« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
cising the functions of judge advocate and receiving pay therefor from the United States to the amount of $3,000 while receiving his compensation as a member of Congress was a violation of the letter or spirit, or both, of article one, section two, of the Constitution, I leave others to decide.
As to the animus of Mr. Conkling's calumnious assault upon me, it is true (notwithstanding his assertion that he had no personal quarrels with me) that the differences between him and myself arose altogether from my unwillingness to gratify him in certain matters in which he had a strong personal interest. It is true, also, that he was foiled in his efforts to obtain undue concessions from my bureau, and to discredit me in the eyes of my superiors.
There have been three main issues between Mr. Conkling and myself.
The first arose in consequence of the removal of Captain Richardson, (the first provost marshal of Mr. Conkling's district,) upon a report of Judge Advocate Turner, that the proofs in his case disclosed a reckless persistence in fraudulent practices. Mr. Conkling complained of my action both to the President and War Department, but failed to procure any modification of my course.
The second issue was as to the restoring of Captain Crandall, (the second provost marshal of the district,) after I had secured his removal from duty on the recommendation of Major Ludington, who thoroughly inspected the district and reported that though not legally guilty he had morally perpetrated a most glaring and inexcusable fraud on the Government he was sworn to serve, and that he had quieted his conscience by casuistry and regulated his actions by the counsel of unscrupulous legal advisers. Mr. Conkling failed to get Captain Crandall restored, and the officer selected by me continued in charge of the business until the office was closed.
I knew that such a letter, though perhaps not wrong in itself, would be used to accomplish a purpose which I did not approve, namely, his pardon.
Major Haddock went on duty at Elmira as acting assistant provost marshal general, December 9, 1864. An inspection made at my request the latter part of March, 1865, elicited the first information which I received suitable for proceeding against him.
I received the report on the 1st of April, and on the same day I submitted it to the Secretary of War, with the recommendation that Major Haddock be relieved from duty as acting assistant provost marshal general of western New York, and that his conduct be further investigated, which was approved by the Secretary of War, and Major Haddock was promptly relieved.
The prosecution of Major Haddock was on April 3, 1865, made the special business of Mr. Conkling and the Judge Advocate General of the Army, as shown by a letter from Mr. Charles A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War. But whenever I had an opportunity, and so far as I had power, I urged forward the trial of Major Haddock. I was told by Mr. Dana, early in April, that Mr. Conkling would prepare charges, but hearing nothing definite in regard to them I, on the 22d of April, 1865, wrote to Mr. Conkling asking when he would be ready to proceed with the trial, to which I received a reply saying that he had forwarded the charges to the Secretary of War. This letter I at once (May 1st) referred to the Judge Advocate General, with the request that the trial might take place as soon as possible. The court was ordered to convene on the 17th of May, 1865. Notwithstanding Mr. Conkling was directed to get his instructions from General Holt, he frequently applied to me. On the 15th of May I referred a letter from him of the 13th with the following indorsement: "Respectfully referred to the Judge Advocate General, with the request that he will answer Mr. Conkling's inquiries by telegraph to-day, as the court meets day after tomorrow. Mr. Conkling is judge advocate of the court, and I recommend that all proper authority and facilities be granted to him at once.' organization of the court was delayed by the absence of members I secured at once the detail of other officers, and notified Mr. Conkling by telegraph. There are other facts bearing on this point, but the foregoing are, I think, sufficient to show my desire to have Major Haddock tried.
Mr. Conkling, in his speech, insinuates dishonesty, saying this bureau should allow the War Department and the country to know precisely what has become of the twenty-five million and odd dollars which, under the act of March 3, 1863, went to its credit.' My official report, now partly in the hands of the Public Printer, shows in detail the disposition of every dollar of this money, and shows, moreover, a completeness and accuracy in accounts that is not surpassed, if it is equaled, by any bureau under the Government, and I hold a certificate from the Second Comptroller of the Teasury that all my accounts relating to this fund have been examined and found correct. Mr. Conkling speaks of this bureau allowing the War Department to know, &c., as if they were separate branches of the Government. My bureau is a subordinate branch of the War Department, and I wish here to point out clearly the fact that my business has been conducted under the constant supervision and direction of the Secretary of War, and those authorized to act in his name. It ought not to be necessary for me to remind either Mr. Conkling or the "people" that Mr. Stanton has never been unwilling to make examinations into the conduct of his subordinates, nor slow to act upon the result of them. This of itself is a sufficient reply to Mr. Conkling's abuse of me, especially as it a fact that every request, complaint, or accusation of any importance made by him to or affecting this bureau, has been laid before the Secretary of War, and passed upon by him. It is true that the result has in nearly every instance been unfavorable to Mr. Conkling; and assuming that these were the differences or quarrels which were referred to in the debate as those in which Mr. Conkling came out "second best," he asserted what was not true when he denied them.
The third issue was as to the Government's employing counsel to defend Captain Crandall after he had been relieved and had carried with him, in violation of the orders of the Department, some twenty thousand dollars, local bounty deposited with him in behalf of recruits, and in regard to which he got into litigation. In this Mr. Conkling failed. Counsel has not, to my knowledge, been authorized, nor have any lawyers been paid by the Government in that suit.
In support of his denial of differences with me which influenced his action Mr. Conkling states the fact that we had but one personal interview. That is true, but it proves the reverse of what Mr. Conkling asserts, for it was of such a nature as to render other interviews very objectionable. I was called to Mr. Dana's office to have a verbal discussion with Mr. Conkling on the questions at issue, but I had by this time learned too much of this gentleman to transact business with him in that way, and I declined to do so. We had, directly and indirectly,much correspondence, and generally of an unpleasant character, and I presume under such circumstances it will be granted that men's personal relations will be bad although they may have had but one personal interview,
Notwithstanding Mr. Conkling's denial in the House, his own letters as well as the foregoing statements show that there were differences and that he was "worsted." On the 25th of October, 1865, he wrote the Secretary of War, saying: * * It
is now many months since I have been able to obtain any response from the Department touching the interests of the Government in this District. Still I venture one more trial," &c.
Mr. Conkling asserts and presents it as an offense or crime on my part that Major Haddock was my erony, confidant, &c., and that I justified him (Haddock) down to the time when his sentence was published and afterward.
These assertions are not true. Major Haddock was never my confidant or erony. Prior to his entry into the Veteran Reserve corps I had never heard of him. He was appointed to that corps by a special order from the Secretary of War, without any knowledge or action on my part. He served under General Oakes, in Illinois, by whom he was highly recommended to me.
He then served for a short time in a subordinate position in a branch of my office, without my becom ing intimate with him, personally or officially. He has never made a social or personal call on me in his life. He was highly recommended by the officer under whom he served in my office, and was selected for a temporary provost marshalship in Pennsylvania, where he rendered efficient service, without his integrity or capacity being questioned. After serving for a short time with fidelity, so far as I know, as acting provost marshal at Buffalo, he was selected as acting assistant provost marshal general, at Elmira, for the reason, and that only, that I thought he was upright and suited to the position. In that position I befriended and sustained him until I had proper evidence of his being unworthy, and not a day longer; but on this point I required better testimony than Hon. Roscoe Conkling. I received a letter dated as late as March 29, 1865, from Hon. Hamilton Ward, member of Congress of the district in which Major Haddock was stationed, claiming to be familiar with Haddock's course and the motives of the persons operating against him, "and protesting against his removal;" but notwithstanding this, as soon as the official report against him was received, on the 1st of April, I had him relieved and his conduct put under investigation. He had not then been four months on duty as acting assistant provost marshal general. After his trial and dismissal Major Haddock came to Washington to get a revocation or modification of his sentence. He pointed out to me instances of unfairness in his trial, but I declined to do anything in aid of his object, as I thought he deserved punishment, not for all the crimes with which Mr. Conkling charged him, but for the offenses of which he Was really guilty. I even refused to give him a letter as to his behavior prior to his being accused, because
Mr. Conkling says that he may hereafter inform Congress what number of all the men who received bounty reached the front, intimating that the proportion was small. I, for one, should be glad to obtain that information. The duty of sending men to the front rested with the Adjutant General of the Army and not with me.
He also hints that he may hereafter make a damaging exposé of the operations of my bureau. Whatever he may adduce in this connection he will probably not be able to disprove that it raised more than a million men for the Army, which, when hostilities ceased, consisted, notwithstanding all the losses, of one million five hundred and sixteen men; that it arrested and returned to the service over seventy-six thousand deserters, and that it raised by its own operations, in conformity to law, over twenty-six million dollars, which sum has been properly disposed of.
That there were frauds in my branch of the service I admit, but that they prevailed to a greater degree in it than in others, or that earnest and zealous efforts were not made by me to pursue, correct, and punish them, no man dare have the hardihood to assert.
The general management of my business has received the approval of all dispassionate parties who have had an opportunity to judge of it, including the late President and that superior officer to whom I have been directly responsible, whose vigor and whose capacity and opportunity to judge are beyond dispute; and it will not be forgotten that complaints and accusations have been spread with great industry before the high officials last referred to.
I have been at all times amenable to the severest form of law-the military code-liable at any moment to summary arrest, court-martial, and extreme punishment in case of any dereliction of official duty. No one knew or knows this fact better than Mr. Conkling, and if, while acting as judge advocate, under the extraordinary inquisitorial powers bestowed upon him by his friend Mr. Dana, he came into the possession of any fact impugning or impeaching my integrity as a public officer, he was guilty of grave public wrong and unfaithfulness if he did not instantly file formal charges against me with the Secretary of War. He can, therefore, only escape the charge of deliberate and malignant falsehood as a member of Congress by confessing an unpardonable breach of duty as judge advocate. He held both offices and took pay for both at the same time; he has certainly been false to honor in one, and perhaps, as the sequel may show, in both.
Copies of official documents substantiating statements herein made are subjoined.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES B. FRY, Provost Marshal General.
And I will here state that the fraud or loss in Government funds under my bureau, including both that punished and that unpunished, has been comparatively small.
The frauds and malpractices which did occur were almost entirely in connection with local bounties, which could not be controlled by the United States, and which corrupted some of the officers of this bureau, but more of the people at large, including supervisors, agents, &c., selected by the people to disburse the funds which they so lavishly bestowed.
Hon. JAMES G. BLAINE, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Mr. BLAINE. I do not ask the accompanying documents shall be read. I only ask that the letter and documents be printed.
Mr. ROSS. I move that ten thousand extra copies be printed.
The SPEAKER. That motion will be referred to the Committee on Printing.
Mr. CONKLING. I ask that everything be read. I enjoy it very much. The Clerk read as follows:
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, April 3, 1865.
SIR: I am instructed by the Secretary of War to authorize you to investigate all cases of fraud in the provost marshal's department of the western division of New York, and all misdemeanors connected with recruiting, You will from time to time make report to this Department of the progress of your labors, and will apply for any special authority for which you may have occasion. The Judge Advocate General will be instructed to issue to you an appointment as special judge advocate, for the prosecution of any cases that may be brought to trial before a military tribunal. You will also appear in behalf of this Department in any cases that it may be deemed more expedient to bring before the civil tribunals. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. A. DANA, Assistant Secretary of War.
Hon. ROSCOE CONKLING.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, December 21, 1864. GENERAL: I have the honor to return to you the papers in the case of Captain Richardson, provost marshal twenty-first district New York, and respectfully recommend that said Richardson be at once arrested and held in custody for trial by court-martial. The proofs in this case disclose a reckless persistency in fraudulent practices that not only demand his arrest and trial, but also a complete renovation in the office of said district.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, L. C. TURNER, Judge Advocate. Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY, Provost Marshal General. WASHINGTON, D. C., March 31, 1865.
SIR: In obedience to paragraph seventy-eight, Special Orders No. 130, Adjutant General's Office, current series, and to your verbal instructions, I made an inspection of the board of enrollment for the twenty
first district, State of New York, and have the honor to report as follows:
Men of undoubted character charge him with being insolent and abusive in discharging his duties, and grossly immoral; that he is in collusion with bounty brokers, and prostitutes his official position to personal ends. For proof of these charges I refer, at Utica, to the postmaster and Hon. R. Conkling; at Elmira, to the mayor, J. I. Nix, Postmaster D. F. Pickering, Provost Marshal J. S. Wright, Colonel B. F. Tracy, commanding post; Captain Eugene Divin, and Peter A. La France; also to Colonel L. C. Baker.
The prominent men of that district, the supervisors of its various towns and people, generally united in a determination to fill its quota under last call without sending citizens of the district. To this end a bounty of $725 was provided for every recruit, and cach supervisor was authorized to procure men. If recruits could be had for less than the above-mentioned sum, the difference accrued to the supervisor. The board of supervisors thus became a board of bounty brokers. Contracts were made with a notorious bounty broker, Aaron Richardson, for a supply of men.
This machinery for filling the quota being properly constructed with great consideration for the district, and regardless of the rights of the Government, there was found only one difficulty in its practical operation.
An order from the acting assistant provost marshal general of the western division of New York required a deposit with officers of the United States of five eighths of the bounty paid recruits. This was objectionable to the class of men furnished by the supervisors and Contractor Richardson, who very greatly preferred taking care of their own funds; and therefore recruiting did not progress rapidly. Some ingenious men of the district devised a cunning scheme to obviate this difficulty. Each recruit was instructed to say to the provost marshal that he desired no local bounty; that he went from better motives, and that Government provided as large bounty as he cared to accept.
The provost marshal admired the disinterestedness of the recruit and mustered him in. Men were now obtained rapidly. Bounty jumpers came to Utica by car-loads, and, to use their own slang, the enrolling board of the twenty-first district became "a perfect walk." These facts are notorious throughout the western division of New York, and are amply proven by papers referred to me from Provost Marshal General's Office and herewith returned.
During the administration of Captain Crandall, provost marshal twenty-first district, from 24th Junuary to 14th March, 1865, the records of his office show that there were enlisted forty-one men who refused all bounty, two hundred and sixty-nine who accepted fifty dollars, thirty-five who accepted from one hundred to two hundred dollars, and one hundred and twenty-three who received more than three hundred dollars.
In all, four hundred and sixty-eight were mustered in by Captain Crandall, of whom Major Haddock, acting assistant provost marshal general, western division New York, reports that fifty-five per cent. deserted before starting to the field. Had Captain Crandall retained in his hands five eighths of the bounty received by the two hundred and fifty deserters, there would have accrued to the Government $109,000. The amount paid over by him was very small, but I was unable to ascertain it exactly.
Upon the 13th March the enrolling board of this district was suspended and Major Beadle, third regiment Veteran Reserve corps, relieved Captain Crandall. Major Beadle states that he found the affairs of the office in confusion. His statement is appended, marked "Exhibit A."
Captain Crandall admitted that he had in possession $26,753 belonging to recruits and bounty brokers, but refused to turn it over for reasons given in his communication to Provost Marshal General, dated 11th March, 1865, herewith returned.
It is proper to state, in relation to the violation of Major Haddock's order to retain five eighths of recruits' bounty, that in the first seventeen cases, Captain Crandall explained why he did it, and Major Haddock was satisfied with the explanation. Upon this Captain Crandall based his subsequent action. The correspondenec is annexed, marked Exhibit B." Aside from this transparent scheme to defraud the Government by filling the quota of their district with credits instead of men, there is nothing objectionable in the official conduct of the board. Some communications upon file in the Provost Marshal General's Office allege that the surgeon passed unfit men. But I am disposed to regard these cases as incident to haste and overwork, and not as showing criminality upon the surgeon's part.
The character of the surgeon (Babcock) has been above reproach, as also that of Captain Crandall. Commissioner Munroe has not enjoyed so fully the confidence of his fellow-citizens.
I do not regard the conduct of the board as legally guilty, but morally they have perpetrated a most glaring and inexcusable fraud upon the Government they were sworn to serve. They quieted their consciences by casuistry, and regulated their actions by the counsel of unscrupulous legal advisers. Misled by sophistry, by an undue desire to serve well their friends, and by constant pressure from cowardly neighbors dreading a draft, they did this great wrong to their country, disgraced themselves, and brought upon their district a wide-spread reputation for rascality.
I respectfully recommend that every member of the board of enrollment for the twenty-first district of New York be dismissed the service, and that the money in possession of Captain Crandall be seized. And because of the disgraceful prejudice existing among the demoralized people of that district against filling their quota with decent men, thus preventing one of their own citizens from doing his duty to his country as well as his county, that an officer of the Army be detailed as provost marshal of that district. I have the honor to report further, that incident to the inspection of the twenty-first district facts in relation to the administration of Major John A. Haddock, acting assistant provost marshal general for western division of New York, were educed which led me to the conviction that he is unfit for the position he holds.
Very respectfully submitted,
E. H. LUDINGTON, Major, Assistant Inspector General. Brovet Brigadier General J. A. HARDie,
Inspector General United States Army, Respectfully referred to the Provost Marshal General. JAMES A. HARDIE, Inspector General. WAR DEPARTMENT, April 1, 1865.
MAJOR: The twenty-first district, New York, is evading General Order 305. Men from that district bring with them to general rendezvous from twenty to twenty-two dollars each. The supervisors have taken some action with a view to evade the order. The district is filling its quota with bounty jumpers. Fifteen deserters from Auburn in one squad.
This is giving to this district an undue advantage over the other districts. There is now a rush of bounty jumpers for Utica. Major Haddock, acting assistant provost marshal general, declares himself powerless to correct this evil. I inclose telegrams from him to provost marshal at Utica, which show his views of the subject. General Order No. 305 is worthless and should be revoked unless the recruits are required to bring their money to general rendezvous. Unless this is stopped at once other districts will be compelled, in self-defense, to resort to the same dodge, and one of the best orders ever issued become a nullity.
HEADQUARTERS, CAMP SEWARD, AUBURN, NEW YORK, March 4, 1865. SIR: I have the honor to lay before you the following items in regard to the provost marshal's office at Utica. I learned from two apparently_reputable men from Utica that the business at that office is conducted in the following manner: the supervisors of the county met and resolved to pay a county bounty of 2000; they inet again and resolved to add $125 to the $600, making $725 local bounty to be paid by the county; they then resolved themselves into a recruiting committee to furnish the quota of the county; they get the men at as low a figure as they can and charge the county the full amount of $725. The provost marshal and the examining surgeon seem to be but the creatures of these supervisors. Men rotten with venereal disease, totally unfit for any duty, are passed by the surgeon and sent here for duty. One old man, just discharged for disability, having the piles badly, before he got to his home was grabbed by these Utica harpies, put through by the officials, with, as he alleges, but $190, somebody pocketing the balance, and sent here. He is utterly worthless as a soldier. Nine tenths of the recruits sent here from that office are the most worthless set of scoundrels you ever put your eyes upon.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JAMES L. LOTT, First Lieutenant 19th V. R. C., Commanding Camp. Major JoHN A. HADDOCK, Acting Assistant Provost Marshal General, Western Division New York,
out doubt, "bounty jumpers," and should not have been mustered by any intelligent mustering officer. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, N. G. AXTELL, Colonel 192d Regiment New York Volunteers. Lieutenant Colonel F. TowNSEND,
Superintendent Recruiting Service.
HEADQUARTERS 192D REGIMENT NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS, ALBANY, February 4, 1865. COLONEL: I have the honor most respectfully to protest against the reception of recruits for the one hundred and ninety-second regiment New York volunteers who are mustered by the provost marshal at Utica. The men who have been received at the Veteran Reserve corps barracks from that city are, with
WAR DEPARTMENT, PROVOST MARSHAL GENERAL'S BUREAU, WASHINGTON, D. C., November 6, 1865. SIR: The instructions of this bureau required provost marshals to turn over to the nearest disbursing officer all funds which came into their hands. The bureau having been informed that P. B. Crandall, then provost marshal of the Utica district, New York, had in his possession a large amount of money and bonds, and that he had not turned over the same or reported the fact to this office, he was ordered on the 4th of March, 1865, to turn over the money, which he refused to do.
On the 10th of the same month the order was repeated, and again disobeyed, he stating as a reason that he had been advised by counsel of high standing that he would be held personally responsible for the
On the following day the order was repeated, and again disobeyed with the statement that Ward Hunt, Esq., his counsel, advised him that he could not safely comply with the order.
On the 30th of March he was again ordered by telegraph from this office to turn over the money at once, and on the 1st day of April following, he answered by telegraph that he would immediately comply.
It subsequently appeared that instead of turning over the whole amount, $33,995 10, which he had previously stated was in his possession, he had only turned over $8,095.
On the 6th day of April his attention was called to that fact.
To this a reply, dated April 13, was received on the 21st day of April, in which I was informed that the bonds in question ($20,000) had been seized by a writ of replevin at the suit of Richardson, and in which letter Captain Crandall stated as follows:
"I respectfully request the Government to tako charge of the suit and relieve me from responsibility in regard to it. In the event, however, that no charge is taken of it by the Government, I have placed it under the direction of Messrs. Hunt, Waterman & Hunt, who will appear as my attorneys in the case." On the 9th day of March, 1865, Captain Crandall was suspended from office, and on the 31st of May, 1865, his services as provost marshal were discontinued.
No further information on the subject of the $20,000 in county bonds was received from Captain Crandall until the letter dated September 15, a copy of which is transmitted by Hon. Roscoe Conkling. I have never approved of Captain Crandall's course in relation to turning in these moneys, nor of the intercourse between him and Aaron Richardson, the bounty broker, by which he, Crandall, came in possession of $20,000 county bonds, now under discussion. Having, however, taken these bonds, Captain Crandall was ordered to turn them over to a designated disbursing officer of the Government, which he refused to do. This refusal resulted in his suspension from duty, a correspondence, and a renewal of the orders to turn in the money, in answer to which renewed orders the fact appeared that during the correspondence and delay occasioned by Captain Crandall's disobedience, the money was taken out of his hands by a writ of replevin at the suit of Aaron Richardson, the bounty broker. It will be observed that in his first report of April 13 on the subject, Captain Crandall asks the Government to take charge of the suit and relieve him from the responsibility in regard to it, but says "in the event, however, that no charge is taken of it by the Government, I have placed it under the direction of Messrs. Hunt, Waterman & Hunt, who will appear as my counsel.",
When I received this letter, I did not think, and do not now, that the Government was called upon to elieve him from the responsibility in this matter, and as he contemplated and had provided for the contingency of the Government not assuming the suit, and had employed counsel, and placed it under their direction, no action from this office was necessary, and I therefore took none.
In his letter of September 15, renewing the subject. he says, "Unless the Department, therefore, gives instructions to the attorney for the defense, Hunt, Waterman & Hunt, Utica, New York, and assume the responsibility of the suit, the defense will be abandoned by me, and Mr. Richardson will be allowed to take a judgment for the recovery of his bonds and to obtain the possession of the same."
I did not then, and do not now, consider that the threat to abandon the suit, contained in this quotation, called for any action from this office. Mr. Crandall saw fit as a Government officer to receive these bonds from a bounty broker; he refused to obey the orders of this bureau as to the disposition of them, and permitted them to pass out of his hands, and become the subject of a civil suit; he assumed the suit and employed counsel to conduct it, the same counsel, it may be remarked, under whose advice he had refused to obey the orders of this bureau to turn in the funds. He now (assuming that the within letter speaks for him) again asks the Government to assume the suit, that is, pay the lawyer's bills, Mr. Crandall having employed the lawyers and placed the case under their direction. I do not advise this course; on the contrary, I recommend that the responsibility which Mr. Crandall assumed in this matter rest with him. If he adopts the course proposed in his letter of September 15, to abandon the suit and let Richardson have the bonds, it will not, I presume, invalidate the right to proceed against him for the
who have fattened upon the necessities and needs of their country. I knew the resources and the desperation of the men who have made wealth out of the public woe. I understood perfectly that I must be prepared for all comers of this description, and it was to this that I referred in the avowal of my readiness to maintain my allegations of wrong in the Provost Marshal Bureau at all times and places. I will not say "elsewhere," for fear of unsettling the nerves of some who hear me; but avoiding the expression "elsewhere," which is so dreadful, I say that I did not forget nor did I desire to avoid the responsibility of being asked to make good by proof the accusations I made; of course I expected, by dispatches to newspapers instigated by General Fry and his satellites, by every mode, secret and open, of influencing the public judgment, and diverting attention from the objects of accusation, to be vilified; and I hoped to be permitted, if not invited, to point out to some authority competent to receive and act upon it the evidence on which I relied. That opportunity will be af forded if a committee shall be raised; and now I wish to call attention to three or four things contained in the letter of General Fry, and I will not go further on this occasion.
The paper was then read through.
Mr. CONKLING. I appreciate the indifference with which the House must listen to an issue such as this, in its design on one side so personal and individual in its character; and at this hour of the day I shall not presume so far upon the good nature or the sense of jus- || tice of my fellow-members as to ask them for any great length of time to hear an explanation or a statement the main object of which must seem to be to repel a purely personal attack. I can, however, assure the House with the utmost sincerity that for everything in this most extraordinary communication savoring of imputation upon me I am consoled, ay, doubly consoled, by the fact that I shall become the humble instrument of initiating an investigation much needed and good for the people of the whole country, wholesome and cleansing to the future.
Before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, I shall yield to some gentleman to move, and I know the House will order it, a committee to investigate a subject which has now ceased to be individual and become public, a subject which concerns the rights and interests not only of that great procession of mourners and cripples which war has left in our land, not only of the tax-payers of the country, but also to those in every walk and avenue of life, because all have a deep interest in preserving the purity of the Government in all its departments.
Of course, Mr. Speaker, I shall have no part in that committee. I shall not move it, as it would not be proper for me to move it, but a committee will, I trust, be appointed to bring fairly to the public knowledge some of the matters whereof I shall briefly speak.
Now, sir, asking the indulgence of the House for a space, I wish to take up some of the matters in this communication of General Fry as I was able to note them in the reading, which point directly, and which are intended to point injuriously to me.
Mr. Speaker, I did not file in the War Department long ago information in reference to widespread frauds in recruiting in the State of New York in which extensive combinations of active men were banded together in office and out; I did not act as counsel for the Government in unearthing and breaking up these combinations and exposing the actors; I did not deyote upward of four months of patient labor in an attempt to arrest the enormous robberies and wrongs which prevailed in the State of New York, nor did I make an assault upon this bureau here, without counting the cost and knowing the consequences.
prepared for all the calumnies and all the responsibility that he must take who strikes at the thieves, marauders, and miscreants
It is stated by this officer, as the House has heard, that upon a certain occasion I telegraphed to the Secretary of War in the language of the communication, as I caught it, in order "to make a case for myself;" that is, to procure my own professional employment. It was said that my dispatch was to the effect that the provost marshal of my district wanted advice. Let me state that transaction, all of it being matter of record in the War Department, so that it can be unmistakably verified or challenged.
An alleged deserter was arrested by the provost marshal of my district without the process of any court. A writ of habeas corpus was sued out of the supreme court of the State of New York. Acting upon a decision which had been made years before in a western case, and an opinion, or rather a charge, given a grand jury by Mr. Justice Nelson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, the officer made a return, in substance, that although no process of law had been issued for the arrest, he, as a military officer of the United States, held his prisoner and refused to obey the mandate of the writ. An attachment was issued and we were on the point of collision between the civil and the military authorities. I telegraphed the Secretary of War nothing except the facts, and my recommendation that he
should direct the officer what to do. There was need of this. It was in 1863; a time in the State of New York when my colleagues well remember that it would only have been necessary that a collision should have occurred between the civil authority of the State and the military authority of the nation upon the issue of the habeas corpus and the effect would have been like drawing a match in a magazine of powder.
formed a very useful part at a very important juncture.
That, Mr. Speaker, was my connection with that transaction, and that was all of it; and upon this, an officer at the head of a bureau has dared to send here a letter on pretense of defending himself, containing a groundless libel deliberately written to stab the reputation of a Representative in retaliation for discharging his duty here.
I do not mean to be led into much zeal over the matter; but it is a bad plan for a man unjustly accused to resort to this sort of counter assault.
The Secretary of War telegraphed that the provost marshal must hold his prisoner at all events. I do not now profess to give the precise language, but it was that he must hold him and stand by his position, and the dispatch requested me to appear as his counsel, to take an appeal, and to argue the question between the military authorities of the United States and the judicial authority of New York.
I did appear; I did argue the case, and although that is neither here nor there, the decision was reversed, and reversed by one of the purest patriots and one of the most honored judges that ever graced New York's bench, and the decision stands as a monument of learning raised at a most critical and disordered
An appeal was taken to the court in banc. And there again I was requested by the Secre tary of War, and I think the Attorney General upon the application of the district attorney of the United States, to act as counsel, and I did so. The decision was not reversed, and it per
Again, this writer states that I was appointed, if I understand it aright, without the knowl edge or assent of the Secretary of War, but by the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Dana, judge advocate for a certain purpose. Let me state briefly that transaction. During the period referred to, or before, detectives were sent by the War Department into the State of New York, to endeavor to ferret out, if possible, and put a stop to frauds in recruiting. These detectives, it seems, had been directed by the authorities to apply to me, among others, for advice and information as to persons in various localities whose statements could be relied on. They came, several of them, and repeatedly, to me. They came in the night as well as in the day, and communicated to me various fragments and bits of evidence which they collected, showing rather the extent of the evil, and the difficulty of getting at the bottom of it than anything else.
Weeks elapsed, and very little information was gathered, or, as they expressed it, although they could get moral evidence enough, they could get no legal evidence. At length I promised that when I should be relieved of engagements in the courts which were then pressing, I would investigate, as far as I could, various things which they and I suspected. I did so; and I sent to the War Department such information as I gathered, and some very pregnant disclosures which were made. Having done this, acting as a citizen, I supposed my connection with it was to cease. But afterwardI cannot state the date precisely; it was in April, a year ago-I received in the city of Syracuse, fifty-three miles from my home, while I was there professionally engaged, an urgent telegraph from the Secretary of War, asking me to come to Washington. As soon as could release myself I took the cars, and, riding night and day, reached here in ignorance of the purpose for which I was summoned. Arriving here in the morning, I went to the War Department, and there had an interview with Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War. He explained his sending for me, and stated to me certain facts, and I stated to him other facts relative to the subject of frauds and maladministration; and he proposed that, as counsel for the Government, I should investigate and prosecute, until the enormities discovered should be ferreted out and the guilty convicted. I at first declined, for reasons connected with my other professional engage ments, knowing that preparatory to leaving home for the present session of Congress I should need all my time and strength in my ordinary business.
In my place, I suggested to the Secretary a gentleman, whose name I need not mention here, but it is one of the best and purest names in the State of New York, a gentleman of very high standing at the bar, and whom I hoped might be able to give the matter his attention, and I advised that to him rather than to me the retainer should be given. The answer of the Secretary was in effect, no, I know you, and I want you to do this, believing you will do it with activity and vigor, or some like remark of confidence. I took some little time to consider
it, debating with myself. Upon reflection, I assented, and the Secretary himself directed in person and in my presence to be drawn up and presented to me a retainer which I believe has been read among these papers. That, sir, was the origin of that engagement, and of that trans
action. Yet, the author of the remarkable production on the table ventures to insinuate, it he does not state, that I sought this employment, and obtained it, not from the Secretary of War, but from Mr. Dana, and that without the authority or assent, and I think without the knowledge, of the Secretary. I went to my home, disregarding and neglecting, as some persons who now hear me know, professional employments vastly more profitable to me, and devoted more than four months of most untiring, faithful labor to this investigation. I threw up numerous other retainers and gave undivided attention to this. I gave to it an effort which, although anybody else might have made it, and which did me no credit in the world, I stop to say, brought into the Treasury of the United States several hundred thousand dollars, and checked a most heady tide of swindling.
The investigation led, among other things, to the trial of this assistant provost marshal general, of whom General Fry says so much, and yet so little: a trial which alone consumed about eight weeks, at places distant from my home. When at last it was over, I declined to go further, thinking my poor share had been done, and finding it destructive to my regular business to engage in trials so interminable and absorbing, and I made report to the War Department and to the district attorney of the United States of the results which had been reached.
to cipher out whether I was a member of Congress at the time or not. I suppose the gentleman put his question all in the way of good nature; and I give my explanation to him in the same way.
I should be sorry to suppose that the member from Illinois, or any other member of this House-indeed, I should be sorry as an American to suppose that the standard of intelligence anywhere in the country is so low, that any human being, unless it be that distinguished mathematician and warrior, Provost Marshal General Fry, believes that there is the slightest impropriety in a man who is a member of Con gress practicing his profession as counsel in courts, or accepting from the Government of the United States or from any other client a retainer for such professional services. It would be very extraordinary, indeed, if some distinguished gentlemen, whom I will not name, who have recently performed most conspicuous professional services for the Government while they were members of Congress, had subjected themselves to the criticism of the gentleman from Illinois, or of anybody whatever, always excepting, of course, Provost Marshal General Fry.
So much for that part of this bundle of papers given to a pretended statement of the circumstance of my acting as counsel for the United States.
I come to the next point which occurs to me. There is a statement, if I apprehended it aright, that some effort was made by me to have concealment"-I think that was the word-in regard to the twenty-first congressional district. That is mere assertion. No circumstances are stated upon which it could be founded, therefore I cannot dissect it, but I pronounce the statement utterly and absolutely groundless-nothing whatever of truth can be found in it. On the contrary, in the investigation which took place before the court-martial to which reference has been made, everything that could be investigated pertaining to the twenty-first congressional district was investigated. The matter of recruiting there was held up, that the light might shine through and through it; and nothing in that statement amazes me more than that the Provost Marshal General or anybody else should dare, even in so daring a document, to put on record an assertion so utterly baseless.
So far I have noticed only some of the more far-fetched libels in these papers. I come now to the question which was made by the member who causes this letter to be read, the pretense that it in some way bolstered up the assertions made by him the other day. This letter was read in part, we were told, to show that I was not warranted in pronouncing untrue the statement that I had had personal quarrels" with the Provost Marshal General. I beg leave, Mr. Speaker, to remind gentlemen of the precise statement which on that occasion I pronounced untrue The member from Maine said-I read from the Globe
Some time after this, I received as other acting counsel do, I believe, a suggestion that I should present my bill.
I made out and sent to the War Department an account of the precise sum I had actually advanced in money, as traveling and other necessary expenses, rendering the amount to a farthing, and I made out no other account and no other charge. But I stated to the Secretary that I preferred not to do so, but to leave him to fix the amount; that the service was unusual to me, and that he better than I could judge of its value. I declined to fix any charge, but left it to him to fix such sum, whatever it might be, as he deemed the service worth; this I deemed at least fair to the Government, more than fair, for had I wished extravagant pay I should have taken any other course.
In reply I received from the Sacretary of War a letter, in which he stated his opinion, and his opinion as a lawyer and as Secretary of War is a tolerably good one. Perhaps it will not be considered a remark too much aside, considering the intimations we have heard, if I pause, and render to the Secretary of War my personal thanks, and my testimony to the thanks which I believe the nation owes him for the integrity, the courage, and the manhood which he has given at the expense of his health to the American people during the darkest passage in their life. The Secretary of War, in reply to my letter, wrote to me, saying that he deemed $3,000 a moderate sum for the labor which had been performed, and if that should be satisfactory to me, it would be very satisfactory to him. I returned an answer that it was entirely satisfactory, as I may say any other sum he might have fixed would have been, as I did not consider it an occasion out of which profit was to be made, or in which even such a charge might be made as any lawyer fit to conduct such a prosecution would have expected from a private client.
Mr. ROSS. If it will not discompose the gentleman too much, I would ask him to state whether that was during the time he was drawing pay as a member of Congress.
Mr. CONKLING. I do not quite understand the pertinence of the question of the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Ross.] But I will endeavor to enlighten him. He probably knows, for I presume that information has extended to him, that the term of members of Congress commences on the 4th of March. And as the retainer which I have spoken of was in April, which, I will inform the gentleman, is a month that comes after March in the calendar, he will very likely be able, by the rule of three, or by some other rule with which he is familiar,
"I do not suppose that the House of Representatives care anything more than the Committee on Military Affairs about the great recruiting frauds of New York or the quarrels of the gentleman from New York with General Fry, in which quarrels, it is generally understood, the gentleman came out second best at the War Department."
Mr. CONKLING. I am not asked to yield. The Chair will see that all this interruption is in defiance of the proprieties of debate. I have no objection to the member from Maine being heard, however, at any length he pleases.
Mr. BLAINE. I rise to a point of order. The SPEAKER. The gentleman will state his point of order.
Mr. BLAINE. My point of order is that the gentleman from New York has no right to insert in the Globe what is not read either by himself or by the Clerk. I object to his doing so.
I will not stop to read further (although I propose to have all I have marked inserted in my remarks) the various forms in which the statement was made that I had had personal quarrels with Provost Marshal General Fry.
Mr. BLAINE. I hope the gentleman will read the whole. If he will show me the word "personal" in the speech to which he is replying, I will reward him. He cannot do it. He is putting his own interpretation upon it. Let the gentleman read all that he is going to print. Mr. CONKLING. Mr. Speaker, I hope the active member from Maine will preserve himself as free from agitation as possible.
Mr. BLAINE. Idemand that whatever the gentleman puts in the Globe he shall read.
The SPEAKER. Does the gentleman from New York yield to the gentleman from Maine?
The SPEAKER. The gentleman has the right to object to its being printed in the Globe if it is not read.
Mr. CONKLING. Mr. Speaker, this is a little episode, I suppose, for the amusement and diversion of the House. It is quite unnecessary. The member had better be quiet; I am entirely disposed to have the whole passago read; and I will ask to have it read. I intended to send it to the Globe reporters for insertion. I suppose the member knew what had already been printed in the Globe as com ing from him.
Mr. ROSS. Will the gentleman from New York yield to me a moment?
Mr. CONKLING. For what purpose? Mr. ROSS. I desire to ask the gentleman whether he was drawing pay as judge advocate at the same time when he was receiving $3,000 a year from the Government as a member of Congress.
Mr. CONKLING. I will answer the gentleman's question, Mr. Speaker; and I ask the Clerk to suspend for one moment the reading till I do so, because nothing interests me in connection with this matter more than the laudable curiosity of the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Ross.]
I beg, Mr. Speaker, to assure the gentleman "confidentially," as the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. STEVENS] would say, and I hope he will regard it as a confidential communication, that I never did receive salary as judge advocate during the period he refers to or dur ing any other period; not one penny. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I found myself very unexpectedly elevated when I saw the announcement in some paper that this retainer which the Government had given me made me acting judge advocate for the purpose of trying a case. It was merely an employment as counsel; and the counsel fee which was paid is, I beg to assure the gentleman, the only compensation that I ever received for my services. I never received any pay as judge advocate during any period whatever.
I now ask the Clerk to read the remarks which I have sent to the desk; all that are marked. They are the remarks of the member from Maine.
The Clerk read as follows:
"Mr. Speaker. I do not suppose that the House of Representatives care anything more than the Com mittee on Military Affairs about the great recruiting frauds in New York, or the quarrels of the gentleman from New York with General Fry, in which quarrels it is generally understood the gentleman came out second best at the War Department. I do not think that such questions ought to be obtruded here.
"Though the gentleman from New York has had some difference with General Fry, yet I take pleasure in saying that, as I believe, there is not in the American Army a more honorable and high-toned officer than General Fry. That officer, I doubt not, is ready to meet the gentleman from New York or anybody else in the proper forum. I must say that I do not think it is any very creditable proceeding for the gentleman from New York here in this place to traduce General Fry as a military officer when he has no opportunity to be heard. I do not consider such a proceeding the highest specimen of chivalry that could be exhibited.
The gentleman from New York has had his issues with General Fry at the War Department. They have been adjudicated upon by the Secretary of War: and I leave it for the gentleman to say whether he came out first best. I do not know the particulars; the gentleman can inform the House. All I have te say is-and in this I believe I speak the sentiment of a majority of the members of this House-that James B. Fry is a most efficient officer, a hightoned gentleman, whose character is without spot or blemish; a gentleman who stands second to no oth cer in the American Army; and he is ready to meet the gentleman from New York and all other accusers anywhere and everywhere. And, sir, when I hear the gentleman from New York rehearse in this House. as an impeachment of General Fry, all the details of
be sustained and commended, or whether he deserves to be gibbeted at the cross-roads of common contempt.
But, Mr. Speaker, I was saying that Peter B. Crandall was appointed provost marshal. He was appointed upon the recommendation of the most honored and trusted of our citizens without my having any part in his selection. I had no part or lot in it. It was made entirely by others. The person whom they selected was chosen because his integrity was and is beyond all question. He was removed after bounty brokers had threatened him that if he did not submit to their behests he would be removed, and after he had defied them to bring the machinery of this great Government to bear upon him for doing his duty. He was removed at the very time when they predicted his downfall, and I say here that he was removed because he || did his duty and for no other reason under heaven, whether General Fry knows it or not. Had he been rascal enough to comply with illicit requests, he would never have been touched by the hands which struck him down.
I joined with various of the citizens of my district in representing to the Secretary of War that a mistake had been made or a wrong had been done in the case of this man; that if any body was honest he was, and that it was doing great violence to the public service and to the people of that district to strike down a man who had been selected by some of its best citizens because he was in point of character above reproach.
That is all I had to do with it. I united with others in signing these representations. Was that having a personal quarrel with General Fry?
the recruiting frauds in New York, which General Fry used his best energies to repress with iron hand, a sense of indignation carries me beyond my personal strength and compels to denounce such a course of proceeding."
Mr. BLAINE. The word "personal" does not occur there.
Mr. CONKLING. The House will observe I did not say the word "personal" did occur. But that is not here nor there. All gentlemen, all who have the appreciation or instincts of gentlemen, see the point of this passage. It was the assertion that I had had " "quarrels" with Provost Marshal Fry, repeating that word more than once, and using other forms of expression; and that I had had quarrels with General Fry in which "quarrels" I had been worsted, in which "quarrels" I had been put down by the Secretary of War; in which the Secretary of War had taken sides against me. These were the points, first: that there had occurred between General Fry and myself "quarrels," and second, that in those quarrels" I had been worsted, and worsted by the Secretary of War.
Now, Mr. Speaker, is there any shadow or foundation for that? I mean, taking the communication of the Provost Marshal General as the only evidence upon the subject. What does he say? I had stated, as the House will remember, before the member from Maine injected his statement-I will read that-I had previously stated all about having been employed to prosecute General Fry's friend and assistant. I said:
"I was employed by the Government to prosecute some of the frauds to which I have referred; and tried this assistant provost marshal general, who had been justified in all the outrages he committed, and in all the acts by which millions were stolen from the people of New York; who was justified by his superior officer down to the time when the sentence was published, and afterward, I understand."
The member from Maine, then, did not mean this prosecution by his statement. Now, what does the Provost Marshal say to give color to the statement that, independent of this, anything had taken place which will help out the assertion of quarrels," and that I was worsted? What does he state? That Captain Richardson, a provost marshal in my district, was removed. So he was. He was removed without notice and without charges. He was removed, as it turned out, on the report of Haddock and the accusation of a man who is himself to be tried in a few weeks for such frauds as he charged upon Captain Richardson. The facts were in part made known to me, and, in common with some of the first citizens of my district, I represented to the War Department and to the President, if that was the form of the petition, that this man had been removed without notice and on secret information. We thought he should be heard; that there should be an investigation in regard to it. That is the beginning and end of all I had to say or to do with the removal of Captain Joseph P. Richardson. I think it will be hardly said that was a quarrel with General Fry. The next statement is that Captain Peter B. Crandall was appointed provost marshal of my district and was afterward removed. So he was, and I take occasion to say, in the face of the imputations put upon Captain Crandall by General Fry, if ever I looked into the face of an honest man, P. B. Crandall is honest. I take it upon myself to state that a more honest man never broke bread than this man who was trodden under foot by bounty jumpers and thieves because he would not submit to them in violation of his duty and of the law of the land. There is a place where Peter B. Crandall is known, where he has been long known; and fortunately for me, also, in that same place, the twenty-first district of New York, inhabited as it is by as brave, as gener ous, as patriotic people as were ever represented a this floor, I am known and have been known for twenty years. The people with whom I live, among whom I expect to die, know better than General Fry can tell them, whether the man who dared to pen the libels we have heard read deserves to
One thing more is referred to in connection with Captain Crandall. He had taken and held, and persevered in holding $20,000 of bonds which were claimed of him by a bounty broker. He said they belonged to the Government of the United States, because the man had deserted for whom these bonds were hypothecated, and he would never surrender them to the claimant until he was compelled to do || it by law. He was sued, and I wrote several times to the War Department recommending the Secretary of War to look into the facts himself and see whether the bonds might not be held, as I thought they should be held, by the|| Government. This is all I had to do with that. The cause was subsequently tried. I had nothing to do with it. The counsel was a gentleman whose name appears in the papers read, a citizen honored in every walk of life, and Captain Crandall was sustained in holding the bonds, the court deciding that he did what should have been done, and that he ought not to have delivered them up. That is the entire of that transaction.
Having disposed of these things which General Fry recounts, I ask the House to observe that in no aspect, by no stretch, do they show that I quarreled with General Fry; at most they only show that recommendations made by me to the War Department roused his hostility.
Having referred to all transactions connecting me with him to which he refers, I come now to the one single interview which he says took place between us. It was upon the occasion which I referred to when I came here in response to a telegram from the Secretary of War.
The Provost Marshal General was sent for to come into the room of the Assistant Secretary of War during that day to give information, and he did come, and informed me of various things, among others, that Major Haddock was an estimable and honorable man; he denied utterly that there was anything to be said against him, although he had then made the recommendation which he parades, and for which he takes credit now, that he should be suspended; that he was satisfied Haddock was honest, and would back him anywhere. He said further that the people of my district, all of them, as he understood it, were cowards, drunkards, and sneaks; that that was his in
formation; that there was not, he believed, an honest man in that district, and if one could be found and set to discharging the duties of provost marshal, as soon as it was known by others, they would immediately debauch him. I was somewhat astounded at language like this, but I had no quarrel with General Fry, I was taught somewhat early in life that while a man should be careful in his associations, he should be choice in his fighting; and having received my impression of this man then and previously, I chose to have no controversy with him. Nor does he pretend that I had any. I did not call upon him. I neither sought nor avoided him. I requested no interview with him. There was nothing of the interview except that he was sent for to give certain information. He gave his information, he made the remarks I stated, and some other remarks, and retired upon his laurels.
The fact, then, is precisely this: neither in conversation with General Fry did I ever have any quarrel with him, nor by letter or correspondence did I ever have any quarrels with him; and no way whatever have I ever had a quarrel, in any definition of that term, with this Provost Marshal General.
As I said the other day, I prosecuted his assistant and friend. I knew then that I incurred his ire in doing it. I recommended to the War Department from time to time such things as I deemed it my duty to recommend. This I well know angered him, but I believe I never had occasion to make to the Secretary of War a recommendation relative to matters coming before him, which was not promptly responded to, and promptly approved. Unless I have forgotten something, I believe that throughout this prosecution I never addressed to the Secretary of War a single recommendation in regard to it which he did not approve, and which did not meet with his sanction.
The House will see, therefore, with how much truth it was that a statement was made here, first that I had had quarrels with a man whom I never saw but once, and with whom I never quarreled at all; and in the second place, that in those quarrels I had been worsted, and worsted by the Secretary of War, worsted by that distinguished officer, whose friendship and confidence it has always been my privilege to enjoy, and who never on any occasion did toward me anything calculated to awaken any feelings but those of friendship and respect, and who has my thanks for many acts of courtesy and kindness.
But, Mr. Speaker, I have already gone far beyond my intention in rising, and I trust that those who have listened to me so attentively will pardon something to the extraordinary incident which has been witnessed, of the head of a bureau, a clerk in the War Department, sending here to be read such a pile of rubbish as that, a personal assault upon a member of this House, under the pretense of vindicating himself in some way or other.
This officer longs for vindication, not with regard to these insignificant matters which pertain to me personally, but he longs for vindication with regard to those public matters which concern him in his responsibility to the people of the country. And I beg now to say, that if a committee shall be raised by this House to investigate the doings of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau, I will undertake to make good my assertion, that in the western division of New York, composing a large portion of that great State, this bureau, as it was administered, was one carnival of corrupt disorder. I will endeavor to make good that statement; and then the public shall know whether the head of the bureau was a man incapable of administration a man incapable of seeing the difference between honest men and thieves-or whether it was administered by a man who had the capacity to do it, and who, but for the want of another quality, would have performed its duties well.
And now, Mr. Speaker, I will ask my colleague from the St. Lawrence district, [Mr. HULBURD,] whose position in this House and