Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Ludwig Zeller, 1886 Aug. 2.

Volume L, 146-168, 23 p.
Zeller, Ludwig.
Corresponding Secretary for the Central Labor Union.

Direct examination by Mr. Zeisler. Cross-examination by Mr. Grinnell. Testified on behalf of the Defense, Spies, August et al.

Attended the Haymarket meeting. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): movement, position or tenor of the crowd (vol.L 147, actions of police during the Haymarket meeting (vol.L 147), Captain Ward's command to disperse (vol.L 148), trajectory of the bomb l148, (vol.L 158), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.L 150), Central Labor Union (vol.L 152), the explosion (vol.L 158), Cigar-makers' Union (vol.L 152), McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.L 153), Freiheit (South Side Group) (vol.L 157), the Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.L 157), socialists and/or socialism (vol.L 158), street lights and/or lights on the wagon (vol.L 161), Greif's Hall (vol.L 159), Lumber Shovers' Union (vol.L 152), Spies, August (vol.L 160).

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a witness called and sworn on behalf of the defendants was examined in chief by Mr. Zeisler and testified as follows

Q What is your name?

A Ludwig Zeller.

Q Where were you on the night of May 4th?

A 54 West Lake Street until quarter past ten.

Q Where did you go from there?

A I went to Randolph street down to Desplaines and then I saw a crowd hearing a meeting, and went up north on Desplaines street until where the lamp is standing.

Q You mean up to the lamp?

A Up to the lamp.

Q The lamp where?

A In the first alley near by the Crane building.

Q You may state what alley?

A The south alley from the

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Crane building.

(A plat was here shown the witness of the Haymarket and vicinity.)

THE COURT: It is agreed that is correct?

MR. GRINNELL: Yes sir.

MR. ZEISLER: This is the Haymarket?

A Yes sir.

Q This is Desplaines street?

A Yes sir.

Q Here is Crane's building?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, where is the exact location where you stood?

A Right here (indicating.)

Q Tell us where it is?

A Here is a lamp on the corner of the alley, and a few steps, three or four south, I was standing there.

Q Where were you standing at the lamp?

A South of the lamp.

Q Now, what did you observe after coming there--what did you hear and what did you see?

A When I had been there a few minutes, when I came there it commenced to rain, and after having been there a few minutes, the crowd commenced to move. They went on both sides of the sidewalk, and I did not know, I couldn't see why they were moving so quick and after a few seconds I saw the reason, because the police were marching, came from Desplaines street station, and had crossed at that time Randolph street.

Q They had passed Randolph street?

A Had passed Randolph

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Q And were already on Desplaines street?

A Yes, and so they passed me. I was standing on the same place where I stood before, and when they passed me and I heard the command of the captain.

Q What did he say as far as you remember?

A "I command you in the name of the people of Illinois"--and I could not hear the other words. I heard a few other words, but I don't know exactly what it was--there was too much noise around me.

Q Did you hear any reply to that from any body on the wagon or near the wagon?

A None.

Q What did you observe after that and what did you do?

A I turned and went down to Randolph street, and when I turned I saw a fuse, a light going through the air. The light came before the wagon--it was a truck wagon an express wagon. Was standing near Randolph street about six or eight or ten feet south of the lamp and behind this wagon, south of the wagon, I saw that fuse about four, five or more feet--I can't say exactly, ahead.

Q Did you follow its course?

A I followed its course as near as I could.

Q What was its direction?

A Northwesterly.

Q What was the next thing you observed?

A By going to Randolph ---

Q What did you hear or see?

A I saw it going northwesterly

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right in the middle of the street and in the middle of the police, then I heard an explosion, shooting, and I went-- of course I tried to get out because there were a great many men falling around me, and a few were crying.

Q In which direction did you go?

A South to Randolph.

Q To Randolph street?

A Yes sir.

Q What course did you take then?

A Then I went away on Randolph street to Clinton.

Q Is that, west or east?

A East.

Q East on Randolph street?

A Yes sir.

Q What did you notice there?

A When I went up I didn't see anything, only people coming from, that place very much excited. I went home then.

Q Were you there alone on Randolph street, or were there other people running in the same direction?

A There were a great many running in the same direction.

Q Now, you say at the time the police came to a halt you stood where?

A A few steps south of thelamp.

Q How soon after that did you move yourself?

A I can't say exactly. I guess about two or three minutes.

Q Now, what happened in that space of time?

A In that space of time while I was standing there?

Q Exactly?

A I heard speaking.

Q You heard that command that you spoke of?

A Yes sir.

Q Then what did you do after that?

A I went to leave the

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place and went down.

Q You turned in what direction?

A I turned south.

Q Where were you facing, in what direction were you facing before you turned?

A I was facing north and north-west.

Q After you had heard that command you turned south?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you commence to go?

A Yes, I commenced to go.

Q How soon after that, how many steps had you gone before you saw that light in the air?

A I saw it when I turned

Q How far in front of you, how far south from the place where you stood did you first observe the might in the air?

A About ten or twelve feet.

Q About ten or twelve feet from where you stood at the time?

A Yes sir. I can't say exactly, because it was dark.

Q Ten or twelve feet further south, you mean?

A Yes.

Q And it took a northwesterly direction?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, how far did you go on Randolph street east of Desplaines?

A To Clinton.

Q Now, did you notice the flashes of the pistols when the shooting commenced?

A No, I could not say so, but I believe the men, when I went to Randolph street after I heard the command, the men were falling before me in the front and on the side, I guess the shooting was coming from north or north westerly--otherwise I could not explain how the men were--

Q Did you see where the shots came from?

A No sir, I

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could not say.

Q Did you hear the sound?

A Yes, I heard the sound.

Q Was the shooting before or after the explosion of the bomb?

A I guess it commenced exactly by the explosion of the bomb.

Q Exactly in the same moment of time that you heard the explosion of the bomb you heard the shooting?

A I heard shooting.

Q How many shots did you hear?

A I could not count them. I heard many.

Q Did you notice there where the shots came and what direction they went?

A They went southerly, because when I tried to come go around the corner of Desplaines and Randolph I heard a great many bullets, the noise, and smoke, passing my head.

Q On Randolph street while you were running, did any shots come after you?

A Yes sir. I can't remember how many.

Q Where were you looking when you ran south towards Randolph street--in what direction were you looking after the explosion of the bomb when you ran south towards Randolph street, where you were looking--right before you?

A Right straight before me, because I could not get-- there were men lying on the ground--I had to get off of them.

Q Did you see any of the citizens shoot there?

A I only saw a few men falling down who were crying "I am shot".

Q Were they policemen or citizens?

A They were citizens.

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Q You say those shots came from the centre of the street?

A Yes, I guess so.

Q From where did those shots come?

A I guess from north and northwest.

Q From the north and northwest?

A Yes sir.

Q Who was north and northwest as far as you could observe

A As far as I could observe it came right down on the street from the north and the others I estimated it because there were a great many bullets were going in a wall in the side of the wall.

Q Do you remember a meeting of the Central Labor Union on Sunday, May 2d?

A Yes sir.

Q Were you present at that meeting?

A I have been present at the meeting, yes sir.

Q In what capacity were you there?

A I am representing my organization.

Q What organization?

A Cigar Makers' Union No 15.

Q Cigarmakers' Union No. 15?

A Yes sir.

Q Do you remember whether or not anything was said in that meeting about a meeting to be held the next day at McCormick's factory, a meeting of the lumber shovers & Union--was anything said about that?

Objected to.

MR. ZEISLER: He was a delegate from the Cigarmakers' Union No. 15 to the Central Labor Union. There was a meeting

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held on May 2d at which he was present.

MR. GRINNELL: On Sunday?

MR. ZEISLER: On Sunday.

Q I now ask you if there was anything said about the lumber shovers' meeting, a meeting to be held the next day at McCormick's or near McCormick's factory.

THE COURT: What is the object of it?

MR. ZEISLER: The object of it is to show that at that meeting delegates from the lumber shovers' Union requested the Central Labor Union to send out a speaker to that meeting to address the meeting and that in pursuance of a resolution passed there by the Central Labor Union, Mr. August Spies was invited by a committee of the Central Labor Union to speak there.

MR. GRINNELL: The delegate is the man to prove that by.

MR. ZEISLE: You have allowed the state to produce evidenc or rather you have allowed evidence in regard to the meeting of May 3d at McCormick's factory, and testimony was given here tending to show that Mr. Spies went there without invitation and without being requested to speak there, simply with the purpose of stirring up the people. We want to show that is not true, and that he was invited by the Lumber Shovers' Union.

MR. FOSTER: Mr. Grinnell claimed in his opening that Mr. Spies went up there to take control of things.

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MR. GRINNELL: I presume I don't know anything about it, but I presume you will be able to prove that the Central Labor Union invited him, but that you can prove it in this indirect way, that some person was there representing himself as a delegate from the Lumber Shovers' Union--that is the practice we object to.

THE COURT: It is not a material thing as to whether anybody professing to be a delegate really had been there.

The question is whether the defendant supposed in good faith that he was invited by proper authority to be there to speak. His motive in speaking there and whether he was intruding upon the audience or not depends upon what information he had about it; and if there was a delegate of the Lumber Shovers' Union--that is, if there was a man at that meeting professing to be a delegate, and asking that meeting to send the speaker the next day, and then they sent the defendant and he was acting in good faith, upon the supposed authority by which he was invited, it is the same thing to him as though the authority had been actual and complete.

I think that is admissible.

(The last question was read to the witness.)

A Yes, delegates of the Lumber Shovers' Union requested me because I was a member of the agitation committee. I had charge of these things, and they requested me to send a speaker down to the meeting held on Monday, May 3d at the

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Black Road, and they requested me to send a good speaker there who will keep the meeting quietly and orderly, and if I could send Spies or Fielden, and so in the afternoon we had another meeting of the Central Labor Union, and Mr. Spies was present as a reporter of the Arbeiter Zeitung, so I told him personally to go out here and speak in the name of the Central Labor Union.

Q That was on Saturday, May 2d?

A Yes sir.

Q Will you explain to the jury what the Central Labor Union is?

A The Central Labor Union is a body composed of delegates from different organizations.

Q From the different labor unions of the City? How many of the different labor unions send delegates to the Central Union?

A I don't know exactly.

Q About how many?

A I guess about 25 or 30.

Q Name the principal labor unions that send delegates to the Central Labor Union?

A The Cigarmakers' Union No. 15, the International Carpenters', the Independent Carpenters the Furniture Workers', the laborers from Pullman, the Lumberyard unions and the Furniture Workers and Fresco Painters, and the Typographical and Printers' Union and a great many others that I cannot tell you the name.

Q The Lumber Shovers' Union is represented in the Central Labor Union?

A Yes sir.

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Q Can you give us approximately the number or numbers of members of these different unions which as you say are represented in the Central Labor Union?

A I guess there are about fifteen or sixteen thousand.

Q Now, you say that you belonged to the agitation committee?

A Yes sir.

Q What agitation committee did you belong to?

A The agitation committee of the Central Labor Union.

Q To agitate what?

A To organize together certain branches of trade who had no organizations at that time to hold meeting to increase the organizations for the eight hour movement.

Q Now, to go back to the Haymarket meeting? was there any firing back at the police from the crowd or in front of you while you were moving on Desplaines street towards Randolph?

A I didn't see anything of that kind.

Q Did you notice it on Randolph?

A No.

Q Did you see anybody from the crowd, from the citizens shoot back at the police?

A No, I cannot say--I didn't see anything.

Q When you say the shots came from the north-west, where did those shots come from -do you mean that they were fired into the crowd on the sidewalk where you were, or did you say that with reference to any other part of the scene of action?

A I guess the shots were directed to the crowd being on the sidewalk.

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because the bullet went in the wall--they were coming from the northwest.

Cross Examination by

Q What group do you belong to?

A I don't belong to any group now.

Q When did you last?

A About December.

Q You stopped your connection with the group last December?

A Yes sir.

Q What group was that?

A The Freheit.

Q The Freheit Group?

A Yes sir.

Q Where did that meet?

A It met at that time--I don't know the street here, in Van Buren--I don't know the street exactly. I have been there in that meeting twice. I have only been there three times.

Q Where is it?

A I guess it is Sherman street, I guess.

Q Sherman street is on the south side?

A Yes sir.

Q Down near the depot?

A Yessir.

Q That is what you call the South Side Group?

A Yes sir

Q What is your number.

A I had no number.

Q Did you change your number?

A No sir.

Q Didn't you change your name to numbers?

A No sir.

Q Did you read the Arbeiter Zeitung?

A Yes sir.

Q Do you remember the Arbeiter Zeitung advised the groups to change their names, destroy their names and go by numbers?

A I can't remember it, but we had never numbers?

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Q Are you an anarchist?

A No.

Q Are you a socialist?

A Yes.

Q How many feet were you south of that alley?

A About four or five or six--I can't say exactly.

Q How many feet south of you was that fuse that you saw in the air?

A I guess about eight or ten.

Q That would make it about 25 feet all told from the corner of the alley that you saw that bomb going in the air?

A Yes, I guess it would be that.

Q Do you know what it was?

A I didn't know it..

Q When did you first know what it was?

A When I saw the string it had such a different movement--it was moving and I was looking at it, and I saw behind this fuse something dark but I couldn't distinguish what it was.

Q Was the fuse in front of it when it was going in the air?

A Yes.

Q It went fuse first?

A Yes, so I saw it, and was only looking where it was going.

Q What kind of looking thing was that ahead of it?

A It seems to me--I can't say exactly, but it was more round.

Q Round wasn't it?

A But I can't say whether fully round or not.

Q Was it round or gas pipe?

A I guess it was not a gas pipe.

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Q You don't think it was?

A No sir.

Q You think it was round?

A Yes sir.

Q Was it as big as your head?

A No sir, not quite.

Q Was it as big as your fist?

A I guess it was bigger.

Q About as big as a base ball?

A Yes sir.

Q Where do you live?

A 54 West Lake Street.

Q You live at 54 West Lake Street?

A Yes sir.

Q That is Greiff's Hall?

A Yes sir.

Q How long have you been living there?

A About a year and a half.

Q Are you married?

A No sir.

Q You board there?

A Yes sir.

Q Where did you live before that?

A & 73 West Lake Street.

Q What is that?

A That is a restaurant.

Q That is Florus Hall?

A No sir, that is restaurant near by.

Q Is that a socialistic place?

A No sir.

Q Whose place is it?

A It belongs to Mosher.

Q Do you live at Greiff's now?

A Yes sir.

Q How long did you live at Greiff's Hall, a year and a half?

A About a year and a half.

Q Did you ever attend bar for Greiff?

A No sir.

Q Did you ever work for him?

A No.

Q Did you know Metzinger?

A Yes, I have seen him once

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Q He is crazy and in the insane asylum?

A It may be.

Q Aint that true --you know that is so?

A I am told so but I don't know--I haven't seen.

Q Do you know Bodendecker?

A Bodendecker--yes, I know him. He has been, about a year ago he came in a week or two-he went in and out there a few days.

Q You knew him?

A Yes.

Q How long have you known Spies?

A I know Spies two years.

Q Did you see him on Monday night before the bomb was thrown?

A No sir.

Q Were you there?

A Monday night I was at a meeting of the Union.

Q Where were you Monday afteronoon?

A I was working that day.

Q Where did you work?

A Corner of Randolph and Wabash Avenue.

Q Cigar Store?

A Cigar factory.

Q Whom did you work for?

A Vohlmann's Cigar factory.

Q How long did you work there?

A Since the third of May.

Q You began then on the third day of May?

A Yes sir.

Q That was Monday?

A Monday.

Q Did you come around to Greiff's Hall?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you get around pretty quick?

A Yes.

Q Did you run?

A When?

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Q When that bomb went off and the firing began, you run?

A Yes.

Q The police fired first, didn't they?

A I can't say exactly whether they fired--I didn't see it.

Q On that night, Tuesday night, you went down there and saw the speakers on the wagon?

A I only saw one.

Q Who was that?

A Fielden.

Q Did you see anybody else on the wagon?

A No sir.

Q Was the wagon empty?

A No, I couldn't say--I was too far from it.

Q You walked right by it?

A I had been too far off and it was dark.

Q You walked right by it?

A No sir.

Q How did you get there?

A I was south of the alley and the wagon when the speaking was there.

Q How did you get to the south of the alley?

A I went in on Randolph street.

Q You came up on Randolph street?

A I came up on Randolph street.

Q Was the gaslight lighted?

A Yes.

Q Anybody put it out?

A No, I didn't see that.

Q You run?

A Yes.

Q How long did it take you to get around to Zepf's Hall at the time you lived there?

A I didn't go around to Zepf's Hall, went around Randolph street to Clinton.

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Q Do you know Capt. Ward?

A I don't know him personally. Never saw him.

Q You saw him come up there, did you?

A Yes, but could not identify him.

Q Did you see Capt. Bonfield with him?

A I only saw one man.

Q Which was that, Bonfield or Ward?

A I can(t say.

Q Was it the one you heard speak to the man in the wagon?

A I never saw Bonfield.

Q Was the man you saw, the one that spoke to the speaker on the wagon?

A Yes, I guess so, because he went--

Q What did he say?

MR. FOSTER: Wait -he has not answered half of your question. You cut him right off. I insist from this time that he answers the question.


Q What did Ward say?

A I only heard him say: "I command you in the name of the State of Illinois".

Q You did not hear him say anything else?

A I heard a few other words, and then--

Q What did you do when you heard those words from Capt. Ward?

A I turned and went south to Randolph street.

Q Did you turn at once?

A Yes.

Q You did not hear Fielden say anything in response?

A No sir.

Q That was because you turned and went away so quick?

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A It may be--I don't know.

Objected to.

THE COURT: That last question is not competent.

MR. GRINNELL: Q How high in the air was the bomb when you first saw the fuse light that night?

A I saw it right over the wagon and about four or five feet or six feet--I don't know exactly.

Q Right over what wagon?

A It was a wagon--it was an express wagon standing near Randolph about ten or twelve feet from the alley, south of the alley.

Q Ten or twelve feet from the alley that wagon was?

A Yes Sir.

Q Was that south of the alley?

A South of the alley.

Q It was right from that wagon you saw this?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you see some boxes there?

A I can't remember, because there were so many men standing around me, and I didn't notice it. I was only there a few minutes.

Q Did you see the man throw it?

A No sir.

Q What did that man do?

A I didn't see him.

Q Didn't see him at all?

A I couldn't say.

Q How long have you been a member of the Centra Labor Trade Union?

A I am a member since March.

Q What March?

A Since last of March.

Q March 1886?

A Yes, but I have been a member before that, a year ago.

Q What is your position in the Central Labor Union--do you

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hold an office in it?

A I am secretary.

Q Of which union are you secretary--are you secretary of the Central Labor Union itself?

A The Central Labor Union itself.

Q That is a union of other organizations combined?

A Yes sir.

Q You are secretary of the Central Labor Union?

A Yes.

Q An organization which embraces all these others?

A Yes sir.

Q How long have you been secretary?

A I have the office since last election took place a few weeks ago, two or three weeks ago.

Q What were you doing Tuesday the day that the bomb was thrown?

A I was working.

Q Where, the same place?

A Yes sir.

Q What time did you quit work that day?

A Worked the full time.

Q What time did you quit that day?

A Five o'clock.

Q Where did you go?

A Home.

Q That is 54 West Lake street?

A Yes sir.

Q How long were you staying there?

A Staying there all evening.

Q In the room?

A No sir.

Q Where?

A Down in the saloon or little hall behind

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the saloon there is a little hall.

Q I suppose you have talked about this case a good deal?

A I was talking about it the next day--I came to the shop

Q You talked with the lawyers a good deal?

A No, I only know when I was reading the Arbeiter Zeitung Mr. Salomon and Zeisler, the lawyers for the defense--I went up and talked to them.

Q There was a little advertisement in the Arbeiter Zeitung for anybody to come there and see Salomon and Zeisler?

A Yes sir.

Q You went over after seeing that?

A Yes sir.

Q You say the Central Labor Union had a meeting on Sunday? the second day of May?

A Yes sir.

Q You were there?

A I don't know how many.

Q You were there?

A I was there, yes sir.

Q Did they have a meeting on Monday or Tuesday?

A They had a meeting on Tuesday.

Q Didn't Spies report to that meeting what had occurred at McCormick's?

A No sir, I can't remember.

Q Spies was there?

A He has not been in that meeting.

Q Were you there?

A I was there.

Q On Tuesday?

A Tuesday.

Q What time?

A From eight until past ten, quarter past ten.

Q Where was that meeting held?

A In the little hall behind

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the saloon.

Q Whose place, whereabouts?

A 54 West Lake street.

Q Right in Greiff's there?

A Yes sir.

Q From eight to what hour?

A From eight to quarter past ten.

Q How do you know it was quarter past ten?

A When I went away, when the meeting adjourned I was looking at the clock, and I saw it.

Q You looked at it?

A Yes.

Q Where was the clock?

A It was a quarter past--

Q Where was the clock?

A The clock is in the saloon.

Q You looked at it?

A Yes sir.

Q You say it was a quarter past ten?

A Yes

Q Did you tell anybody it was a quarter past ten?

A No sir.

Q You saw it was a quarter past ten when you went away?

A Yes.

Q You had a watch?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you look at your watch?

A My watch did not go at that time.

Q Are you sure the clock was going to?

A Yes, the clock was going to.

Q Quarter past ten?

A Yes sir.

Q How long did it take you, how long do you think it was after that at the time you left the saloon before that bomb was thrown?

A I guess five or six or eight minutes.

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MR. BLACK: What is your height?

A Five feet and Five inches.

Q When you are in an ordinary crowd you can't see over the heads of the crowd?

A No sir.

MR. ZEISLER: Was Hirschberg at that meeting on Tuesday night, the Central Labor Union?

A Yes sir.

Q Was he secretary?

A He was recording secretary.

Q What secretary are you?

A Corresponding secretary.

Q Do you remember whether any delegate of the Lumber Shovers' Union reported about a meeting of the Lumber Shovers' on the Monday previous?

A Yes.

Q Who did?

A I don't know his name, but I can give you his name afterwards.

Q The minutes will show it?

A The minutes will show it.

Q What did he say?

Objected. Objection sustained and exception.

MR. ZEISLER: You have asked about it--you have asked whether Spies reported.

THE COURT: They have only asked as to whether the defendant said anything.

MR. ZEISLER: Is your position of corresponding secretary a salaried position?

A No sir.

Q The Central Labor Union often requested some of these defendants to speak in agitation meetings?

A Yes sir.

Objected to.

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Q I will ask you whether on that particular occasion when Mr. Spies was invited to speak at the Lumber Shovers' meeting on the Black Road, whether he received any compensation for that?

A No.

Q State whether he was offered any compensation by the Central Labor Union?

A No.

Objected to.

THE COURT: I don't see that that cuts any figure.

MR. GRINNELL: Is the Hirschberg you refer to the librarian at the Arbeiter Zeitung?

A I don't know.

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