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Q. You must have been notified of it in some way?--A. It sort of fell to me to do it. There was no other clerk in the office that seemed to be competent to do that work that I know of.
(The cbairman here read to witness the letter above referred to from Mr. Cheney to Mr. Bangs.)
The WITNESS. Fitch did not fill my place on the Boston and Albany line, and I performed the duties for Stahl in addition to my own duties, which were those of chief bead clerk of the Boston and Albany line.
By Mr. GIDDINGS: Q. Who was the next superior officer to Mr. Cheney ?-A. I do not know what you term the next superior officer to Mr. Cheney. He is commissioned by the department. Q. Does he report directly to the department?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you any information whether the Post-Office Department here knew of these facts of which you have testified ?-A. I have no reason to koow where Mr. Stahl was going or the length of time that he intended to be gone, nor have I any reason to know that his object in going was to go to Bowdoin College for that number of months.
Q. Were any special agents sent to look over this work from the department during this time !-A. No.
Q. You have po knowledge, then, that the department here bas any knowledge of the existence of the facts to which you have testified ?-A. No, sir.
By Mr. CANXON : Q. You were chief head clerk of the Boston and Albany Railway?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you run upon the trains and distribute mails ?-A. No, sir; I had formerly done so. Q. I refer to the time you have been speaking of.-A. No, sir.
Q. Wbat were your duties !–A. They were to look out for the distribution of that line, to write orders to the clerks in any changes of distribution which might occur in the change of time on that railway or any of the side lines of that line, and to look out that the clerks performed their duties on the line, &c.
Q. How many bead clerks were there receiving the same pay that you did upon that line at that time!-A. I think there wero eight sets ot' men of thres each on the line besides myself.
Q. Then of the twenty-four running upon the Boston and Albany line there were eight head clerks besides yourself receiving $1,400 per year who actually rau u pon the line and distributed mail ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You staid in Mr. Cheney's office in the post-office at Boston during this time?A. I was in Mr. Cheney's office part of the time. There are three grades of clerksbead clerk, clerk, and assistant clerk; then the chief head clerk is charged with the business of the line.
Q. You are called chief head clerk because you were at the end of the line at Boston with Mr. Cheney in his office snperintending generally the eight other head clerks and sixteen other clerks on that line!-A. That is it exactly.
Q. Were your duties onerous ?-A. Well, they took up about all the time.
Q. At the same time you performed duty at Mr. Stahl's desk touching some other matters 1--A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did that well, did you l-A. I suppose I did. I never had any fault found with it.
Q. Mr. Fitch was detailed in there and put at such duty as he was best adapted to!-A. He was put at the label-slip business, which anybody could do. Q. You were not doing that kind of business !--A. No, sir. I have done it.
Q. I believe you have already stated that you do not know what the arrangement was between Mr. Stabl and Mr. Harrington ?-A. No, sir; I do not know that except from hearsay. Q. What became of Harrington ?-A. Harrington is there; I have seen him. Q. Is he still in office -A. No, sir.
Q. When did he go out ?-A. He went out at the time that he was specified to run for Stahl.
Q. You have now been in the service of the Post-Office Dapartment, in and about the Boston post-office, for about twelve years ?--A. Over eleven years.
Q. Most of the time you have been in the postal railway service ?-A. About seven years ot that time.
Q. Have you ever been absent from duty in that time ?-A. Of course I have, in the usual way, during my vacations.
Q. What are the vacations?-A. I do not know that they have adopted any speci. fied time.
Q. I want you to tell me how much annually your absence would amount to while in that service 1-A. I do not know tbat I could tell exactly.
Q. Thirty days, probably ?-A. I think it would amount to that.
Q You drew pay without any substitute or without the performance of any seryice 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is that customary for all the clerks ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long bad Stahl been in the service ?-A. I do not know exactly when he came in. Up to the time when he went away, I think he had been in the service perhaps twelve or thirteen years.
By Mr. WiLLIAMS : Q. Are you an applicant for the position that Mr. Cheney now bolds:-A. No, sir. I do not want it. I would not take it if it were offered to me to-day.
Q. You consider that his duties are very arduons ?—A. I consider them as duties with a good deal of detail about them, and some considerable responsibility.
By Mr. CANNON: Q. In Mr. Cheney's office, and in the railway postal service generally, and especially in the offices of superintendents of railway matters, I will ask you, when one of the employés is absent, whether it is not customary for the other employés in his office to be a little more diligent, as a matter of courtesy and accommodation among themselves, and perform his duties for him ?-A. The duties of the man under Mr. Cheney, who is designated as chief bead clerk, take him away from Mr. Cheney's office, if he performs them as he should. He is on the road looking after the route.
Q. I am speaking of those times when you are absent on the usual annual thirty days' leave.-A. I do not want to be understood that any man ever took thirty successive days' absence. It was a half a day, and two or three or four days at a time perhaps.
Q. What becomes of his duties when he is absent ?-A. The railway line would probably run for that specified time.
Q. Do not the other employés in the office take his work upon their shoulders for the time tbat he is absent ?--A. No, sir. I never did any work for a chief head clerk to my knowledge.
Q. I am speaking of Mr. Cheney's office.
Mr. Canxon. Yes; in his office. There is a number of clerks in his office, are there pot?-A. Yes, a number.
Q. Who performed your work when you were away?-A. It was not performed by any of the clerks. Q. It went undone ?-A. Probably there was nothing to do for those days.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. I understand you never bad as much as thirty days' leave at one time ?--A. I believe I never had that much time at once during my service.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. When you got these vacations where did the leave of absence come from 1-A. I never had any specified vacation while in the service. When the head clerks in Mr. Cheney's office wanted two or three or four days they would take it and go.
Q. Without asking leave ?-A. Without asking any leave, or without having their work suffer particularly, that I know of, or without being censured for it.
Q. You speak about it being usual for clerks to take a vacation. I understand these vacations are taken upon their own motion, when there is nothing pressing, and without procuring leave 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You mean to say that there was no official leave of absence given ?-A. Not for those clerks that I am speaking of pow.
Q. How long a leave of absence did you ever take ?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Vail says in his letter, among the papers accompanying the charges, that Stabl was granted a leave of absence for thirty days, for reasons entirely satisfactory to him. He does not allude to the four months' absence.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. Was Mr. Stahl at work near yourself in the office ?-A. Yes, sir; about the distance you are from me.
Q. Did he ever, after he went to Bowdoin College, perform any duties of the office at any time 1-A. I think that according to my remembrance he came back about the 20th of August.
Q. Yon think he came back and staid about a week ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he perforin any duties in the office during that week ?-A. I guess he did. I think he wrote some letters.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. You think that week will cover the whole time that be worked for a period of six months 1-A. Yes; I think a week or ten days would.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. When was it that he left to go to Brunswick ?-A. About the 22d of March, I think. The accumulation of work in Mr. Cheney's office was very great at times.
By Mr. TOWNSEND: Q. Do I understand you to say that when you wanted to be absent a week or ten dass you walked off without any consent from anybody, or any notice to anybody that you were going ?-A. Yes, sir; there was nobody to whom I could apply at the time that I wanted to go away-no superior.
Q. Does Mr. Cheney live in Boston ?-A. No, sir; he lives in New Hampshire. , 1. Q. You bad charge of the Boston office then, during his absence ?-A. Yes, sir; when he was absent, substantially I was in charge.
By Mr. MONEY:
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 23, 1878. GEORGE S. BLUNT recalled. Mr. Samuel C. Eastman appeared before the committee to-day as consel for Mr. Cheney.
By the CHAIRMAX: Question. You stated in your testimony yesterday before the committee, that you did not apply for a leave of absence from your duties, and I am requested to ask why it was that you did not-whether it was because Mr. Cheney was not present ?-Answer. Any leave of absence tbat I took was not long enough for me to consider it necessary to ask for it. I bave never had a formal leave of absence for ten or fifteen days since I have been in the service. What I took I took, but my absences were very short, not longer than a week or ten days generally, and would never exceed a fortnight. The reason of my going was that I had previously been a railway clerk for seven years, and was then made chief head clerk. The railway clerks alternate on duty every other week, but the chief head clerks are not allowed any vacation, and therefore it has been castomary in Mr. Cheney's office, when a bead clerk wishes to go away for three or four days, to go without asking leave. The reason, probably, that I never made application for a leave of absence was, because I had Mr. Cheney's general consent. I remember distinctly having stated to him when he came to Boston, perbaps, that I had been away, or intended to go away, two or three or four days, and be would always say, “All right." If he was absent at the time I wanted to go, I, as chief head clerk, went away. There was nobody over me; I was there an independent officer, as you may say, in his absence, and I could not make application to anybody.
By Mr. CALDWELL: Q. How long were you in the service under Mr. Cheney ?-A. About seven years. Q. Was Mr. Cheney absent a great deal from his office or not?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Wbat proportion of his time was he absent from the discharge of his duties in the office ?-A. Some months he would be there six days, and sometimes he would be tbere a fortnight in a month.
Q. Where did he generally spend his time?—A. He spent his time generally, as I soppose, at Ashland, N. H. I sent him bis letters there.
Q. Who bad superintendence of the office in his absence ?-A. I had.
Q. Did business accumulate in the office that required his attention during his absence 1-A. It did to a great extent.
Q. Wbat course did you take about business of that sort that required his attention 1-A. The business that I would dare venture upon I would attend to, and attach his name to the letters I wrote, as was customary for the chief head clerk to do. When an important letter came that I would bardly venture upon answering, I used to put it in the unfinished pigeon-hole, as I called it. These documents would accumulate there to some extent occasionally. Perhaps I have had a dozen or twenty papers in there at a time awaiting bis coming.
Q. Would you telegraph or write to Mr. Cheney that his business was accumulating and required his attention ?-A. Yes, sir; I have written him after receiving letters from Washington asking about matters occasionally.
Q. Would he come promptly upon your writing or telegraphing ?--A. He would not get there very promptly sometimes on writing:
Q. How long would he stay when he came ?-A. Sometimes he would go home the same day that he came and sometimes the next day.
Q. Would be work off all the business that required his attention while he was there-A. No, sir; he would not work off these documents that were lying there.
Q. He would still leave some unfinished business when he went back home?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did the department know anything about this !-A. I have received telegrams from the department, and I would repeat them to Ashland to Mr. Cheney. Of course I cannot say how many I have received under such circumstances.
Q. State, as well as you can, what you suppose to have been the average number of days or months that Mr. Cheney would stay in his office and what was the average length of time that he would be absent.
The Witness. Do you mean this particular year that we are talking about, or for the whole time?
Mr. CALDWELI.. Say the whole time.
Q. Very well, state then in regard to the tiine you were in the office !-A, I should think, perhaps, ninety days would cover the length of time that the work could be put in-perhaps sixty. I mean the actual work could be done in that time.
Q. Sixty days in the year?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. The question I put you is, what would the average length of his absences amount to during the year, and what would be the amount of time he would spend in the office in the year!-A. I should think he would be away from the office six months in the year while I was there.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. You say that you got telegrams from the department when Mr. Cheney was at at Ashland. Did you forward them to him ?-A. I would repeat telegrams to him at Ashland,
Q. What was the character of those telegrams ?--A. Asking about unfinished matters that ought to be attended to; asking about certain things that were there in the office.
Q. What was the character of the dispatches ! Was there any expression of impatience on the part of the department at the absence of Mr. Cheney ?-1. Generally the communications would be to ask why such a man was not changed, or why such a matter was not attended to. I cannot recollect the exact language.
Q. It is charged that Mr. Cheney was absent from duty on bis farm, and he has replied that his absences were on account of bad health caused by being deprived of food and sleep at regular hours. Is it the custom of superintendents of mail service to ride with the postal clerks and route-agents to see that the mail is distributed at the different points ?-A. I do not think that Mr. Cheney ever rode with the postal clerks except in exceptional cases.
Q. What is the custom of these superintendents when they travel, or when they go off from their offices up and down the lines ?-A. I don't know outside of our division what the custom is, but I suppose that superintendents, in going over a road, would take au interest in the matter and ride in the postal cars and look after things. I remember one instance where a new line was started, when Mr. Cheney did go over that line. I don't know whether he went to Saint Albans from Boston, or to White River Junction, but I kuow he went over that line. The agent was drunk in Boston, and Mr. Cheney went on the train, or else the agent was carried along on the train. This samo new road that was established, he went over and I with him once after that. During my five years in the service or thereabouts, 1 never saw Mr. Cheney in my postal car on the Boston and Albany line, and that is a trunk line.
Q. Did he go over that line while you were in the office !-A. He had to go over it to come this way.
Q. Would you have seen him in the postal car if he had been there ?-A. I think I should.
Q. So he did not lose any sleep on your route !-A. Not on my route.
Q. You do not know whether it is the custom of the superintendents of railway mail service to ride in the postal car or not?-A. I suppose they do not go out of their offices very much. I understand that Mr. Jackson, at New York, is in his office all the time. It is an exception when he is gone half a day.
Q. His reply is that he was absent a great deal from his office upon these routes.A. In my opinion Mr. Cheney was not 'absent on any route much of the time that he was gone. The idea is laughable to me that Mr. Cheney took any interest in the distribution of mails or running over the road or anything of the kind, especially, unless
he did it op in his own State over those little side routes. He never did it on the trunk line.
Mr. CALDWELL: Q. You have some idea what the character of his duties was; you know what duties be ought to bave performed. Are you prepared to say whether, in your opinion, he performed those duties with the diligence, zeal, and fidelity due from a public servant in the position tbat occupied, or whether he neglected his duties ?-A. My opinion is, and in fact I know, that Mr. Cheney did not perform bis duties as he should, and that he did neglect them. I was there to know it.
Q. Who is filling Mr. Cheney's place now?--A. D. A. Holmes is chief head clerk of the mail service, but be is attached to the Boston office. He is designated by Mr. CheDey probably, because the department has nothing to do with those head clerks.
Q. Do you know anytbing about Mr. Holmes's compensation !-A. He gets $3,000 per year.
Q. How much does the law allow bim!-A. I don't know. A head clerk in the railway-mail service gets $1,400. Mr. Holmes gets $2,400 from the Boston post-office as sniperintendent of mails, and he is allowed $600 additional for holding the position of chief head clerk to Mr. Cheney.
Q. Is that in Mr. Cheney's office ?-A. The work is generally in his office.
Q. For that he gets $600 1-A. That is the understanding. I know that I have talked with the postmaster at Boston regarding it at two different times.
By Mr. MONEY: Q. Ought not the pay-rolls to show whether he gets it from the Boston post-office or not ?-A. He gets it by the Boston post-office pay-rolls, but he did formerly sign two pay-rolls at one time. Q. Both in his own name?-A. Yes, sir.
By the CHAIRMAN :
By Mr. MONEY: Q. What time was that?-A. I could not state for sure, but it ran along for a while on the Boston office rolls and the railway-mail service rolls. Those two services are paid by the same cashier at Boston, and Mr. Holmes was on the Boston pay-rolls at first, when he was designated as superintendent of mails, and received $1,400, I think, which, in a short time, was increased to $2,000. He is now superintendent of mails.
Q. What is the regular and lawful salary for that position ?-A. There is none. It is a place made by the postmaster.
Q. And the pay is regulated by the postmaster?--A. The pay of the railway superintendent is regulated by Congress, I think; but the post-office clerks are paid such salaries as the postmaster deems fit and sufficient.
By Mr. CANNON: Q. What three years was it that you were serving as superintendent of mails in the Boston office and in Mr. Cheney's office !--A. I never held the position of superintendent of mails.
Q. What was the position that you held then ?-A. Chief head clerk of the Boston and Albany lines, but not all those three years; I was in Mr. Cheney's office part of that time, but I haven't got my documents showing my appointment as chief head clerk.
Q. You speak of being in Mr. Cheney's office about three years. I want to know about what time that was ?-A. I can tell very near the months.
Q. Did tbe time run consecutively?-A. It was 1873, 1874, and 1875, if it was three years. I left his office the 1st of December, 1875.
Q. Prior to that time you bad been head clerk running upon the railway, I believe? -A. Yes, sir.
Q. Your duties, I believe you stated yesterday, were in Mr. Cheney's office, and also looking after the mails between the post-office and the railways:-A. I think you did pot understand me.
Q. What I want to get at is, what are your duties ?-A. I was chief head clerk of the Boston and Albany line. My duties, as such cbief bead clerk, were to run that line, look ont for the distribution of mails, see that all the clerks registered at the offices; that the trains were on time. They change the time-tables of side lines and branches sometimes, wbich makes a change in the distribution. The moment a side line changes its time, the mails will go altogether differently, in order to make connections.
Q. Those three years you were performing these duties with Mr. Cheney!-A. I was in his office about three years. I cannot tell the exact time I was chief head clerk, but I guess it was about two years. Q. The last two or the first two!-A. The last two years.