Louis Lingg (1864-1887) was the youngest and the most militant of the Haymarket Martyrs. In his final speech at the trial of the Chicago anarchists he denounced the hypocrisy of the state authorities, in particular the prosecuting attorney, Grinnell, who accused Lingg and his fellow defendants of cowardice, when it was Grinnell who was urging the execution of the defendants based on their beliefs, not on any hard evidence, in order to advance his own career, and without any risk to himself. Lingg remained defiant to the end, cheating the executioner by committing suicide on the eve of his execution.
Court of Justice! With the same irony with which you have regarded my efforts to win, in this ‘free land of America,’ a livelihood such as humankind is worthy to enjoy, do you now, after condemning me to death, concede me the liberty of making a final speech.
I accept your concession; but it is only for the purpose of exposing the injustice, the calumnies, and the outrages which have been heaped upon me…
It is not murder… of which you have convicted me. The judge has stated that much only this morning in his resume of the case, and Grinnell has repeatedly asserted that we were being tried, not for murder, but for anarchy, so that the condemnation is—that I am an anarchist!
What is anarchy? This is a subject which my comrades have explained with sufficient clearness, and it is unnecessary for me to go over it again. They have told you plainly enough what our aims are. The state’s attorney, however, has not given you that information. He has merely criticized and condemned not the doctrines of anarchy, but our methods of giving them practical effect, and even here he has maintained a discreet silence as to the fact that those methods were forced upon us by the brutality of the police. Grinnell’s own proffered remedy for our grievances is the ballot and combination of trades unions, and Ingham has even avowed the desirability of a six-hour movement! But the fact is, that at every attempt to wield the ballot, at every endeavour to combine the efforts of workingmen, you have displayed the brutal violence of the police club, and this is why I have recommended rude force, to combat the ruder force of the police.
You have charged me with despising ‘law and order.’ What does your ‘law and order’ amount to? Its representatives are the police, and they have thieves in their ranks. Here sits Captain Schaack. He has himself admitted to me that my hat and books have been stolen from him in his office—stolen by policemen. These are your defenders of property rights!…
While I… believe in force for the sake of winning for myself and fellow workmen a livelihood such as men ought to have, Grinnell, on the other hand, through his police and other rogues, has suborned perjury in order to murder seven men, of whom I am one.
Grinnell had the pitiful courage here in the courtroom, where I could not defend myself, to call me a coward! The scoundrel! A fellow who has leagued himself with a parcel of base, hireling knaves, to bring me to the gallows. Why? For no earthly reason save a contemptible selfishness—a desire to ‘rise in the world ‘—to ‘make money,’ forsooth.
This wretch—who, by means of the perjuries of other wretches is going to murder seven men—is the fellow who calls me ‘coward!’ And yet you blame me for despising such ‘defenders of the law‘—such unspeakable hypocrites!
Anarchy means no domination or authority of one man over another, yet you call that ‘disorder.’ A system which advocates no such ‘order’ as shall require the services of rogues and thieves to defend it you call ‘disorder.’
The Judge himself was forced to admit that the state’s attorney had not been able to connect me with the bomb throwing. The latter knows how to get around it, however. He charges me with being a ‘conspirator.’ How does he prove it? Simply by declaring the International Workingmens’ Association to be a ‘conspiracy.’ I was a member of that body, so he has the charge securely fastened on me. Excellent! Nothing is too difficult for the genius of a state’s attorney!
It is hardly incumbent upon me to review the relations which I occupy to my companions in misfortune. I can say truly and openly that I am not as intimate with my fellow prisoners as I am with Captain Schaack.
The universal misery, the ravages of the capitalistic hyena have brought us together in our agitation, not as persons, but as workers in the same cause. Such is the ‘conspiracy’ of which you have convicted me.
I protest against the conviction, against the decision of the court. I do not recognize your law, jumbled together as it is by the nobodies of bygone centuries, and I do not recognize the decision of the court. My own counsel have conclusively proven from the decisions of equally high courts that a new trial must be granted us. The state’s attorney quotes three times as many decisions from perhaps still higher courts to prove the opposite, and I am convinced that if, in another trial, these decisions should be supported by twenty-five volumes, they will adduce one hundred in support of the contrary, if it is anarchists who are to be tried. And not even under such a law, a law that a schoolboy must despise, not even by such methods have they been able to ‘legally’ convict us…
I tell you frankly and openly, I am for force…
I repeat that I am the enemy of the ‘order’ of today, and I repeat that, with all my powers, so long as breath remains in me, I shall combat it. I declare again, frankly and openly, that I am in favour of using force. I have told Captain Schaack, and I stand by it, ‘if you cannonade us we shall dynamite you.’ You laugh! Perhaps you think, ‘you throw no more bombs but let me assure you that I die happy on the gallows so confident am I that the hundreds and thousands to whom I have spoken will remember my words; and when you shall have hanged us, then, mark my words, they will do the bomb throwing! In this hope do I say to you: “I despise you. I despise your order, your laws, your force-propped authority.” HANG ME FOR IT!