Imágenes de páginas

the scope of the resolution calling upon the Postmaster-General for copies of all correspondence relating to the subject.

Q. Do they relate to the conduct of the prosecution of the star-route cases ?-A. They relate to the general conduct of the cases, the subpænaing of witnesses, and so on.

Q. Then you will please put them into the record.
The witness subinitted the following:



Washington, D. C., December 17, 1881. SIR: From an examipation of the records of this Department I have been convinced that money has been (paid) ont of the funds of the Government to certain persons under circumstances which bring such payments within section 4057 of the Revised Statutes in a number of instances.

The evidence which seems to me sufficient to paintain suits by the United States to recover such mopeys is on file in this Department. Copies of much of it are already in your hands.

In compliance with law I hereby request that unless yon shall differ from me as to the weight of the evidence, you will cause suits to be instituted in the name of the United States for the recovery of said moneys illegally paid from the parties who received the same. Very respectfully,


Postmaster-General. Hon. GEORGE BLISS,

Of Counsel in " Star Route" Mail Cases.


WASHINGTON, December 18, 1881. DEAR SIR: The request contained in your letter of yesterday that suits should be commenced to recover moneys illegally paid to contractors with the Post-Office Department is received.

When I first became connected with the cases known as the star-route cases, I called the attention of the Attorney-General to the propriety of commencing civil suits such as you suggest. He fully agreed with me, but the matter has been delayed in consequence of the unexpected labor connected with the preparation of the crimiDal cases. I was and am unwilling that any idea should go forth that criminal proceedings were to be forborne or delayed and civil proceedings substituted. If frauds, such as I believe can be shown to have been committed in these cases, cannot be punished by convictions in the criminal courts, it is more important to show this fact to the law-making power and the public, and thus secure a change in the law, than to recover for the Government even the whole of the large amount wrongfully taken from the Treasury. I do not believe that our criminal laws-defective as the United States Statufes are in all criminal matters-are so defective that crimes such as these are not punishable. Nor do I believe that there will be any hesitation on the part of juries in convicting on proper evidence, such evidence as I believe we can present. Under this conviction, I have temporarily put aside the question of civil suits, and have devoted myself to the criminal cases. Even you, familiar as you are with these cases, can have little idea of the amount of labor which has necessarily been bestowed upon the preparation of them. The witnesses are scattered over thousands of miles. Hardly one of them is less than 1,500 miles from this city, and many of them are twice that distance. These witnesses have been sought out by your inspectors with an energy, fidelity, and perseverence rarely combined in subordinates, either in public or private life. Tbe thousands of pages of testimony thus gathered, together with that furnished by the voluminous records of the Post-Office and Treasury Departments, have been examined, arranged, and abstracted, first by Inspector Woodward and then by counsel, with an amount of personal labor far beyond anything I anticipated when I came into the cases, and far beyond anything I would then have been willing to undertake. In this examination breaks and omissions in the chain of testimony have been discovered and supplied.

The criminal cases naturally divide themselves into four or five great combinations. We have this week completed, to our satisfaction, the preparation, for the grand jury and for trial, of the evidence as to one of these combinations, and though, as a general rule, I prefer not to say anything as to what we expect to do, I may mention that I intend to issue this week subpenas for about sixty witnesses to appear before the grand jury as soon after the New Year as that body will be ready to examine them.

A good deal of progress has been made in the preparation of the criminal cases connected with the other great combinations, so much, indeed, that, so far as I can perceive, there is no danger that the statute of limitations can bar any of the cases. I hope they will be ready for the grand jury and for trial as soon as jury and court can attend to them.

Under these circumstances, your request for the commencement of civil suits seems to me timely, Personally, I have no authority to commence such suits ; but you and I know that the senior counsel, who was yesterday confirmed as Attorney-General, will not hesitate to give the requisite authority, for one of the chief reasons for his selection for that position was his avowed determination to press the star-route cases. I shall at once transmit to him a copy of your letter, and ask his approval. When received I will cause civil suits to be commenced in those cases in which the evidence in the possession of the Government seems to justify such a course.

You will, I know, agree with me that these civil suits should not in any way supersede the criminal prosecutions, for punishment of the offenders is of infinite more im. portance than the recovery of money. Both civil and criminal proceedings will be pushed as rapidly as is consistent with justice to the Government and to the defend. ants, though it is quite possible that you will not find the progress so rapid as you desire. Your obedient servant,


Special Counsel. Hon. THOMAS L. JAMES,




Washington, D. C., February 15, 1882. SIR: I have the honor to inclose here with the account of A. G. Sharp, post-office inspector at San Francisco, amounting to $217.56, for expenses incurred in serving subpænas in connection with the star-route cases.

This voucher is submitted with the hope that you may be able to pay the same from the funds at your disposal.

As the inspector has advanced the amount above mentioned, I respectfully ask that the matter be considered at as early a date as possible. Very respectfully,

T. 0. HOWE,

Postmaster-General. Hon. BENJAMIN H. BREWSTER,

Attorney-General' United States.



Washington, D. C., February 16, 1862. DEAR SIR: Referring to our conversation of to-day, I beg to state the facts in the cases as I understand them,

Various postmasters in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona were understood to possess important information bearing on the pending “star-route cases." To subpona them would have taken time that could not well be spared, and would have involved considerable expense. I consulted the Postmaster-General to learn whether there existed any authority to direct a postmaster to report here, and was informed that sich authority was exercised not infrequently. No question was raised as to the expense, but leters were sent by Postmaster-General James requiring them to report here at once, there being added a statement that their reasonable expenses would be paid, or some equivalent phrase. Such letters were written to twelve or fifteen post

masters. None of them were, I think, subpænaed, certainly none till after they had received the Postmaster-General's letter and were on their way or just starting in obedience to such letter. On their arrival here I have taken them up as witnesses under subpæpas, getting an admission of service, and have got for them their mileage and per diem as witnesses.

In several cases they claimed and satisfied me that their mileage and per diem did not cover their actual expenses, but tbis arose chiefly from the fact that they were compelled to employ assistance in their office during their absence. On calling the attention of Mr. Hatton to three of these cases he undertook to provide for the excess by making an allowance for clerk hire. The postmasters were satisfied, were paid their mileage and per diem, and went home. It now appears that a question has arisen as to the right or power of the Department to reimburse these postmasters. They stand upon the letter of your predecessor, stating that their expenses should be paid, and claim this has not been done.

So far as I am at present informed, these claims are about 38 follows:
Postmaster, Durango.
Postmaster, Saguache ......
Postmaster, Pagosa Springs..
Postmaster, Oji Caliente...................................
Postmaster, El Rito ........
Postmaster, Mineral Park.............

140 00 Of these I am not sure that those at Oji Caliente or El Rito involve any portion of expense for clerk hire.

Mr. Hatton seemed confident this morning that there was no appropriation from which they could be paid, unless, perhaps, from that as to clerical service.

Of course, I must defer to his judgment if he has examined the matter, but I venture to suggest whether the appropriation for Colonel Parker's branch of the service is not in some form available.

Also, whether there is not a contingent fund available.

I cannot but feel that if you are really satisfied the men onght to be paid you will find a way to do it. Your obedient servant,


Special 48sistant United States Allorney. Hon. T. 0. Howe,




Washington, D. C., February 17, 1882. DEAR SIR: In reply to your letter of the 16th instant, touching the payment of witnesses who have been brought from different portions of the West, to testify in the 80-called star-route cases, I have to say that it appears from your letter that such witnesses have received the mileage and per diem allowed by law to witnesses.

As I understand it, that is the only compensation the law provides for any witness brought from any part of the country. I cannot understand buw the fact that the witness is a post master should entitle him to extra compensation, any more than if he were a banker, lawyer, or doctor. It is urged that my predecessor made some special promise to induce the attendance of these witnesses. I have consulted the Sixth Auditor and the Assistant Attorney-General of the Department. Their opinions coincide with mine, that I have no fund out of which I can legally make extra payment, even in case such promise was made. Very truly, yours,

T. 0. HOWE,

Postmaster-General. Hon. GEORGE BLIBB,

Post-Ofice Department, Washington, D. C.



Washington, D. C., February 17, 1882. DEAR SIR: I have your favor of to-day. I cannot perceive how the fact that when the Postmaster-General has directed a postmaster to report here, and has given him a writteu promise to pay his expenses, the claini of the postmaster for a fulfillment of that promise is satisfied because another Department volunteers to pay to him a portion of those expenses, though he did not come bere under subppoa, and he reduces bis claim upon the Post-Office Department to the mere balance, crediting against his actual expenses the amount thus received. The postinastery obviously look at it as a matter of bail faith on the part of the Government, not appreciating the force of the plea of a want of appropriation.

Having done my best to get them their pay, I can do no more, except that I have directed that copies of the correspondence be transmitted to each such postmaster, and have told them I know of no mode of relief except by application to Congress. Your obedient servant,


Special Assistant United States Attorney. Hon. T. 0. HOWE,



Washington, D. C., February 18, 18H2. DEAR SIR: I have your favor of the 17th instant. In reply I beg to say I was not aware that any one had urged voluntary contributions of the Department of Justice made to witnesses as the fulfillment of a promise made by the Postmaster-General to pay such witnesses their expenses.

I was not aware that the Department of Justice bad made voluntary contributions to any witnesses. I assumed that the Department of Justice was supplied with funds to pay all witnesses, while this Department was intrusted only with funds sufficient to pay postmasters.

In the cases under consideration it seems that certain persons who had served both as postmasters and as witnesses, and who had received the pay awarded to both serv. ices, still claimed compensation, not allowed by law to either, upon the ground that a Postmaster-General had expressly promised each compensation. I did not know whether such promise had been made or not. If made, I assumed it had been made at your suggestion, and that you might be able to designate the fund out of which some Department might redeem such promise. I know of no such funds under the control of this Department. This morning the Assistant Attorney-General for the Post Office Department refers ine to section 850 of the Revised Statutes. That section seems to authorize the Department of Justice, not the Post-Office Department, to pay any officer, when sent away as a witness, his “expenses" instead of his "mileage and per diem,"

Under that section I repectfully submit that if the expenses of the witnesses who complain of “bad faith" exceed the sum you have paid them as per diem and mileage, you may safely pay them such balance.

If, on the contrary, their expenses are less than the sum paid, I respectfully inquire if the difference should not be ascertained and reported to this Department, and stopped from their future salaries.

As you have directed copies of this correspondence to be sent to the witnesses who complain, and whose names are not known to me, will you be good enough to direct eopies of this letter to be sent to the same. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Postmaster-General. GEORGE BLISS, Esq.,

Post-Office Department, Washington, D. C.



Washington, D. C., May 6, 1892. DEAR SIR: I have to request that you will by telegraph direct the following-named postmasters to report here on May 15 to testify in the star-route cases. Their proper expenses will be paid by the Department of Justice. Titus W. Fouch, Gardner, Huer fano County, Colo.; Zacbariah R. Petty, Bijou Basin, Colo.; Wm. Dowlin, For Stanton, Lincolo County, New Mexico; Rich'd H. Clendenin, Martiosdale, Montana If to any of these points there is no telegraph, I suggest that you forward through the postmaster at the nearest telegraplı station. Your obedient servant,


Special Assistant Attorney. Hon. T. 0. HOWE, Postmaster-General.



Washington, D. C., May 10, 1882. DEAR SIR: I verbally requested Mr. Lyman, who was accidentally in the office, to ask that John C. Manning, postmaster at San Antonio, be directed to report here as soon as possible with all correspondence, letters, and telegrams in his possession or under his control from Thomas J. Brady, J. B. Price, John L. French, and J. J. Ellis, or either of them. I now repeat tho request, and add that I will see that his reasonable expenses are paid by the Department of Justice. A subpæna has been issued, but I desire his attendance earlier than a subpæna could go and return. Your obedient servant,


Special desistant Attorney. How. T. 0. HOWE,




Washington, D. C., May 20, 1882. DEAR SIR: I will be obliged if you will, by telegraph, request William M. Kridor, postmaster at Mineral Park, Ariz., to come to Washington at once. He proves to be a necessary witness in the case against Dorsey. His exponses will be paid by the Department of Justice.

I see by the papers that heretofore it has been the practice to reach Mineral Park by telegraphing to Prescott, and forwarding thence to Mineral Park, but there may be more direct communication pow. Your obedient servant,


Assistant Attorney. Hon. T. 0. Howe, Postmaster-General.



Washington Norember 7, 1882. SIR: With this I send you the correspondence between Mr. George Bliss and myself with reference to star-ronte prosecutions-more especially those that are against Salisbury and others.

Mr. Bliss makes a full report with reference to these cases, and expresses an opinion of the necessity for some preparation and assistance before further proceedings are had in these cases against Salisbury and others named in his letter, and indicates that the preparation and assistance should come from your Department.

I call your attention to this correspondence, and I also desire you to say if it is the wish of your Department to have these cases further pursued, or if, in your opinion, they cannot be pursued prosperously. If you think they ought to be pursued, will you give directions to have the assistance furnished that Mr. Bliss calls for !

The preparation and arrangement of the evidence in your Department must necessarily be made by officers of your Department. And oblige, truly and respectfully,


Attorney-General, Hon. TIMOTHY 0. HOWE,


« AnteriorContinuar »