This great and unprecedented anarchistic conspiracy of May 4th will doubtless result in a blessing to America. First, it will teach the administrators of law and justice the necessity of being watchful of this treacherous element in society which would thus ruthlessly violate every sacred principle of right and honor.
The bravery of the police on that eventful night of May 4th is worthy of note in Chicago history, and those who fell in defence of our birthrights as American citizens have builded a monument in the hearts of a grateful people that shall endure while the star-spangled banner shall continue to wave "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." Were we to disturb, disquiet, and bringup from their tombs the most hideous monsters from the dead of the dark and superstitious ages of the gloomy past, their hands deep purple with the blood of their murdered fellow men, we should fail to find a parallel that would compare with this unscrupulous cold-blooded massacre, along with the bold attempt at the subversion of the law.
On the fifth of the month eight of the leaders of anarchy were arrested and indicted for murder and conspiracy. The police raided the office of the Arbeiter Zeitung, the organ of the socialitstic and anarchistic labor agitators, obtaining quantities of dynamite bombs, flags, and inflamatory literature which was offered in the trial as corroborative evidence. August Spies, a German, was the editor of the Zeitung and a ringleader of the Anarchists. A.R. Parsons, an American, was the editor of the Alarm. Samuel Felden, of English Nationality, laborer. Oscar Neebe, German. Adolp Fischer, A German. Louis Ling, a German, carpenter. George Engle, German, and Michael Schwab. These are the ones who were indicted for murder and anarchy. A. R. Parsons fled the night of the riot and consequently was not arrested, but he subsequently came in and gave himself up to the officials in the criminal court, doubtless thinking by this semblance of honor to impress the court of his innocence and thereby secure acquittal.
The attorneys for the State in the prosecution were as follows: Julius S. Grinnell; and assistants State, George Ingham and Frank Walker.
Col. W. P. Black, Solomon Zeisler and Mr. Foster, of Iowa, were for the defence. who availed themselves of every technicality in the interests of their clients. Four long and tedious weeks were consumed in obtaining a jury, exhausting fourteen panels of jurors in securing twelve competent men to try this case. His Honor, Judge J. E. Gary, presiding.
The names of the jury accepted by the State and the defence were Major J. H. Cole, F. E. Osborne, S. G. Randall, A. H. Reed, J. H. Bruyton, A. Hamilton, G. W. Adams, J. B. Greiner, C. B. Todd, C. A. Ludwig, T. E. Denker, and H. T. Sanford.
An application was filed with State's Attorney Grinnell for a separate trial in the case of Neebe, Spies, Schwab, and Fielden, but was overruled by his Honor, Judge Gary, as they had been jointly indicted for conspiracy and murder.
On Friday, July 10th, 1886, the case of the anarchists was opened by the prosecution in the taking of evidence.
Officers Steel, Barber, Reed and McmMahon who were wounded in the riot of May the 4th, were so far recovered as to be able to be present.
Felix Puschek was sworn and submitted plans of the Haymarket and several halls in the city known to be headquarters for the meetings of the anarchists.
Police inspector Bonfield next took the stand and related how the police attempted to disperse the unlawful assemblage of armed Anarchists, and detailed the circumstances of the bomb-throwing, already related. He also identified the following circular, by which the meeting was called:
"Attention, working men? Great mass-meeting tonight, at 7 o'clock, Haymarket square, Between Desplaines and Halstead. Good speakers will be present to denounce the late atrocious act of the police, the shooting of our fellow working men yesterday afternoon. Working men, arm and appear in full force." "The Commitee."
Some of the anarchist's indicted for conspiracy turned State's evidence. Gottfried Waller, a Swiss by nationality, a cabinetmaker by trade, formerly a socialist , and a member of the Lehr and Wehr Verein, testified that the latter organizaiton comprised various armed groups of anarchists; that the letter "Y" in the Arbeiter Zeitung meant for the armed section to meet at Grief's hall ; that he acted as chairman of the meeting of seventy or eighty persons, Engel, Fischer and Breitenfeld, the commander of the Lehr and Wehr, being present The witnesses testified that Engel unfolded a plan whereby if a collision between the strikers and the police should occur, the word "Ruhe" would appear in the Arbeiter as a signal for the Lehr and Wehr and the Northwest group of anarchists to assemble in Wicker Park with arms. They should then storm the North avenue police station, and proceed thence to other stations, using dynamite and shooting down all who opposed them, and should cut the telegraph wires to prevent communication with the outside world. Engel said the best way to begin would be to throw a dynamite bomb into the police station, and that when the populace saw that the police were overpowered, tumult would spread through the city, and the anarchists would be joined by the working men . This plan, Engel said, had been adopted by the Northwest group. It was decided to appoint a committee to keep watch of affairs in the city and to call a meeting for the next night in the Haymarket. Fischer was directed to get the handbills calling the meeting printed. Those present at the preliminary meeting represented various groups throughtout the city. Fischer announced that the word "Ruhe" would mean that a revolution had been started. Engel put the motion and the plan was adopted. The committee on action was composed of members from each group; the witness knew only one - Kraemer. The members of the armed groups were known by numbers, and witness number was 19.
Spies was questioned in January, 1885, at Grand Rapids, Mich., relative to these secret organizations, when he said that force must bring about the necessary reform which the ballot box had failed to inaugurate and was incompetent to perform. Shook, of Grand Rapids, also testified that Spies had said that the secret drilled organizations of Chicago for the revolution of society numbered over 3,000, and that none except members of those organizations knew of the modus operandi by which they intended to wage their warfare.
Lieutenant Bowler testified to seeing men in the crowd fire upon the police with revolvers; officers S. C. Bohner and E.J. Hawley saw Fielden fire. In the line of proving up the conspiracy to incite the workingmen to violence, it was shown by the evidence of James L. Frazer, E. T. Baker , A. S. Leckie, Frank Haraster, Sergeant John Enright and officer L.H. McShane, that Spies and Fielden incited the mob to attack McCormick's Reaper Works and the non-union employees on May 3. Detective Reuben Slayton testified to having arrested Fischer at the Arbeiter Zeitung office. He had a loaded revolver hidden under his coat; a file-grooved dagger and a fulminating cap, used to explode dynamite bombs. Theodore Fricke, former business manager of the Arbeiter, identified the copy of the "Revenge" circular as being in Spies handwriting. Lieutenant William Ward testified to having commanded the Haymarket meeting to disperse in the name of the people of Illinois, and that Fielden cried, "We are peaceable," laying a slight emphasis on the last word.
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