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Parsons, Albert R. Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis as Defined by Some of Its Apostles . Chicago: Mrs. A.R. Parsons, 1887. [format: book], [genre: essay; history; speech]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
It will be comprehended by the thoughtful reader, who has perused these pages thus far, that the popular conception of anarchism is a mistaken one. An insane anger against personal tyrants, and a vague desire to destroy and kill, are not the characteristics of the philosophy known as anarchy, as a majority of the people up to this time have been led to believe.
The philosophy of anarchism is included in the one word "Liberty;" yet it is comprehensive enough to include all things else. No barriers whatever to human progression, to thought, or investigation, are placed by anarchism; nothing is considered so true or so certain, that future discoveries may not prove it false; therefore, it has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, "Freedom." Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully. Other schools of thought are composed of crystallized ideas principles that are caught and impaled between the planks of long platforms, and considered too sacred to be disturbed by a close investigation. In all other "issues" there is always a limit; some imaginary line beyond which the searching mind dare not penetrate, lest some pet idea melt into a myth. Science has been merciless and without reverence, because it is compelled to be: the discoveries and conclusions of one day are exploded by the discoveries and conclusions of the next. But anarchism is the usher of science the master of ceremonies to all forms of truth. It would remove all barriers between the human being and natural development. From the natural resources of the earth, all artificial restrictions, that the body might be nurtured, and from universal truth, all bars of prejudice and superstition, that the mind may develop harmoniously.
It is then the complete opposite of ideas of force and violence. Force, in invading the rights of individuals, is entirely repudiated; legalized, national force as well as the irresponsible force of the individual. "How then," perhaps the inquirer, even at this stage, may ask, "do you reconcile your advocacy of a violent revolution with so peaceful a philosophy?"
That force will be used in the coming change, whether we advocate it or not, is quite evident to students of history; that there is a reconcilable reason for our advising people to be ready for it, is shown in the constant use of force that is necessary to maintain the present socalled "order," but actual disorder. Every institution which now works injustice to human kind is possible only through the violence or threats
of violence that are continually exerted. Well-filled armories and well-drilled regiments are the pillars of class rule, and monopoly rests on the strength of courts and constabulary.
Force (legalized) invades the personal liberty of man, seizes upon the natural elements, and intervenes between man and natural laws; from this exercise of force through governments flows nearly all the misery, poverty, crime and confusion existing in society. So, we perceive, there are actual, material barriers blockading the way. These must be removed. If we could hope they would melt away, or be voted or prayed into nothingness, we would be content to wait and vote and pray. But they are like great frowning rocks towering between us and a land of freedom, while the dark chasms of a hard-fought past yawn behind us. Crumbling they may be with their own weight and the decay of time, but to quietly stand under till they fall is to be buried in the crash. There is something to be done in a case like this the rocks must be removed. Passivity while slavery is stealing over us is criminal. For the moment we must forget that we are anarchists when the work is accomplished we may forget we were revolutionists.
And what of the glowing beyond that is so bright that the Gradgrinds say it is a dream? It is no dream, it is the real, stripped of braindistortions materialized into thrones and scaffolds, mitres and guns. It is nature acting on her own interior laws as in all her other associations. It is a return to first principles; for were not the land, the water, the light all free before governments took shape and form? In this free state we will again forget to think of these things as "property." It is real, for we, as a race, are growing up to it. The idea of less restriction and more liberty, and a confiding trust that nature is equal to her work, is permeating all modern thought. From the dark years not so long by when it was generally believed that man's soul was totally depraved and every human impulse bad; when every action, every thought, and every emotion was controlled and restricted; when the human frame, diseased, was bled, dosed, suffocated and kept as far from nature's remedies as possible; when the mind was seized upon and distorted before it had time to evolve a natural thought from those days to these latter years the progress of this idea has been swift and steady. It is becoming more and more apparent that in every way we are "governed best where we are governed least."
Still unsatisfied perhaps, the inquirer seeks for details, for ways and means, and whys and wherefores. How will we go on like human beings eating and sleeping, working and loving, exchanging and dealing, without government. So used have we become to "organized authority" in every department of life that ordinarily we cannot conceive of the most Common-place avocations being carried on without their interference and "protection." But anarchism is not therefore compelled to outline a complete organization of a free society. To do so with any assumption of authority would be to place another barrier in the way of coming generations. The best thought of to-day may become the useless vagary of to-morrow, and to crystallize it into a creed is to make it an unwieldy
obstacle as well. Still we may prophesy and conjecture, and while we believe no great principle is compromised if we say "let the coming freemen take care or themselves," we may judge from our present knowledge of human characteristics and the action of natural law something of what future societary arrangements will be. "We can judge of the future only by the past." We can believe it is only necessary to remove the barriers, to abolish the powers that force man into unnatural channels, to recognize no "organized authority," and believe that new systems will spring spontaneously from the spirit of the times, and the conditions surrounding the social units yet we may have logical conceptions of societary arrangements, and the wisdom to give them to inquirers.
We judge from experience that man is a gregarious animal, and instinctively affiliates with his kind co-operates, unites in groups, works to better advantage, combined with his fellow workmen than when alone. This would point to the formation of co-operative communities, of which our present trades-unions are embryonic patterns. Each branch of industry will no doubt have its own organization, regulations, leaders, etc.; it will institute methods of direct communication with every member of that industrial branch in the world, and establish equitable relations with all other branches. There would probably be conventions of industry which delegates would attend, and where they would transact such business as was necessary, adjourn and from that moment be delegates no longer, but simply members of a group. To remain permanent members of a continuous congress would be to establish a power that is certain sooner or later to be abused.
No great central power, like a congress consisting of men who know nothing of their constituents' trades, interests, rights or duties, would be over the various organizations or groups; nor would they employ sheriffs, policemen, courts or jailors to enforce the conclusions arrived at while m session. The members of groups might profit by the knowledge gained through mutual interchange of thought afforded by conventions if they choose, but they will not be compelled to do so by any outside force.
Vested rights, privileges, charters, title deeds, upheld by all the paraphernalia of government the visible symbol of power such as prisons, scaffolds and armies will have no existence. There can be no privileges bought or sold, and the transaction kept sacred at the point of the bayonet. Every man will stand on an equal footing with his brother in the race of life, and neither chains of economic thralldom nor mental drags of superstition shall handicap the one to the advantage of the other.
Property will lose a certain attribute which sanctifies it now. The absolute ownership of it "the right to use or abuse" will be abolished and possession, use, will be the only title. It will be seen how impossible it would be for one person to "own" a million acres of land, without a title deed backed by a government ready to protect that title at all hazards, even to the loss of thousands of lives. He could not use the million acres himself, nor could he wrest from its depths the possible resources it contains
The accidental discovery of a coal field or a gas well could not as now make one man enormously rich in a moment, the arbiter and master of several hundred lives, who, robbed of their own rightful inheritance, are entirely dependent on the will of the lucky man. There will be no law, of course, to prevent his hiring men to work for hour, but as every man will have an equal chance at mother earth, the probabilities are that they will have too much business of their own to be hired.
The division of labor now developing in the field of production already illustrates the benefits of co-operative efforts, and it is quite evident that future production will be carried on in this line. Communities and groups will form, and in the interests of those concerned will make their regulations. All organization will be voluntary, with the sacred right forever reserved to each individual "to think and to rebel." "But this will create chaos and eternal confusion!" the objector will say. Why should it? It has been seen even under present systems that liberty of action is a great civilizer. One learns by observation that it is not the restraints thrown around the individual by laws and religious creeds, that make him "good." Often the removal of these" very restrictions renders him surprisingly manful and upright, feeling that he is not forced into a path he would tread naturally, if let alone. It was thought not long ago by nearly all, that to destroy the belief in an everlasting hell would be to break the bonds which held in check millions of wicked people ready to plunge into every species of evil, like a torrent raging onward to its own destruction. There is a benighted old journal still existing in these latter days which teaches that "hell and the scaffold are the civilizers of the people." The dear good old lady with one of the kindest hearts in the world, who said, "If I didn't believe in the everlasting punishment of eternal fires, I would do all sorts of wicked things, steal, lie, murder, dissipate," should become its editor.
The belief in a literal place of torment has nearly melted away; and instead of the direful results predicted, we have a higher and truer standard of manhood and womanhood. People do not care to go to the bad when they find they can as well as not. Individuals are unconscious of their own motives in doing good. While acting out their natures according to their surroundings and conditions, they still believe they are being kept in the right path by some outside power, some restraint thrown around them by church or state. So the objector believes that with the right to rebel and secede sacred to him, he would forever be rebelling and seceding, thereby creating constant confusion and turmoil. Is it probable that he would, merely for the reason that he could do so? Men are to a great extent creatures of habit, and grow to love associations; under reasonably good conditions, he would remain where he commences; and if he did not, who has any natural right to force him into relations distasteful to him? Under the present order of affairs, persons do unite with societies and remain good, disinterested members for life where the right to retire is always conceded. The final outcome, many disciples of anarchism believe will be communism the common possession of the resources of life and the productions of united
labor. No anarchist is compromised by this statement, who does not reason out the future outlook in this way; the many of us who do, are responsible only for our own opinions on the subject.
Many expedients will be tried by which a just return may be awarded the worker for his exertions. The time check or labor certificate, which will be honored at the store-houses hour for hour, will no doubt have its day. But the elaborate and complicated system of bookkeeping this would necessitate, the impossibility of balancing one man's hour against another's with accuracy, and the difficulty in determining how much more one man owed to natural resources, conditions, and the studies and achievements of past generations, than did another, would, we believe, prevent this system from obtaining a thorough and permanent establishment. The mutual banking system outlined by W. B. Greene may be in operation in the future free society. Another system, more simple, to the writer appears the most acceptable and likely to prevail, Members of the groups will carry cards, showing their standing in their respective societies, and if honest producers, they will be honored in any other group they may visit, and given whatever is necessary to their welfare and comfort.
But, after all, as we grow more enlightened under this "larger liberty," we will grow to care less and less for that exact distribution of material wealth, which, in our greed-nurtured senses, seems now so impossible to think upon carelessly. The men and women of loftier intellects, in the present, think not so much of the riches to be gained by their efforts as of the good they can do. There is an innate spring of healthy action in every human being who has not been crushed and pinched by poverty and drudgery from before his birth, that impels him onward and upward. He cannot be idle, if he would; it is as natural for him to develop, expand, and use the powers within him when not repressed, as it is for the rose to bloom in the sunlight and fling its fragrance on the passing breeze. The grandest works of the past were never performed for the sake of money. Who can measure the worth of a Shakespeare, an Angelo or Beethoven in dollars and cents? Agassiz said "he had no time to make money," there were higher and better objects in life than that. And so will it be when humanity is once relieved from the pressing fear of starvation, want, and slavery, it will be concerned, less and less, about the ownership of vast accumulations of wealth. Such possessions would be but an annoyance and trouble. When two or three or four hours a day of easy, of healthful labor will produce all the comforts and luxuries one can use, and the opportunity to labor is never denied, people will become indifferent as to who owns the wealth they do not need. Wealth will be below par, and it will be found that men and women will not accept it for pay, or be bribed by it to do what they would not willingly and naturally do without it. Some higher incentive must, and will, supersede the greed for gold. The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one's self, to be loved and appreciated by one's fellow-beings, to "make the world better for having lived in it," will urge him on to nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.
If, in the present chaotic and shameful struggle for existence, when organized society offers a premium on greed, cruelty, and deceit, men can be found who stand aloof and almost alone in their determination to work for good rather than gold, who suffer want and persecution rather than desert principle, who can bravely walk to the scaffold for the good they can do humanity, what may we expect from men when freed from the grinding necessity of selling the better part of themselves for bread? The terrible conditions under which labor is performed, the awful alternative if one does not prostitute talent and morals in the service of mammon; the power acquired with the wealth obtained by ever so unjust means, combine to make the conception of free and voluntary labor almost an impossible one. And yet, there are examples of this principle even now. In a well-bred family each person has certain duties, which are performed cheerfully, and are not measured out and paid for according to some pre-determined standard; when the united members sit down to the well-filled table, they do not scramble to get the most, while the weakest do without, or gather greedily around them more food than they could possibly consume. Each patiently and politely awaits his turn to be served, and leaves what he does not want; he is certain that when again hungry plenty of good food will be provided.
Again, the utter impossibility of awarding to each an exact return, for the amount of labor performed will render absolute communism a necessity sooner or later. The land and all it contains, without which labor cannot be exerted, belong to no one man, but to all alike. The inventions and discoveries of the past are the common inheritance of the coming generations; and when a man takes the tree that nature furnished free, and fashions it into a useful article, or a machine perfected and bequeathed to him by many past and succeeding generations, who is to determine what proportion is his and his alone? Primitive man would have been a week fashioning a rude resemblance to the article with his clumsy tools, where the modern worker has occupied an hour. The finished article is of far more real value than the rude one made long ago, and yet the primitive man toiled the longest and hardest. Who can determine with exact justice what is each one's due?
There must come a time when we will cease trying. The earth is so bountiful, so generous; man's brain is so active, his hands so restless, that Wealth will spring like magic, ready for the use of the world's inhabitants. We will become as much ashamed to quarrel over its possession as we are now to squabble over the food spread before us on a loaded table.
"But all this," the objector urges, "is very beautiful in the far-off future, when we become angels. It would not do now to abolish governments and legal restraints; people are not prepared for it."
This is a question. We have seen, in reading history, that wherever an old-time restriction has been removed the people have not abused their newer liberty. Once it was considered necessary to compel men to save their souls, with the aid of governmental scaffolds, racks and stakes. Until the foundation of the present republic, it was considered
absolutely essential that governments should second the efforts of the, church in forcing people to attend the means of grace; and yet it is found that the standard of morals among the masses is raised since they are left free to pray as they see fit, or not at all, if they prefer it. It was believed the chattel slaves would not work if the overseer and whip were removed; they are so much more a source of profit now that ex-slave owners would not return to the old system if they could.
So many of the able writers quoted in this book have shown that the unjust institutions which work so much misery and suffering to the masses have their root in governments, and owe their whole existence to the power derived from government, we cannot help but believe that were every law, every title deed, every court, and every police officer or soldier abolished to-morrow with one sweep, the people would be better off than now. The actual, material things that man needs would still exist; his strength and skill would remain and his instinctive social inclinations retain their force. Freed from the systems that made him wretched before, he is not likely to make himself more wretched for lack of them. Much more is contained in the thought that conditions make man what he is, and not the laws and penalties made for his guidance, than is supposed by careless observation. We have laws, jails, courts, armies, guns and armories enough to make saints of us all, if they were the true preventives of crime; but we know they do not prevent crime; that wickedness and depravity exist in spite of them, nay, increase as the struggle between classes grows fiercer, wealth greater and more powerful, and poverty more gaunt and desperate. As an illustration of this truth, notice the statistics of Warden McClaughrey, given before the Union League Club of Chicago, a club consisting of millionaires. He stated that 500,000 criminals in the United States, according to the best obtainable statistics, are under 21 years of aye!
What an army of outcasts! Does any one believe that these young persons deserted peaceful and virtuous walks of life, blessed with love, home and friends, voluntarily? Or, were they not crowded to the prison doors by the wretched surroundings the present civilization forces upon them? Prisons the guardians of the people's morals? The above showing damns forever this idea!
Have we not good reason to believe that the entire abolition of a centralized power, with all its facilities for granting privileges, for protecting monopolies and aiding robbers in stealing the people's inheritance, would result in great good to humanity, bad as it is become through long ages of injustice?
Oh, Liberty! No wonder the vision of thy realization is too bright to be deemed more than a fleeting dream! The weary toiler who now never thinks of rest, dare not look upon the picture, the sensuous idler scorns it. But how possible after all! Nature has denied us not one element towards its realization man himself lacks not one faculty towards its appreciation and enjoyment. To know that little children will no more drudge and wither away in factories and mines; that women will not slowly coin their heart's blood over their needle, while starvation eternally stares in at the door, that strong men will not waste
their lives in abject slavery or unwilling vagabondage, and that constant fear o£ cold and hunger and homelessness that so petrifies and stupifies the heart and soul will be banished forever; that women will be freed from the black clinging trail of the serpent winding through all ages, the selling of herself for bread or splendor; that genius will, no longer crushed in the narrow, suffering limits of neglect and poverty, rise to heights unknown before is it not worth working, living and dying for? Ah, no, friends, anarchy is not buried it is not dead.A. R. Parsons' Appeal to People of America.
FELLOW CITIZENS: As all the world knows, I have been convicted and sentenced to die for the crime of murder, the most heinous offense that can be committed. Under the forms of law, two courts, viz., the criminal and supreme courts of the State of Illinois, have sentenced me to death as an accessory before the fact, to the murder of officer Degan on May 4, 1886. Nevertheless I am innocent of the crime charged, and to a candid and unprejudiced world I submit the proof.
In the decision affirming the sentence of death upon me, the supreme court of the State of Illinois says: "It is undisputed that the bomb was thrown that caused the death of Degan. It is conceded that no one of the defendants threw the bomb with his own hands. Plaintiffs in error are charged with being accessories before the fact."
If I did not throw the bomb myself, it becomes necessary to prove that I aided, encouraged and advised the person who did throw it. Is that fact proven? The supreme court says it is. The record says it is not. I appeal to the American people to judge between them.
The supreme court quotes articles from The Alarm, the paper edited by me, and from my speeches, running back three years before the Haymarket tragedy of May 4, 1886. Upon said articles and speeches the court affirms the sentence of death as an accessory. The court says: "The articles in The Alarm were most of them written by the defendant Parsons, and some of them by the defendant Spies," and then proceeds to quote these articles. I refer to the record to prove that, of all the articles quoted, only one was shown to have been written by me. I wrote, of course, a great many articles for The Alarm, but the record will show that only one of the many quoted by the supreme court to prove my guilt as an accessory was written by me, and this article
appeared in The Alarm December 6, 1884, one year and a half before the Haymarket meeting.
As to Mr. Spies, the record will show that during the three years I was editor of The Alarm, he did not write for the paper half a dozen articles. For proof as to this I appeal to the record.
The Alarm was a labor paper, and, as is well known, a labor paper is conducted as a medium through which working people can make known their grievances. The Alarm was no exception to this rule. I not only did not write "most of the articles," but wrote comparatively few of them. This the record will also show.
In referring to my Haymarket speech the court says: "To the men then listening to him he had addressed the incendiary appeals that had been appearing in The Alarm for two years." The court then quotes the "incendiary" article which I did write, and which is as follows: "One dynamite bomb properly placed will destroy a regiment of soldiers; a weapon easily made and carried with perfect safety in the pockets of one's clothing."
The record will show by referring to The Alarm that this is a garbled extract taken from a statement made by General Phillip Sheridan in his annual report to congress. It was simply a reiteration of General Sheridan's statement that dynamite was easily made, perfectly safe to handle, and a very destructive weapon of warfare. The article in full as it appeared in The Alarm is as follows:
"Dynamite. The protection of the poor against the armies of the rich. In submitting his annual report November 10, 1884, General Phillip Sheridan, commander of the United States army, says: ‘This nation is growing so rapidly that there are signs of other troubles which I hope will not occur, and which will probably not come upon us if both capital and labor will only be conservative. Still it should be remembered destructive explosives are easily made, and that banks, United States sub-treasuries, public buildings, and large mercantile houses can be readily demolished, and the commerce of entire cities destroyed by an infuriated people with means carried with perfect safety to themselves in the pockets of their clothing.’ "
The editorial comment upon the above, as it appeared in The Alarm, is as follows: "A hint to the wise is sufficient. Of course General Sheridan is too modest to tell us that he himself and army will be powerless in the coming revolution between the propertied and property-less classes. Only in foreign wars can the usual weapons of warfare be used to any advantage. One dynamite bomb properly placed will destroy a regiment of soldiers; a weapon easily made and carried with perfect safety in the pockets of one's clothing. The first regiment may as well disband, for if it should ever level its guns upon the workingmen of Chicago it can be totally annihilated."
Again the court says: "He (Parsons) had said to them (referring to the people assembled at the Haymarket) Saturday, April 24, 1886, just ten days before May 4, in the last issue of The Alarm that had appeared: ‘Workingmen, to arms! War to the palace, peace to the cottage, and death to luxurious idleness! The wage system is the only
cause of the world's misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it they must be either made to work or die. One pound of dynamite is better than a bushel of ballots! Make your demand for eight hours with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalist bloodhounds police and militia in a proper manner.’"
The record will show that this article was not written by me. but was published as a news item. By referring to the columns of The Alarm the following editorial comment appears attached to the above article, viz.: "The above handbill was sent to us from Indianapolis, Ind., as having been posted all over that city last week. Our correspondent says that the police tore them down wherever they found them."
The court, continuing, says: "At the close of another article in the same issue he said; ‘The social war has come, and whoever is not with us is against us.’" Assistant State's Attorney Walker read this article to the jury, and at its conclusion stated that it bore my initials and was my article. It is a matter within the knowledge of everyone then present, that I interrupted him and called his attention to the fact that the article did not bear my initials and that I was not its author. Mr. Walker corrected his mistake to the jury.
Now these are the three articles quoted by the supreme court as proof of my guilt as an accessory in a conspiracy to murder officer Degan. The record will prove what I say. Now as to my speeches. All of them, with one exception, purporting to be my utterances at the Haymarket are given from the excited imagination and perverted memories of newspaper reporters. Mr. English, who alone took shorthand notes and swore to their correctness, reports me as saying: "It is time to raise a note of warning. There is nothing in the eight-hour movement to excite the capitalist. Don't you know that the military are under arms, and a Gatling gun is ready to mow you down? Was this Germany, or Russia, or Spain? [A voice: ‘It looks like it.’] Whenever you make a demand for eight hours' pay, or increase of pay, the militia and deputy sheriffs and the Pinkerton men are called out, and you are shot and clubbed and murdered in the streets. I am not here for the purpose of inciting anybody, but to speak out to tell the facts as they exist, even though it shall cost me my life before morning."
Mr. English, continuing, said: "There is another part of it [the speech] right here. ‘It behooves you, as you love your wife and children, if you don't want to see them perish with hunger, killed, or cut down like dogs on the street Americans, in the interest of your liberty and independence, to arm, arm yourselves!’"
This, be it remembered, is a garbled extract, and it is a matter of record that reporter English testified that he was instructed by the proprietor of his paper to report only the inflammatory portions of the speeches made at that meeting. Mayor Harrison, who was present and heard this speech, testified before the jury that it was simply "a violent political harangue," and did not call for his interference as a peace officer.
The speech delivered by me at the Haymarket, and which I repeated before the jury, is a matter of record and undisputed; and I
challenge anyone to show therein that I incited anyone to acts of violence. The extract reported by Mr. English, when taken in connection with what preceded and what followed, can not be construed by the wildest imagination as incitement to violence.
Extracts from three other speeches alleged to have been delivered by me more than one year prior to May 4, 1886, are given. Two of these speeches were reported from the memory of the Pinkerton detective, Johnson. These are the speeches quoted by the court as proof of my guilt as accessory to the murder of Degan. Where, then is the connection between these speeches and the murder of Degan? I am bold to declare that such connection is imperceptible to the eye of a fair and unprejudiced mind. But the honorable body, the supreme court of Illinois, has condemned me to death for speeches I never made and articles I never wrote. In the affirmation of the death sentence the court has "assumed," "supposed," "guessed," "surmised" and "presumed" that I said and did "so and so." This the record fully proves.
The court says: "Spies, Schwab, Parsons and Engel were responsible for the articles written and published by them as above shown. Spies, Schwab, Fielden, Parsons and Engel were responsible for the speeches made by them respectively, and there is evidence in the record tending to show that the death of Degan occurred during the prosecution of a conspiracy planned by the members of the International groups who read these articles and heard those speeches."
Now I defy any one to show from the record the proof that I wrote more than one of the many articles alleged to have been written by me. Yet the supreme court says that I wrote and am responsible for all of them. Again, concerning the alleged speeches, they were reported by the Pinkerton detective, Johnson, who was, as the record shows, employed by Lyman J. Gage, vice-president of the First National kink, as the agent of the Citizens' Association, an organization composed of the millionaire employers of Chicago. I submit to a candid world if this hired spy would not make false reports to earn his blood money. Thus it is for speeches I did not make and articles I did not write I am sentenced to die because the court "assumes" that these articles influenced some unknown and still unidentified person to throw the bomb that killed Degan. Is this law? Is this justice?
The supreme court in affirming the sentence of death upon me, proceeds to give further reasons, as follows:
"Two circumstances are to be noted: First, it can hardly be said that Parsons was absent from the Haymarket meeting when he went into Zepf's hall. It has already been stated that the latter place was only a few steps north of the speakers' wagon, and in sight from it. We do not think that the defendant Parsons could escape his share of the responsibility for the explosion at the Haymarket because he stepped into a neighboring saloon and looked at the explosion through a window. While he was speaking, men stood around him with arms in their hands. Many of these were members of the armed sections of the International groups. Among them were men who belonged to the International Rifles, an organization in which he himself was an officer, and
with which he had been drilling in preparation for the events then transpiring."
The records of the trial will show that not one of the foregoing allegations is true. The facts are these: Zepf's hall is on the northeast corner of Lake and Desplaines streets, just one block north of the speakers' wagon. The court says: "It was only a few steps north of the speakers' wagon." The court says further that, "it can hardly be said that Parsons was absent from the Hay market meeting, when he was at Zepf's hall." If this is correct logic, then I was at two different places a block apart at the same instant. Truly, the day of miracles has not yet passed. Again, the record will show that I did not "step into a neighboring saloon and look at the explosion through a window." It will show that I went to Zepf's hall, one block distant, and across Lake street, accompanied by my wife and another lady, and my two children (a girl of five and a boy of seven years of age,) they having sat upon a wagon about ten feet from the speakers' wagon throughout my speech; that it looked like rain; that we had started home, and went into Zepf's hall to wait for the meeting to adjourn, and walk home in company with a lot of friends who lived in that direction. Zepf's building is on the corner, and opens on the street with a triangular door six feet wide. Myself and ladies and children were just inside the door. Here, while waiting for our friends and looking toward the meeting, I had a fair view of the explosion. All this the record will show.
It would seem that, according to circumstances, a block is at one time "a few steps," or a "few steps" is "more than a block," as the case may suit. The logical as well as the imaginative faculties of the supreme court are further illustrated in a most striking manner by the credence of the court to the "yarn" of a reporter, who testifies that Spies had described to him the "czar " bomb and the men who were to use them, as follows:
"He spoke of a body of tall, strong men in their organization who could throw bombs weighing five pounds 150 paces. He stated that the bombs in question were to be used in case of conflict with the police or militia."
The court gives this sort of testimony as proof of the existence of a conspiracy to murder Degan. Wonderful credulity! To throw a five-pound bomb 150 paces or yards is to throw it 450 feet, or about 1/12 of a mile. Gulliver, in his travels among the Brobdingnagian race, tells of the giants he met, and we have also heard of the giants of Patagonia, but we did not know until now that (hey were Lilliputians as compared with the "Anarchist Swedes" of Chicago. The court proceeds to say: "While he (Parsons) was speaking, men stood around him with aims in their hands." The record, as quoted by the court, shows that only one man flourished a pistol, not a number of men. Again, the court says: "Most of the men were members of the armed sections of the International groups," thus making it appear that many of these men (when there was only one who was even alleged to have exhibited a pistol) were armed.
The court says: "Among them were men who belonged to the
International Rifles, an armed organization, in which he himself was an officer, and in which he had been drilling in preparation for the events then transpiring."
Now, I challenge the supreme court or any other honorable gentlemen to prove from the record that there ever existed such an organization as that armed section of the American group known as the "International Rifles." It can not be done. The record shows that some members of the American group did organize the "International Rifles," which never met but four or five times, was never armed with rifles or any other weapons, and disbanded nearly one year before May 4, 1886.
The Pinkerton man, Johnson, says that dynamite bombs were exhibited in the presence of the International Rifles. It will take corroborative testimony before the American people will credit the statements of such a man engaged for such a purpose, and it is well known that supreme courts have decided that testimony of detectives should be taken with great caution.
I appeal to the American people in their love of justice and fair play. I submit that the record does not show my guilt of the crime of murder, but, on the contrary, it proves my innocence.
Against me in this trial all the rules of law and evidence have been reversed in that I have been held as guilty until I proved my innocence.
I have been tried ostensibly for murder, but in reality for anarchism. I have been proven guilty of being an anarchist, and condemned to die for that reason. The state's attorney said in his statement before court and jury in the beginning of the trial: "These defendants were picked out and indicted by the grand jury, they are no more guilty than the thousands who follow them. They are picked out because they are leaders. Convict them, and our society is safe." And in their last appeal to the jury the prosecution said: "Anarchy is on trial. Hang these eight men and save our institutions. These are the leaders. Make examples of them." This is a matter of record.
So far as I have had time to examine the record I find the same fabrications and perversion of testimony against all my comrades as exists against myself. I therefore again appeal to the American people to avert the crime of judicial murder, and this appeal I have faith will not be in vain.
My ancestors partook of all the hardships incident to the establishment of this republic. They fought, bled, and some of them died, that the Declaration of Independence might live and the American flag might wave in triumph over those who claim the "divine right of kings to rule." Shall that flag now, after a century's triumph, trail in the mire of oppression, and protect the perpetration of outrages and oppressions that put the older despotisms of Europe to shame?
Knowing myself innocent of crime I came forward and gave myself up for trial. I felt that it was my duty to take my chances with the rest of my comrades. I sought a fair and impartial trial before a jury of my peers, and knew that before any fair-minded jury I could with little difficulty be cleared. I preferred to be tried and take the
chances of an acquittal with my friends to being hunted as a felon. Have I had a fair trial?
The lovers of justice and fair play are assiduously engaged in an effort to thwart the consummation of judicial murder by the commutation of sentence to prison. I speak for myself alone when I say that for this I thank them and appreciate their efforts, but I am an innocent man. I have violated no law; I have committed no offense against anyone's rights. I am simply the victim of the malice of those whose anger has been aroused by the power, strength and independence of the labor organizations of America. I am a sacrifice to those who say: "These men may be innocent. No matter. They are anarchists. We must hang them anyway."
My counsel informs me that every effort will be made to take this case before the highest tribunal in the land and that there is a strong hope of a hearing there. But I am also reliably informed that from three to five years will elapse before the supreme court of the United States can hear and adjudge the case. Since surrendering myself to the authorities I have been locked up in close confinement twenty-one hours of every twenty-four for six days, and from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning (thirty eight hours) each week in a noisome cell, without a ray of sunshine or a breath of pure air. To be compelled to bear this for five, or even three years, would be to suffer a lingering death, and it is only a matter of serious consideration with me, whether I ought to accept the verdict as it stands, rather than die by inches under such conditions. I am prepared to die. I am ready, if need be, to lay down my life for my rights and the rights of my fellowmen. But I object to being killed on false and unproven accusations. Therefore I cannot countenance or accept the effort of those who would endeavor to procure a commutation of my sentence to imprisonment in the penitentiary. Neither do I approve of any further appeals to the courts of law. I believe them to be all alike the agency of the privileged class to perpetuate their power, to oppress and plunder the toiling masses. As between capital and its legal rights and labor and its natural rights, the courts of law must side with the capitalist class. To appeal to them is vain. It is the appeal of the wage slave to his capitalistic master for liberty. The answer is curses, blows, imprisonment, and death.
If I had never been an anarchist before, my experience with courts and the laws of the governing classes would make an anarchist of me now. What is anarchism? It is a state of society without any central or governing power. Upon this subject the court in its affirmation of the death sentence defines the object of the International Working Peoples' association as follows:
"It is designed to bring about a social revolution. Social revolution meant the destruction of the right of private ownership of property, or the right of the individual to own property. It meant the bringing about of a state of society in which all property should be held in common."
If this definition is right then it is very similar to that advocated
by Jesus Christ, for proof of which refer to the fourth and fifth chapters of the Acts or the Apostles; also Matthew xxi., 10 to 14; and Mark xi, 15 to 19.
No, I am not guilty; I have not been proven guilty. I leave it to you to decide from the record itself as to my guilt or innocence. I can not, therefore, accept a commutation to imprisonment. I appeal not for mercy, but for justice. As for me, the utterance of Patrick Henry is so apropos that I cannot do better than let him speak:
"Is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may pursue, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death. A. R. Parsons.
To His Excellency Richard J. Oglesby, Governor of the State of Illinois DEAR SIR: I am aware that petitions are being signed by hundreds of thousands of persons addressed to you, beseeching you to interpose your prerogative and commute the sentences of myself and comrades from death to imprisonment in the penitentiary. You are, I am told, a good constitutional lawyer and a sincere man. I therefore beg of you to examine the record of the trial, and then conscientiously decide for yourself as to my guilt or innocence. I know that as a just man you will decide in accordance with the facts, the truth, and the justice of this case. But I write to reiterate the declaration made in my published appeal to the people of America, September 21 1887. I am guilty or I am innocent of the charge for which I have been condemned to die. If guilty, then I prefer death rather than to go "like the quarry slave at night scourged to his dungeon." If innocent, then I am entitled to and will accept nothing less than liberty. The records of the trial made in Judge Gary's court prove my innocence of the crime of murder. But there exists a conspiracy to judicially murder myself and imprisoned companions in the name and by virtue of the authority of the State. History records every despotic, arbitrary deed of the peoples' rulers as having been done in the name of the people, even to the destruction of the liberties of the people.
I am a helpless prisoner and completely in the power of the authorities, but I strongly protest against being taken from my cell and carried to the penitentiary as a felon. Therefore in the name of the people, whose liberty is being destroyed; in the name of peace and justice, I protest against the consummation of this judicial murder; this proposed strangulation of freedom on American soil. I speak for
myself, I know not what course others may pursue, but for myself I reject the petition for my imprisonment. I am innocent, and I say to you that under no circumstances will I accept a commutation to imprisonment. In the name of the American people I demand my right, my lawful, constitutional, natural, inalienable right to liberty. Respectfully yours,
ALBERT R. PARSONS.
"Anarchy is license," exclaim the law-abiding citizens.
"If this is true, then what in the name of liberty is law?" retort the anarchists.
What is law? It is a command, an order, and the State enforces compliance.
What is the State? The legislative, judicial and executive powers are what constitute the State. The law is manufactured, "made" to order by the legislators, and then expounded and applied by the judges, and then enforced or executed by the police, militia, army, and navy.
Law being a command or order to do or refrain from doing something, it is, therefore, not liberty, but license, and consequently despotic. Law statute law is designed to force or compel some person or persons to respect and support the privileges it confers upon some other person or persons. Law statute law is license, because it establishes the inequality of rights and duties, and maintains the inequality of conditions and opportunities. "Equal rights under the law," is a misnomer, since the only function of statute law is the creation of privileges and inequalities. Law statute law is the instrumentality by means of which people are made to serve and obey, to work and suffer for other peoples benefit. Law statue law is the denial of a person's natural, inalienable rights by other persons. There are two kinds of law natural and artificial. The artificial or manufactured law also manufactures police, militia, and prisons. Law statute law is "the coward's weapon, the tool of the thief." Cowardly, because man would not or could not otherwise degrade, enslave, and murder his fellow man. Rascally, because without it man would not and could not dominate and exploit his fellow man. Therefore, "equal rights under the law" means no more nor less than the rascality necessary to take an advantage and the cowardly brutality necessary to keep it. This is law; its sole and only purpose.
Life and liberty insures happiness; privilege destroys both. Law is privilege, is license. Life is denied to all those who are denied the equal right to the free use of the means of existence capital. Only by
the use of the means of subsistence is life possibly maintained; and only by the equal right to its free use is liberty possible. Happiness is the child, and its parents are life and liberty. The slave has life. The freeman possesses both liberty and life. The dependence of one person upon another for permission to work and eat is the foundation upon which the wage-slave system of industry is built. Capital is a law-protected institution. It is privileged property. There is no such thing in nature's law as privilege, chartered rights. This moloch devours nine-tenths of the human race, who feed its ravenous jaws with their own flesh and blood. This beast, "the property beast," is what is otherwise known as law and government. Law statute law is license, because its sole and only function is to deny the producer the possession and enjoyment of his product.
Law does not and cannot, in fact, create anything but privileges. Rights exist inherently. Labor, and labor alone, does or can create wealth, and the wealth-creators are poor by virtue of and solely on account of law. Law takes wealth from the producer and bestows it upon the non-producer; it curses industry with poverty and blesses idleness with wealth. Law is the mainspring of everlasting contention among men. It creates classes, produces masters and slaves; it is the source of ignorance, disease, crime, war, of every moral, social and physical evil. Law creates and perpetuates poverty; first, by depriving the producers and keeping them poor, and, secondly, by preventing the unlimited application of wealth-creating forces in steam, electricity and machinery.
Law statute law is an insult to our natures, a repression upon human capacity, and the degradation of social effort. Do away with all compulsory statutes; abolish all legislative enactments based upon authority, as a conspiracy against man's ability to co-operate. Liberty calls out individuality, co-operative activity, and offers scope for the highest development of our powers. Cease treating men and women as children. Remove the crutches and society will spontaneously respond to every new demand, and men and women will walk freely and co-operate to secure all that is needful.
Views of General Parsons.
NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 16. Gen. W. H. Parsons, the eldest brother of A. A. R. Parsons, the condemned anarchist, was interviewed to-day by your correspondent at Newport News, where he holds the position of inspector of customs and is much respected for his scholarly attainments and his high-toned deportment. The general has been much averse to being interviewed and until the present has declined to converse with reporters on the subject of his brother's sentence. On being asked to give a brief outline of the life of A. R. Parsons he said:
"A. R. Parsons was born in Montgomery, Ala., June 20, 1848, and is, therefore, just 39 years of age. He is of pilgrim-father parentage, his ancestors five brothers landing together in 1632 on Narragansett Bay and their descendents of that name, according to John Mason of Virginia, who cites the authority of Berknap's "History of New England," were proverbial for good scholarship and honorable character. Gen. Samuel Parsons, from whom Albert's father was named, was a major-general of the revolutionary war, and his grand-uncle of the same name lost an arm in the battle of Bunker Hill. Theophilus Parsons, the judicial author, was the pivot of the law, not only of New England but of American jurisprudence in his day. It has been the boast of all of that name in all lands and states that no one who bore it was ever convicted or justly charged with a felonious offense.
"Albert R. Parsons, the accused anarchist, is not an exception. He is a political offender, and not a criminal. We assert this, because the incidents of his biography, upon which you interrogate me, will demonstrate this. His father moved to Alabama in 1830. A. R. Parsons was left an orphan at 4 years of age and joined my family in Tyler, Tex., where I was at that time conducting the Tyler Telegraph as owner and editor. At 12 years of age he entered the Galveston News office and became a member of the family of its founder and proprietor, the venerable Willard Richardson, to learn the art preservative of all arts, of which profession and the Typographical Union he is now a member of high standing as well as a journalist of ripe experience, and was at the period of his arrest as accessory to the tragedy of May 4, 1886."
"Will you give his career during and since the war?"
"When the war broke out he was only 13 years old, but he joined a confederate infantry company called the Lone Star Grays. He was with them over a year and assisted in the capture of Gen. Twiggs. He joined an artillery company at Sabine Pass under his brother, Capt. Richard Parsons, who died at his post, of yellow fever. A. R. Parsons then attached himself to his elder brother's brigade my own on the west bank of the Mississippi, in Arkansas, and became a cavalry scout, graduating after four years service at 17 years of age.
"He edited the Waco Spectator in 1868. His marriage to a Mexican lady of youth, beauty and genius occurred in Austin. Texas, in 1871, and is a matter of record in that city, where miscegnation is a crime. Her Spanish and Aztec blood were then never questioned. She speaks the former language fluently, and was raised an orphan by her uncle, a Mexican ranchero, and lived with him in Johnson county, Texas, until the date
of her marriage. By her A. R. Parsons has two children, a boy and girl, aged 8 and 7 respectively, the latter a rare beauty and inheriting the vivacity of her mother. In 1870 he was elected secretary of the Texas senate, and the following year was appointed a deputy United States internal revenue collector. He held this office until he went to Chicago in 1873, when he resumed his trade as a compositor on the Times.
"In 1876 he joined the socialists. During the labor troubles of the following year he was held by the chief of police for a speech he had made to 20,000 laboring men at the Market Square, but was released the same night. He has been a compositor on the Inter Ocean and the Daily News. For three years he filled the position of president of the trade and labor association. He has been nominated for alderman three times, for congress twice, and once each for sheriff and county clerk. At the national convention of the socialistic labor party, held at Allegheny, Pa., in 1879, he was nominated as the candidate for president of the United States. At the time of his voluntary surrender to the court he was editor of the Alarm."
"Will you give his disposition and any proof of his aversion to violence or any words cautioning others against inflicting injury to persons or property?"
"A. E. Parsons is a philosophical anarchist and claims the gift of prophecy. He has never counseled revolution, but has prophesied revolution. In the prophetic words addressed to Mr. T. V. Powderly from the Chicago bastile, July 4, 1886, he said:
"‘Whether we live or whether we die the social revolution is inevitable. The boundaries of human freedom must be enlarged and widened. The seventeenth century was a struggle for religious liberty; the eighteenth for political equality, and in the nineteenth century mankind is demanding economic or industrial freedom. The fruition of this struggle means the social revolution. We see it coming; we predict it; we hail it with joy. Are we criminals for that?’"
"As I am myself an old time, original Jeffersonian democrat, believing that all power where not expressly delegated to the state, is inherently in the people and not in corporations, and that the ballot is the sole and final arbiter of any existing grievances, I frequently expostulated with him on the idea involved in the word anarchy. His invariable reply to me, with the bars between us and the shadow of the scaffold impending above him, was:
"‘I am not a revolutionist, for all revolutions are not made by agitators and prophets. They are the creatures of wrongs inflicted by the privileged few and their tools and agencies, the law-maker, the courts, and the executive force whether a pliant proletarian guard called police, or the new organized reserves of the police, known as our militia. I do not seek to make revolution. We simply see it coming; we predict it Am I a criminal for that? Who dreamed among the masses of events of 1861-5? I now prophesy the downfall of wage slavery or the wage-slavery system and its replacement by the principle of co-operation and association between labor and capital. As I witnessed the overthrow of chattel slavery and now recognize the divinity which shaped that stupendous result, so I see that hand in the events, by no means circumscribed, now
impending over my native land as well as over Europe the emancipation of my own class. Every government, including our own as now organized, is a conspiracy to enslave labor whether of the hand or brain. Coercion is the basis of this conspiracy, and hence we would overthrow all existing law which fosters and maintains it. Labor will fight, but will only fight in self-defense. The universal depression and suffering and pauperism in Europe, as well as America, is the source of discontent and unrest and is fomenting a political cyclone.’"
"To these views frequently expressed when pressed for his purpose, I would interpose the plea that the people would yet administer the corrective for existing evils through the machinery of the ballot, as this was a free representative government, and we could not improve upon its form as a medium for the expression of the popular will. To this he would invariably reply, ‘the people will attempt to apply the corrective through the ballot and will measurably succeed so far as form is concerned; but,’ he would add, ‘the vested wrongs of the privileged class, although in the hands of a very meager minority, will never be relinquished without coercion, as witness our late civil war. This meager minority will rebel against the voice and vote of the majority of the people constitutionally expressed. They have the example of a wealthy few in Rome who organized a mercenary praetorian guard of 10,000 policemen to overawe the unarmed populace of the capital and held in their pay the rival legions recruited from the plebian classes. Here is where and when the future revolution will, be inaugurated. This plutocracy will, rebel against the democratic and republican masses and recruit their mercenary police and praetorian guards from the very ranks of the men who will spoliate on both classes.’"
"That is anarchy as taught and understood by A. R. Parsons. I often pressed him for an exposition of the term anarchism as meant and believed by him. He invariably replied in substance that the meaning of philosophical anarchism was the very antipodes of anarchy as defined and understood by capitalism; that Webster's dictionary gave two meanings one, without rulers or governors; and the other, disorder and confusion. The latter he defined as capitalistic anarchy, such as was now witnessed, he said, in all parts of the world, in all conditions of society below the privileged classes which had already absorbed and monopolized all the opportunities of life and the means of existence, except merely to exist.
"To be without rulers and governors invested with authority to dictate to others against their will and interests, he would say, ‘is philosophical anarchism, and the state of society which the church is constantly prognostigating will usher in the millenial period when all governments will be abolished and the principles of Christ, as taught by him of the brotherhood of man and the supreme fatherhood of the Creator, will be established. Man is the agency through whom this result will be achieved, as God works alone by such agencies; and, as without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, I believe that the anarchism of the millenium, when there will be but one invisible ruler and all human governments overthrown, will be ushered in by the most stupenduous and bloody revolution in the annals of time. Is it criminal to report the
prophecy of the seers and inspired men of the sacred oracles? Am I to be executed for predicting that the period when no ruler or law save the spirit of the Nazarine teacher of good-will on earth and peace to all men as the fruit of the golden rule of the then common brotherhood of man is soon to be inaugurated? Then incarcerate the incumbents of our pulpits, and again, as of yore, stone the prophets; for so stone they the prophets, even among his chosen people, when sent to warn them of judgment to come.’"
"What was his action at the meeting at which the bomb was thrown?"
"There is no pretence that A. R. Parsons or that any one of the defendants threw or even knew of the throwing of the fatal bomb. They are all condemned as supposed, although not proven, accessories, for there can be no accessories without a principal, and there was not even an attempt to prove who the principal was. He yet remains unknown, the circumstantial evidence much more strongly pointing to an agent of the stock exchanges through Pinkerton's mercenaries to break up the eight-hour movement by charging the offence on the leaders of that movement in Chicago than to these defendants. The New York Times advised that very course to involve the leaders and thus break down the eight-hour movement which was then sustained by 335,000 men. A. R. Parsons rehearsed on the trial his Haymarket speech, and it is of record. It was a strong statistical, philosophical argument. At its conclusion Capt. Black, counsel for the defense asked: ‘When you were referring in your speech to Jay Gould or to the southwestern system do you remember any interruption from the crowd or any response?’ to which A. R. replied: ‘Yes, I omitted that in rehearsing my speech before the court just concluded. Some one said: "Hang Him! hang Gould!" My response to that was that it was not a conflict between individuals, but for a change of system, and that socialism designed to remove the cause which produced the pauper and the millionaire, but did not aim at the life of individuals.’"
"Reporter English of the Chicago Tribune and several other reporters present corroborated this statement. In fact is was originally drawn out of the reporters present before A. R. Parsons took the stand It was proven by ten witnesses that A. R. Parsons was in Zepf's hall, at the corner of Randolph and Desplaines streets when the shell exploded, and yet he is condemned to death for having incited some one to throw the fatal bomb. It was proven that Lingg was two and a half miles away on Clybourn avenue at that hour; that Schwab was speaking elsewhere, seven miles distant; that Engel was with his family at home; that Neebe was not even present, and knew nothing of the meeting; that Parsons had finished and left the ground with his family, and that the only two of the eight present were Fielden and Spies, and they were on the speakers' stand when attacked and ordered to disperse by 200 armed policemen."
"Is it true he voluntarily surrendered?"
"It is true that conscious of his innocence, A. R. Parsons voluntarily came into open court on the first day of the trial and took his seat with the accused defendants at a time when the inflamed prejudices of the police rendered it doubtful if justice could be rendered with the entire machinery of the law in their hands. This act tended largely to disarm
the hostility of disinterested men who believed in fair play, and that justice should be done though the heavens fall."
"Will the case, in your judgment, be called to the United States supreme court, and on what grounds?"
"It will; first, because under the sixth amendment of the federal constitution it is provided that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a trial by an impartial jury of the state and district where the crime shall have been committed. The fifteenth amendment provides that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. If these men are executed the state of Illinois, through its courts, will have executed seven men without the due process provided and guaranteed by the constitution, which is the supreme law and which accords to the accused a trial by an impartial jury. It was proved on the trial that the special bailiff, Henry L. Ryce, who was appointed to serve the special venire, said to Otis S. Favor, a reputable merchant in Chicago, that he was managing the case against the accused and knew what he was about, and that the accused would hang as certain as death. ‘I am calling such men as the defendants will have to challenge and so waste their challenges,’ he said. This was made a special ground for a new trial, although Judge Gary had refused the defendants the privilege to introduce Mr. Otis Favor to prove that the bailiff acknowledged with a chuckle that he was packing the jury so that it would not be impartial. Juryman Adams admitted before the trial that if he was on the jury he would hang all of them. This was proved. Juror Denker stated to two credible witnesses before the trial that the whole dd crowd ought to be hanged. Several of the jurors, who can be named, as they are all of record, admitted that they were prejudiced so that it would take strong evidence to overcome their already predetermined judgment of their guilt. On this statement of record the fourteenth amendment can be invoked and a writ of error must issue overruling the action of a state court, which has doomed seven men to death, having denied them an impartial trial, as required by the fourteenth amendment of the constitution. Their death would be judicial murder. Such would be the sentence of mankind and the verdict of history.
"2. There is a precedent from Missouri where a writ of error was for review by the United States supreme court on the ground that the evidence was obtained by unlawful search and seizure, and a violation of the sanctity of letters unlawfully seized. A letter to Mr. Spies, written a year before the trial, was seized, after breaking open his private editorial desk, and was permitted to be read on the trial by Judge Gary, the purpose of which was to show he had received not answered a letter from Herr Most about medicine that was good for the relief of the Hocking valley strikers of 1885. Evidence obtained by a violation of such safeguards to the citizen is a violation of all rights guaranteed by the constitution. Of course, where courts are now constituted to protect vested wrongs in many cases, as witness Justice Field's decisions in California in favor of the Chinese and in protection of Senator Stanford against the Pacific commission, there is no way to estimate the result of even an application for a writ of error in this case. It may be that blood is what is wanted
and blood they must have, and thus verify the saying that ‘whom the gods would destroy they first make mad’"
"What is your own history and political status?"
"I have held positions of honor under three governors and two presidents. I was on the supreme court bench, a member of the United States centennial commission, was state senator, was in the Charleston convention, of 1860, and commanded an active cavalry brigade in the confederate service throughout the war. I am a Jeffersonian democrat and believe the ballot will yet redeem the nation." Correspondence Daily News.Letter to George Francis Train.
Citizen Geo. Francis Train, Champion of Free Speech. Free Press and Public
Despotism of America's money-mongers again demonstrated. They deny the right of the people to assemble to hear you speak to them. Free speech! They will not allow the people to buy or read the Psycho-Anarchist. Free press! They interdict the right of the people to assemble and petition for redress of grievances. Right of assembly!
United States constitution nullified by Supreme court's decision. Revolution!
The people clubbed, arrested, imprisoned, shot and hung in violation of law and constitution at behest of America's monopolists.
Free speech, free press, and right to assemble cost seven years' bloody revolution of 1776. But degenerate Americans style those who maintain the Declaration of Independence as anarchists. Jefferson, Adams, Hancock, Washington, Franklin, Paine, Henry and other revolutionary sires they ridicule as "fools," "cranks," etc. America's plutocrats of 1887 sneer at these things.
Police censorship over press, speech and assemblage! Russia, Spain, Italy, France abashed! Working-womens' union prohibited by Chicago police from singing the "Marseilles" at social entertainments!
Tyrants forge missing link. Chain complete. America joins "International Brotherhood of Man." Proletariat of every clime, and tongue, from Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, London and Paris to Chicago, join refrain and sing the
Hark! hark, what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding!
With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
Affright and desolate the land.
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
The avenging sword unsheath!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved,
On liberty or death!
The vile insatiate despots dare,
Their thirst of power and gold unbounded,
To meet and vend the light and air,
To meet and vend the light and air;
Like beasts of burden would they load us,
Like gods would bid their slaves adore;
But man is man, and who is more?
Then shall they longer lash and goad us?
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, or bars confine thee?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Too long the world has wept, bewailing
That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield;
But freedom is our sword and shield,
And all their arts are unavailing.
Onward! Citizen Train! Freedom shall not perish! Let the welkin ring, and from land to land labor's innumerable hosts proclaim "Liberty! Fraternity! Equality!"
Under the deep shadow of that awful tragedy, enacted on the eleventh day of November, many shameful deeds passed almost unnoticed; the gloom, so dense that the close of the century will scarcely see it lightened, veiled the blackness of injustices that would have appalled the hearts of the people if thrown up against the light of freedom in brighter days. Now, it is well that they be brought forth for investigation; the judgment of the people must be given on proceedings done in the name of "law and order," in this so-called free country.
It will be remembered that in the extras of Friday Nov. 11th a casual notice of the arrest of Mrs. Parsons "for persistent disobedience of orders," and that of a lady friend for haranging the people" was given. The officers were reported as being "very courteous and gentle," and the ladies "were given arm-chairs in the registry office merely to keep them away from the crowd and prevent trouble."
This is the true story: On Thursday evening after Governor Oglesby's tardy decision had been given, Mrs. Parsons accompanied by Mr. Holmes
and myself, went to the jail to plead for a last sad interview. She was denied an entrance, but was told by the deputy-sheriff in charge that she would be admitted at half-past eight the following morning. At that time she, with her children and myself was promptly as near to the gates as the police would permit. Every street for two blocks away leading towards the jail was crossed by a rope and guarded by a line of police armed with Winchester rifles. At the first corner Mrs. Parsons quietly made known her errand. The lieutenant said she could not get in there, but that she should pass on to the next corner, and the officer there would perhaps let her through.
She did so with the same result. Another captain told her she must get an order from the sheriff; on inquiring where he could be found, she was told to go on to another corner where a message might be sent to him. At this corner no one knew anything about it and again we were sent on; and so, for more than an hour we were urged along in a veritable game of "Pussy wants a corner" that would have been ridiculous had it not been so tragical. Sometimes it was a deputy sheriff who was to be found at a certain corner, sometimes it was the peculiarity of location that promised an entrance beyond the death-line; but it was always "not this corner but some other corner." Not once did an officer say, "you positively cannot see your husband. You are forbidden to enter his prison and bid him farewell," but always offered the inducement that if she passed quietly along, at some indefinite point she would be admitted.
Meanwhile the precious moments were flying; sweet little Lulu's face was blue with cold, and her beautiful eyes were swimming with tears. Manly little Albert, too, was shivering in the raw atmosphere, as he patiently followed his grief stricken mother from one warlike street to another.
Then Mrs. Parsons besought the officers only to take the children in for their father's last blessing and farewell; for one last interview that his memory might never be effaced from their young and impressible minds; one last look that the image of that noble father might dwell forever in their heart of hearts; one moment in which to listen to the last dear words that his loving and prophetic soul might dictate to the darling children left to live after him. In vain. The one humble prayer the brave woman ever voiced to the authorities in power, was denied her. They heeded her not except to hurry her along.
The last sad moments of her dear one's life were wasting so steadily, so relentlessly. Who can picture her agony? Who can wonder at her desperate protest against the "regulations of the law" which were killing her husband and forbidding her approach. She determinedly crossed the death line and told them "to kill her as they were murdering her husband." No, they were not so merciful. They dragged her outside, inveigled her around to a quieter corner, with the promise of "seeing about it," and there ordered her, her two children and myself into a patrol wagon awaiting us. What had the innocent children done?
Pleaded dumbly with soft, tearful eyes for their father. What was my crime? faithfulness to a sorrowing sister
Once when some one asked me if I could not "prevail on that woman to keep quiet and go home," I had answered:
"I have no such influence over her and would not exert it if I had. Do you wonder that she is nearly distracted with grief at being driven from pillar to post like this, when in one short hour her husband will be dead? She has not seen him for five days, and now they deny her the sacred right of a last good bye; why the worst despotisms in Europe are not so bad as that."
At this a burly brutal-looking detective in citizen's clothes said:
"See here young woman! you shut up or we will send you off in the wagon!"
"Must I not even say this much, in a free country?" I asked in surprise.
"No, you can't," he growled, with a fierce frown.
And this, I suppose, constituted "my harangue to the people on the streets."
And so, into the patrol we were hustled, a heart-broken wife and mother, two innocent tearful children, and the one friend near her. The "polite" officers did not perhaps go out of their way to be brutal or rough, but were about as "courteous" as so many wooden men moving about like machines. Far from being given arm chairs in a comfortable office, we were locked up in dark, dirty stone cells Mrs. Parsons and her children in one, myself in another.
And there shame be it to America that I have it to relate! there we were stripped to the skin and searched! even the children, crying with fright, were undressed and carefully searched.
No excuse could be offered that we were ignorant foreigners and did not understand the laws of the country, and that the safety of American institutions depended on our being totally unarmed; for the blood of revolutionary forefathers coursed in our veins, while the matron and officers who gave the order (if there be any merit in being born in one country rather than another) had not been here long enough to speak our language correctly.
The woman ran her fingers through my hair, through the hems of my skirts, the gathers of my undergarments, even to my stockings; I asked her "what she expected to find."
"I don't know," she simpered, "this is my duty."
She clanged the doors behind her finally and we were left alone. We could hear each other's voices but could not see one another. And in those gloomy, underground cells we passed those terrible, anxious hours of Friday Nov. 11, 1887.
God knows her lot would have been bitter enough in her own comfortable home, with loving, sympathizing friends at her side to support her in that awful time. But who dare dwell upon the reality the picture of that devoted wife in such a place at such an hour?
At a few minutes past twelve the matron came and said coldly "It is all over," and left us.
Not a soul came and asked the bereaved women if they could help her to even a cup of cold water. And I, the one friend near her, could
only sit shivering with my face pressed to the cruel iron bars, listening to her low, despairing moans, as helpless as herself.
Every friend who called to inquire after our whereabouts and welfare was sent away without any information and we were not told that anyone had been to see us.
Mr. Holmes came as early as he received word that we had been arrested, and was not only denied any information, but was roughly ordered away and threatened with arrest himself "if he hung around there."
At three o'clock Capt. Schaack came down and asked how long we had been there, hypo critically expressed sorrow that we had been locked up, and opened our prison doors. They had done their worst and Mrs. Parsons was permitted to go to her desolated home.
And thus it was that while organized authority was judicially murdering the husband and strangling "the voice of the people," the wife and children were locked up in a dungeon, that no unpleasant scene might mar the smoothness of the proceedings. Where is there a parallel in history? Only in the state where dying men are forbidden to speak a few last words can such a scene be possible.
Lizzie M. Holmes.Last Hours of Life.
The news of Governor Ogelsby's refusal to commute the death sentence except as to Fielden and Schwab was received by all the prisoners with perfect composure.
The deputy sheriff who was with Parsons for three hours on the night of Nov. 10, undertook, when he was relieved at one o'clock A. M. to tell what the condemned man had said, but when he began to realize the enormity of the task, he cut his narrative short by saying: "He was very cheerful and hopeful." Such was indeed the case. Parsons was never in better humor than he was that night. He seemed to forget entirely that he would have to die within twelve hours, so interested did he become in his own harangue to the death watch. He talked about socialism, about anarchy, the Haymarket, and his wife and children. It was not until he had reached this subject that he manifested any sorrow, or regret, and the more he talked about it the more sorrowful he became. He said his wife was a brave woman, a true wife and a good mother.
During the early part of the night his rapt soul poured itself forth in song. He sang the old yet beautiful ballad:
Where early fa's the dew,
And 'twas there that Annie Laurie
Gave me her promise true;
Her throat is like the swan;
Her face it is the fairest,
That e'er the sun shone on;
That e'er the sun shone on.
And dark blue is her e'e,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie,
I'd lay me down and dee.
Is the fa' o' her fairy feet.
And like winds in summer sighing,
Her voice is low and sweet;
Her voice is low and sweet,
And she's a' the world to me,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie,
I'd lay me down and dee.
As the clear tenor voice rang through the gloomy corridors the other prisoners raised themselves on their elbows and listened. Doubtless to many the beautiful lines recalled tender memories of other days.
Early the morning of the 11th all the doomed men were awake. Parsons ate fried oysters and seemed to enjoy them. After breakfasting, he recited Marc Cook's beautiful poem, entitled "Waiting," with smiling features:
Where is the good ship that sailed away
Once on a long-gone summer's day
Sailed and left me waiting.
As over the sunlit waters
She glided on with stately mien
Of a fair, white-vested ocean queen
A queen among Neptune's daughters.
Alas, for the fate she was daring!
Gayly she rode the waves above,
Gayly, as if all conscious of
The precious freight she was bearing.
With a cargo half so precious;
Youth, hope and love my good ship bore,
And all the fair visions that come no more
In sadder days to refresh us.
Youths sweet self-satisfaction,
Ambition, which kindles the blood to flame,
The lusty longing to win a name
On life's broad field of action:
With such rare treasures freighted
She sailed on that long-flown summer's day:
How long it is no tongue can say
Yet still have T waited waited!
With eyes still wearily straining,
Gazing out on the water's waste,
Where naught remains of the faith that I placed
In the blue waves, uncomplaining.
Have I watched for my ship's returning;
Watched and waited mid doubts and fears,
Waited and watched, when the scalding tears
Adown my cheeks were burning.
Each with its burden freighted,
But whether December or whether May,
In flush of the morn or twilight gray,
Still have I waited waited!
Its pulses palpitating;
Again have life's bitter lessons been learned,
And hands have labored and hearts have burned,
While I for my ship have been waiting.
And the sea's sad undulating
Breaks on my ear like a dismal moan;
My ship has gone down in the waters unknown,
And vain has been all my waiting.
After awhile spent in conversation, the question of his funeral arising, he again drew upon his retentive memory and expressed his inmost thoughts in these beautiful lines, from the same author as the preceding:
With your lamentations and tears,
With your sad forebodings and fears;
When my lips are dumb,
Do not come.
No hearse crowned with waving plumes,
Which the gaunt glory of death illumes;
But with hands on my breast
Let me rest.
Ye who're left on this desolate shore
Still to suffer and lose and deplore
'Tis I should, as I do,
The bitterness, heartaches, and strife,
The sadness and sorrow of life,
But the glory divine
This is mine.
Afraid of the darkness,
Who groan at the anguish to come?
How silent I go to my home;
Cease your sorrowful bell;
I am well!
During the reading of the death warrant his face was a study. His eyes were unnaturally brilliant, but whatever emotion he felt was firmly checked by the indomitable spirit which had hitherto sustained him. He toyed carelessly with his mustache and let his eyes rest easily upon the objects about him. As the men moved forward Parsons turned to the Jenkins' of the press, who were scrutinizing every action and said sarcastically: "Won't you come inside?"
When the halter was placed about his neck he never faltered. He stood erect, looking earnestly yet reproachfully at the people before him. The nooses were quickly adjusted, the caps pulled down, and a hasty movement made for the traps. Then from beneath the hoods came these words:
Fischer: "Hurrah for anarchy "
COOK COUNTY JAIL, NOV.11, 1887. My Dear Comrade Lum: Eight (8) o'clock A.M. The guard has just awakened me. I have washed face and drank cup of coffee. The doctor asked if I wanted stimulants. I said no. The dear "boys," Engel, Fischer and Spies, saluted me with firm voices.
Please see Sheriff Matson and take charge of my papers and letters. Among them find MS. letters from Gen. W. H. Parsons' book return it to Norfolk, Va. Please have my book on "Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis" put into good shape, etc.
LATER. Well, my dear old comrade, the fatal hour draws near. Caesar kept me awake till late at night with the noise (music) of hammer and saw, erecting his throne, my scaffold. Refinement! Civilization! Matson (sheriff) tells me he refused to agree to let Caesar (state) secrete toy body, and he has just got my wife's address from me to send her my remains. Magnanimous Caesar! Alas, good-bye! Hail the social revolution! Salutations to all.
Parsons, Albert R. Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis as Defined by Some of Its Apostles . Chicago: Mrs. A.R. Parsons, 1887. [format: book], [genre: essay; history; speech]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=parsonsa.html