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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1855.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Messrs. Witte, Miller, Shower, Walley, Johnson, Rogers, and Hill.
The chairman presented the following communication from Ben. E. Green :
WASHINGTON, February 14, 1855. Sir: Late last night I obtained from Mr. Carrigan, as authorized by you, a copy of the resolution adopted by the committee on the 10th instant. It is as follows:
“Resolved, That the paper be received and placed on file; but, inasmuch as it does not affect the oral or record testimony in any material point, the merits of the case are not prejudiced by the alleged discrepancies, if they all or any of them exist, as charged by Mr. Green; and the committee are of the opinion that most, if not all, of such alleged errors are incorrectly charged."
The word " charged” occurring twice in the said resolution calls for some comment. It was not my purpose to make any charge against the committee or their clerk. I did not and do not impute either negligence or intentional error. But now, as in my communication dated December 5, 1854, I attribute the inaccuracies and omissions of the journal and record entirely to “ the press of other business at the close of the session, the very short time at the disposal of the committee, and the hurried manner in which they had to act in the premises."
Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that these inaccuracies should have occurred, however zealous the committee and their clerk may have been in the faithful discharge of their duties. The greater wonder is, that the record should be as perfect and correct as it is.
I distinctly and emphatically disclaim all intention of making any charge against the committee or their clerk in asking that these corrections should be made.
But I submitted to the recollection and decision of the coinmittee whether the amendments suggested by me did not give a more correct idea and history of the case than is presented by the record as it stands.
If so, it is proper that the corrections should be made, and that I should request it to be done.
If any are, in the opinion of the committee, incorrectly stated in the memorandum submitted by me, I respectfully ask that they may be specified, that I may withdraw or amend them, so as to present them correctly. This I wish to do with the concurrence of the committee, and I respectfully submit that this is due to me, not as a matter of privilege, but of right, and no less due to the committee themselves.
I am confident that, if the comiittee will permit me to appear personally before them, I can satisfy them that all and every one of the corrections suggested by me ought to be made. I therefore ask that an opportunity be allowed me to do so. Respectfully,
BEN. E. GREEN. Hon. W. H. WITTE, Chairman, fc.
Mr. Walley moved " that the communication received this morning from Mr. Green be referred to the clerk for the purpose of conference with Mr. Green upon the matters referred to in said communication, and that the clerk report to the committee the result of such conference, and any alterations or additions in or to the record which the clerk may recommend afier such conference.” The motion was adopted.
The chairman then put the following question to the committee : “Is the second charge and specifications, in the opinion of the committee, sustained by the evidence and argument submitted to them?” which, upon the call for the yeas and nays, was unanimously decided in the negative. The following is the vote :
Nays-Messrs. Witte, Miller, shower, Walley, Johnson, Rogers, and Hill.
The committee then adjourned to meet at the call of the chairman.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1855.
Committee met pursuant to the call of the chairman.
Mr. Carrigan, the clerk, submitted the result of his conference with Mr. Green as to the corrections of the record, which was accepted. The committee then adjourned sine dic.
C. W. CARRIGAN, Clerk.
Note. The committee, at the request of Mr. Green, admit the following modifications to a previous report, but, in the opinion of the committee, it does not affect or alter the result at which the committee arrived.
House report, 33d Congress, number 354, on page 2, journal of July 26, 1854, there should be inserted the following: “Mr. Green offered a written memorandum, addressed to Mr. Witte, chairman, stating his reasons for wishing to have Messrs. Wise and Doyle summoned; also, stating the substance of an alleged conversation with Mr. Doyle. The committee refused to receive the paper, and also refused 10 permit Mr. Green to state, under oath, the substance of said conversation with said Doyle.”
Same report, same page, journal of July 27, 1854, insert as follows: "Mr. Bayly stated that it was an established rule of law that, where a witness refers to any written memorandum, the opposite party has a right to ask the court to take it from him and have it 6led with the clerk. He, therefore, moved that a paper, to which Mr. Green had referred, should be taken from him and filed with the clerk of the committee.
“The paper in question was Mr. Green's notes of the volumes and paging of documents to be offered in evidence. Mr. Green contended ihat the rule of law was not correctly stated by Mr. Bayly, nor ap
plicable in this case; but tendered the paper to Mr. Bayly for his inspection. The committee granted Mr. Bayly's motion, and the paper was taken from Mr. Green to be filed with the clerk.”
Same report, page 15, at the bottom of page insert, by parenthesis : (Here Mr. Green's testimony was called to the attention of Mr. Wise.)
Same report, page 16, line 17, after word committee, insert parenthetically: (Here Mr. Green's testimony was read to Mr. Wise.)
Same report, page 16, line 21st, insert parenthetically: (Mr. Green's testimony was then read to Mr. Doyle.)
Same report, page 16, line 11 from the bottom of page, after Virginia, insert: “Question by Mr. Bayly—Did he give any names ? Answer by Mr. Doyle—No, sir.""
CORRECTION BY COMMITTEE.
Same report, page 20, line 10, after name of Robert Ould, insert, * because Mr. Green proposed to prove what Mr. Doyle had said, or to show what he, Mr. Green, had actually said to Mr. Doyle; and that it was not competent for Mr. Green to impeach the testimony of his own witness.”
Charge second and specifications. Charge 2d. That said Thomas H. Bayly, as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means of the 31st Congress, and as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 32d Congress, did “use improper, if not illegal means"—to wit, wilful misrepresentation and falsehoodinvolving a breach of trust reposed in him by the House, and intended to deceive the House, and thereby “ to secure the passage” of the acts of September 26, 1850, and February 10, 1852, making appropriations for the payment of the indemnity due to Mexico, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, with the full knowledge and purpose, on the part of said Bayly, that the money appropriated by said acts would be, and the same was subsequently, paid to said Corcoran and others ; and with the further knowledge, on the part of said Bayly, that a large sum of money would be, and a large sum, to wit, near half a million of dollars, was thereby, lost to the United States, which might have been saved, had the reasonable wishes of the Mexican government as to the mode of payment been acceded to.
Specification l-Wilful misrepresentation.
In this, that whereas the Mexican government being in great want of money, and under the necessity of procuring advances at an interest of 18 to 24 per cent. per annum, from the bankers employed by the United States to pay said indemnity, a proposition was submitted on behalf of the Mexican government to the United States goverment,
and especially to the said Thomas H. Bayly, in his official character of chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means; and whereas the said proposition was, that an arrangement should be made either to pay the said indemnity, in advance of its falling due, directly to the Mexican government, in the same manner as the payments under the late treaty were made to General Almonte, the Mexican minister; or that drafts of the Mexican government for the amount payable, when due, should be accepted by the United States government, so as to render the same negotiable—the United States government in either case taking a full receipt and acquittance direct from the Mexican government. Nevertheless, the said Bayly endeavored to deceive the House of Representatives, by misrepresenting the nature of the said proposition submitted as aforesaid on behalf of the Mexican government, and by endeavoring to produce an impression that said proposition contemplated that Duff Green was to be employed as the agent and banker of the United States in making said payments, when said Bayly well knew that no such agency was ever contemplated by the said proposed arrangement.
In this, that said Bayly stated to the House of Representatives, and endeavored to produce the impression, that said Benjamin E. Green, when acting as chargé d'affaires of the United States in Mexico, had received and failed to account for the fourth and fifth instalments of the indemnity due by Mexico lo citizens of the United States, under the convention of 1843, when said Bayly well knew that his said statement was utterly false. And when afterwards called upon by another member of the House to withdraw said false charge, he (Bayly) said: "I did not so charge, as the report of my speech will show, for this whole matter was involved in doubt,” (see Cong. Globe, Ist session 32d Congress, page 359,) when said Bayly well knew that said matter was not involved in any doubt, because the circumstances of those alleged payments had been investigated by Mr. Slidell, United States minister to Mexico, whose report fully exonerated said Ben. E. Green from all responsibility in the premises; and said Bayly had fully examined, not only Mr. Slidell's said report, as published in the congressional records, (see Ex. Doc. No. 133, 1st session 29th Congress,) but, as he himself stated, had also examined the orginal documents on file in the State Department, and therefore must have known that his said original charge, and the assertion with which he accompanied his subsequent denial of having made said charge, were alike false and calumnious.
Specification 3—Wilful fulsehood.
In this, that after quoting from the civil and diplomatic bill of 3d March, 1845, the following clause, to wit:
“For paying the April and July instalments of the Mexican indemnities due in 1844, the sum of $275,000: Provided, It shall be ascertained to the satisfaction of the American government that said instalments have been paid by the Mexican government to the agent appointed by the United States to receive the same, in such manner as to discharge
all claims on the Mexican government, and said agent to be a delinquent in remitting the money to the United States.”
The said Bayly, to give color to his said false accusation of said Ben. E. Green, and thereby to secure the passage of said bills in the form desired by said Corcoran, said as follows:
“After the passage of the law to which I have referred, Mr. Polk, through Mr. Slidell and our consul in Mexico, Mr. Black, instituted an inquiry in Mexico to ascertain, if possible, whether the contingency provided for had happened. He became satisfied it had, and the money was paid.” (Cong. Globe, 1st session 32d Congress, p. 340.) Whereas said Bayly well knew that no part of the money was ever paid under the act quoted by him, and that Mr. Polk ascertained, by the said inquiries of Messrs. Slidell and Black, that the said contingency had not happened, and therefore refused to make any payments under the act quoted by said Bayly; and that the claimants, because of Mr. Polk's said refusal to pay under the said act, applied at the next session of Congress, and procured the insertion of the following clause in the civil and diplomatic bill of August 10, 1846, to wit:
“For paying the principal and interest of the fourth and fifth instalments of the Mexican indemnities, due in the year 1844, the sum of $320,000: Provided, The claimants, each for himself, shall relinquish to the United States his right to said instalments: Provided, further, That each of the claimants shall agree to take in payment the scrip of a stock bearing interest at five per cent., payable in five years." Respectfully submitted.
BEN. E. GREEN. Hon. John LETCHER, Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry appointed under
House resolution of July 8, 1854. P. S. 1 submit herewith copy of a report from the Comptroller, which fully proves the charge of falsehood as set forth in specification 3d. Most of the other proofs which I wish to submit are of record, and easily procured. But the witnesses whom it will be necessary to call are intimate friends of said Bayly, and will be very reluctant to state any facts to his prejudice. Nevertheless, fully aware of the disadvantages of my position, I confidently believe that, if your committee will give me a fair chance, I can prove all and more than I have charged.
BEN. E. GREEN.
WEDNESDAY, July 26, 1854.
B. E. Green, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
As to charge 2d.
Question by committee. Have you personal knowledge of any facts to sustain charge 2d ?