Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Q. What duties was Mr. Hinds performing as clerk ?-A. He was a clerk in the warebouse division.

Q. Did that require the same amount of ability as was required by the auditor's office ?-a. I should say that it did not require the same class of ability. Now, I bare not read the testimony of my predecessor. I think that somebody stated here that Mr. Hinds was not a man of good character. I think that if my successor said that of brother Hinds, be must be mistaken, and I say this, because the young man is out of em. ployment, has gone to California to make a living for his family, and it might damage bim if that thing came out, because that is not true. He is a man of good character, and he was a faithful soldier and a good clerk. I tbink there must be some mistake about that. I have not read the testimony, but I think that friend Beard was mistaken, if he so stated. I say that in justice to Mr. Hinds, because it ought to be said.

Q. You think that Mr. Hartwell was not competent as an auditor. Did you not think that he was competent to perform the duties of Mr. Hinds ?-A. I do not want to get any of my appointees who are under my successor into trouble, but I tbink that they would tell you, as they told me, that he muddled the accounts so that he could not straighten them out for a week.

Q. As a clerk ?-A. Yes, sir; I judge that he would have done so. I got that direct from the custom-house. I could not say who told me so. Mr. Hartwell is a good, honest man ; I bare no doubt. He was a grad. pate, or was formerly a tutor over at Harvard--that is no disgrace to bim, of course—and was a lawyer. He is that kind of a man. He is not fitted for the clerical duty that Mr. Hinds could do; it is not his fault. God did not make bim that way. He might preside over the destinies of the nation with a great deal of ability, but that particular duty he cannot do. It is not in him unless be bas grown since I saw him last.

Q. You speak of bim---A. Just as an officer. He is a good, straightforward man; a good Republican.

Q. You speak of him from your knowledge of him while you were there?-A. I speak of him from my knowledge of bim while I was there.

Q. If Mr. Beard thinks that be was a good, honest clerk, that is Mr. Beard's business!-A, Tba: is Mr. Beard's business entirely. have been to school, and become first-class in penmanship. I justify my action. It will be for Mr. Beard when the next tribunal comes around, to justify his. Mr. Beard, as I said before, bas treated me with a good deal of kindness. I have no fault to find. I do not propose to make any criticism except such as I make on the stump publicly, and there I bave a right to make it.

By Mr. BLAIR: Q. Permit me a question or two. When were you appointed col. lector!-A. On February 28, 1874.

Q. How long did you hold the office ?-A. Just four years, until April 1, 1878.

Q. You stated something in your testimony as to the practice under civil service and intimated that there may have been a different practice of which you had some knowledge.-A. A different practice since !

Q: Yes !-A. I should have said a different profession since. The practice is the same only a little more so.

Q. What was the practice prior to the adoption of civil service in re. lation to appointments, removals, and methods ?-A. If a Senator came down, wanted to see the collector and said that he wanted Mr. Jones to

He may come in and that he had to have him in, why Mr. Jones came in. That was the former practice, and if he came down and said he wanted Mr. Jones to go out, Mr. Jones went out.

Q. At some time while you were in office there was a change, was there not ?-A. There was an apparent change.

Q. Then there was a change on the surface, a change in the orders, laws, and regulations by which you were expected to act I-A. 'Yes, sir; they had a spurt of civil service about, I think it was when Mr. Bristow first came in, in the first part of it; but there were no appoint. inents under it, if I remember right.

Q. Will you specify what was done under that “Bristow spurt” that you speak of ?-A. They got out some books with a large array of ques. rions and we were to appoint a committee of three to examine the canlidate for a place. While they were getting the matter in readiness to act, the programme was taken away.

Q. It vanished like a dream ?-A. It did.
Q. Then there was no change of practice?-A. No, sir.
Q. It was merely a theoretical “ spurt”?-A. That was all.

Q. When was the first real, tangible thing that affected the conduct of tbe collector ?--A. There never was any.

Q. Were civil service rules promulgated subsequently during your term ?-A. Just before I left the department, I visited Washington, saw the appointment clerk, General Smith, and went in with himn to Mr. Sherman. This was after my successor had been appointed. I stated to Mr. Sherman that there were a great many good men in the custom.' house bere, some being friends of mine, and that I hoped they would not be removed without cause, whereupon Mr. Sherman said that a new rule had been turned over and no man would be discharged without good and sufficient reasons given. I told all my friends here and for about a month they rested in peace and happiness.

Q. That was after the appointment of your successor ?-A. Yes; but that was not peculiar to that, or simply because my successor bad been appointed. I had had two or three spurts of the same kind, but they had not lasted long.

Q. I got the impression from your testimony that some time during the period for which you held the office there was a change of the practice of the office in that respect. It was merely a change in the theory and not in the practice of the office !--A. No, sir; there was no change. There was this abolition of offices that I have referred to. The first discharge of officers that I made was in June, 1874, after the first month that I was there. You will remember that there was some little disturbance, about the time that I came in, and that most of the members of Congress from the State, of our party, were against me. Those changes were not made by Mr. Richardson, and did not occur until Mr. Bristow came in. I went down to Washington in June and stated the matter to Mr. Bristow. Tben Mr. Bristow gave me the rule that no man should be removed or bis office abolished without good and sufficient reasons. I laid the facts before the Secretary, and stated that the men whose names were mentioned tbere were men whose services could be dispensed with. The Secretary directed me to come in there the next morning. When I went in the next morning I found there an array of members of Congress-Judge Hoar, and, I think, Mr. Williams among the rest—and we had a set-to for a couple of hours; and the friends of those gentlemen were put back, the other men turned out, the rule went under, and things went on in the old way. Then again, in January, 1875, Mr. Bristow directed another removal, and, having

the experience of the previous removal before me, I wrote him a private letter that it was utterly useless for me to abolish and cut down to the lowest mill, unless the collector's judgment was to be taken. They wanted to cut down fifteen per cent., I think, because some of the ap. propriations bad giren out. He wrote me that if I would cut down ac. cording to the previous desire, be would not allow any pressure to bave any man put back, no matter what or who he was. Mr. Bristow adbered to that in all instances save one, tbat of a lady who lived up bere in Worcester. The Advertiser was interested in her case, as also were some other influences, and Mr. Bristow wrote me a personal letter to take her back, and I fixed up ber case. All the other changes that were put down were approved. When Mr. Hayes came in there iras inore of the same.

Q. There was at some time, howerer, a promulgation of the rule that removals should not be made without cause. Tbat was by Secretary Sherman, as I understand you, and was subsequent to the time when yon ceased to hold the office ?--A. Mr. Sberman told me tbat himself at Wasbington. I do not think there was any promulgation about it.

Q. And you asked that that rule might be applied by the Secretary and the collector in order to secure the retention of certain friends of yonrs whom you mentioned ?-A. No, sir; I did not. I simply said to Mr. Sherman in a casual way, as many would, “There are a great many good men in the Boston custom-bouse. I know the enormous pressure brought to bear upon a collector; any new man who comes in must have friends who will insist upon being gratified, and I hope that, as far as is consistent and right, good men will be retained, and not dismissed simply because they may bare been identified with General But. ler or with me.” Mr. Sherinan malle answer as I bare stated.

Q. Your term was not such a rery lengthy one, but you bad a fair share of experience and can probably express an opinion as to whether it is possible to adopt any different or better rules in the practical ad. ministration of the office than existed when you were in possession of it. Is this rule that removals shall be only for cause, that is, for de. lipquency or incompetency of the inciunbent, a good rule or is the offi. cial discretion of the collector the better rule to be adopted in all cases ?-A. There is only one rule that will ever make any difference in the practice, and that is to take the public official out of politics--to make him responsible in 'bis office precisely as you would a merchant. Let him employ and discharge men upon fitness and capacity or the want of them alone. That is all that you can do, but as loug as the office is in politics you cannot have that rule.

Q. Has your experience or reflection on the subject suggested any method whereby tbis office can be taken out of politics ?-A. I suggest that, but not as a theory of my own. I do not believe that it ever can be done, because the public sentiment of this country is not educated up to that standard. The new party that comes in will sweep out every oftice-holder, and, until you can educate public sentiment up to that standard, you cannot change the system which bas gorerned for half a centurs.

Q. So that whatever may be the reform or the preense of reform, you thiuk that the system will remain as it bas been ?-A. As a life-insiirance man says, "Judging from past experience, I should say it would.”

Q. You cannot then, according to your experience, practically carry out the rule tbat remorals shall be made only for cause ?-A. Not as long as the man who makes remorals is appointed through political in. fluence.

Q. You do not see any possibility of a change in that respect ?-A. If the next administration does not live up to its professions any better than our own has lived up to its professions, I am afraid there is not.

By Mr. McDONALD : Q. According to your opinion, the so called civil service reform is a myth ?-A. I think it bas been a good deal of a mystery to its present ivaugurators. It is what I call a bumbug, the way it has been managed. That is the English of it.

Mr. McDonalD. I agree with you entirely.
The WITNESS. It is high profession and no possession.

By Mr. BLAIR : Q. From what you bare said, I suppose you mean to be understood that the present collector has faithfully and conscientiously done his best to carry out this idea of civil service reform -A. I think that the present collector, appointed as he was-as I should say for myself, appointed as I was-has done, perhaps, all that he could do. The pressure, as he knows, is enormous. I have said to every friend, as I have sail to you gentlemen (I am the last man to make a reflection and I know the enormous pressure brought to bear upon him, and I have not a word to say upon it), that if I had got to say anything I should only say wbat I have said here in regard to soldiers.

Q. You bare not, perbaps, observed the testimony of collector Beard? -A. I bare not read bis testimony.

Q. Of the appointments that he has made, a very large proportion are from among those who have rendered service in the army 1-A. I haren't any fault to find, and I have no doubt tbat Mr. Beard has done as well as he could do.

Q. In regard to soldiers, you would not consider it any objection to the official action of a collector that, of two soldiers equally competent, when he is making a removal, be should select one out of office who he thought would be a more efficient public servant, to take tbe place of the one removed ?-A. Ou the basis of the way in which parties do things, no; on the basis of right, yes.

Q. I say tbat of two men with records of equal service in the Army, one in office and one out, if the ove out was likely to discharge the duties of the office better for the public, you would not blame the collector for making the removal and the appointment !-A. If the one in office was doing his doty, I do not think I would discharge him.

Q. We will suppose this case: Here is a soldier unemployed who, as compared with the soldier in the office, is equally efficient and competent, and bas never had any reward; the other is likely to be discharged by the collector. Would you not think that the collector did his duty in giving the unrewarded soldier an opportunity ?-A. That is the prin. ciple that governs. If that is the principle that is to govern, all right.

Q. The general rule, you say, is that a soldier is to be preferred to a civilian ; but if, in making those appointments, the collector selected a soldier who bad received no reward or recognitiou of merit for his ser vices in the war, and who was the equal in point of competency of the incumbent of the place, you would say that the collector was justified in making the removal ?-A. No; I would not.

Q. You would keep the same soldier in office indefinitely as long as lie performs his duty ?-A. I think I would.

Q. And let the otber take bis chance !-A. If there was no reason to discharge the first named man, I would not discharge him. That would be the collector's business; it is not mine. I only speak of what would be my own action.

ALANSON W. BEARD recalled.

By Mr. PLATT: Question. It is impossible, in the limited time remaining before the adjournment of the committee, to go over again the list of those of your otticials to whom reference has been made, but I would like you to state more particularly than you stated when on the stand before, in regard to Mr. Hinds and Mr. Hartwell, and especially in regard to Mr. Hartwell's competency to fill the place which he now occupies.-- Answer. I stated yesterday, in regard to Mr. Hinds, that I considered I had put a man of more experience, one more capable, and one whom I considered to be of more reliable character than he, in bis place. I mentioned that a collector should bave around him men in whom he had confidence, men of reliable character, and that I did not consider that Mr. Hinds was that kind of a man, certainly not toward me. With regard to Mr. Hartwell, bis former connection with the custom-house, and his accounts, I will say that those accounts are now closed, and I can speak with knowledge on that point.

Q. That is, Collector Russell's accounts ?-A. Yes, sir. In the first place, Mr. Hartwell's office was abolished in name. Mr. Grant, the present auditor, was given the duties of Mr. Hinds, with an advance of salary, if I recollect right, and that salary was afterwards increased to $3,000, which is the same salary that Mr. Hartwell previously bad. When I came to the custom-bouse I found Mr. Grant as auditor, and a very capable and efficient auditor too, at the same salary wbich Mr. Hartwell was receiving when he was renoved. I am informed that there never bas been any trouble with the accounts of my immediate predecessor, either under Mr. Hartwell's administration or under Mr. Grant's. The accounts of Collector Russell related to a time when there were certain moieties and when there was much more discussion and doubt as to what belonged to the collector than there is at present. The collector now has a stated salary, and nothing else, and his accounts are very simple. At that time there were shares in seizures and other accounts with which I am not conversant; and the accounts of Collector Russell ran through a time when, I think, Mr. Fiske, the present chief deputs, was auditor. The accounts are mixed between Mr. Hartwell and Mr. Fiske, and the responsibility would be perhaps as much with the one as with the other in regard to any inaccuracy in them. Those accounts have beeu thoroughly investigated by the special agents of the department and settled, having been found correct, with the exception of a small balance of some $300, wbich was an item of discussion be. tween the department and Collector Russell as to whether it belonged to bim or not. It was finally ruled that it belonged to the department. I say this in justice to Mr. Hartwell, because of bis character and effi. ciency as an officer having been spoken of by the last witness. That is the way in which the matter stands on the books of the Treasury De. partment to day, and I bave received official notice that the accounts of Collector Russell are adjusted, with a balance of some $300 due.

Q. Take Mr. Hartwell as a clerk since you appointed him. What do you say as to his services and proved capacity for that position !-A. Mr. Hartwell is the clerk in what is called the warehouse division. The present deputy collector in charge of that division is the same whom I found in charge of that division, and who was deputy collector under my predecessor. That gentleman informs me that the change that I made in that instance bas resulted in a very great improvement in the service.

« AnteriorContinuar »