H. B. (Henry Bidleman) Bascom.

The Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 online

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Online LibraryH. B. (Henry Bidleman) BascomThe Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 → online text (page 79 of 87)
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ator Pasco's letter of March 9?

Mr. BARBEE. My letter of the 29th is not an answer to it, I know.

Senator FAIRBANKS. What brought out that letter of the 29th H

Mr. BARBEE. What we saw in the Congressional Record.

Senator PASCO. The substance of what was in the Congressional
Becord was stated in my letter of the 9th.

Mr. BARBEE. We did not see it.

The following are the letters referred to :

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 1, 1898.
Rev. J. D. BARBEE,

Nashville, Tenn.

DEAR BROTHER BARBEE: On my arrival here I find your letter inclosing pamphlet
of Stahlman, etc. I wrote yon from home before I left there in regard to this
matter. I only write now to acknowledge your letter and to repeat that the state-
ment coming from any source that I am opposed to your claim, or that I have
discouraged its payment in any shape or form is false and untrue. Stahlman knows
I wrote the hill which passed the Senate for the claim, because he was present and
saw me write it. Why he should send out such anonymous "notes" attacking me
is apparent to my mind.

Please write me what interest he has in the claim. What is his share in it?
I have done all I could for the claim, Brother Barbee, as I promised you I would,
and if the time comes that I can not aid it, I will inform you.
Truly, your friend,


JANUARY 3, 1898.

Member of Congress, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR : Your letter of the 1st instant, addressed to our Dr. Barbee, will receive
his attention on his return to the city. He has been absent for a week, and will not
return earlier than the last of this week, perhaps later.
Very truly,



Member of Congress, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. RICHARDSON : Upon my return home I find your letter of the 1st instant,
and in response will say that it seems to me you are taking this matter too much to
heart. You are certainly misconstruing the motives which caused us to send out the
circular accompanied by the note of which you complain.

It was not charged in either the circular or the note that you were opposing the
claim. The circular said nothing as to your attitude, while the note simply said
yon were "taking but little interest in an effort to pass our bill and that you had on
more than one occasion said and done things calculated to very much discourage our
friends." That is to say, that you had suggested obstacles in our way and appar-
ently magnified them without signifying a ready willingness to help remove them.
That was about what Mr. Stahlman said in regard to your attitude when he came
home from Washington and we considered it a serious matter, because as a member
from Tennessee, with yonr recognized ability as a parliamentarian and a leader, we
felt that a lack of active support from you would hurt us, and it was in order to
secure this support that the circular and note were sent to your district.

With reference to the share or interest, if any, Mr. Stahlman may have in this
claim, I beg you to talk with him. He is in Washington and can give you all the
information you desire on the subject. Surely, whether he has a pecuniary interest
in the matter ought not to have a bearing on the merits of our claim, which is
admittedly just, and which, as we understand it, you have on all occasions without
qualification signified your willingness to support.

The laborer is worthy of his hire, and if in the final adjustment it shall be deemed
proper to pay Mr. Stahlman a reasonable compensation for his services, and this
compensation shall be given with the consent of the proper authorities of the church,
you, I am sure, will agree that that will not be an improper thing to do. The claim
was placed by na originally in the hands of a Washington attorney. For reasons


satisfactory to us, and entirely satisfactory to oar friends then in the Senate and
House, we refused to renew the arrangement when it expired. Surely we ought not
to be made to suffer at the hands of our Tennessee Representatives because we
declined to renew an arrangement with this Washington attorney and instead
accepted the proffered assistance of a resident of Tennessee and a friend and member
of the church, one who, even as early as 1891, and before the agreement with the
Washington attorney had expired, rendered valuable assistance in our endeavor to
pass the bill. Mr. Stahlman was as earnest in his endeavor to help us then as he is
now, the only difference being that formerly much of his time was occupied in other
pursuits, while now he has time which he can call his own and a good part of which
during his sojourn in Washington he has seen fit to devote largely to our interests.
I will take the liberty of sending Mr. Stahlman your letter that he may talk with
you on the subject.

Yours, truly, ,

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 9, 1898.

Agents Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, Term.

DEAR SIRS : Yoxir telegram in response to my letter was received and was service-
able to me in meeting the charge which had been made by some malicious persons as
to the employment of claim agents and attorneys who were to absorb a large pro-
portion of the funds appropriated for the publishing house.

I succeeded in calling up the bill yesterday afternoon, and, as you have doubtless
been already informed by telegraph, it was passed after a few hours' debate ; and
from conversations I have had with Senators who are on intimate terms with the
President, I feel sure there will be no delay in his approval.

It is but just that I should say that Mr. J. W. Baker has given the matter his close
attention for some weeks past and has rendered diligent, intelligent, and effective
services in behalf of the bill.
Yours, very truly,


Your telegram of this date has been received, and is highly appreciated.

Mr. GARLAND (counsel). Do you know J. W. Baker, of Nashville!

Mr. BARBEB. Yes.

Mr. GARLAND. Did you have any conversation with him at any time
before the passage of the bill or immediately afterwards as to any com-
pensation that he was to get?

Mr. BARBEE. Ko, sir; I do not recollect having had any conversation
with him about it.

Mr. GARLAND. Did you ever have any understanding with him that
he was to have compensation f

Mr. BARBEE. There was no understanding that we were to give him
any compensation. "What meaning you attach to "understanding" is
another question. I always had the impression, as a matter of course,
that Major Stahlman would pay him, because he had him in his employ-
ment; but that is only my impression.

The CHAIRMAN. He says that both Stahlmau and you told him he
should be paid.

Mr. BARBEE. If I ever told him such a thing I have forgotten it,
because, certainly, Stahlman's agreement with us was positively and
explicitly that his fee was contingent; that he was to take the whole
risk and expense of the enterprise, and that it was to cost us nothing
on any account. That was our agreement with Stahlman, and I can
not, therefore, have promised Baker anything myself. He may be
under the impression that as we were so intimately connected in the
business, I actually promised him compensation.

The CHAIRMAN. He says that he did not know Stahlman had a con-
tract, but that in the end he was paid by Stahlman.


Senator PASCO. Did you ever inform Baker of that contract?

Mr. BARBEE. I do not recollect whether I ever had any conversation
with him about it or not.

Senator PASCO. He says you promised to see that he was paid, and
I suppose that is affirmative!

Mr. BARBEE. I have no recollection at all of it.

The CHAIRMAN. We have not yet been able to get the correspondence
between you and Mr. Stahlman in the few days preceding the passage
of the bill.

Mr. BARBEE. There was correspondence then, as there had been at
various other times, continuously and frequently.

The CHAIRMAN. We want copies of that correspondence.

Mr. BARBEE. If the correspondence is in our possession at all it is at
Nashville, and Mr. Smith has gone home with the injunction to look over
the files, and if he finds it to send it to you. Mr. Stahlman said that
he thought he could reproduce it himself.

The CHAIRMAN. If he does that will be as well; but he has not yet
done so.

Mr. Stahlman was sent for to come to the committee room.


The CHAIRMAN. Did you find the correspondence which occurred
between you and Barbee and Smith about the time of the passage of
the bill immediately preceding its passage and immediately after I

Mr. STAHLMAN. No, Mri Chairman, I did not. I keep some of my
correspondence of a general nature in one file and some of it in
another file. I think I have the correspondence you allude to at home.
I am almost sure that I have. I can state the substance of it now for
the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. We would rather have the correspondence itself.

Mr. STAHLMAN. Eeally I do not recall exactly what correspondence
took place at that particular time, if any.

The CHAIRMAN. You were in telegraphic correspondence, were you
not; and also in correspondence by letter?


The CHAIRMAN. We would like to get the letters and -telegrams that
passed between you and Barbee and Smith for some days preceding the
passage of the bill and for some days subsequently.

Mr. STAHLMAN. If the committee will permit me I will state now
what my recollection is in regard to that matter. If the correspond-
ence is anywhere to be found I will send it to the committee when I get
home, or if I find it here. I was in pretty constant correspondence with
these gentlemen all the time. They relied upon me as their attorney
and representative. Dr. Barbee is my neighbor. He lives not more
than 60 feet from my home -just across the way. He knows all about
me and my family relations and has for years. He was my pastor for
a number of years. He therefore conferred freely with me. I believe
that he had confidence in me and relied upon me to give him advice
and information respecting the matters which were going on here. My
recollection is that with reference to this rumor of an exorbitant fee I
wrote him

The CHAIRMAN. About what date?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I think the Senate passed the bill about the 8th of
March, so it must have been somewhere about the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or


8th of March that I wrote to him. I have quite a distinct recollection
that I telegraphed to him. I telegraphed to him that there was a rumor
that I had a contract with the book agents for 40 per cent; and my
recollection is that I telegraphed him that if any such inquiry was
received he should refer Senators who inquired to the correspondence
with Mr. Richardson.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Had you seen that correspondence?

Mr. STAHLMAN. Yes. Barbee and Smith had advised me of that

The CHAIRMAN. Had they sent you a copy of it?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I think they had. I am sure they had. That was
with reference to the charge that there was a fee to be paid. I think
that probably I may have afterwards telegraphed them or written to
them that I felt they would be justified in denying the charge of an
exorbitant fee. I did it conscientiously, for I did not believe the fee
was exorbitant, nor do I believe so yet.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Did you bring your correspondence relating to
this subject to this city with you?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I have not been able to find it.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Did you bring it to the city with you?

Mr. STAHLMAN. You mean here, now ?

Senator FAIRBANKS. Yes.

Mr. STAHLMAN. I brought a good deal of correspondence of a general
kind, my purpose in bringing it being to show the work which I had

Senator FAIRBANKS. You knew that this aspect of the subject was
under investigation. Why did you not bring the correspondence in
reference to it?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I may have it.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Have you not looked for it?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I have been looking for it, but I was called away.
My secretary was absent until ten or fifteen minutes before I came to
the committee room, and I had no time to look for it. What time I did
look for it 1 did not find it. I do not say that there was no correspond-
ence. I say there may have been, and doubtless there was. I was
asked no question yesterday as to this correspondence with Barbee &

Senator FAIRBANKS. Did not Mr. Barbee or Mr. Smith ask you about
the correspondence?

Mr. STAHLMAN. They asked me if I knew about such correspondence.

Senator FAIRBANKS. When did they ask you?

Mr. STAHLMAN. An hour ago.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Did they ask yon yesterday?

Mr. STAHLMAN. If they did, I do not recollect; but they may have.

Senator PASCO. You said yesterday that you had a large amount of
correspondence with you, and that you would search for it and bring
it here.

Mr. STAHLMAN. The Chairman will recollect that yesterday I was
asked whether or not I would be in town to day, the purpose of the
inquiry being that if I were needed I would be expected to be here. I
stated to the Chairman that I would be here, but there was no specific
request that I should look over volumes of correspondence running
through three or four years.

The CHAIRMAN. We only want the correspondence immediately pre-
ceding and immediately after the passage of the bill.


Mr. STAHLMAN. I know. I think I can state the substance of the cor-
respondence, but I think I can find it.

The CHAIRMAN. Be good enough to search for it and give it to us if
you can find it. It is hardly worth while to state it and have it after-
wards produced.

Mr. STAHLMAN. That is for the pleasure of the committee to deter-

The CHAIRMAN. Some of you gentlemen must have the correspond-
ence. There is no doubt about that. You seem to have everythingelse,
and you would hardly omit that. But it is not here, as I understand.

Mr. STAHLMAN. I will say, as I said yesterday, that there was certain
correspondence which passed between Barbee & Smith and myself
respecting this matter that I did not think it proper for anybody to
see. For that reason I put some of the correspondence in separate pri-
vate files so that meddlesome people could not look over what I did.

Senator FAIRBANKS. Have you a letterpress book ?

Mr. STAHLMAN. No, sir; I have not.

Senator FAIRBANKS. How do you preserve copies of the letters
which you write?

Mr. STAHLMAN. If I write them myself I preserve no copies. If my
secretary writes them he preserves carbon copies.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that you do not intend to produce this
correspondence ?

Mr. STAHLMAN. Not at all, Mr. Chairman. I am prepared to produce
everything that passed, although there are some things which I do not
think are matters of interest to this committee in this investigation,
because they relate to my views of individual Members and Senators.
I do not hesitate to say to you that, in my judgment, I had correspond-
ence with Barbee and Smith at or about that time, as we did all along
during the entire proceedings.

The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would try and find this correspondence.
If you can not, come and tell us that you can not. You can tell us on
Monday morning. You said you would give us a statement of the
expenditure of the money.


The CHAIRMAN. I do not know but that you ought to do it with the
understanding that the committee will use it or not use it, as it may
see fit. We do not want to ask you improperly to disclose any of your
private affairs, but I think it would be more satisfactory if we could
say that you made us a satisfactory statement of where the money went.

Mr. STAHLMAN. I am perfectly willing to have it go on record.

The CHAIRMAN. You stated yesterday that it was rather an exhibi-
tion of a man's private business which might not be pleasant.

Senator PA SCO. The opinion expressed by the committee was not to
expose your private business at all.

The CHAIRMAN. Bring us on Monday morning a statement of the
expenditures, and we will look it over.

Mr. STAHLMAN. Very well; and in the meantime I will look for these
letters and telegrams if necessary, but for reasons which must be
apparent, I ought not to be asked to do this.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and if you can not find them we will ask you
as to the general features of the correspondence.

Mr. STAHLMAN. The telegraph office keeps copies of messages that
are sent and received for a sufficient length of time to get them if the
originals can not be found.

The CHAIRMAN. I think you can get copies of all the telegrams. If


we should ask the telegraph office for your telegrams we could not get
them ; but if you find you have not got copies of them, you can go to
the telegraph office and get copies.

Mr. STAHLMAN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Barbee and you together can get copies of the
telegrams which he sent and which you sent. That may save some
delay in the matter.

Mr. STAHLMAN. I am perfectly willing to do that, and will take pleas-
ure in doing it,

Mr. GARLAND (counsel). Who employed J. W. Baker in this case?

Mr. STAHLMAN. I did.

Mr. GARLAND. Did you ever have any conversation with Dr. Barbee
indicating that he had employed Mr. Baker or that he expected to pay

Mr. STAHLMAN. No, sir.

Mr. GARLAND. In reference to this Eichardson correspondence, do
you know who wrote the letter from Barbee and Smith to Mr. Richardson ?

Mr. STAHLMAN. Barbee and Smith wrote it. Barbee and Smith
advised me practically about everything. They had confidence in me.
They were a thousand miles away and I think, therefore, they conferred
with me and I advised them what they ought to say to Mr. Eichardson.
I talked to Mr. Eichardson about it. Mr. Eichardson seemed to be
perfectly satisfied, and there was nothing said about the matter after
that in the House at all that I am aware of.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you recollect the date of Mr. Barbee's letter to
Mr. Eichardson? We have a copy purporting to be the 10th of

Mr. STAHLMAN I have no doubt that is the correct date. It was
two or three weeks before the bill was passed by the House.

The CHAIRMAN. And Barbee & Smith sent you a copy of their letter
so that you should be advised?

Mr. STAHLMAN. Yes, sir.

Senator PASCO. Did Barbee & Smith know anything about Mr.
Baker being employed by you ?

Mr. STAHLMAN. They knew that Baker was helping me.

Senator PASCO. Did you ever tell Mr. Baker about the amount which
you were to get prior to or subsequent to the passage of the bill?

Mr. STAHLMAN. No, sir.

Senator PASCO. He knew nothing about it, then?

Mr. STAHLMAN. Not a thing. I considered that that was my busi-
ness. I engaged Mr. Baker's services, and I felt that it was no matter of
concern to him what I was to get.

Mr. HAWKINS (counsel). I would like the committee to hear evidence.

The CHAIRMAN. What is it!

Mr. HAWKINS. I want to offer some proof and to introduce an act of
Congress here as evidence showing that 35 percent of an appropriation
had been regarded as a proper fee in one of these Indian cases.

The CHAIRMAN. We will take notice of that without you putting it
in evidence.

Mr. HAWKINS. We desire to offer the evidence.

The CHAIRMAN. We do not care about publishing that in our pro-

Mr. HAWKINS. I desire to offer proof to show that in another one of
these cases an attorney's fee of $900,000 was paid out of an appropria-
tion of $3,078,000.

The CHAIRMAN. What case was that?


Mr. HAWKINS. I believe it was in the Choctaw and Chickasaw claim.
Then I desire also toofl'er proof that in the cotton claims Mr. Thompson
and Mr. Mobley, attorneys in the case, \vere paid a large fee, and that
the amount appropriated was $88,104. I got the figures from the
Treasury Department yesterday.

The CHAIRMAN. You make these suggestions to show that Mr. Stahl-
man 's fee was reasonable?

Mr. HAWKINS. Yes; I would like to have the record show that we offer
to make this proof.

Senator PASCO. We have no right to investigate those claims.

The CHAIRMAN. We will let the record show that you made an offer
to put this evidence in, and you can put it in your brief.

Mr. HAWKINS. Then I propose to tender evidence showing the amount
of fees in cotton cases.

The CHAIRMAN. We are not going into that thing. There is no par-
ticular objection, but it will be just as good for you to mention the proof
in your brief.

Adjourned until Monday, June 27, 1898.

The following additional copies of correspondence and telegrams
were presented to the committee and were put in evidence:

NASHVILLE, TENN., April IS, 1894.

Articles of agreement between Barbee & Smith, Book Agents of the Methodist
Episcopal Church South, and E. B. Stahlraan, witness:

First. That the said Barbee & Smith, book agents, etc., have given the said E. B.
Stahlman po\ver of attorney to prosecute their claim before the Congress of the
United States for the use and abuse of the publishing honse of the Methodist Episco-
pal Cburch South by the armies of the United States during the civil war, 1861-1865.
Second. That the said Barbee & Smith, book agents, etc., agree to pay the said
E. B. Stahlman the eum of $50,000, provided that the above said Congress shall
appropriate $288,000 for the aforesaid purpose; and if a less sum should be appro-
priated the said E. B. Stahlman shall receive a less amount for his services, in pro-
portion to the amount which shall be appropriated.

Third. That nothing shall be paid to the said E. B. Stahlman for his services out
of any funds whatever, except the aforesaid appropriation; and appropriation
should be made by the aforesaid Congress for the aforesaid purpose, then in that
case no compensation shall be paid to the aforesaid E. B. Stahlman for his services.


Bool: Agents, Methodist Episcopal Church South.

NASHVILLE, TENN., June 13, 1898.
Jos. W. FISHER, Esq.,

Superintendent Western Union Telegraph Company, Nashville, Tenn.
DEAR SIR: On the 7th of March, 1898, we sent the following telegrams in the order
named, to wit :

NASHVILLE, TENN., March 7, 1898.
Hon. S. PASCO,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C.:

Your letter of the 5th received. The statement is untrue and you are authorized
to deny it.


NASHVILLE, TKNN., March 7, 1898.
Hon. S. PASCO,

United Slates Senate, Washington, D. C.:

Have asked Mr. Stahlman to call at once to see yon. He is a gentleman upon
whose statements yon may implicitly rely. He is our friend and neighbor and offi-
cial member of our church, whose interest in our behalf reaches beyond and above
pecuniary considerations.



What we desire to ascertain is the hour that each of these telegrams were received
by the Western Union Telegraph Company in this city for transmission to Senator
Pasco ; and we desire also to ascertain the hour each of these telegrams were deliv-
ered to Senator Pasco in Washington. Any expense in order to secure this informa-
tion we are willing to pay. Shall be glad to have your response as early to-morrow
morning as practicable.

Yours, truly, BARBEB & SMITH, Boole Agents.

NASHVILLE, TENN., June 14, 1898.

DEAR SIRS: The first message referred to in your communication was filed at this
office at 10.31 a. in. March 7 and delivered at Washington at 12.43 p. m. (or 11.43
a. m. our time), W. Jeffers, a Senate employee, receipting for it.

The second message was filed here at 10.47 a. m. March 7 and delivered in Wash-
ington at 1.15 p. m. (or 12.15 p. m. our time), J. B. Lloyd, a Senate employee,
receipting for it.

It is impossible to say when the messages reached Senator Pasco, as personal
delivery is made by Senate officials, our messengers not being allowed in Senate

Kespectfully, Jos. W. FISHER,

Manager Western Union Telegraph Company.

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 7, 1898.

Publishing House, Nashville, Tenn.:

Telegraph to-day answer to Senator Paaco'a letter to you Saturday as to Stahlman
having fee of 40 per cent, or any other fee, in case of payment of your claim. I
would like to hear from you also. In my judgment if true it will endanger the bill.


MARCH 7, 1898.
Senator W. B. BATE, Washington, D. C.:

Wired Senator Pasco early this morning as follows : " The statement ia untrue and
you are hereby authorized to deny it."

Online LibraryH. B. (Henry Bidleman) BascomThe Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 → online text (page 79 of 87)