« AnteriorContinuar »
Q. State whether or not you are acquainted with Mr. Cheney.-A. I am. I have known him since November, 1871.
Q. State whether or not, since you have been in the office, you have had occasion to visit Mr. Cheney's office in Boston.-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What has been your experience in regard to finding him at his office 1-A. I never had any difficulty in finding him there, as a rule.
Q. Have you always found him there -A. Usually, but not always.
Q. When you did not find him there, what has been the manner in which your business was transacted 1-A. Any business that I ever called upon never suffered. It was generally some trifling affair.
Q. Have you called at Mr. Cheney's office in the night-A. I have.
Q. Are you acquainted with Mr. Cheney's reputation in any portion of New England as superintendent of the railway mail service; and, if so, in wbat portion ?--A. Since 1874 I have been more acquainted in Maine, where I reside; I am acquainted with his reputation on the roads running into Portland.
Q. What is that reputation ? A. Good.
Q. What is the condition of the railway mail service as to efficiency in any portion of New England with which you are acquainted 1-A. It is good as far forth as I know.
Q. State as to the discipline of the force in that portion of the country where you reside.--A. It is good as far forth as I know.
Q. State whether or not there is any demoralization in the force.-A. Not that I am aware of.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 6, 1878. B. H. CAMP sworn and examined.
To Mr. EASTMAN: I reside in Boston; I am a special agent of the Post-Office Department; I am now looking after mail depredations; I first entered the service in July, 1869. At that time there were three classes of special agents. One was assigned as superintendent of the railway mail service, one as post-office inspector, and one was assigned to mail depredations. Mr. Cheney was superintendent of the railway mail service; I was called post-office inspector, and my instructions were to look particularly after stage-routes and post-offices. That was my duty at that time.
Question. In wbat part of the country have your services been performed since your appointment !-Answer, Previous to the Boston fire they were almost wholly in New England.
Q. How is it since that time 1-A. Since then I have been in the Gulf States; I have been in the Northwest, and all over the country. There is no State this side of the Mississippi which I have not operated in, except the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Delaware.
Q. Where was your office previous to the Boston fire ?-A. In a room with Mr. Cheney in the old State street office.
Q. How has it been since that time -A. It was also in the same building with his in the old South Church, but was not in the same room. There was a few feet of hall. way between us.
Q. How is it since the removal of the new post office building -A. I have never bad a room in the new post-office. I left Boston in November, 1874, and since then I have had very litle to do officially in New England.
Q. Aro you acquainted with the railway mail service over the whole of the country east of the Mississippi River !-A. I have a general idea of it, but not as an expert. : Q. State what Mr. Cheney's habits were in attending to the duties of his office down to the time when you ceased to occupy the same office with him-A. We were togetber a good deal, and we traveled a good deal together in consultation and looking over the territory which was new to both of us, a good deal. I considered him up to that time a very efficient, able officer. I left Boston in November, 1874.
Q. Are you acquainted with the railway mail service in New England 1-A. I am, somewhat.
Q. How does it compare for efficiency with that of the rest of the country east of the Mississippi 1-A. It compares favorably. I should say it is above the average as to the dispatch of mails and the celerity of transportation.
Q. State wbether or not you are acquainted with Mr. Cheney's reputation in New England as superintendent of the railway mail service.-A. I was well acquainted with it up to that time (1874), and somewhat since.
Q. What is that reputation ?-A. It is good.
Q. Is there any demoralization in the railway mail service there 1-A. I do not know that there is demoralization. There has been dissatisfaction among some of his men.
Q. To what extent and where 1-A. It has been among postal clerks and route-agents principally.
Q. so what part of New England ?--A. On some of the main lines running into Boston.
Q. From what did it arise -A. It arose, I think, from treatment which they received from Mr. Holmes, who is employed in Mr. Cheney's office.
Q. State anything you know in reference to that ?-A. Mr. Holmes is not a man
By the CHAIRMAX:
Q. Are you as familiar with the condition of things since then as you were up to that time -A. I am not so familiar as I used to be. Mr. Cheney had much difficulty Tben be first went there in regard to opening up new routes. He worked hard and he had many difficulties to overcome in organizing the division and in dealing with obstinate railroad-men who were dissatisfied-getting trains, constructing cars, and getting railroad mail service. The railroads are mostly short in New England and cannot be controlled as they can be where the lines are longer and where they are operated by one company. Frequently for the establishment of one postal car he would have to confer with three or four different railroad companies. He is entitled to the thanks of the department. Q. He organized the division well ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Having organized it, has be allowed it to be run by other parties-Holmes and the rest of them ?-A. Mr. Holmes has been there a good deal as I understand.
Q. Is not Mr. Holmes really the power that runs the machine -A. He has exerted a good deal of influence there.
Q. And he is very obnoxious to the employés of the department?--A. I think he is and to postmasters in New England.
Q. Do yon know whether complaints have been made to Mr. Cheney or to the department against Mr. Holmes t-A. I do not know that any complaints have been made against him to the department. I never made any, but I have talked personally to Mr. Cheney about it and told him plainly what I thought. Mr. Cheney was loath to believe things that I told him.
Q. Has Mr. Cheney ever taken any action looking to the removal of Mr. Holmes or to remedying that state of things ?-A. I have known of his laboring with Holmes and of his talking and conversing with him in reference to the matter. So he informed be. Mr. Holmes is not true to Cheney.
Q. Do you know anything about the Stahl matter 1-A. Since it came up I remember a cirenmstance which occurred sometime, I cannot give the date. Mr. Cheney said to be. “Do you know what I have done for Stahl ?" I said, " No." He said, “You know that Stahl is a good faithful man in the service, and I have managed so that he can take a course of lectures and I will keep his place open for him." I was given to understand that it had the approval of Mr. Bangs and I thought nothing more about it. I bave kaown Mr. Stabl to be a good faithful man in the service.
By Mr. CALDWELL: 6. Over what region of country do your duties extend 1-A. For the last four years I have operated in the Gulf States. I was in Florida ten months, and eight months on another occasion. I have been in Chicago, in the Northwest-Minnesota and Dakota foarteen months. I returned from Florida in August and was at home about a month when I had to go away again to operate in the West. I was about Boston a month or HiI weeks last fall.
Q. Something bas been said in the testimony in relation to a contribution made to a campaigo fand in the State of New Hampshire for the appointment of a postmaster. Do you know anything about any instance of that sort in your experience as a special agent I-A. No, sir.
Q. You do not know whether Mr. Cheney has been in the habit of having appointDents made in the New Eogland States on such conditions --A. I have not, and from my knowledge of the man I can positively say that he has not been engaged in any kind of business.
Q. Bat you do not know that he bas not been engaged in that particular instance A. No, sir; all that I know about it is that I caused the arrest or removal of the man who was to pay tbe $250.
Q. What did you have him removed for!-A. Because he was a defaulter in the money-order account a year or two afterward.
Q. Did you know anything at that time about his having agreed to pay $250 for his office ?-A. No, sir; not a word.
Q. How long after he was removed did you find that out :-A. Not until the matter came up in this investigation. I never heard of it before.
Q. Do you know any other instance of a party who has paid to a campaign fund in order to get a post-office ?-A. No, sir; I have known of men offering Mr. Cheney money. I know of Mr. Cheney having received a letter to that effect. When I was at home last fall he said to me,“ Do you know such a man in Woodbury, Connecticut?" (the place where I formerly lived), and I said no. I asked bim, why? He sbowed me a letter from a man in Woodbury, offering him $100 for the appointment of route-agent. Mr. Cheney very soon wrote a letter and handed it to me to read, saying “That is the way I have disposed of it. The letter which he wrote was addressed to Mr. Vail, and said " I know nothing about who the man is, but I place this letter on record in order that he may never secure an appointment in the department."
Q. He had not offered it as a contribution to a campaign fund 1-A. No, sir.
Washington, D. C., March 7, 1878. A. T. STAHL recalled.
By Mr. EASTMAN: Question. When were you first appointed to Mr. Cheney's office ?-Answer. In the summer of 1872.
Q. When did you become chief clerk ?-A. About the first of the year; about New Year's, 1873. "
Q. How long did you remain in that position ?-A. Until I left the service in 1875.
Q. State the manner in which Mr. Cheney discharged the duties of his office so far as they came under your observation ?-A. Mr. Cheney, when at Boston, attended to the duties of the office personally, looking over all the correspondence and indicating the manner in which most of it should be answered. He attended at the office when in Boston, day and evening. It was his custom to be there in the evening as much as in the day. He attended to the duties of the office personally, as I say, and the whole time diligently.
Q. While he was in Boston, how do you know that he was in the office in the evenings ?-A. I met him there in the evenings, and have been with him there in the evenings to some extent. I have also received in the mornings a good deal of work from him that he had attended to during the night, from the time I left at the regular hour the day before.
Q. What do you mean by saying that you received a good deal of work from bim in the mornings ?-A. I mean that he had looked over the correspondence and had made notes of it and given directions how the correspondence should be answered; that he had made drafts of letters, and work of that sort.
Q. What did you do with those drafts of letters that he made 1-A. I would write the letters according to the drafts or directions indicated.
Q. Would you sign then yourself 1-A. I would sign them myself or take them to him. Sometimes I sigued them myself and sometimes I took them to him and he signed them.
Q. State your impression as to the length of time that Mr. Cheney was in Boston during the period that you have spoken of.-A. It is not a very easy matter to decide upon proportions of time. I have thought it over a good deal, and I should state it at from one-tbird to two-thirds of the time.
Q. State what is the fact in your experience in regard to forwarding matters to him at Ashland.-A. Mr. Cheney would usually leave directions to me where to forward bis mail, and so when he was not at his office, and when he had not given me other directions, the matters which I wished to send to him I sent to him at Ashland.
Q. How was it in regard to telegrams -A. I very seldom had any telegrams to attend to which I could not attend to perfectly well myself. It was very seldom that I had occasion to forward any telegrams to him.
Q. Did you ever have occasion to do so!-A. Yes. I had at two or three different times forwarded telegrams to him; but it was usually, I think, where the telegrams called upon him to report at some other point, or to attend to some particular matter which came up suddenly.
Q. State whether or not Mr. Cheney was ever absent so as to cause the business of the office to suffer.-A. Not on any occasion to my knowledge. I was capable of attending to the business of the office as it came on in his absence.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. Is this during the whole time that you were in the service under Mr. Cheney A. Yes, sir, during the whole time that I was in his office.
Q. Do you say that he was absent or that he was present two-thirds of his time? A. That he was absent from one-third to two-thirds of his time.
Q. Do you mean to say that he was absent from one to two thirds of each year 1-A. During the whole time. That is my calculation, taking the whole time.
Q. Did you have any orders to send letters, telegrams, or anything to him at any other point than to Ashland ?-A. Yes, sir; I have sent to him at New York, at Concord, and at Washington.
Q. Do you know anything about those trips which he was making to New YorkNew York was not in ħis division, was it?-A. No, sir.
Q. Washington was not in his division either ?-A. No, sir.
Q. Was be generally on official business when he was at Washington ?-A. I understood so.
Q. Do you know whether it was official or political business that he was on 1-A. I know that he went on official business.
Q. Do you know what business he was on at Concord; whether it was official or political l-A. I know that he has been there on official business.
Q. Do you know that he has been there on political business also 1-A. No, sir ; I do not.
Q. Did yon ever have to forward him letters to Concord, just in advance of the election in New Hampshire 1-A. I presume I bave.
Q. Was be not generally absent at Concord one or two months in advance of the annual election in New Hampshire ?-A. I cannot tell about that. I have not kept the run of elections, and do not know when they take place.
Q. Was be pot generally in Concord in the months of January and February!-A. I do not know about that. I do not know that he was there then more than at other times; he was not to my knowledge; Concord is not far from his bome.
Q. Do you think that his absence abroad required his absence one-third or two-thirds of his time -A. Yes, sir.
Q. You think it is not necessary for him to spend more than one-third of his time at his office i-A. No, sir; I do not.
Q. You have come to the conclusion that he was absent about half his time 1-A. Yes, sir; half would be the average. Sometimes he would be absent more than at other times. I knew of his being ill on several occasions, and of his being absent more than ordinarily.
Q. Did you discharge the duties of the office in his absence, or did Mr. Holmes !-A. During the time I am speaking of, I was chief clerk, and discharged the duties of the office.
Q. In what particular year!-A. From about New Year's, 1873, until October, 1875, exceptiog the five months that I was away during that time.
Q. Who discharged the duties of the office when you were away ?-A. I know that Mr. Blunt discharged most of them. There were other men who took charge of the office when Mr. Blunt might be away.
Q. And so Mr. Blunt was discharging your duties, Mr. Cheney's duties, and his own duties ?-A. Mr. Cheney was attending to bis own duties.
Q. I understood you to say that wbile you were gone Blunt attended to the duties of chief clerk 1-A. Su far as the correspondence goes, it was necessarily done at the office in Boston.
Q. When you left the office Mr. Blunt took your duties and discharged all such du. ties as you would have had to perform for Mr. Cheney if you had remained there?-A. Yes, sir'; I think that Mr. Cheney attended to more matters when I was away than when I was there.
Q. If Mr. Cheney was absent from the office while you were absent, then Mr. Blunt had to discharge bis own duties, your duties, and Mr. Cheney's dụties I-A. Yes, sir; those which were required to be attended to before Mr. Cheney's returo.
Q. What pay did Mr. Blunt get ?-A. He was receiving at that time $1,400.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. You say that you think Mr. Cheney performed more service in your absence than at any other time?-A. I think that during the time I was away he attended to more matters than before.
Q. Why do you think so ?-A. I do not think that Mr. Blunt was qualified to attend to some matters that I would have attended to if I were there.
Q. Is that your reason for thinking so 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Because you do not think that Mr. Blunt could do so ?-A. I do not think that Mr. Blunt would have gone on and done it as I would have done.
Q. And therefore you think that Mr. Cheney would necessarily have attended to it himself I-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much of the time of Mr. Cheney's absence was spent at Ashland ?-A. I do not know.
Q. You say you were forwarding letters and occasional telegrams to him in his absence; can you not have some indication from that how much of his time he spent at Ashland ?-A. It was very seldom that I had occasion to forward correspondence to him. Most of the correspondence of the office was about details, and I transacted it without him. That was what I was in the office for.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. Was any of this correspondence political correspondence, or was it all official A. It was all official, concerning the mail service.
Q. You never attended to the political correspondence of Mr. Cheney when you were in his office ? A. No, sir; I never attended to any.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 7, 1878. Mr. HENRY W. Blair came before the committee and read and presented a letter received by him from the late governor of the State of New Hampshire, Mr. Cheney, who had been in the city and had been obliged to leave for home, his family being sick. He stated that the governor and Mr. Cheney, the superintendent of postal mail sery. ice, were cousins, and that Ex-Governor Cheney was a man of character and most thorough reliability. The letter is as follows:
“Washington, D, C., February 28, 1878. “MY DEAR SIR: I notice among the charges preferred against Col. Thomas P. Cheney, one alleging that the government had been defrauded through his inattention to business. In justice to Colonel Cheney it may and should be said that, by his close application to the service, his health became very seriously impaired, so much so that his immediate friends have great apprehensions as to the result. I met hiin several times during his illness and advised him not to take such risks with his health ; that there was danger of permanent disability by riding so much nights and keeping such irregular hours. His reply always was that his business required it, and he conld not well do otherwise. This he did until utterly unable to continue it longer. Of all the charges enumerated, this is the most unjust, or at least it seems so to his friends, who knew his condition. He has been a thoroughly competent, faithful, and efficient official, showing excellent judgment, and rare tact in administering the many compli. cated duties of an unpleasant pature that the service required.
“Hon. H. W. Blair.”
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 7, 1878. THOMAS P. CHENEY sworn and examined.
By Mr. EASTMAN : Question. In reference to the Stahl matter, have you any corrections to make of the answer put on file and signed by you; if so, what are those corrections !--Auswer. I stated that Mr. Stahl was gone to Bowdoin College until the 20th of July. I wished to correct that statement so far as to say that he returned to the office as early as June 20, not July.
Q. Is the statement of the facts in reference to the Stabl matter, as made by you, true in all other respects 1-A. It is, to the best of iny knowledge and belief.
Q. Did you receive any authority from Mr. Bangs to extend the first leave of absence of Stahl in the manner in which you have stated in your answer?-A. I certainly did before I got the first leave of absence.
Q. Was that authority in writing or verbal 1--A. It was verbal.
Q. State whether or not you received any answer to the request for the leave of absence for Mr. Stahl in September.-A. I did receive an answer from George S. Bangs.
Q. Was it verbal or in writing 1-A. It was in writing.
Q. What became of that answer 1-A. I cannot tell. I looked for it through my files before I came from Boston, but I could not find it.
Q. Have you carefully searched for it 1-A. I bave.