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COMMITTEE Room, February 14, 1862.
Answer. S. M. Clark; I am acting engineer in charge of the Bureau of Construction under Treasury Department.
Question. How long have you held that position, and what is your salary?
Answer. I have twice held it; my last appointment dated June 1, 1860; my salary is $3,000 a year.
Question. What was the date of your first appointment, and bow long did you act under it?
Answer. I think it was May, 1860, and I was reappointed after an interval of about two months.
Question. What was your business prior to this ?
Answer. Prior and back to August, 1856, I was chief clerk of the bureau.
Question. Are you an engineer by profession?
Answer. I have qualified myself for duties of engineer, but never adopted it as a profession.
Question. Have you ever been engaged in practical duties of engineer?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Answer. In Brattleboro', Vermont, Hartford, Connecticut, and New York city.
Question. In what connexion at Brattleboro', Vermont?
Answer. In planning, laying out, and erecting a water-power and factory.
Question. What factory?
Answer. One for the manufacture of rules and mathematical instruments; the first of its kind started in this country.
Question. How long were you so engaged there?
Answer. I think about six years in Brattleboro', in constructing water power, in building factory, making machinery for carrying on the business, and then carrying on the business. The rest of the time that I was in Brattleboro, I was cashier of a bank.
Question. Were you ever employed by anybody as an engineer while in Brattleboro?
Answer. I was frequently consulted upon engineering, but never professionally employed.
Question. In what public work were you engaged at Hartford, Connecticut ?
Answer. No public work; there was none building there. Question. In what were you engaged as an engineer in that city?
Answer. In planning and building a mill for the reduction and separation of ores from copper mines in that vicinity, and also in designing some private dwellings, but not professionally.
Question. Do you remember the size of the mill?
Answer. I think it was about 120 by 60 feet, but it is only a matter of recollection. It had two steam engines, one of 12 and one of 20 horse power, running day and night.
Question. What was its height ?
Question. Do you remember how long you were engaged on the work?
Answer. On the work and superintending running of machinery for about two years.
Question. How long in constructing the building ?
Answer. The basement portion was of stone; the upper portion of wood. I think the building and its appurtenances cost from 12,000 to 15,000 dollars.
Question. How high above the ground line did masonry work extend ?
Answer. About six feet.
Question. Were you interested as owner or proprietor of business in the factory?
Answer. I was to have been interested as a compensation, but my employers failed in carrying out their enterprise, and no interest has ever been awarded to me.
Question. Were you engaged on any public work in New York?
Answer. My occupation of this character there was confined to consultation with others in reference to dwellings.
Question. Do you remember to have been consulted officially about any public work then going on in New York ?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. Had you the professional charge of any public building or work there?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. What was your salary at Brattleboro', Vermont, or your pay for construction of building ? Answer. It was my own.
I first began it in connexion with a partner, and subsequently acquired full title.
Question. Then the Treasury extension was the first public work of which you had charge ?
Answer. My position as engineer in charge gives me general control over all buildings constructed under the Treasury Department, of which the Treasury extension is one, and each one has its local superintendent, who attends to the details, subject to my general order.
Question. Do these local superintendents all report to you, and com:punicate through you to the several branches of government?
Answer. The local superintendents report direct to the Secretary of the Treasury, who, in the ordinary course of business, refers these reports to me for examination and comment.
Question. Did you occupy the position you now do when the but.
tress caps for the south wing of the Treasury extension were procured?
Answer. Not when the contract was made or the caps delivered, but I occupied the position when they were put in place.
Question. Were you in anywise interested in the contract?
Answer. I was not, either directly or indirectly. I had no knowledge of the bid until after it was accepted. In short, I had nothing whatever to do with them prior to the placing. I think both of them were delivered while I was chief clerk.
Question. Can you tell us what was to have been their cost in the rough or dressed and in place?
Answer. The rough stock cost $5,500 each; the hammering, cutting, and moulding cost $1,967 70. The cost of placement I can only state approximately, as the work was done by day's work of laborers, who were variously employed under a master rigger, who is now dead. From an examination of the pay-rolls of that period and the record of materials used, I am of the opinion that the cost of placement was about $300 each.
Question. What did the buttress caps cost the government ? State fully the manner in which the cost was arrived at.
Answer. The buttress caps for the south wing of the Treasury extension, two in number, are each in one piece, eighteen feet eight inches long, seventeen feet six inches wide, and one foot nine inches thick, and were delivered under the contract for granite, made after advertisement with Beals & Dixon.
The letter of my predecessor, Major Bowman, to the Secretary of the Treasury, advising the acceptance of Beals & Dixon's bid, recommended that the caps should be of one piece. I now file with the committee a copy of that letter, upon which the contract was awarded and the stones ordered.
The act of August 31, 1861, (Statutes at Large, vol. 10, page 93,) make it the duty of a sworn measurer to measure the stone delivered under the contract.
Upon the delivery of the caps they were measured by the sworn measurer appointed for the purpose, and found, (under the clause of the contract, which provides that for the rough stock of stone, of greater width than three times their thickness, an additional price of twenty-five per cent. for each additional three inches in width shall be paid,) the rough stock of each stone amounted to $34, 104 57.
It has been mooted by some experts that this clause of the contract was susceptible of a geometrical application and solution. I think clearly it is not ; but if completed geometrically, it would amount to $144, 273,924 36.
This amount, found due by the computer, of $34, 104 57, Major Bowman refused to pay, alleging that, prior to the execution of the contract, Mr. Dixon, one of the contractors, stated that the buttress caps, under the contract, would amount to something less than $2,800. Mr. Dixon admitted this allegation to be a fact, but said that he was ignorant of the details of stone work, and made the computation in good faith from the best information he possessed, and he then sup
was an error.
posed that it was correct, but subsequently he ascertained that it
He further alleged that this fact was of no consequence in the settlement, as the conversation was some days prior to the execution of the contract, and the minds of the contracting parties might have changed many times in the interim.
His partner, Mr. Beals, insisted in settling upon the “letter of the bond," and refused to receive anything short of the contract price of $34, 104 57. Major Bowman still refused to pay.
In this position I found the matter when I was placed in charge.
Upon a careful examination of the whole subject, I found the department legally liable for the entire sum of $34, 104 57, inasmuch as that was the only result made by the sworn computer under the written contract, which was made some days after the conversation alluded to, as no evidence, written or parole, of a foregore date could change the contract, though it might be legally used to explain any obscurities in the text. In this case there was no obscurity ; it was a clear and definite matter of computation, without any generalities or indistinctiveness.
I so represented the case to the then Secretary of the Treasury, and suggested to him that although the government was legally liable for the whole amount, yet in view of an implied and measurably honorable and equitable obligation on the part of Mr. Dixon to furnish these caps for about $2,800, and in view of sundry minor matters of difference between the contractor and Major Bowman, which could, at the same time, be adjusted, a compromise might be effected which would do no injustice to the government, and under the circumstances might be considered reasonable by the coutractors, on the following basis, viz: to first ascertain how much these caps would amouut to under each original bid submitted in competition with Beals & Dixon, and then pay them the amount, or a fraction less than the amount of the lowest of these bids. In this way the government would get the caps at least as low as they would have got them from any other bidder, and the contractors would probably get pay for their labor bestowed in quarrying and delivering here.
After a careful personal examination of the whole matter and all its details, the Secretary adopted the suggestion.
The sworn computer found that each of these caps, under the various bids, amounted respectively as follows : Under M. G. Emery's bid ....
$34,636 14 J. B. Emery's bid ..
31,757 92 E. C. Sargent's bid.
19.473 10 R. J. McCloy's bid.
19,432 38 Walker & Co.'s bid ..
18, +12 80 Whitcher & Co.'s bid.
16,331 37 J. J. Rink's bid ...
10,225 68 Gault Brothers' bid.
8,433 09 0. T. Rogers's bid ·
5,680 92 These were all the bids submitted for the caps, and $5,680 92 being the lowest bid submitted at the letting, I offered, under the Secretary's
authority, to pay the sum of $5,500 as a compromise payment. This they at first refused, alleging that the stones cost them more than that to quarry and deliver, but after some negotiation and some personal arrangement between the copartners to the contract, by which Mr. Beals (who was not a party to the computation of $2,800,) became reconciled. They adopted the compromise, and this sum of $5,500 was subsequently paid to them for each, in full discharge. This will appear by the vouchers on file with the Register. The settlement also bound them to deliver the caps for the other wings, in case they should be ordered, at the same price.
FEBRUARY 17, 1862. Committee met. Present : Lazear, Kelley, Chamberlain, and Wall.
Examination of Clark continued. Question. You bave stated the cost of the buttress cap. Could not they be produced by workmen in several pieces ?
Question. What would have been the cost if they had been in smaller blocks?
Answer. If the caps had been in three pieces they would, under the contract, have amounted to $1,432 02. If they were made in four pieces they would have amounted, at contract prices, to $737 47.
Question. Would they, in your judgment, have been equally durable if made in the pieces you speak of?
Answer. They would not have been as durable, because the contraction and expansion of such large pieces of stone would have opened the joints, admitting water, which, in freezing, would have thrown them out of place.
Question. Did you advertise for the granite work for the enclosure of the south wing ?
Answer. It was not advertised for, because we had some of the stones on hand which would answer for the capping, and I had applied to quarry owners and found they could not furnish me from their quarries stones large enough for the piers. I therefore bought them of the original contractors for the granite, Beals & Dixon, who had them on hand. The size of the piers was determined by a plan of the supervising architect, which was approved by the President in writing.
Question. Do you know how much the granite cost for the enclosure spoken of ?
Answer. I think about $15,000, which covers the rough stock, hammering, and dressing, and delivery on the ground where it was to be put in place.
Question. Can you say from what appropriation it was paid for ?
Answer. It was paid from the appropriation for the continuation of the treasury extension after there had been carried to the credit of that appropriation an early appropriation of $15,000 for tearing down