[May 6, 1886]
SPIES, FIELDEN, AND OTHER SOCIALISTS BEHIND THE BARS.
Shutting Up the Office of the Anarchists’ Organ—An Inquest Held Over Officer Degan, and the Agitators Held as Accessories to His Murder—Important Discoveries at Spies’ Office—Dynamite and Arms Seized—The Tolls tightening About the Murderous Conspirators.
The Mayor, Chief Ebersold, State-Attorney Grinnell, Inspector Bonfield, and the leading commissioned officer s hold a short consultation after Mr. Harrison came from the West Side, and at its conclusion six detectives were told off in two divisions, and assigned to duty. Bonfield, Wiley, and Duffy were sent to the office of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, on the upper floor of no. 107 Fifth Avenue. Entering there, Bonfield singled out an extremely pale gentleman who sat in the centre of the room and asked him:
“Are you August Spies?”
The affirmative answer came with a sickly attempt at a smile.
“Well, we want you and both these men,” was the next remark of the officer, as he pointed to Christian Spies, a brother of the editor, who was in the office, and Michael Schwab, the associate editor, who sat at the next desk.
The men were undoubtedly frightened, and had little to say, putting on their coats and preparing to leave the office without remark.
It fell to Officer Duffy to take charge of Chris Spies, and when he was asked what his name was before starting said:
“I don’t know as it’s any of your business, was the tart rejoinder.
“You put on that coat and come with me to the station, and do it –quick,” was the retort, accompanied by a motion that meant business. That settled it, and the three prisoners walked over to the City-Hall without a word, but all three keeping an anxious and frightened eye upon the little knots of people who paused to curiously examine the hurrying procession of six men. The pace was a lively one, and, once at Central, the three were buried into cells in the basement. The officers at once returned to the newspaper office and made search of the place. They found about 100 copies of the call for the hay-market meeting, and upon a galley, still undistributed, was the form of the villainous revenge proclamation which was scattered all over the city by a mysterious horseman Monday night after the rioting and shooting near the McCormick reaperworks. The police took these, and, aided by an outside printer, also found and confiscated sample letters from the cases containing the same fonts of type as those used in the “revenge” proclamation.
The editor was in a cell at the station, but there was no cessation of work on the part of the printers, who appeared to have the copy for the 12 o’clock edition all in hand. They and persons in the counting-room declared that the paper was to come out as usual, and the fact was reported by the police to the mayor.
Mr. Harrison at once held a secret consultation with the police authorities as well as Mr. Winston, the ex-Corporation Counsel, and then started for the office himself. As he stepped into the office he was recognized by a man giving the name Oscar Niebe. Mr. Harrison sharply asked him if he was in charge, and he before a somewhat broken and disconnected answer could be made the Mayor demanded to know if a paper was to be printed. Niebe then explained that Spies was arrested and that he had just stepped in to see what effect the excitement had upon the Arbeiter-Zeitung staff.
“I want to know whether the paper intends to publish any incendiary articles such as appeared yesterday?” commanded the representative of the municipality.
“No, no. We’re going on all smooth and quiet; all smooth and quiet,” replied Niebe.
“Well, I must be convinced of that. And before a paper is sent out a copy must be placed in the hands of Mr. Hand.”
“O, yes. Hand is a friend of the workingmen. We’ll do anything he says. There will be nothing exciting in the paper. We wouldn’t put in anything of that kind.”
“I will make sure that you don’t,” broke in the Mayor, “and Mr. Hand will be here directly.”
A word or two more of no importance passed and Mr. Harrison took his departure, leaving the impression that the paper was to be allowed to go to press.
As he left the place several persons made a motion as if to follow, but a dozen detectives under Lieut. Shea had taken possession of all the doors and stairways, and non one was permitted to go in or out. Then Mr. Niebe waited for Mr. Hand with what patience he could command, but he waited in vain. A consultation of some sort was held when the Mayor again reached headquarters, for a peremptory order to Shea to bring in everybody connected with the office soon came over by special messenger, and the printers up-stairs were told to stop work and put on their coats. The detectives searched each one of them, and in the clothing of one they found a huge murderous Remington revolver and an ugly knife made by grinding to razor edge the three corners of a six-inch file. Then the whole force, ‘prentice hands and all, were marshaled two by two and started for the station. This time the people on the street seemed to know by instinct that these prisoners were men from the Socialistic newspapers, and, as the procession moved along, threats could be heard on all sides. The number of officers prevented any violent demonstration, but “They ought to be hung,” “Hanging is too good for them,” and such remarks sounded on all sides. The prisoners were badly frightened and might have broken from the officers to avoid the knots of spectators had they not heard one loud-mouthed person call out: “What’s the use of coppers dragging such as that to a station? Why don’t you shoot ‘em down and let their own kind cart the bodies off?” This party just dodged a back-handed blow from a detective, and the printers were safely landed in the big room at Central Station.
When the Mayor had left the counting-room the officers found collected in the editorial room Gerhardt Lizeus, the city editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung; Mrs. Parson, the colored wife of the blatant agitator, who publishes his English paper, The Alarm, in the same office; Mrs. Holmes, a writer for the same, and Mrs. Michael Schwab, wife of the editor under arrest. The last-named was allowed to depart with her brother-in-law, as was also Mrs. Parsons, who apparently succeeded in convincing the police that she was not a writer for either her husband’s or Spies’ sheet. The brother of the former was present to protect her, and hew as told to take her home. These two women will be remembered as the couple who carried the red and black flags in front of the procession which howled about the street the night the new Board of Trade Building was opened. The other two were quietly escorted along the same path their superiors had followed to the City Hall.
Mrs. Parsons was let go by the police because they believed she would go home and by following her could locate her husband. They visited the home of the couple at the corner of Indiana and May streets several times during the day, finding it always locked. They made no attempt to enter, although a close watch was kept for any signs of life about the premises. At about 5 o’clock in the afternoon Detectives Palmer and William Boyd arrested Mrs. Parsons again at the house of a painter named Glasgow, No. 313 West Lake Street.
“I have been expecting you,” she said calmly when Officer Palmer accosted her.
“You still wear the red ribbon, do you?” asked Palmer.
“Yes; and I’ll wear it until I die,” she replied with energy.
She was taken to the Central Police Station and was closeted for a few minutes with Lieuts. Shea and Kipley. She declared that she was “ready to die,” and “might as well die at once for the glorious cause,” but she could not be induced to say a word in regard to her fellow Anarchists or her husband’s whereabouts. The police are convinced that Parsons has left the city. Mrs. Parsons was released.
Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Ames were rearrested at No. 14 Peoria Street, for the third time, last evening, and taken to the Central Station. They were closeted again for some time with Lieuts. Shea and Kipley, and then released. The latter officer remarked that it was entirely useless trying to “pump” these women.
In the counting-room Mr. Niebe was still protesting that he had nothing to do with the paper, notwithstanding his talk with the Mayor, but he was told to walk over to the City Hall and make explanations there.
“Now, dust through this place and see what you can find,” was the order to several officers who had returned from headquarters. The first dash was made at a stuffy little cupboard, and as an officer brought out a bundle of coffee-sacking and carefully placed it on a chair, saying, “Look out! I’ll be that’s dynamite,” a shudder went through the whole party. It was about four or five pounds of that fatal explosive, loosely done up in brown paper and wrapped in the coffee-sacking. Officer Marks, who stood nearest the bundle, was told to carry it to Central, and it was stowed away in one of the empty vaults there with much fear and trembling. A quantity of correspondence, which clearly proved that Spies was the responsible head of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and that Parsons stood in the same relation to The Alarm, was next seized, and the officers caught up four red and two black flags and a couple of printed banners, and all started away, leaving the office in charge of the clerk in the counting-room. These banners were translated and the mottoes they bore were, “Our Capitalistic Robbers May Well Thank Their Lord We, Their Victims, Have Not Yet Strangled Them,” and “Down with Extortion—Long Live Free Labor—Long Live the Social Revolution.”
It was supposed that Parsons would be found in the office with Spies and Schwab but he was not, and as soon as the first rush was over there detectives were dispatched to hunt him up. When the first detail was made Officers Costello, Ryan, and Slayton were ordered to go out and hunt up Sam Fielden, the rabid speaker of the night before. These men had heard that he was slightly injured, and they started at once for his home, No. 110 West Polk Street. His wife admitted the policemen without delay, and they found the Socialist in bed. In response to their notice that he was under arrest and that he must come to headquarters, Fielden leaded that he had been injured the night before. There was no ceremony about the next move of the officers, for they stripped down the bed-clothes and began to hunt for his wound. It proved to be a ragged scratch extending over his kneecap, evidently inflicted by a passing missile, while the remainder of the fearless agitator’s body was prone upon the ground. He was suddenly and forcibly told to get out of that bed and put on his clothes. Seeing that it was useless to linger he did so without any apparent pain or effort. He refused to talk about his experience of the night before, and was warned that on the trip down-town he must make no fuss and keep his mouth shut. As he is not personally known to any great number of people the trip to La Salle and Washington Streets was made without incident.
The search for Parsons had been going on all the forenoon, but it had met with no success. No one could be found who was ready to confess that he had seen the “editor” and “speaker.” A visit or two was aid to the elegant flat one occupies with his colored wife at No. 248 West Indiana, and in one of their trips Officers Bonfield and Wiley received some information that led them to return to the Arbeiter-Zeitung office and make a careful search of a sink in Spies’ private office. Hidden in the woodwork below the officers found a long, heavy Winchester revolver, a quantity of fixed ammunition, a large number of small-sized dynamite cartridges, and another file knife, all of which were taken to the station.
A mining expert was found about noon in the person of Mr. F.L. Buck, who agreed to make a test of the dynamite found in the possession of the Anarchists. Accompanied by two or three officers he took some of the stuff and went down to the Lake-Front, near the foot of Randolph Street. A portion about the size of an egg was placed upon a piece of plank probably four inches thick, and two pressed bricks were laid on top It was exploded with the aid of the percussion-cap used by miners, and the detonation could have been heard for a mile north and south along the open lake-front. The plank was rent and torn to splinters, while the two bricks were reduced to a powder. Another charge of about the same size was placed in side a steel coupling link resting on a piece of a railroad tie and covered with another brick. The explosion tore the link in pieces, bending and wrenching the fragments into all sorts of fantastic shapes. The remnants of the two discharged were gathered up by the officers to be preserved. Returning to headquarters Mr. Buck brought forth some acknowledged dynamite, and burned it and some of Spies’ forcible argument together in the open air. When the stuff is not confined it burns like grease, with no explosion, but leaving a peculiar ash and producing a most disgusting smell. Both specimens, when burned upon a stone between the City and County Buildings, gave exactly the same results, and Mr. Buck expressed the opinion that there could be no doubt of the nature and dangerous character of the stuff found in the printing office.
Niebe was let go later.
WHAT THE INQUEST REVEALED
Positive Testimony of Many Witnesses Implicating the Anarchist Leaders.
The inquest upon the body of Mathias J. Degan, the West Lake Street Station police officer who died shortly after being hurt by the bomb which exploded at the corner of Desplaines and Randolph streets, was begun by Coroner Hartz yesterday afternoon at 2:50 o’clock in the office of the City Clerk, the Coroner not having the necessary room in his own office. The jury selected assembled at the County Hospital at 2 o’clock, and, proceeding to the morgue, viewed Degan’s body as it lay upon the marble slab. A ghastly hole in the abdomen of the corpse plainly indicated the cause of death. The features of the dead man were calm and placid, and showed no signs of violent death. The deceased was rather a handsome man and of perfect physical development. As the jury was about leaving the morgue John Degan, a brother, threw himself upon the body and cried pitifully, and it was with difficulty that he was induced to come away.
The jury then took carriages to the City Hall, and the witnesses were summoned to the office of the City Clerk. A sensation was created in the room by the arrival of several officers, having in charge August Spies, Sam Fielden and Michael Schwab, the first editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, the second professional Communist with no other occupation, and the third associate or telegraph editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. These three had been arrested in the morning. Of the three Schwab appeared the coolest; Spies was nervous and worried, his countenance betraying great anxiety, while Fielden’s face was very red, and he shifted uneasily in his seat in his efforts to seem careless and indifferent. His head, face, whiskers, and hands looked as though they had seen neither water nor brush for many a day, and he was ill at ease. The trio had doubtless heard of the threats of lynching that had been made, and cast furtive glances on all sides, as if watching for somebody who might attack them. Though in their harangues these fellows have always denounced the police as assassins and cut-throats, they seemed at this time to be particularly glad of the protection afforded by the officers, though they squirmed under the angry looks cast upon them by the spectators. They paid close attention to the testimony given, and allowed nothing to escape that was going on around them.
The jury consisted of the following:
J.J. Badenoch, flour and feed merchant, corner Washington Boulevard and Desplaines Street, foreman.
S. Greenebaum, commission merchant, No. 41 River Street.
Frank Kurtz, plumber’s clerk, No. 366 Ogden Avenue.
Charles Klausner, liquor dealer, No. 373 Ogden Avenue.
Paul Smith, tailor, no. 910 Milwaukee Avenue.
G. Eickenberg, barber, No. 382 Ogden Avenue.
The first witness was John Degan, brother to the deceased, living at No. 214 South Union Street. He said his brother was 34 years of age, a shoemaker by trade, born in Germany, a widower, and leaving one child. He said he had no idea whatever as to how the deceased came to his death.
Police Officers and Reporters on the Stand.
Louis Haas of No. 19 Lane place, a police officer of the detective force, said he and others were ordered to report to Inspector Bonfield at 6 p.m., Tuesday evening, at Desplaines Street Station. They did so, and Bonfield ordered them to scatter themselves through the crowd which had begun to collect at Desplaines and Randolph streets, a meeting having been announced for the market-place. He had also seen a notice of the meeting Tuesday afternoon in the Arbeiter-Zeitung (the Anarchist organ, edited by August Spies. The Coroner then translated the announcement for the benefit of the jury. The notice of the meeting was published in yesterday morning’s TRIBUNE). About 8:30 or 8:45 a crowd was noticed on Desplaines, north of Randolph Street, and here, on a wagon, were several men who were the speakers of the evening. August Spies was the first speaker, the next A.R. Parsons, and the third Sam Fielden. He was walking through the crowd most of the time and did not pay much attention to the speeches made. At about 9:30 or 10 o’clock Fielden was speaking, Spies and Parsons having spoken. Five or six companies of police came from the Desplaines Street Station, headed by Inspector Bonfield and Capt. Ward, went north on Desplaines and across Randolph, and the first platoon got within fifteen feet of the wagon where the speaking was going on. When Capt. Ward and Inspector Bonfield were within four feet of the wagon Ward said, “I order you in the name of the state to disperse!” At this moment there was a bomb or shell thrown from the east side of Desplaines Street, about fifteen feet form the alley, where there was a lot of boxes. The bomb came from back of the boxes, and landed about the centre of the street, between the first and second police platoons, about the centre of the line. The shell or bomb had a lighted fuse, and that attracted my attention from its sizzling, and exploded as soon as it struck the ground. I was immediately in the rear of the shell, eight or ten feet, with Lieut. Hubbard. At the time of the explosion of the shell there was quite a loud report and the street was filled with smoke. I think I heard shots to the east of me, and then I heard the command of some officer to the police to charge.
I didn’t see Degan the, but saw him afterwards. Just after the word to charge I heard a terrific firing from the officers, and then I went south on Desplaines Street, and at the southwest corner of Desplaines and Randolph I found the body of an officer. Officer McDonald tried to lift him up. I afterwards learned that this was Officer Degan. I then returned to the centre of the street to look for Officer, Elliott, my partner, and there found quite a number of officers and citizens wounded. I assisted in carrying some of the wounded officers to the station.
Questioned by the Coroner, the witness said: When the bomb exploded the ranks of the police seemed to spread, and then I saw great numbers of police lying on the ground piled across each other. Foreman Badenoch—What remarks did you hear previous to the throwing of the bomb?
Witness—I heard several people in the crowd say, “Hang them!” “Burn their factories!” and similar ejaculations were very common. I do not know to whom these persons referred, as I was circulating around in the crowd all the time.
Haas had heard Spies and Fielden make Socialistic remarks on former occasions and say things calculated to rouse the hearers to bloodshed. He heard Fielden make threats against the Government.
Paul C. Huli of No. 586 West Van Buren Street, a reporter, was on the scene. At 7:30 the crowd began to congregate at the corner along Market Square, and towards 8:30 gathered around the wagon in front of Crane Bros.’ foundry on Desplaines Street. August Spies got on the wagon with several other people. A.R. Parsons followed Spies and dealt in statistics. The utterances of the speakers were unusually guarded compared to their speeches on other occasions. Fielden was shouting “In conclusion—when Capt. Bonfield commanded the crowd to disperse. At the same moment a luminous object rose from the east sidewalk and fell in the middle of the street in front of the police. An explosion followed. The centre of the platform seemed to be giving way. Then a few shots were heard and the police began shooting. There was a general fusillade for some time. He could not state for certain whether shots were fired by the crowd after the bomb exploded and before the police fired.
Foreman—What language did the speakers address the meeting in?
“Have you ever heard these men make similar remarks on former occasions?”
“Yes, sir. The tenor of their remarks was always opposition to law and order and resort to violence.”
E.W. May of No. 351 Division Street heard Spies say at the meeting, in speaking of the trouble at McCormick’s: “McCormick has said he was not responsible for the death of the men who were shot. If he said so he lied. He alone was responsible for their death.” His description of the arrival of the police and the throwing of the bomb was similar to that of the preceding witness.
Edgar B. Owen, a newspaper reporter, living at No. 542 Huribut Street, said he saw A.R. Parsons about 7:45 at the meeting and Parsons told him he had nothing to do with the meeting, and, jumping on a car, rode away. He also saw Schwab there. He heard the speeches made by Spies, Parsons, and Fielden, and corroborated the testimony given before as to the character of the utterances. The majority of the audience did not seem to be in sympathy with the speakers. He heard Parsons cry “To arms!” “To arms! “To arms! And this excited more enthusiasm than any of the previous talk. Fielden’s speech was fiery, and there was some applause. Then he went to the Desplaines Street Station and saw the police forming, and was told by several detectives to keep away, as there was going to be trouble. Then he went to the place of the speaking and heard Capt. Ward’s order to the crowd to disperse. He heard the explosion of the bomb and was struck afterwards by a spent ball. Immediately after the explosion of the bomb there was rapid firing on the part of the police and the crowd. He had heard Parsons, Spies, Schwab, and Fielden make frequent incendiary speeches on the Lake-Front, at No. 54 Lake Street, and other places.
Capt. William Ward of No. 21 Arlington Street, in command at Desplaines Street Station, said that at 9:30 o’clock Inspector Bonfield ordered the police out to go to the meeting. He was at the head of the police column as it came to the stand and ordered Fielden to cease talking and commanded the crowd to disperse. At that moment the bomb exploded and an indiscriminate firing began. He has been a police officer for sixteen years. When he told the crowd, in the name of the State, he was executing the orders of his superior officer. After the fight was over he found one of his men dead and thirty-nine wounded. The dead man was Degan. He was so close to the wagon when the bomb exploded that he could have put his hand on it and spoke so loud that all must have heard what he said, and he knew Fielden heard his order.
The foreman—Have you ever been ordered by your superior officer to arrest these men (pointing to the prisoners) for their incendiary utterances?
Capt. Ward—No, sir; but I think other officers have.
The inflammatory circulars were shown Capt. Ward (the ones distributed at the meeting) and he recognized them as ones he had seen.
Officer John A. McDonald, a detective on the police force, was on the ground at the time of the explosion of the bomb, at the southwest corner of Randolph and Desplaines streets. He saw the bomb falling to the ground before it exploded. Half a minute after the explosion there were several shots fired from the opposite side of the street, and Officer Degan fell upon him, his weight bearing him to the ground. The shots came from the southeast corner of Randolph and Desplaines streets and were not fired by officers. Degan had come to him just before he was shot, and had suggested going over to the opposite corner to see who were standing there. The witness said he and other officers picked Degan up from the ground and carried him into the station. He did not speak after being shot.
Capt. Ward, being recalled, said Degan was under Lieut. Stanton of the West Lake Street Station. This company was instructed to keep the crowd from surging into Randolph Street from Desplaines. He (Capt. Ward) was ten feet or more in front of the police line when the bomb was thrown. He did not give any order for his men to fire. There was a great deal of confusion among the officers after the bomb exploded.
The Search of the “Arbeiter-Zeitung” Office and Finding of the Dynamite.
Officer Timothy McKeough, a detective, was around in the crowd with other officers, and heard Spies ask the crowd to be quiet so they could hear the speakers. Spies began to talk, and told the audience how he had spoken at the meeting of Monday which led to the riot at McCormick’s factory, but denied that he had been the means of inciting the mob. He said that the mob there had merely thrown stones and bricks, a harmless amusement, and that there was no use for calling the police. He quoted freely from Parsons’ speech, which ended with the cry “To arms!” He said he heard Fielden say, “Kill the law; throttle it, stab it, shoot it!” Shortly after that the police came marching from the Desplaines Street Station, and in a short time the bomb exploded. He said that in the raid on the Arbeiter-Zeitung office Wednesday morning (Yesterday) the detectives under command of Lieut. Shea captured a quantity of material which they considered to be what was made into bombs. Several detectives went down on the lake shore at the end of the Randolph Street viaduct and ignited the stuff, which showed wonderful explosive power. It shattered bricks and boards, and broke a large piece of iron in two when it exploded. They used a very small quantity of the material when they made the experiments. The stuff was found by Officer Marks in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building, and an expert said there was enough there to blow up the City-Hall.
The Coroner—Where is this stuff now?
McKeough—In the vault of this building. [Sensation in the audience.]
Officer Michael H. Marks, also a detective, testified to the finding of the explosive material in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building, No. 107 Fifth Avenue. He had been detailed by Lieut. Shea to make a thorough search, and did so. On the second floor are Spies’ office and composing-room, and in a small room just north of the office he found a bag filled with sand and sawdust mixed with nitro-glycerin—the same material as the bomb was filled with which exploded Tuesday night. He took it to the Central Station and Lieut. Shea suggested that it be tested. Several officers with a man named Buck, an expert at handling dynamite, went to the lake shore and made three experiments. The first was with some bricks, and they were pulverized; next a board and some stones were used, and the latter were blown into the lake, the board being entirely smashed; at the third experiment a pile of bricks and an iron coupling-pin were used, the dynamite being put under it. The fuse was lighted, and when the explosion occurred the bricks were pulverized and the iron pin broken in two by its force. The stuff was pronounced dynamite, and the amount used for each experiment did not exceed the size of a hen’s egg.
Marks said the dynamite was wrapped in a heavy brown paper bearing the label of the Adams Express Company, New York, but the direction had been taken off. The room in which the dynamite was found opens into Spies’ office; in fact, the room was nothing more nor less than a closet; it was really a part of the room.
Dr. Theodore J. Biuthardt, who held a post-mortem examination on the body of the dead officer (Degan), gave a detailed description of the wounds found upon the corpse, and it was evident from this that Degan’s death was not the result of being struck by a bullet, but that he received a portion of the deadly bomb. A great wound was discovered in the loft thigh, and the doctor said that it was very evident that the missile had entered the thigh and burst after entrance, the muscles being terribly torn and the femoral artery severed. It was evident that this missile was either an explosive bullet or a portion of the bomb which had entered the flesh and exploded there. As to this the doctor could not say, as he was not an expert on explosives, but the wounds were not made by an ordinary bullet. He exhibited to the jury pieces of lead taken from Degan’s thigh and leg and they were very rough and ragged around the edges, and none of them very large. The explosion inside of Degan’s thigh must have been of great force, for the flesh was badly torn.
It was noticeable that while the testimony of the witnesses who found the dynamite was being given, and while Dr. Biuthardt was giving his description of the wounds on Degan’s body, Spies was very nervous, and the expression upon his face was more anxious than ever. The evidence against him was most direct, and it was apparent that he had not expected that such a good case would be made against him. Apart from the type found in his office, set up, form which were printed the circulars headed “Revenge,” and which were the most inflammatory of those distributed among the crowd Tuesday night, was the fact of the finding of the dynamite in his office, by which the inference was very strong that it was from this explosive that the bomb was made which did the ghastly work. Spies’ face grew redder and redder and the wrinkles upon his face deepened as the testimony was proceeded with.
Officer Reinhold Meyers of No. 545 North Clark Street went to the building of the Arbeiter-Zeitung yesterday and found some type set together, the heading of which was: “Revenge! Workingmen to Arms!” It was the type form which the English part of the gory circular of last Monday night was printed.
F.L. Buck, of no. 16 Clark Street, salesman for Greer & Jaques, dealers in nitroglycerine, giantpowder, and similar explosives, has handled these goods for five years. He said he was familiar with the look of explosives before and after explosion. He described the wounds caused by explosives, and after examining a piece of lead taken from the principal wound of the dead officer declared there was some nitroglycerine on it. The giantpowder found in the building of the Arbeiter Zeitung was ready for use if a cap or a fuse was applied.
Detective Edward Cosgrove saw Michael Schwab in consultation with Spies on the wagon.
Henry E.O. Heinemann, a TRIBUNE reporter, of No. 6724 Lafayette Avenue, was present during Tuesday night’s meeting. He met Schwab at Desplaines and Randolph Streets, but did not talk with him. He heard the speeches made, and they seemed to have an inflammatory effect upon some of the audience. He had heard the prisoners speak frequently before, and the talk was in the Anarchistic vein. M.M. Thompson of No. 185 South Green Street, a grocer-keeper, said he was standing at the alloy by Crane Bros.’ foundry about 8 o’clock, when he heard August Spies and Schwab talking together in the alley. He paid no attention to what they were saying, but when he heard the work “pistols” he pricked up his ears. He heard one of them say (he thought I was Spies), “Do you think one will be enough?” (Presumably referring to the bomb.) “If you don’t we’ll go and get some more.” They then went toward Randolph Street, and on that thoroughfare they went a short distance to the east, Thompson following them all the time. After talking together a few minutes the twain turned around and returned to the wagon where the speaking took place, and Thompson is of the opinion that what they were conversing about was the bomb business. AS they neared the wagon from where the speeches were made Spies said, “I don’t think the police will tackle us. They’re afraid, because they know what will be waiting for them.” In the light of subsequent events Thompson found that this conversation had made a very deep impression upon his memory, though it is very probable that he would have forgotten it entirely had it not been for the explosion of the bomb, which gave the conversation he had overheard a fearful significance.
During the testimony Spies wore a sarcastic smile upon his features, and seemed to think this part of the investigation was very funny indeed. Schwab, however, did not, and once or twice vehemently interrupted the witness.
“May I ask you a question, sir?” he at last broke out.
The witness turned inquiringly to the Coroner, and that official said, “Certainly.”
“Was I,” asked Schwab, addressing the witness, “speaking in German or in English?”
“In English,” promptly replied Thompson. “I don’t understand German.”
Schwab settled back in his chair, and he evidently thought it his turn to smile, for a sickly grin overspread his features. The grin was intended to convey to the jury the impression that, had he been talking to Spies at all, it would have been in German and not in English, his command over the latter language not being very complete. Schwab, however, can make himself understood in English very well, and can carry on a conversation in the Anglo-Saxon very well indeed.
Officer William Jones of the detective force was one of the party who made the search at the Arbeiter-Zeitung building in the morning. He arrested Spies, Schwab, and Spies’ brother, and took them to the Central Station, where they were locked up. Then he and other officers went back to the office, and in Spies’ office-desk they found two bombs, with the fuse all ready to light and everything about them in perfect order. They found dynamite in three different places in the building. In the desk they also found several caps and fuses. The bomb may have been giant-powder cartridges. When he and the other officers went to Spies’ office they were told Spies was not in and would not be in until 2 o’clock, but on proceeding up-stairs they found him and Schwab and his (Spies’) brother and placed them under arrest.
Frank Pennell of No. 47 North Market Street, who sells sewing-machine attachments, said he saw Spies’ brother Chris Tuesday night at the corner of Halsted and Randolph Streets. Witness was talking to a man at the corner when young Spies came up. In talking over the situation young Spies said that if the police tried to break up the meeting at Randolph and Desplaines Streets they would get a bomb. Young Spies said the people did not understand what the Anarchists really wanted and defended the Socialistic doctrines. Witness said he was sure that young Spies was the man who said the police would get a bomb if they tried to break up the meeting.
Officer Reuben Slayton, a detective, was engaged in the search of the Arbeiter-Zeitung building, and on the way up-stairs ran against one of the printers in the office. He put his hands up to keep the man from running against him and felt a belt around his body. He (the officer) searched the printer and found upon him a sharp three-cornered dirk and a five-chambered revolver, both of which weapons he took away. He arrested the printer and took him to the Central Station and locked him up.
The Accused Asked to Speak on Their Own Behalf.
This closed the testimony, and then the Coroner said: “Gentlemen, we have finished with all our witnesses, and this would finish the case were it not for one thing. These men here (pointing to the two Spieses, Schwab, and Fielden) were not brought to this room as prisoners—that is to say, they were not brought here as persons suspected of having been concerned immediately in this horrible crime—but the evidence is such as to show that they may have had a good deal to do with it, and therefore I extend to them the privilege accorded to all suspected of crime—that of testifying in their own behalf before the jury.”
Turning to the four men he said: “you may testify, should you desire so to do, but with the understanding that what you say is voluntary and might be used against you. Therefore it is your privilege to either speak or remain silent.”
Young Spies jumped to his feet and said he wanted to testify, and Schwab spoke up and signified his intention of saying something. Fielden was silent, while August Spies sat and smiled and never opened his lips.
Christian Spies, August’s brother, of No. 13 Park Street, a hardwood finisher, said he did not know what was going on, and went to the office of the Arbeiter-Zeitung yesterday morning to read the papers, when he was arrested. Tuesday night he was at Zepf’s Hall, corner of Desplaines and Lake Streets, at a meeting of the furniture-workers. He heard the patrol-wagon and was going out on the street, but was told to remain inside. He could not see the wagon from which the speeches were made from a window in Zepf’s Hall. His brother August was editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Michael Schwab was a bookbinder by trade, but was working for the Arbeiter-Zeitung.
Michael Schwab was sworn after the Coroner had explained to him that he need not make any statement. He acknowledged an oath as binding to tell the truth. He said he lived at no. 51 Florimond Street. He had left home Tuesday night at 7:40 to find Spies, whom the strikers at the Deering Reaper Works wanted to speak. He looked for Spies at the Haymarket and, falling to find either him or any other English speaker, went to the strikers by himself and made a speech for them after 9 o’clock. So he could not have been on the wagon on the Haymarket between 9 and 10 o’clock. He went from his home to his office and through the tunnel to the Haymarket, arriving there about 8:20. Mr. Schwab did not recognize a stiletto that had been taken from Adolf Fischer, one of the compositors of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, nor a revolver that was shown him. He denied any knowledge of how the circulars that were distributed Monday and Tuesday were printed. He said he was associate editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. It was usual for the paper to furnish speakers to trades-unions and other organizations when asked for. He did not know who called the meeting he went to Tuesday night. A request for speakers was sent by telephone.
Samuel Fielden asked leave to make a statement and was “affirmed” by the Coroner. He said he had been invited Tuesday night to speak at No. 378 West Twelfth Street. Before going there he learned of an important business meeting of the American Group of the International Working People’s Association, and decided to go there, but finally ran across the meeting at Desplaines and Randolph Streets, and staid there. He was not armed himself and did not know that anybody else in the meeting was. He was just getting off the wagon when the bomb exploded. AS he stepped on the sidewalk he was shot in the left knee, but managed to walk down-town and took a car to Twelfth and Canal Streets, where his wound was dressed. He then went home and staid there till he was arrested. Fielden admitted having used some expression like this: “Throttle the law or the law will throttle you.” He also admitted having discussed with Spies the use of dynamite in the United States as a means of redress, and stated that the Arbeiter-Zeitung had, about a year ago, published in pamphlet form an article form Johann Most’s Freheit in regard to the use of dynamite.
The Verdict of the Jury Recommending that the Anarchists Be Held.
The following verdict was returned:
We, the jury, find that Mathias J. Degan came to his death from shock and hemorrhage caused by a wound produced by a piece of bomb, thrown by an unknown person, aided, and abetted, and encouraged by August Spies, Christ Spies, Michael Schwab, A.R. Parsons, Samuel Fielden, and other unknown persons; and we, the jury, recommend that said unknown person who threw said bomb be apprehended and held to the grand jury without bail; and further recommend that the said August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, and Christ Spies, as accessories before the fact, be held to await the further action of the grand jury without bail; and, further, that the said A.R. Parsons and the aforementioned unknown persons, be apprehended and committed as accessories without bail to the grand jury; and we, the jury, recommend that the constituted authorities in the future strictly enforce the statute prohibiting the holding of unlawful meetings.
Arranging for the Prosecution of Spies et al.
State’s Attorney Grinnell and Chief of Police Ebersold closeted themselves together twice yesterday to consult as to the best course to pursue in getting together the evidence necessary to convict the murderous Anarchists who perpetrated the atrocious wholesale murder on Desplaines Street Tuesday night. It was suggested that the State’s Attorney had in mind the calling together of a special grand jury for the indicting of the treacherous rioters, and that all known Anarchists who participated in the meeting would be indicted by name on all possible charges, and that the indictments for the unknown rioters would be made to read “a person unknown by name, to be pointed out.” “We will push the prosecution of the men who instigated the riot and helped carry out the murder as far as the law allows us,” said Mr. Grinnell after he came out of the Chief’s office. “We intend and determine to punish these rioters to the fullest extent of the law and for all there is in it,” he continued, “and we hope justice will not be cheated this time. We want to look over all the evidence before deciding on what charge or charges to make, and I can not say now what the charges will be. I think we will bring the matter before the next regular grand jury.”
It was rumored yesterday that the State’s Attorney would present a request in due form to Judge Rogers or Judge Garnett to impanel a special grand jury to act on the cases of the Socialists Spies and Fielden, their associates, and dupes. The regular grand jury, it was thought, would not be impaneled till Monday week, and would have all it could do to attend to the ordinary jail cases. Some good citizens suggested a special grand jury, because they do not like the personnel of the regular one. A few good men like Murry Nelson, A.J. Grover, and George Adams have been drawn, but the majority are small politicians, saloon-keepers, etc. It might not be safe to intrust them with any business of importance. It is not likely that this will be done.
Fielden and Spies Talk.
The Nihilistic agitators, Spies, Fielden, and their fellow-conspirators, remained in the cells beneath the detectives’ quarters last night. This morning they will be committed to jail. At midnight Chief Ebersold permitted reporters to see the prisoners. All were willing to talk, and answered all questions put to them except those more pertinently connected with the horrid deed committed the night before. Fielden was lying in his bunk when the reporters entered nursing his wounded leg and vainly trying to lose consciousness of the thrilling scenes he had just passed through by falling asleep. When the reporters entered he arose, rubbed his bloodshot eyes, and came to the bars. Fielden is rather below the medium height, thick-set, and muscular. His swarthy features, well covered with a thick growth of black hair and beard, are repulsive, and his low brow and catlike eyes do not improve his appearance. His clothing was well worn and of the poorest quality, and his blue hickory shirt gave him the appearance of a countryman.
“I was 39 years old last February,” he began, “and was born in Todmorden, Lancashire, England. My parents were poor, but I succeeded in obtaining a fair education. The first memorable event in my life was when I lost my mother. I was then only 10 years old. At the age of 18 I attended an old-fashioned revival meeting, at which I was converted to the cause of Christianity. Then I converted to the cause of Christianity. Then I joined the Methodist Church, and subsequently preached the Gospel in my immediate neighborhood. In 1869 I decided to leave England and emigrate to the United States, and reached here in July, 1869, going first to Onleyville, R.I., where I obtained employment in a woolen mill. The following July I went to Ohio and worked on a farm a short time, when I came to Chicago. On arriving here I was employed by “Long John” to work on his farm at Summit, Ill. When winter came I found employment in stone quarries, and have followed that class of work most of the time since.
“Soon after my arrival in America I began reading the works of Tom Paine, to which I became a convert, though I am now what is termed a materialist. My Socialistic career began five years ago, when I joined an organization called the Chicago Liberal League. I at once became an active and prominent member of the organization, and it was principally owing to my efforts that the National Liberal League was compelled to adopt the labor platform. My connection with the organization brought me into intimate relations with well-known Socialistic agitators, and I soon became an enthusiastic disciple of their cause. In 1884 I joined the Working-People’s Association, with which I have ever since been prominently identified. I believe that I have attained considerable celebrity as a public speaker, and especially as an advocate of the laboring people’s rights. I have assisted in building up Socialistic organizations in Chicago, and am proud of the fact that we are now 3,500 strong in membership, not including several thousands of known sympathizers. Carter Harrison ought to know the strength of our organization, as it was the Socialists that elected him Mayor of Chicago.”
August Spies is a pale-faced, intellectual-looking German, 36 years of age. He was born in Hessia, and came to this country in 1873. He has been a Socialist all his life, and started a newspaper in support of that cause in 1879. He says he at first refused to speak at the Haymarket meeting because handbills had been issued requesting people to meet with arms. He afterwards consented to speak, as he wanted to defend the Socialists against the attacks of “capitalist organs,” who had held the Socialists responsible for the affair at McCormick’s factory. His speech, he says, was the most temperate that he ever delivered. He strongly deprecated the throwing of the bomb, which he denounced as an “ill-timed and outrageous affair.” It was, he thought, the impulsive outbreak of the people, and not prearranged. Regarding the quantities of explosives found in his office he says that he was ignorant of their presence there. He thinks they were probably placed there by the police in order to make a case against them. He had two cartridges in his desk, which he kept to show reporters, but they were perfectly harmless.