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Resolved, That the testimony of A. Hunt, hereto attached, taken by the select committee of the last session to investigate the alteration made to the Minnesota land bill, and which has not heretofore been published, be printed as a part of the report of said committee.
Interrogatories for Alvah Hunt, at Astor House, New York, on oath,
to be returned by mail.
Question. Did you express to Messrs. Lowber and Roberts, or others, for yourself or others, friends of the St. Charles Air-line Railroad Company, an assent to the passage of a bill by Congress which would give to the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company the right to take such lands as might be granted to that Territory for the construction of a railroad in the eastern part of it?
Question. Did you agree, or were you willing, that the present Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company should receive the lands which were expected to be granted by Congress in case one southern terminus of that road should be at Tête de Mort?
Question. State what influence, if any, you have exercised, or attempted to exercise, upon any member of Congress, or other person, to aid or defeat the passage of a Minnesota land bill ?
Question. Has any money, $5,000, or other sum, been asked or demanded by you, or promised directly or indirectly to you, for yourself or others, or to be used by you or others for any political or other purpose, for any consideration connected with the passage or defeat of a Minnesota land bill?
Question. Has the subject of money, to be paid in this connexion, been discussed or mentioned by you in conversation with Robert W. Low ber and M. O. Roberts, or any other person in New York or elsewhere; and if so, what was the substance of that conversation ?
Question. Did you know of any influence, by aid of money or other consideration, by which the action of members of Congress or other persons was influenced, or sought to be influenced, in procuring the passage or defeat of a Minnesota land bill?
Question. Did you know of any demand or inquiry, by check, draft, message, or other mode of communication, by which money was demanded or asked to be paid or agreed about, by any person in Washington or elsewhere, of any person or persons in New York or elsewhere, connected with the passage of the Minnesota land bill ?
Answer of Alvah Hunt to further interrogatories propounded to him by
the committee of the House of Representatives to examine into the alteration of the Minnesota land bill.
Astor HOUSE, NEW YORK, August 4, 1854. 1. Answer. Being confined to my room by sickness, I have not been able before to answer the last series of interrogatories received from your committee. And in answer to the first interrogatory, I say no; but if a grant was made by Congress of lands to Minnesota, I wanted it made on such terms that the railroad I was interested in might have an equal chance for its benefits with other roads.
2. Answer. I knew nothing about any railroad company by name; and all I wanted was, that the grant, if made, should inure equally for the benefit of the Tête de Mort route, if that should prove to be the best route on an accurate survey.
3. Answer. None whatever. I did not know there was such a bill pending, or revived, until after it had passed the House. This I learned from the newspapers, being absent in Iowa at the time, although I had heard that a new bill was to be brought in after the defeat of the first.
4. Answer. I answer in the negative.
5. Answer. I never had any conversation with those persons, or any other person or persons, on the subject of money to be paid in connexion with the Minnesota land bill.
6. Answer. I answer in the negative.
7. Answer. Some time after the passage of the Minnesota land bill, inquiry was made by Mr. Harrington whether his draft on Mr. Roberts, and I think a Mr. Griswold, for $5,000, (I think this was the amount,) would be honored, adding that George W. Billings had made the arrangement. Having nothing to do with the subject, I did not respond; and this is all the knowledge I had in relation to this matter. I never told Mr. Roberts, or Mr. Lowber, or any other person, that I wanted money, or influence of any kind, to aid in the election of Mr. Washburne, of Illinois. I never thought of such a thing, never heard of such a thing, and never suggested it to any person. It was never suggested to me by Mr. Washburne, or any other person,
either by conversation or correspondence, that he was to derive any pecuniary or political advantage by the passage or defeat of the Minnesota land bill, or any other bill. I have no recollection of ever seeing or conversing with Mr. Lowber more than once or twice in my life. I always understood from Mr. Washburne that he was strongly in favor of the Minnesota land bill, but that he wanted it so framed that the grant might inure equally to the benefit of both roads running through his district. In looking at a letter I wrote to Mr. Washburne on the 24th of April last, I am enabled more distinctly to recollect the contents of his letter to me of the 23d, which I cannot now lay my hands on, being confined to my room, In that letter he stated, in substance, that the Minnesota bill to be introduced would provide for future legislation, and exclude all companies, and leave all on an equal footing; and would doubtless be satisfactory to me and my friends. That letter was very brief, and entirely on
that subject. If Mr. Washburne wrote me any other letter, it must have been done during my absence in Iowa, and I never received it. I was absent West during the whole month of June.
Sworn before me this the 5th day of August, 1854.
ORISON BLUNT, Alderman of Third Ward.