

Volume J, 189-199, 11 p.
Court discussion.

People's Exhibits 15 (p.199) and 16 (p.199) introduced into evidence.

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Mr. GRINNELL: I offer the translation in evidence and also the translation of the book called Herr Most's Science of Warfare.

Mr. BLACK: We object to the translations, both of them as incompetent, immaterial and irrelevant. We object to the other article inasmuch as there is no proof--

Mr. GRINNELL: The other is the platform of the International Workingmen's Association.

THE COURT: What paper is it you have there?

Mr. GRINNELL: The Arbeiter Zeitung offered in evidence

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the other day.

THE COURT: Is that one of the papers identified by Mr. Frickey?


THE COURT: Whether he identifies that as one of the regular issue of the Arbeiter Zeitung, I don't know whether he did or not.

Mr. GRINNELL: It is the regular issue identified by him.

THE COURT: If it is the one identified by him any matter in it is competent.

Mr. BLACK: The platform of the International Workingmen's Association does not relate to this inquiry.

Mr. SALOMON? When was this paper introduced?

Mr. GRINNELL: When Mr. Frickey was on the stand.

Mr. BLACK: They were identified and proved at that time, but we didn't understand that they were introduced.

Mr. GRINNELL: I understood that all those papers identified by Frickey from which he asked some time to find out about were identified and put in evidence. This was simply the translation of one of the articles.

Mr. BLACK: I say they were identified, but the question of their competency was reserved.

THE COURT: The contents were not put in evidence.

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Frickey said that was one of the regular issues of the Arbeiter Zeitung.

Mr. SALOMON: And we admitted that.

Mr. GRINNELL: And the two, that particular article and the article I referred to I offer in evidence, the original and the translation.

Mr. SALOMON: Then we object to them.

THE COURT: It is put in for the purpose of showing the persons of the Arbeiter Zeitung disseminated that.

Mr. GRINNELL: There is also some proof from Mr. Frickey showing that the defendants, that is those specially and particularly connected with the Arbeiter Zeitung are members of the International Workingmen's Association.

Mr. SALOMON: Supposing they are.

THE COURT: It is not important in the aspect of proving that in fact such a constitution or by-laws or platform, or whatever it is, is the real constitution or by-laws or platform of any organization, but it is put in to show, that is the primary object, to show that the persons connected with the Arbeiter Zeitung disseminated that literature among the public.

Mr. BLACK: I didn't understand that from anything suggested by the representatives of the State, or those whom we suppose to represent the State, that that is the purpose of the author.

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Mr. GRINNELL: What earthly purpose would it be for?

Mr. BLACK: The Court made a suggestion just now. I said to the Court that I had not heard any such suggestion made by the representatives or supposed representatives of the State.

Mr. GRINNELL: I will ask one other question. In the original there appear some diagrams which do not appear on that translation?

A Yes.

Q That is the only modification?

A Yes.

Mr. FOSTER: We expect probably that the Court will over-rule our objection, but it is fair to the Court if we have any intelligent reason why the evidence ought not to be introduced that we should state it before the ruling was made. In the first place as far as Herr Most's book is concerned with his instructions to the civilized world it has no reference whatever to anybody or any class of people residing in the City of Chicago more than it does to those in the City of Constantinople or London or any other town or any other place, but particularly upon the constitution and the by-laws of the International Workingmen's Association, it appears, it seems they were adopted by a society -- if I understand the suggestion of the court and counsel they are introduced here for the purpose of showing as the court suggested, the dissemination by the Arbeiter Zeitung by the proprietors or those responsible for the publication of the paper, of certain views. I don't believe that it has that tendancy any

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more than the Tribune might be charged with disseminating Democratic ideas by incorporating in their platform and publishing the platform of the Democratic party. It would not be claimed that they were disseminating Democratic ideas or views at all in so doing. There is no note attached to this translation or anything to show that the doctrines disseminated by the constitution and by-laws of the International Workingmen's Association was adopted by the Arbeiter Zeitung or was published or consented to or concurred in, or that there was any adoption on the part of the editor of that paper or any of the defendants, or anybody else. It is simply put in as a matter of general news for the public the same as any newspaper, just the same as the Tribune or Times or the News or Herald, or any paper published in the City of Chicago, that would get a copy of that constitution and those by-laws, and as a matter of general interest insert it in the columns of the paper. I say the only difference that it could be claimed could be urged by this publication are the defendants Mr. Spies and Mr. Schwab - because they are the only ones unless possibly Mr. Fischer -- they are the only ones ever connected with the publication of the Arbeiter Zeitung. Now then, if as a matter of news, because that is all that appears on the face of it -- not being endorsed either editorially, locally or any other way -- simply as a matter of news if it is competent to be introduced in evidence because

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appearing in the Arbeiter Zeitung, it is competent if appearing in the Times or Tribune or Herald or News or any other paper. There cannot be any difference. If there is no adoption of the principles by any of the papers, there is no concurrence in anything said by the constitution and by-laws, it is simply published, and that is all there is to it? Now, then, the News article that was presented here by the reporter the other day, that was written out by him, presented far more material testimony in my view than is presented here. Yet your Honor held that was not competent, what was published in the News could not be competent unless it was written by one of the defendants, consented to by one of the defendants and adopted by one of the defendants, which was not the case in that instance. I say the gentlemen will not contradict what I say, that he will be unable to show, and is and does not attempt to show the adoption, the concurrence in the ideas expressed in the constitution and by-laws of the International Workingmen's Association by any of these defendants. So then, this is opening the door, and we think in all conscience it has been opened broad enough. All the acts of these defendants have been inquired into from their cradles down to the present time, and only fails to follow them to the grave because they have not arrived at that point. Now, then, is anything that was ever published in the

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Arbeiter Zeitung as a matter of news and not an expression of opinion, is everything that has transpired from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to the Gulf, is that competent simply because it is something which has occurred or has been brought about by some one with whom the defendants have had no concern. It seems to me it is going entirely too far. Perhaps there is not anything that amounts to very much in it. I am not discussing as to whether or not the constitution and by-laws is anything that cuts any serious figure, but we regard it as being incompetent, and it is proper that we state our objections to the court when we earnestly believe it.

Q Upon no theory that we can conceive can it be made competent against any of the defendants, unless the gentleman shows that somewhere, at some place and under some circumstances, and at some time, some of these defendants have endorsed the principles, and he brings into court some evidence of that endorsement, which I understand at present he does not claim.

Mr. SALOMON: The charge here is one of murder of a certain individual Matthias J. Degan. The testimony therefore, which is introduced tending to show that the defendants are guilty of a conspiracy, or that they are guilty of treason, can be relevant only upon a trial where these specific charges may be made, and proof in support of that

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charge is introduced. It has been shown that on the night of the 4th of May Matthias J. Degan was killed, but who killed him, who threw the bomb, has not been attempted in any manner to be shown. It has not been attempted to show that they advised, encouraged, aided or abetted the throwing of that bomb, and under the laws of this state, that is the only evidence that can be material. We therefore insist that before any other proof is introduced into this case, that the court require proof of that.

Mr. GRINNELL: The gentleman's remarks would lead us to conclude that we are advancing backwards, not forwards. His remarks are better suited to posterity than the trial of this issue. The question that was originally raised was one that Mr. Foster raised, and to which he spoke, and from which the gentleman that last spoke has diverged greatly. The simple question is as to the admissibility of this translation. Herr Most's book has been admitted in evidence,and been shown to the jury. It is not a question as to the admissibility of that book but simply a question as to the admissibility of the translation.

THE COURT: I do not think the cotents of the book have been offered.

MR. GRINNELL: I understood the book itself had been admitted in evidence and the translation of it.

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THE COURT: The testimony as produced -- I don't want to say anything is a fact -- it is for the jury to say what is the fact -- but there has been testimony that book was sold at different places at gatherings by different people, and that it was advertised for sale -- gratuitously advertised, I believe, in the Arbeiter Zeitung,and copies of the book have been in the hands of witnesses, but this is the first offer of the contents of the book as evidence, because we have not had the contents of the book in English.

Mr. GRINNELL: I will add in that connection that from the testimony of one witness it appears that Fischer admitted that he learned some of his notions of dynamite and its use from Herr Most's book. That added to what the Court has already said, it seems to us allows this book to be admitted in evidence as the book, the translation of which we now seek to have also offered. So far as the other article is concerned, the gentlemen, perhaps, with myself are in trouble many times in regard to what the paper contains. These papers, the Arbeiter Zeitung, have been identified by Fricke, the witness. They are all issuable by the Arbeiter Zeitung office, by that printing establishment, of which Spies, and these other parties, some of which have been mentioned, were connected. So also, it appears, will appear at least by looking at the files that this particular article of which we desire the translation has been printed month after month in this

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same paper. It is only a circumstance, and as a circumstance,whatever it tends to show,it is legitimate and proper in proof. Whatever the connection of the defendants may be with that paper, or with that article, or the repetition of that article for the months preceding is for the jury to consider, their connection with all the circumstances of the case. It has been proven that the Arbeiter Zeitung contained that article -- whether it had editorial comments of approval or disapproval cuts no figure. It is a circumstance in connection with this paper, and it is, we think, proper for the jury to consider.

THE COURT: I have no doubt but what it is competent. The circumstances may be significant or not, depending on the surroundings whether it is significant or not is for the jury to determine from the surroundings which come before them. Whether the defendants, or any of them, were intending to have a mob, kill people, and were teaching them how to kill people, is a question which this jury is to find out from the evidence. And these two translations are admissible upon the investigation of that question. As to Mr. Salomon's statement that it is necessary to first show the man that perpetrated the deed, I don't care to say more than simply I don't think there is anything in that argument.

Mr. BLACK: We desire to except to the ruling of the Court,and to the suggestion of the Court in the announcement

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of his ruling. We do not understand that the question, whether these defendants as desiring one thing or another, has anything to do with this issue.

(Here insert translation of Herr Most's book, and platform of International Workingmen's Association.)

(Above documents -- translations of Herr Most's book and platform of International Association of Workingmen introduced in evidence on behalf of People, and marked People's Exhibits 15 and 16 in Volume of Exhibits hereto attached.)

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