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The committee will meet to-morrow morning, at the room of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, at 10 o'clock, a. m. DECEMBER 11, 1854.
JOHN LETCHER, Chairman.
To Messrs. RUFFIN, EDDY, THURSTON,
ZOLLICOFFER, ELIOT, WHEELER.
COMMITTEE Room Post OFFICES AND Post Roads,
December 12, 1854. In pursuance of the foregoing resolution of the House, and the call of the chairman, the committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., this day.
Present: Mr. Letcher, chairman, Mr. Eliot, Mr. Ruffin, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Zollicoffer, Mr. Wheeler.
The committee were engaged until 12 o'clock, m., (the hour of the meeting of the House,) in discussing the order of their future proceedings, and then adjourned to 10 o'clock on Thursday morning next.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1854.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
The chairman called the attention of the committee to the evidence submitted to them at the last session, by certain witnesses who were in the enjoyment of seats (as reporters) upon the floor of the House, and suggested the necessity of some action being taken thereon, with the view to the modification of the rules of the House respecting such persons.
The subject was not disposed of when the committee adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 11 o'clock, in the room of the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1854.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment, and determined to proceed with the examination of Mr. W. B. Chase and Mr. E. H. Thomson, whom the Sergeant-at-arms of the House was directed to summon to appear before this committee, at the room of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, on Monday morning next, at 10 o'clock, to which place and hour the committee then adjourned.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1854.
The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present : Mr. Letcher, chairman, Mr. Zollicoffer, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Eliot, Mr. Ruffin, Mr. Eddy.
The witnesses summoned for this morning, viz: W. B. Chase and E. H. Thomson, not appearing before the committee, in obedience to summons, the Sergeant-at-arms was directed to re-summon them to appear before this committee, in the room of the Committee on Revolutionary claims, at 10 o'clock, on Wednesday morning next, to which place and hour the committee then adjourned.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1854.
10 O'CLOCK, A. M. Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Mr. Letcher, chairman, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Ruffin, Mr. Zollicoffer.
The chairman presented the following note, which was received by him yesterday :
MONDAY, (NOON,) December 18, 1854. My Dear Sir: I received only this morning, at nine o'clock, your subpæna, dated the 15th instant, to attend before your committee, but having an engagement at ten of much importance to me, it was wholly impossible for me to appear. If to-morrow morning will answer, at the same hour, or any other you may name, it will afford me much pleasure to appear before the committee. I am, very respectfully, yours,
E. H. THOMSON. Hon. John LETCHER,
Chairman of Colt Investigating Committee, &c. Mr. E. H. Thomson then appeared, and, being duly sworn, testifies as follows:
Question by Chairman. In your former examination (page 69 House Report 353) before this committee, you stated that you were employed in aiding the passage of bills for the Minnesota railroad, the Pacific railroad, the Wisconsin railroad, and the railroads in Michigan ; that you are the attorney for E. K. Collins & Co., and that you own a part of Moore & Hascall's patent, for which a renewal is being applied for. Are you still interested in all those measures, and, if not in all, state in how many you are now interested ?
Answer. I am interested in none but the matters of Mr. Collins, for whom I have acted as attorney for the last four years. I am still interested in the Moore & Hascall patent as part owner.
Question by Chairman. Who is interested in Moore & Hascall's patent besides yourself, and who are employed or are aiding either as attorneys, agents, or otherwise in endeavoring to secure the renewal of said patent?
Answer. I believe that formerly the Hon. Lucius Lyon, former senator, was a part owner, but he is now dead, and I do not know what has become of his interest. I know of no other persons interested, except the principals. I do not know who are employed in endeavoring to secure the renewal of the patent. There are none so emplɔyed, according to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Question by Chairman. Who are employed, besides yourself, as attorneys or agents for E. K. Collins & Co.; what compensation, actual or contingent, are you to receive for your services, and what services are you to render ?
Answer. No other persons besides myself are employed as attorneys or agents for E. K. Collins & Co. The services I am to render E. K. Collins & Co. is to lay such facts before members of both Houses as will
give them all the information to act wisely on the subject, and to disabuse the minds of members in relation to false statements made against the line and in favor of the Cunard line belonging to the British government. As to compensation, that is a professional matter between myself and the company, and which I respectfully decline to answer.
Question by Chairman. Are you employed as attorney or agent in the Colt case, and if so, what compensation have you received for your services, and what compensation are you yet to receive ?
Answer. My engagements with Mr. Colt ceased when Congress adjourned last session. As to what I have received, that is professional between Mr. Dickerson, who employed me, and myself, and I decline to answer that
of the question. Question by Chairman. Have you a desk upon the floor of the House this session, and if so, did you take such desk with any conditions imposed, and if so, what conditions ?
Answer. I have a desk on the floor of the House. The conditions are to be found in the 19th rule of the House, as follows, to wit: “No person shall be allowed the privilege of the hall, under the character of stenographer, without a written permission from the Speaker, specifying the part of the hall assigned to him; and no reporter or stenographer shall be admitted, under the rules of the House, unless such reporter or stenographer shall state, in writing, for what paper or papers he is employed to report.—March 1, 1838. And no person shall be admitted, under the rules of the House, as a reporter or stenographer for any paper or papers, who shall be employed as an agent to prosecute any claim pending before Congress; and the Speaker shall give his written permission with this condition; and not more than one reporter or stenographer shall be assigned the same seat.—December 13, 1852." I desire to state that when I made application for my seat that I stated to Colonel Boyd, the Speaker of the House, that I had my friend E. K. Collins' business as usual before me, and was not interested in anything else; that if it was considered by him a violation of the rule I would withdraw my application for a seat. That in my own opinion, and which was confirmed by many of the members of both branches of Congress, that it was not presenting a claim against the government.
The witness was then dismissed.
The sergeant-at-arms returned copies of the summonses which he had served upon Messrs. E. H. Thomson and W. B. Chase, endorsed by him respectively as follows:
Upon the summons of W. B. Chase-
“A. J. GLOSSBRENNER, “Sergeant-at-Arms House of Representatives of the United States." Upon the summons of E. H. Thomson
"Served the within by delivering a true copy thereof to the said E. H. Thomson this 18th day of December, at 9 a. m., of said day, 1854.
"C. COLE, “For A. J. GLOSSBRENNER, Sergeant-at-Arms."
The committee then adjourned to Friday, December 22, at 10 o'clock, a. m.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1854,
10 O'CLOCK, A. M. The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Messrs. Letcher, chairman, Thurston, Zollicoffer, Ruffin, Eliot, Eddy.
Absent: Mr. Wheeler.
Mr. W. B. Chase, who was notified to attend this morning, not appearing, on motion of Mr. Zollicoffer it was
Resolved, That the committee call the attention of the House to facts heretofore reported in relation to the testimony of Mr. W. B. Chase, given before the committee on the 29th and 31st of July, 1854, and that they report to the House the facts in relation to the repeated subsequent ineffectual efforts of the committee to induce Mr. Chase to appear before them and to further testify.
The committee then adjourned to Tuesday morning next, at eleven o'clock.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1854.
11 o'CLOCK, A. M. The committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Messrs. Letcher, chairman, Thurston, Eddy, Eliot, Ruffin, and Zollicoffer.
The chairman presented the following report for the action of the committee :
The committee appointed on the 10th day of July last “to inquire whether money has been offered to members, or other illegal and improper means used, to induce members to aid in securing the passage or defeat of a bill to extend Colt's patent for seven years; and, also, whether money has been offered to members, or other illegal or improper means used, either directly or indirectly, to secure the passage or defeat of any bill before Congress; and that the said committee shall have power to send for persons and papers, with authority to examine witnesses on oath," beg leave to report, in part:
That your committee further report, that on the 16th day of this 7.onth they caused the said William B. Chase to be again summoned to appear on Monday, the 18th, before them, to testify further on the subjects on which he had been previously interrogated. The sergeantat-ar.ns made the following return on said summons: “Served by personal notice this 16th day of December, 1854;" and the said Chase having declined to appear in obedience thereto, the following resolution, submitted by Mr. Zollicoffer, was unanimously adopted by the committee, viz:
“ Resolved, That the committee call the attention of the House to the facts heretofore reported in relation to the testimony of Mr. W. B. Chase given before the committee on the 29th and 31st July, 1854, and that
they report to the House the facts in relation to the repeated subsequent ineffectual efforts of the committee to induce Mr. Chase to appear before them and further testify."
The above report having received the unanimous approval of the members present, the committee directed the chairman to lose no time in bringing it in upon the first occasion of a full House; pending which, the committee adjourned to a day hereafter to be designated by the chairman.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 1855.
Committee met pursuant to call of chairman, at 10 o'clock a. m.
Present: Mr. Letcher chairman, Mr. Eliot, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Zollicoffer, Mr. Wheeler, and Mr. Ruffin.
Thomas Shankland, a witness, duly summoned, failing to appear, the committee adjourned, to meet again upon call of the chairman.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 1855.
The committee met persuant to call.
The chairman laid before the committee the following communication:
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, December 27, 1854. SIR: The second branch of the resolution of the House of representatives, adopted on the 8th day of July last, authorizes the committee of investigation, of which you are chairman, to enquire “whether money has been offered to members or other illegal or improper means used, either directly or indirectly, to secure the passage of any bill through Congress. It is known to you that at the last session of Congress a committee was raised to enquire into the alleged alteration of the text of House bill No. 342, making a grant of land to aid the Territory of Minnesota in the construction of a railroad therein. That committee made a report, which embodies the testimony taken before it, and that report (No. 352) has been printed by order of the House.
I deem it my duty to call the attention of your committee to the testimony of one Robert W. Lowber, given before that committee. His evidence discloses matters which, I think, the resolution under which your committee is acting renders it incumbent on you to investigate. This Mr. Lowber intimates a knowledge of the use of improper means and influences to secure the passage of the Minnesota Land Bill through Congress. It is due to the character of the House, that a charge of so grave a character, made under the sanction of an oath, and now a part of the records of the country, should be enquired into, and a most thorough investigation had in relation to the matter.
The Hon. Alvah Hunt and M. O. Roberts, esq., of New York city, are parties referred to as having a knowledge on this subject, and I trust they will be examined by your committee. A man by the name of John M. Barbour, of New York city, I understand professes to have