Unfortunately I am sadly lacking in that
eloquence of words that has distinguished Miss Goldman's oration.
I am paid to talk for a living, but I am sure that if Miss Goldman
wanted to accept a position in the Government service she could
secure the finest kind of position by reason of her oratorical
gifts. But perhaps I have something in the nature of a confession
to make to you, because there was a time in my youthful career
when I offered myself as a candidate for the State legislature,
and I told with all my sincerity the voters in my district why
they should vote for me, and you can judge the degree of success
I had, when I tell you that I failed to be elected. But I feel
in this case, that whereas the Government forces may not be able
to place before you that eloquence, that impassioned oratory,
that use of words that has so distinguished Miss Goldman during
the past twenty or thirty years, still on the other hand the Government
has brought before you an eloquence of facts that cannot be disregarded
by any juror who is conscientiously trying to decide a question
of fact upon the evidence submitted to him and upon nothing else.
Now, gentlemen of the jury, you were told somewhat in the opening
speech of the jury just what the law in question was.
(The Prosecutor here again defined the charge
of conspiracy, the meaning of overt acts and reviewed the evidence.)
And now, gentlemen of the jury, before I
pass to the other witnesses I just want to refer to a few things
that were brought out in the summation of the defendants, that
I haven't really thought of specially when I prepared these few
remarks that I am giving you. Mr. Berkman among other things tried
to give you a definition of an Anarchist. You, gentlemen, I assume,
don't speak Greek. But he gave you an incorrect translation of
the word "Anarche." The word "arche" means
government. It does not mean violence. That is not the interpretation.
So that the word "Anarchy" instead of meaning "without
violence," means "absence, abolition of government,"
or "chaos," every man to do as he feels like, without
regard to the rights of his neighbor, without regard to law and
order. That's the true translation of the Greek word "anarche."
So, don't be deluded by their contention that government is violence,
and that any effort to do away with government is not violence
but is something that is done to destroy violence. That is their
philosophy. And you had a very excellent sample of it when Mr.
Abbott was on the stand and was inquired of as to the tenets of
the Ferrer School in New York City. I didn't bring that out. You
gentlemen recall, all this talk about Mr. Francisco Ferrer was
brought out over my objection. I had nothing to do with that.
I didn't bring out that they were Anarchists. They brought that
out themselves when they were examining talesmen. So that Mr.
Abbott told you that this school of which he is the noble head,
and of which these two defendants have the honor to be founders,
teaches young people--think of it!--that they are above the law;
teaches them what they call "self-reliance," that is
to say, if you feel strong enough to defy a law of your country,
why go ahead and defy it; only--be sure that you can get away
with it. That is the doctrine of the Ferrer School. I didn't bring
that out. They brought it out. And it is perhaps just as well
for you, gentlemen, who doubtless have relatives in the public
schools of this country, to know that and to consider how this
country would succeed if doctrines of that sort were permitted
to be promulgated among the young in this society.
Now, gentlemen of the jury, it is part of
your province to pass upon the credibility of witnesses and I
do not propose to take up your time by referring to each witness.
But I shall do somewhat like my adversary. I shall break them
off into groups. We first had Miss Fitzgerald who was called as
a hostile witness. Miss Fitzgerald told you what the No-Conscription
League was. She would not say in so many words that Mr. Berkman
and Miss Goldman were prominent members of the league; she would
only say that they were the ablest speakers. But what did we elicit
from her? We elicited from her that the money with which the so-called
league of Emma Goldman, Berkman & Company was run, was supplied
by voluntary contributions, some of these contributions being
taken up, as you can tell from the minutes read to you, at meetings
where poor deluded people put in coppers and nickels and dimes,
some as high as a dollar. And this money was taken, and what was
done with it? It was placed to Alexander Berkman's credit in the
account in his name. And you have in evidence a letter to the
bank telling them to do it, and you have the further fact that
on the bottom of the form letters, contributors are asked to send
the money to Berkman and Goldman for obvious reasons, not to the
No-Conscription League. So what have you got? You have got the
money that is taken for the avowed objects of this movement, put
into the personal bank account of Alexander Berkman, mingled with
other funds, funds from THE BLAST perhaps, funds perhaps from
his writings, if there are any; and checks drawn in common on
this fund, no accounting to anybody. If a trustee of any society
in the State of New York handled accounts in that way he would
be indicted for grand larceny and convicted. So as you examine
Government's Exhibits 18 and 19 you have certain Graphic Press
bills and you have certain other payments, you have some money
sent to Robert Minor for the San Francisco defense; and to be
sure, they paid $25 deposit for the Hunts' Point Palace, and some
other alleged bills. But you also have such significant items
as a bill from a doctor who treated Mr. Berkman's foot.
Now gentlemen of the jury, you may say perhaps
they had a right to support themselves because they were engaged
in the work and didn't take any specific salary. But I call your
attention to the fact that if Anarchy means that you can take
poor people's money and mingle it with your own and give no accounting
for it and use it for what you please including hotel checks,
then I think a lot of us will be turning into Anarchists.
You had a lot of the gentlemen called who
testified that they had known Mr. Berkman and Miss Goldman for
a long while, that they were very ideal people and had never believed
in violence and had always expressed themselves as opposed to
violence. You had Mr. John Reed who got 30 days and doesn't know
what for in Paterson, who told you in a very calm manner that
God knows he was opposed to violence. And then you had Mr. Lincoln
Steffens, and you had a psychological lady named Miss Boardman,
if I recollect. And you had an Italian gentleman named Mr. Pietro
Allegra who spoke at many meetings, and you had Mrs. Sloan, who
had a very distinct recollection that Miss Goldman was unalterably
opposed to violence. And you had a gentleman who formerly was
a lawyer, but doesn't practice any more, Mr. Bolton Hall, who
believes in free speech, whether it comes in conflict with the
law or not, and he was sure that Miss Goldman was opposed to violence,
although he once heard that she served time for unlawful assembly
and inciting to riot. Now the theory of all these gentlemen was
this: that she could not have used these words. The important
part of that May 18th speech is not "We believe in violence
and will use violence." The important part is "We will
support all those who refuse to be conscripted."
Gentlemen of the jury, the scene in this
court has been a quiet one. It has been the aim of the defendants
to convey to your mind the impression that it would have been
absolutely inconsistent that they should even have advocated such
terrible things as they are charged with. Gentlemen of the jury,
you have not been at the different mass meetings that I have been
compelled to attend. But I think you have a pretty fair picture
in your mind. You have at those mass meetings a very different
Emma Goldman, for example, than the Emma Goldman who in this court
says "Thank you" to witnesses. You have there the emotional
Emma Goldman, something as you heard to-day, with all that fiery
oratory that makes her so dangerous to the peace and security
of the United States. Anybody who underestimates Emma Goldman's
oratory, anybody who underestimates Emma Goldman's intellectual
qualities is a fool. She is the best speaker that you perhaps
ever heard. And that is why her influence is so pernicious.
And the Alexander Berkman you have seen
here--how he controlled himself in court! But you got a taste
once of his other self: once he lost control of himself and protested
against something that was "a damned outrage," as he
termed it, but which was really a perfectly proper piece of legal
procedure, the offer of something in Miss Goldman's handwriting,
and His Honor admitted it. That is the Berkman who speaks at the
meetings. Those are the people who are plotting from day to day
against the peace and security of the United States and who impose
their personalities upon the weak minds of ignorant foreigners
who come to this country, come from persecution in Russia, and
instead of being taught that they should give credit to this country
for freedom of worship, freedom of education, they are taught
that they ought to bring about a rebellion against this country,
the same as they were taught in Russia to bring about rebellions
against the tyrannous rule of the Czar.
Now, gentlemen of the jury, there is another
element in this case injected by the defense. It really has nothing
to do with the case, but it really calls for some explanation.
You have been told by numerous witnesses that the soldiers and
the police and the detectives tried to break up the meetings.
Now, gentlemen of the jury, that has nothing to do with the question
of fact as to whether these people conspired to cause people not
to register, to aid and abet those who did not register. But it
does show the psychology of the minds of these defendants, and
I think it will interest you to bear this point in mind. But before
I want to call it to your attention that these people came on
the platforms and used expressions and indulged in attacks that
they know are calculated to bring about a breach of the peace.
They indulged in language that of itself constitutes disorderly
conduct because it tends toward a breach of the peace.
Gentlemen of the jury, can you blame these
young men in uniform who have enlisted in their country's service,
who are ready to lay down their lives in defense of the principles
upon which this Government is founded and for which it stands,
who have to sit there and listen to people of this kind insult
the President of the United States, defy the laws of the United
States, desecrate the national emblem and heap ridicule upon the
national anthem? Is it any wonder that the bonds of restraint
must break when the people of this sort will presume beyond the
endurance of a normal, free American citizen?
There was injected into the evidence something
of a personal nature that I am sorry crept in--of course it doesn't
make any difference--because it puts my personality in the case,
where it doesn't belong. Miss Fitzgerald told you that at the
meeting at the Royal Lyceum, on June 11th, Miss Goldman came out
of the hall and told me they were holding up registration cards
of men over the conscriptable age; and I told her I had nothing
to do with it, that I wasn't the marshal nor a policeman. She
did say to me, according to the conceded testimony, "Well,
you act like a policeman." Then I replied, "Well, if
I were I might lock you up," or something of that sort. Now,
that has nothing to do with the case, but it is perfectly apparent
that Miss Goldman was trying to get into an argument--because
that is their stock in trade, to get the other fellow's goat.
And I am sorry to confess that one day they did get my goat and
I had to apologize to the Court, because I fell a victim to the
snare they had been laying for twenty-five years. They want you
to fall for their snare, and then they blame it on you.
Gentlemen of the jury, in conclusion I want
to say that this is a representative government. Before a law
becomes the final law of the land every citizen through his chosen
representative in Congress has the undoubted right to write to
his Congressman, to see his Congressman and to take a definite
stand on any piece of proposed legislation. Further than that,
after a law is passed, if it appears to be a pernicious law every
citizen has the undoubted right to urge the repeal of that law.
But will you please tell me where in all the literature that has
been offered in evidence, in all the speeches that have been offered
in evidence, is there one word about proposed repeal of the conscription
law? If these meetings were held merely to bring about the repeal
of the conscription law, then why don't they say so? Can't you
see that these people's object was wilfully to violate a law that
was passed? If you don't believe in capital punishment, as you
have a right not to believe in it, you have a right to agitate
in the State of New York, if you will, for a repeal of the death
penalty. If you do believe in the abolition of capital punishment,
does that entitle you to go out and tell John Jones to murder
somebody? That's a poor way to have a law repealed. That's precisely
what these people have done. They don't like the conscription
law. They don't like any law. But they are banded together, not
to secure the repeal of that law, not to petition Congress in
an orderly fashion, but to set themselves and their cohorts above
the law of the United States. You were asked, gentlemen of the
jury, if you believed in democracy. And every one of you believes
in democracy. So does every one in this country believe in democracy.
On the field of Gettysburg the immortal Lincoln said, "This
is a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
And so it is. The shadow of the great conflict at Gettysburg has
passed off, but to-day this country stands north and south alike
united in the defense of our common liberties. It is a government
of the people, by the people and for the people. But an orderly
government, a government of decent men and organized society,
founded upon order and not upon chaos and Anarchy. And I say to
you, gentlemen of the jury, that the sort of democracy for which
Washington and Jefferson and Madison and Jackson and Lincoln fought
and bled, that great democracy, that great orderly republican
government must not succumb to and shall not be destroyed by the
attacks of people like these two defendants who seek to abolish
that very democracy that our forefathers have laid down their
lives in defense of. That is the point. Of course we believe in
democracy; but we don't propose to have that glorious democracy
destroyed by Anarchy and bloodshed and violence.
Now, gentlemen of the jury, this case is
an important case. That's doubtless why you have been so patient.
It's an important case from the point of view of the defense.
Nobody wants to underestimate the importance. But, gentlemen of
the jury, this case is very important to the United States of
America. As I said before, the Government of the United States
is the district in which you participate through your duly constituted
representatives. And this case is of prime importance to that
Government. Will you by your verdict say that people like these
can go forth again, defy our laws, desecrate the Stars and Stripes,
make fun of the national anthem and do that with impunity? Urge
people wilfully to set themselves above the provisions of a definite
law? Aid and abet people who will not register for conscription?
Are you by your verdict going to say that to them?
Or rather, gentlemen of the jury, are you
going to say this: It has been shown that you two people got together
in a common unlawful plan; that the object of your plan was to
bring about that young men of conscriptable age should wilfully
refuse to register as provided by law, and that you aided and
abetted them in their unlawful activities, and that in pursuance
of that conspiracy you did many outward acts looking toward the
accomplishment of your wicked designs? Are you not rather going
to say by your verdict, in these times when men are willing to
give their treasure in behalf of those principles for which we
all stand, and are willing to lay down their lives in behalf of
the nation we love:
Strike til the last armed foe expires!
Strike for your altars and your fires!
Strike for the green graves of your sires!
God and your native land!
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