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Allowance in first part of order No. 5270 .....
.......... $11,990 32 Deduct proper allowance on the basis of $4,760 per annum for seven times a week service ...
.. 2,763 87 Overpayınent .................................................. 9, 226 45 Total overpayment per annum......
· 18,306 45 The overpayment per annum by order No. 10520 was $6,810 from December 16, 1876, to Juve 15, 1870.
Thus it appears that the total overpayment was over $18,000, and the counmittee will remember that that service started at $680 per annam.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Who were the contractors ?-A. A man named Griffith, a stage. drirer for Kerens—the Kerens combination.
Sow, Mr. Gibson says the San Antonio and Corpus Christi route, to which I have called attention, ought to have been taken up and pushed along. I have here the opinion" of Mr. Gibson, in which he says as to the Phenix and Prescott route, of which I have just been speaking :
There is no proof of fraud in this case. There are suspicious circunstances, such as the advertisement of the route as 140 miles long, while in reality it is only 108 miles, and the bid of $680 and the subsequent raising to $:32,640; but, in the first instance-the advertisement of the distance as greater than it really is the contractor cannot be held responsible for the laches of the Post-Office Department; and, in the second place, while the euormous increase of price is suspicions, still the Department cannot base its action upon mere suspicion. There must be absolute proof of fraud, either in obtaining the increase or in performing the service after the increase has been obtained. In this case there is, as remarked above, no proof whatever of fraud. The service is, according to all the evidence, capitally performed, the contractor employing first-class stock and equipments, and making faster time by several hours than the terms of his contract calls for. The necessity of the present schedule time is admitted by all who speak or testify in regard to this route. There bave been large reductions already made in the service leading to and from Prescott, and I don't believe the Department would be justified, either by the evidence or public policy, in making any change in this route. Inspector Sharpe does not recommend that the old schedule be restored, but, on the contrary, says it would be unwise to do so. The schedule cannot legally be changed unless proof of fraud is clear and positive. There can be no half-way work; it must be either left where it is or put back to the original schedule. The latter, in my judgment, as before stated, would be illegal, and, of course, unwise public policy. J. H. R.
By Mr. MILLIKEN: Q. What did you do in regard to that route?-A. Mr. Woodward having heard, in a way that he will explain to you, that there had been an undertaking on Gibson's part to protect the contractor on that route, went to the papers to see if there was any deviltry there, and he came down to me with those papers of which I had already spoken, and, as I told you, if I had had any confidence in Mr. A. M. Gibson, special counsel, before, it disappeared from that time. What I did was this: This knowledge came to us in December or January, when we were in the midst of the Dorsey case. I wrote a letter to the Postmaster-General, in which I insisted that he should stop the pay of Griffith on that route, and the Department is now holding on to $25,000 or $30,000 which would have been obtained by the contractor if we had not interfered ; and as to the letter wbich I wrote on that occasion, I am credibly informed that any man who has sufficient influence to get that letter withdrawn can have $5,000 for doing it.
Q. Who is interested in having it withdrawn?-A. Mr. William M. Griffith, the contractor, who was a stage-driver for Kerens.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. The withdrawal of your letter would imply the payment of the contractor, would it?-A. Well, I suppose they think that if that letter is out of the way there will be one obstacle out of the way. This memorandum, from which I have read an extract, was prepared in connection with the recommendation of Judge Gresham that a suit should be commenced to recover from the contractor upon that route, not only the money that has been stopped, but an additional amount, the overpas. ments already made.
Q. What is the nature of your information as to the opinion of those parties as to the desirability of having that letter withdrawn?-A. Simply that a gentleman came to me and asked me about the letter, and finally said that if he could get the letter withdrawn he could get $5,000.
Q. What is that gentleman's name ? - A. I do not think I have any right to give you the name.
Q. Was he attorney for the contractor ?–A. I presume he was; I do not know,
Q. What reason did he assign ?-A. Simply that he thought that if that letter was out of the way they could get their pay. I did not know but what I might be like the Vicksburgh quartermaster who asked to be recalled, and when the authorities did not recall him he asked again to be recalled. Finally they asked to be informed why he wanted to be recalled, and he said he did not know how much temptation he could stand ; that certain parties had offered him $20,000, and if they should make it $25,000 he was not certain but he might accept it. Laughter.] The result in this case was that I went to the Second Assistant Postmaster-General and told him that if that letter of mine was ever withdrawn he might conclude that somebody had made $5,000 out of the withdrawal.
Q. Did you understaud that what tbis gentleman said was an offer of $5,000 to you?-A. No, sir,
Q. To whom, then?-A. The offer was to this gentleman himself, to induce him to get the letter withdrawn.
Q. You did not understand that the offer was to pay you $5,000 A. No, sir.
Q. Who was to get it?--A. This gentleman who told me about it; he was a lawyer; he came to press me about it; I told him I could not do anything about it, and finally I asked, “What difference does it make to you?" And then he said, “Well, if I could get that letter removed I could make $5,000.”
By Mr. MILLIKEN: Q. He simply wanted you to facilitate a prosperous transaction on his part ?-A. Yes, sir; I had already refused, and he had given the thing up. I had told him that I could not do anything about it, and then I turned upon him and asked him why he was interested, and he said what I have stated.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. He wanted you to do him an act of kindness I-A. Well, be did not say anything about that at all after I told him I would not do it.
Now, I have given you a statement of the case of these two routes, one of which Mr. Gibson says ought to have been prosecuted immediately, and as to the other of which he reported that there was no evi. dence of fraud.
Q. Is this Phænix and Prescott route the one where you say the speed was expedited from one mile and a fraction to three miles and a fraction, leaving it still below the minimum of the rates of an ordinary horse's walk -A. Yes, sir.
Q. Does the report state something about tbe speed ? A. No, sir; I think the report simply states that the contractor is doing the service at a higher rate of speed than is called for. The route from Phenix to Prescott bad developed a good deal, and the stages were going through and carrying the mail at a faster rate than the contract required. On the subsequent reletting the price, though the route was extended 16 or 18 miles further south, it was relet for $6,000 or $8,000 by public bidding.
Mr. Gibson, in his capacity as a lawyer, stated here that productiveness had nothing to do with the question of price; that the law about productiveness was an old law dating away back, and had been repealed. The difficulty about that is that Judge Wylie differed with Mr. Gibson on that point, and ruled in that evidence as to productive. ness, and there is one stage in the case where you will find in the record about 20 pages of tabular matter put in solely as to productive. ness, after elaborate argument by counsel.
Q. So that productiveness did have something to do with it?-A. Yes.
There is one other thing that I want to say. I want to call attention to the fact that Mr. Cook states that Mr. Cole, who got that $4,000 from Dorsey, was his (Cook's) partner only in civil cases, and that he had nothing to do with criminal cases, yet Mr. Cook, on page 115 of your record, expressly testifies that Mr. Cole had access to the safe in which he says were the copies of our papers. Of course I do not mean to say that Mr. Cole ever saw them; I presume he did not; but Mr. Cook says that Mr. Cole had access to that safe.
One other thing I ought to say. There has been some reference made to the fact that Mr. John L. French was included in the information, and that his name does not appear subsequently in any of the indictments. When we went before the grand jury in the Dorsey case we included Mr. French among the persons we were endeavoring to have in
icted, and the grand jury declined to indict French, and I must say that I do not think that was unjustifiable action on their part. Mr. French carried out many of the orders of Brady, and made orders in pursuance of Brady's directions, but I am bound to say that while it was evidence that would have justified the indictment of Mr. French, at the same time all that we showed him to have done was consistent with the conduct of a subordinate carrying out, in good faith, the orders of his superior. I mention that because the disappearance of the name of Mr. French from the indictment has attracted attention, and ought to be explained.
One other thing, and then I have done, so far as regards these details. It was stated by Mr. Cook twice over that the bogus bond cases in the police court might have been disposed of very quickly, and that they were finally disposed of in my absence. The records of the police court are not very full, but the records of the press show that the complaints were filed on the 7th of January; that on the 11th of January Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook appeared and represented the Government, Mr. Bliss making the opening; that Mr. Tidball and Mr. Woodward were examined (the examination, I should say, was begin each day after Judge Snell bad got through with his current business); that on the 11th of January Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook were present; that on
the 13th Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook were present, and that there was argument and the examination of witnesses; that on the 17th Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibson were present, and that on the 19th witnesses failed; that on the 20th Mr. Bliss and Mr. Gibson were present, and Mr. Gibson testified; that on the 24th there was a further hearing, Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibson being the only persons mentioned as present to represent the Governinent, and, without looking the matter up, I presume that is true, and that it was on a Monday, before I had got back from New York; that on the 25th Mr. Bliss was present for the Government; that on the 26th Mr. Bliss was present; that on the 27th Mr. Bliss was present; tbat on the 31st Mr. Bliss was present; that on February 1 Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook were present ; that on the 27th the defense opened ; that on the 2d of February Mr. Bliss and Mr. Cook were present, and that ou the 3d of February there was argument; that on the 7th of February Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibson represented the Goverument; that on the 9th of February the case was continued until the 14th on account of a death in the family of Colonel Bliss; that on February 14 Mr. Bliss, Mr. Cook, and Mr. Gibson appeared for the Government, and, after consultation, the hearing was adjourned ; that on February 15 Mr. Bliss opened the argument, fol. lowed by Mr. Bine and Mr. Totten for the defense; that on February 16 there was additional argument, and the decision of Judge Snell that there was sufficient evidence to hold the defendants for the grand jury. Now, whether I was present or not on the 16th, when Judge Snell gave his decision, I cannot say, but you see that the record shows that I made an argument on the 15th ; that I was followed by counsel on the other side, and that on the next day the defendants were held by the judge. I think, therefore, that this record disposes of the intimation of Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibsou that, I being absent, they took advantage of my absence to shorten things up, and get the case disposed of.
Mr. Cook testifies that in the fali of 1881 he had an interview in New York with Mr. Price, who told him that he did not know anytbing wrong about this route, which Mr. Gibson says we ought to have taken up and procerded upon at that time, and he lugs in the information which we obtained from Price a year later, after Cook & Co. had gone out of the case, and assigns that as a reason why we onght to have proceeded with the case a year earlier, although by Mr. Cook's own testimony he had been told by Mr. Price that he had no knowledge of auything wrong about it.
One other thing. It may have been inferred from my testimony when I was before the committee the last time, that Mr. Bosler's clerk was present at the time the books were examined. There was a gentleman present when Mr. Bosler first brought the books there, but, not having his check-book, there was no examination made that amounted to any. thing, and subsequently, when he did bring the books, there was nobody present. When I speak of this gentleman, Mr. Bosler's clerk, that is rather an assumption of mine than anything else. I do not remember just who the man was or what his position was
It has been claimed before you that my employment in the star-route cases was of a political nature on account of my relation to General Arthur. I think that the letters written by me to Mr. James, which I have produced here, are perhaps sufficient to dispose of that proposition, but it is probably not improper for me in this connection to go into a little personal history. I had known General Garfield for a good while, and I had charge of the investigation in New York consequent upon the publication of the Morey letter, in which we did some pretty sharp work
in the courts just before the election. I was in constant correspondence with General Garfield in connection with that matter, and he was exceedingly grateful to me, and I received a most flattering letter from him upon that subject. General Garfield twice in March and April, or April and Mav, authorized the offer to me of the position of United States district attorney at New York. The first time the otfer did not reach me, owing to some complications which arose here. The second time the offer did reach me and the position was declined. Now, consequent upon the publication of my testimony in this matter the other day there called upon me in New York Mr. Henry E. Knox, who was General Garfield's intimate friend at college, and, I think, his chum. Mr. Knox stated to me, what I had never known before, that early in April of that year he saw President Garfield and told him that from what he learned of these star-route cases, there was a bigger job on hand than he might suppose, and he thought it was necessary to have some other counsel in the cases than the people who were engaged that he did pot think they were the right men. He says that President Garfield asked him whom he would suggest, and that he (Mr. Knox) replied that he would suggest me. General Garfield concurred, and asked Mr. Knox to go to Mr. James and say so to him. This I never knew anything about, as I have said, until the information reached me through the publication of my testimony the other day; but I do know that Mr. James spoke to me about the matter early in July in a casual way, and that prior to that, as early, certainly, as May, Mr. Knox, when I met him on the cars, asked me if I had heard anything from Mr. James about the star-route cases. I told him I had not, and he did not pursue the subject. As Mr. James had been here already, and I did not think the matter of sufficient importance to justify bringing him back, I wrote him a letter, reciting what Mr. Knox had said, and asking Mr. James if he had any recollection on the subject, and in reply I have received from him this morning the following letter:
(Lincoln National Bank, East Forty-second street, opposite Grand Central depot, Thos. L. James,
president, A. Van Santvoord, vice-president, J. H. B. Edgar, cashier.)
NEW YORK, March 31, 1884. DEAR SIR: Referring to yours of the 28th, reciting the fact that Henry E. Knox, esq., of this city, in a conversation with President Garfield, which took place early in 1o81, suggested your pame as that of a proper person to take charge of the star route eases; that the President concurred, and that Mr. Knox communicated with me to this effect, I have to say that this is my recollection of what transpired. Very truly yours,
THOS. L. JAMES. The Honorable GEORGE BLISS.
Without concluding the examination of the witness, the committee adjourned.
WASHINGTON, April 2, 1884. GEORGE BLISS recalled and further examined:
Mr. Chairman, I was interrupted yesterday when I was about to make a statement as to one of these tables I have presented here, and I desire simply to say that this table of revenues shows the following results on nineteen routes which were included in the Dorsey indictment. The original pay of the contractors on all those routes was $41,135 a year. It was increased so that it became 8448,670.90. The revenues received