« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
the Massasoit, the Sassacus, and the Osceola. The Senator from Indiana says these vessels were the same class, and the contract price was the same. Now, I want Senators to note the fact that when George W. Lawrence & Co. build the Agawam and the Pontoosuc, they make them cost $17,000 above the contract price; but when Curtis & Tilden build the same class they make them cost only about nine thousand dollars beyond the contract price; and in the case of the Pontoosuc and the Agawam, the engine-builders make the engines cost $80,000 beyond the contract price; and in the other case, the Atlantic Works only make them cost $41,000 beyond the contract price. Why that difference? Why should this Government pay one set of builders $80,000 beyond the contract price, and another set of builders, for two engines of exactly the same class, $41,000 above the contract price? How happens it, except from the unskillfulness and the want of dilligence on the part of these men in building these engines? And yet this report says pay these gentlemen at Portland $80,000 beyond the price, and pay these gentlemen at Boston $40,000 beyond the price. It seems to me, a man had only to delay his work the longer to get the more money, for they give him all he says it cost him; and so the longer he delayed and the more it cost, the more they gave him.
Now, Mr. President, I ask Senators to turn to the Chicopee. I have been through the whole range of these double-enders; they are in the same way. I do not want to weary the Senate, but I want to show enough of these cases to let the Senate see what they are about to pass upon. I do not deny that there may be some good cases here; I think some of the gentlemen who built the hulls of these vessels and were delayed in this way are entitled to the additional expense; but I do not think the men who put on board the engines and loaded them down with delay and deprived the Government of them for that extent of time should also be paid for that delay. On page 17 you will find the statement of Mr. Curtis, who built the Chicopee:
It was this very work that the Government was putting out that these people undertook to do, and undertook to do in a given time, for a given price, and which they delayed to do, and for which they received a full price, and are now not satisfied. The company was relieved by the Navy Department of the term of the contract regarding the time of the completion of the machinery. They found that they could not get along with it, and this Government, that it is said should be liberal, was not hard; it extended the time, and then they went on; and they say "that it was finished as soon as possible; that the total cost of the machinery for both vessels was $205,027 46." Here was a small vessel, the contract price for building the hull of which was only $25,000, and yet the price of one of these engines, as made by the machine-builders when they got through, was $102,513 83.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I will state to the Senator that it is very evident that that is a mistake in the printing of the report.
Mr. CLARK. Is not the record right? Mr. HENDRICKS. There is a mistake in printing.
Mr. CLARK. What should it be? Mr. HENDRICKS. They all cost the same price. Eighty-two thousand dollars was the contract price.
Mr. CLARK. They do not undertake to say what was the contract price, but what was the cost of building the engines. I am speaking of the cost to the builder.
Mr. HENDRICKS. It ought to be $82,000. That was the contract price; and then the cost beyond that was what it cost the contractor above the contract price.
Mr. CLARK. If the Senator will give his attention to the report he will see that there is no mistake here-"that the total cost of machinery for both vessels was $205,027 46." That is what it cost the builders, as they say "that the contract price of both vessels paid by the Government was $164,000."
Mr. HENDRICKS. I was not observing the report there. The mistake that I alluded to is in another case, where the cost is printed as being $50,000, when it should evidently be $150,000. This is correctly printed.
Mr. CLARK. I thought there were some mistakes in the report, but I am not mistaken here. This is correct. The hull cost $25,000, and the machinery $102,500.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I understand this now. My attention was not given to what the Senator was saying at the time. I thought he said that the cost of the machinery was $50,000. Mr. CLARK. No.
Hr. HENDRICKS. It is stated that the cost of the hulls was $50,000.
Mr. CLARK. The two.
Mr. HENDRICKS. But evidently that ought to be $150,000. There is no doubt about that. The contract price was $150,000, and the cost $165,000. It is just $100,000 less than it ought to be. It is a mistake in printing there.
Mr. CLARK. I do not know but that that is so.
Mr. HENDRICKS. Unquestionably so. It belongs to a class.
Mr. CLARK. But it is not material to the argument, as I understand. This man says the excess of cost was $41,027 46 for the two. Now, I want to call the Senate's attention to what appears in regard to these two classes of vessels. The contract price for the Agawam and the Pontoosuc, as found on pages 16 and 17, was $164,000, just the same that it was for
Appeared before the board Paul Curtis, shipbuilder, Boston, and contractor for the double-ender Chicopee. Under oath states, that the contract for the Chicopee was dated by the Navy Department September 9, 1862, in which he was allowed one hundred and twenty-six days, or until January 13, 1863"
"By which delay on the part of the engine-builders he was at great loss, by being obliged to pay larger prices for material and labor to complete the vessel. That the entire cost of the vessel, including bill for extra work, amounting to $7,115 09, was $97,674 61: that the contract price of the vessel, delivered in New York, was $75,000; that he has received from the bureau for extra work, $3,304 20; total amount received from Government, $78,804 20; leaving a balance of loss to him, over and above the contract price and allowance for extra work, of $18,870 41." Now, turn to the table again. Paul Curtis built one of these vessels, taken at the same time, at the same rate, when labor was scarce and materials scarce; the contract price was $75,000, and she cost $97,674 61, making an excess over the contract price and extra allow ance of $18,870 41; four times almost as much as the extra cost price in the case of Curtis & Tilden. Now, we are asked to pay this, and the committee say this is right and this is fair; and they want to give a percentage to the
"Appeared before the board Mr. William Boardman, one of the proprietors and on the part of the Neptune Iron-Works, contractors for the machinery of the Chicopee and Tallapoosa. Under oath states, that the contract for the vessel was dated by the Navy Department August 15, 1862, in which they were allowed seven months, or two months after the receipt of the hulls from the builders thereof, to complete and ercet the machinery on board; but that the Chicopee was not received until March 11, 1863, and the machinery was completed, and trial trip satisfactorily concluded on January 23, 1864; and the Tallapoosa was not received until March 16, 1863, and the machinery was completed, and trial trip also satisfactorily concluded March 12, 1864: they were relieved by letter from Department in regard to the time of completion of contract prior to the signing of the contract. That the actual cost of machinery was, including extra bill of $2,065 75 yet unpaid, $206,004 35; contract price received from Government, $164,005; leaving an excess of cost, over and above the contract price, of $12,001 35."
Twenty-one thousand dollars on each vessel for delaying her at the wharf eleven months, depriving the Government of the use of her all through the summer of 1863 and the fall of 1863, the winter of 1863 and 1864 up to April in the spring of 1864; and yet this very niggardly Government, this Government that is exhorted so much to deal fairly by these gentlemen, deprived of the use of this vessel for eleven months, comes forward and pays the contract price, pays the full bill for extra work, and then is asked to pay all the enhanced cost by reason of the delay. Is it fair? Is that the kind of liberality you would recommend to your Government to the tax-payers? Now, as to a contract between two individuals where one stipulated to have a given work done by a given time and he failed for a year to do it, if the man who contracted for the work should come forward and take it off that man's hands and pay him the price and say, "Here, you have done the work and I will pay you the full price and take it, though I have been delayed," would not that be considered liberal? Would the man that had done the work ask for anything more? Yet here they undertake to say we must pay not only this individual. man, not only this individual firm, but we must pay every one of these forty-two right straight through twelve per cent. on the whole contract price, not because they would not be glad to have more, but because they have loaded it so down with the weight of delay that they know these iron-clads will not swim with such a load upon them.
Mr. President, I suppose it is hardly neces sary that I should go through with case after case of this kind. You may take any one of these double-enders and you will find much the same state of things. I cannot say that you will in every case, because I have not examined; I cannot affirm or deny; but I say that in all the cases I have examined I find this same state of things. And now I will ask the Senator from Nevada if he can tell me regard to the hull of the Mendota. Has the where in this report. I shall find the report in
Senator seen it? Does he know it is there? Mr. NYE. I think it is here.
Mr. CLARK. I will ask the Senator from Indiana. These gentlemen have undoubtedly considered this case. I want them to tell me where in the report of this commission I can find the report as to the building of the hull of the Mendota. I state to them that I have been unable to find it; that is as it is put down here. I want to know from them if they have found it, and if they have examined it. I wait, Mr. President, for those Senators to show me, if they can, where the Mendota is found here. Mr. HENDRICKS. Do you want an answer right now?
Mr. CLARK. If you know where it is found.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I will examine. Mr. CLARK. Has the Senator seen it and examined it?
Yes, sir, and I will
Mr. HENDRICKS. find it presently.
Mr. CLARK. Well, Mr. President, perhaps I can help these gentlemen a little. I only wanted to see the care with which they have examined this report.
Mr. NYE. When we ask you to help us we will let you know. I propose to answer you. Mr. CLARK. The Senator from Nevada in his quiet way says that when they find it they will let me know.
for gunboat Mendota, I am of opinion that some of
Mr. NYE. No, I did not say that. Mr. CLARK. Or in substance, that when they ask for my aid they will let me know. Mr. NYE. Yes; that was it. You will make your own speech, I suppose.
The PRESIDING OFFICER, (Mr. DooLITTLE in the chair.) The Senator from Nevada will address the Chair.
Mr. CLARK. I did not know but that possibly I might have fallen into a mistake. I have my own notion about this matter, but I wanted the aid of those honorable Senators in investi
gating it. I hunted this report through and I could not find the report of the Mendota for building the hull, but I did find something which I suppose was meant for that, but is not that. If the Senators will turn their attention to the fifth page
Mr. HENDRICKS. I will tell you where you will find it, sir. You will find it on page 5; it is there printed as the Mercedita; refereuce is also made to it on page 32. That is my understanding.
Mr. CLARK. I suppose that is so. I turned this book through and I could find no such vessel as the Mendota; that is, no contract for the hull. I then recurred to the table. I found the Mendota placed there at such a price, and looking through I came across the name of the builder, Mr. Tucker, of Brooklyn, New York, who is said to have built the Mendota, but here he is reported to have built the Mercedita, and the Mercedita is nowhere to be found in the table. We had a vessel called the Mercedita. I think she was at New Orleans in the fight there. I think she was purchased by the Government; she was not one of these vessels.
"F. Z. Tucker, ship-builder at Brooklyn, Long Island, and constructer of the United States steamer Mercedita, having been duly sworn, stated that the contract for above ship was signed September 9, 1862, to be launched and builded (in one hundred and twenty-six days) on January 13, 1863; that the vessel was launched on that day and delivered to enginebuilders, after being coppered, on January 24, 1863, to receive her machinery.'
This man got his vessel along; she was launched on the day.
"That the total cost of the vessel was $92,475 70, as
per statement marked No. 4, and annexed to these proceedings-the contract to have been $75,000; that there was paid by him for extra work done over the price, by order of Iuspector S. M. Pook, and others, the sum of $4,020 70. as per statement marked No. 5, and annexed to these proceedings; and also for work done in accordance with specifications, but not required in general advertisements for bids under which the ship was commenced, by authority of the bureau to have been $7,335 73, as per statement marked No. 6, and annexed to these proceedings; leaving a loss on his part, over and above these amounts, of $6,119 27 on the original contract price for the hull; that no money for extra work has ever been paid to him over and above the contract stipulation; that the engines and boilers were to be completed by builders of machinery in fifty days, or March 14, 1863, but was not completed until February 14, 1864, (three hundred and forty days.)"
Eleven months after they were agreed to be furnished they were furnished. All this time the hull of the vessel was rendered useless by the delay of the engine-builders. This man may deserve his price for his hull for aught I know; it is not very much above the contract price-I believe some four thousand dollars; and yet I think there is something in this report that will show the manner in which these costs were made up. I ask the Senators' attention to page 31 in regard to this gunboat Mendota, On the 19th of June, 1865, Mr. Tucker made up his bill of costs for that vessel and presented it to the board. Mr. Naval Constructor Pook was asked about it on page 31, and in regard to that bill he says: "Having examined the extra bills of F. Z. Tucker,
Here was this board established for the purpose of ascertaining the cost; they met together, and they notified contractor A to come before the board at such a time; they notified contractor B to come before the board at such a time; and they came, they made up their costs, and then those bills were examined; they were submitted to the naval constructer, he was asked whether they were right and proper; in many of the cases he said they were right and proper. In other cases he said they were not right and proper; and "Mr. Contractor won't you correct them?"
I ask the attention of the Senate for a few moments-because I will not run through all these cases, there are forty-two of them, and they would weary the patience of the Senate and take up too much time-to the case of the engine of the Lenapee, on page 42:
Appeared before the board Mr. Joseph Belknap, superintendent, and on the part of the Washington Works, contractors for the machinery of the Lenapee. Under oath states, that the contract for the vessel was dated by the Navy Department August 25, 1862, in which they were allowed six and a half months, or within two months after receipt of hull from builders thereof, to complete and erect the machinery on board; but that the vessel was not so received until June 19, 1863, and the machinery was completed August 31, 1861. The principal causes of delay in completing the contract were owing to the bursting of a boiler while being tested, and difficulty in obtaining labor and material."
They have built an imperfect boiler, and while they were testing it it burst, and so they were caused delay.
"That the cost of machinery was $111,161 24; contract price received, $82,000; leaving an excess of cost. over and above contract price, of $29,161 24."
each allowed one hundred and twenty-six days, until January 13, 1863, to complete their conMr. Curtis put his ship into the water on the 4th of March, 1863, and Mr. Lupton put his in the water on the 7th of June, 1868, three months afterward. Mr. Curtis built his ship for $97,674 61, and Mr. Lupton made his ship cost $152,691 37. Under oath, he stated that to be the cost. The commission did not see fit to allow him such a bill of costs as that, but they did allow Mr. Lupton $18,576 52, $2,000 more than they allowed anybody else, and more than four times as much as they allowed Mr. Curtis.
I suppose, when the Government was hiring hands for its navy-yards and its ships, and when the men were going into the Army and the Navy, there was a difficulty in obtaining labor; but I do not understand why the difficulty was so much greater in procuring mechanics for ship machinery than procuring ship-carpenters in yards. Both employments require skill; both are carried on by artisans peculiarly fitted for the profession; and yet
And precisely that amount of cost, $20,161 24, was allowed them when they set down the extra delay to the bursting of a boiler which they had made imperfect. I suppose if they had burst entirely up and blown their shop up, the whole would have been passed in. It does not seem that it made any difference what was claimed, what went into the cost, whether it was interest on shop and tools that were not fitted for the work, whether it was the unskill-gentlemen have furnished themselves; and I fulness of the contractors and the workmen, can come to no other conclusion whatever than or whether it was the want of preparation, or that this bill ought not to pass. the bursting of a boiler, or anything else that went into the cost, it was allowed; and now we are asked to pay twelve per cent. on the contract price.
the men who built the hulls seem to have had far less difficulty than the men who undertook to build the machinery. But, sir, you undertake by this bill to give precisely the same percentage to the men who built the machinery, and from whom most of the delay came, that you do to the men who built the hulls. I do not undertake to find fault with the men who built the machinery for these vessels. I do not undertake to talk about the mechanic. I unertake to talk simply about the cases that are presented here. I have examined the report which has been presented here by the commission. I have taken the testimony which these
I should be glad to see some measure before the Senate that would do more justice to these people than this. If a man is entitled to the consideration, of the Senate, has been delayed by the Government and for that reason has been put to cost, that cost ought to be paid. It should not be twelve per cent. If he has been delayed by his own unskillfulness, his own negligence, his own want of care and skill and industry, then he should not be paid, not twelve per cent. nor any other percentage. These people say:
I do not mean to say that there are not some persons included in this bill who might be entitled to perhaps all that this bill proposes to give them; there are others who are perhaps entitled to the twelve per cent. which the amendment proposes to give them; but I am entirely satisfied there are men here who ought not to have the twelve per cent. I am entirely pursuaded that this leveling process of giving a percentage to all these people, no matter how they have done their work, how faithfully or unfaithfully, how skillfully or unskillfully, is not the true principle of legislation.
Sir, if a man has built, for instance, Army wagons under a contract with the Government, and he has found labor and material enhanced, why should you not give him twelve per cent.? If a man has made guns for the Government, whether small-arms or ordnance, by contract, why should you not give him twelve per cent.? They worked for the Government; they are mechanics; they are deserving: the derange ment was the same to all. Why should you not say, by a general omnibus bill, that every body who contracted for labor and material for the Government should have twelve per cent. over and above the contract price? Some of them made money, it is true; but the price of labor was enhanced to them just as much, the price of machinery was enhanced just as much, and the price of material.
I believe, sir, that the pending question is the motion of the Senator from Missouri [Mr. HENDERSON] to postpone the bill until the next session of Congress. I shall vote for the motion to postpone, if the friends of the bill desire to have it postponed, if they think any measure can be arrived at which shall do justice, I mean individual justice, to these people; but if the bill is not postponed I shall vote against its passage as it stands. I know we are urged to
"That the excess of cost was owing to the rise in labor and material, and also to the fact of the time of the completion of the engine being extended over and above the time specified by the contract, due to the fact of our being unable to procure the necessary labor and material."
I will ask the Senate to turn for a moment to the case of the hull of the Lenapee, which is found on page 13-I think I alluded to this before-where the contract price was $75,500 and the cost price $150,000, more than double what the Government offered to give them. They contracted to do this work for $75,500, and they say the total cost of the vessel, including the bill for extra work, was $152,691 37. Now, Paul Curtis, of Boston, built the Chicopee, a vessel of the same class with the Lenapee. He took his contract on the 9th of September, 1862; and Edward Lupton, the contractor for the Lenapee, took his contract on the 9th of September, 1862, precisely the same day. Of course the same price for materials was to be paid by both. The same prices for labor were to be paid by both. One was operating in New York, near the commercial center, and the other was operating at Boston. They were
I do not know that it is worth while for me to pursue these cases further. There are several more of them that I have examined, and they lead to the same result as those I have stated to the Senate. In general, the work upon the hulls of the wooden vessels seems to have been done with much more rapidity, and much nearer the time at which they were to be delivered, than the work on the machinery.
the twelve per cent. I know it is said that pay it does not take more than half as much as the committee report, and you had better give that to them; the Government will have as much to pay in the end. But, sir, I want to be more discriminating. If I pay the money, I want to pay the money to the men who ought to have it, and not to the men who do not deserve to have it. Assure me that every one of these men ought to have the twelve per cent., and I will yield; but until that time comes I must vote against the bill. Mr. HENDRICKS. I have but a very few remarks to make in reply to the Senator from New Hampshire, and when I shall have made them, I shall have said all that I intend to say upon this measure, so far as I am concerned. It shall then depend on the pleasure of the Senate. I shall not undertake to reply to all that the Senator has said. Much that he has said I attempted to explain on a former occasion; for instance, his comparison of the expense and cost of some of these vessels to some of the contractors, as compared with the cost to other contractors. I undertook to explain (as is explained in the report) on a former occasion, that peculiar circumstances caused the machinery to cost some men more than others, and the hulls some men more than others. I thought I had explained that sufficiently heretofore in answer to another gentle
machinery. We will take that case to which
Now, sir, I will call attention to a few of the cases to which the Senator has alluded; for instance, the Lenapee on page 13. Leaving the Senator's argument alone, it would produce the impression upon the Senate that this board had allowed a very improper claim. The contractors for the Lenapee undertook to build that vessel for $75,000. They claim that she cost $152,000, making a claim of $77,000 of cost over and above the contract price; while other contractors for vessels contracted for at the same time, and just like the Lenapee, only claim from $14,000 to $18,000.
Mr. CLARK. Some of them but a little over four thousand dollars.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I explained those; those were peculiar cases; but the average was about from $14,000 to $18,000. If the board had allowed to the contractors of the Lenapee $77,000, and to others only from $14,000 to $18,000, the Senate, of course, would be astonished at such a result; but the case of the Lenapee was heard; all the evidence on the subject considered; and the board did not allow the claim of $77,000.
Mr. CLARK. So I stated.
Mr. HENDRICKS. It allowed but $18,000. Mr. CLARK. I stated that the board allowed about $2,000 above what they allowed
Now, sir, we will take up the case of the Mendota, on page 31. Naval Constructer Pook was called as a witness, and his testimony will be found on page 31. He testifies that some of the charges made by the contractors for that vessel ought not to be allowed, and, comparing the claim made by the contractors with the award of the board, I take it that those items were not allowed. So much for that
The next case is the Chicopee on pages 17 and 44. On page 17 it appears that the contractors for the hull were delayed in completing that vessel by the failure to complete the machinery, as they claimed, and therefore it cost them something more on that account than it otherwise would have cost. Now, let us see what is the claim of the contractors for the
39TH CONG. 1ST SESS.-No. 140.
I believe the Senator stopped just there; but I will ask the attention of the Senate a little further.
the machinery when finished. Is there no equity there? Is there no justice for these claimants, as shown upon the report, in the very case that the Senator makes a forcible argument upon? Is there nothing to be considered by the Senate in the fact that the Department, before the contract was signed, found that it was impossible for the machinery to be constructed within the time limited, and by letter allowed them a longer time? Is it not to be considered by the Senate that when the contract was made the
"There are many reasons why the engines cost more than the amount of contract: first, when the engines were contracted for, drawings and specifications were not furnished us, and we were totally ignorant as to the weight of said engines, boilers, &c. From the best information and belief, we were led to suppose the machinery would weigh about three hundred and eighty or three hundred and ninety thousand pounds, and have to say that the raw material was worth about the amount of the contract, for the reason of the great excess of weight of metal over and above our estimate. We would also state, that owing to the losses on these vessels in connection with those contracted for in 1861, namely, the Octorara and Genesee, we have been compelled to make an assignment. That there is no charge in the bill (annexed to this record and marked No. 42) for any condemned material or faulty workmanship, and that the bill shows the actual cost of labor and material."
specifications and drawings were not prepared, the parties were not informed so as to form a judgment of the size and weight and cost of this machinery? Is it not to be considered by the Senate that when the work came to be made, it was found that the material itself cost the contractors as much as the contract price? That is all that I have to say upon that case.
On page 17 we find the case of the Osceola. The Senator made a strong point upon that. On page 7 will be found the contract and statement for the hull. The contractors for the hull showed that they could not complete the hull until the machinery was completed. That is the point upon which the argument of the Senator turned, that the hull could not be completed until the machinery was ready to be put into it. What is the statement of the contractors for the machinery? Let us see if they have no equity before Congress, admitting the argument just as strongly as the Senator states it, that the hull was not finished, and that the cost of the hull was increased because the machinery was not ready to be put in at the end of the six months:
Appeared before the board Oliver Edwards, president of the Atlantic Works, East Boston, on the part of the company, contractors for the machinery of the double-enders Sassacus and Osceola. Under oath states, that the contract for the Osceola was dated September 20, 1862, and for the Sassacus, October 15, 1862, in which they were allowed seven months, or until April, 1863, and May 1863, to complete the machinery of said vessels and deliver them to the Government, but the Sassacus was not so completed and delivered until September 1863, and the Osceola until November, 1863."
Several months, six months, perhaps, after the time limited in the contract.
"The principal causes of delay being the difficulty of obtaining labor and material, as the Government was putting out so much work. That the company was relieved by the Department of the terms of the contract regarding the time ofcompleting the machinery, and was fully satisfied that it was finished as soon as possible."
If there was a contract made to build machinery which it was supposed would cost $82,000, and it was intended between the Government and the contractors that the work
Mr. HENDRICKS. Page 44:
Mr. CLARK. What page is the Senator should be finished in seven months; if in fact reading from? it could not be done in the nature of things; if there was a mistake both on the part of the Department and the contractors, a mutual mistake, and that mistake results in a great loss to the contractors because of the fact that the work had to be done at a time when material and labor cost so much more than was anticipated, I ask Senators, if, upon grounds of equity, the parties are not entitled to relief. The Department felt that the work could not be finished within the time. It is shown here that the Department was satisfied that it was completed at as early a day as possible, and the Department itself relieved the parties from the terms of the contract in regard to the time limited. But further in the case, which the Senator did not call the attention of the Senate to because it did not lie in the line of his argument there was another point to which he alluded in another part of his argument
these contractors say:
I ask the attention of the Senate to this case, one of the cases upon which the Senator made a very forcible argument. The facts are these: before the contract was signed a letter from the Department relieved the parties from the time fixed by the contract, seven months, and allowed them such time as was actually necessary for the construction of the machinery; and secondly, when the contract was made the Department was not prepared to furnish the contractors with the drawings and specifications, and therefore they could not know the There is their case. They did delay the com. exact dimensions of the machinery; and when pletion of the hull; that is not to be questioned; they came to construct this machinery they but how did it occur that they delayed the comfound that the raw material, the iron alone,pletion of the hull? It occurred because of the cost them about what they would receive for fact that such machinery could not be con
"That the excess of cost over and above the contract price was due, mainly, to the fact that the contract was accepted upon the representation of Chief Engineer Isherwood that the weight of material would not exceed that of the Paul Jones more than fifteen per cent., when in fact it did exceed that of the Paul Jones seventy-five per cent.; another cause being the rise of material and labor."
much heavier machinery than was contemplated by any of these contractors, certainly ought to control when we come to administer equity between the Government and the citizen. There was a point made about a misprint of the name of the Mendota. That was called at the proceedings of the board Mercedita. I was embarrassed to understand that when I came to examine the case; I could not find the report of the Mendota, and the facts of the case, but upon a careful examination I succeeded, as the Senator himself seems to have succeeded, in identifying the vessel. The Mercedita mentioned on page 5 is the Mendota unquestionably. Mr. CLARK. If the Senator turns to page 32 of the report he will find it.
Mr. HENDRICKS. That is the contract for the machinery.
Mr. CLARK. It is down near the bottom of the page:
structed in seven months. Here is the machinery for twenty-two vessels, and in no single case was that machinery completed within the seven months. Why? Senators will not say that all the contractors were negligent; that all the contractors lacked means to prosecute the work with diligence. That cannot be pretended; but it is apparent, as I think, that it was impossible to complete the work within that time. In these two instances to which I have called the attention of the Senate in response to the Senator from New Hampshire the Department felt that the work could not be completed in the time fixed in the contract, and extended the time, and held that the work was done at as early a day as possible. Then the further point is stated, that Mr. Isherwood, who, I understand, is a very skillful man in his profession and a very competent officer, thought that this machinery would not weigh more than fifteen per cent. above that of the Paul Jones, but when the machinery came to be constructed according to the specifications and drawings subsequently furnished, it weighed far beyond that and cost enormously above the sum contemplated.
The Senator has called the attention of the
Senate to the fact that the contract price of the machinery for the Paul Jones was $52,000. In the investigation of these cases I did not think it important to inquire into the case of the Paul Jones. That was machinery built before these contracts were made. That was machinery built when everything was at the very lowest price, a contract made long before these contracts were made, and machinery completed before these contracts were made, and machinery, as I understand it, completed before there commenced to be an advance in the cost of labor and material. If the Senator be right that that machinery cost but $52,000, what weight ought that fact to have upon the judgment of Senators? That work was done when iron cost but half what it did afterward; and if Senators will look at the table accompanying the report of the committee they will see that the labor upon the machinery of the Paul Jones, and the material used in its construction, could not have cost the contractors one half of what it cost these men to complete their contracts. Therefore it is no fair test, that because the Paul Jones in 1861 could be built for $52,000, all these ought to be built for that sum, or they ought to be built for $82,000. The contract price was $82,000, and it is evident beyond all question that the machinery did cost far above that.
I cannot undertake to go over all the cases that have been referred to by the Senator; but I say the fact that in not one single instance was the machinery completed within the time specified, but many months were required on the part of all these contractors to complete that machinery, shows that there was a mistake on the part of the Department, and on the part of all these contractors, too, in regard to the time necessary for the construction of the machinery. I take that as a general proposition, that there was a mutual mistake, and that mutual mistake, causing the work to run into months when labor and material were much advanced, accounts for the loss sustained by these parties. I submit to Senators, are not contractors oftentimes relieved upon grounds of mistake, in equity? Even in the courts, between man and man, if there is a mutual mistake, equity will correct that mistake. Whether equity between man and man in respect to a question like this would relieve, I will not say; whether this would be a precise case for the interference of a court of chancery, I will not say; but as between the citizen and the Government, I do claim that there being a great mistake in regard to the time necessary for the construction of this machinery, it is such a mistake as appeals to the conscience and sense of equity and right of the Government. That proposition that all these parties were mistaken in regard to the time, that the Department itself was mistaken in regard to the time, and the further fact that this was
chinery was specified when the contract was reduced to writing, though not when the work was commenced. I ask the attention of Senators to that important fact. Parties come here and make propositions to construct machinery. The specifications and drawings are not prepared. They can know but little about it. They propose to construct the machinery for $82,000 per vessel. They go on and commence the work. Afterward the specifications are drawn up, and it appears, after they have commenced the work, that it costs very much more to build the engines and boilers than was expected. I ask if that does not establish an equitable right to relief on the part of the contractors. I believe that was the case in regard to every one of them; that the work, in fact, was commenced before these contracts were reduced to writing, under the supposition that the machinery would be about of the weight and cost of the Paul Jones, or rather the weight of the Paul Jones; the cost would be greater, inasmuch as there had been an advance in labor and material. The Senator from Nevada [Mr. NYE] has called my attention to the evidence that is furnished on page 21 as the weight of the machinery of the Paul Jones:
That is all there is upon that subject.
I understood the Senator to say that when the contracts for these twenty-two engines and boilers were made the weight of the machinery was ascertained and known to the parties. If he stated that he was mistaken.
Mr. CLARK. Oh, no.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I understand him now to say that he did not so state.
Mr. CLARK. I did not state the weight. I said I supposed, when the contract was reduced to writing, they understood what they were contracting for.
Mr. HENDRICKS. The weight of the ma
"That the excess of cost, over and above the contract price, was due to the greater weight of engine than the contractors were led to expect them to be. Mr. Isherwood, chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, having assured them that they would not exceed those of the Paul Jones class-three hundred and seventy-four thousand pounds."
Another one of the contractors says, under oath, that he understood that the machinery was to weigh from three hundred and eighty to three hundred and ninety thousand pounds; and the evidence in the case of the Pawtuxet is that the machinery weighed six hundred and thirty thousand pounds, almost double that of the Paul Jones. That mistake ran through all these cases, in regard to the weight, and I submit to Senators whether the Senator from New Hampshire has succeeded in establishing a substantial error in the report of the board in regard to any of the other cases. His argument is aimed at the contractors for the machinery. When it appears that there was a mistake on the part of the Department and on the part of each one of these contractors in regard to the time necessary for the construction of the machinery; when it appears that the contractors thought, at the time they made their bids, upon the representations made to them in the Department, that this machinery would weigh about as much as the machinery of the Paul Jones, and when it further appears that the machinery weighs greatly more, and is greatly more expensive, I ask Senators if the case for relief is not substantially made out.
Mr. CLARK. I desire to ask the Senator whether, supposing more time was necessary, the man who got out his work in six months was not more deserving than the man who got it out in twelve months.
Mr. HENDRICKS. I should say so. Mr. CLARK. Then what is the propriety of putting them all at twelve per cent.?
Mr. HENDRICKS. Mr. President, there is not any very great difference in the time that was occupied in the completion of this machinery.
Mr. CLARK. One hundred days in some. Mr. HENDRICKS. No, I think not. There was one case where the machinery was furnished for one vessel as early as September, 1863. I noticed that as I was reading over the report; and in some cases the machinery was not fin ished until the spring of 1864.
Mr. CLARK. A difference of six months. Mr. HENDRICKS. Yes, sir; but I recol lect of but one case in which the machinery was finished as early as September, 1863. That same house got out another engine and boiler in November, 1863; but most of this machinery was finished during the winter of 1863-64. Now, I repeat to the Senate, that although there is much force in the argument of the Senator, when it is considered that the Department and the contractors made a mutual mistake in regard to the time necessary for the
GRIMES] read here the other day the criticisms and strictures of Mr. Isherwood on these claims. I do not understand that in that communication there was any complaint or any sort of denial of the fact that this machinery was heavier than that of the Paul Jones. The Paul Jones was familiar to this board undoubtedly, and they understood the fact to be precisely as these contractors testified. Their report was before the Department and considered by it long before it came before the Committee on Naval Affairs.
completion of this machinery; when the Senator cannot say that these men by the exercise of the greatest diligence could have completed it within the seven months; when that longer time necessarily added very much to the cost of the work; when it is considered that they were deceived-I will not say deceived; it was not intentional on the part of the Department, unquestionably-but misled in regard to the weight of the engines, and they weighed greatly more than was anticipated when they made their bids; when it appears that with diligence they did prosecute the work, because there is no complaint on the part of the Government that they did not, and in some cases Congress relieved them and in some cases the Department relieved them in regard to the time; when it is shown that the Department thought they were finished as soon as was possible in one case-when all this is considered, and these men have done good work at as early a day as possible, will not Congress relieve them from the great loss which resulted from these mistakes mutual between the contractors and the
Department? It seems to me, notwithstanding the critical argument made by the Senator from New Hampshire, that there ought to be relief.
Mr. President, I now submit the case so far as I am concerned, to the sense of justice of the Senate.
Mr. CLARK. I have but a word or two in reply, and it is not so much in reply as it is in aid of a suggestion or two made by the Senator from Indiana. I think, taking the Senator's statement to be entirely true, it shows conclusively that this kind of legislation that we are attempting here now is not the proper, intelligent legislation that we ought to have. Now, supposing these engines to have been heavier than any of the contractors contemplated, how much heavier were they? Does the Senator know, except in one case where a person says that the one which he built was so heavy? Before we can legislate intelligently we ought to have from the Department the weight of these engines, if the contractors complain of that, and know how much heavier they were. Mr. HENDRICKS. They were all of one style. Mr. CLARK. I understand that some of these people do not complain of that. Many of them do not complain that they were deceived in the weight; some do. If we could have the weight of these engines we could then know if that was a matter of equity, how much equity there was in the case.
Taking the matter of time, the Senator says that the Department was satisfied the time was not long enough. Do we know how much time the Department thought was long enough? Do we know how far the Department relieved them in regard to the time? We should have the information from the Department in all these cases before we can legislate intelligently. It is to this blind method of legislation that I so much object. It may be true, as I stated before, that the Government will have to pay as much in the end as this twelve per cent. would be; but I do not like this method of legislation. want the people who are deserving of it to have the money, and those who are not deserv ing of it, if there be such, not to have it.
Mr. NYE. I have only two or three sentences to utter in regard to this bill, and I may as well commence where the Senator from New Hampshire left off. He says we ought to have evidence from the Department in regard to the increased weight of this machinery. Sir, this question was examined before Department itself. The Senator from New Hampshire seems to forget that it was the very Department to which he refers that made this examination; and if there had existed in the Department the power to gainsay the evidence that was given by these contractors, I believe it is a fair presumption that it would have been given. This board was no tribunal of ours. If there were any omissions on the part of this board, it was not the fault of this Senate or of the contractors. The Senator from Iowa [Mr.
The misfortune that the Senator from New Hampshire seems to be laboring under is, that nobody has examined this case but him, and because he found a wrong name in one place he turned round with quite a theatrical air of triumph, as much as to say, "I would impeach not only the intelligence but the integrity of the committee to which this subject was referred," and with an air of triumph he attempted to render us some aid. The fact appeared that the committee jointly happened to be as wise as the Senator separately, and found out the same thing that he found from examining the report. I congratulate the committee jointly that they were able to do what the Senator could do alone!
indelibly upon the tablets of our memory; and among those things is the fact that the exigencies of the country required these men in these several vocations; and the universal testimony of this entire report is that the labor which they were able to procure was of an inferior character, and had to be paid for at high prices, and was obtained with difficulty. Does the Government desire that proved? It is written on every page of history for the last four years. It is patent.
Sir, this Government acted far more magnanimously than its distinguished advocate from New Hampshire now does. They did not hang upon time. They were glad to get these ships whenever they came. They would have been glad to get them sooner, and they would have taken them later had they come. My friend, with a great deal of assurance of manner at least, and I presume he felt so from the strength of his argument, asks us, would an individual do it? I answer yes, if the individual's necessities were as great as the necessities of this country, and he would have been glad to do it. An individual who will stand upon the bond when a man has given him a superior article, and heavier than he contracted for, and say "I will take it, because it is so nominated in the bond," is not an honest man; and, sir, you would not trust him, nor would the Senator from New Hampshire trust him; and he could not get trusted in a country store in the State of New Hampshire.
I was utterly surprised at the pertinacity with which the Senator from New Hampshire adhered to this question of time. Sir, the truth is this Government "took no note of time save by its loss" during this struggle. It was all time and no time with them. For four years there has been no note of time save in preparation for bloody strife. I repeat again, I was utterly surprised to hear the distinguished Senator from New Hampshire, who is generally so generous, and takes such enlarged views of things, nail his objection to this measure on the question of time. Why did he do it? To show that this excess of cost arose from the
My friend from New Hampshire has argued this case as a very critical lawyer, and it seemed to me that he fell into the error of supposing that he was defending some one in New Hampshire, or somewhere else, against a legal claim made to recover in these several cases. Sir, the committee that made this report placed the report upon no such foundation. They have reported that these ships honestly cost these people, from the evidence that satisfied the commission appointed by the Government itself, so many dollars and so many cents. The appeal is not in the character of a legal claim, but it is an appeal of honest men that have labored honestly, that have not let their furnaces go unheated, whose hammers have been heard night and day; and for what? To aid this Government in constructing a navy that is to-day its proudest boast.
My friend from New Hampshire seems to hang upon this question of "time" as though it was a very important thing. "It is so nominated in the bond," says the Senator from New Hampshire. He returns to the bond. He argues well if this Government turns Shylock; but he does not argue well when an appeal is made to the sense of justice of this Government. Time, sir! It is patent to everybodying that time in regard to these Government contracts has not been observed by any contractor. The whole country was in a state of wild confusion. Time! Why, sir, the time was set for McClellan to go into Richmond, when he marched out with the proudest army that ever went from here; but he did not get there at all. The time was set for peace, by the distinguished Secretary of State, in sixty days after the troubles commenced; and yet the controversy lasted four long years. So far as that distinguished officer of the Government could fix the time, he fixed it; but instead of sixty we had more than fourteen hundred days of bloody strife.
The Senator says these contractors have kept the Government out of the use of these vessels. What is the fact? The fact is, that the Government yards and every private facility for the construction of ships in this whole country were engaged. Besides, Congress passed a law providing that the laborers in the Government navy-yards should not be subthejected to draft; but they passed no such law in regard to the private yards of this country. The fact is, that when these contractors got their shops full of men, the strong arm of this Government would come along and sweep them out in a day by a draft; or, just as fatal to them, by bidding a thousand dollars' bounty to every one who would enlist as a soldier, and a private workshop or a ship-building yard would be cleared in a single day. These facts are not proved; they are patent. There are some things that everybody knows; they are stamped
delay of these contractors. Is there a particle of evidence of that sort in this case? Is not the contrary apparent throughout, that they strained every nerve to complete these vessels in time? They had two controlling motives to do it: first, in order to help to rescue the Government they loved from its peril; and next, because every day told them prices were increasenormously; and yet my friend says they must suffer the entire loss occasioned by this delay.
Now, Mr. President, I desire to make two or three statements that are matters of history, and my friend will find them to be so if he goes to the Department. I have but one single acquaintance in this whole lot of contractors, but I have taken occasion to look a little into the record. Mr. Quintard has built ten ships for this Government.
Mr. CLARK. Thirteen.
Mr. NYE. No, sir.
Mr. CLARK. He told me so.
Mr. NYE. I guess you are mistaken, because he gave me the names.
Mr. CLARK. He told me he had built thirteen.
Mr. NYE. Well, all the better, as I am so often wrong and my distinguished friend always right. I understood that he built ten ships entire, and the machinery for three.
Mr. CLARK. That is what he may have meant by the thirteen.
Mr. NYE. I have it in writing from him. He has built ten ships, and the evidence can be obtained, if my frend desires to consult the Department, that not one of those ships did he want to build; and he has never built a ship for the Government upon which he has not sustained a loss. He tells me-and George Quintard tells the truth always-that these things were urged upon him. The Government said they could not do without them; he must do them; they could not get them done anywhere else. And yet, amid this whole