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should like to be subpcenaed, oi* words to that effect ?

A. I wrote to General Garfield that I was coming east and would
be in Cincinnati, and if it was required would come here.

Q. Had you been inquired of in any way about this matter?

A. No.

Q. Was it not your duty at that time, if you knew any fact what-
ever in connection with this business which was improper, to com-
municate through the regular military channels to the Secretary of

A. It was.

Q. Why did you select General Garfield rather than the Secretary
of War, tiien ?

A. I believed it would receive no attention if sent to the Secretary
of War.

Q. For that reason you violated your own duty because you thought
he would violate his ? Is that it ?

A. I cannot say. I gave the reason.

Q. Do you recollect writing a long letter to General Belknap dated
September 12, 1875?

A. I do.

Q. Do you recollect writing it in these words

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Let him see the letter.


Mr. Manager McMAHON. You have no right to cross-examiue hiin
in regard to the contents of a letter without submitting it to him.

Mr. CARPENTER. How do you find out that this is the letter?
This may be a memorandum in my writing.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. If you say it is a memorandum of a let-
ter that was destroyed, no matter ; but if yon claim to have the let-
ter, you cannot cross-examine him on it without putting it in his

Mr. CARPENTER. I ask him "Do you remember in that letter
using these words, in substance?''

Mr. Manager McMAHON. We make objection, Mr. President and
Senators, to the witness being asked any question as to the contents
of a letter which the counsel apparently holds in his hand, i t he
does not have it, the objection at any rate goes to the point that it
having been addressed to the defendant, the counsel must first show
it to have been destroyed.

Mr. CARPENTER. Did the manager not here ask this very wit-

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nes8 about a letter that was sent to the Secretary of War which ho
did not have ?

Mr. Manager McMAHON. It is not on file.

Mr. CARFENTER. How do you know ? If it was ever written,
there is where it belongs. You had not proved search, or loss, or de-
struction, and yet you proved the contents of it. The law has not
changed since you were examining this man in the direct examination.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. In answer I will simply say that we do
not propose to refight any question of evidence which has been already
settled. If the gentleman withheld to make his objection that was
his fault, if my objection is good at the present time. Because I put
a similarly improper question awhile ago and required to have it
answered, it is no reaspn that the rules of evidence may be violated now.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question will be read.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. We object before the question is put.

Mr. C0NKLIN6. Let us hear the question.

Q. (By Mr. Carpenter.) Do you recollect using these words, or
substantially these woi'ds, in that letter to General Belknap, namely :
** I was summoned to Washington to give evidence upon staff organ-
ization of the French and German armies. After finisning upon these
subjects I was questioned upon the subject of post-traders. I at first
remonstrated, on the ground that I had not reported the matter to
you,'' (that is, the Secretary,) ** because I believed the Ck>mmi88ary
Department would defeat any action in that direction?"

Mr. Manager McMAHON. General, you need not answer the ques-
tion. The objection is pending.

The PRESIDENT vro tempore. The Chair wiU submit the question
to the Senate, Shall this interrogatory be admitted f

The question was determined in the negative.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The objection is sustained.

Mr. CARPENTER. Mr. President, if the Senate wiU pardon me
just a moment, I did not state the ground of the question, because I
thought it was apparent. The witness has just sworn to a totally
different state of facts; that he came here on subpcBna and was ex-
amined on this matter in obedience to the subpcena. On cross-exam-
ination we got from him the fact that he wrote a letter to General Gar-
field from his post. Now^ here is a letter, or at least I am inquiring
of him now if he did not write to Greneral Belknap on the 12th of
September, 1875, a totally different account of that transaction.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Yon must put it in his hands for the
pu]n[>os6 of impeaching him.

Mr. WALLACE. May I ask the counsel if it is competent to con-
tradict the witness by giving a part of a conversation and not giv-
ing the whole of it that occurred at the same time ; whether the
witness is not entitled to have the whole of what was said at that
particular time, and therefore the whole of this letter?

Mr. HOWE. May I ask for information, for I have not attended
particularly so closely to the evidence as I should, has it already ap-
peared in evidence that the letter, of the contents of which the coun-
sel proposes to ask the witness, has been sought for and is not to be
found f Has that appeared in evidence ?

Mr. BLACK. We are not offering the letter in evidence ; we are
just asking the witness a question in regard to it.

Mr. CARPENTER. Senators will recollect that this witness testi-
fied here that he gave testimony before the House Military Com-
mittee because he thought if he conferred directly with the Secretary
of War he would not pay any attention to it. He then swears he did
write a letter and sent it through the regular military channels,
communicating everything to General Belknap that he swore to be-
fore the committee. In tms letter, of which I now question him, he
writes, as we claim and offer to prove by him, that he did not report
the matter to the Secretary for the reason that he knew the Commis-
sary Department would not permit it to be done.
' Mr. EDMUNDS. The letter will show.

Mr. Man^r McMAHON. The letter will speak for itself.

Mr. CARPENTER. The letter I do not propose to give in evidence.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Then you cannot have any evidenoe
with regard to its contents unless you prove that it is destroyed.

Mr. MERRIMON addressed the Chair.

The PRESIDENT pro temoore. If there be no objection the order
sustaining the objection will be reconsidered.

Mr. MERRIMON. That letter having been alluded to in the way
it has been, it is due to the court and due the witness in the case that
it should be put in evidence.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Or else all allusion to it be stricken out
of the record.

Mr. MERRIMON. I think it ou^t to be put in evidence.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair will submit the question
to the Senate.

Mr. CONKLING. What is the question now ?

Mr. CARPENTER. What the Chair is going to submit to the Sen-
ate is whether the Senate is going to assume the examination of our
case and introduce our proof or not. If we are so unfortunate as not
to uitroduce sufficient proof, we ahM suffer for it in the verdict; but
do not let the court assume our side of the case. If it will, let it
take both sides and we can go home.

Mr. CONKLING. What is the question ?

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from North Carolina
made the point that the letter or paper in the hands of counsel should
be put in evidenoe.


on this ground : they produce a part of a paper, and the whole of it
should be put in evidence.

Mr. CARPENTER. We have not produced a paper any more than
I have produced my watch from my pocket.

Mr. MERRIMON. I understood differently.

Mr. CARPENTER. I have not ofi<dred any paper to tihe court

Mr. MERRIMON. Then I am mistaken about it. I understood
that part of the paper was read, and that it was proposed to put in a
part of the paper and not the whole of it.

Mr. BLAIR. Mr. President and Senators^ it seems to me that the
ruling of the Senate is made upon a rare misconception of the ques-
tion submitted by my colleague in this case. Here is a witness upon
the stand who testifies that he wrote a certain letter to the Secretary of
War, semi-official or official, he does not know which, communicating
facts in relation to abuses prevailing at these trading-posts in the
Indian country, and that the reason why he did not go to the Secre-
tary of War rather than go before the Military Committee to testi^
about these abuses was that he had written such a letter and that it
had received no attention. Now, we want to ask him — and it is per-
fectly competent ; no lawyer I think will deny the competency o€ it —
whether he had not stated to another person on another occasion
directly the contrarv of that, stating the person and the time, leaving
us the liberty of calling in that person, of calling for that letter, and
lowing that he is here stultifying himself and ntlsifying himself.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair reminds counsel that
there is no question before the Senate. The Senate has ruled upon
this evidence.

Mr. LOGAN. Mr. President, I was rising to object to any discus-
sion on tMs question after it had been once decided.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair did not know what coun-
sel was at, and when he saw what he was doing reminded him of the

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I have an order that I should like to
submit in justice to the witness, which I wiU reduce to writing. It
is this : that in view of the fact that counsel on the other side refuse
to produce this letter and that the counsel have undertaken to reflect
upon the witness without giving him an opportunity to see the let-
ter or to have the Senate inspect the entire contents of that letter,
to reflect upon his truthfulness and his veracity, eveij allusion either
in argument or in the question to this matter oe stricken out of the
recora. I think it is due to a gentleman holding the position in the
Anny that the witness does in this case. I do not think it is fair or
right or proper at all to treat him in this way. It is not dealing with
the gentleman in the right shape.

Mr. CARPENTER. Oa the subject of that order I wish to say-^-

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The manager will reduce his mo-
tion to writing.

Mr. MERRIMON. Mr. President, I should like to get the exact
status of this matter. I see that I was inadvertently misled as to
the exact stAte of the matter. I thought the paper had been offered
and that it was proposed to give the Senate a part of it. Now if I
understand it correctly, and I am not sure that I do, the purpose of
the defense is to impeach this witness by showing that he has stulti-
fied himself on more than one occasion. If I am correct in that, and
if it is proposed by any portion of this letter to stultify him, it is due
to the witness as a matter of law that he should see the letter before
he shall be required to testify. It should be put in his hadds.

Mr. LOGAN. The question has been decided.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question has been decided.

Mr. HOWE. I ask if the examination of the witness is concluded ?

Mr. CARPENTER. O, no. The manager is drawing up an order
to have it submitted.

Mr. Mana ger McMAHON. I withdraw it. Go ahead.

Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. President, I believe the order read a moment
ago was wrong, and I shall move to reconsider. I do not know that
any other Senator agrees with me. I move to reoonsider the order
overruling the <^uestion. I believe the question ought to be answered.
I make the motion at any rate.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oregon moves to
reconsider the vote just taxen sustaining the objection to the ques-

Mr. BLAIR. Now, Mr. President and Senators, before the question
18 put, I beg to continue for a single sentence the argument that I
was submitting when I was interrupted as being out of order in argu-
ing a question already decided. I said that I l^lieved every lawyer
in this body would recognize the principle that it was perfectly com-
petent to aisk a witness whether or not he had on a different occasion
given a diffieo^nt accoont of the same subject than that he now offers.

Mr. LOGAN. Allow me to ask the counsel if the object of this
question is to impeach the witness?

Mr. BLAIR. Certainly.

Mr. BLACK. No, not to impeach, to contradict.

Mr. BLAIR. That is an impeachment.

Mr. BLACK. It does not impeach him in his general character at

Mr. BLAIR. I call that impeaching him. The gentleman may call
it by another name.

Mr. LOGAN. What I mean by "impeach" is what the word com-
monly imports, " contradict."

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Mr. BLAIR. Tes, sir.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Allow me to read for you a little ele-
mentary law. Will yon sabmit to the interrnption f

Mr. BLAIR. Certainly.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I think the Senate will disooTer that a
while ago when I interrupted the witness when the contents of a let-
ter were stated to him, I was rieht in regard to the law. I read now
from an elementary book, Greemeaf on Evidence :

§463. A aimilor principle prevails in oross^xamining a witness as to the eonUntt
Hf a latter or other paper \mtteu by bim. Tbo counsel will not be permitted to rep-
TMent, in the statement of a qnestion, the contents of a letter, and to ask the wit-
ness whether he wrote a letter to any person with such contents, or contents to the
Uke efliBCt, without havinjE first shown to the witness the letter, and having asked
him whether he wrote that letter, and his admitting that be wrote it. For me con-
tents of every written paper, according to the ordmary and weU -established rules
of evidence, are to be proved by the paper itself, and by that alone, if it is in ex-

That is very simple ; and I was right awhile ago, notwithstanding
the overpowerinff weight of the gentlemen on the other side.

Mr. CARPENTER. It is of no consequence ; the court sustained

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I was overruled in regard to stating the
contents of the letter in your question.

Mr. BLAIR. I have not investigated the subject f uUy ; but it seems
to me perfectly plain that a party may be calleid upon to say whether
he had not at a different time to a different person made a different
statement ; and this letter falls entirely within the common practice
of sBowing that a witness had made on a different occasion a differ-
ent statement in regard to the same subject-matter.

Mt WALLACE. Is he not entitled to hear all that he said at that

Mr. BLAIR. We propose to five all that he said in relation to the

S articular subject, and we ask nim the question whether or not he
id not say that the reason why he had before gone before the com-
mittee, and not before the Secretary of War, was because he was here
before the committee for another purpose, and that he did not go to
the Secretary of War, not because he did not expect to have the Sec-
retary attend to it, but because he was afraid to do so. We asked
him whether he had said that thiug^. We might have asked him,
without saying whether he had put it in writing or not, or we might
produce his letter, as we chose. I do not care about arguing the ques-
tion any further.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oregon [Mr.
MrrcHBLL] moves to reconsider the vote by which the objection was
sustained to the qnestion proposed by the counsel.

The motion to reconsider was not agreed to.

Q. (By Mr. Carpenter.) Ton say you recollect writing a letter to
General Belknap about the 12th of September, 1875 f

A. I do.

Q. That letter was marked " confidential," ^t^as it not T

A. I think it was.

Q. Are you willing to withdraw the confidence and allow the letter
to be read in evidence f

A. I am willing that my letter shall be read.

Q. [Handing letter to witness.] See if that is the letter you wrote ;
and, if it is, read it.

A. [After examining.] This is my letter.

Mr. CARPENTER. Read it.

The witness read as follows :


FoBT BuFOSD, Dakota Tbbritort,

Septemher 19, 18T5.

Ht Dbar Okneral Belknap : Aa mentioned to yon while here, I wish in perfect
frankneea to express what I think it is dnty to myself to do. It is unnecessary to
diBCoss the fact that I have felt that yon have felt unfriendly toward me fora long
time past, and I have no doubt with apparent good reason. For three years before
you became Secretary of War I, with others, did what we could to do away with
what we then thought and still think to be unwise and i>emiciou8 to the Army ;
that is, our system of sntlerinz, now called post-trading, with a view to substitut-
ing the plan employed in nearly aU other respectable i^mies of supi * * ^"^ ^'

« -^ . « - . ., - ngthearti-

des necessary to omcers and men at cost by one of the branches of toe Army itself.
This was finally accomplished and a law passed requiring the Commissary I)epart-
ment to perform that duty. That Department was opposed to the law, and upon
the representati<m of " no special appropriation " \vere excused the first year from
executbog the law. Other reasons were afterward found for similar action, the
Commissary-General making no estimates for it, till finally the law was passed giv-
ing us our present system, which is by far more objectionable than the orifi^ial
plan. I have always believed this law for post traders was put through Congress
under false representations, as its' purpose specified in the text makes it for the
benefit of the '^traveling public," while it gave us back the old sutler, in which the
'* traveling pnbUo " is notinterested the ninety-ninth part that the soldier is. This
has also acted to leave the law causing the Army itself to furnish these articles a
dead letter.

tag thai we were defeated and the Aimj again encumbered with the old m-
tem, which is nothing leas than a system of leeches applied to the pockets of the
Army, (although personally the present sutlers are not obiectionable men.) and that
the oi^Jections of the Commissary Department virtually Blocked any action in the
matter and would defeat any attempts through the Army itself looking toward
oorrec^n, I endeavorod to call the attention of Congress to the snl^ect through my
old friend and schoolmate, General Gabfibld. I naturally gave the worst instances
of the workings of the law I knew of, and these were instances of farming out
licenses at heavy rates which were of course a tax to that amount upon the garri-
sons. In this there was nothing whatever intended to be personal to the Secretary
of War. but merely <»T*ynpiAa under what I believed an odious law. I had no rea-
son for being inimicaJ to the Secretary, and I state but the exact truth in saying
that only the highest regard and kindest feelings toward him always aotuatedme,
with a nngle exception, to be referred to further on.

My letter* to Gabfikld were to have been confidential so far as concerns their
authorship, as my motives only referred to action on tbo law wtdoh I believed neoes'
sary to the Army. I desired especially not to appear in autagonism to the Secre^
tary of War, as I then saw it would be easy to put such a construction on my action.
My letters roll into the hands of one Smalley, secretary of the House Military Com-
mittee, who was also New York Tribune correspondent. He not only published
the purport of my letter, adding as much as he saw fit, while enlarging on other
points so as to mue a very different matter of it as published, but although not
mentioning my name, so describing his authority as to at ouce put it upon me.

Soon after, when Mr. Cobum was chairman ox the committee, I was summoned
to Washington to give evidence upon staff organization of the French and German
armies. iJter flnuhing upon these subjects I was questioned upon the subject of
poet-traders. I at first remonstrated on the ground that I had not reported the
matter to yon, because I beUeved the CommiMary Department would aefeat any
action in that direction, and that my testimony might bo considered a discourt'Cay
to the Secretary. Mr. Cobum then replied that whatever I might say upon the
subject would be confidential with the committee. I then gave the facts as I bail
before done to General Garfield. My testimony was, however, openly published.

About this timoj feeling that alter a long and successful fight in wniuh wo had
gained a substantial good, we were about oeing defeated by the simple fact that
seemed to me the paltry selfishness of the branch of the Army whose duty it was
to carry out the law, which did not benefit them but merely added slightly to their
duties, and I reoeiving much censure for my action in this matter, in my great irri-
tation I did write an mtemperate letter to either Gabfikld or Cooum, in which I
used many of the phrases found in Smalley's statement I was in a manner put
on trial, and the letter was (so to speak) extorted from me, and I have always re-
gretted it. Whether it came to your notice or not, I ask pardon for ever writuig it.

For everything else in the whole matter I have been guided conscientiously by
a desire to effect what I believe a great advantage to the Army, the saving to It of
18,000,000 annually, more even than its late increase of pay, besides ridding it of a
corrupting influence, the present system having many of the features of bribery
and extoruon. as goods are usually sold to oflicers at cost and to others at a high
profit, while tne system of farming (not unusual) adds an additional oost which must
be paid by the troops. I have nied before to get this matter before you, but it
meets its usual barrier in the Office of the Commissary-GeneraL I inclose a case
of it. The law referred to in that letter was a manduory one of perfectly plain
construction, one in which troops on the frontier are interested to the extent of
about 18,000,000 annually : and toe construction referred to in that letter is not un-
derstood either in fact or in Justice, only that it has been opposed from the first by
the Department whose duty it was to carry it out The objection made by these
officers 'that itisnotinkeeping with their other duties," or "that it is unbecoming
their positions." is not tenable, as they already keep for the benefit of both officers
and soldiers a large list of articles without detriment or complaint of a not dissim-
ilar nature. The Government could furnish a dear for two cents that the trader
chaiiges twenty for. The English government ramishes it for a penny and the
German government for half a penny. Other necessary articles, (indispensable in
fact,) such as towels, brushes, stationery, &c., are on the same footing, but less ex-

when in Washington three years ago, I was more gratified thxm I can tell you
by the kind reception you gave me. Later there was a change, the cause of wmch
I never knew, l know, auo, that some of my overzealous friends have troubled
you and the President to ask favors for me. But they did so against my expressed
wish and request Your subsequent order respecting officers coming to Washing-
ton, &c., led me to b^eve you thought I had busied myself in matters of general
lenslation upon Army matters, and officers of staff have said that I was the author
of the Cobum bUl, whloh they had seen in my handwriting. So entirely untrue is
all this that, feeling certain that many would charge me with this on account of
my book, I was especially cautious, and never conversed that winter with any
member of Congress at any time upon Army matters of a general nature, and I
have before me a letter from General Cobum, stating that I never saw the bill or
any of its provisions till after it was introduced in Congress.

I did aid in the restoration of Ci^tain Jocelyn, being partially in fault for his dis-

I luive felt thepast three or four years tiiat I was suffering from some unjust im-
pression at the War Department and it has been a sore and painful wound to me.
I don't believe I am a bad, insubordinate , or insincere man. I have tried aU my life
to do right and ixtdustriously to do my duty. If you think I ever wronged you it
was cenainly not from my heart and I regret to iiave caused the impression. I
unfortunately have one or two enemies of high rank in the Army who I sometimes
think wrongfully pr^udice me in the eyes of Ihose above me. If I have omitted
anything which yon would care to have further explained I shall be but too g)aA to
be i^ven the opportunity.

I am, most reepecdully,


The Honorable Secretary of War W. W. Belknap,

Wothibngton, D. C

Q. (By Mr. Carpenter.) I understood you to say when you com-
menced testifying here a few moments ago that you testified before
the Military Committee because you thought the Secretary of War

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressCongressional record : proceedings and debates of the ... Congress → online text (page 107 of 172)