« AnteriorContinuar »
upon to pay out something for telegraphing in the course of your traveling !-A. Telegraphing is considered an expense to the department, and not a personal expense. Q. Would that be reimbursed ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. How would you get reimbursed ?-A, I would take a receipt for it, and put it in my account for expenses at the end of the month,
Q. What would it be called in your account?-A. We call it our expense account. It is made up on a separate blank, different from the salary and the per diem account. It is called "advances disbursed for expenses."
Q. Are there any other expenses besides telegraphing that you would put in this account of advances disbursed for expenses !-A. Yes; railroad fare; and I had a bill the other day of a couple of dollars for repairing the office-safe at Grafton in West Virginia. That is a portion of the office furniture that is supposed to be in my division, and it is paid for out of the appropriation for mail transportation. There are other expenses of that character. For instance, in case I was some place where I could not get my stationery from the office and was obliged to buy stationery, I should take a receipt for it, and put that receipt in as a voucher.
Q. Then the $5 per diem covers your personal expenses ?-A. It covers hotel expenses, sleeping-car expenses, carriage-hire, &c. They do not allow us carriage-hire now exeept in special cases. A few years ago a special agent was allowed his actual traveling-expenses, bnt afterward, when the special agents were paid a regular per diem, such expenses were not allowed. For instance, in traveling from here to Boston, if a special agent takes a carriage from Jersey City to the Grand Central Depot in New York, he would formerly have been allowed the expense of it, but now he is not.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. Have you to file a voucher for every item of expenditure in these incidental expenses I–A. Yes, sir. Formerly special agents used to lump their expenses, but now there is a voucher in every case. I always take a receipt for every item of expense, and it goes along with my account.
Q. If you did not, you would not be allowed for it!-A. No, sir. Q. What is your employment in the office here ?-A. I am chief clerk in Mr. Vail's office, and have charge of a division in the railway mail service.
Q. What are your daties -A. I have general charge of the correspondence in the office, and during the absence of the general superintendent I act as general superintendent. I have, besides, charge of the distribution and dispatch of mails in my division.
Q. What do you call the distribution of mails ?-A. The sending off of mails after they are made up:
Q. Do you see that they are put upon the cars 1-A. No, sir; I have nothing to do with that personally. I see that the different schemes of distribution are kept correct from day to day; and I look over the service, and where any complaints are made I investigate them.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. You spoke of a doubling-op system prevailing in the Post-Office Department.-A. Yes, sir; but I do not know that it runs more than two years. Every employé is entitled to thirty days in a year, and I know that last summer one of the clerks told me that he was going away for sixty days because he had not taken any leave the year before.
Q. You do not know whether they would allow him ninety days for a third year 1A. I do not know as to that. If he is really entitled to thirty days each year, I do not see why he should not be entitled to ninety days the third year.
Q. So that in the fourth year he would be entitled to one hundred and twenty days' leave of absence, and after some years would be entitled to a whole year's pay-A. I do not know that I have ever studied up the rule of the department in that respect but I know that this man to whom I have alluded was granted sixty days' leave this Fear.
By Mr. GIDDINGS: Q. Do I nnderstand you that it is a rule of the department to grant each employé thirty days' leave of absence every year?-A. That is my understanding.
Q. On condition that the service will not suffer in his absence, and that there will not be any additional expense to the government ?-A. I think, as a general thing, that the different clerks in the same bureau assist each other at those times; but I do not think that there is any rule that the service shall not suffer. Each employé claims his leave of absence every year, and takes it-thirty days. An absolute leave is granted.
Q. On condition that it sball not increase the expenses of the department ?--A.
desk. The nature of the routine work in the department is very much the same, so that one man can do the work of another, and does so as an accommodation.
Q. If it is true that every man can be absent thirty days in the year or one-twelfth of the time, without detriment to the service, does not that show that there is 8; per cent. more labor in the department than is absolutely necessary ?-A. I hardly think so. I think that every person who works well for a year is entitled to some little rest.
By Mr. TOWNSEND : Q. If one man is absent for thirty days all the time, it would amount to one surplus clerk in twelve to fill that vacancy –A. Yes, sir. There are no supernumeraries employed to perform this work.
By Mr. GIDDINGS : Q. The work is performed just as well in the absence of these men as when they are present ?—A. As to that I cannot say. All that I know of it is what I notice-seeing men taking their leave each year.
Q. If one-twelfth of the force can be spared from the office without injury to the office, does it not show that there are more persons employed than are necessary 1-A. Hardly. There are certain seasons of the year when the ordinary work of the department is light. The ordinary work of the department must be performed at once. At this season of the year every one is busy and the men work at evenings to keep up tbe work, but in the summer time the work is light and men can be spared.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1878. CHARLES FIELD recalled.
The WITNESS. I want to make an explanation of a matter which was inquired into last evening by Mr. Money in reference to the Providence post-office. In conversation with Mr. Temple last evening, after leaving the committee room, he stated to me that the time when this conversation was had was a fortnight ago at the Riggs House. The reason why I answered so promptly last evening that I had no such conversation was that I knew I had not conversed with Mr. Temple during the present week. And my reco!lection about it is this : that Mr. Temple introduced me at the Riggs House to a gentleman who is a Providence man. How the question of the investigation of the Providence post-office came up I do not know, but he was speaking very kindly of the postmaster and of the trouble there. I am very well satisfied that I may have eulogized the postmaster at Providence and may have left that gentleman to draw infer. ences. I have not seen him since and did not know him up to that time. But I said nothing to show that I had prejudged the case in any sbapo or form. That is my recollection of it. I desired to make this explanation because I answered last evening that I did not know that I had any conversation at all on the subject. That passed a fortnight ago when I was here.
The CHAIRMAN. I believe the question asked you was whether you said that you were on the duty of investigating that office and that it would be all right.
The WITNESS. I hardly think I would have stated that, because I had not investigated it and did not know anything about it. I did not have the papers in my office. But I knew that this gentleman was a Providence man (if he is the party alluded to), and I have no doubt that I eulogized the postmaster and left the matter there, because I was busy and I paid but little attention to it.
Mr. EASTMAN. What was your motive in making that statement about the postmaster?
The Witness. I thought it was a matter which did not interest anybody particularly, only that this gentleman was a Providence man and was volunteering information to me as to his knowledge of the postmaster there, and I am very positive that I turned the conversation off by saying that the postmaster was a very nice man, and that I had been to his office frequently.
Mr. WILLIAMs. The question was asked whether you did not state to him that you would make the matter all right?
The WITNESS. No, sir. I said last night that I did not so state. But what I wanted to explain to the committee this morning was the fact that I did not recollect having said anything to any body relating to the Providence post-office during this week that I have been here. I arrived here last Friday, and I did not know that the Providence matter had come up in my presence during that time.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. You stated in yonr testimony yesterday that Mr. Cheney discharged his duties pretty well up to 1876.-A. Yes, sir.
Q. State in what manner he has discharged his duties since that time.-A. During the tall and summer of 1876 was the time when Mr. Cheney was quite sick. I visited him at his home once, if not twice. During that time the office in Boston was in charge of bis clerks. My business calling me away so mnch I do not have occasion to see him a good deal, but within the last six months I think Mr. Cheney has attended to his duties very faithfally, and I bave seen him there a good deal. I mean that I have seen bim around the office; but while he was sick the office was left, of course, in the hands of his clerks.
Q. Do you know of any dissatisfaction as to the manner in which the office has been conducted ?-A. I do not know that any particular fault has been found with the way in which the office is run. There is some fault found with the gentleman who runs it there, Mr. Holmes.
Q. Is there any considerable amount of dissatisfaction with him ?-A. He is not a man who is liked by the clerks under him. Q. Do you know Mr. Holmes 1-A. Yes; very well.
Q. What is the reason that they do not like him ?-A. He bas an arbitrary way with bim, and is not a genial man. He is not what you would call an approachable man. He does not meet well or act well outside.
Q. Is not Mr. Holmes the man who has been doing business in the office there ?-A. Yes, sir ; be is now there as the superintendent of mails at the office. He is under Mr. Cheney since last August. A new order placed him under Mr. Cheney's directions.
By Mr. GIDDINGS : Q. You say that during the last six months you have seen Mr. Cheney there considerable. How was it from the time after he recovered from his sickness and up to six months ago 1-A. So far as my observation goes, I think that after his recovery from sickness he was there.
Q. What portion of his time!-A. I am away more than half the time myself, but I have met bim there occasionally, and I have also been there when he was away. I have been told when I have returned that Mr. Cheney had been to my office.
By Mr. TOWNSEND : Q. Has Mr. Cheney's office been always well run ?-A. I never heard any particular complaint as to the transfer of mails or as to the management of the office in that way. The complaint has been as to the manner of Mr. Holmes. I never personally had any trouble with him myself.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1878. E. G. BIDWELL sworn and examined.
To Mr. EASTMAN : I reside in Norwich, Conn. I am postmaster of Norwich, and have been since the 22d of May, 1870. I am acquainted with Mr. Cheney. I have known him, I sbould think, since about two months after I got my commission. I called upon hin at his office in Boston.
Question. Did you find him there ?-Answer. Yes, sir. Q. State whether or not you had occasion to go to Boston since that time on business of the department.-A. I go there occasionally—perhaps half a dozen times a year, sometimes oftener and sometimes less often.
Q. What has been your experience in regard to finding Mr. Cheney at his office lA. In the majority of cases when I have been there, I have found him at his office.
Q. State how your business has been attended to when you have found him at his office.-A. I do not know that at any time I have called to see him at his office I have had any official business with him. Sometimes when I had business at the post-office down-stairs with the postmaster, I would think that I would run up to see Mr. Cheney, and if he was not in, I would say that I had merely called to pay my respects to Mr. Cheney, and I would leave. Sometimes the clerk would remark, “We have so much to do now that Mr. Cheney is away considerably.” I recollect that about the last time I called there to see Mr. Cheney (without having any official business particularly, but to pay my respects), they said that Mr. Cheney was in the building, and I said that I had merely called to pay my respects, and I dropped my card upon his desk and left.
Q. Have you had any correspondence with Mr. Cheney or his office during this time -A. Very little correspondence. My office is rather a small office. We have only one mail messenger come to it, so that I would not necessarily have much official business with Mr. Cheney. We have received letters from him which needed no answer, in reference to the changing of mails, making them up by States, or something of that kind.
Q. State whether or not you are acquainted with Mr. Cheney's reputation as a superintendent of railway mail service in any portion of New England; and, if so, in what brtion -A. I am acquainted with him in Eastern Connecticut, and can state that I
supposed it was excellent. Our own mail facilities never were so good as they are at present.
Q. What is the discipline among the railway mail clerks in your portion of the State !--A. In our portion of the State it is good.
Q. State whether or not there is any demoralization in the force.-A. Not to my knowledge. Our only mail messenger bas been in the service some sixteen years, and we consider bim steelyards in ev particular.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1878. HENRY W. BLAIR, Representative from the State of New Hampshire, sworn and examined.
By Mr. EASTMAN: Question. Where do you reside ?-Answer. I reside at Plymouth, N. H., five miles north of Asbland, where Mr. Cheney resides.
Q. How far from Concord ?-A. Fifty-one miles north from Concord.
Q. How long have you been acquainted with Mr. Cheney !-A. Some twenty-five years. We have lived in those adjoining villages during that time.
Q. State what you know in reference to the messenger or route-agent that has been placed on the line between Plymouth and Concord.
The CHAIRMAN stated that it was not necessary to go any further into the matter of the New Hampshire mail-routes, as that was not a serious element in the investigation.
The WITNESS. It is an important route; one of the most important that we have. A large amount of mail is carried over it twice a day. Plymouth is at the opening of the White Mountain region, and in the summer season especially it is a very inportant mail-route.
Mr. CANNON. If it is the sense of the committee that the charges in reference to the New Hampshire mail-rontes are abandoned there need be no further investigation on that point. I ask that the record shall show that no further evidence is offered in reference to the New Hampshire mail-routes, for the reason that the charges in regard to them are dismissed by the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Does any gentleman object to that being noted on the record ?
Mr. Eastman. State to the committee what you know in regard to Mr. Cheney's health and sickness since he has been in the position of superintendent of the railway mail service.
The WITNESS. He was always until within two years past a very healthy, strong, active, enthusiastic sort of man in whatever he undertook, and at the time be went into the position which he is now occupying he was thoroughly well. I do not recol. lect that I ever knew of his being sick prior to that time. For five or six years I knew of his being unusually active in the service. I had occasion to know something of it, and I came occasionally in contact with his superior officer, Mr. Bangs, and others, and I know that he was understood to be as efficient a man as there was in the service. In the summer of 1876 bis health broke down radically. He bad previous to that time been suffering occasionally from an extremely severe affliction of the head and from disarrangement of the stomach-indigestion-but still pot to any great extent. I remember that in 1872 or 1873 he was very sick. I think that he was laid np then two months. But (setting that aside) in the summer of 1876 he fairly broke down, and his difficulty was of a nature which occasioned his friends a great deal of anxiety. There was danger of hereditary cerebral disease. It was in the family, and his physician and all of us became very anxious as to what might be the result with him. The department allowed him during that season a good deal of rest, and he was at home most of the time. I saw him quite a number of times during the summer and autumn. He was in a condition that I would not care ever to see a friend in again, and of course be was upable to do anything. During the winter, as the time of his reappointment came about, I was in Washington and saw the officials at the department, and his condition of health, his state of mind, and the danger that was apprehended were all talked over. I conversed particularly with Mr. Tyner in regard to it. At that time Mr. Cheney was beginning to recover, and that circumstance was explained. They said at the department that they would consider it an act of cruelty to discharge a faithful employé under those circumstances, and, as he was beginning to mend, they would certainly reappoint him; and he was reappointed. I knew personally little of his state of health during the spring following, because I was engaged here until March. When I saw him in the spring I found bim considerably recovered, and he has been gradually gaining ever since. I onght to state to the committee that his father, at just about his age, niet with some misfortune wbich resulted in his losing his mind from that time until now,
and all Mr. Cheney's numerous friends (for he has a great many), his physicians, and those who best knew his condition, were extremely anxious in regard to it. He has a family of five or six children. He is probably a man whose generous tendencies would never allow him to accumulate, and has not accumulated anything in the service. We felt particularly anxious that nothing having the nature of a brutal or cruel act about it should be inflicted upon him, because the truth was that everybody who knew anytbing about him knew that his physical disability was the result of excessive effort in the service. The railway mail service has been substantially built up in New England under his supervision. It has been very greatly improved; at least, if Mr. Bangs knew anything about it, that is the fact. I have talked with Mr. Bangs in regard to it, and I know that Mr. Bangs considered Mr. Cheney as well qualified to be his own successor as any man in the service.
Mr. EASTMAN. Is there any other fact bearing upon Mr. Cheney's health which you think proper to state to the committee ?
The WITNESS. I knew the matter intimately as it passed along. I was frequently at Mr. Cheney's place, and was constantly, like others, inquiring in regard to his condition, and I know that the chief source of anxiety was not so much his physical state as the apprehension of what might grow out of it, although his physical condition was such that he was entirely unfit to do labor. He has been, as I said, recovering, and is growing stronger now. I have heard no one complain until these charges were brought here that Mr. Cheney was not in reasonably constant attendance at his office and in supervision of his duties all the time. The statement that has been made here in regard to his transacting business at Ashland I know to be true. I know that he has facilities there for transacting his work and superintending bis labor which is by no meaos confined to the Boston post-office. A very large proportion of the duties of a superintendent are outside of the office, and a superintendent who confines himself to bis office I should suppose was certainly derelict in his duty. These duties can only be performed by coming in contact with the men who have charge of the mails on the trains in the various parts of the division over which a superintendent has control.
By Mr. GIDDINGS : Q. Can he come in contact with those men at his home in Asbland ?-A. To a certain extent, certainly; by telegraphic communication and by letters; but he is not so likely to come so much in contact with the men there as be would be in Boston; still Ashland is a central point. Plymouth is the geographical center of our own State, and from that point there are as good railroad communications in every direction as there are almost from Boston itself.
Q. Still be would not come in contact with men at Ashland as much as he would at his office in Boston !--A. I should think not. The roads from different parts of New England concentrate very largely in Boston.
By Mr. EASTMAN: Q. What are the facts in relation to Mr. Cheney's engaging in other business at any time since his appointment?-A. I never heard of it until I heard of these charges. I koow that it cannot be so. He has had no other business, excepting that he has a small homestead in Asbland, situated in the edge of the village, 75 or 100 rods from the center, and bas some 15 or 20 acres of land on which he lives. He has hired help there, bat I do not know whether he keeps it all the time or not. I remember being there at one time when he had two men at work upon a stone wall, but that is nothing more than anybody who is engaged in any profession or mercantile business is very likely to have outside of his regular business.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1878. Frask C. EMERY sworn and examined. To Mr. EASTMAN: I reside in Portland, Me.; I am chief clerk at the Portland postoffice; I first entered the postal service in November, 1871, as route-agent, or rather as postal clerk.
Question. Ou what route ?-Answer. My first appointment was on the route from Boston to Bangor.
Q. How long were you connected with that position ?-A. I made only one round
Q. What was the next position that you held !–A. I was assigned from that to the tonto-agency from Portland to Skowhegan, Me.
Q. How long were you on that line?-Á. Until the next month, and then I was appointed again on the Boston and Bangor route, where I remained about two years. I resigned that to take a position in the Portland post-office, where I am now. That was in May, 1874.