Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Hill C. Smythe, 1886 July 24.

Volume J, 374-383, 10 p.
Smythe, Hill C.
Reporter, Chicago Tribune.

Direct and re-direct examination by Mr. Walker. Cross-examination by Mr. Foster. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Smythe was given a copy of the Revenge Circular in front of Greif's Hall on Monday, May 3, 1886. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): "Revenge" circular (vol.J 376), Greif's Hall (vol.J 374), Lingg, Louis (vol.J 375), Engel, George (vol.J 375), Fischer, Adolph (vol.J 375).

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Hill C. Smythe,

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

Q What is your business, Mr. Smythe?

A I am attorney-at-law by profession, but at present engaged on the Tribune as reporter.

Q Were you doing any particular duty on the Chicago Tribune, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, preceding March 4th?

A I was.

Q Of May, I should say.

A May, yes.

Q The day before the Haymarket business?

A Yes sir.

Q Where were you assigned for duty?

Objected to; objection sustained.

Q Where were you?

A I was in that portion of the city on Lake Street in the vicinity of the Chicago & Milwaukee railroad shops.

Q Are you acquainted with Greif's Hall, 54 West Lake street?

A Yes sir. I spent a great deal of time there during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th days of May.

Q You know what I mean by Greif's?

A 54 West Lake street.

Q When were you first sent there for service, for work?

Objected to.

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A On Saturday, the 1st day of May.

THE COURT--That is objectionable as to form. The objection is to the word "sent."

MR. WALKER--When did you first go there?

A On Saturday, the 1st day of May.

Q Between that time and Tuesday the 4th day of May, at that place did you see any of the defendants, and if so, which ones?

A I saw the three men there at the end of the row. (Indicating Engel, Lingg and Fischer.)

Q How many times did you see them there?

A I cannot recall them.

Q You cannot recall the day?

A Not positively, but it must have been either Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

Q On Tuesday, that is, the 4th of May, and the three days preceding?

A Three days preceding.

Q You remember of certainly seeing those three there?

A Yes, those three.

Q Did you see them together at any time?

A I don't remember.

Q On Monday the 3rd of May, where were you?

A I spent the entire day, from about 7 o'clock in the morning until 11 or half past 11 at night, in the vicinity of 54 West Lake street.

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Q Were you there after 6 o'clock or at 6 o'clock?

A I was there until about--well, as near as I can judge, about a quarter after 6, when I went to dinner.

Q Will you look at this paper, a copy of the Revenge circular? (Handing witness circular.) When did you first see that, Mr. Smythe, if at all?

A It was a few minutes after 6 o'clock, as near as I can remember, on Monday afternoon.

Q Where were you at the time?

A I was standing in the door way of the entrance of 54 West Lake street.

Q Now, you may state the circumstances under which you first saw that circular?

A Well, I was standing there talking with Greif, I think, the proprietor of the Hall, and I first had my attention attracted to a circular by seeing a few of them flying through the air, and remember distinctly picking up one, and reading it at the time.

Q At that time, did you see, or just before, anyone approaching the sidewalk from the street?

A Well, just at the moment I saw a horseman, and the distribution of the circular was co-incident with the appearance of the horseman in front of 54 West Lake street.

Q After the circular was thrown, what became of the horseman?

A Well, I don't remember that distinctly but my impression was that the horse was ridden west on Lake street.

Q Do you know where Florus' Hall is?

A Yes sir.

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Q And Zepf's Hall?

A Yes sir.

Q In what direction from 54 West Lake street are both those halls?

A Both of them are west, one on the south side of West Lake street and the other on the north side. Florus's is on the south side and Zepf's Hall on the north.

Q Did you see any more of the circulars there that evening?

A At about 9 or half past 9, as near as you can, nearly every one there had a copy of the circular.

Q Do you know whether there was any distributed there later than that first distribution?

A Oh, beyond a doubt, because at 8 o'clock---

Objected to.

THE COURT-No, did you see any further distribution?

MR. WALKER- Did you?

A I did after 9 o'clock at night. They were very scarce at 8 o'clock and the reporter for the Inter Ocean and myself sat at a table in Grief's Hall, and copied the English portion of this circular, but an hour or so afterwards, we both succeeded in getting copies of them. They were handed around.

Q What was the condition of the basement on that Monday night, if you remember?

A I remember going down into the basement, and upon reaching the basement floor that someone run down behind me and ordered me out.

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Q Which way did you try to get to the basement--through which door?

A From the rear of the building itself, a stairway leading from a portion of the room, directly in the rear of the bar.

Q It was the way leading from the saloon to the basement?

A From the saloon to the basement, yes.

Q You were prevented from going down?

A Well, I got down to the lower floor and was then ordered out.

Q Did you observe as to whether the basement was lighted or not?

A It was.

Q On that time?

A Yes sir.

Q Can you remember whether up on that Monday--or, I understand you do not fix any day, that anyone of those three defendants--absolutely, upon which you saw either of these three defendants that you have specified?

A I am only confident that I saw one of those three men one of the four days. I ca not recall possibly which day it was.

Q Where were you on Tuesday night?

A Tuesday night, I was at Ulich's Hall, on north Clark street.

Q Were you on the West Side that day?

A Oh yes. I was on the West Side until about half past 5 or 6 in the afternoon?

Q And then you left?

A Then I left and went to dinner.

Q Were you there any more on that day?

A Not until on the Tuesday afternoon. Not until about half past 11 at night, or 11

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when we went over to the Haymarket.

Q After the throwing of the bomb?

A After the throwing of the bomb.

Mr. Foster:

Q Did you say that you saw a man on horseback distributing bills?

A I did not say that I saw him on horseback, distributing bills, no sir.

Q You did not see anybody on horseback distributing bills?

A No sir.

Q You saw a man ride west on Lake street on a horse?

A I saw a man come from the east and stop in front of 54 West Lake Street.

Q And then--go on.

A And that the distribution of this circular was coincident with his appearance there.

Q That is, you mean after you saw a man on the horse, you saw a circular?

A Within a few seconds.

Q You do not know whether he brought them or not.

A I am not positive on that point.

Q That is, who rode the horse.

A Yes sir.

Q What kind of a horse was it?

A I don't remember.

A What kind of a man?

A That I don't remember.

MR. GRINNELL--He didn't stop long.

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MR. FOSTER--You say this was early in the evening, before dark?

A It was not later than--it wasn't as late as a quarter after 6. Because I went home to dinner at about a quarter after 6.

Q So that it must have been before a quarter after six.

A Within a few minutes; I remember distinctly reading the circular then throwing it down and within a few minutes, going home.

Q So then, according to that these circulars were printed and distributed at 6 o'clock, practically.

A Well, that I don't know. I can only say the time I saw a copy of it.

MR. GRINNELL--He cannot tell anything about that. He saw them there and he got a copy.

MR. FOSTER--These three people that you saw about there, did you see them all together, at any time?

A That I cannot remember.

Q You just remember their faces, seeing them?

A Just remember the faces.

Q Do you know where they live?

A No sir.

Q Well, you did not see them in any secret meeting or anything like that?

A I saw them on the saloon floor of Greif's, at 54 West Lake street.

Q That was not a secret meeting, was it?

A Oh, no.

Q You were there yourself?

A Yes sir.

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Q That was your headquarters, at Greif's Hall?

A Yes sir.

Q Right in the beer saloon?

A Yes sir.

Q And that is where you made your copy?

A That is where I got up most of my copy, yes sir.

Q Did you know these men, before, any of them?

A No sir.

Q Now, at the time that you saw these three men you saw them just casually drop in and take a glass of beer and pass out the same as any other workingman.

A Well, I cannot recall whether they drank any beer or not. I simply remember seeing their faces there.

Q Well, they would drop in and go away?

A Yes sir.

Q They did not stay all the time like you newspaper fellows, I suppose, but they would go about their business. You did not see them all together, that you remember?

A I cannot recall that.

Q Didn't see them in any conversation with each other?

A Well, I cannot recall that I saw them in conversation.

Q Did not see them in any room outside of the public saloon building, did you?

A I may possibly have seen them in the rear room.

Q Well, do you remember seeing them in there?

A Not positively, no sir.

Q Now, about when was this scattered over--several days?

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A Four days--it was either on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, the first four days in May.

Q After the Haymarket meeting, when did you next see them?

A Not until I saw them here one day.

Q Here in court since this trial has been going on?

A Yes sir.

Q And you had never seen them before that time, either. Before a week before--you were not acquainted with them before the Haymarket meeting?

A No sir.

Q Except as you saw them there?

A Except as I saw them there.

Q And you simply now point them out as the men you think you saw about Greif's there?

A Positively.

Q They were not there when those circulars were distributed were they, any of them?

A I think not.

Q Were there any of them there that day that you know of?

A I cannot recollect that positively.

Q What particular day was that that you went down into the basement?

A That was on Monday night.

Q Was it one of these defendants who ordered you out?

A I think not. Well, I know that.

Q Did you see any of the defendants there that night?

A I cannot recollect that

Q You cannot recall that you did?

A No sir.


MR. BLACK:--Now, we move to exclude all this as immaterial, incompetent and irrelevant. Motion overruled, exception by

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