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Washington, D. C., March 2, 1878. John Smith, jr., sworn and examined.
By Mr. MONEY: Question. Where do you live ?--Answer. My home is in Meredith, N. H.; I am temporarily residing in Boston.
Q. Is Meredith on any line of railroad ?-A. Yes; it is on the Boston, Concord and Meredith Railroad.
Q. How long have they had a route-agent on that road I-A. About four years.
Q. Was he appointed under the superintendency of Mr. Cheney 1-A. I understand so.
Q. Do you know at what expense the mails were carried on that road before the appointment of a route-agent 1-A. I think there was no expense to the governinent on the morning and evening trains.
Q. Did the railroad company carry the mail for nothing I-A. Yes, sir. I was postmaster at Meredith in 1868 and 1869. The people of Meredith Village were anxious to get a mail-bag put on board the morning and evening trains. I went to Boston and conferred with the postmaster, Mr. Burt, and he said that if it could be arranged to have one bag carried without expense to the government, he would have it put on.
Q. It was carried without expense to the government ?-A. I understood so.
Q. Do you know whether the people of other villages on the line had also a separate pouch !-A. I so understood from Mr. Burt's statement to me.
Q. That is the route on which Mr. Wright is agent 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who made the arrangement by whicb a route-agent was put on that line?-A. I understood from Mr. Small, who was at that time a member of Congress from the first district of New Hampshire, that he and Mr. Cheney arranged that matter. That is what Mr. Small told me.
Q. How far from Meredith is Ashland 1-A. About five miles.
Q. How long have you been acquainted with him ?-A. I have known him more or less for 20 years; we were born and brought up in adjoining towns.
Q. Has there been any sort of intimacy between you ?-A. At times.
Q. Has he got an office in his house ?-A. I never saw anything that looked like an office.
Q. How much of his time did he spend at home!-A. Perhaps half the time.
Q. How does he employ himself when he is at home 1-A. I never saw him in any employ there.
Q. Did you see him frequently --A. Yes, sir; I was in trade at one time in Ashland, and he used to come into my store. I was at Ashland a portion of 1871 and 1872. I lived at Meredith, but still ) was in trade at Ashland.
Q. Did you see Mr. Cheney frequently during that time!-A. I did.
Q. How often ?-A. I should guess three or four days out of a week. I would see him at his house, or at the store, or on the street.
Q. You do not know what he was doing there at that time !-A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ever find him absent from home -A. I never found him absent from his house wben I went to see him.
Q. Did you ever have occasion to call at his office in Boston ?-A. I did.
Q. Did you find him absent there ?-A. I never found him at his office more than once, or perhaps twice, and I often called and inquired for him.
Q. Frequently ?-A. Quite a number of times; I cannot state the number of times..
Q. You were the postmaster at Meredith ?-A. I was a portion of the years 1868 and 1869; I resigned in favor of my successor.
Q. What are your politics -A. Democratic.
Q. How long have you been a Democrat!-A. I have voted the Democratic ticket for several years; I think I voted the Republican ticket for the last time in 1872 or 1873.
Q. You had a cbange of heart abont that time ?-A. I thought it better to vote the other way; I was conscientions about it.
Q. Do you know anything of Mr. Cheney's connection with politics in that State ?A. He is a big man there.
Q. Was any of the time which he spent in Asbland spent in the way of promoting the political successes of his party ?-A. We understood so up there.
Q. Manipulating the politics of the State!-A. I understand so.
Q. Is he generally considered a sort of political authority and manager for the Republican party ?--A. Yes, sir; in a great measure.
Q. A man of a good deal of acuteness ?-A. Yes, sir ; pretty shrewd. Q. A man who rather likes to do it ?-A. Yes, sir; I think so. Q. A man generally likes to do what he does well ?— A. Yes, sir. Q. You say that he manages a good deal in political canvasses there ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. Do you mean local or throughout the State !-A. Local, and throughout the State too.
Q. How does he manage; in raising campaign funds ?-A. Yes, sir; in some measure, I think.
Q. Seeing to having certain men nominated as delegates ?-A. I cannot say; I never acted in that capacity myself.
Q. Did he ever receive any money from you 1-A. I paid, indirectly, some money at one time, but not to him, for the appointment of a postmaster at Meredith Village. That was in the spring of 1872. The bargain was made with Cheney, but I paid the money to a third party.
Q. State the circumstances.-A. The bargain was made at Mr. Cheney's house at Ashland.
Q. Who was present?-A. No one but Mr. Cheney ; I told him that the postmaster at Meredith had died that morning, and that I was very anxious that Neal McLain, the acting postmaster, should be appointed. I told him that it would be satisfactory to the Republicans at Meredith (I was a Republican at that time), and I told him that I thought about $300 could be raised for election purposes in the town of Meredith for that appointment.
Q. The sum was to be raised on the contingency that your friend got the appointment 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Detail the transaction.--A. Mr. Cheney said that if his appointment was satisfac. tory to the Republicans of Meredith, and if that amount was raised, he would guarantee the appointment as far as he could anything in the future. I told him that whatever he would agree to do I would guarantee. I returned to my home in Meredith and informed Neal McLain. He said, "I have not got the money." " Well," said I, "I have guaranteed my word to Mr. Cheney that the money shall be paid, and I will advance the money and take your pote for it, and you can pay it out of the proceeds of the office, from time to tiine." I am a little ahead of my story. When I was in the room talking to Mr. Cheney he wrote to Senators Cragin and Patterson to make no appointDient for the Meredith post-office until after the election, and I carried the letters to the mail and deposited them there. Finally, Mr. McLain agreed to pay $250. Shortly after that Mr.John A. Lang, of Meredith, one of our Republican town committee, came to me and said, “ What about this note for $250 ?” I said, “All right, I will give you the money." He gave nie the note, and I counted out $250 and gave it to him. In due time Neal McLain was appointed postmaster. That is about the facts of the case.
Q. None of this money was to go to Mr. Cheney 1--A. I did not so understand. It Was for a campaign fund.
Q. That was the only qualification that was required in the appointment of a postmaster 1-A. That was the ouly way that I could get him appointed-by putting down the stamps.
Q. It never occurred to you to state that Mr. McLain was a very vigilant and intelligent mao 1-A. I did state that fact, but still I knew that there would be a big fight over the postmastersbip.
Q. How mach is the office worth 1-A. Between six and seven hundred dollars.
Q. The gentleman who collected the money from you was a member of the executive committee of the town l-A. Yes, sir; I was on the same committee with him.
Q. Is that a common way of conducting campaigns in New Hampshire !-A. That is the only case where I paid money for the appointment of any one to office.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. Do you know of any other person having paid money in that way!-A. Not di
By Mr. MONEY: Q. You do not know anything about Mr. Cheney's office at Boston ?-A. No, sir. Q. Did you ever see him at Concord ?-A. Yes; I have seen him frequently there, at political conventions and during the sessions of the legislature. I was once a member of the legislature myself, from the town of Meredith, and I am there frequently on matters in which the town is interested. Q. When were you a member of the legislature -A. In 1868, I think.
Q. Was that the time when you saw Mr. Cheney at Concord ?-A, I saw him at that time, and I saw him since.
Q. At that time was he there much ?-A. He was there considerably during the session of the legislature tbat I was there. Q. In the discharge of his official position as superintendent of the railway mail
service ?-A. I should think not. He was very active in measures before the legislature.
Q. He was not a member, was he?-.A. No, sir; he was what we call down there a sort of Mr. MONEY. A member of the tbird house? The WITNESS. Yes, sir; lobbying.
Q. Do you know that he was engaged in that business?-A. Yes, sir; I have heard him say occasionally that he was either on one side or on the other, or that he was not on either side.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. Did you mention to anybody the understanding about the postmastership of Meredith -A. It was common talk in the town. All the members of the committee knew it, and I suppose that every member of the Republican party directly interested in the village knew it. There was nothing secret about it.
Q. Afterward that colleague of yours came and asked for the money!-A. Yes, sir; be asked me if I was going to furnish the money, and I said, “Certainly, I agreed to do it, and I shall do it."
Q. Are you sure tbat the money was used for political purposes ?-A. I am sure that a certain portion of it was.
Q. What became of the balance of it?-A. The fund was not all used up, and $100 was paid back to me after the election, and I indorsed it on the note.
Q. Did you keep that $100 1-A. Certainly.
Q. So that in point of fact there was only $150 paid out of the pocket of the postmaster?-A. Nothing at all came out of him, for he never paid the pote. I could not collect it, and I gave it to a lawyer-Judge Rollins—to collect, but he could not collect it, and finally I traded the note off.
Q. Did you ever sue the postmaster on the note!—A. No; I knew that I could not collect anything from him,
Q. Did you ever try to collect it?-A. I knew that he would not pay it.
Q. Did you think that a man who would not pay his debts was a good man for postmaster?-A. He was a very good boy at tbat time, but he afterwards became a defaulter to the government, and his bondsmen had to pay up.
Q. Did you think that a man who would agree to pay $250 for a government office would be a good man for the place --A. I would not want to trust him again.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. I suppose that if another man bad offered $350 for the office you would have had bir appointed ?--A. Yes; until Mr. Cheney agreed to appoint McLain, and when he agreed to do so I knew that it would go.
By Mr. FREEMAX: Q. What was the time of the interview between you and Mr. Cheney 1-A. In the spring of 1872.
Q. Were you then postmaster at Meredith 1-a. No, sir; I resigned in 1869. Mr. McLain was clerk to the postmaster who died.
By Mr. WILLIAMS :
Q. Were you a postmaster at that time?-A. No, sir; I was appointed in the fall after the legislature adjourned.
By Mr. FREEMAN: Q. Were you a Republican at the time you had this conversation with Mr. Cheney 1A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long after that did you become a Democrati-A. That was in 1872. I think I voted the Republican ticket once after 1872. The next year I think I voted for the Democratic candidate for governor and for some Republican candidates ; but I think that that was the last time I voted in the Republican way.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. It is nothing unusual for a man in New Hampshire to go from the Republican party to the Democratic party, and rice versa ?-A. No, sir. We see big men here in Congress do that.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. You were a member of this town committee ?-A. Yes, sir. Q. How many members of the committee were there ?-A, About five. Q. Were you present at the meetings of the committee -A. Almost always. Q. What did they do with tpat $150 that you paid 1-A. It was used to buy voters.
We buy them there like sheep. Just as you used to buy slaves down Sou!h. That is the way we do in New Hanipshire.
Q. How many voters did you buy with that money 1-A. I do not know. That year we paid all the way from $5 to $15 for votes. Votes did not rule high that year; they ruled low.
Q. How would you do to buy them -A. There are always men on the market who sell their votes to the highest bidder.
Q. Did you have agents out to procure them !-A. We had runners out. We never paid the men until after the election; we always wait until they have voted.
Q. Yon did not give notes to them, or anything of that kind ?-A. O, no. We only deposited the money in some hands that we could agree upon.
Q. Would you bring the voters to the polls and vote them ?-A. No; but we had somebody to watch them and see how they voted.
By Mr. MONEY:
By Mr. CALDWELL:
Q. You had enough money to answer all your purposes, and had $100 left?--A. Yes, sir; we bongbt all the voters we could buy and had $100 left.
Q. Why was not some of that $100 paid back to Senator Rollins ?-A. The committee thought it a hard thing for me to lose the $250. I was not in good circumstances and they did not suppose that the postmaster wonld ever pay me.
Q. Were you a member of the committee yourself ?-A. I was; but I did not handle a dollar of the money.
Q. You were not the treasurer ?-A. I was not.
Q. Did the committee hold a meeting and decide upon paying you back that $100 ? A. I was not present when the committee voted to pay back the $100. It came unexpectedly. One of the members came and said, “We think we ought to pay this money back to you." ,8. Mr. Cheney never made any objection to it ?-A. He had nothing to do with me about the money matters.
Q: Mr. Cheney bimself was not a member of the committee ?-A. No, sir; he was in Ashland and I in Meredith.
By Mr. WILLIAMS : Q. You say that the committee paid you back this $100 because they thought that the postmaster would never pay the note 1-A. That was the impression.
8. Did yon have that impression yourself?-A. Not at the time that I gave the $250. I thought then that he would pay it.
By Mr. FREEMAN : ..Q. Do they bay votes on both sides in New Hampshire -A. Always; it is fun up there in election times, I tell yoa.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. I suppose when you say that the Republicans bought votes, you do not mean to say that the Democrats do not buy votes ?--A.'I presume they did do it; but the Democrats have not got the money. We cannot put our hands into the Treasury, you
By Mr. WILLIAMS: Q. Do you mean to intimate that anybody put his hand into the Treasury in that transaction I-A. I don't know where the $300 came from that we got from the State committee at Concord; I know where the $250 came from.
By Mr. CANNON: Q. When you told McLain that it would cost $300 to get the post office, you say that be demarred, becanse he had not the money ?-A. He thought it too much to pay. He bad not the inopay anybow.
& Yet you had been over to Mr. Cheney's, and had agreed that he should pay it?A. I bad guaranteed it, and I had got to come down with the money if he did not.
2. Did you go to Mr. Cheney as his agent, or on your own motion ?-A. I went on by own responsibility; I was anxious that McLain should be appointed, and I knew that if he was appointed the location of the post-office was just where I desired it
Q. And without saying anything to him about it, you went to Mr. Cheney to see wbat you could do, and when you found what you could do, you went back and found your customer I-A. Yes, sir; I saw him.
Q. And he thought that the price was too high ?-A. He thought he ought to have the post-office without paying any money for it. I said, “ You cannot do it; you have to come down with the stamps."
Q. You bad been there beforehand, and bad made the arrangement that the stamps should be paid ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Before McLain knew anything about it?-A. I let nobody know what I was going to do. I wanted to get the first lick at Cheney.
Q. You wanted to feed the election horse and the private borse (in the way of location of the office) at the same time 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. The office was located where you wanted it to be ?-A. It was, until McLain sold out to another man.
Q. This $100 was paid back to you because the committee thought that $250 would be too much for you to lose ?-A. That is what tbey stated when they came back with it to me.
Q. That was a few days after the money was paid 1-A. It was thirty days after the election.
Q. Was it before McLain qualified as postmaster I-A. I cannot say.
Q. Will you state to this committee that you absolutely furnished the $250 and went through the formality of taking this man's note ?-A. I did.
Q. Knowing at the time that you would not collect it from him 1-A. I thought that he would be man enough to pay it.
Q. But, in less than thirty days, the committee thought that he would not pay it, and you thought he would not pay it 1-A. I got that impression from Mr. Clark's conversation with me.
Q. Have you since been a candidate for reappointment as postmaster1-A. I have been.
Q. When 1-A. About two years ago, I should guess.
Q. After you had changed your politics ?-A. No, sir; I was a Republican then, I think.
Q. You said that the last Republican vote you gave was in 1872 1-A. I cannot say exactly when it was.
Q. You cannot tell when you did cbange your politics 1-A. Not exactly.
Q. You said that the last Republican ticket you voted was in 1872 1-A. No; I said I voted it afterwards. I mean to have you understand that I did vote it afterwards.
Q. When was it that you were stricken down at noon day, like Saul of Tarsus, and converted! When did you cease to be a Republican and become a Democrati-A. When I did not vote the Republican ticket any more.
Q. When was that 1--A. I think that was in 1873 or 1874.
Q. Were you a Republican candidate up there for county commissioner 1-A, I was, in 1872; I was a candidate of the Republican party and on the Labor Reform party.
Q. And you have the Labor Reform up there 1-Å. We did for a little, then, but there is not much of it now in New Hampshire.
Q. Were you appointed postmaster at the time that you were a candidate for reappointment 1-A. No, sir.
Q. You failed at that time -A. Yes, sir. I did not come down with money.
Q. Were you asked to come down with money 1-A. No, sir; but I was written to from Washington that I could not get it without coming down with the stamps.
Q. Did any officer write you to that effect 1-A. No, sir.
Q. What did he sayi-A. He said that I would not succeed unless I came down with money.
Q. Had the appointment been made at that time 1-A. No, sir.
Q. To whom did he say that the money was to be paid ?-A. He did not say a word about it.
Q. He just wrote in that indefinite manner, that, if you wanted the office, you must come down with money 1-A. Yes, sir; he said that that was the only thing that would fetch it.
Q. He was at that time and still is a clerk in the Post-Office Department?-A. Yes, sir.