Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

telegraphed me as follows, and I quote this merely to show that, with all this " viciousness" or mine, I had not been very effective in “ protecting” any body-Mr. Merrick telegraphed me stating that Mr. Henkle was speaking; that the Attorney-General was to be there on Tuesday, and then he closed with these words: “They are beaten and demoralized.” So that it would appear that in Mr. Merrick's opinion, at least, if I had been endeavoring to protect Mr. Dorsey, I had not been very efficient.

Now, finally, on this question as to whether I was endeavoring to protect Mr. Dorsey, or to do anything in that directiou, I feel at liberty to state to the committee that, meeting Judge Wylie the other day, I said to him that I would like to ask him a question which he might answer or not, just as he chose, or just as he felt at liberty, and I theu asked him this question : “Did you see anywhere during that trial any disposition on my part to let up on Stephen W. Dorsey ?” The judge replied promptly : “ Why, the idea is a perfect absurdity !" And he then went on to express his view of my services on the trial in terms which I shall not repeat, because I trust that this committee will have Judge Wylie before them. It is sufficient to say that a man with the most unbounded vanity could not desire more than Judge Wylie said upon that subject. Yone of the counsel in the case ever intimated to me that there was any question of my fidelity with reference to the prosecution of Dorsey. I never dreamed of it until Mr. Ker trotted it out here, and trotted it out at the instigation and with the fixing up of Mr. Brewster Cameron. Mr. KER. There is no truth in that at all.

The WITNESS. I know what I am saying. Of course Mr. Brewster Cameron has been very efficient in his services, but the most fruitful investigation that this committee could make would be to investigate Mr. Cameron in connection with what are known as the jury-bribery cases. That happens to be the only portion of the investigation which does not hit anybody but Democrats and Mr. Brewster Cameron. It bits Mr. Ker, and it hits other gentlemen; it does not hit me; but this committee has, somehow, managed to pass that all over, and, with Mr. Brewster Cameron in attendance here every day, there has been no more made to investigate that part of the case.

Mr. VAN ALSTYNE. We are pleased to have our attention called to it. We have never had it brought to our attention before.

The WITNESS. I have called your attention to it now, gentlemen. Mr. FYAN. You ought to have done it when you were on the stand before.

By the CHAIRMAN : Q. What do you understand to be the facts of that matter?-A. I know nothing about that, and am not going to testify about it. The charge was made that Mr. Brewster Cameron undertook to bribe the jury on the first trial, and out of that there came a scandal that affected the whole case, and various attempts at indictments; all of which, I submit, it is desirable to investigate. Mr. Brewster Cameron went and had an interview, ont of which grew a scandal.

Q. Did you have your attention as Government counsel called to the fact that there were attempts to bribe the jury on either trial ?-A. No, sir; to no facts of that kind except those arising out of this matter, and the Attorney-General directed me expressly by letter to have nothing to do with anytbing connected with the bribery investigation, as he was attending to that himself.

By Mr. VAN ALSTYNE : Q. You do not pretend to understand that affair in its full scope – A. I do not know anything about it. I simply know what I read in the papers, but from them I do know that there was a dirty scandal there, and that the charge was that the Department of Justice and the prosecution were endeavoring to bribe jurors on their side; and, inasmuch as you saw by Mr. Merrick's testimony that, as Mr. Stewart said, Mr. Merrick left only one inference, that that jury was corrupt, if the prosecution rested under any suggestion that they, too, had attempted to bribe the jury, wliy, then, it was a case of “the pot calling the kettle black."

By Mr. FYAN: Q. What you say about it now is, that if the prosecution was engaged in any such thing you had nothing to do with it.-A. I do not mean to say that they were engaged in it; I mean to say that a scandal arose out of Brewster Cameron's interview with Dickson and some others, and that I had nothing to do with that matter.

Q. What authority have you for saying that there were none but Democrats implicated in that affair Brewster Cameron is not a Dem. ocrat, I believe.-A. I have this authority, simply speaking from the papers, that Mr. Ker was concerned more or less, as I understand it, in advising Brewster Cameron to go and have that interview.

Q. Do you mean to intimate that Mr. Ker was a party to that I-A. I do not mean to intimate anything of the kind.

Q. Didn't you say awhile ago that this committee had failed to investigate that matter, and that an investigation would develop the fact that there was nobody implicated in it but Democrats and Brewster Cameron ?-A. I think so.

Q. What was your authority for that statement :-A. My knowledge of the case.

Q. But you do not know any of the facts of that matter?-A. I don't know anything about it but what I have heard. Mr. Cameron himself testified that he went there and had the interview.

The CHAIRMAN. He has not so testified before this committee.
The WITNESS. I know that.

Q. Can you name any other Democrat than Mr. Ker that you think is implicated in that business ?-A. Mr. Dickson is a prominent Democrat, and he was implicated—I do not mean to say whether guiltily or not guiltily.

Q. You understand the meaning of language, and I understand you to say, or to convey the idea, that one reason why this committee did not examine into that matter was that there were none but Democrats implicated in it, except Mr. Brewster Cameron. Is that the idea that you wished to convey ?-A. I don't know whether that is the reason or not; I simply state the fact. I think that probably had some influence in my mind. That is my judgment. I think also that the services of Mr. Brewster Cameron in various ways to this committee would naturally lead to anything that led up to him not being touched. That is my judgment about it.

Q. Have you any knowledge on which to base your declarations! Do you know that this committee ever had any such information before it A. No; I have no knowledge that this committee ever had any such information; but, inasmuch as you have had before you the evidence of Mr. Dickson relating to his reading a paper in the jury room, and about his being approached to be bribed, and all that sort of thing, and as there was just as much in the press about that scandal and more than there was about other things which you have investigated, all I have to say is that if the knowledge of that matter now reaches this committee for the first time, why, really, the committee have not been so wide awake as I supposed they were.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee have had information brought to their knowledge that attempts were made in both directions, and have received some ex parte testimony.

By Mr. MILLIKEN: Q. Were those attempts to bribe made on the part of the Government.-A. They were alleged to have been so made. It was alleged that there were attempts on the part of Brewster Cameron and others to secure a conviction in that way; and then it was alleged that after that was exploded and it got into court there was an attempt on the part of the Government to squelch the investigation. I do not mean to say that any such charge as that was well founded, but that was the allegation.

Q. And I understand you to say that Mr. Brewster, the AttorneyGeneral, directed you by letter to have nothing to do with that investi. gation !-A. Mr. Brewster did, I think by letter.

Q. Have you that letter -A. I think I can furnish it. I have not got it here.

By the CHAIRMAN: Q. So far as regards the point of none but Democrats being impli. cated, that allegation is not based upon the fact that the foreman of the jury was Mr. William Dickson, and that he was the person upon whom the attempt at bribery was made; and was not he the only Democrat connected with the affair?-A. I do not know that any Democrat was wrongly connected with the matter.

Q. But I ask you whether Mr. Dickson is not the only Democrat whose name was mentioned in connection with the subject l-A. I simply say that the names published in connection with that matter were Brewster Cameron, Mr. Ker, Mr. Dickson, and a man named Falls.

Q. Who was Falls –A. Some kind of a lawyer here—not the lawyer of the same name who was formerly chief clerk of the Department of Justice.

Q. Do you not know that the only Democrat supposed to be implicated in that matter was Mr. William Dickson, unless you mean to implicate Mr. Ker 1-A. I do not mean to implicate even Mr. Dickson. I simply say that the names mentioned in connection with the matter were those I have stated here, and that of those, Mr. Brewster Cameron was the only Republican. I have no reason to believe that Mr. Ker was or would be engaged in any attempt at bribery. I have no reason to believe any such thing at all, but my recollection is very distinct that Mr. Ker's name was connected first with the giving of advice to Mr. Brewster Cameron to go and have the interview at which Mr. Dickson alleges that there was an attempt made to bribe him, and, moreover, that in the investigation consequent upon the alleged attempt at bribery Mr. Ker had a good deal to do. I do not mean to say at all that there was anything improper on the part of anybody there; but there was a bad odor.

Now they say that the Attorney-General was very angry about that

interview of mine which was published in August, 1882, but on August 1C he wrote me as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

Washington, August 10, 1882. Colonel Bliss:

MY DEAR SIR:

It is due to your careful, unexampled, and skillful marshaling of it and the con. duct of it that the case has prospered. About this I propose to say something that the public will hear of as an act of justice to you, for you have endured much on account of it.

I regret your indisposition; it gives me pain to know that you are in any way afflicted, and I hope you will soon be better.

Convey the contents of this letter to Mr. Merrick, and express to him my thanks also for all tbat he has done so bravely and so well. I am, truly, with great respect, your friend,

BENJAMIN HARRIS BREWSTER,

Attorney-General. If, as has been intimated, I was recreant to my duty with regard to the prosecution of Mr. Dorsey, it appears that Mr. Merrick did not think I had injured the case very much, for, as I have stated, before he had spoken at all he telegraphed me that the other side was “beaten and demoralized.” On the 15th of September the Attorney-General wrote me from Newport as follows:

NEWPORT, R. I.,

15th September, 18-2. DEAR SIR: Your two letters, both within the same envelope, came here today. Of course, your own personal convenience must rule in the matter. I can hardly entertain the idea of your leaving the case; you have been and are so essential to its safe and prosperous conduct. · Do not proclaim this proposed withdrawal in any way till we see each other, or at least until I can be back in Washington and be able to adjust matters. As to this, I must respectfully and kindly insist that you will withhold your public or private announcement of it in any way for the present. I am, believe me, truly,

BENJAMIN HARRIS BREWSTER. Geo. Bliss, Esq.,

New York City.
That is written by the Attorney-General to a recreant counsel !
On October 7, 1882, he wrote me officially as follows:

I wish to assure you that your conduct of this important case meets with my hearty approval. Your untiring energy and persistency, and the thorough knowledge you possess of all the details in this case, are fully appreciated by me, and it is but fair that in the forthcoming trial yon should not be called upon to make advances from your private purse to pay any demands that may arise. I shall give instructions hereafter so there may be no delay in making such advances as are needed for the attendance and expenses of witnesses. I am, with respect, your obedient servant,

BREWSTER,

Attorney-General. By Mr. FYAN: Q. Was that written before or after the second trial ?-A. Before the second trial. The allegation you know is that I did my duty in the second trial, but that I did not in the first trial. There is another letter that I ought to have read. Mr. Brewster was so overflowing with gratitude to this recreant counsel that on the 25th of October he wrote me

In the star-route case you have done your duty faithfully, industriously, ably, and with the strictest integrity.

As to the future, iny conviction is that your presence in these cases is essential, and it is my desire that you will remain in them. The good of the cases requires your presence, and every consideration of prudence would make your absence a thing to be regretted. However, we will talk further or write further about this hereafter It is a happy thing that the health of your wife will permit you to act in thea,

As to your colleagues in the case, I have not conferred with them, for Mr. Ker is

away; and then I only retained Mr. Ker for a special duty, because you asked for such a person—and that was the preparation of the pleadings. He has been of value since then in many other ways; but the general charge of the case I did not confide to him. I intended that he should be detailed to act under your immediate and special direction in the preparation of the pleadings, and in such other duties as you might require him to do. Mr. Merrick was retained to fill the vacancy occasioned by my withdrawal.

Upon reflection I would prefer, as at present advised, to leave the matter of your remaining to be the subject of our consideration. It is due to your position and dig. nity that it should be a matter that would rest exclusively between us. The case is under my control officially, and I am responsible, no matter what is done; and that responsibility I would assume after a conference with you hereafter. At present hold yourself as being advised by me that any suggestion of withdrawal is declined.

Mr. Merrick wrote me on the 8th of November:

I have had an interview with Mr. Brewster, and stated to him tbat your withdrawal from the case would necessitate my withdrawing also. We had quite a long couversation on the subject.

On November 30, having written Mr. Merrick that, as Mrs. Bliss's health had improved, I could remain, but that I did not wish to be here so much of the time; that Mrs. Bliss, being an invalid, was made anxious by my being away so much, Mr. Merrick wrote me a long letter in which he referred to this, and said that he regretted that she was anxious, and then went on to object to my being absent during any considerable portion of the time, saying:

The time you propose to be absent is probably the most important period of the trial for you to be present. All of the counsel should be in attendance during the first few days of the proceedings, when the course and direction of the case are being shaped, and the views and policy of the other side are being developed. Indeed, in such a case, in view of Mr. Ker's physical disability, both the other counsel for the Government should be present whilst the prosecution is putting in its evidence; if not all the time, except during the argument.

Something was said the other day about the removal of certain persons from office here. There were removed Marshal Henry, the postmaster, Mr. Ainger, his assistant, Mr. Parker, Mr. Helm (who was connected with the Congressional Record), and some others. Those gentlemen were all removed upon my letter of recommendation; and, inasmuch as some doubt was thrown out as to the sincerity of the administration, let me say this: I wrote that letter without any consultation with either of the other counsel, and without their knowledge. I addressed it to the President. I did not let the Attorney-General know anything about it. I felt that the men ought to be removed. As to Mr. Henry, the trouble arose from the fact that he had been Mr. Garfield's particular pet and friend, and at that time to do anything that seemed to touch anybody who had been associated with Garfield was looked upon as almost a sacrilege. All through the first trial we felt that Marshal Henry was not in the interest of the Government, and yet we could not put our fingers upon anything that he had done. After the first trial, as I recollect, he went out into Ohio, and there had an interview in which he pitched into the prosecution generally. Mr. Ainger was postmaster here, and owned a paper in Michigan, and after the first trial, or during the trial, he wrote a letter in which he attacked Mr. James and the prosecution generally. The atmosphere of this city was in many respects pretty unfavorable to the Government. Mr. Spencer was another of those removed. He was a Pacific Railroad director.

I wrote this letter to the President. I said to myself that if I sent the letter officially through the Attorney-General, I might not leave the President as I desired to leave him, entirely free to act entirely on his own judgment, because it an official letter came up to him through the Attorney-General from the counsel for the Government requesting the removal of certain persons, even if the act did not commend itself

« AnteriorContinuar »