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settleinent of his account, it being then publicly known, or at least known to me, that he was to be the Attorney-General. He expressed a natural desire that I should give, unofficially, my opinion about the value of his services, because he did not want to sit in judgment on his own bill in any way, and Mr. Phillips would feel less hesitaucy about acting in the matter if I would express an opinion upon it. He told me that he intended to present a bill for $5,000, crediting the Gov. ernment with the $2,500 which had been paid him, and that Mr. Bliss, who had been more constantly engaged, and, indeed, I believe had been engaged at that time every day possibly from the 10th of September to the 1st of January, if I am correct as to the dates, in continuous labor, proposed to make his bill $6,000, crediting the Government with the $2,500 which he bad received. In the mean time the information here had been prepared and elaborately argued, and the other work had been progressing in the preparation of the indictment, and these two gentlemen had been, as far as I could judge, very industriously and continuously employed about that work. I said that I had no right, of course, to interfere officially in such a matter, having now severed even my technical connection with the office, but that it seemed to me the charges were reasonable, and that if an expression of that opinion from me, while I disliked exceedingly to give it, would relieve a brother lawyer in any way I should be glad to take upon my head any responsibility that could be put there about it, and I said in this letter to President Arthur, as I had said to him personally over and over again, that the termination of my official connection with the star route cases must not be understood as indicating any unwillingness to be of service unofficially in the matter, and that, without limit and without reward, I would be glad to put any knowledge or any assistance that it might be in my power to give at the service of anybody interested in prosecuting those cases. I said, too, in these letters that I would be glad to take any responsibility that I properly could about the cases. I wrote to the Acting Attorney-General, Mr. Phillips, that I, if in his place, would see no difficulty in paying Mr. Brewster $5,000 for his services to the first of the year, and in paying Mr. Bliss $6,000 for his services from the middle of September to the 1st of January, according to my recollection of the dates; and Mr. Phillips accordingly ordered those bills to be paid. I ought not to assume even that he relied upon my letter, but I thought it right to write the letter, and did so.
Q. Did you understand that the $6,000 paid to Mr. Bliss and $5,000 paid to Mr. Brewster were in full for their services from the beginning of their employment up to the 1st of January 1-A. That is my recollection, but I am not sure that the date was the 1st of January; it may have been up to Christmas day; I know it was in the holidays.
Q. Did the payments to Mr. Bliss and Mr. Brewster include any bills for expenses ?-A. I will open this bundle and see what light these letters throw upon the subject. Here is a letter appointing Mr. Brewster, dated Department of Justice, September 29, 1881.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, September 29, 1881. Sir: You are hereby appointed special assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia, to aid in the prosecution of certain persons charged with being concerned in frauds on the United States in connection with what is known as the "star route" investigation, at a compensation to be determined by the Attorney-General when the suits are ended.
This appointment to take effect from the 15th instant, at which time you were orally engaged by me.
Yon will take the oath prescribed for district attorneys, and transmit the same to thi Department. Very respectfully,
Attorney-General. BENJAMIN HARRIS BREWSTER, Esq.,
I assume that a similar letter was sent to Mr. Bliss, but I do not find a copy of it among the papers furnished me. Now, I find a letter from Mr. Brewster, dated October 28, 1881, which I will read:
706 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA,
October 28, 1881. MY DEAR SIR: After we parted last night, Mr. Bliss advised with me as to our fees in the star-route cases, as von said we should do.
We have arrived at the following result, and agreed that I should promptly communicate it to you; so that we may have your immediate action, while you have the authority to act.
First, we now request you to pay ns each $2,500 for the services thus far given.
Second, that your succesor may be informed of the understanding between us, and be prepared to fulfil your engagement with us.
I repeat here what was expressed last night, as to the rate of compensation to be allowed us while we are in charge of these cases; and that was, we are to be paid, each, $100 a day while occupied in the cases, either out of court in the preparation of them, or in court in the trial and argument of them, together with our expenses. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
BENJAMIN HARRIS BREWSTER. To Hon. WAYNE MACVEAGH,
The Attorney-General of the United States, fc., Philadelphia.
Here is what is furnished me as a copy of my letter to Mr. Phillips in relation to the letter of Mr. Brewster which I have just read:
402 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA,
October 31, 1881. MY DEAR SIR: I beg to inclose you a letter I have received from Messrs. Brewster and Bliss, special counsel in the star-route cases. Considering the professional standing of these gentlemen, I have no doubt you will agree with me in thinking it proper to pay them the fees they now ask; but they are doubtless aware that you cannot bind the Government to any contract in the matter which would control the action of by successor when appointed.
I think, however, it would be proper for you to say that you recognize fully the gravity of the cases in their charge, the very great amount of labor connected with their prosecution, and the entire reasonableness of their expectation that the Department will compensate them fairly and justly for the industry, zeal, and ability it knows they will devote to the matter in question,
Of course, I only offer these suggestions for your consideration and decision, for you are acting Attorney-General, and I am only awaiting the appointment of my succesor, but I thought you would be glad to know my views on the subject. Sincerely, yours,
WAYNE MACVEAGH. Hon. SAMUEL F. PHILLIPS,
Indorsement (in the handwriting of Sol. Gen. Phillips): The Atty. Gen'l, Nov. 1,'81. Answered, Nov. 1, '81, saying that I wonld carry out the contract, referring to the clause "at a compensation to be determined,” &c., &c.; see letter appointing the gent.; that I was indisposed to do more than pay them $2,500 "on acct. of services in general," & say nothing of the $100 per day, &c. See Mr. Brewster's note to the Atty. Gen'l, inclosed & dated Oct. 28, 1881.
Q. Yon meant by that letter that you were not to be responsible for any fees that might be paid after the expiration of your term of serv. ice-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you expressly disclaimed any responsibility for contracts after that time?-A. Certainly. Now, I have here a letter of December 31, 1881, which I wrote Mr. Phillips in relation to the bills of Messrs. Brewster and Bliss:
402 WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA,
December 31, 1881. MY DEAR SIR: I have been shown the bills of Mr. Brewster and Mr. Bliss for services in the star-route cases to this date, and I have no doubt you will cheerfully approve them so that they may be paid.
I have, of course, no right to express an official opinion, but unofficially I venture to say that if in your place I would certainly approve them. Sincerely yours,
WAYNE MACVEAGH. Hon. SAMUEL F. PHILLIPS.
Q. Are those the only bills for attorney's fees that you approved even in an unofficial way ?-A. They are the only bills of those two gentlemen. That must have been the last letter that I was asked to write upon this subject, because it was then a month and a half after the termination of my official relation with the Department, and I could not have gone on writing letters of that kind.
By Mr. STEWART: Q. When did you first communicate with Mr. Bliss after the request of the Postmaster-General that he should be employed I-A. I should suppose it was at the time I communicated with Mr. Brewster, that is September 10, but Mr. James may have been in communication with Mr. Bliss. I think I saw Mr. Bliss at Elberon several days before Mr. Brewster was able to get there, because he was engaged in a case in the interior of Pennsylvania, and could not get to Elberon so soon, and it may have been a day or two before the 10th of September.
Q. Do you know whether you communicated with Mr. Bliss first by writing, or in a personal interview ?-A. It must have been in a personal interview.
Q. At Elberon ?-A. At Elberon.
Q. Was the subject of his conversation a matter of compensation between you at that time?-A. I think not at all.
Q. Let me ask you whether, in view of the magnitude and importance of the cases, the great sum of money involved in them, their difficulty, and the professional standing of Mr. Bliss and Mr. Brewster, the amount charged per diem by Mr. Bliss (I don't know that Mr. Brewster charged a per diem) is, in your judgment, unreasonable?
Mr. VAN ALSTYNE. That is a very broad question. Mr. STEWART. I intended it to be broad. It is a direct question and a fair question.
The WITNESS. I don't know that I am familiar with the matter of a per diem charge running over a very great length of time. I certainly would not think such a charge unreasonable within a limit of time, but whether for a year's service or two years' service one would charge a per diem or charge a gross sum I hardly know. My own charges have uniformly been upon the other basis, but I certainly do not think that for taking a person of Mr. Bliss' standing at the bar from his office in New York and obliging him to remain here away from it, $100 per day was an excessive charge according to the standard of charges at that bar. I ought to say, however, that the standard of charge at that bar is higher than at my own bar and always has been.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. I desire to call attention to the account against the United States rendered by Mr. Bliss and set forth in Ex. Doc. No. 40, first session Forty-eighth Congress, page 15. Please look at it, and state whether you recognize that as the one which you approved ?-A. [After looking at it. I have no knowledge that is the one, but I have no doubt it is. The amount is the same and the rate is about the same.
Q. What is the amount of that account?-A. $2,500. There is the same amount charged as paid to Mr. Brewster.
Q. The date of the approval of that account in the office of the Comptroller was November 10, 1881, so far as Mr. Bliss is concerned, and in Mr. Brewster's case the approval in the First Auditor's office is on November Sth, 1881. I desire also to ask you to look at the accounts of Mr. Brewster and Mr. Bliss, set forth on page 21, in reference to the remaining portion of the account.-A. (After looking at the document.! I don't remember that I saw the itemized account of Mr. Bliss or his bill for expenses. I may have done so, but I have no recollection of it. I have a recollection of the total of $6,000 and also of the total of Mr. Brewster's account, $5,000.
Q. As you see stated in these two papers ? -A. Yes, sir; they are the same, and those are the dates to which my unofficial letter to Mr. Phil. lips, which I have read, applies.
Q. Was your attention then called to the expense account of Mr. Bliss I–A. I could not say whether it was or not; of course, at that time I would not scrutinize such accounts, because I had no right to do 80, and no reason for doing so.
Q. What I desire to know is, whether your approval was simply of the charge of $6,000, or whether you had your attention called at the same time to Mr. Bliss' expense account ?-A. I do not recollect that; but the practice there has been to file the expense accounts with the other accounts, if there have been any expenses. I see that Mr. Brewster bas no expense account attached to his bill.
Q. No, Mr. Brewster has not filed any expense account; but Mr. Bliss, in addition to the $6,000, has an expense account amouuting to $388.83. -A. Yes.
Q. I see a note appended to this signed “W. L., Comptroller,” which is as follows:
Statement of a count of George Bliss, special U. S. district attorney, D. C. Sum allowed on the sole ground that the Attorney-General has approved, and his approval is conclusive as to this office.
Did you understand that to be the case, that the approval of the Attorney-General in regard to fees in the Department of Justice was conclusive upon the Comptroller?-A. I have never looked at that question; my own judgment was that Mr. Lawrence did not think anything was conclusive on him.
Q. I think this decision has been referred to as justifying the Comptroller in approving accounts subsequent to your time as Attorney-Gen. eral; but what I wish to ask yon now is whether your responsibility for the amounts which these attorneys were to receive ceased with the approval of those two accounts to which your attention has been called ? -A. Which two!
Q. The two accounts of Mr. Bliss and Mr. Brewster?-A. Of course; my official responsibility really ended with the payments to those gentlemen of the two sams of $2,500 each.
Q. I know you ceased to be Attorney-General about that time; but what I desire to know is whether you had made any legal contracts in relation to the fees of these gentlemen -A. My letter to Mr. Phillips speaks for itself; it states that no contracts were made. Their letter was a request that such a contract should be made, and my answer on that point to Mr. Phillips was that they were “ doubtless aware that you cannot bind the Government to any contract in the matter which would control the action of my successor when appointed."
Q. You speak of the reasonableness of the charges in the two cases, $5,000 by Mr. Brewster and $6,000 by Mr. Bliss, for the periods which those charges respectively cover I-A. Yes, sir. Q. And for nothing else 1-A. For nothing else.
By Mr. VAN ALSTYNE : Q. That reflected upon the value of the information that they had obtained or its probable value in the future conduct of the cases, and had reference to that, as well as to compensation for the time that had been in its procurement 1-A. No; I really thought that that time, say from the 10th of September to the 1st of January, three months and a half, devoted by such lawyers to the service of the Government, in such a cause, was fully worth what they asked, and that the sims for which the accounts were rendered were simply reasonable, decent professional compensation. Of course, that is only my judgment, and I may be wrong about it.
Q. Did you at any time understand, or do you now understand, from the construction you give to the letters which passed between you and these gentlemen and the Department, and from your recollection of all that occurred in connection with the matter, that you ever undertook to allow them a per diem of $100 and expenses for any indefinite length of time that they might be connected with the cases ?-A. Oh, certainly not. But, just as I answered a question of Governor Stewart, and as I stated in my letter, I did expect that whoever succeeded me would compensate them fairly and justly for their services in that matter, having due regard to its magnitude and difficulty; and, for days actually spent here, away from their offices and business, it does not seein to me that, within limits, $100 a day is excessive compensation, especially to a member of the New York bar.
Q. Please explain what you mean by 5 within limits.”-A. I simply mean this: that I think, as between men of business, a lawyer being on one side and a business man on the other, if he is going to require your services elsewhere than at home, for a considerable length of time, it does not naturally occur to either of you that the compensation will be a per diem, but rather you will be asked how much you will render the service for; or rather, when it is done, you will present your bill, stating the length of time occupied and the time having a very close relation to your bill; but, after all, the bill is not controlled by that; whereas if you are away only a week, the time has a still closer relation to the compensation, because you put a certain pecuniary value upon your time in your profession in your own office, at your own bar.
Q. If the time occupied was fifty days you think that would be a provident arrangement, but if the time extended to 150 days, do you think that arrangement would be a provident one?-A. Well, even for 150 days I am not sure that it would be an improvident arrangement. I do not know how long Judge Porter was here in the Guiteau case, but I should not think that Judge Porter's services in that case, considering the responsibility and the disagreeableness of it in every way, would be more than fairly compensated by a fee of $15,000, if he was 150 days