Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial evidence book. People's Exhibit 63.
Arbeiter-Zeitung (Newspaper), "Blood," 1886 May 4
Introduced into evidence during testimony of Eugene Seeger (Vol. K p. 683-690), 1886 July 30.
Transcript of translation of article.
Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial evidence book. People's Exhibit 63.
P. 7. Ex. 63
Arbeiter Zeitung (Local column).
Lead and powder as a cure for dissatisfied workmen!
About six laborers mortally, and four times that number slightly wounded.
Thus are the eight hour men to be intimidated!
This is law and order!
Brave girls parading the city!
The law and order beasts frightens the hungry children away with clubs.
Six months ago when the eight hour movement began, there were speakers and journals of the I. A. A. who proclaimed and wrote: "Workmen, if you want to see the eight hour system introduced, arm yourself. (If you do not do this, you will be sent home with bloody heads and the birds will sing May songs upon your graves." "That is nonsense," was the reply. "If the workmen are organized they will gain the eight hours in their Sunday clothes." Well, what do you say now? Were we right or wrong? Would the occurrence of yesterday have been possible if our advice had been followed?
Wage workers, yesterday, the police of this city murdered at the McCormick factory so far as it can now be ascertained, four of your brothers, and wounded, more or less seriously, some 25 more. If brothers who defended themselves with stones (a few of them had little snappers in the shape of revolvers) had been provided with good weapons and one single dynamite bomb, not one of the murderers would have escaped his well merited fate. As it was, only four of them were disfigured. That is too bad. The massacre of yesterday took place in order to fill the forty thousand workman of this city with fear and terror---took place in order to force back into the yoke of slavery the laborers who had become dissatisfied and mutinous. Will they succeed in this? Will they not find at last that they miscalculated? The near future will answer this question. We will not anticipate the course of events with surmises.
The employes in the lumber yards on the south side held a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Black Road, about one quarter mile north from McCormick's factory, for the purpose of adopting resolutions in regard to their demands, and to appoint a committee to wait upon a committee of lumber yard owners and present the demands which had been agreed upon. It was a gigantic mass that had gathered. Several members of
of the lumber yard union mades short addresses in English, Bohemian, German and Polish. Mr. Fehling attempted to speak, But when the crowd learned that he was a Socialist, he was stoned and compelled to leave the improvised speakers stand on a freight car. Then, after a few more addresses were made the president introduced Mr. August Spies, who had been invited as a speaker. A Pole or Bohemian cried out "That is a Socialist," and again there arose a storm of disapprobation and a roaring noise which proved sufficiently that these ignorant people had been incited against the socialists by their priests. But the speaker did not lose his presence of mind. He continued speaking, and very soon the utmost quiet prevailed. He told them that they must realize their strength over against a little handful of lumber yard owners, that they must not recede from the demands once made by them; the issue lay in their hands; all they needed was resolution, and the "Bosses" would be compelled to, and would, give in.
At this moment some persons in the back ground cried out (either in Polish or Bohemian) "On to McCormick's. Let us drive off the scabs"! About 200 men left the crowd and ran towards McCormick's.
The speaker did not know what was the matter, and continued his speech. When he had finished, he was appointed
a member of a committee to notify the "Bosses" that the strikers had no concession to make. Then a Pole spoke. While he spoke a Patrol wagon rushed by towards McCormick's The crowd began to break up. In about three minutes several shots were heard near McCormick's factory, and these were followed by others. At the same time about 75 well fed, large and strong murderers, under the command of a fat police lieutenant, were marching towards the factory, and on their heels followed three patrol wagons besides, full of law an order beats. 200 policemen were on the spot in less than 10 or 15 minutes, and the firing on fleeing workmen and women resembled a promiscuous bush-hunt. The writer of this hastened to the factory as soon as the first shots were fired, and a comrade urged the assembly to hasten to the rescue of their brothers who were being murdered, but no one stirred. "What do we care for that?" was the stupid answer of poltroons brought up to cowardice. The writer fell in with a young Irishman who knew him. "What miserable sons of b--- are those "he shouted to him" who will not turn a hand while their brothers are being shot down in cold blood? We have dragged away two. I think they are dead. If you have any influence with the people, for heaven's sake run back and urge them to follow you." The writer ran back, he implored the people to come along--those who had revolvers
in their pockets, but it was in vain. With an exasperating indifference they put their hands in their pockets and marched home babbling as if the whole affair did not concern them in the least. The revolvers were still cracking, and fresh detachments of police, here and there bombarded with stones, were hastening to the battle ground. The battle was lost.
It was in the neighborhood of half past three o'clock when the little crowd of between two and three hundred men reached McCormick's factory. Policeman West tried to hold them back with his revolver. A shower of stones for an answer put him to flight. He was so roughly handled that he was afterwards found about one hundred paces from the place, half dead and groaning fearfully. The small crowd shouted: "Get out you D-----d scab, you miserable traitors," and bombarded the factory windows with stones. The little guard house was demolished. The "Scabs" were in mortal terror, when at this moment the Hinman street patrol wagon, summoned by telephone, came rattling along with thirteen murderers, when they were about to make an immediate attack with their clubs, they were received with a shower of stones. "Back, disperse," cried the lieutenant, and the next minute there was a report. The gang had fired on the strikers. They pretend subsequently that they shot over their heads. But be that as it may, a (few of the strikers had little snappers
of revolvers, and with these returned the fire. In the meantime other detachments had arrived, and the whole band of murderers now opened fire on the little company---20,000, as estimated by the police organ, The Herald, while the whole assembly scarcely numbered 8,000. Such lies are told. With their weapons, mainly stones, the people fought with admirable bravery. They laid out half a dozen blue coats, and their round bellies, developed to extreme fatness in idleness and luxury, tumbled about, groaning on the ground. Four of the fellows are said to be very dangerously wounded, many others, alas; escaped with lighter injuries. (The gang, of course, conceals this, just as in '77 they carefully concealed the number of those who were made to bite the dust.) But it looked worse on the side of the defenseless workmen. Dozens who had received slight shot wounds hastened away amid the bullets which were sent after them. The gang, as always, fired upon the fleeing, while women and men carried away the severely wounded. How many were really injured and how many were mortally wounded cannot be determined with certainty, but we think we are not mistaken when we place the number of the mortally wounded at about six, and those slightly injured at about two dozen. We know of four, of whom one was shot in the spleen, another in the forehead, another in the breast, and another in the thigh. A dying boy, Joseph Doedick, was
brought home on an express wagon by two policemen. The people did not see the dying boy; they saw only the two murderers. "Lynch the rascals," clamored the crowd. The fellows wanted to break away and hide themselves; but in vain. They had already thrown a rope around the neck of one of them, when a patrol wagon rattled into the midst of the crowd and prevented the praiseworthy deed. Joseph Hess, who had put the rope around his neck, was arrested.
The scabs were afterwards conducted under the protection of a strong escort down Blue Island Avenue. Women and children gave vent to their indignation in angry shouts; rotten eggs whizzed through the air. The men about took things cooly and smoked their pipes as on a Kirmess day.
McCormick's assistant, superintendent C. J. Bemly, was also wounded, and, indeed, quite severely.
The following strikers were arrested: Ignatz Erban, Frank Kohling, Joseph Schuky, Tomas Klafski, John Patolski, Anton Sevieski, Albert Supitar, Hugh McWhifter, Anton Stirnack, Nick Wolna and Thomas O'Connell.
The "pimp" McCormick, when asked what he thought of it, said "August Spies made a speech to a few thousand anarchists It occurred to one of these "brilliant heads" to frighten our men away. He put himself at the head of a crowd, which then made an attack upon our works. Our workmen fled, and in
the meantime the police came and sent a lot of anarchists away with bleeding heads."
Last night thousands of copies of the following circular were distributed in all parts of the city:
Workmen, to arms!
Men of labor, this afternoon the bloodhounds of your oppressors murdered six of your brothers at McCormick's. Why did they murder them? Because they dared to be dissatisfied with the lot which your oppressors have assigned to them. They demanded bread, and they gave them lead for an answer, mindful of the fact that thus people are most effectually silenced. You have for many, many years endured every humiliation without protest, have drudged from early in the morning till late at night, have suffered all sorts of privations, have even sacrificed your children. You have done everything to fill the coffers of your masters---everything for them! and now, when you approach them and implore them to make your burden a little lighter, as a reward for your sacrifices they sent their bloodhounds, the police, at you, in order to cure you with bullets of your dissatisfaction. Slaves, we ask and conjure you by all that is sacred and dear to you, avenge the atrocious murder which has been committed upon your brothers to-day, and which will likely be committed upon you to-morrow. Laboring men, Hercules, you have arrived
at the crossway. Which way will you decide. For Slavery and hunger, or for freedom and bread? If you decide for the latter, then do not delay a moment; then, people to arms! Annihilation to the beasts in human form who call themselves rulers! Uncompromising annihilation to them! This must be your motto. Think of the heroes whose blood has fertilized the road to progress, liberty and humanity, and strive to become worthy of them!