In compliance with your request I write for publication in the Knights of Labor the following "brief story of my life, a history of my experience and connection with Labor, Socialistic, and Anarchistic organizations, and my views as to their aims and objects and how they will be accomplished, also my connection with the Haymarket meeting of May 4, 1886, and my views as to the responsibility for that tragedy."
Albert R. Parsons was born in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, June 20, 1848. My father, Samuel Parsons, was from the state of Maine & he married into the Tompkins-Broadwell family of New Jersey & settled in Alabama at an early day where he afterwards established a shoe-and leather factory in the city of Montgomery. My father was noted as a public-spirited, philanthropic man. He was a Universalist in religion & held the highest office in the Temperance movement of Louisiana & Alabama. My mother was a devout Methodist, great spirituality of character, & known far & near as an intelligent and truly good woman. I had nine brothers & sisters. My ancestry goes back to the earliest-settlers of this country, the first Parsons family landing on the shores of Narragansett Bay from England in 1632. The Parsons family and their descendants had taken an active and useful part in all the social, religious, political & revolutionary movements in America. One of the Tompkins on my mother's side was with Gen. George Washington's in the revolution and fought at the battle of Brandy Wine. Maj. Gen. Samuel Parsons, of Massachusetts my direct ancestor, was an officer in the revolution of 1776, and Capt. Parsons was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. There are over 90,000 descendants from the original Parsons family in the United States.
My mother died when I was not yet 2 years old & my father died when I was 5 years of age. Shortly after this time my elder brother William Henry Parsons, who had married and was then living at Tyler, Texas, became my guardian. He was Proprietor & Editor of the Tyler Telegraph. That was 1851-2-3. Two years later our family moved west to Johnson County on the Texas frontier, while the Buffalo, antelope, & Indian were yet in that region. Here we lived on a ranch for about 3 years when we moved to Hill County & took up a farm in the valley of the Brazos river. My frontier life had accustomed me to the use of the rifle & the pistol, to hunting & riding and in these matters was considered quite an expert. At that time our neighbors did not live near enough to hear such other's dogs bark or cocks crow. It was often, 5 or 10 to 15 miles to the next house.
In 1859 I went to Waco, Texas, where after living with a married sister, & going to school meantime for about a year I was indentured an apprentice to the Galveston Daily News, for seven years to learn the printer's trade. Entering upon my duties as a "printer's devil," I also became a paper carrier for the Daily News, & in a year-and a-half was transformed from a frontier boy into a city civilian. When the Slave-holding rebellion broke out in 1861, I though quite small, and but 13 years old joined a local volunteer military company called the "Lone Star Greys." My first military exploit was on the passenger steamer Morgan where we made a trip out into the Gulf of Mexico and intercepted & assisted in the capture of U. S. Gen. Twigg's army which had evacuated the Texas frontier forts and came to the sea-coast at Indianapolis to embark for Washington D. C.
My first military exploit was a "run-away" trip on my part for which I received an ear-pulling from my guardian when I returned. These were stirring "war times" & as a matter-of-course my young blood caught the infection. I wanted to enlist in the rebel army & join Gen. Lee in Virginia, but my guardian, Mr. Richardson, proprietor of the News a man of 60 years, & the leader of the Secession movement in Texas, ridiculed the idea, on account of my age & size & ended by telling me that "its all bluster anyway. It will be ended in the next sixty days & I'll hold in my hat all the blood thats shed in this war." This statement from one whom I thought knew all about it, only served to fix all the firmer my resolve to go & go at once, before too late. So I took a "French leave" and joined an artillery company at an improvised fort at Sabine Pass Texas, where Capt. Richard Parsons an elder brother was in command of an infantry company. Here I exercised in infantry drill and served as "powder monkey" for the canoneers. My military enlistment expired in 18 months when I left Fort Sabine and joined Parson's Texas Cavalry Brigade then on the Missippi river.
My brother Maj. Gen. W. H. Parsons (who during the war was by his soldiers invested with the sobriquet "Wild Bill") was at that time in command of the entire cavalry outposts on the West Bank of the Mississippi river from Helena to the mouth of the Red River. His cavalrymen held the advance in every movement of the Trans-Missippi army, from the defeat of the Federal General Curtis on White River to the defeat of Gen. Banks army on Red River, which closed the fighting on the west side of the Mississippi. I was a mere boy of 15 when I joined my brother's command at the front on White river, & was afterwards a member of the renowned McInoly Scouts under Gen. Parson's orders which participated in all the battles of the Curtis, Canby & Banks Campaigns. With this command I remained till the close of the war.
On my return home to Waco, Texas at the close of the war I traded a good mule (all the property I possessed) for 40 acres of corn in the field standing ready for harvest, to a refugee who desired to flee the country. I hired & paid wages (the first they had ever received) to a number of ex-slaves & together we reaped the harvest. From the proceeds of its sale, I obtained a sum sufficient to pay for 6 months tuition at the Waco University, under control of Rev. Dr. R. B. Burleson, where I received about all the technical education I ever had. Soon afterwards I took up the trade of type-setting & went to work in a printing office in the town.
In 1868 I founded & edited a weekly newspaper in Waco, named "The Spectator." In it I advocated with Gen. Longstreet the acceptance in good faith of the terms of surrender & supported the 13, 14, & 15 Constitutional amendments & the reconstruction measures, securing the political rights of the colored people. (I was strongly influenced in taking this step out of respect & love for the memory of dear old "Aunt Ester" then dead, and formerly a slave & house-servant of my brothers family she having been my constant associate and practically raised me, with great kindness & a mother's love.) I became a Republican, & of course, had to go into politics. I incurred thereby the hate & contumely of many of my former army comrades, neighbors & the Ku Klux Klan. My political career was full of excitement & danger. I took the stump to vindicate my convictions. The lately enfranchised slaves over a large section of country came to know & idolize me as their friend & defender while on the other hand I was regarded as a political heretic & traitor by many of my former associates. The Spectator could not long survive such an atmosphere.
In 1869 I was appointed traveling correspondent & agent for the Houston Daily Telegraph & started out on horseback (our principal mode of travel at that time) for a long tour through northwestern Texas. It was during this trip through Johnson Co. that I first met the charming young Spanish-Indian maiden who three years later became my wife. She lived in a most beautiful region of country on her uncle's ranch near Buffalo Creek. I lingered in this neighborhood as long as I could & then pursued my journey with fair success. [Image, Page 5]
In 1870 at 21 years of age I was appointed assistant Assessor of United States Internal Revenue under Gen. Grant's administration. About a year later I was elected one of the Secretaries of the Texas State Senate. And was soon after appointed Chief Deputy Collector of U. S. Internal Revenue, at Austin Texas which position I held, accounting satisfactorily for large sums of money until 1873, when I resigned the position. In August 1873 I accompanied an Editorial Excursion, as the representative of the Texas Agriculturist at Austin, Texas. I in company with a large delegation of Texas editors made an extended tour, through Texas, Indian Nation, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania as guests of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. It was on this trip in Sept, 1873, that I decided to settle in Chicago. I had married in Austin Texas in the fall of 1872 and my wife joining me at Philadelphia we came to Chicago together where we have lived till the present time.
I at once became a member of Typographical Union No. 16 and "Subbed" for a time on the Inter-Ocean, when I went to work under "permit" on the Times. Here I worked over four years holding a situation at "the case". In 1874 I became interested in the "Labor question," growing out of an effort made by Chicago workingpeople at that time to compel the "Relief & Aid Society" to render to the suffering poor of the city an account of the vast sums of money (several millions of dollars) held by that society and contributed by the whole world to relieve the distress occasioned by the great Chicago fire of 1871. It was claimed by the working people that the money was being used for purposes foreign to the intention of its donors, that rings of speculators were corruptly using the money, while the distressed & impoverished people for whom it was contributed, were denied its use. This raised a great sensation and scandal among all the city newspapers which defended the "Relief and Aid Society" & denounced the dissatisfied workingmen as "Communists, robbers loafers," etc. I began to examine into this subject & I found that the complaints of the working people against the Society were just & proper. I also discovered a great similarity between the abuse heaped upon these poor people by the organs of the rich & the actions of the late Southern slave-holders in Texas towards the newly enfranchised slaves whom they accused of wanting to make their former masters "divide" by giving them "40 acres & a mule" that it satisfied me there was a great fundamental wrong at work in Society & in existing social & industrial arrangements.
From this time dated my interest and activity in the labor movement. The desire to know more about this subject led me in contact with Socialists & their writings they being the only people who at that time had made any protest against or offered any remedy for the enforced poverty of the wealth producers and its collateral evils of ignorance, intemperance, crime & misery. There were very few Socialists or "Communists" as the daily papers were fond of calling them, in Chicago at that time. The result was the more I investigated & studied the relations of poverty to wealth, its causes & cure, the more interested I became in the subject. In 1876 a workingmens Congress of organized labor met in Pittsburgh, Pa. I watched its proceedings. A split occurred between the conservative & radicals, the latter of whom withdrew & organized the "Workingmen's Party of the United States," as a distinct protest against class rule & class domination. The year previous I had become a member of the "Social Democratic Party of North America." This latter was now merged into the former. The organization was at once pounced upon by the monopolist class who through the capitalist press everywhere denounced us as "Socialists, Communists, robbers, loafers," etc.
This was very surprising to me & also had an exasperating effect upon me and a powerful impulse possessed me to place myself right before the people by defining and explaining the objects & principles of the Workingmen's Party, which I was thoroughly convinced were founded both in justice & on necessity. I therefore entered heartily into the work of enlightening my fellow-men first the ignorant and blinded wage-workers who misunderstood us & secondly the educated labor exploiters who misrepresented us. I soon unconsciously became a "labor agitator", & this brought down upon me a large amount of capitalist odium. But this capitalist abuse & slander only served to renew my zeal all the more in the great work of social redemption.
In 1877 the great Railway strike occurred. It was July 21st 1877 & it is said 30,000 workingmen assembled on Market street near Madison in mass-meeting. I was called upon to address them. In doing so, I advocated the programme of the Workingmen's Party which was the exercise of the sovereign ballot for the purpose of obtaining State control of all means of production, transportation, communication and exchange, thus taking these instruments of labor & wealth out of the hands or control of private individuals, corporations, monopolies & syndicates.
To do this I argued that the wage-workers would first have to join the Workingmen's Party. There was great enthusiasm, but no disorder during the meeting.
The next day I went to the Times office to go to work as usual when I found my name striken from the roll of employees. I was discharged & blacklisted by the paper for addressing the meeting that night. The printers in the office admired secretly what they called "my pluck" but they were afraid to have much to say to me. About noon of that day as I was at the office of the German labor paper, 94 Market St. (organ of the Workingmen's party, the Arbeiter Zeitung, printed tri-weekly) two men came in and accosting me said Mayor Heath wanted to speak with me. Supposing the gentleman was downstairs I accompanied them. When they told me he was at the Mayor's offices I expressed my surprise & wondered what he wanted with me. There was great newspaper excitement in the city & the papers were calling the strikers all sorts of hard names,
but while many thousands were on strike there had been no disorder. As we walked hurriedly on one on each side of me, the wind blew strong & their tales flying aside I noticed that my companions were armed.
Reaching the city hall building, I was ushered into the Chief of Police's presence (Hickey) in a room filled with police officers. I knew none of them but I seemed to be known by them all. They scowled at me & conducted me to what they called the mayor's room. Here I waited a short while, when the door opened & about 30 persons mostly in citizens dress came in. The Chief of Police took a seat opposite to near me. I was very hoarse from the out-door speaking of the previous night, had caught cold, had had but little sleep or rest & had been discharged from employment. The Chief began to catechise me in a brow-beating officious and insulting manner. He wanted to know who I was, where born, raised, if married & a family, etc.
I quietly answered all his questions. He then lectured me on the great troubles I had brought upon the city of Chicago & wound up by asking me if I didnt "know better than to come up here from Texas & incite the working people to insurrections," etc? I told him I had done nothing of the sort or at least I had not intended to do so. That I was simply a speaker at the meeting that was all. I told him that the strike arose from causes over which I as an individual had no control that I had merely addressed the mass-meeting advising to not strike but go to go to the polls, elect good men to make good laws, & thus bring about good times.
Those present in the room were much excited & when I was through explaining some spoke up & said "hang him," "lynch him" "lock him up." etc., to my great surprise holding me responsible for the strikes in the city. Others said it would never do to hang or lock me up. That the workingmen were excited & that act might cause them to do violence. It was agreed upon to let me go. I had been there about 2 hours. The Chief of Police as I rose to depart took me by the arm accompanied me to the door where we stooped. He said, "Parsons your life is in danger. I advise you to leave the city at once. Beware. Everything you say or do is known to me. I have men on your track, who shadow you. Do you know you are liable to be assassinated any moment in the streets?" I ventured to ask him who by & what for? He replied "Why those Board of Trade men would as leave hang you to a lamp post as not." This surprised me & I answered "If I was alone they probably might, but not otherwise." He turned the spring latch, shoved me through the door into the hall saying in a hoarse tone of voice: "Take warning." and slammed the door too.
I was never in the old rookery before. It was a laborynthe of halls & doors. I saw no one about. All was still. The sudden change from the tumultuous inmates of the room to the dark & silent hall affected one. I didnt know where to go or what to do. I felt alone, absolutely without a friend in the wide world. This was my first experience with the "powers that be," & I became conscious that they were powerful to give or take one's life. I was sad, not excited. The afternoon papers announced in great headlines that Parsons the leader of the Strikers was arrested. This was surprising and annoying to me for I had made no such attempt & was not under arrest. But the papers said so.
That night I called at the composing room of the Tribune office on the fifth floor partly to get a nights work & partly to be near the men of my craft whom I instinctively felt sympathized with me. The men went to work at 7 p.m. It was near 8 o'clock as I was talking about the great strike & wondering what it would all come to with Mr. Manion, Chairman of Ex. Board of our Union, when from behind someone took hold of my arms & jerking me around to face them asked me if my name was Parsons? One man on each side of me took hold of an arm another man put his hand against my back & began dragging & shoving me towards the door. They were strangers. I expostulated I wanted to know what was the matter. I said to them, "I came here as a gentleman & I don't want to be dragged out like a dog." They cursed me between their teeth & opening the door began to lead me downstairs. As we started down one of them put a pistol to my head & said "I've a mind to blow your brains out." Another said "Shut up, or we'll dash you out the window upon the pavement below." Reaching the bottom of the five flight of stairs they paused & said "Now go. If you ever put your face into this building again you'll be arrested & locked up." A few steps in the hall-way & I opened the door and stepped out upon the side-walk. (I learned afterwards from the Tribune printers that there was great excitement in the composing room, the men threatening to strike then & there on account of the way I had been treated; when Joe Medill, the proprietor came up into the composing room & made an excitable talk to the men, explaining that, he knew nothing about it and that my treatment was done without his knowledge or consent, rebuking those who had acted in the way they had done. It was the opinion of the men however that this was only a subterfuge to allay the threatened trouble which my treatment had excited.)
The streets were almost deserted at that early hour & there was a hushed and expectant feeling pervading everything. I felt that I was likely to fall a pitiless, unknown sacrifice at any moment. I strolled down Dearborn street to Lake, west on Lake to Fifth Ave. It was a calm pleasant summer night. Lying stretched upon the curb & loitering in and about the closed doors of the mammoth buildings of these streets were armed men. Some held their muskets in hand, but most of them were rested against the buildings. In going by way of an unfrequented street I found that I had got among those whom I sought to evade - they were the first Regiment, I. N. G. They seemed to be waiting for orders; for had not the newspapers declared that the strikers were becoming violent & "the Commune was about to rise!" and that I was their leader? No one spoke to or molested me. I was unknown.
The next day & the next the strikers gathered in thousands in different parts of the city without leaders or any organized purpose. They were in each instance clubbed & fired upon and dispersed by the police & militia. That night a peaceable meeting of 3,000 workingmen was dispersed on Market St. near Madison. I witnessed it. Over 100 policemen charged upon this peaceable mass-meeting firing their pistols & clubbing right and left. The Printers, the Iron moulders & other Trades unions which had held regular monthly or weekly meetings of their unions for years past when they came to their hall door now for that purpose found policemen standing there, the doors barred & the members told that all meetings had been prohibited by the chief of police. All mass-meetings, union meetings of any character were broken up by the police, & at one place (12th St. Turner Hall) where the Furniture Worker's Union had met to confer with their employees about the 8-hour system and wages, the police broke down the doors, forcibly entered, & clubbed & fired upon the men as they struggled pell-mell to escape from the building, killing one workman & wounding many others. The first Regiment, I. N. G. fired upon a crowd of sight-seers consisting of several thousand men, women and children, killing several persons none of whom were even on a strike, at 16th St. viaduct.
For about two years after the railroad strike and my discharge from the Times office I was blacklisted, unable to obtain employment in the city & my family suffered for the necessaries of life.
The events of 1877 gave a great impulse and activity to the labor movement all over the United States and in fact, the whole world. The Unions rapidly increased both in number & membership. So too with the Knights of Labor. In visiting Indianapolis Indiana to address a mass-meeting of workingmen on the 4th of July 1876, I met the state organizer Calvin A. Light & was initiated by him as a member of the Knights of Labor, & I have been a member of that order ever since. That organization had no foothold, was in fact unknown in Illinois at that time. What a change! To-day the K of L. has over a million members, & numbers tens of thousands in the State of Illinois. The political labor movement boomed also.
The following spring of 1877 the Workingmen's party of the United States nominated a full county ticket in Chicago. It elected 3 members of the legislature & one Senator. I received as candidate for County Clerk 7,963 votes running over 400 ahead of the ticket. About this time I became a member of Local Assembly 400 of the Knights of Labor, the first K of L. assembly organized in Chicago & I believe in the State of Illinois. I also served as a delegate to District Assembly No. 24 for two terms & was, I think made its Master Workman for one term.
I have been nominated by the workingmen of Chicago 3 times for Alderman, twice for County Clerk & once for Congress. The Labor party was kept up for 4 years, polling at each election from 6,000 to 13,000 votes. I was in 1878 a delegate to the National Convention of the Workingmen's Party of the United States held at Newark, New Jersey. At this labor Congress, the name of the party was changed to "Socialistic Labor Party." In 1878, at my insistence & largely through my efforts the present Trades Assembly of Chicago & vicinity was organized. I was its first president, & was reelected to that position 3 times. I remained a delegate to the Trades Assembly from the Typographical Union No. 16 for several years. I was a strenuous advocate of the 8-hour system among Trades Unions. In 1879 I was a delegate to the National Convention held in Allegheny City Pa. of the Socialistic Labor Party and was there nominated as the Labor candidate for President of the United States. I declined the honor, not being of the Constitutional age (35 years old). (This was the first nomination of a workingman by workingmen for the office in the United States.)
During these years of political action every endeavor was made to corrupt, to intimidate and mislead the Labor Party. But it remained pure and undefiled, it refused to be cowed, bought or mislead. Beset on the one side by the insinuating politician & on the other by the all-mighty money bags, what between the two the Labor party, the honest, poor party had a hard road to travel. And worst of all, the workingmen refused to rally en masse to their own party but doggedly, the most of them, hugged their idols of Democracy or Republicanism & fired their ballots against each other on election days. It was discouraging. But the Labor party moved forward undaunted & each election came up smiling at defeat.
In 1879 the Socialist, an English weekly paper was published by the party & I was elected its assistant editor. About this time the Socialist organization held some monster meetings. The Exposition Building on one occasion contained over 40,000 attendants and many could not get inside. Ogden's Grove on one occasion held 30,000 persons. During these years the labor movement was undergoing its formative period as it is even now. The un-American utterance of the capitalist press - the representatives of monopoly - excited the gravest apprehension among thoughtful working people. These representations of the monied aristocracy advised the use of police clubs & militia bayonets & gatling guns to suppress strikers & put down discontented laborers struggling for better pay & shorter work hours. The millionaires & their representatives on the pulpit & rostrum avowed their intention to use force to quell their dissatisfied laborers. The execution of these threats, the breaking up of meetings, arrest, & imprisonment of "leaders" the use of the club, pistol & bayonet upon strikers, even to the advise to throw handgrenades (dynamite) among them, these acts of violence & brutality led many workingmen to consider the necessity for self-defense of their person and their rights.
Accordingly workingmen's military organizations sprang up all over the country. So formidable did this plan of organization promise to become that the capitalist legislature of Illinois in 1878 acting under orders from millionaire manufacturers & railway corporations passed a law disarming the wage-workers. This law the workingmen at once tested in the courts of Illinois, & afterwards carried it to the Supreme Court of the United Sates where it was decided by the highest tribunal that the State legislatures of the various states had a constitutional right to disarm the workingmen. Dissentions began to rise in the Socialist organization over the question of methods. Many workingmen began to lose faith in the potency of the ballot or the protection of the law. Some of them said that "political liberty without economic (industrial) freedom was an empty phrase." Others claimed that poverty had no votes as against wealth; because if a man's bread was controlled by another, that other could & when necessary would control his votes also. A consideration and discussion of these subjects gradually brought about a change of sentiment in the minds of many. The conviction began to spread that the State, the government & its laws was merely the agent of the owners of capital to reconcile, adjust & protect their - the capitalists - conflicting interests; that the chief function of all government was to maintain economic subjection of the man of labor to the monopolizer of the means of labor - of life - capital.
These ideas began to develop in the minds of workingmen everywhere (in Europe as well as America) and the conviction grew that law - statute law - and all forms of government (governors, rulers, dictators whether, Emperor, King, President or capitalist were each and all of them despots & usurpers) was nothing else than an organized conspiracy of the propertied class to deprive the working class of their natural rights. The conviction obtained that money or wealth controlled politics; that money controlled by hook or crook labor at the polls as well as in the work-shop. The idea began to prevail that the element of coercion, of force, which enabled one person to dominate & exploit the labor of another was centered or concentrated in the State, the government, & statute law. That every law & every government in the last analysis was force, & that that force was a despotism, an invasion of man's natural right to liberty.
In 1879 I withdrew from all active participation in the political labor party, having become convinced that the number of hours per day that the wage-workers were compelled to work, together with the low wages they received amounted to their practical disenfranchisement, as voters. I saw that long hours & low wages deprived the wage-workers, as a class of the necessary time, and means, & consequently left them but little inclination to organize for political action to abolish class legislation. My experience in the Labor party had also taught me that bribery, intimidation, duplicity, corruption & bull-dozing grew out of the conditions which made the working people poor & the idlers rich & that consequently the ballot-box could not be made an index to record the popular will until the existing, debasing, impoverishing & enslaving industrial conditions were first altered. For these reasons I turned my activities mainly toward an effort to reduce the hours of labor to at least a normal working day so that the wage-workers might hereby secure more leisure from mere drudge work, and obtain better pay to minister to their higher aspirations.
Several Trade Unions united in sending me throughout the different states to lay the 8-hour question before the labor organizations of the country. In 1880 the Eight-Hour League of Chicago, sent me as a delegate to the National Conference of Labor Reformers held in January in Washington D. C. This convention adopted a resolution which I offered calling public attention of the United States Congress to the fact that while the 8-hour law passed years ago had never been enforced in government departments there was no trouble at all in getting through Congress all the capitalistic legislation called for. By this National Convention, Richard Trevellick, Charles H. Litchman, Dyer D. Lum & myself were appointed a Committee of the National 8-hour delegation whose duty it was to remain in Washington D. C. & urge upon the labor organizations of the United States to unite for the enforcement of the 8-hour law.
About this time there followed a period of the discussion of property rights, of the rights of majorities & minorities. The agitation of the subject led to the formation of a new organization, called the International Revolutional Socialists & later the International Working People's Association. I was a delegate in 1881 to the labor congress which founded the former and afterwards also a delegate to the Pittsburg, Pa. congress in Oct. 1883 which revived the latter as a part of the International Working People's Association which already ramified Europe and which originally organized at the World's Labor Congress held in London, England, in 1864. I cannot do better than insert here the manifesto of the Pittsburg Congress which clearly sets forth the aims & methods of the International of which I am still a member & for which reasons myself & comrades are condemned to death. It was adopted and published as follows:
In all these matters here enumerated I took an active, personal interest. October 1st 1884 the International founded in Chicago, the Alarm, a weekly newspaper of which I was elected to the position of editor & I have held that position until its seizure & suppression by the authorities on the 5th day of May 1886 following the Haymarket tragedy. In the year 1883 the capitalist press began to stigmatize us as Anarchists & to denounce us as the enemy of all law & government. They charged us with being the enemies of "law and order," as breeders of strife & confusion. Every conceivable bad name & evil design was imputed to us by the lovers of power & haters of freedom and equality. Even the workingmen in some instances caught the infection & many of them joined in the capitalist hue & cry against the Anarchists. Being satisfied of ourselves that our purpose was a just one we worked on undismayed, willing to labor and to wait for time and events to
justify our course. We began to allude to ourselves as Anarchists & that name which was at first imputed to us as a dishonor we came to cherish & defend with pride. What's in a name? But names sometimes express ideas, & ideas are everything.
The word Anarchy is derived from the two Greek words An, signifying no, or without, and arche, government; hence Anarchy means without government. Consequently, Anarchy means a condition of Society which has no King, Emperor, President or ruler of any kind. In other words Anarchy is the social administration of all affairs by the people themselves: that is to say, self-government, individual liberty. Such a condition of Society denies the right of majorities to rule over or dictate to minorities. Though every person in the world agreed upon a certain plan & only one objected thereto the objector would under Anarchy be respected in his natural right to go his own way.
And when each person is thus held responsible by all the rest for the violation of the inherent right of anyone how then can injustice flourish or wrong triumph? For the greatest good to the greatest number, Anarchy substitutes the equal right of each & every one. The natural law is all-sufficient for every purpose, every desire of every human being. The scientist becomes then the natural leader & is accepted as the only authority among men. Whatever can be demonstrated will by self-interest be accepted, otherwise rejected. The great natural law of power derived alone from association & co-operation will be necessity & from selfishness be applied by the people in the production & distribution of wealth, and what the Trades Unions and labor organizations seek now to do but are prevented from doing because of obstructions & coercions will under perfect liberty - Anarchy - come easiest to hand. Anarchy is the extension of the boundaries of liberty until it covers the whole range of the wants & aspirations of man. Not men, but man.
Power is might & might always makes makes its own right. Thus in the very nature of things might makes itself right whether or no. Government therefore is the agency or power by which some person or persons govern or rule other persons, and the inherent right to govern is found whenever the power or might to do so is manifest. In a natural state intelligence of necessity controls ignorance, the strong the weak, the good the bad, etc. Only when the natural law operates is this true, however. On the other hand when the statute is substituted for the natural law, and government holds sway, then & then only power centers itself into the hands of a few who dominate, dictate, rule, degrade & enslave the many. The broad distinction and irreconcilable conflict between wage-laborers & capitalists, between those who buy labor and sell its products, & the wage-worker who sells his labor (himself) in order to live, arises from the social institution called government & statute law. On the other hand, the reconciliation of conflicting interests, the total abolition of warring classes, and the end of domination and exploitation of man by man is to be found only in a free society where all & each are equally free to unite or disunite, as interest or inclination may incline.
The Anarchists are the advance guard in the impending social revolution. They have discovered the cause of the world-wide discontent which is felt but not yet understood by the toiling millions as a whole. The effort now being made by organized & unorganized labor in all countries to participate in the making of laws which they are forced to obey will lay bare to them the secret source of their enslavement to Capital. Capital is a thing - it is property. Capital is the stored-up, accumulated savings of past labor, such as machinery houses, food, clothing, all the means of production (both natural & artificial) of transportation & communication - in short the resources of life, the means of subsistence. These things, are in a natural state, the common heritage of all for the free use of all & they were so held until their forcible seizure and appropriation by a few. Thus the common heritage of all seized by violence & fraud was afterwards made the property - capital - of the usurpers, who erected a government & enacted laws to perpetuate & maintain their special privileges. The function, the only function of Capital is to appropriate or confiscate the labor product of the propertyless, non-possessing class - the wage-workers. The origin of government was in violence & murder. Government disinherits and enslaves the governed. Government is for slaves; freemen govern themselves. Law - statute, man-made law - is license. Anarchy - natural law - is liberty. Anarchy is the rule of man by law. Government is the rulership or control of man by men, in the name of law by means of statute law whether that control be by one man (mon-arche) or by the majority (mob-arche). The effort of the wage-slaves (now being made) to participate in the making of laws will enable them to discover for the first time that a human law-maker is a human humbug. That laws, true, just & perfect laws - are discovered not made. The law-making class - the capitalists - will object to this. They (the capitalists) will remonstrate, they will fight, they will kill, before they permit laws to be made or repealed which deprives them of their power to rule & rob. This fact is demonstrated in every strike which threatens their power; by every lock-out, by every discharge; by every black-list. Their exercise of these powers is based upon force & every law, every government in the last analysis is resolved into force. Therefore, when the workers, as they are now everywhere preparing to do, insist upon & demand a participation in or application of democratic principles in industrial affairs, think you, the request will be conceded? Nay. Nay. The right to live, to equality of opportunity, to liberty & the pursuit of happiness is yet to be acquired by the producers of all wealth. The Knights of Labor, unconsciously stand upon a state Socialist programme. They will never be able to seize the State by the ballot but when they do seize it, (and seize it they must) they will abolish it. Capital & the state stand or fall together. They are twins. The liberty of labor makes the state not only unnecessary but impossible. When the people - the whole people - become the State, that is, participate equally in governing themselves, the State of necessity ceases to exist. Then what? Leaders - natural leaders - take the place of the overthrown rulers; liberty takes the place of statute law - of license; the people voluntarily associate or freely withdraw from association instead of being barred & driven as now. They unite and disunite, when, where & as they please. Social administration is substituted for governmentalism, and self-preservation becomes the actuality motive as now, minus the dictation, coercion, driving & domination of man by man. Do you say this is a dream! That it is the millennium! Well, the crisis is near at hand. Necessity, which is its own law, will force the issue. Then whatever is most natural to do will be the easiest and best to do. The workshops will drop into the hands of the workers, the mines will fall to the miners & the land & all other things - property - will be controlled by those who possess & use it. There will be, there can then be no title to anything aside from its possession & use. Only the statute law & government stand today as a barrier to this result, and all efforts to change them failing, will inevitably result in their total abolition.
Anarchy therefore, is liberty; is the negation of force, or compulsion, or violence. It is the precise reverse of that which those who hold & love power would have their oppressed victims believe it is.
Anarchists do not advocate or advise the use of force. Anarchists disclaim & protest against its use and the use of force is justifiable only when employed to repel force.
Who, then, are the aiders, abettors & users of force? Who are the real revolutionists? Are they not those who hold and exercise power over their fellows, they who use clubs & bayonetts, prisons & scaffolds? The great class conflict now gathering throughout the world is created by our social system of industrial slavery. Capitalists could not if they would and would not if they could change it. This alone is to be the work of the revolutionary proletariat, the disinherited, the wage-slaves - the sufferers. Nor can the wage-class avoid this conflict. Neither religion, nor politics can solve it or prevent it. It comes as a human, an imperative necessity. Anarchists do not make the social revolution; they prophesy its coming. Shall we, therefore stone the prophets? Anarchists do not use or advise the use of force, but point out that force is ever employed to uphold despotism, to despoil man's natural rights. Shall, we therefore, kill & destroy the anarchists? And capital, shouts, "Yes, yes! Exterminate them!"
In the line of evolution & historical development, anarchy-liberty is next in order. With the destruction of the feudal system, and the birth of commercialism & manufacturers in the 16th century, a contest long & bitter & bloody lasting over a hundred years was waged for mental & religious liberty. The 17th and 18th centuries with their Sanguinary conflicts gave to man political equality & civil liberty based on the monopolization of the resources of life - capital - with its "free laborers" freely competing with one another for a chance to serve king capital; & "free competition" among capitalists in their endeavors to exploit the laborers & monopolize their labor products. All over the world the fact stands undisputed that the political is based upon and is but the reflex of the economic system, & hence, we find that whatever the political form of the government - whether monarchical or Republican, the average social status of the wage-worker is in every country identical.
The class struggle of the past century is history repeating itself; it is the evolutionary growth preceding the revolutionary denouement. Though liberty is a growth, it is also a birth, and while it is yet to be, it is also about to be born. Its birth will come through travail & pain, through bloodshed & violence. It cannot be prevented. This because of the obstructions, impediments & obstacles which serve as a barrier to its coming. An Anarchist is a believer in liberty, and as I would control no man against his will, neither shall any one rule over me with my consent.
Government is compulsory; no one freely consents to be governed by another, therefore there can be no just power of government. Anarchy is perfect liberty, is absolute freedom of the individual. Anarchy has no schemes, no programmes, no systems to offer or to substitute for the existing order of things. Anarchy would strike from humanity every chain that binds it and say to mankind; "Go forth! You are free. Have all; enjoy all."
Anarchism nor anarchists either advises, abets, nor encourages the working people to the use of force or a resort to violence. We do not say to the wage-slaves; "you ought, you should use force." No. Why say this when we know they must; they will be driven to use it in self-defense in self-preservation against those who are degrading, enslaving and destroying them?
Already the millions of workers are unconsciously anarchists. Impelled by a cause the effects of which they feel but do not wholly understand, they move unconsciously, irresistibly forward to the Social revolution. Mental freedom - political equality - industrial liberty.
This is the natural order of things; the logic of events. Who so foolish as to quarrel with it, obstruct it or attempt to stay its progress? It is the march of the inevitable; the triumph of the must.
An examination of the class struggle demonstrates that the Eight-Hour movement was doomed by the very nature of things to defeat. But the International gave its support to it for two reasons, viz: first because it was a class movement against class domination, therefore historical & evolutionary and necessary; & secondly, because we did not choose to stand aloof & be misunderstood by our fellow workers. We therefore gave to it all the aid & comfort in our power. I was regularly accredited under the official seal of the Trade & Labor Unions, of the Central Labor Union representing twenty thousand organized workingmen in Chicago to assist them in the organization of Trades and Labor Unions & do all in my power for the Eight-Hour movement. The Central Labor Union in conjunction with the International publishes six newspapers in Chicago to wit: one English weekly, two German weeklies, one Bohemian weekly, one Scandinavian weekly, and one German daily newspaper.
The Trades & Labor Unions of the United States & Canada having set apart the first day of May 1886 to inaugurate the 8-hour system, I did all in my power to assist the movement. I feared conflict & trouble would arise between the authorities representing the employers of labor & the wage-workers who only represented themselves. I knew that defenseless men, women & children must finally succumb to the power of the discharge, black-list & lock-out & its consequent misery & hunger enforced by the militiaman's bayonet & the policeman's club. I did not advocate the use of force. But I denounced the capitalists for employing it to hold the laborers in subjection to them & declared that such treatment would of necessity drive the workingmen to employ the same means in self-defense.
The Labor organizations of Cincinnati Ohio decided to make a grand Eight-Hour demonstration & street parade & pic-nic on Sunday May 2nd in commemoration of the 8-hour work-day. On their invitation I went there to address them & left Chicago on Saturday, May 1st for that purpose. Returning on Monday night I reached Chicago on the morning of Tuesday May 4th, the day of the Haymarket meeting. On arriving home, Mrs. Parsons, who had theretofore attended & assisted in several large mass-meetings of the sewing girls of the city to organize them on the eight hour workday, suggested to me to call a meeting of the American Group of the International for that evening in order to make arrangements, i.e. appropriate money for hall rent, printing hand-bills, provide speakers, etc, to help organize the sewing women for 8-hours.
I left home about 11 am. and not being able to get a hall, finally published an announcement that the meeting would be held at 107 Fifth Ave, the office of the Alarm & Arbeiter Zeitung. We had often held business meetings at the same place. Late in the afternoon I learned for the first time that a mass meeting had been called at the Haymarket for that evening, the object being to help on the 8-hour boom, & to protest against the Police atrocities upon 8-hour strikers at McCormicks factory the day before, where it was claimed six workmen had been shot down by the police & many others wounded. I did not fancy the idea of holding the meeting at that time, & said so, stating that I believed the manufacturers and corporations were so incensed at the 8-hour movement that they would defend the police in coming to the meeting to break it up and slaughtering the work people. I was invited to speak there, but declined on the ground that I had to attend another meeting that night.
About 8 o'clock p.m. accompanied by Mrs. Holmes, Mrs. Parsons & my two children (a boy 6 yrs old & a girl 4 years old) we walked from home to Halsted & Randolph Sts. There we observed knots of people standing about indicating that a mass-meeting was expected. Two newspaper reporters, one for the Tribune and the other for the Times, whom I recognized were strolling around picking up items & observing me, they inquired if I was to speak at the Haymarket meeting that night. I told them that I was not. That I had to attend another meeting & would not be there, & the ladies, the children & myself took a street-car for downtown.
Reaching the place of meeting of the American group of the International, it was at-once called to order & the objects of the meeting were stated to be how best to organize the sewing women of the city in the speediest manner. It was decided to print circulars, hire halls, & appoint organizers & speakers and money was appropriated for the purpose, when about 9 o'clock a committee entered the meeting & said that there was a large mass-meeting at the Haymarket but no speakers except Mr. Spies, & they were sent over to request Mr. Fielden & myself to come over at once & address the crowd.
We adjourned in a few moments afterwards & went over to the Haymarket in a body where I was introduced at once & spoke for about an hour to the 3,000 persons present urging them to support the 8-hour movement & stick to their unions. There was little said about the police brutalities of the previous day, other than to complain of the use of the military on every slight occasion. I said it was a shame that the moderate & just claims of the wage-workers should be met with police clubs, pistols & bayonets, or that the murmurs of discontented laborers should be drowned in their own blood.
When I had finished speaking & Mr. Fielden began, I got down from the wagon we were using as a speaker's stand & stepping over to another wagon near by on which sat the ladies (among them my wife & children) and it soon appearing as though it would rain & the crowd beginning to disperse and the speaker having announced that he would finish in a few moments, I assisted the ladies down from the wagon and accompanied them to Zepf's Hall one block away where we intended to wait for the adjournment & the company of other friends on our walk home. I had been in this hall about 5 minutes & was looking towards the meeting expecting it to close every moment, & standing near by where the ladies sat, when there appeared a white sheet of light at the place of meeting, followed instantly by a load roar. This was at once followed by a fusillade of pistol shots (in full view of my sight) which appeared as though 50 or more men had emptied their self-acting revolvers as rapidly as possible. Several shots whizzed by & struck beside the door of the hall from which I was looking and soon men came rushing wildly into the building. I escorted the lades to a place of safety in the rear where we remained about 20 minutes. Leaving the place to take the ladies home, we met a man named Brown, (who was well-known to us) at the corner of Milwaukee Ave. & Desplaines St., & asking him to loan me a dollar he replied that he didn't have the change whereupon I borrowed a five dollar gold piece from him. We then parted, he went his way & we started towards home. (This man Brown told of the circumstance the next day; that he had met & loaned me #5. He was at once arrested, and afterwards indicted for conspiracy & unlawful assembly, thrown into prison where he has lain ever since!)
The next day observing that many innocent people who were not even present at the meeting were being draggooned & imprisoned by the authorities, & not courting such indignities for myself, I left the city intending to return in a few days (and publishing a letter in the newspapers to that effect). I stopped at Elgin, 2 days at a boarding house when I went from there to Waukeshaw Wisconsin, a place noted for its beautiful spring & health-giving waters, pure air, etc. At this summer resort I soon obtained employment first at carpentering & then as a painter, which occupations I pursued for seven weeks or until my return and voluntary surrender to the court for trial. I procured the Chicago newspapers every day & from them I learned that I with a great many others had been indicted for murder, conspiracy, and unlawful assembly at the Haymarket. From the editorials of the capitalist papers each day for two months during my seclusion I could see that the ruling class were wild with rage & fear against the labor organizations. Ample means were offered me to carry me safely to distant parts of the earth if I chose to go. I knew that the beastly howls against the Anarchists the demand for their bloody extermination made by the press and pulpit was merely a pretext of the ruling class to intimidate the growing power of organized labor in the United States. And I knew that if we were sacrificed by the money maloch it would be with the sole view to making examples of us from which workingmen could take warning by our fates. I also, perfectly understood the relentless hate & power of the ruling class. Nevertheless, knowing that I was innocent & that my comrades were innocent of the charge against them, I resolved to return, & share whatever persecution labor's enemies could impose upon them. Consequently on the night of June 20, I left Waukeshaw. At 4:30 a.m. June 21, I boarded a St. Paul train at the union depot in Milwaukee & arrived in Chicago at 7:30 or 8 o'clock a.m.
I repaired to the house of Mrs. Ames at No. 14 S. Morgan St. I sent for my wife who came to me and a few moments later, I conveyed word to Capt. Black (our attorney) that I was prepared to surrender. After an affectionate parting with my noble, brave and loving wife and several devoted friends who were present - I at a little past 2 o'clock p.m. June 21st accompanied by Mrs. Ames & Mr. A. H. Simpson to the court house entrance was there joined by my attorney (Capt. Black) we walked up the broad stair-way, entered the court then in session, and standing before the bar of the court announced my presence and my voluntary surrender for trial and entering the plea "Not guilty". After this ceremony was over I approached the prisoner's dock where sat my arraigned comrades Fielden, Spies, Engel, Fischer, Lingg, Neebe & Schwab, & shaking hands with each of them I took a seat among them. After the adjournment of the Court I was conveyed with the others to a cell in the Cook Co. Bastile, and securely locked-up.
What of the Haymarket tragedy?
It is simple enough. A large number (over 3,000) of citizens (mostly workingmen) peaceably assemble to discuss their grievances viz: the 8-hour movement & the shooting, & clubbing of the McCormick lumber-yard strikers by the police the previous day.
Query? Was that meeting, thus assembled, a lawful and constitutional gathering of citizens? The Police, the grand jury, the verdict, and the monopolists all reply: "It was not."
After 10 o'clock when the meeting was adjourning, two (200) hundred armed police in menacing array, threatening wholesale slaughter of the people there peaceably (the Mayor of Chicago and others who were present testified so before the jury) assembled, commanded their instant dispersal under pains & penalties of Death.
Was that act of the police, lawful and constitutional? The Police, the grand jury, the verdict and the monopolists reply: "It was."
A person (unknown & unproven) threw a dynamite bomb among the police. It is claimed by some that the bomb was thrown in self-defense to prevent the slaughter of the people.
Was that a lawful, a Constitutional act? The ruling class shout in chorus: "It was not!"
My own belief, based on careful examination of all the conditions surrounding this Haymarket affair, is that the bomb was thrown by a man in the employ of certain monopolists who was sent from New York City to Chicago for that purpose, to break up the 8-hour movement, thrust the active men into prison, and scare and terrify the workingmen into submission. Such a course was advocated by all the leading mouth-pieces (newspapers) of monopoly in America just prior to May 1st. They carried out their programme & obtained the results they desired.
Is it lawful and Constitutional to put innocent men to death? Is it lawful & Constitutional to punish us for the deed of a man acting in furtherance of a conspiracy of the monopolists to crush-out the 8-hour movement? Every "law & order" tyrant from Chicago to St. Petersburg cries, "Yes!"
Six of the condemned men were not present at the meeting, at the time of the tragedy two of them were not present at any time. One of the latter was addressing a mass-meeting of 2,000 workmen at Deering Harvester Works in Lakeview 5 miles away; the other one was at home abed & knew not of the affair till the next day. His verdict is 15 years in the Penitentiary. These facts stand unquestioned & undenied before the Court. There was no proof of our complicity with or knowledge of the person who threw the Bomb, nor is there any proof as to who did throw it.
The rapid growth of whole labor movement had by May first given the monopolists of the country much cause for alarm. The organized power of labor was beginning to exhibit unexpected strength & boldness. This alarmed King Money-Bags who saw in the Haymarket affair their golden opportunity to make a horrible example of the Anarchists, & by "the deep damnation of their taking off" give the discontented American workingmen a terrible warning.
Their verdict is the suppression of free speech, free press, & the assemblage of the people to discuss their grievances. More than that the verdict is the denial of the right of self-defense, it is a condemnation of the law of self-preservation in America.
The execution of this verdict will demonstrate to the working people of the United States that whoever writes, speaks, or works to help organize the working class to obtain their rights is liable to imprisonment & death, but whoever uses a ten (10) cent bomb in self-defense & destroys those who would have destroyed them, or uses it in the interests of a monopolist conspiracy to put down the labor movement is in no danger at all, if they go about their business and say nothing to anyone. This fact was clearly set forth in the address of the State's Attorney & his assistants to the jury when they said "These eight men were picked out by the grand jury because they were the leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousands of their associates in Chicago. They are leaders and we ask you to convict them & make examples of them to others." These were the words, almost the precise words, of the prosecution. The bomb-thrower goes free; the judge decides that his identity or our connection with him is immaterial if it can be shown we ever said that workingmen ought to defend themselves against the attacks & assaults of the police & militia.
As to the responsibility for the Haymarket tragedy? You have heard the side of the ruling class. I now speak for the people - the ruled. The Haymarket tragedy was the immediate result of the blood-thirsty officiousness of Police Inspector Bonfield. Mayor Harrison (commander of the Chicago Police) was present at this meeting, & testified before the court that he heard the speeches & left just before it - adjournment & went to the police station & advised Bonfield that everything at the meeting was peaceable & orderly. The Mayor left for his home. Soon thereafter, Bonfield thirsting for promotion & the blood-money which he knew that monopolists were eager to bestow, gathered his army and marched them down upon a peaceable, orderly meeting of workingmen where he expected to immortalize himself by deeds of carnage & slaughter that would put to shame a horde of Apache Indians. Had he not done such brutal things before with the striking street-car Knights of Labor, Trades Unionists & other workingmen? Why not repeat it that night also? He had received the plaudits of the capitalist press for such acts done on other occasions. Why not again? But Police Inspector Bonfield was only a willing agent not the dastardly principal in this outrage. He held plenary power & he obeyed what he knew to be the express desires of his masters - the Money Kings - who want to suppress free speech, free press, & the right of workingmen to assemble & discuss their grievances. Let the responsibility for the Haymarket tragedy rest where it belongs, to-wit: Upon the monopolists, corporations & privileged class who rule & rob the working people, and when they complain about it discharge, lock-out and black-list them or arrest, imprison and execute them.
The Haymarket Tragedy was, undoubtedly the work of a deep-laid monopolistic conspiracy originating in New York City & engineered by the Pinkerton thugs. Its object was to break down the eight-hour movement & Chicago was selected by these conspirators as the best place to do the work because Chicago was the center of the movement in the United States.
Now, what are the facts about this conspiracy against the 8-hour movement which has resulted in breaking it down & consigning us to the executioner?
Just prior to the time set apart to inaugurate the 8-hour workday, (the latter part of April, 1886) the New York Herald, in reference to that question said:
"Two hours, taken from the hours of labor, throughout the United States by the proposed 8-hour movement would make a difference annually of hundreds of millions in values both to the capital invested in industries and existing stocks."
Now what did this mean? It meant that the issue of the hour with the New York & Chicago Stock Exchanges, Boards of Trade, & Produce Exchanges in every commercial & industrial center, was how to preserve the steadiness of the market & maintain the fictitious values of the four-fold watered stocks, then listed & then rapidly shrinking in value under the paralysing influence of the impending eight-hour demand of the united army of labor. Hundreds of millions in money was at stake. What to do to save it? Clearly, the thing to do was to stop the 8-hour movement. The New York Times came promptly forward with its scheme to save the sinking market values. Accordingly, just 4 days before the grand national strike for 8 hours and only one week before the Haymarket tragedy, the New York Times one of the leading organs of rail road, bank, telegraph & telephone monopoly in America published in its issue of April 25, 1886 an editorial on the condition of the markets, the causes of existing decline & panicky symptoms, in which it said,
"The strike question is, of course, the dominant one, and is disagreeable in a variety of ways. A short & easy way to settle it is urged in some quarters, which is to indict for conspiracy every man who strikes and summarily lock him up. This method would undoubtably strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes.
"Another way suggested is to pick out the labor leaders and make such examples of them as to scare the others into submission."
This sentiment was echoed at once by the New York Tribune which said:
"The best policy would be to drive the workingmen into open mutiny against the law."
The organs of monopoly, (including the Chicago press) all over the United States took up the cry and re-echoed the diabolical scheme. Something must be done to trump up charges against the leaders.
The first of May arrives, the great 8-hour strike is inaugurated. Forty thousand men are standing out for it in Chicago. Chicago is the stronghold of the movement, and 40,000 more threaten to join in the demand. An 8-hour mass-meeting is held on the Haymarket, Tuesday May 4. A bomb is thrown, several policemen killed, the leaders are arrested, indicted for conspiracy & murder & 7 of them sentenced to death. What's the result?
It worked as the monopolist press said it would. The labor leaders are "picked out and made such examples of as to scare the others into submission." Strikers were "summarily locked up. This method would undoubtably strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes.," said the Times.
The 8-hour strike is broken & the movement fell to pieces all over the country.
Commenting on the business situation on the 8th day of May, 1886, 4 days after the Haymarket tragedy, Bradstreet in his weekly review said, as telegraphed through the Ass. Press & published in all its Chicago papers, "Of the 325,000 men who struck for 8 hours about 65,000 have gained it. Chicago was the center of the strike but the movement all over the country has greatly weakened in the past few days.
Stocks were very much depressed the first two days of the week (the 3 & 4 of May the day of the McCormick & Haymarket trouble) but have recovered their strength the last days of the week." The 8-hour strike is practically ended, since the Haymarket affair in Chicago.
The desired result was attained. Prices of stocks, bonds, etc. were restored. It was accomplished by the fatal Haymarket bomb.
Who threw that bomb? Who inspired its throwing? John Phillip Deluse, a saloonkeeper, living in Indianapolis Indiana makes an affidavit supported by the affidavits of three other men who were present & witnesses and heard it, (all four men well-known citizens of Indianapolis) & that a stranger stepped into his place on Saturday, May 1st with a satchel in his hand which he placed upon the bar while he ordered a drink. The stranger said he came from New York City & was on his way to Chicago. He spoke of the labor troubles, pointing to his satchel he said: "I have got something in here that will work. You will hear of it." Turning at the door as he went out he held up his satchel & pointing to it again said, "You will hear of it soon."
The prediction of this man came to pass. It was heard & heard round the world. The description of this man tallies exactly with that given by the Witness Burnett who saw him throw the bomb at the Haymarket.
The Leaders as well as many others not at the meeting of the Haymarket were arrested & punished, the others "scared into submission" and resulted as the New York Times said: viz. "This method will undoubtably strike a wholesome terror into the hearts of the working classes."
The conspiracy to bring about this result originated among the monopolists of New York City at Pinkerton's headquarters.
Was Police Inspector Bonfield, & States Attorney Grinnell a party to it? Was the millionaire "Citizens Association" of Chicago a party to it? They have I understand supplied unlimited sums of money to bring about our conviction. I solemnly believe all these men were either parties to the Haymarket tragedy or to the conspiracy for our conviction. This conclusion is irresistable when taken in connection with the admitted fact that to bring about our conviction the Constitution and the law has been ruthlessly trampled under foot.
Without fear or favor or reward I have given the untiring energies of the past ten years of my life to ameliorate, to emancipate my fellow wage slaves from their hereditary servitude to capital. I do not regret it; rather while I feel the satisfaction of duty performed, I regret my inability to have accomplished no more than I have done.
During these ten years (from 1876-1886) I have traversed the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania & New York sometimes under the auspices and the direction of Knights of Labor at other times Trades Unions & Socialist organizations. Covering this space of time I have addressed probably a half-million workingmen & women, and organized or assisted in organizing many labor organizations. No man can say I have ever yet betrayed a trust, violated a pledge, or swerved from my conception of duty in the Labor movement.
I have worked for my living & supported myself since 12 years of age. I have made some enemies. My enemies in the South States consisted of those who oppressed the black-slave. My enemies in the North are among those who would perpetuate the slavery of the wage-slave. My whole life has been sober & industrious; was never under the influence of liquor, was never arrested for any offense, & voluntarily surrendered for trial in the present case.
I married in 1872 and since 1873 have lived in Chicago with my family. In all my labors for the up-lifting & emancipation of the wage-worker I have had the earnest honest, intelligent, unflagging support of that grandest, noblest, bravest of women - my loving wife. We have two children; a boy of 7 years, & a girl 4 years old.
For free speech and the right of assembly five labor orators & organizers are condemned to die. For free press and free thought three labor Editors are sent to the scaffold. "These eight men," said the attorneys of the monopolists "are picked out by the grand jury because they are the leaders of thousands who are equally guilty with them and we punish them to make examples of them for the others." This much for opinions sake, for free thought, free speech, free press & public assembly.
This Haymarket affair has exposed to public view the hideous enormities of capitalism & the barbarous despotism of government. The tragedy & the effects of it has demonstrated first; that government is power; and statute law is license, because it is privilege. It has shown the people - the poor - the wage-slaves - that law, statute law, is a privilege, & that privileges are for sale to those who can buy them. Government enacts law; the police, the soldiers & the jailors at the behest of the rich enforce it. Law is license. The whole earth & all it contains has been sold to a few who are thus authorized by statute law - licensed- to rob the many of their natural inheritance. Law is license. The few are licensed by law to own the land the machinery the houses, food, clothes & shelter of the people - whose industry; whose labor created them. Law is license; law - statue law - is the coward's weapon, the tool of the thief. By it humanity has ever been degraded & enslaved. By law mankind is robbed of its birthright, liberty transformed into slavery; life into death; & the fair earth into a den of thieves & murderers. The untold millions, the men, women & children of toil, the proletariat are by law deprived of their lives, their liberty & their happiness. Law is license.
Anarchy - natural law - is liberty. Liberty is the natural right to do what one pleases, bounded & limited only by the equal right of every one else to the same liberty. Privileges for none; equal rights for all. Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.
The trial, throughout was a travesty on justice. Every law natural & statute was violated in response to the clamor of the capitalist class. Every capitalist newspaper in the city, with one exception, called for our blood before the trial began, demanded our lives during the trial & since. A class jury, class law, class hate has done its work, we are its victims. Every juryman swore he was prejudiced against our opinions, we were tried for our opinions & convicted because of them. The jury according to its own statements since the verdict (they served nearly 2 months) entertained themselves each night with either card playing or they played the fiddle, the guitar, the piano, & "sang songs" & gave parlor recitations & theatricals. They had carriage rides at the expense of the people to one ($140) hundred & forty dollars, and their "grub" bill was $3.50 per day at a fashionable hotel, amounting to over $2,300. They had a fine time, a very pleasant & merry time. Mr. juryman Todd said he was a "clothing salesman and a Baptist." "Then" said he "this was a picked jury, they were all gentlemen." Of course, these gentlemen, who have a profound contempt for the vulgar dirty working classes had to bring a verdict befitting gentlemen. So highly appreciated was their verdict that Chicago millionaires proposed & so far as any one knows did contribute a purse of one hundred ($100,000) thousand dollars to this jury as a reward for their verdict. The jury has besides been lionized, wined, dined, banqueted, & given costly presents, & sums of money, since the rendering of their verdict.
The influences which are at work forcing upon the people the Social Revolution arise out of the capitalist system. Necessity is the mother of invention; it is also the father of progress & civilization. The justification for the social revolution is recorded throughout all the pages of history. Our fathers proclaimed it in the Immortal Declaration, July 4th 1776 as follows:
- "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they were endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers form the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT."
Will the coming revolution be a peaceable or violent one?
But now, when the workingmen of America refuse to "give their consent to be any longer governed" by the profit-mongers, labor exploiters, children slayers & home despoilers, they are at-once put down, & kept down by the strong arm of military power, against their will and without "their consent," in the name of "law & order."
It is against this barbaric use of force, this violation of every natural right, that Anarchists protest, and for protesting, die! The only fact established by proof as well as by our own admission, cheerfully given before the jury, was that we held opinions and preached a doctrine that is considered dangerous to the rascality & infamies of the privileged, law-created-class known as monopolists, to whom with the prophets of old we say:
- "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and sliver are cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you; and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasures together for the last days." - James v.1-3.