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(Mr. Jewett read a paper, and gave it in evidence. It detailed a conversation which took place about the middle of December, 1852.)
The interview, in which I particularly remember bis claiming the right to open and read letters directed to his subordinates, took place, I think, in September, 1853, at his request, in his office. We sat down side by side at the table. After a short silence, he turned towards me, looked me full in the face, and said: “I perceive that I have traitors in my camp." I immediately demanded if he applied the remark 10 me. He said no, if I had anything to do against him, he believed I would do it openly; he applied the remark to Professor Baird. I told him that Professor Baird would be in town in a day or two, and would answer for himself; that I believed him to be a man of honor; and that I wished to hear nothing of this matter, whatever it might be, against him. He insisted, however, in telling me, that he had ascertained (just in time to prevent its publication) that an article abusing him was to appear in Putnam's Magazine ; that the article was written by an intimate friend of Professor Baird's; and that he (Professor Baird) had given the writer the facts.
Upon my expressing the opinion that he was most probably mistaken, he asserted that he was not mistaken ; that Professor Baird's letters had passed through his hands; and that he knew with whom and about what he corresponded.
I then said to him substantially : “You do not surely mean to say that you have opened Professor Baird's letters without bis permission?" He replied that he had seen Professor Baird's letters, and knew what he had been writing about; and he then went on to claim the right to open and read all our letters that were on public business. He claimed the right to open all, but disclaimed the desire to read those which he found to be private.
We talked considerably on this point. I denourced the claim, and told him that I considered the right sacred-very sacred-of first opening and reading for oneself every letter addressed to him by name.
The secretary went on to assert his entire control over us in all things, so long as we remained his subordinates. I acknowledged that, within the range of our official duties under the law, and under the ordinary proprieties of gentlemanly irtercourse, we were bound to submit to his decisions; but I denied that he had any further control over
He asserted that whatever he required us to do, we must do or resign—that was our only alternative. We were bound to harmonize with him or resign.
I expressed great surprise at such a claim, and made the extravagant supposition of his requiring us every morning when we came to the Institution, and first saw him, to bow down and kiss his feet; and asked whether we were bound to obey or resign? He said we could resign; and, by his whole manner, implied that he would in no case accept any other alternative but obedience to him in everything or resignation.
Professor Henry, as the secretary, frequently asserted to me similar claims to arbitrary and despotic power in a manner deeply wounding to me and extremely offensive. He accused me of usurping the title of librarian; asserted that I was only his assistant, entirely in his power; found fault with me unjustly for claiming credit which belonged to the
Institution; charged me with insubordination, when I had never refused to obey any direct order which he had given; spoke of governing and disciplining the officers of the Institution as if we were unruly boys instead of men of education, associated together for bigh public purposes.
He required me to procure authority from bim for making the smallest expenditures necessary in my department, and subjected me to inconvenience, and the Institution to losses, in waiting for such authority. He sometimes ignored or denied having given such authority, after expenses had been incurred in consequence of it. He at one time stopped workmen engaged under my direction upon work which he had sanctioned, and he did it under circumstances suited to degrade me in the eyes of persons whom I employed. He manifested such reluctance to granting appropriations for books or for work essential 10 the proper prosecution of interests entrusted to my direction, as to make it humiliating to me to ask, and to lead me to make as few such requests as possible. He often showed unwillingness to pay bills which he had ordered to be incurred, and sometimes placed me in very embarrassing attitudes towards those to whom the bills were due. He, in one instance at least, transferred an item of a considerable amount from the account of general expenses, to which, by agreement with him, it had been posted, to the library account, without consulting me, although he states in his report of the same year that all the bills are referred to their appropriate classes in the presence of all the officers of the Institution.
He did not consult me with reference to the expenditures in my department for the year 1854.
I omil from this statement matters relating to my dismissal, to the paper which I presented to the Select Committee, and to the answer of Professor Henry, supposing that they will come under examination, more appropriately in connexion with another specification presented by Mr. Meacham.
Question. When was the memorandum from which you have read made?
Answer. In July, 1854, I think.
Answer. Because I ihought it important to place my recollection of the conversation beyond failure.
Question, (by Professor Henry.) Did I not have another interview with you when I sent for you, about a part of the 6th report, to which I objected ?
Answer. We had an interview on some occasion about part of one of my reports, 10 which you objected. Adjourned to meet on Saturday evening, February 10, 1855.
SATURDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 10, 1855. Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Lorin Blodgett introduced. Said he was a citizen of New York; engaged in business in Chatauque county; had been engaged as a lecturer on meteorology and natural science, mostly in Jamestown, New York. Came to Washington in December 1851; had since been
a contributor to the meteorological department of the Smithsonian Institution.
Question, (by Senator Mason.) Did you ever prefer the charge before the Board of Regents that Professor Henry did open letters directed to his subordinates?
Answer. Because the communications previously made had not reached the Board of Regents.
Question, (by Mr. Witte.) Did you regard yourself as subject to the direction of the secretary in the performance of the duties you had engaged to discharge ?
Answer. I did.
Question. In what manner did you attempt to approach the regents in your communications?
Answer. In written communications, in December, 1853, and in Jan
Mr. Blodgett also read a paper in support of the various allegations contained in Mr. Meacham's specifications:
As a step necessary to guard my interests from destruction in the present course of the secretary of the Sunithsonian Institution, I now record and make proper affirmation of the following facts of espionage in regard to private papers and letters by Professor Joseph Henry, acting as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution:
At the close of June, and early in July, 1853, after the departure of Professor S. F. Baird, to make arrangements for the meeting of the American association for the advancement of science, at Cleveland, Professor Henry several times threatened, in conversation with me, to seize the desks and private papers of Professor Baird, and to make examination of everything lest by him at the Institution. At one of these instances he proposed to me to assist him in changing the locks on the private desks used by Professor Baird, for the purpose not only of then making examination of their contents, but of possessing him. self of keys at any time to do so. The avowed purpose of this espionage was to possess himself of any facts that might so be disclosed in regard to personal criticism upon himself, and as a means of indicating who were his chemies or opponents.
That this purely personal purpose was never disguised, and was exhibited almost equally towards Professors Jewett and Baird, and towards Professor Foreman, in his conversation. The character of this feeling was such and so extreme that it seemed the only course of duty to keep the facts entirely concealed, unless the threatened examination should actually be entered upon. Subsequently, on stronger demonstrations of hostility towards Professor Baird, I informed him what was threatened, as being, from similar hostility toward myself, beyond my power to avert.
I also state that near the first of September, 1853, and during the existence, as I knew from repeated offensive acts, of similar suspicions and hostility towards myself, letters coming to me at the Institution, in the ordinary course of mail, were brought from Professor Henry's
room in several instances, opened and without the address envelope, which letters could have been addressed to no other than myself. These letters were in some cases entirely private, and none related to any recognized official duty in the Institution.
That, in my alarm, I several times asked the messenger by what means iny letters came opened, and required him to see if letters to my address were in his bundle at the time he brought it—that letters continuing to be brought to me open, I went to Professor Henry's room soon after the receipt of the mail, on the 15th or 16th of September, and found two letters addressed to me, in his hands, and just opened, one of which was from a sister in western New York, in regard to which he said that he had found it to be from one of my family, and had read it no further; and the other from Professor Arnold Guyot, of Cambridge, and dated at Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 12, 1853. The last he made the occasion of difficulty at the time, though the matter of it concerned only an arrangement between Professor Guyot and myself.
That I then went to the post office, and ordered all letters addressed to me to be sent to me at Brown's Hotel, though making a distinction of packages or addresses in official form, which I still wished sent to the Institution. The reason and necessity of this withdrawal of my mail was well understood by Professor Henry, and was several times indirectly alluded to by him as a charge upon me.
That in December, 1853, the mail again came to be sent to the Institution by inattention at the post office, and so continued to be received, without known violation, until March, 1854, when other apparent violations and a general espionage of matters sent and received through the mail again compelled me to order it sent exclusively to my residence, as in the former case.
That this proceeding in regard to letters sent was, in one instance, particularly noted in the detention of a letter and an envelope of papers directed by me to Baron Gerolt, at Baltimore, which were detained one day in Professor Henry's room after the messenger had taken them to go immediately to the mail, and which were observed by me in the messenger's hands, on the succeeding day, March 17, when he had come to my rooms later than usual for additional mail maller. On then looking to identify the address I accidentally recognized, I found the large envelope detained had been opened, and had been again fastened in a different manner.
LORIN BLODGETT. Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27th November, 1854.
F. S. MYER, J. P.
Question, (by Professor Henry.) When was this paper written?
Question, (lıy Professor Henry.) When were you dismissed from the Institution?
Answer. My rooms were seized on the 1lth October, 1854.
Question, (by Professor Henry.) Did you not receive a letter of dismissal?
Answer. I did subsequent to the seizure.
Question. How do you know it was subsequent to the seizure?
Answer. I received the letter on my way to the Institution, and found my rooms barricaded.
Qurstion. Were you not in Brown's hotel when you received the letter?
Answer. I was in the outer entrance.
Question. You communicated the fact of my proposition to open his private letters to Mr. Baird ?
Answer. I did, in the manner I have affirmed. Question. When did you make this communication to Mr. Baird? Answer. Near the 1st of October, 1853. Question, (by chairman.) Were you on your way to the Institution when you received the letter of dismissal ?
Answer. I was. I did not open the letter until I had passed the market. I went on to the Institution.
Question. Had you received any intimation of a purpose to you before that time?
Answer. I had, fourteen months before, and at different times afterwards.
Question. Had there been anything on that morning, between you and Professor Henry, to lead to an expectation of such a procedure?
Answer. There was not. I had not seen Professor Henry for several days-he having been at Princeton.
Question, (by Professor Henry.) At what time did I make the proposition to open Professor Baird's desk?
Answer. In July, 1853; alter Professor Baird's departure to Cleve. land to attend the annual meeting of the Academy for the Advancement of Science.
Question, (by Mr. Witte.) Was it the custom of the secretary to open all letters directed to his subordinates ?
Question, (by Professor Henry.) Did they not come directed to Lorin Blodgei, in charge of the meteorological department ?
Answer. Not often; a few did; I should say a very few.
Question, (by Mr. Witte.) Were you in the habit of corresponding upon the subject of your scientific operations in the Institution ? Answer. Yes, sir.
Question, (by Senator Mason.) Did you correspond with others on the subjects you had in charge at the Institution, without first obtaining the permission of Professor Henry?
Answer. I had his general permission. I did not seek bis special permission.
Question, (by Senator Mason.) Did you ask bis general permission, and in what terms was it given ?
Answer. I did not ask his general permission ; the correspondence I conducted was a necessary consequence of my occupation.
Question, (by Senator Mason.) Did you communicate such correspondence to Professor Henry?
Answer. On every important point I did.