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Q. You have not been able to find it?-A. I have not been. d. What was the answer?-A. I cannot quote it. Q. Give the substance of it.-A. It was giving the leave of absence that I had applied for.
Q. When were you appointed to your office !-A. About July 1, 1869. Q. State what has been the manner in which you have attended to the duties of the eftice since your appointment, as to your presence in Boston or elsewhere. State what have been the duties thrown upon you and which you have discharged.-A. I will say, generally, that I have intended conscientiously to perform the duties of the office according to the best of my strength and ability. Up to about the 1st of July, 1871, I was comparatively well. I felt an interest in the service; I was proud of my appointment, and I worked (as I call it very faithfully. I had been engaged in the summer or autumn of 1870 in establishing some new and very important lines in New England. I had been at work very hard day and night riding over these lines back and forth from Washington, in connection with them, negotiating with the railroad companies in reference to the service on those lines, and I got sick in consequence of it. My sickness commenced about January 1, 1871. I was quite ill during that month and the month of February, so much so that I was in Boston but little. I was at my home in New Hampshire a good deal of the time during those two months. Allusion has been made to my sickness by Mr. Blair, and a letter has been read here this morning in regard to it. That is all correct. The first alarm as to what my sickness might result in was stated to me at that time. I know that I was quite surprised when I had recovered to learn that a sister of mine in Vermont had been very sick during all that time (she died soon afterward), and that I had not been notified of it at all. They had not dared to tell me about it. My sickness was known to the department because I Frote to Mr. Bangs myself about my condition, although I did not appreciate it so folly as my friends did. When I recovered I went on duty again, and I think the duty was done well (I tried to do it well) until I was taken with another sickness during the summer of 1876. At that time I had a recurrence of the same difficulty in a more aggravated form. It was neuralgic as well as nervous, and I was in a very miserable condition. My superiors knew it. Mr. Vail was in New England during that summer. I saw him in Boston and talked with him about my condition. He was in poor health bimself at that time and was going to the White Mountains. I started to go with him, but I was sick and could not go, and he went alone. I stated to him then how I was and wbat I feared. I stated to him that my physician had told me that I must not take so much responsibility. I stated the dangers in my case, and that I was afraid I bad got to leave the service. Mr. Vail encouraged me; told nie to go along and that he would do the best he could for me; that he hoped I would be better, and not to worry about my business. During the fall of that year I had wanted to go to the Centennial. I had two boys, one about seventeen years, and the other about twelve, and I wanted to go particularly on their account. I started to go to the Centennial. I was in very miserable condition then. I did not go to the grounds except once while I was there. I was at my boarding-room sick for four
or five days. I saw Mr. Vail there, and told him again about my condition. I think that that was in the month of October. I told him that I was afraid I would bave to leave the service. He again encouraged me; told me to hold on and that he thought I would be better.
During that fall I attended to my business the best I could. I was at home more daring the summer of 1876, and up to February, 1877 (as nearly as I can recall it), than I ever was before, but I never was away on leave of absence. I vever regarded myself as ont of the service. I always felt the responsibility of my position upon me. Whenever I was called for special duty I attended to it and always went if it was possible for me to get out of my bed and leave the house. I recollect once that the Postmaster-General came to Boston-the head office being there. I telegraphed him, sending my compliments and regrets and saying that it was not possible for me to go to Boston to see him. Still I do not recollect any case of importance that I was called apon to attend to and to which I neglected to attend on account of sickness. I went and attended to it even when I was sick.
I will go back and state that when I first went to Boston, we really bad no railway mail service—there was no office of superintendent of railway mail service, even, at that time. My original appointment was as special agent of the Post Office Department, assigned to duty as assistant superintendent of railway mail service. I claim for myself
and for the men whom I have had about me in my office (and I give them full credit for all that they have done, and they have done a great deal) that I have done all for New England that has been done in the way of improved mail facilities and the establishment of the railway mail service that we now have there. I felt the responsibility of the position when I went there. I knew that I had got to deal with the public largely. I had a large number of men to deal with. I formed a resolution that I would go on with my business conscientionsly. I vowed that my habits and course of life should be correct. I determined that the men under my charge should also bave correct habits. I knew something about the dangers of public life, and I
determined that nothing so far as I was concerned should be allowed to be done corruptly in the service, and I state to you, gentlemen, that I never have knowiugly and consciously done any corrupt act.
Q. What has been your habit in regard to Sundays; where have you spent your Sundays, as a rule?-A. When I entered the service my family was living at Ashland, N. H. I then had a wife and three children. I now have a wife and seven children. I thought I might attend to the duties of the office properly and spend my Sundays at home with my family. As I stated, I have had sickness myself, and of course all you gentlemen who have families have sickness occasionally in your families. I have tried to do my duty to my family as well as to the service. Generally I have spent my Sundays at home, unless I believed that the business of the service would suffer by my going there, and ou those occasions I have staid away.
Q. How much more of your time have you passed iu Ashland (aside from the times you speak of when you were sick or wben there was sickness in your family) besides the Sundays ?-A. That would be a hard matter to answer. I cannot tell about that. I never have intended to be absent either at Ashland or anywhere else to the injury of the service. I have done considerable work at Ashland wbile I have been there, on Sundays as well as other days.
Q. Wbat bave been your facilities for doing work at Ashland ?--A. I have always had a desk there, and for the last five years I have had a room fitted up specially as an office, and fitted up at my own expense.
Q. When you speak of an office, what do you mean by that ?-A. I mean a room assigned to office-work and used for nothing else--a room where I keep my papers, blanks, &c.
Q. Did you intend to transfer your office from Boston to Ashland ?-A. I never did. My correspondence generally, when I wrote from Asbland, was dated at Boston. I used paper with the Boston heading.
Q. You mean by that that the office in your house was a convenient place for you to do dusiness, and was adapted for that purpose 1-A. Yes.
Q. Something has been said in reference to the trip of the fast-mail train and your absence in connection therewith. Explain to the committee the facts in reference to that.-A. During the spring, summer, and fall of 1875 I was considerably engaged in consultation with Mr. Bangs in relation to the establishment of the fast mail. I was with him at Washington and at New York several times (I cannot say how many times, but several times during that summer) in consultation in reference to the establishment of the fast mail. The interests of New England required that it should be established over the line of the New York Central Railroad. Tbere were three lines proposed on which to establish it—the Pennsylvania system, the Erie Railroad, and the New York Central.
I was at work, of course, for the interests of New England-my own division; and I was in frequent consultation personally and by correspondence with Mr. Bangs, setting forth to him the advantages of the establishment of that line over the New York Central Road. I considered that if it was to be established over the Pennsylvania Road or over the Erie Road, the connections with New England would not be so good and its correspondence would not be much facilitated by the chauge. I never claimed, I do not claim, that I bave personally superintended the detail work in reference to the fast line. When I first went into the service I knew comparatively little of its duties. For the first thirty days I must say that I did scarcely anything, except to read up instructions, regulations, &c., although I did travel some dūring that month. I soon found that it was going to be an impossibility for me to undertake to learn the distribution and detail of the work on the different lines in New England. I never have attempted to do it. I never have thought it necessary. In fact I have thought it necessary that I should not, in order to be able to give my attention to the more general and the more important duties of the office.
Q. What were the circumstances about your going on this first trip of the fast mail?-A. I went on the fast mail trip at the special request of Mr. Bangs. It was established on the 15th or 16th of September, 1875. At my hotel one night I was taken violently ill, and bad a very sick night. There were some friends with me who called physicians, and they gave me some smart treatment, as I thought. I went home to Ashland sick, traveling in a parlor car, and was carried to my house and put to bed. My physician was called, and he attended me up to the time of the last train that I could leave my home on in order to make connection with the fast-mail train. I was enthusiastic about the fast-mail train. I was one of the original projectors of it with Mr. Bangs. It had been a specialty with me. I wanted very much to go, and I actually left my home to go in spite of the advice of my physician. I did go. On arriving at Chicago (the excitement of the occasion over) I was very ill. bad brothers living nearly one hundred miles west of Chicago. Mr. Bavgs saw what my condition was. I told bim I was going to my brother's. I went there, went to bed immediately on my arriving there, and staid there in bed several days, returning to Boston during the latter part of the month and entering upon my duty as usual.
Q. Something bas been said about the appointment of Neil McLean to the office of postmaster at Meredith. State what interview you had with Mr. Smith in relation thereto.-A. Mr. Smith came to my house (I cannot tell the year, but I recollect the circumstance) sometime when I was sick. I recollect that after he had gone my wife told me I must not receive so many visitors. It was quite an annoyance to her, for I was quite sick at the time. I will give you the circumstances just as honestly as I can recollect them. He came to my room and stated something in relation to the vacancy by the death of the postmaster at Meredith village. He never told me that if I would write a letter to either of the Senators from New Hampshire, $300 or any other amount of money would be furnished for any town or committee for political purposes. There is not one word of truth in that statement. I think he said this (althongh I will not swear positively to it), that if there was any haste about the appointment, or if the thing could run along for a little while, perhaps until after the election (I presume that may have been the case), he thought it would be better for the party in Meredith. I remember that I did write a letter to Senator Cragin, merely saying that I thought it would be better (perhaps I said for the party, and, if so, I am willing to admit it) that there should be no haste in reference to the appointments. So far as Neil McLean is concerned, I do not know the man. I never saw him, although be lives within nine miles of my town. (Mr. Smith stated five.) I never heard a thing in reference to the $300 for any town committee in Meredith until I heard it here. I never knew of the existence of any note or anything in connection with that affair only what I have learned here.
Q. How about your taking part in politics ?–A. I have been an active Republican. There is no doubt about that. I have no wish to conceal it.
Q. What part have yon taken in the campaigns that have gone on in New Hampshire since your appointment?-A. Sometimes during the time I have been in the service I have been a member of the State committee (perhaps three or four times). I bave not generally wished to be on that committee, but I bave been put there by friends sometimes without my knowledge. The State committee of New Hampshire consists of a number of persons amounting to about seventy-five. I have been a humble member of that committee three or four times during the time that I have been in the service. I have not been active in politics. I have had good opportunities of seeing men and talking with men about politics as I have been travelivg in my business, and I know that I have been quite interested in the success of my party.
Q. Have you attended the meetings of the Republican State committee -A. Sometimes I have, and sometimes I have not.
Q. How many meetings has that committee usually held in the year?-A. From two to four meetings during the political year.
Q. And at what time of the day would those meetings be held ?-A. These meetings are always, so far as I have knowledge, held late in the evening. There is a train running into Concord between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening. That is the train which leaves Boston at 6 o'clock. The meetings of the State committee are generally held at Concord in the evening after the arrival of the train from Boston, which leaves at six (or, at this season of the year, at 5.35). That train connects at Nashua with trains from Worcester, and also connects at Manchester with trains from Portsmouth, thus bringing members of the committee from Portsmouth and the eastern parts of the State. I have attended those meetings, not always, but always when I could leave my business, and wben my health has been good.
Q. What time have you devoted to political attairs immediately before the annual elections 1-A. Of course when I devoted time at all it has been before the elections. Two statements have been made here: one that during the month of February in particular I was all the time in Concord, and another that generally during the month of February I have been at Ashland. Now, gentlemen, I want to say this, so far as my connection with politics at Asbland is concerned : in 1868, before I was in the postal service, I lived in what I called one of the close towns of New Hampsbire. It required a good deal of time to run politics when I was in that town. It got to be a great nuisance to both parties. Respectable men from both parties united and went to the legislature and asked for a division of the town. I was one of those who were considered respectable men, and I went there at that time and staid there three weeks, and during that time we put that bill through the legislature. Our town was divided, and principally on the ground that we wanted to rid ourselves of this nuisance of politics. The Republicans had carried that town every year from 1849 to 1858, but it was by a good deal of work. The legislature divided the town, leaving the old town which I lived in (Holderness) a Democratic town, and making the town which I now live in (Ashland) a Republican town. Ours has been a Republican town ever since, with quite a large majority, and it has not been necessary for me to do a large amount of political work there because, as I say it is a pronounced Republican town.
Q. What have you done in regard to raising funds for carrying on political campaigns in Now Hampshire since your appointment to that office !-A. I have contributed.
Q. What else have you done ?-A. Nothing directly, only incidentally-only as I bave been, three or four times, perhaps, during the last eight or pine years, a member of the State committee of 1875. The State committee of course has raised funds, and I, as one of that committee, have participated.
Q. State whether or not you have made any assessment upon clerks under your charge for political purposes since you have been connected with the office.-A. Never.
Q. State whether yon have been instrumental in collecting any assessments made upon them by other parties.-A. Never. It is not a part of my duty as a member of the committee, and certainly not in any other way.
Q. Inquiry has been made in reference to the pay of special agents, and perbaps in reference to your pay. State to the committee what the salary is and what other compensation you receive in connection there with, and the way in which you receive it.À. The compensation has been always $1,600 a year and $5 per diem.
Q. What is the $5 per diem for How does it happen to be in that way !-A. It is to cover traveling and incidental expenses. I have always regarded it myself as part and parcel of the pay of special agent. I made inquiries when I first came into the service of special agents who had been in the service before me in regard to that mat. ter, and they showed me the manner of making up the accounts. I never heard it called in question until within the last two years.
Q. State whether or not any of your accounts have been objected to by the department or by the pay-officer of the government.-A. Never, so far as salary and per diem are concerned. In regard to incidental expenses, I have received back two or three little vouchers--amounting in one case to only a few cents, and in another case to a few dollars-stating that they were informal, and asking me to perfect them, and to put them in my account for the next month.
Q. What do you mean by vonchers for incidental expenses? Have you not jast stated that the $5 per diem was an allowance to cover incidental expenses !--A. We were allowed for postage, in some instances for stationery, and always for telegraphing—and my office is an office which requires a great deal of telegraphing. Then there has been some allowances in my case for special things in the office, such as an electric pen, and the printing of a schedule of mail-trains, and the like of that.
Q. How many railway postal clerks are there in New England ?--A. Of clerks, route. agents, and mail-messengers there are altogether about 275.
Q. How many of them report to the Boston office ?-A. Something rising 100-from 100 to 120.
Q. Mr. Chickering has stated that a clerk at your office made complaints in reference to the arrangements made for the safety of mails and for the transportation on some railroads connecting with his office, and that the defects were not remedied. State whether you were aware of those complaints, and, if so, what measures, if any, you took in reference to them.-A. I have always been fully aware of the trouble which Mr. Chickering alluded to in his testimony: It was thought necessary to place an agent on the line between Pittsfield and North Adams. He was pla there. It was supposed at the time that we would be able to get suitable facilities for the care, custody, and distribution of the mails on the railroad. I had frequent communications and personal interviews with Mr. Chapin, the president of the road, in regard to it. The road was under no contract and I am not aware that it ever has been under contract with the department since I have been in the service, and Mr. Chapin has always declined to furnish a mail-car on that route. When the Boston and Tros Rail. road post-office line was established our number of men was very short, and there was for a long time no man appointed to man that line. We were obliged to go about the country and take from otber lines, and I took the man away from the Pittsfield and North Adams line and put him on the Boston and Troy line. Mr. Chickering has repeatedly tried to get me to put him back, and I have stated to him that I should not do that, nor consent that any man should go back on that line until the railroad company would furnish the car.
Mr. Eastman. If there are any other matters which you think essential to this inquiry you may state them to the committee.
The Witness. I will answer every question of the committee to the best of my ability.
Q. Do you know anything about Mr. Holmes being paid on two pay-rolls in the Boston post-office l-A. I know that Mr. Holmes was a head clerk in the railroad mail service, and that when Mr. Jewell came into the service as Postmaster-General I stated to him that I thought there would be a necessity for some person representing the railway mail service to be placed inside of the Boston post-office in charge of the distribution of the mails. I stated to him that I had tried to get Mr. Bart, the postmaster, to consent to that arrangement, but that Mr. Burt had an aversion to it. He
thought it was not calculated to improve the service and thought that if one of our men shonld go inside the Boston post-office he would be brought in collision with the regular post-office men, and that there would be friction, and his judgment was against it. I stated to Mr. Jewell that I wished he would undertake to arrange that matter for me. I think that Mr. Jewell saw the necessity for it, at least he told me that he believed it wonld be well to try it, and he stated that he thonght he would have no difficulty in doing it. The Postmaster-General came to Boston shortly afterward and we talked about it.
But I am a little ahead of my story. I stated to the Postmaster-General that I thought that if Mr. Holmes should go in there (for I mentioned Mr. Holmes's name to bim) he should not be allowed to go in there to superintend men who were drawing salaries as high as $1,500, $1,600, or $1,700 a year, wbile he (Holmes) bad only a salary of $1,400, and I took the position that where he would be the superior officer of these pen they ought not to bave larger salaries than be. I had stated that to Mr. Burt, bat Mr. Burt did not wish to put himself or anybody else who came in there on his rolls, and said that be bad not the money to do it. That was one objection, and I stated it to the Postmaster-General, and suggested to him as a means of putting Mr. Holmes there and of paying him what I thought he ought to be allowed for taking that position, that he (the Postmaster-General) should appoint Mr. Holmes as a special agent and assign him to that specific duty. I think the Postmaster-General told me that he had not sufficient funds applicable to the special agents to do that, and that he could not do it. Afterward, and not very long afterward (perhaps two or three months), the Postmaster-General was at Boston and I talked with him about it again. He told me he would go to Mr. Burt's room and have a talk with him, and at the proper time he would send for me and have me come in. He did so, and I was sent for and went into the room. Mr. Bart had talked with Mr. Lewis about the matter, and Mr. Lewis (as Mr. Burt stated) had told him, Burt, that were we to put a man into the office and undertook to distribute and dispatch the mails according to the notions of the railway mail service, it would necessarily increase the expense of the office over and above the pay of the one man, because it would necessitate the appointment of a great many additional clerks. I asked Mr. Burt to send for Mr. Lewis and have him come into the room. He did so. Lewis came in, and Mr. Burt asked the question how many additional men he thought this change would necessitate. Lewis said from twenty to thirty additional men. Mr. Jowell seemed to be greatly surprised, and turned to me and asked me what I had to say to that. I said, “ If it takes any num. ber of additional men to do this work in the Boston office (from one man to thirty men), if you will allow us to try the experiment in good faith, I promise you that I will detail from the lines every man that will be necessary and to put them into the office and pot ask you for any additional cost for such detail.” Mr. Jewell said that that was fair, and he asked Mr. Burt if he would consent to the arrangement. Mr. Burt said that he would as an experiment. Then I asked how long a time the experiment was to continue. I did not wish to go in for a month as an experiment, and I claimed that if we went into it at all we should try it for six months, and that was tacitly agreed upon. I recollect distinctly the remark of the Postmaster-General when he said to us, "Gentlemen, you are on trial; the man who fails goes to the wall." I said to him that I was willing to accept that situation. It seems that Mr. Lewis was not correct in bis judgment, because there was no increase of men required in the distribntion division of the Boston post-office, but on the contrary men were gradually cut off and the force is considerably smaller to-day than it was at that time, and the salaries have been raised in proportion to the cutting down of the force. I think that perhaps the amount of money expended in that division is as much now as it was then and perhaps more, because of course the work of the office has increased from that time until this time.
Now as to the two salaries. I made the proposition which I have stated to the Postmaster-General, but it was not accepted, and I have no doubt (although I do not know the fact) that Mr. Holmes was placed on the rolls of the Boston post-office. I understood so at the time. I never saw the rolls. I never saw him sign any rolls, but I believe he was on the rolls of the Boston post-office for perhaps $600 a year, in addition to the salary which he received as head clerk in the railway mail service, amounting to $1,400 a year. I cannot swear to the fact, but I believe it to be so.
Q. Did you make the order putting him on both rolls ?-A. Certainly not. I never had authority to make any such order.
Q. And if he received two salaries, you had nothing to do with it?-A. Only as I have stated.
Q. What effect has the establishment of the railway mail service had op postmast. ers and post-offices ?-A. Three or four years ago Postmaster-General Jewell, I think, issued a circular which was not sent to all postmasters, but only to those to whom it was thought necessary to send it, requiring the postmasters in the distribution of their mails that were going out on the railroad lines to be governed to a certain extent by orders received from the general superintendent of the railway mail service. That