Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of John Bonfield (second appearance), 1886 July 28.

Volume K, 503-511, 9 p.
Bonfield, John. 1836-1898
Inspector of Police, Chicago Police Department.

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

Testified in regards to a conversation he had with George Engel about the blast furnace confiscated at his home. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): items confiscated from the Arbeiter-Zeitung office or the defendants' homes (vol.K 503), "Revenge" circular (vol.K 507), "Attention Workingmen" flier (vol.K 5060, Zepf's Hall (vol.K 507), Engel, George (vol.K 503).

Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents
[Image, Volume K, Page 503]

JOHN BONFIELD, recalled by the people; was examined in chief by Mr. Ingham and testified as follows;

Q Were you present at the central station when a man came in with officer Quinn?

A I was.

Q Did you see this apparatus there at that time (referring to blasting machine)?

A I did.

Q Did you have any conversation with Engle in regard to it?

A Yes sir.

Q What was that conversation?

Defefdants' counsel objected to the question in behalf of all the defendants except Engle.

A I don't remember the exact language of the conversation but the substance of it was I asked him what this thing was made for. He said he didn't know. I asked him who made it. That he didn't know. He said it was brought there some months before, five or six, to the best of my recollection, and left

[Image, Volume K, Page 504]

at his door, I think he said his basement door, by some party unknown to him. That is the best of my recollection of the substance of the conversation with Mr. Engle. About that time superintendent of Police Mr. Ebersold came up and he commenced talking to Engle in German.

Q The conversation after that was in German?

A Yes sir.

Q Where is the superintendent of Police now?

A I had a dispatch from him last night that he had left Portland, Oregon, on his way to San Francisco.

Q You have been an engineer yourself, have you not?

A Yes sir.

Q Do you know what that machine could be used for, what its purpose is?

Objected to.

THE COURT: It is admissible to show what operations mechanically can be carried on.

Mr. BLACK: It is perfectly obvious with half an eye that fir could be used in that precisely as a plumber usues such things or as a tinsmith uses it.

THE COURT: If the witness knows any mechanical operations that can be carried on with that, as machinery or part of machinery, let him tell.

Defendnats' counsel then and there excepted to the ruling of the court.

Mr. BLACK: If he has ever known of such an instrument

[Image, Volume K, Page 505]

being used in an industry, it would be proper for him to state, but to speculate as to the possibilities of such a thing seems to me out of the way.

THE WITNESS: That is a blast furnace in miniature, a homemade one. I can describe it. This upright part could be lined with fire clay. This shoulder you see at the bottom here some two inches and a half from that, could be filled in around with clay, leaving the holes here open. This, in a blasting furnace, would be known as the tweer. It is filled up to a considyrable height with clay to protect it from the hot fire inside, and the blast is applied through those pipes, one or both of them as may be necessary.

THE COURT: Q What do you mean by blast?

A A pressure of air. In a blast furnace where they used hot air or cold air-- the same purpose. I am aware this pulls over here. That trap at the bottom is for that purpose.

When that fire is extinguished or removed the debris or schlag that comes from the metal, and the ashes or cinders from the material used for fuel can be taken out-- let it be coke or charcoal-- those two are principally used.

Q What is the spout for?

A That is where the melted metal, after the metal or combination, whichever it may be, would be in a melted state, passes off. This is stopped with a plug of clay and when it is melted, the material melted, that plug can be removed, and the metal poured thrf through that tube.

[Image, Volume K, Page 506]

Defendants' counsel moved to exclude all the evidence as to what was said by Engle. The court denied the motion", to which ruling of the court defendants' counsel then and there excepted.

Mr. INGHAM: Q Look at the circular which I show you. That is the circular calling the meeting at the Haymarket.

(Witness examines circualr) Did you see any of those circualrs any place in the city on the 5th day of May?

Mr. BLACK: I object. Mr Bonfield was asked in reference to this circular when he was on the stand.

Mr. INGHAM: The only circualr he was asked about, Mr. Grinell tells me, was in regard to the ones prior to the meeting. I propose to show by him that he found circulars at a certain place in the city after the meeting.

Q Our objection is that this particualr and identical circualr was put in, and Mr. Bonfield was asked in reference to it, or one of which that is a copy.

THE COURT: Is not it true that Bonfield was questioned only as to what occurred, and as to what led up to the meeting.

Mr. ZEISLER: That led up to the meeting.

THE COURT: They want to prove some of them were found at some particular place on the day after. That is another subject matter.

Mr. BLACK: I suppose it is another subject matter, but is a subject matter germane to his original examination.

[Image, Volume K, Page 507]

THE COURT: It is true that the rigid rule is that when a witness is put on the stand that he must then be called to state all that he knows concerning anything that concerns the case; but in a case so voluminous as this is, necessarily there will be some omissions, and if there are any, there ought to be a chance to put them in; also with the proviso that there shall be time given for the other side to answer it.

Defendant's counsel then and there excepted to the ruling of the court.

Mr. INGHAM: Q Did you see any circulars on the 5th day of May similar to the one you now hold in your hand?

A I did.

Q Where?

A At Zephs hall corner of Lake and Des Plaines street,

Q How many did you see there?

A I could not say as to that. There was quite a number. On the morning of the 5th I went with some officers to Zeph's hall, and in the room back of the bar room I found the revenge circular, and several copies of the revenge circular, and several copies of this circular.

Q Did the copies of that circular which you saw there contain the words: "Workingmen arm yourselves and appear in full force"?

A It did.


Q How many circulars did you see

[Image, Volume K, Page 508]

there altogether?

A I could not say how many.

Q Why didn't you tell us about that, Inspector, when you were on the stand before and enquired of as to when and where you saw these circulars?

A I was asked if I remembered when I first seen this circualr, and I answered on the evening of the third of May. My recollection is I was not asked anything further as to the circular.

Q The sole reason that you did not tell then what you have told now was that you did not understand that the question called for that?

A I did not understand that the question called for it.

Q How many circulars altogether did you see there in Zeph's hall on the 5th of May.

A I could not say as to how many.

Q Do you know who took them there?

A No sir.

Q Do you know how they got there?

A No sir.

Q This was on the 5th of May?

A On the morning of the 5th 5th of May..

Defendants' moved the exclusion of the whole of the testimony regarding the circular on the ground that it is a matter after the 4th of May, and that Mr. Zeph is not a defendant and that the defendants are not connected in any way with these circulars on the 5th of May.

[Image, Volume K, Page 509]

Motion was denied the court. To which ruling of the court counsel for the defendants then and there excepted.

Mr. BLACK: Q Will you look at this concern with me for a moment? (referring to blast furnace)

A Yes sir.

Q Suppose fire brick were put in here, in this machine and lead melted, and this were attempted to be used, not as a model of a blast furnace, but as a blast furnace for the purpose of melting metal-- the metal would run down through that trap door wouldn't it?

A I didn't say anything about fire brick. I said fire clay.

Q Well fire clay?

A No sir. it would not.

Q If the clay were put as you said, should come out flush with that shoulder there?

A Yes sir.

Q Then the metal would run out through that door?

A I open this, and the fuel, coal, charcoal, or anything else whatever may be used, would be placed in the bottom, and the metal would be placed on top.

Q The metal has got to go down so as to run out of that spout got to get to the bottom?

A Yes sir.

Q When it gets to the bottom would not it run out of that door?

A No sir.

Q Can you put clay enough on that trap door to prorect that trap door from the heat that would be required in a blast furnace?

A Yes sir.

Q And not get the clay above

[Image, Volume K, Page 510]

the spout?

A Yes sir.

Q You say you could get clay enough on the door to protect it from the heat and yet the clay would not interfere with that spout?

A Yes sir, do you want me to show it to you?

Q No sir. You can see the distinctly around that door at the bottom?

A Yes sir.

Q You can see the on this floor down there?

A Yes sir.

Q Plainly and distinctly?

A Yes, sir.

Q It is not a close fitting door?

A It was not intended to be. It was not necessary it should be.

Q There has never been any clay in there?

A I could not say.

Q Will you look and say as an expert whether there has ever been any fire clay in it?

A There has never been any fire in it.

Q Has there ever been any fire clay in it to your judgment, put in it for the purpose of corking it.?

A No sir.

Q According to your judgment as an expert, you don't see any?

A No, sir.

Q In your judgment as an expert, that thing never has been used?

A I think not.

[Image, Volume K, Page 511]

Q. No fire?

A No sir.

Q Did you see that at the Haymarket?

A No sir.

Q There did not any body throw that at you?

A No sir.

Q Did any body make a speech from the top if it?

A No sir.

Q You didn't heard any fiendish, defiant cry come out of that?

THE COURT: You need not answer that question.

Mr. BLACK: If the examination is not on par with the exhibit, then all right.

Return to Top of this Witness
Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents