« AnteriorContinua »
Question. Have you ever put in a written form your complaints in regard to the Institution, that you recollect?
Answer. That is a question that I prefer not answering. I may state that I have made a memorandum of such things, but as a purely private matter.
Question. Was that memorandum ever communicated to any other person?
Answer. The circumstances of any such statement having been made are of such a character that I prefer not mentioning them.
Question. I will ask whether the witness has a copy or the original of the written statement or memorandum referred to ?
Answer. I do not know whether I have a copy or not.
Question. Would you have any objection to furnishing a copy if a copy was produced which you would acknowledge as being made by you?
Question. I would so object.
Question. Do you believe the production of the statement or memorandum would endanger your position in the Institution ?
Answer. My objections to answering this question has no reference to my position in the Institution.
Question, (by Mr. Witte.) Have any private letters, addressed to you, been opened by the secretary?
Answer. No letter for me has been opened by the secretary that I would not have shown to him, as far as I recollect, and have no impression now that I ever thought the secretary had opened or would open letters that I would not have shown him.
Question, (by same.) Has the practice of the secretary in regard to opening letters been such as, in your opinion, was necessary to the proper conducting of the business of the Institution?
Answer. I do not think the instances of opening at all are sufficient to illustrate any principle in regard to myself.
Question, (by Mr. Pearce.) Have you not leave of absence from the Institution every year?
Answer. Yes, sir, three months every year.
Question, (by Mr. Wells.) Are the rules and usages of the Institution, as practiced, the same you would prescribe for its management if you were at its head ?
Answer. There are some customs which, if I had the power, I might be inclined to wish modified; in regard to the matter of letters, I might require them to be delivered at an earlier hour in the morning ; the other arrangement in regard to the letters I would not desire to see changed.
Question. Have you ever made any written statement of your complaints, with the understanding that it was for the perusal of a member of the Board of Regents?
Answer. That belongs to the class of questions I prefer not to answer.
Mr. Meacham asked that the witness be directed to examine, and if he has a copy of the communication of complaints made for a Regent, that he be requested to produce it. The committee ordered the request to be made, as above.
Committee then adjourned to meet again on Monday evening next at 7 o'clock.
MONDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 19, 1855.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Professor Baird was called upon for the statement or memorandum requested of him at the last meeting. He answered that he had made diligent search and could find no such copy. He had no copy of it in his possession. He was under the impression that he took a copy in the copy press, but, as it proved to be an inferior one, he did not preserve it.
Mr. Meacham.— I believe that a statement of grievances or complaints was made by Professor Baird, in May last, for the eye of the Hon. Mr. Choate. I believe that at the time Mr. Chcate visited this city, in January last, he had the paper. I believe it to be in existence in this city now. I believe, if presented, Professor Baird will ackrowledge that he has forgotten many complaints set down in his memorandum in May last; and I ask the committee to make a requisition upon Professor Jewett for that paper to be produced before them. I believe it to be in this city. I do not know whether it is or not. I regard it as my duty to call on the committee to make the requisition.
Professor Baird.—I may state, in regard to that paper, that I had an interview with Mr. Choate in April last, in which I made some statements in regard to myself and my relation to the Institution and the secretary. I made these statements, not as preferring a public complaint before a Regent, but as a confidential communication to a friend whom I had known years before. On concluding the interview, Mr. Choate requested me to give him a memorandum of my remarks in writing, adding, that the matter would be confidential between us, and the paper to be used only for his own private reference. Concluding that the spontaneous assurance of Mr. Choate was as binding upon him as a sworn oath would be, I complied with his request, and gave or sent him the memoranduin the next day. I had not the slightest anticipation that the promise would be nullified in any way by Mr. Choate. or any one else, and accordingly reproduced some remarks of a purely domestic nature, which no man who regarded the privacy of his household would desire to have made public. In what way this statement, in view of all these circumstances, can have got from Mr. Choate's hands I cannot say; but I must respectfully protest against the production of this paper under any circumstances; and I cannot understand how any persons, but those who were then present, could be aware of its existence, or how a knowledge of such existence could be spread about. I am not aware of having said anything in the memorandum to which I have not testified, more or less, before this committee already. I may have made some statements there more forcibly than I have done before the committee, but I have endeavored to keep fully in view the difference in the circumstances. Before the committee I swear to what I know personally. The intensity of my memorandum was affected materially by what I believed on the tes
timony of others. I enter my respectful protest against the production of this paper, the existence of which Mr. Meacham only inferred at the the last meeting, but which I hold to be sacred, and not to be communicated to any one without my consent.
Mr. Meacham.- I became interested in the matter of the Smithsonian Institution, and in this investigation, for two causes : First, because I sincerely believed the funds were not being expended in accordance with the laws of Congress; second, because I believed that if reliance could be placed on the testimony of the assistants of the secretaryProfessor Baird among them—that there were evils that called for correction. It was on these grounds I made the first and second specifications. I believe Professor Baird has forgotten some parts of the statements or conversations which led me to these conclusions; and I therefore ask for the production of the paper, to prove the statements I have made.
Professor Baird made a few remarks touching the private and confidential character of the statement, which were not taken down.
Mr. Meacham inquired of Professor Baird, through the chairman, whether there were any marks on the paper showing it to be private and confidential.
Professor Baird.—I do not remember the precise words of the paper; I do not remember any special arrangement having been made between Mr. Choate and myself as to his pursuing a confidential course towards me in regard to the paper. I supposed a gentleman of Mr. Choate's character would not require any direct bargain beyond the interview we had to secure that end.
Mr. Meacham.-Will you (Professor Baird) produce the portions of the paper that do not refer to domestic matters ?
Professor Baird.—I should prefer not to produce that paper at all. Mr. Meacham.—I saw on the paper no marks indicating that it was of a private or confidential nature. I have no desire to bring before the committee any private matters. I make this statement to shield myself from improper imputations. I believed it to be as much public as any other paper I ever saw on any subject.
Mr. Meacham then inquired of Professor Baird whether the paper was wholly of a private or domestic character, so as to render it improper to make it public?
Professor Baird.-In addition to other things, there are private matters in it that I should be unwilling to see made public.
Chairman.—Was it on account of the domestic statements contained in the paper that it was rendered confidential ?
Professor Baird.-Not wholly ; it was in regard to all of it.
Mr. Meacham.—Is there anything in the paper to show that you relied on the statements of others in making the memorandum, and not on your personal knowledge ?
Professor Baird.—I answer by repeating what I have already stated, that the intensity of the statement was produced by the representations of others. I have no distinct recollection of the precise wording of the paper. In making the memorandum, I had no intention of stating any thing that I did not believe—I testify before the committee to what I know.
The question was then taken as to whether the committee would require the production of the paper referred to, and was decided in the negative : Ayes—Messrs. Upham and Wells ; Noes-Messrs. Puryear, Witte, and Taylor.
Mr. Meachanı asked to have a paper from Professor Jewett, being a communication from him to a committee of the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, filed as evidence in support of his second specification.
Mr. Meacham.—Will Professor Henry point out the parts of the paper from Professor Jewett that are offensive, and caused his removal?
Professor Henry.-1 submit the whole paper, and the report of the committee of Regents upon il; and also my own answer to Professor Jewett's paper.
Mr. Meacham made a statement in regard to the history and character of the paper referred to, and the object he had in view by wishing to have the objectionable portions of it pointed out by Professor Henry, or else the entire paper filed, and also the answer to it by Professor Henry, which was likewise laid before the committee of the Regents.
The committee directed both papers to be filed.—(See paper marked D.)
Mr. Witie – Will Mr. Meachan state what he intends to prove by the paper of Professor Jewett ?
Mr. Meacham.-I intend to prove from it that there is not in it a sufficient cause for the removal of Professor Jewett from the Institution.
Question. Is it incumbent upon the secretary to assign a cause for removing Professor Jewett ?
Answer, (by Mr. Meacham.) He bas assigned a cause. I wish to know whether that cause was a sufficient one.
Mr. English, one of the Regents, raised the following point :
“ That, inasmuch as the law authorized the removal, by the secretary and Board of Regents, of an assistant secretary, without requiring that there should be any particular cause for the exercise of that power, and Professor Jewett having been removed from the position of assistant by the secretary and Board of Regents, therefore, an examination into the causes for the removal of Professor Jewett is not a proper subject for inquiry by this committee.”'
Mr. Meacham having concluded for the present the examination of witnesses in support of his specifications,
Professor Henry introduced Messrs. Richards, Coffin, and Randolph as witnesses.
Mr. Zalmon Richards sworn.
Professor Henry.-Will you state the circumstances about your conversation with Mr. Chase in reference to opening letters ?
Mr. Richards.—The first I heard of this matter was some three months since, in conversation with a lady, who asked me if I had heard that Professor Henry had opened private letters of Professor Jewett. I answered that I had never heard it, and did not believe it. She affirmed it as a fact current. I said I could ascertain whether it was so or not. A day or two afterwards I fell in with Professor Henry, and inquired into the matter. Professor Henry said he should hardly
be willing to answer a gentleman who could suppose him capable of any such thing. If any such case had happened, it was by accident. He stated further that letters frequently came to the Institution addressed to Professor Jewett as librarian, and in various forms. In no cases where letters had come addressed to Professor Jewelt as librarian had they been opened, when Professor Jewett was in the city. In one instance, a number of letters came to Professor Jewett's care when he was away-perhaps in Boston-and they were sent on to him to open, which occasioned great delay and inconvenience. As such letters generally required immediate answers, they might have been opened when Professor Jewett was out of town, but never when he was in town.
Professor Henry.—Had you any conversation with Mr. Chase on the subject ?
Mr. Richards.—Mr. Chase frequently called on me as an old acquaintance, and on one occasion I did converse with him in regard to what had passed between Professor Henry and myself, repeating the very words of Professor Henry to him.
Professor Henry.-I made these remarks to you after Professor Jewett's removal ?
Mr. Richards.—Yes; all of it occurred after his removal.
Professor Jewett.–Did you understand Professor Henry to admit that while I was out of town my letters had sometimes been opened?
Mr. Richards.—My impression is that he did so admit in regard to letters addressed to you as librarian.
Mr. Charles Girard sworn.
Professor Henry:—Will you state what you know about my opening, or proposing to open, Professor Baird's desk?
Mr. Girard.—The matter is very clear. It was in July. Professor Baird had left the city. l occupied a room near his. Professor Henry came one morning and asked me about letters--the foreign correspondence. Professor Baird had told me where they were. I went to the place, and found the drawer locked. Professor Henry appeared uneasy-wanted to have the letters. He left the room dissatisfied because the desk was locked, and the letters related to affairs of the Institution. Soon after Professor Henry left the room, I recollected that the letters had been left, not in the drawer that was locked, but an upper case. They were foreign correspondence. Had the case containing the letters been accidentally locked, it would have been opened. The key was left with me. The letters were known to belong to the Institution.
Committee then adjourned, to meet at the same place to-morrow evening, at seven o'clock.
TUESDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 20, 1855.
Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Witnesses: Wallach, Professor Jewett, Colonel Randolph, Professor Coffin, Mr. Rhees, Mr. Hope, and J. C. Walker.
Messrs. Hope, Wallach, Coffin, and Dr. Foreman sworn.