Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1. Direct examination by Mr. Ingham. Testified through an interpreter. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois. People's Exhibits 7 (vol.I 55) and 8 (vol.I 72) introduced into evidence. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): bombs (vol.I 61), socialists and/or socialism (vol.I 53), plans for warfare against the police and/or capitalists (vol.I 59), "Revenge" circular (vol.I 59), meaning of "Ruhe" (vol.I 59), meaning of "Y" (vol.I 54), McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.I 58), Greif's Hall (vol.I 54), Zepf's Hall (vol.I 71), arrangements made for the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 62), discussion of legal procedure (vol.I 75), Lehr und Wehr Verein (vol.I 53), Furniture Workers' Union (vol.I I71), Spies, August (vol.I 73), Engel, George (vol.I 56), Fischer, Adolph (vol.I 58), Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.I 54), People's Exhibit 7 (vol.I 54), People's Exhibit 8 (vol.I 71).
Testimony of Godfried Waller (first appearance), 1886 July 16.
Volume I, 53-75, 23 p.
Cabinet Maker, member of Lehr und Wehr Verein; German immigrant.
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Direct examination by Mr. Ingham. Testified through an interpreter. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois. People's Exhibits 7 (vol.I 55) and 8 (vol.I 72) introduced into evidence.
Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): bombs (vol.I 61), socialists and/or socialism (vol.I 53), plans for warfare against the police and/or capitalists (vol.I 59), "Revenge" circular (vol.I 59), meaning of "Ruhe" (vol.I 59), meaning of "Y" (vol.I 54), McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.I 58), Greif's Hall (vol.I 54), Zepf's Hall (vol.I 71), arrangements made for the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 62), discussion of legal procedure (vol.I 75), Lehr und Wehr Verein (vol.I 53), Furniture Workers' Union (vol.I I71), Spies, August (vol.I 73), Engel, George (vol.I 56), Fischer, Adolph (vol.I 58), Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.I 54), People's Exhibit 7 (vol.I 54), People's Exhibit 8 (vol.I 71).
July 16th, 86, 2 P. M.
produced as a witness on behalf of the People, after having been dulynsworn, testified as follows: (Testifying through sworn interpreter through German into the English language)
Direct Examination by
Q What is your name?
A Godfried Waller.
Q What is your business?
A Cabinet maket.
Q How long have you been engaged in that business?
A Two years.
Q How long have you lived in Chicago?
A Two years.
Q Where were you born?
Q You have lived in this country how long?
A Three years.
Q Were you or have you been a member of any Socialistic organization in this city?
Q What organization?
A A society called the "Lehr and Wehr Verein", a society for exercise in arms and instruction; it means a society to receive instructions in military discipline and in arms.
Q What group were you a member of?
A The second company.
Q Are you a member of that company now or of that organization now? No, not for the last four months.
Q What did that organization do?
A We have drilled---- exercised in arms and so forth.
Q You say you ceased to be a member of that orgainzation about four months ago?
Q Do you remember the time when the bomb was thrown?
Q What day was that?
A The 4th of May.
Q In the daytime or the night time?
A In the evening.
Q Where were you the night of the day before the throwing of the bomb?
A That night I was at home.
Q Where were you on the evening of the third of May?
A In Grief's Hall, on West Lake Street.
Q Where is Grief's Hall?
A 54 West Lake Street.
Q That is in the City of Chicago?
Q What time did you get to that hall?
A At eight o'clock.
Q Had you been working that day---Monday?
Q How did you come to go to that hall?
A On account of an advertisement in the Arbeiter Zeitung.
Q Where did you see the advertisement in the Arbeiter Zeitung?
A On Milwaukee Avenue, in Thalia Hall.
Q Have you the paper now in which you saw that advertisement?
Q Do you know what became of it?
Q Look at the paper which I now show you, marked "People's
Exhibit 3", and see if that is a copy of the paper in which you saw the advertisement?
Q Now, what was the advertisment which you saw?
A The letter "Y"-- "Come Monday night."
Q Where is it?
A There (indicating).
Q Is it the place that you now designate with your finger?
(Paper offered in evidence. No objection on the part of the defendants. Same hereto attached marked "People's Ex. 7", contained in Vol. of "Exhibits" hereto attached.)
Q What is the word just before the words which you have read?
A "Briefkasten"--which means "Letter Box".
Q What did that mean-- the letter "Y" and so forth?
Q Did this expression-- the letter "Y"--followed by the words "Come Monday night," have any meaning among the society to which you belonged?
A It was nothing but a sign that our meeting was to take place there.
Q Whose meeting?
A Of the armed section.
Q Should meet where?
A It always meant Grief's Hall.
Q Had you been there at other meetings pursuant to a notice similar to this?
A Once, yes.
Q Was there any other reason for your going to Grief's Hall that night?
Q Had you seen any document before you went there--- any printed document?
Q Had you talked with anybody before going there?
Q About the purpose of the meeting?
Q Had you talked with any of the defendants now on trial about that?
A Yes, shortly before the meeting.
Q Before you went to Grief's Saloon had you talked with any of the defendants?
Q With whom had you talked before going to the saloon about the purposes of the meeting?
A Not about the purposes of the meeting. I simply talked with some of the defendants.
Q What time did you get to Grief's Hall?
A About half past eight.
Q Where did you go first?
A To Engle's.
Q Was that half past eight in the evening or in the morning?
A In the evening.
Q Where did you first go after getting to Grief's place?
A To Mr. ENgle's.
Q Did you spend any time in the saloon before going to the hall?
Q What floor of the building is the saloon on?
A It is on the first floor.
Q Did you attend a meeting at Grief(s place that night?
Q Where was that meeting held?
A In the basement.
Q At that same number?
Q Is that basement under the front of the rear portion of
A It extends throughout the length of the building.
Q Look at the plat which I now show you (indicating). Is that a plat of the basement?
A Yes, that is it.
Q How high is the ceiling of the basement above the floor?
A AAbout seven or eight feet.
Q What time was that meeting called to order?
A Half past eight.
Q Who called it to order?
A I did.
Q Who was present at that meeting that you now can remember of?
A That I cannot tell--all of them; about sevety or eighty men.
Q Who was the chairman of the meeting?
A I was.
Q Who nominated you for chairman?
A I could not say for certain, but I think several called out "Waller"; I think August Clermont.
Q Were there any guards stationed to prvent parties from entering the hall who were not entitled to enter?
Objected to as leading.
Q Were any precautions taken about who should come into the meeting?
A That I don't know.
Q Point out the place in the hall where you as chairman sat?
A Here (indicating on plat.)
Q Where did the audience sit?
A Here (indicating the placed marked "Bench").
Q Was there anyone here (indicating on the back stairway)?
Q. Who was there (indicating)
A I could not say for certain; I think it was Breitenfeld.
Q Who was Breitenfeld?
A He is the commander of our Lehr and Wehr Society.
Q Were any of the defendants present at that meeting?
Q Who that you remember of?
A Mr Engle amd Mr. Fischer.
Q Do you remember as to any of the others?
A Yes, several.
Q I mean any of the other defendants?
Q What was said after the meeting was called to order?
Mr. BLACK: In behalf of the six defendants other than Mr. Engle and Mr. Fischer, we desire to interpose an objection as to what occurred at that meeting.
Objection overruled; to which ruling of the Court the defendants referred to, by their counsel, then and there duly excepted.
MR. BLACK: I do not desire to repeat the objection every time, but it is understood to apply to all that took place at that meeting.
THE COURT: The objection and exception may be preserved for the other defendants--other than Engle and Fischer.
THE WITNESS: Several posters about revenge were distributed:
(Question Read) First it was talked about that at McCormick's six men had been killed; then we had a discussion as to what should be done in the next few days.
Q Who was it that made the statement that six men had been killed at McCormick's?
A. -Those were the posters.
Q Have you any of those circulars, or do you know what became of the circulars which you read?
Q Look at the circular which I now show you, headed "Revenge", and say whether or not that is a copy of the one which you read?
Q Do you know who brought that circular to the meeting?
Q Do you know who distributed it at the meeting?
Q After the discussion began as to what should be done what was said?
A. -Mr. Engle has found a resolution of a prior meeting as to what should be done.
Q What did Engle say?
A. -Mr. Engle said that if, through the fault of the strikers, there should be an encounter with the police, that we should aid the men against them.
Mr. ZEiseler.- I do not think the translation is exactly correct. I think it should be "If on account of the eight-hour strike now going on there should be a difficulty between the police and the workmen then we should meet at certain meeting places to come to the rescue of those attacked by the police."
Mr. Ingham We are willing to adopt your translation.
Q Go on?
A -Then he told us that the Northwest Side Group had resolved as to that, that if on account of the workingmen-the strikers-something would happen to the police that we should gather at certain corners or meetingplaces. Then the word "Ruhe"-translated as "Quiet" or "rest", -if that was ordered to be published; if that was to appear it was to be the time for us to meet.
Q Was anything said about where the word "Ruhe" should be published?
Q Where was it to be published?
A --In the Arbeiter
Zeitung--- in the "Letter Box."
Q Q What else, if anything, did Engle say? Give what was said there just as fully as you can.
A If there were tumults in the city then we should meet at Wicker Park; if that should appear in the paper-- the word "Ruhe"--then the Northwest Side Group and the Lehr and Wehr Verein of the Northwest side should assemble in Wicker Park armed. Then a committee was appointed to watch the movement in the city. They should observe the movement and if something happened they should report, and if a riot should occur we should first storm the police station and should cut the telegraph wires.
Q Who should cut the telegraph wires?
A That was not provided for, and then after we had stormed the police station we should shoot down everything that should come out, and by that we thought to gain accessions from the workingmen, and then if that police station was stormed we should do the same in regard to the second, and whatever would come in our way we should strike down, and that is about all.
Q What police station was referred to?
A First that on North Avenue.
Q What next?
A About the second station there
was nothing said-- just as it happened.
Q Was anything said about dynamite or bombs?
A It would be the easiest mode--- throwing a bomb in the station.
Q Who said that?
A Mr Engle.
Q Whose plan was it to storm this Northside Station?
THE COURT: Who said anything about that and what did he say, is the proper question?
Mr. INGHAM: (Q): Did anybody say anything about where this plan was originated?
Q Was anything said by anyone about calling a meeting of workingmen?
A That I don't know.
Q Was anyting said at the meeting about calling a meeting of the workingmen?
Q What was that? State fully.
A There should be a meeting of workingmen the next day; the meeting was Monday that would be Tuesday.
Q Who said that?
A I said that: and that was rejected--- the meeting to be held in the morning, and the meeting was called for the evening.
Q Who said anything about calling a meeting for the evening?
A Mr. Fischer.
Q Tell what Mr Fischer said? give it all?
A I had proposed Market Square and then Fischer said this was a mouse trap; it should be on the Haymarket, because in the evening there would be more workingment there, because people were at work late, and then it was resolved that the meeting should be at eight o'clock in the evening.
A At the Haymarket.
Q What else was said?
A That is about all.
Q Was anything said about what should take place at that meeting --- at the Haymarket meeting?
A To cheer up the workingmen so that if something should happen in the next day they should be prepared.
Q Prepared for what?
A If a conflict should happen.
Q Was anything said at that meeting as to how the meeting should be called?
Q What was said and by whom?
A It should be announced through a hand bill.
Q Who said that?
A That I don't know.
Q Was anything said of how the hand bill should be printed or where it should be printed?
A Fisher was commssioned to print it--- to announce a mass meeting.
Q Did Fischer say anything about printing it?
Q What did he say?
A He went away to have it printed, but it was closed.
Q What was closed?
A A The printing establishemnt
Q How do you know it was closed?
A He came back and said so.
Q How long was he gone?
A About half an hour.
Q Did he say anything about where he was going to have it printed
Q Was anything said at that meeting, and, if so, by whom, as to what to do if the police should interefere with the Haymarket meeting?
Question objected to; question withdrawn.
Q Go on and tell what else was said as fully as you can remember?
A It was said that we ourselves should not participate at the meeting of the Haymarket; we should meet at the respective places; only a committee should be present at the Haymarket, and if they should report that something had happened then we should come down upon them- attack them.
Q Should attack them where and attack who?
A Every Group had to look out--- had to arrange for that themselves.
Q Should attack who?
A Our opponents-- our adversaries.
Q Who were the opponents mentioned in the meeting?
A First the police.
Q Who else?
A The police and militia--- whatever should come against us.
Q Who else besides the police and militia if anybody?
A We also think that the fire department are our opponents
On motion of defendant's counsel last answer ordereded stricken out.
Q Was anything said at the meeting as to who should be attacked?
Q What was said? Give it all as fully as you can remember
A First we were to attack the police station--- the North Avenue Police Station, and then the next one-- as fate would have it.
Q Was there anything said in that meeting as to who were to be attacked? Was there anything said in that meeting on Monday night as to who were to be attacked whenever the conflict should occur? Was there any places or persons other than the North Avenue Police Station specifically mentioned to be attacked?
Q Was there anything said as to what should be done in case the police interfered with the Haymarket meeting?
Objected to as leading; objection overruled by the Court; to which ruling defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.
Q Was there anything said as to why the police stations in the different parts of the town should be attacked?
Objected to. (No ruling).
Q What was that?
A We have seen how the police oppressed the workingmen, how the capitalists oppress the workingmen, and that six men were killed at McCormick's and that we commence to take the rights in our own hands.
Q Who said that?
A It was said by several; we discussed about it.
Q Was anything said as to why the police station should be attacked as to that particular time?
A Yes, It was the plan to attack the police station to prevent the police from coming to aid.
Q Coming to aid what?
A If they should be a fight in the city.
Q Was there anything said bout there being a fight in the city?
A There was nothing said about it but we supposed so; we thought so.
Q Who thought so?
A All of us.
Counsel for defendants moved to strike out the last answer preceding the last question--that part of the answer "We thought so."
Motion allowed by the Court.
Q Did the meeting over which you presided take any action in regard to the plan which you have been narrating?
Q What action did the meeting take?
A The plan was adopted, with the understanding that every Group ought to act independently, according to the general plan,
Q How many members were present at the time the plan was adopted?
A 70 or 80.
Q Were they all from the Northwest Group?
A No; they were from all the Groups.
Q From what parts of the city?
A From the West Side, and from the South Side and from the North Side.
Q Any from the Southwest Side?
A That I cannot say
Q Was anything said at the meeting as to what should be done at other parts of the city than the North Side or the Northwest Side?
A The same should be done.
Q What was said if anything as to what should be done in case the police should attempt to disperse the Haymarket meeting?
Objected to; objection overruled; to which ruling of the court defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.
A There was nothing said about the Haymarket.
There was nothing expected that the police would get to the Haymarket, only if strikers were attacked then we should shoot the police.
Q What else?
A In that case we should simply strike them down however best we could, with bombs, or whatever would be at our disposition.
Q From where was the committee or of whom was the committee to be c mposed which was to be sent to the Haymarket Square?
A One or two from each Group.
Q What were they to do?
A They should observe the movement not only on the Haymarket Square, but in the different parts of the city, and if a conflict should happen then they should report to us.
Q Should report to whom?
A If it happened in the day time then they should cause the publication of the work "Ruhe".
Counsel for the defendants moved the c urt to counsel out the last answer as not responsive to the question.
Motion overruled to which ruling defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.
MR. INGHAM: If it happened in the night time to whom were they to make their report?
A Then they should report personally to the members.
Q Where were the members to be?
Q Where were they to find the members?
A At home.
Q Q What was the maning of this word "Ruhe"?
A On that day we did not understand it ourselves ---why the word "Ruhe" was in there.
Q What did the word "Ruhe" mean? What was said at the meeting as to what the word "Ruhe" should signify?
THE COURT: In the meeting was anyhting said ss to what the word "Ruhe" should mean if published?
MR. INGHAM: What was said about that?
A It should be an indication that we should have to meet here and there. The word "Ruhe" should only be inserted in the newspaper if a downright revolution had occurred.
Q Who said that?
A That was in the plan.
Q Who first mentioned it at the meeting?
A Fischer first called the attention of the meeting to the word "Ruhe".
Q Was anyhting said as to where the word "Ruhe" should be published?
A Yes, in the Arbeiter Zeitubg under the head of "Letter Box."
Q Was there anything said as to who would see that it was published there?
A The committee.
Q Was anything said as to who would take it to the
A No; it was the business of the committee to attend to it.
Q Who comprised the committee?
A I only know one of them.
Q Who was that?
Q Who appointed the committee?
A The meeting.
Q When that plan was put to vote before the meeting for their action, who put it to vote?
Q Did the meeting adopt this plan of the Northwest Group?
A All of them accepted it.
Q How did they do it--by vote or otherwise?
A By ballot.
Q What do you mean by ballot?
A By raising of the hand.
Q Before they voted on it did you announce the plan to the meeting---did you state it?
Q From whom or from whose statements did you get the plan which you put to the meeting?
THE COURT: Let him state all that occurred at the meeting.
MR INGHAM: Q Who put the question to the meeting?
Objected to: objection overruled; to which ruling of the court defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.
Q At the time that the plan was adopted at the meeting who made the motion for the adoption?
A The motion came from Engle.
Q Did any one second it?
Q Who seconded it?
A That I don't know.
Q Who, put it to vote?
A I have put it to the meeting.
Q During the discussion was anything said about where dynamite or bombs or arms could be obtained that you remember of?
Objected to; objection overruled; to which ruling of the court defendants by their counsel than and there duly excepted.
A Not on that evening.
Q What time did you leave the meeting?
A About half past ten.
Q Where did you go?
A I went home.
Q Where were you Tuesday?
A On Tuesday I was at the shop meeting at 105 Wells street.
Q Were you present at the Haymerket Square on Tuesday evening?
A Partially, yes sir.
Q What time did you go there?
A About half past eight.
Q Why did you go there?
A I did not go there on account of the meeting. I had to go to Zepf's Hall on account of the furniture workers Union meeting.
Q After the plan of the northwest group had been adopted by the meeting did you state that plan to any one at the meeting?
A It was said that this plan should be communicated to such reliable men that were absent.
Q Did you repeat that plan to any one who came into the meeting after the meeting had adopted it?
Q Did you ever see the word "Ruhe" in the Arbeiter Zeitung?
A Yes sir.
Q Where were you when you saw it?
A In the Thalia Hall on Milwaukee Avenue.
Q What number on Milwaukee avenue?
A 636 I think. I could not say for certain.
Q Look at the paper which I now show you--Arbeiter Zeitung
of May 4th and see if that is the word you saw?
Q What time of the day did you see that?
A About six o'clock in the evening.
Q What is the Thalia Hall?
A It is a saloon.
Q Who met there?
A The second company of the Lehr and Wehr Verein and the Northwest Side Group met there.
Arbeiter Zeitung May 4th, 1886, referred to above introduced in evidence on behalf of People; same marked People's Ex. 8, in Vol. of "Exhibits" hereto attached.
Q Did you ever see this circular (paper marked Peoples Exhibit 1? (Also marked Peoples Ex. 5, in Volumn of "Exhibits hereto attached)
Q Where did you see that first?
A I believe at 105 Wells street.
Q When did you see it?
A I think in the afternoon about two or three oclock. I would not be sure.
Q Of what day?
A Of Tuesday.
Q At whose place?
A At 105 Wells street.
Q Was that the same day on which the bomb was thrown?
Q How long did you stay at Zepf's Hall?
A The bomb was thrown there already when I left there.
Q Did you go to Zepf's Hall before you went to the Haymarket?
A First I went to Haymarket and then to Zepf's
Q How long were you at the Haymerket?
A First when Mr. Speis spoke I was there about a quarter of an hour.
Q Where was it that Mr. Spies spoke?
A On the wagon, on Desplaines street.
Q How long did you stay there?
A About a quarter of an hour.
Q Why did you leave there?
A I do not understand English.
Q Did Spies speak in English?
Q Where did you go?
A I went to the Furniture Workers meeting.
Q Was anybody with you?
A Yes, the furniture workers.
Q Before you got to the Haymarket Square---on your way to the Haymarket Square did you stop at any house.
Q Whose house?
A At Mr. Engle's.
Q Who was with you when you stopped at Engles?
A I do not know them; they were some people of the Northwest Side Group. I do not know their names.
Q Do you know whether Mr. Breitenfield was there or not?
A When I went to the meeting he was not.
Q Was Engle at home?
Q After you had been to the meeting and gone to Zepf's Hall, how long did you stay at Zepf's Hall?
A A short time---about ten minutes.
Q Where were you when the bomb was thrown?
A. In Zepf's Hall.
Q. What did you do after the bomb was thrown?
A. Oh, there was some disturbance and the door was closed; after the door was opened again we went home.
Q Who did you go home with?
Q Did you stop on your way home at anybody's house?
Q Whose house did you stop at?
A At Engles.
Q Did you have any conversation there with Mr. Engle?
Q Did you have any talk in his presence in which he took part?
A I went there and told him that such and such had happened at the Haymarket.
Q What did you tell him had happened at the Haymarket?
Objected to on behalf of all the defendants; which objection was overruled by the court, to which ruling defendants' counsel then and there excepted.
A I went in the store. They had assembled in the back part of it in their dwelling place, around a jovial glass of beer and I went in there and told them that a bomb was thrown at the Haymarket and that about a hundred people had been killed there.
Q What was said?
A I told them they should make haste and go home---that would be the best thing for them.
Q What did Engle say?
A Engles said yes, they should go home.
Q Did Engle say anything else that you remember?
Q Did he say anything about the throwing of the bomb being a failure?
Objected to as leading and incompetent.
Q Was anything said by Engle as to the success or failure of the bomb, and if so, what?
MR. BLACK: Of course it is understood that all that transpired between this witness and Engle is objected to on bhalf of the other seven defendants.
THE COURT: Yes.
Q Look at the circular which I now show you, marked "Peoples Exhibit 2". (Also marked Peoples Ex. 6 in Vol. of "Exhibits" hereto attached). Did you ever see that circular before?
A At the meeting.
Q What meeting?
A On Monday evening.
Q Mr. Waller, did you ever have any bombs?
Objected to by defendants.