William Penniman] [Clarke.

A base slander refuted (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryWilliam Penniman] [ClarkeA base slander refuted (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

E 664
•H27 C6

Copy 2

[From the Daily Morning Chronicle, Washington Cit}^, D. C, December 37th.]



We print to-day a long communication
from W. Penn. Clarke, Esq , formerly
chief clerk of the Interior Department,
under Secretary Harlan, defending the
hitter from an attack on his character as a
public officer and a good citizen by a cor-
respondent of the Cincinnati Gazette. No
one who reads Mr. Clarke's communication
can for a moment doubt that Mr. Harlan
has been wantonly and wickedly assailed,
and that the charges brought against him
are utterly baseless.
To the Editor of the Chronicle:

The Washington correspondent of the Cincin-
nati Dailij Gazette, o^ the 17tU Inst., referring to
the pending Sen.atnrial contest In Iowa, and appa-
rently for the purpose of aamaging the prospects
of some of the gentlemen wli< se names are being
used In that connection, travels out of his way to
assail the character of ex-^eoretary Harlan, how
one of the oldest and most distinguished members
oi the United States Senate. In relation to the
animus of the writer, It may be olfserved that it Is
susceptible of proof that he has admitted that his
chief grievance was a supposed sympathy of the'
ex-Secretary with General O. O. Howard in al
church controversy between that one armed vete- 1
ran of the recent wa"" and the correspondent's!
father, an ezchaplaln of the Hou'e of Kepresen-'
tatlves, and which resulted in dividing the Con-
gregational Church of this city. It has also now
become public, as a piece of city gossip, that this
correspondent (and perhaps some other corres-
pondents of the public press) has taken offense at
Senator Harlm and his family, on account of
some supposed indignity which he Imagines ho
had suffered, or some discrimination in favor of
one of the reporters for the Chrosticle, at the
time of the marriage of the Secretary's daughter
to Robert T. Lincoln, son of the late President-
he and they not being informed of the fact that
Mr. Lincoln had requested that the wedding
should be as ptivato as practicable, on account of
his mother, who very naturally wished to be pres-)
o nt, and who was still In mourning over the terrl-
rlblo death of her Illustrious husband. Your re-i
porter was at the tlma teiaporarlly conn eafeil

[with one of Mr. Harlan's Senate committees, and
[consequently regarded as a member of his otfleial
household— a fact that was probably overlooke<J
by the Gazette correspondent and others to whom
we have alluded. These seem to be, and so far as
Is known, are, the motives which have led to this
malevolent assault upon the character of one of
the most distinguished of our Bepubllcan Sena-
tors, which Is more disgraceful to the author than
the geniloman whom he has assailed, and which
cannot but excite the condemnation of all rlght-
thlnliing men.

One other motive may have contributed to this
attack. The tone ard temper of this Gazette letter
would seem to justify the conviction that It may
have been inspired, to some extent, by the over-
anxious friends of some aspirant lor senatorial
honors In Iowa, whose Interests It was imagloed
might be advanced by blighting the 'air fame o
those who Wf re considered obstacles In the way of
success. But this of Itself would hardly be a suf.
fident motive, for we have reason to believe that
Senator Harlan has taken no part In the contest,
nor even expressed a preference In favor of any
one of the various aspirants.

The charges aaralnst the ex-Secretary are not
only malevolent, but contemptible In their charac
ler. Nearly all of the allegations of misconduct
relate to trivial matters, ont of which, according
to the writer's own showing, it would liave
been Impostlble to realize sufficient pecuniary
profit to amount to a temptation to do wrong
on the part of a high otfloial of the (rov-
ernment. If the head of a Department, who
controls the diabursement of multiplied mil.
lions of the public treasure were disposed to de-
fraud the G-overnment. he would hardly waste bis
time in an attempt to misapply a lew quires of
paper, or a few tons of coal. The charges, there-
fore, are not only Improbable in theoj selves, but
are contradicted by the whole tenor of Senator
Harlin'fc public and private life and character.
Upon these he might safely rely as a complete de-
fense against the envenomed attacks of anony-
mous sensational writers, and not fear the result.
But In justice to Senator Harlan, and as a duty
we owe to the party organization of which ho is
one of tho oldest and most useful members, we
shall urooeed to refutr the chargec of the GazetU

^\ .

EI 664-

correspondent, and demonstrate that they are des- ■
tltute of any foanJatton In fact or truth.

Dr. John R. Goodwin is our first witness— the!
very man whom the Gazette coirespondent InEinu-
stes knows all the facts. While Mr. Harlan was
Secretary of the Interior, Goodwin was the dis-
bursing officer oi the Department, as he Is at the
present time; and In the following affidavit he
thus sums up and contradicts many of the charges
of the Gazette:

Washington, D. f! , Deo 23, 1P69. ]

In a communication published iu the Cincinnati:
Daily Gazette oi the 17th Inst., the writer ass^iils
the characterof the Hon. James Harlan, by cLarg-
Ian : that while Secretary of the Interior, he
appointed his eon to the office of ruessenger: that
be used Governmeot horses, aijd paid $60 per
month for keeping tfce pair; that he paid the,
driver of the team from the public lunds; that he
discharged the driver because he relufed to drees
In livery, at his own expenfe; that, he caused a bill
of $650 tor fancy paper, cards, knives, scissors. Ac ,
lorthe use ot his household, to be paid for from
the contingent fund of the Department; that he
caused coal to be sent from the cellars ol the Depart-
ment to his own house, lor h!s private use ; that
he rented, and cau.=ed to be ,^tted up, rooms for
my private use, wl'h public lunds ; and that he
took carpets and other articles from the Depart-
ment, and converted them to prlvatejuse

I. on oath, say that during the greater part of
the time that IVIr. Harlan was Secret iry ol the
Interior 1 was disbursing clerk and superintend-
BUt of the tuildlnu. Durinif tbat time, 1 paid all
bills that were paid lor falsries and for contin-
gencies, and al-o, as superlntendett. bad chu rite f)f
the purchase of siatlonery, and turniture, and fuel
for the Department ; and the cmtiacts and bliD
connected with such purchases are now in the
office ot the disbursing clerk. These .show that
the Secretary's son was paid as a messenger for
the period of seventy three (73) diy 8, and no more;
during that time he performed duty as messenger,
often during the day. and often at night I'he
rate of pay was that usually paid to messengers,
and allowed by law.

Every member of the Cabinet has a .=pan of
horses lurnished and boarded tor official use, and
also a driver. Mr. Harlan paid liso per month tor
the board, and not *G0, as alleged. This is the
record, and It Is the customary price.

Mr Harlan's driver never dressed In livery 1
am of opinion tliat he never discharged a driver
because he would not dres!> in livery, e'ee the suc-
cessor would have so dresfed.

He never caused to be paM *720 each, on the
rolls of the Department, tr two men— one for a
footman, and one tor a dinlokt-room servant. I
am Intimately acquainted wlih Mr. HarUn and
his tamlly, and was Irequeu'ly at hi^ nouse a'* a
personal friend while he was .Secretary, and p»r-
sonally know that he had a siifHclont number of
private servants to perform all tiie ordinary duties
connected with his houseboM.

I have carelully e.xam'ned the records of the
office, and find no bill oi if'i.'iO ns having been pail
lor fancy stationery, «fec , for the use of his iiouse-
hold nor any other that can juatify the charge.
There was no such bill paid.

He never rented any room for my private uko
During his term of service I occupied rooms
rented by uiyself from Mr. .surauel IVlauee, an old
citizen, and the (loverninent never paid for any
rooms occupied by myself for private use

Fie never received from the cellars of the De-
partment any c^al lor his i)rfvato use. If such
had been tlie case, 1, as superintendenti would
Lave known It

Ho never received from the Department carpets
or other furniture wlilch he did iK't pny tor at a
lull value, appialiied by Impartial and oompetout
appraisers. John K. (Ioouwin.

District of Columljia. Washinqton County to wit:

On tbl- 'i!4tii iiay of i»cc«iiilpor, I8(,'J. before me,
one of the lUK'Icos of the i)eaoo in and for siild
county, personally appeared John K Goodwlis,
whii, upon boit-K BWfirn according to law, did do-

pose and say that the forecolng statement Is true
and correct in every particular.
Suiscribed and sworn to before me on this day.

[SBAL.] K. B. INlXON, J. p.

Thomas D. Bond, then as now. Chief Engineer
of the Interior Department, and the custodian of
the Uiel of the Department, makes the following
statement under oath, which, in connection with
the affidavit of Dr. Goodwin, completely disposes
of the dastardly slander about the misuse of gov-
ernment coal :

I, Thomas D. Bond, on oath, depose and say,
that I am now, and was during the whole period
of Hon. .Tames Harlan's service us secretary of
the Interior, iJhlef Kngtneer of said Department,
and WrtS then, and am now, custocian of all thetuej
received for its use; i^nd 1 iurther depose and say,
that i know Spersonally that no coal or other fuel
was ever taken from the Department to the res-
Ideiicu of the said Secretary. I also depose and
say, that 1 acted as the said Secretary's aiient In
purchasing iuel for his residencre and office at
bis house; that several times I procured It of the
government contractor, but that in every case, a
i-eparate bill was male out against the secretary
for the whole amount, and paid for by me as hla
agent, be han<!iDg me the money to pay for the
same; and that no part ot said coal or other Iuel
was ever paid for by the Department. I also de-
pose and say, that I was intimately acquainted
with said Secretary and his family. w*8 often la
and through his house, and do not believe It pos-
sible that property of any Kind could have beea
taken from tbe Department, to, and used at, his
residence, wUnout my knowledge; and that he
was always scrupulously exact In paying for every
thing, even of the most trivial character, turned
over to his prlvata use or that of his family.

Thomas D. Bond.
District of Columbia. Washington County, to ivit:

On this 21st day of Decemoer, 1869, before me,
the subscriber, one of tae justices of the peace In
and for said county, personally appeared Thomas
1). Bond, and being sworn accornlng to law, did
depose and sav that the within statement is iriio
and correct.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2l3t day
of December, 1SG9.

[SKAL.] K. B. Nixon, J. P.

The next charge against the ex-Secretary Is,
that he became the purchaser of a pair of horses
Lelonging to the Department at a nominal valuo.
This falsehood is completely refuted by the fol
lowing affidavit of tlharies H. Sherrlll, John T.
Price, and Colonel Theodore B. Samo, all three
well known gentlemen of this city, of unim-
peachable character, and known to be excellent
judges of this kind of property. Colonel Samo
was then, ami is noiv. In the service of the Inte-
rior Department as the engineer of the aqueduct,
and Mr. Price is an old and large dealer In
horses, and well known to all dealers In stock.
But to the affldavlt :

Washinoton City, D C. , Deo. 24, 18^9.
The underrlgned, Charlei H. Sherrlll, John T.
Price, and Theodore B. samo. having seen an ar-
ticle put.ll-hed In tiie IMnclnuatl t,azclte of the
17ih Instant, c'uarging Hon. .lames ttarlau with
having procured a couple ol horses of the Interior
Department at a nominal price, state on oath,
tbat iin the request of the .Secretary, we examined
, nni| appralsoo suld horces before their purchase,
and valued one ol them at one hun<irei uoilars,
jandtlio other one at two hundred dollars. I'he
first one was old, and was ntllloted with ihedls-
'easeknov/n ns heaves; the other was defective,
i belnit knee fprung and al'Jlcted with corns and
! oilier delects No one of us thought the horses
|wi>rih more thiii the jirlce named, and some
thoiiKlit them worth le.sp tlian the amount named;
and no one o( iis then thought, that lUey would
have commanded ihit price in open tnarlcet. We
I were each well aoqualnicd with oald horses. Two

of us hafl often driven them, and the other one of
us, John T. Price, Is, anl has been for a long pe
nod. a dealer in horses; and we con.'ioer oar-
selves good judges of che vulue of mat kind ot

stock. C'.HAS H. tMIlSRUILL.

John T. PRioa.
ThbodokbB. Samo.

District of Columbia, Washington County, to leit:

on Ibis '24ihd-iy<if Ijeceuber, iSuO. before m8,
one 01 the Justices of the peace in aod for the s-aM
county, personally appeared Charles H. SUerrill,
John r. Price, and Theodore B Samo. who beltig
each and severally sworn according to law, did
depose and s»y inat the within statement was
true and correct
Subscribed aad sworn to be'^ore me vhis day.
[snAL] R a Nixon, J. P.

The truth al>out this whole horse matter Is that
Senator Harlan's family , having occasionally used
the horses, and became attached to them, desired
to retain them, and he, to gratify the family, pur-
chased the horses at aore th»n their real cash
value. No one can doubt this afte: reading the
foregoing affidavit. We might rest the relutatlon
of these charges in relation to the coal and horses
npon tae sworn statements of the gentlemen above
named, but to leave no room for doubc that all these
things were honestly pali for, we annex the fol
lowing receipts :

Received, Wsshlnnton. D. C, August 31, 1866. ot
Hun James Hirlnn, $320, tor one pair of horses
and harness, as per apprai.-ement.

William S. Marsh,
Dlsbursiiig agent, (Aaueuuot.)

Washington, 1» O., August 9. 186B.
Hon James H^KLAN Bou«nt of S. f. Hrown &

t-oN, forwaroliig aud C'>LumissloD merchants. No.

46b Ninth street, between t) and F streets:
1866— Aufiusl 9 10 tons 1^. M. white asli egg

coilai*7«0 $70 00

1866— August 9. 11 lonsredasustoveat !ji8 10 89 10

16S 10
Received payment.
[Stamp] &. r. Brown & Son.

Washinuton, January 18, 1866.
Hon. Jambs Harlan

To H. Clay Stuwart. T)r
1865— Deo. 14. To 5 ton - grate coal at $9 40. . $47 dO
StODSIuroacedo., 41.49 9J. 49 50
Puttlnn in do , 10 ions, at

75cenis 7 50

1866— Jan. 18. TolOions coal at .$16 160 00

Putting in 10 tons at 7 Jo.. 7 5U

261 50
Recaived pay meet,

[Stamp] ti. 1. LAY STEWART.

Now. in relation to the charge about tne lurnl-
ture. It has been the custom from the f )nDiitlon
of the Depanmeut for the Qoverumeui to furoir^h
a room at the Secretary's resld<jnee lur au office,
■where he receives visiturs, and often transacts
public business after office hours. Tliia was done
in Secretary Harlan's case as a matter of course,
iQcludlng (tesii, carpet, office chairs. &o. vv hile
this waj being done, some pieces of aid oast-ulf car-
peting, cnstdsre.! worthles-s were procured by
his fanlly for tbe "se of the domestics in the
kitchen and basement; and« at or about the time
of Secretary Harlan'.- retirement from the Depart-
ment, all of these articles at his request, were
appraised, and subsequently pal4 for by him, as Is
shown by the foUowiog receipt:


Washin<^ton, itecemiier 1. 18G6.
Received of Hon. Jami<8 Harlan, two hundred
and ninety live dollars, (t293) in pay forfurniture.

&8 , as per appraisement of Mr. E H. King, made
December 1, 18d6, and on file in the Departroent of
the Interior. J- H- <^oodwin.


We come next to the rldloalous statement in
relation to services of Department eniployes at
Mr. Hirlan's reslde.oco. Mr. William Syphax
has been, almost since the organiziiion of the
Interior Department, the messenjicr of the Secre-
tary, and still holds that position. It is his auty
to take in to the Secretary the cards of vi iters,
and usher them into his presence. By reason of
this long service, he has become personally
acquainted with all the Senators and members of
ijongress, as well as other officials; and on pu ilic
occasions, as he states In the following affidavit,
he frequently attended at Mr. Harlan's to attend
tho door and receive the visitors, for which service
he was always generously paid by the Senator's
lady. If any of the other employes rendered any
services at the residence of the senator, it was
usually on similar occisions, when they were not
required to be at the Department, and for which
they were amply compensated. The charge that
the Secretary's servants wore livery, and that
the coachman was discharged for the reason that
he refused to purchase a suit ol livery at his own
exi)en8o, is related by the statements of Dr. Good-
win given above. The affidavit of Mr. Syphax
reads as follows:

Washington, D. C, December 14,1 869.
I, William Syphax, on oath, state tbai I am
now. and was during the whole period of Hon.
James Harlan"s service as Secretary of the In-
terior, uad for a long period betore, messenger to
the Secretary; that I was familiarly acquainted
with secretary Harlan's household, and that, on
extranriilnary occasions, such as pi-blic recep-
tions, durinif what 13 calleil tha fashionable sea-
sou, when there were iijultltudesof official callers
and visitors, I was frequently at his house (as I
know personally nearlv all the Senators and mem-
bers, and other I igh officials.) to attend the door
and reaelve tne guests, as was the custom before
he became Secretary . and that I rendered sacli
service voluntarily, af er office nours, anil was al-
ways well paid thereior by Mrs. Harlan.

W. Syphax,

District of Columbia, Washington County, to wit:

On t bis 24th day nf Deceujber, 1S69, before me,
one of tne justices ot the peace in and for the said
county, personally appeared William Syphax,
who. being sworn according to law, did depose
ano say tuat the foregoing s.aiement is true and

subscrioed and sworn to be'ore me this day.

[sBAL] R B. Nixon, J. P.

The following affidavit of Judge Killpatrick la
also to the Same pui port :

Washington, December 25, 1869.
T, Ephratw Killpatricu, 8r,»te on oath that
during the «h(do time that Hon. Jarots Harlan
was ^>ecrolary of the Interior 1 was a clerk in the
Departuienl: pirt ol the time acting as chief
clerk, an-i ihe remainder nf tha time as a clerk in
In (.no of tbe (livlslous of the offiae, the most of tho
time at a liesu in the room occupied by tlie Secre
tar\; that I was intimately acquainted with the
Secretary and his lamtly, and was often at his
house; his family consisted ot himself, hU wlte,
and two children; that he h'-d at Lis house con-
tinuously several servants— enough. In my judg-
ment, to perform all the ordinary .luties connected
with his householo- In no way connected with tho
Depart ment, or boroe on its rolls. He had a room
fitted up as an office at his residence, as I uni^er-
stand has always been the custom wf the head of
the Department, where he transacted a large
amount of official business, and I have observed
an employe— sometimes one and sometimes an-
other—at this office rcom, to attend at the door

and to do messonger dnty. and I have been told I
tbat said employe pometimes exchaoKed work
wUti oteof the private servauts, tjn public occn- 1
sions, such as recepiiocs. dinners, i»ii.l (turluf^i
what is c&lled tha lasnlonible seison. and periods [
of extriiordlnary pressure, waen there was a mul j
titudo of official callerc, messengers anil other
employes ai the Xieiiartruent were frequently j
pres'ent. rendering the neceseary assisttmce; bu', ;
as 'ar as I ever noticed, none ot the Depanment
meseengeis or employes were ever t^o employ ei as
to lutertere with their ofiflulal duties. I further
ftate that Mr. Harlan, so lar as I Ijnow and be-
lieve, has never, cither while ho was Secretary, or
before or since, ha^l a servant In livery In his om-'
Viioy, either as coachman or in any other capacity.


District of Columbia, Washimjton County, to wit:

Uu ttils 25th day of l»ecemoer, l^tO, before the
Rubscni er, one of tne jus'lce^ of the peace in and
fcr tLe said county, personally appearea t. lilil-;
pttrick. who, belnit sworn according to law, Old
iiepiise ai.d say that the foreK'>iD!< statement is
true arm CD' reot In every particular.
SubseritibO and sworn to before me

[SKiL j K. B. ^'lXON, J. P. j

HaviDK liisposed of these trivial charges against '
thB ex secretary — and which we have shown to
bo the mere inventions of a malicious heart — we
jirucecd to notice ottiera more particularly affect-
ing^ his official corducr, and which will be found
equdlly unsupported by truth. Tne unblushlijg|
do.larati' n that .Secretary Harlan -^^ioUted thei
1 tvv In accept ioii the first section of fTty miles of
the Kansas branch of the Uulea Pacific Railroad,
and the cowardly Inainuation that he did so from
Improper confideraiions received from the com-'
piiny, through its President, John D Perry, is;
driven to the wall by the voluntary statement oil
(Jeneral William J Palmer, the Treasurer of thel
noujpanj, sent to Mr. Harlan 1 ist winter, after
that Kontleman had reid a similar attack In the
C'«;:t//(', m ide by 'hl.s fame corresp ndent, about
a year plnce. From this statement It appears that
.-secretary narlan was overruled by the then
President, Andrew .lohnsoo, and afterwards acted
Id this matter under the f resident's orders :

Union Pacific Railway, E. !) ,
Washin«ton, D. t)., February 28, 18t,9
IJon James Harlan, U. S. Senator:

•-lu: ivly attention havlDs; been called to a pub-
lication 1q the Cincinnati Gazette of the 23d ult. ,
charging you with dereliction of duty as Secre-
tary, In connection with the acceptance of 'he
lirst section of forty miles of the Union Pacific
railway, eastern division, and particularly
noting an appa'ent conll'.ct between your reconi-
luonoati'.n of May 29, Isoa, advising the President
thHt said eecion should not be accepted, and your
leuer of < -otobei- 2h, iSbS, tollo*inR, in which,
alter reel. ln« that the company bad entered into
«n agreeiLent to make certain required Improve-
iiients, you advised that the Stcretary of the
Treasury and the Secrftary of the laierlur be
oirecied to carry Into <-fl'ect the provisions ot law
In regard n. said completed section, 1 deem it due
to you, a, d to iruih, to say that I was at the time
per8on«lly present at Interviews between your
self arul ofllcers or said coinp*Dy, and bet*een
said I mocrs and the Pregldoi t o' the Un'tod
States; thata dttfere ice of ojdnlon arose betwte.'
you and the company in regiinl to the deyrre of
perfecil' n required by Iho i.iw under the phrase,
••first- clacB railroad;" that you uniformly and
l)erslst>.'utly Insisted on a higher standard batng
adopted ihan that set up by the company ano ihe
commissioners nrst appointed to examine said
oad; tliHl you liankly t.dd tlie oflicers ol thecoo-
pan> tli.t. HI. lar lis It dejiendf-d ou your otliolai
urtb'n lu-ii hi-r the ncn-'s nor the l.nos portalDlng
to s'.ld section would be Issued and i.iieiited
until >ii|ii herilon was made to conform to a staml
urd higher than that whioL the company thought

the law required, or that was practicable under
the limited aid granted by ttie O-overnmant ia
that new country.

Kte-ninn it to be ttie province of the President
of the United States, and no' that of the . - ■e.'retary
of the Interior, to decide whether the said seotiou
bad or had not been coaati ucted according to law,
the officers of 'he company rtquested him t.>
fcxatnlne the subject ptrson^lly, wtica he pro.
"■ceded to do ; whereupon a full and tree confer-
ence was had at the Executive \lansion, between
the Presldert, the Secretary of the Interior, the
Secretary of the Treasury, the officers of ihe (Com-
pany, and several of the prlocipai stockhoMers of
the load, where every thing pertaining to said
section of toad was lully expiaiued, and all ob-
jections to its acceptance were fully canvassed.
This interview resulted as we expected, in an
executive order for the Issuance ot the subsidy in
bonds and lands, pertaining to faid section, the
company first agreeing to make certain itnprove-


Online LibraryWilliam Penniman] [ClarkeA base slander refuted (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 2)