Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of James G. Miller, 1886 July 24.

Volume J, 302-305, 4 p.
Miller, James G.

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

Attended a meeting at the Lake Front where Albert Parsons spoke. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): plans for warfare against the police and/or capitalists (vol.J 303), call for workingmen to arm themselves (vol.J 303), Lake Front meetings (vol.J 302).

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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 G. Miller.

Q What is your business, Mr. Miller?

A I am a lawyer.

Q Do you know any of the defendants, that is, have you ever seen them, any of these defendants?

A Yes, sir, I know the gentleman with the full beard and the full face.

Q Fielden?

A The gentleman right back of Mr. Black. (Indicating defendant Fielden).

Q Where did you see him?

Q On the Lake Front. Lake park.

Q When?

A Sometime last fall.

Q Did you hear him speak?

A Yes, sir.

Q Was it a crowd that he was addressing, a Lake Front meeting?

A There was a crowd there he was addressing.

Q State what he said, if anything?

Objected to as before; objection overruled; Exception by defendants.

Mr. BLACK: I would like to have the time fixed for this

Mr. GRINNELL: As near as you can fix the time? In reference to Thanksgiving last year, what time was it?

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A It was before Thanksgiving, I should judge.

Q Was it in that month, the month of November, do you think?

A No, sir, I think it was earlier than November.

Q Well, can you fix it any more definitely than that?

A It was either during the last part of August or during the month of September, according to the best of my recollection.

Q Now you may state what he said?

Mr. BLACK: Subject to our objection in behalf of all the defendants;and particularly the seven others than Fielden


THE WITNESS: He stated that the workingmen, the laborers, were justified in using force to obtain that which was theirs, and which was withheld from them by the rich. He stated that our present system -- our present social system was not proper,, that an equality of possession should exist, and if the rich men kept on withholding from the poor, what was justly due to the poor, because they had earned it, they should use violence and force -- in fact, his language was most incendiary.

Mr. BLACK: Never mind.

THE COURT: Repeat as nearly as your memory serves you what he did say, but don't give any opinion of your own as to the character or nature of it.

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Mr. BLACK: We move before we proceed that that expression be stricken out.

Mr. GRINNELL: The word "incendiary" and what follows.

THE COURT: Well, all the words "In fact," and what follows them.

Mr. GRINNELL: All right.

THE WITNESS: He said "You are justified by using force and taking by force that which has been withheld from you".

Q In that connection did he say anything about the kind of force that was to be used and against whom?

A The kind of force, as far as I remember, he did not say. But it was to be used against the rich and the wealthy and the men who had means.

Q Did he have anything to say in that speech of his as to what should be done with the existing order of Society?

A It should be destroyed, anihilated, and if no other redress, or as no redress could be had peaceably, they were justified in using force and violence.

Q Was this on a Sunday?

A I don't remember.

Q How did you happen to be there?

A A gentlemen who had recently arrived from Europe and I took a stroll through the business part of the city and in that we came to Michigan Avenue and saw the crowd there, and we listened to this speech.

Q How much of a crowd was there, Mr. Miller? That is

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how many were immediately around the speaker's stand at that meeting, in your estimation?

A Well, probably from two hundred to three hundred.

Q Have you attended any other meetings or heard any other speaking from Eielden, or any other defendants at any other time?

A No, sir.

By Mr. Foster.

Q You say that he did not describe the force that was to be used?

A No, sir, not that I recollect.

Q Nothing said about bombs, dynamite, then?

A Not to my recollection.

Q Nor against any particular individuals against which force was to be applied?

A No, sir.

Q Nor the time at which it was to be applied, or the manner?

A No, sir.

Q You are an attorney, are you?

A Yes, sir.

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