« AnteriorContinuar »
and under Mr. Gordon. When Mr. Bailey was appointed postmaster he promoted me superintendent of the mails in the Boston post-office. I was in that position during Mr. Bailey's administration, when we had one mail-agent, or route agent, running on the different lines. I had the charge of those agents during Mr. Bailey's administration, and also dnring Mr. Capon's administration, and during a part of Dr. Palfrey's administration. When the railway mail service commenced a superintendent was appointed to take charge of those route-agents, and of the postal-car service, as it was called, and I was continued superintendent of the mails in the office until Mr. Jewell, the PostmasterGeneral, seemed to think that the service would be better served by putting a younger man into my place. Mr. Cbeney advocated it, and Mr. Bangs advocated it. The young man whom they proposed to put in my place was this Holmes, from Connecticnt. Mr. Burt, who was postinaster at that time, opposed it very strenuously, and said it was doing me injustice, but finally he made up his mind that he would not do it. but he put in Holmes as an assistant under me. Mr. Jewell and Mr. Burt had some difficulties, and finally Mr. Burt resigned the postmastership, and the day that his resignation took effect this Holmes was put in as superintendent of the mails in the Boston post-office, in my place, and I was given an inferior place. Mr. Bart demurred to it, and said that it was unjust, and their previous postmaster, under whom I have served, also said that it was upjust. They considered me as good a man as ever was in the Post-Office Department.
Q. Then you have had this thirty years' experience ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Youj are familiar with the railway mail service, as well as with the other branches of the service !--A. Yes, sir.
Q. I understood you to say, in short, that Mr. Cheney has been absent three-fourths of the time from his duties as superintendent ?-A. Yes, sir; I should say so.
By Mr. GIDDINGS: Q. Was the fact of Mr. Cheney's absence known to the postmaster at Boston ?-A. I should say that it was. Q. Was it known at the Post-Office Department bere?--A. That I cannot say.
By Mr. EASTMAN: Q. Do you know what are the duties of the superintendent of the railway mail service -A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you seen the circular of the department relative thereto?-A. Yes, sir. Q. Have you read it 1-A. Yes, sir. Q. Can yon state wbat the duties are?-A. The duties of the superintendent of the railway mail service are to have bis headquarters at Boston; to take charge of all the mails; to see that every clerk under him, and every postal-car clerk performs his duty. He should be at the office when postal-car clerks come in and go out. There were times in the first part of his administration when in stormy weather mails would come into the office late and when there would be nobody in the office to look after them. He should be in bis office to see to it that there was a clerk ready to go out with the train. Tbere bave been tinies in stormy weather when there has been nobody in Mr. Cheney's office, and I bave had to send clerks out of the post-office with the mails, because the superintendent of the railway mail service was not there. It was his duty to have been tbere.
Q. Have you fully stated the duties of the superintendent of the railway mail service as you understand them ?-A. It is his duty to see that all this service is performed faithfully, and to live up to the instructions.
4. Is that all ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. Wbat was the territory over which Mr. Cheney had supervision ?-A. The territory of New England.
Q. How many railway postal clerks and route-agents are there in that division ?-A. I do not know ihe exact number, but I should say in the neighborhood of from 175 to 30.
Q. How many of them come to the Boston office !--A. I should say from 130 to 150. I may bave rather overstated.
Q. How will you state it now! Make your estimate; state what you are willing to adhere to.-A. Well, I should say 100. 9. And you think in the whole territory there are 175?–A. I should say 175. 4. Of whom 100 report to the Boston post-office ?-A. I should say so.
By Mr. TOWNSEND : Q. Is your office in the post-cffice proper ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. Where is Mr. Cheney's office ?-A. In the same building, three flights up. In the old office it ased to be but one flight ap.
.Q. Is the entrance to Mr. Cheney's office in the post-office building proper 1-A. Yes, sir. 8. Are yon in the railway mail service yourself
?-A. No, sir; I am in the post-office. 4. You are not necessarily connected with Mr. Cheney's office ?-A. Not now.
Q. Your business does not bring you in connection with him every day !-A. No, sir, not now, and has not for two years past.
Q. How often do you visit his office ?-A. Very seldom, pow.
Q. Are yon there once a month ?--A. I may not be there a dozen times in a year, because I do not have any official business with him at all now.
Q. You bave no personal knowledge, then, as to whether he is in his office all the time or not?-A. I have not now, because I have no official relations whatever with him. I see him occasionally when he comes into the post-office. He can come into bis office, perform all his business, and go home, or may stay there a week without my seeing bim.
Q. How was formerly ?-A. While we were in the old South church and while we were down in State street, it was very seldom that I saw him at his office. I used to be in his office every day, more or less, and sometimes three or four times a day.
Q. You do not know what took him away when he went?-A. No, sir; I cannot swear that he was not on the road or where he was, only that he was not at the office.
Q. You could not swear that he was not on some business relating to his office 1-A. I could not swear that he had not been on the road, but I can swear that he has not been at his office more than one-fourth of the time. He may have been out on the road.
Q. You bave no means of knowing just how many hours a day be is at his office 1A. For the last two years I have not been in that official capacity in which business would necessarily call me to his room.
By Mr. FREEMAN: Q. When he was absent, you had no knowledge as to whether he was uot performing bis duties somewbere else 1-A. Sometimes when I had that official capacity which would bring me to his room I would go up there and ask his clorks where he was, and sometimes they would say that he was at Asbland.
Q. During the time you had the capacity of seeing him or not seeing him, you canpot pretend to swear when you did not see him there that he was not performing bis duties somewhere else ?--A. No, sir; I could not swear that be was not on duty on the road.
By Mr. TOWNSEND: Q. As superintendent of thc railway mail service of New England, would not his duty take him away from Boston ?--A. It should take him away to see that bis clerks were performing their duty.
By Mr. EASTMAN : Q. Have you not already sworn that it was necessary he should be in the office every day?-A. I should say it was necessary for him to be in the office, and if he were not in the office himself, it was necessary that he should have somebody there.
By Mr. TOWNSEND: Q. When he was absent did he close the office up ?-A. As a general thing the office would be closed in the evening, and route-agents would be coming in all along in the evening wanting to know where Mr. Cheney was. That was when I was in an official capacity that necessarily bronght me in contact with the railway-mail clerks. They would come in and want to know where Mr. Cheney's office was, and they would go up to it and find it locked up.
Q. That would be in the evening !-A. That would be along early in the evening when the evening mails came in.
Q. Did he have any clerks in the office !-A. He had clerks in the office.
WASHINGTON, D. C., March 1, 1878. WILLIAM S. WEST sworn and examined.
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. State your residence and occupation.—Answer. I reside in Boston, in the Charlestown district ; I am a postal clerk.
Q. In the Boston post-office -A. No, sir; I am in the railway postal service, and on the route from Saint Albans to Boston.
Q. Do you know Mr. Cheney 1-A. Yes, sir. Q. How long have you known him!-A. Since he became our superintendent. Q. The charge is that he has absented bimself continuously from his duty. State what knowledge you bave, if any, on that subject.-A. My duty takes mo away
from the office in Boston, so that I am not there every day. I am on the line of the road, and I cannot tell anything about whether Mr. Cheney is in the office or not.
Q. Do you often see Mr. Cheney on your route in tho discharge of his duties as superintendent 1-A. No, sir,
Q. Have you ever seen him on the route which you run on discharging his duties as soperintendent 1-A. He has ridden down with me from Concord to Boston.
Q. You mean in your railway postal car 1-A. Yes, sir. Q. How often have you seen him on that road or on any other road in the discharge of his duty 1-A. I cannot say how many times he has ridden down on my car from Concord. I believe he was never over the whole length of my road while I was running.
Q. While traveling with you, was he traveling as an ordinary passenger or was he attending to his duty as superintendent ?-A. That I cannot say. He was going from his home to his othice.
Q. You say you do not know as to his absence from his office ?-A. I have been at bis otice a good many times and inquired for him and have not been able to find him there.
Q. Was he ever present at his office when you called to see him ?-A. Yes, sir; I havo found him there occasionally.
Q. Has that been rarely or frequently ?-A. Rarely. Q. And when he has been with you on the postal car, he has been going from his bome to Boston 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You do not know whether he was on duty or not!-A. I suppose he was going on duty to bis office in Boston.
4. Do you know in what business Mr. Cheney is engaged while he is absent from his office in Boston 1-A. I do not. Q. He lives in Ashland, N. H. 1-A. Yes, sir. Q. How far is it from Concord to Ashland 1-A. About 40 miles. Q. Is Mr. Cheney a farmer, a lawyer, a doctor, or what!--A. I do not know; I never was at his house but once.
Q. Is his office iu a town or at a farm ?-A. It is very nearly a mile out of the vil. lage.
Q. How long have you been in the railway mail service -A. Very nearly seventeen years. I was à route-agent previous to the establishment of the railway mail service. My route was one of the first established, and I have been in the service ever since, with the exception of about two months.
Q. You are familiar with the duties !-A. I think I am, somewhat.
Q. Are you familiar with the duties of superintendent of railway mail service !-A. Yes, sir; I suppose I am. The superintendent has charge of all the lines running out of Boston. We all receive our instructions through him, or his clerk, in reference to all changes of the time of ranning of trains in connection with mails. That is one of the principal duties of his office.
Q. Have you ever seen him in the discharge of those duties outside of his office and on the line 1-A. I cannot say that I have. I cannot say that he has ever been over my lide.
Q. You say that you have frequently gone to his office and that you rarely found him there, and now you say that you have never seen him, so far as you recollect, in the discharge of the duties on your line 1-A. He has never been over my day line, to my knowledge, nor, in my opinion, on any of the other trains.
By Mr. WiLLIAMS : Q. At what hour do you leave Boston for Saint Albans !-A. I get to the Boston office at six o'clock, and commence my duties there by taking care of my registers, my money-packages, and then I wait until the arrival of the New York train, provided that it is not too much behind time.
Q. This train which leaves for Saint Albans, has it a regular hour of leaving ?-A. Yes, sir; it leaves at eight o'clock in the morning. Q. Do you leave in it at eight o'clock in the morning -A. Yes, sir. 9. What time do you arrive at Saint Albans !---A. The train leaving Boston at eight o'clock gets to Saint Albans at 6.25 in the evening.
Q. What time do you leave Saint Albans to get back to Boston ?-A. At seven o'clock in the morning.
Q. Then you are not in Boston very much during the day!-A. I am not in Boston any time when on duty, but on these long routes we are on duty only alternate woeks.
By Mr. MONEY:
By Mr. FREEMAN:
been over your line or any other line ?-A. I mean that he had not been on my day lice, and that I didn't think he had been on any of the night trains on the same line.
By Mr. TOWNSEND : Q. When you get to Boston do you report to Mr. Cheney's office or to the post-office ?A. Our register-book is in the lower part of the post-office-in what is called the ovenwhere we go and receive oor registers. We sigu the book there and do not go to Mr. Cheney's oftice.
Q. Then you have no occasion to go to his office unless you bappen to bave some special business with him !-A. No; unless I want a book or something of tbat kind.
Q. Then you do not necessarily go to his office once a week or once a month!-A. No, sir. I may occasionally go in there if I want something.
Q. He might be there every day for a week without your knowing it 1-A. Certainly. He might be there every day while I was on duty without my knowing it.
By Mr. EASTMAN:
Q. Were you not reinstated on the express condition that you were thereafter explicitly to obey orders ?—A. I have always endeavored to obey orders.
Q. Was not that made an express stipulation of your reinstatement !-A. I do not know but that it was.
Q. Do you not so understand it :-A. I do not know whether that is in my reinstatement or not.
Q. Do you not so understand it ?—A. I say that I understand that I am always to obey orders.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. Is not every man in the service on that condition ?-A. Yes, sir; be is obliged to obey reasonable orders.
By Mr. EASTMAN : Q. Was that not expressly stated to you by Mr. Vail when you were reinstated 1A. I cannot say whether it was or was not. I cannot swear eiher way.
Q. Have you not a grievance against Mr. Cheney because you were not made chief head clerk on the line -A. I have not.
WASHINGTON, N. C., March 2, 1878. J. S. TEMPLE sworo and examined.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Question. Are you the gentleman who has preferred certain charges against Thomas P. Cheney, superintendent of the first division of the railway mail service !-Auswer. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you ever serve under Mr. Cheney 1-A. I did.
Q. During what year!-A. I cannot tell you the exact year that I entered the service. I was in his particular branch of the service six or seven years, I think. I was in the Post-Office Department previous to that.
Q. What position did you occupy in this railway mail service 1-A. I went into the service as the lowest grade clerk, and I worked my way up to bead clerk.
Q. When did you leave the service !-A. Two years ago this month.
Q. State as briefly as you can in what manner Mr. Cheney discharged his duties as snperintendent. State wbat you know in respect to his presence in his office, or his absence from it, and as to the faithfulness and diligence with which he discharged bis duties.-A. So far as I know personally, I think that three months in each year would cover the time that he was attending to his duties, and I think that is setting it large, too.
By Mr. MONEY : Q. You mean in his office at Boston ?-A. I mean in his office, or attending to his duties, so far as I know, on the different routes running out of Boston.
Q. What was he engaged at the balance of the time—A. I cannot say of my own positive knowledge, but I know what the reports were through the country,
Q. Do yon know anything about business which required his attention accumulating in his office ?-A. I do. I know that business accumulated in the office oftentimes, and that while Mr. Blount was his head clerk telegrams were repeated to him and leters were sent to him oftentimes, at Ashland in New Hampsbire.
Q. Were you so situated in the office as to know something about his presence or absence?-A. I was in the office every day.
Q. If he was there you would be apt to have known it ?-A. Yes, sir. I would like to qualify my statement a little. We ran a week on and a week off on the trunk-lines, but I would always go up into the office before I went out, and also in the evenings in my week off. I would be out of town perhaps a day or two, but I generally came into the otħce every day, so that I would be apt to know whether he was there or not.
Q. When he would come down from his home in response to these letters or telegtams, bow loog would be generally stay at the office ?-A. Different lengths of time; sometimes just long enough to attend to the matter, and then he would go right back again.
Q. You say in these charges, “I charge that said Cheney has a bsented himself continually from his duty each and every week, month, and year, during his term of oftice, and that in the majority of instances it can be shown that he was engaged in active employments in connection with his said farm, and in other ways not official ; I charge him to be utterly incompetent as superintendent of the railway mail service, for the various reasons as stated in my previous charges, and respectfully I submit the following pames." State now, without further questioning, anything you know bearing upon this allegation of yours.-A. The simple fact of his being away from his office and not attending to his duties, would necessarily make him incompetent. It is necessary for a man in the railway mail service to give his close attention to it all the time in order to becoine a competent man, and that Mr. Cheney has never dono sinee he has been in the service.
Q. Do you know what the custom of other superintendents is in that respect!-A. No; I know nothing particular about it.
Q. You are not acquainted with Mr. Jackson ?-A. I know Mr. Jackson.
Q. Is he in the babit of staying in his office pretty closely ?-A. It is understood that he attends to his business personally.
Q. You do not know yourself what his custom is ?-A. No, sir; not personally. I have seen him out on the different routes up through Albany, attending to his duties there, a number of times.
Q. Do you know anything of your own knowledge about this allegation that Mr. Cheney has established unnecessary routes in the State of New Hampshire ?-A. No, sir; nothing excepting what I propose to show here by witnesses.
Q. Do you think of anything else that you desire to state bearing upon these charges ! -A. I don't know as there is anything else.
By Mr. GIDDINGS: Q. Do you know anything about any employé under Mr. Cheney being required to contribate to any political fund ?-A. Every employé in the railway mail service is required to contribute. I did all the time I was there, and I used to receive my little notifications occasionally. Q. From whom ?-A. They came from the department here in Washiugton.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. It was not from Mr. Cheney, then !-A. Not directly from Cheney. It was for political purposes, so understood.
By Mr. GIDDINGS: Q. What per cent. of the salary was required, or was it upon that basis ! -A. The amount ran ap from $9 to $14. The bead clerk had to pay $14. That is what I paid. That is what it was when I was in the service ; it may be more now.
Q. To wbom did you pay that and how was it paid? Was it sent here to the central committee 1-A. Yes, sir; it was sent bere.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. Sappose a gentleman did not care about paying it, then what?-A, Well, I think the boys understood it pretty well.
(Mr. Cannon objected to the witness stating what anybody else understood.") Q. What was the consequence in case an employé did not pay the assessment?—A. Well, I would not like to say that I kuow of any man being removed for that particular cause. Q. Then it was a voluntary matter whether they paid it or not?-A. Well, I guess the committee wish it understood that way.
Q. I don't suppose the committee has any wish on the subject at all. How was this contribution assessed ? Did you receive a notice, and was it in writing or in priot ?A. I think it was partly written and partly printed, as near as I can remember. Some of those men that are now in the service can testify, perhaps, a little plainer than I can in regard to it.
2. When you paid your assessment, to whom did you pay the money!-A. I think the money came here to Washington.