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Post Office Department.

[Feb. 10, 1831.

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receipts and expenditures of nearly two millions annually; vency? Or, if embarrassed, it has not, in truth, become and we should do it, he trusted, on the same just princi- so by neglect and corruption, but by your own system of ples, and the same settled rules of evidence, as governed legislation, largely increasing its expenditures? The genus in relation to similar subjects in other departments, and tleman, likewise, has indulged in these two assumptions, in other periods of our history.

at the very moment when the committee were inquiring How had we got involved in this wide and desultory de into the real condition of the funds of the department

, bate? Assuredly by a marvellous departure from the lan- and when his questions about removals might have been guage and spirit of the resolution itself, on the part of its judiciously postponed, it is believed, till the truth of the opponents. The resolution proposes simply to check the assumption, as to insolvency, on which his other questions inquiries of the special committee into the causes of remo- rest, were fully ascertained. But no; this did not suit the vals in the Post Office Department. This is a single and zeal and impatience of the prosecution. It was thought a fair proposition for the decision of this body. The com- better to guess at the fact of insolvency, or attempt to mittee being divided, an appeal was made to you, as you show, from imperfect and perverted circumstances, than are the authors of the reference, and have power to con- to wait a few days for decisive evidence, one way or the strue, amend, or abolish it altogether. In favor of that other-evidence, too, within our own reach, and which we proposition, the minority of the committee believed that were collecting by interrogatories to the department, acthe Senate had pronounced an opinion the last winter, cess to its books, and the unlimited power conferred on after very full debate, and, therefore, not “carefully us by the Senate to send any where for persons and papers. avoiding," as the member from Delaware alleges, an argu The Senate will now understand the occasion, premament on the construction which might be given to the ture and unnecessary in bis opinion, for entering this last words of the reference independent of that opinion; but wide field of accusation; and, considering the excitement contending that, after such an opinion, the Senate could accompanying it, they would excuse the trouble he must not intend to have a construction placed on the reference give them, while meeting the chairman on the different hostile to their own decision, the minority opposed going grounds travelled over. To save time, he would avoid, into an inquiry of the special causes of removal. "They as much as possible, any recapitulation of any thing before believed, also, that we ought not to embark in that inquiry, offered by himself or the member from Tennessee. because all admit the Postmaster General has both the In the first instance, the chairman asserts the departlegal and constitutional right to displace any of his depu- ment “is rapidly approaching the period of bankruptcy;" ties. The right or power being conceded, there is no and that this bas all happened under its present bead, law nor sense in making him amenable, in the first in- from the removal of worthy officers, and the appointment stance, to the Senate, for any supposed abuse of that in their stead “of factious, brawling partisans, with no power. For such abuse he is responsible only to the other merit than voting for the present chief magistrate." other House as the impeaching body, or to the President, Pray let me ask what evidence, beyond his naked assetwho can control or remove him at pleasure; but we, the tion, has the gentleman condescended to lay before the Senate, can neither impeach nor remove him; and, as a Senate in support of these extraordinary positions? Does legislative body, have no more right to investigate the he point to a particle of testimony collected by the comparticular motives which influenced him in any removal, mittee, except the deposition which has been read by the than we have the motives of a collector of the customs, Senator from Tennessce about Fowler's bond? and which or a marshal, in the removal of their deputies. The ge- deposition proves mismanagement, if at all, under the neral course of administration in respect to removals, it administration of Mr. Meigs rather than of Mr. Barry. So might be proper to ascertain, as once before remarked, far as the imputed indebtedness of Mr. Barry, as one of with a view to legislation. So might it be in respect to Fowler's sureties, bears on the present funds of the de. the fiscal concerns of the department, with the same view; partment, it is enough to say that, from that deposition, it and the latter investigation miglit be pushed further, into appears our own courts, after a full hearing, and under a the smallest minutiæ, to see if any departure had been former administration, bave rendered judgment in his made from the acts of Congress about receipts and expen- favor. Although a new action might have been instituted, ditures; and, if any departure, what remedies might be they never attempted it. It would secm, therefore, unproper to prevent a recurrence of the mischiefs. But, in charitable, unjust, and, indeed, illegal, now to pronounce relation to particular removals, the law had entrusted the him a debtor, with our own records, and the conduct of Postmaster General with unlimited discretion and power. our own public officers, standing unreversed in his favor. Such a discretion could not be violated. There would But the great reliance in support of the charge of banknot be, in any removal, a departure from the law, because ruptcy is, that, from our documents, it can be gathered, there existed no law restricting him; and hence an inquiry that the present head of the department lias, in luis first into particular cases was unjust, useless, and improper. year, “sunk," as the gentleman calls it, $114,000; that,

So much for the direct merits of the resolution. But of the surplus funds leit in bank by his predecessor, hic is mark the ingenuity of our opponents, in getting up the alleged to have spent the whole;" that “large sums rest of this extraordinary debate! The Senatcr who has besides have been drawn from the treasury;" that the just addressed you, avers, that the moneyed concerns of balance against him is almost $100,000; and that

, without the Post Office Department are “rapidly verging to insol. the interposition of Congress, the operations of the departvency;" that this has been caused by the misconduct of ment must soon entirely cease. faithless and fraudulent officers recently appointed; and Now let me invoke the Senate to a close examination of hence, that you ought to permit the committee to ferret these alarming assertions and inferences, to ascertain out the causes of the removal of their predecessors. To whether there be any thing of fallacy or falsity in any of reach his inference, it will be seen that the gentleman has them; or rather to see if they be not all utterly groundbeen obliged to resort to “two assumptions of fact, if not less. If I have any knowledge of the history of that of doctrine,” in the language of Colonel Lawless. If department, and any judgment to understand its adminiseither of those assumptions fail him, in the proof or inves-tration, it will soon be seen whether it is not now in a tigation, his inference against the check contained in the financial condition highly prosperous; whether it has not, resolution has no foundation to stand on. Like the Indian during the last two years, eminently fulfilled the public philosophy as to the foundation on which the earth stands, expectations and designs in its establishment; and whether he may rest some of his positions on the elephant, and the its prospects in future, unless blasted by our own legislaelephant upon the tortoise; but on what does his tortoise tion, were ever more encouraging or brilliant. stand, if the department is not, in truth, verging to insol As to its gencral financial condition at any period, every

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FEB. 10, 1831.]

Post Office Department.

(SENATE.

person who reflects a moment must be conscious that it much of the increasing revenue, which otherwise would will mainly depend on the course of our own legislation. have swelled the balances and payments into the treasury It is well known that not a dollar can be received or paid under Mr. Meigs, and especially under Mr. McLean. Yet, but by authority of law; and that while the officers in it still, late as A. D. 1827, the annual income exceeded the conform to the law, the balances, whether for or against annual expenditure; and, but for a more decisive change the department, depend on ourselves. It differs but very of policy and legislation, which occurred the next year, little from the Treasury Department, where the balances Mr. McLean's balances and payments into the treasury for or against the Government depend on our law's making would probably have equalled, though in office a shorter appropriations and raising revenue, and never upon the time, those of his immediate predecessors. In his annual officers in the department, while they. merely fulfil our report of November, A. D. 1827, he invites the attention legislation. But who ever heard of criminating the offi- of Congress to the subject of the surplus balances, and cers in the last named department, because our own suggests the expediency of applying them all in aid of the appropriations had caused the expenditures to exceed the great objects of the post office establishment, rather than revenue? A little further attention to the history of the paying them as mere revenue for general purposes into balances, and the payments into the treasury from the the public treasury. Among other objects, he reminds Post Office Department, will show the folly of this mode them the surplus might be expended in making or repairof reasoning urged against us, merely from the balances, ing post roads. and will demonstrate to the public, that, if such reasoning What did Congress do on this new suggestion? They be correct, the worthy predecessor of the present incum- at once seemed to adopt the theory, that the department bent, whom none profess to impugn, is much more censur- should no longer be treated as a source of general revenue able than the present incumbent himself.

for general objects; but, rejecting the proposal to repair Allow me to read a few passages from official records roads, they appear to have thought that all its funds should on this point. Under the administration of Mr. Osgood, the be expended in extending the advantages of the mail to balance in favor of the department, was $15,392) all parts of the country, as widely, safely, and efficiently Under Mr. Pickering,

84,594 as practicable. Instead, therefore, of appropriating them Habersham,

432,909 to make or mend highways, and instead of leaving them to Granger,

509,360 be paid into the general treasury, they passed a new law, Meigs,

499,008 (May, 1828,) creating over two hundred new routes, and McLean,

152,000 discontinuing only four old ones; and they did this, alThus it appears that, under Mr. McLean, the balances though only in March, 1827, they had created two hun"sunk" from about half a million to only $152,000. But dred other new routes without discontinuing one. To show does any one, save the chairman, and he only by the analogy the difference between this and the former policy, since Mr. of his argument as to Mr. Barry, contend that this falling McLean entered into the office, no new routes had been off arose from profligacy or fraud in either the then head established for two years, instead of one year, before those of the department or lis subordinates? Did any body in A. D. 1827; and when the former ones were established, deem it an evidence that the department stood on the brink (March, 1825,) some old ones were discontinued, and a of bankruptcy? Look again for a moment to the pay- general clauise enacted to authorize the discontinuance of ments into the treasury from the post office.

more if unprofitable. Two years, and not one before that Under Mr. Osgood,

$000,000 time, (viz. in March, 1823,) ten old ones were discontinuPickering,

47,499 el, and only about sixty, instead of two hundred, new ones Ilabersham,

368,310 established. Granger,

291,579 Rerert now a moment to the first effect of this change Meigs,

387,209 of policy after the suggestion of November, A. D. 1827. McLean,

13,466 Congress, in the ensuing session, having proceeded at once Thus, under Mr. McLean, the payments diminished to pass the act of May, 1828, although only the former from over a third of a million to only $13,466. Dil he year they had passed a very expensive act, and having thus squander the difference on parasites and political partisans? indicated their intention to have the facilities and advantaYet the gentleman's course of reasoning as to Nir. Barry ges of the departm. nt extended so as to engross all its inon this subject much more deeply brands and defames his come, the Postmaster General followed up the spirit as predecessor in these respects. No, sir; the explanation well as letter of this change in policy, and not only put lies in the compass of a nut shell, and it is wrong and un-into operation, between July, 1827, and July, 1828, the generous to mislead the public, who may not critically new and expensive routes in the act of Congress of March, eramine our history on this point, into any injurious im- 1827, but cxpedited and improved the transportation or pressions against either of those faithful officers from these the old routes many hundred miles; and, coupling both toor other balances to which I will soon adrert. In the gether, caused an increased expenditure for that year of earlier operations of the post office, it was, among other between two and three hundred thousand dollars. uses, deemed a proper engine to increase the revenues of What was the consequence tothe annual balances, about the country. With a heavy debt, smail population, and which we have heard so much? Mr. McLean forthwith large annual expenditures, it was not our policy as a Gov- fell in arrear, July, A. D. 1828, $25,015. But was this ernment to establish any mail route which was nut likely any evidence of unfaithfulness? Ile continued in office 89 yield a nett income; and whenever it was ascertaincil till the ensuing March--made the expensive contracts unthat any route run the department in delst, it was custo- der the new act of May, 1828-put the routes into operamary to discontinue it by an act of Congress. In this way tion January, 1829--continued to improve the old routes the balances were easily increased, till they amounted in --paid one quarter of the borden of the new ones, being all to $1,693,958. of this amount there was paid into the about $25,000, and left the year to be closed in July, 1829, treasury, and devoted to the general expenditures of the without any material changes as to expenditures being Government, $1,103,063.

made by his successor, from April to July. The whole of But since the last war, and the extended improvements this year was then virtually Mr. McLean's; and how did its and intercourse in every quarter of the country, which balances stand? The department fell in arrears almost commenced a few years after the war, the call increased three times as much as in the preceding year, having a bafor new mail routes, and for greater expedition, and more lance against it of $74,714. ' Was this, however, waste frequent trips our old routes, and for more safe conveyan and corruption in Mr. NicLean? Yet, forsooth, if the neve ces by covered carriages. To answer this call absorbed and only year of Mr. Burry las a balance against the de

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partment, it is urged as evidence of incapacity, extrava. cluded in the same contracts, without diminishing the gance, and bankruptcy. But let us probe to the quick the nominal gain of the twenty-five thousand dollars. The de. next year, which wholly belonged to Mr. Barry. "The ba-partment will also be relieved from all the expense connectlance against the department is less than eight thousand dol-ed with the commencement of the new routes under the act lars above Mr. McLean's last year, being merely eighty-two of 1828; and thus we have decisive data from which to infer, thousand one hundred and twenty-four dollars. There that it is neither verging to bankruptcy, nor needing the was only this small excess, although there had been fung aid of Congress to rescue it from ruin. So far from that, upon it the great extra expenditure of three quarters in- it never, as a department, accomplished so much. It never stead of one quarter of the new routes under the act of had the annual ability to accomplish so much; and, unless May, 1828, equal to about $75,000, and Aung upon it be we ourselves break it down by the imposition of new and sides, in the desire of the Postmaster General to advance aggravated burdens, its prosperity and its balances bid the public accommodations, the expediting and improving fair to be every thing its warmest friends may desire. of old mail routes, to an expense exceeding $100,000, and These are not only my own deliberate opinions, from a to an extent exceeding eight hundred thousand miles be careful examination of official records, but they are fortiyond any former year. There is no mistake, as the chair- ficd by the views given us in the last annual report from man supposed, in computing the cost of these improve that department, and by the matured opinions of a comments, because part of the stage routes had before been mittee of the other House the last session, after a full and horse routes, and therefore should not be estimated at full able investigation. thirteen cents per mile. No, sir; the horse routes are still A word or two as to the state of the department, even left extensive as before, and sixty-seven thousand one hun- if a further annual balance against it should accrue the dred and four miles added; and the new and entire addi- present year. Has it, as is intimated, no means of paytion of stage conveyance is seven hundred and forty-five ment without invoking us? Ilas it wasted all the surplus left thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven miles.

under its administration for forty years? The Senate will But how would the two years have compared without recollect, that the surplus of balances exceeded the paythe burden of the act of 1828? Mr. McLean's deficit ments into the treasury during that period, something like would have been about fifty thousand dollars, and Mr. five hundred and forty-one thousand dollars. The bad Barry's only about seven thousand dollars. How would debts and losses, during the forty years, reduced that they have compared, if you proceed and deduct also the amount to what Mr. McLean, in July, 1828, considered amount voluntarily expended in each year for expediting available funds, that is, to three hundred and thirty-two and improving old routes? By the annual report of No-thousand one hundred and five dollars. This last sum has vember, 1829, it seems you must, on that account, take been further reduced by the old causes, by corrections of $67,383 from Mr. McLean's expenses, which would leave errors, and by the new annual balances against the dea balance in his favor for that year of about seventeen partment, to about one hundred and forty thousand dolthousand dollars; while pursuing the same course, and lars. But there still remains one hundred and forty thoudeducting the one hundred thousand dollars thus expend. sand dollars under the control of the department, to meet ed the last year, it would leave a balance in favor of Mr. any future annual deficiency; and so far from being insolBarry of ninety-three thousand dollars. Yet gentlemen vent, or from imploring us for relief, it is manifestly in a talk of balances, as confirmation strong of waste, corrup- safe condition, and implores only our forbearance to throw tion, and incompetency in the present administration of upon it too great additional burdens. The whole basis, that department.

then, of the chairman's argument vanishes. There is no Turn to another test of its administration. The chair- foundation for his inference that the insolvency of the deman has to admit that the revenue has increased; but he partment has been caused by the removal of faithful offisays he feels no surprise at this, and that the credit of it cers. The insolvency exists only in his imagination. is due to the increase of correspondence. But has he for But, for mere argument's sake, suppose the operations gotten the other part of his argument, that the officers of of the department were embarrassed, and its means defithis department are corrupt, negligent, and wasteful? If cient, is there a particle of proof that this has been caused so, how does it happen they collect the revenue so amply, by misconduct in its present officers? Did not the change and account for it to a much larger amount than before? of policy, which led to its present condition, commence An amount, sir, during the past year, about one hundred under Mr. McLean? and were not its consequences de. and fifty thousand dollars larger than the highest revenue veloped during the whole two last years of his administraunder any former administration. In this city, likewise, tion and did not the change happen by our legislation, an improvement in revenue was still continuing, notwith- and in the fulfilment of our own policy? And is Mr. Barry standing the inauguration, and other circumstances named to be censured for it any more than his predecessor? We, by the chairman, are gone by; and the former had, in fact, ourselves, wisely resolved that the current revenue, and gone by before the change.' It still exceeded, in the last the surplus funds, should all be expended in new routes three quarters, by the return in his hand, more than dou- and improvements. We, ourselves, created, within four. ble the revenue before 1829. To show what fidelity ex- teen months, the unprecedented number of over four hunists in the expenditure of the increased revenue here, dred new routes, costing over two hundred thousand doland in the department at large, let it be remembered that lars; and, in furtherance of the same new policy, the pubwe do not present to the Senate only the old items of ex- lic called for the improvement of old routes, to the extent pense, and the rest squandered or unaccounted for, but of some millions of miles. We have been promptly sewe present from documents, besides all the old payments, conded in our policy by both the past and present Postthe sum of seventy-five thousand dollars advanced on new masters General, so that the number of post offices since routes, and one hundred thousand dollars more advanced 1825 are nearly doubled, and the distance of transportaon improvements in old routes.

tion is increased over three millions of miles. The Senate So much for the past. If we look forward to the close are hardly able to comprehend the extent of the improveof the present year, what are the inferences justly to be ments in that department, without some analysis and illusdrawn from what we already know from the printed docu- tration. In twenty years, from a revenue of about half a ments before me? A large class of contracts has been re- million, it has swollen to almost two millions; from only newed, and at an annual saving, on the face of them, of about two thousand post offices, they have multiplied to twenty-five thousand dollars. In addition to that, im- over eight thousand; and from an annual transportation of proveients have been contracted for, and put into opera- the mail of about five millions of miles, it has reached fourtion, costing forty-five thousand dollars more, and are in- teen and a half millions. This now averages a daily trans

FEB. 10, 1831.]

Post Office Department.

(SENATE.

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portation, incredible as it may seem, equal to nearly twice was drawn and accepted under his predecessor, and was the circumference of the earth. Yet a department, so not paid, when it fell due, by Mr. Barry, until taken in

prosperously administered, and so largely contributing to discharge of new services. That mismanagement existed those beneficial results within the last year, as well as in the in making a contract to carry the mail to New Orleans: two preceding years, it is now the policy of the opposition when the same document clearly explains the groundless to misrepresent, vilify, and attempt to put down, by the character of this imputation; and when experience under

starling," or rather the parrot and cuckoo cry of proscrip- that contract has shown a regularity and improvement on tion! proscription! Thus successful and efficient, it is to be that great commercial route, which is invaluable to the denounced as unfaithfully administered; and this groundless community, and which will soon augment the revenue in accusation is wantonly to be imputed to the appointment that quarter more than enough to meet all the increased " of brawling sycophants, with no other merit than a sup- expense. Next, a new arrangement of duties to the clerks, port of the present Chief Magistrate. ” Fearing, doubt- and unnecessary expenses in extra clerk hire: when, on less, that he might be driven from this position, by the the very next page of this printed document, all can read want of evidence to support the assumption on which his and see that the new division of duties introduced prostrongest inferences rested, the chairman next resorted mises, like that of labor in manufactures, to make the disto a series of strictures on particular acts of the Postmaster charge of them more perfect, and to cause a greater General--to strictures on a majority of the special com amount to be performed by the whole. mittee--to strictures on the Senate-and, finally, capping In relation to the expenses of clerk hire, which has the climax of reproach, to strictures on the people of Maine figured on other occasions, as well as in this letter, I will and New Hampshire, who have approved of removals. give the Senate fuller and satisfactory explanation in a few

The task of following the gentleman in this species of moments. But, from these examinations and answers of debate, is by no means agreeable, either in reference to the accusations in this celebrated letter, is not the questhe topics themselves, to my own taste and habits in public tionable character of the whole manifest? And is it not speaking, or to the personal collision it may seem to pro- demonstrable that the letter itself has been in other hands duce between us.

before this winter, and all its contents then deemed worBut, with my present strong convictions of the injustice thy of notice made the foundation of calls on the departwhich has been done to the head of this department, and ment? And have not those calls all been promptly met a to a portion of my constituents, by these strictures, it would year ago? Any gentleman who has the curiosity to combe dishonorable not to repel them. Hence I do not choose pare the whole together, will find the document in No. 136, to leave them unnoticed, as otherwise they might be, pro- the 21st Congress, 1st session. vided they were all true; because they possess no bearing But one step further. Not satisfied with causing the on the propriety or impropriety of passing the resolution whole letter to be read in the Senate, after the answers under consideration. Let us look at these, then, in their returned last winter on every point then deemed material, order

, apart from their utter irrelevancy to the question. the chairman himself enters the field of denunciation Not a particle of evidence has been cited to justify the against the Postmaster General. On his own personal strictures on Mr. Barry, but the single affidavit before knowledge, he accuses him, not, to be sure, of the high mentioned, about the Fowler case. That affidavit has misdemeanor of wasting the public funds, or making been fully scrutinized and explained by the Senator from groundless and corrupt removals, but of an unpardonable Tennessee; and, I will only add, it shows Mr. B. honorably incivility, or of a heinous neglect to acknowledge the redischarged in one trial about his indebtedness, and so ceipt of his communications forth with. Next, he is constrong a conviction in the past administration of the cor-demned for delaying, without cause, a reply to the resolurectness of that discharge, as to have prevented them from tion of the gentleman from Ohio, and a reply to the first any new attempts to render him liable. Next, we have nine interrogatories of the chairman. In no very measured against Mr. Barry the famous letter intoduced and read language, he is arraigned, also, as fearing an investigation, with so much formality, though it is no part of the evidence as thwarting legitimate inquiry; and is told that he "dare” before the committee, but has been entirely ruled out. If not do this, and he “dare” not do that, from a dread of the examination of the author of it, on other points in the consequences. It is added that the complaints made by letter, turns out like his examination about Fowler's case, the chairman on last Saturday forced or compelled the nobody but the writer will have much to fear from its con Postmaster General to send in his answer to the first call. tents.

Mere letters, it is true, have their value; but, This is modestly said, although one would charitably think coming from an avowed opponent, and after a proposition the probability is, the answer, amounting to five or six for a confidential compromise, are not, it is presumed, in thousand pages, had been preparing for more than six this experienced body, to be deemed evidence against even months, and, having for a week or two been understood the humblest citizen in the smallest accusation. But what to be nearly completed, was sent in whenever finished, are the other charges contained in the letter, as it has been and because it was finished. Possibly, too, when in a few read and relied on? That Mr. Barry was probably incom- days the answer comes to the nine interrogatories, which petent to write a mere official circular, and hence resorted has also been preparing about two months, and after the to a clerk. This, too, is advanced against a gentleman of call was “immediately commenced,” as the letter to the acknowledged natural talents, of finished education, and chairman shows, we shall again be told that that answer of distinguished professional attainments. The very state- likewise has been forced in, by the fulminations cast again ment alone stamps upon the charge reprobation and ex. upon the Postmaster General to-day, for his delays and treme folly: What next? That the printing of advertise- evasions. Pardon me, sir, if I remind the member from ments in this city, from his department, had been need- Delaware that these extraordinary attacks are made upon lessly expensive; when I now hold in my hand an official an honorable man, during his absence, and in a place call, and an official answer to it, on this very point, at the where he cannot be present to meet them in person, and last session, by which it appears that the printing for A. D. vindicate his conduct. Pardon me, sir, if I remind him 1829, of the above character, was from three to four thou- that this high officer of the Government is no less pure in sand dollars less expensive than it had been in either of character, or elevated in feeling, than the loftiest of his the two preceding years. Extravagance in repairs and accusers; that, so far from timidly shunning inquiry in furniture: when, in the same document, all can read a full proper cases--so far from being dragooned by threats, and satisfactory explanation on that point. That he has to acts of shuffing and intimidation, le invites all due inpaid money in advance to a political partisan: when, from vestigation; he discharges his trusts from principle, and the same document, it appears that the draft for the money not fear; and will be found, at all times, and by'ail per

SENATE.]

Post Office Department.

(FER. 10, 1831.

sons, to “dare do all that doth become a man,” Does But in the chairman's sweeping invective, his own com-
the gentleman, after reflection, seriously believe that the mittee, or at least three members of it, came in for a share
Postmaster General, if present, would not have been quite of accusation. He says, it is true that he will not impute
as much amused as offended with the supposed effect of to them corrupt motives; yet he will state facts, showing
certain menaces in expediting his movements? Would the “ the suppression of inquiry," and other grievous misdo-
Postinaster General not have smiled at that bold assump-lings, and leave the Senate to decide on the motives. For
tion, as a little too much in the Hercules vein?" And one of the three, I return him all the thanks which this
might he not possibly have been tempted to repeat, in kind of courtesy merits; and must add, that in the member
reply, the anecdote of the mechanic, who was employed from Indiana, though often acting with the chairman and
to manufacture thunder for a storm, in a play, to be per- opposed to myself and the member from Tennessee, in
formed on a certain stage? The storm being over, and some material points, I have witnessed nothing but perfect
the thunder having been good enough of its kind, it hap- fairness of mind, and in no instance any uncharitableness
pened, in all the subsequent parts of the play, when any towards his brethren.
fine sentiment or fine acting produced applause, the ma The gentleman from Maine likewise, though differing
nufacturer of thunder could not avoid exclaiming to those toto cælo from us in opinion, has expressed no illiberality;
near him, “ See the effect of

my
thunder!"

and the remarks of even the chairman himself, I am wilBut how stands the naked facts about the seasonable. ling to attribute chiefly to great zeal and ardor in his own 'ness of the answers, and about the accusation concerning views, and to less experience in baving those views criti. unnecessary expenses for clerk hire? Not only has the cised or overruled, than has fallen to the lot of his colcurrent business of the office been performed during the league on the committee near him, (Mr. HOLMES,] in a last nine months, but the answer has been made to the longer course of public life. call of the member from Ohio, filling, I believe, more But to return to the accusations. It is said part of the than a ream of paper; and the answer far advanced to the committee has attempted to break down and discredit Mr. call of this committee. The last, a call not trifling in its Bradley from fear his potent letter; as if that letter was nature, and requiring little of either labor or examina- so new and astounding; as if it had now fallen upon us like tion, as intimated by the chairman, but one resolution an avalanche, and had not been fully answered a year ago alone of the nine, requiring every item of incidental ex- by an official call; and as if any body had done so much to pense to be stated for each year, in the department, since break Mr. Bradley down as he himself had. It is he, who 1826. Another, requiring every allowance on contract has voluntarily made his letter public property. In relato be detailed, during this administration, when the al- tion, however, to Mr. Bradley's character, I shall forbear lowances probably amount to many hundreds. But thus to make a single stricture--and have adverted only to admuch has been accomplished, sir, under circumstances mitted facts, until his testimony, after the close of our inwhen the current business of the department is constant-vestigations as a committee, may come under the consily and largely increasing; and when in our official docu- deration of the Senate. In the next place we are charged ments we are informed it has augmented full one-third, with evading inquiries, by addressing them, in the first inwithin only four years, by the increase of routes, trips, stance, to the head of the department rather than to some and offices. Did not Mr. McLean understand this subo of his subordinates; as if this course was not most deco. ject as well as Mr. Bradley, as the chairman, or any of us? rous, and was not likely to ensure at the same time the most and yet he, with an increase of clerks from only seven in prompt and full reply. The censure would rather have the year 1800, to thirty-eight in 1828, was obliged to been due, had we pursued a different course. When the appeal to the Committee of Ways and Means for a still replies come, should they not be satisfactory, the chairman further addition of clerks, and observed, “the business has been repeatedly assured that any further application increases as rapidly as the operations of the mail are ex- to other quarters for proper information would never be tended, and the public interest requires that the force of refused. the office should be augmented.” Whereupon Con Again: we did not, upon the receipt of Mr. Gholson's gress made provision for five additional clerks in May, letter concerning partiality in a mail contract in Virginia, 1828. Yet, in 1829, not one year afterwards, what said send at once thither for persons and papers. This is callMr. McLean again as to the pressure of business, and the ed “refusing inquiry.” Now mark the real transaction. necessity of still employing extra clerks? Not what the Being informed the same subject matter had been under inimmaculate letter writter brings as a charge against Mr. vestigation in the department on an old complaint from the Barry, that “he has employed extra clerks and agents, same quarter, we merely directed, that, before sending to when the business of the office was as well and promptly Virginia, the correspondence and evidence on file should done before, and when it did not require others." But be asked for by a sub-committee, of which the chairman Mr. McLean stated frankly and officially, “that during was a member. the last year, (1828,) he had expended for clerk hire, Was not this judicious, in order to shape our inquiries beyond the amount appropriated, $3,653 11, for which an properly in Virginia, and to ascertain whether foundation appropriation was not asked at the last session. It was enough probably existed in favor of the charge, to render deemed better to defer any application on this subject un- the expense and trouble of sending to Virginia justifiable? til the ensuing session of Congress, when the increasing the chairman having neglected to obtain that correspondbusiness of the office will require a more permanent pro-ence and evidence, and the inquiry having thus and thus vision by authorizing an additional number of clerks. The alone been delayed, I have obtained them for my own saincrease of business is such in this department, that any tisfaction as a member of the committee; and if any gennumber of clerks sufficient at this time, will not be able to tleman wishes to peruse the papers, he can see how properform the labor six months hence.”

per it was they should be examined before incurring the Who could have expected, after all this, all this too costs and inconvenience of a mission to a distance. printed and published in our public documents, and accessi Again: it is cast on us as a reproach, that we refused to ble to every one, that the letter should be read here, im- allow witnesses to be examined when before us. Yes, bepugning Mr. Barry for the employment of extra clerks in cause we objected to administer an oath just so long as 1829? And that in 1831, after three times "six months” was necessary to inquire whether the examination related had elapsed, and a number of laborious calls had been to points within the subject matters referred to us, and made for information, Mr. Barry should be here severely not a moment longer, this general and grave accusation is arraigned and censured for not having been able to give rung in our ears. Once for all, behold an illustration of to those calls an immediate answer?

the temper in which the investigation is conducted. Are

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