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· Q. Yes, sir.—A. No, sir; there was no change made.
Q. No change at all?-A. None.
Q. What do you mean, then, by harmonizing the statements !-A. The new statement, as I understand it, was a classification from certain books. That classification may be changed by taking items from “mis. cellaneous” and putting them in the public debt,” or vice versa. It would not necessarily change the books; it would merely change the statement. .
Q. You say it would not necessarily change the books. Did it in fact change the books !-A. It did not in fact, to my knowledge.
Q. You have never known of any change of figures upon the books on account of this change in classification of the statement of the public debt?-A. No, sir; I have never known any.
Q. You have never known of a change of figures on the books?-A. No, sir.
Q. Do the books, so far as you know, stand precisely the same now as they did before this change in the classification of items in the statement of the public debt was made?-A. They do, so far as I know.
By Mr. WHYTE : Q. Then I understand you that the tabulated statement which ema nates from the Register's office is not actually made up from the books in the Register's office ? A. As it appears now?
Q. Yes.-A. It is made up as it appears now from the books in the Register's office.
Q. But when it was made up at the time referred to, when the $6,000,000 was entered, was it made up from the books of the Register's officer-A. No, sir; it was made up from a consolidation of the books of the Register's and the Secretary's office in the two loan divisions.
Q. It was made up by running the two sets of books together!-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Instead of taking the Register's books as a check upon the Secretary's books ?-A. I do not know about that.
Q. I am putting the question; that is the way I put it.-A. Well, yes, sir; they were made up from the books of issues and redemptions before. Now they are made up from the receipts as they actually appear from the Register's books, minus the redemptions as they actually appear upon the Register's books, taking for granted the balance of the year before as being correct, and so on backwards.
Q. Therefore, you start from the alteration made in 1870; that is the original starting point where you agreed with the Secretary ?-A. In the statements.
Q. I mean that—the alteration in the statements. You take that sum total which you put in the Register's tabulated statement in 1871 as your starting point ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Since then you have gone down taking year after year the last statement?-A. Yes, sir. To give an instance. I think it was last year I made up the public-debt statement from our books; we had previously disagreed with the Secretary $250, and in making it up—I think it was last year or the year before, one of those years, it is immaterial whichthis $250 had increased to four hundred and odd dollars discrepancy. I went up to the warrant-room to see what the trouble was, and they told me there were certain items of interest which really ought to have been principal, and they had incorporated them in their public-debt statement, and, as I did not have those items, of course I disagreed four hundred and odd dollars. But they said it would be all right in the
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next year, and so this year it has disappeared and the two exactly agree.
By Mr. BECK: Q. In your note to page 11 of the Finance Report of 1871 you say that this statement is all made up 6. except the following items" ?-A. Those “following items" are included in that statement.
Q. You say they all appear in your books except these?-A. In our books in 1871.
Q. So I understand it, “this statement is from warrants except the additions noted"?-A. Yes, in 1871.
Q. Where did yon get these additions which you have noted ?-A. These additions are the results of Mr. Ross Fish's investigation in regard to the public debt.
Q. Who furnished them to you?-A. I got them from this book. Q. Which book ?-A. The 1871 report. Q. How did they get into that report ?-A. I do not understand you. Q. They are part of this report now, and noted in the report of 1871. -A. I had to take the public-debt statement of 1870, by order of the letter of Mr. Saville, as being correct.
Q. Did that letter of Mr. Saville order you to put in each of these items?-A. No, sir; it ordered me to make the statements harmonize, and I had to take that as being correct for 1870. Taking that amount for 1870, my books showed that we had received this amount (indicating) and that we had expended that amount (indicating). Then by adding this net amount to the other I reached this amount of the debt for 1871.
Q. So that in 1871 you added again, by a second order, this?-A. I added that in 1871. In 1870 we did not harmonize; we did not agree until 1871.
Q. I know that then the $6,000,000 was given you in 1871, to be inserted in order to harmonize, by Mr. Saville.-A. I did not get any detail at all in 1870. I took the figures as being correct in 1870.
Q. As furnished you by the chief clerk ?-A. Yes, sir; as being correct. Then I added the receipts and deducted the expenditures.
Q. And they came within $3,274,051.69 of making a balance?-A. Yes, sir; which I added on.
Q. You added that on to make it balance, by whose order?-A. By the order of Mr. Saville.
Q. And then you made this note about the $3,274,051.69!—A. This note is from the Secretary's office, not our office.
Q. Did you make any note corresponding with it to show the fact ?— A. No, sir.
Q. You just added it as though it had appeared on your books?-A. I just added it; yes, sir; as if it appeared on the books.
Q. Without any explanation !-A. Without any explanation.
Q. Would you not call that forcing a balance? If you kept the official register, implying verity, was it telling the truth or was it not to put down $3,274,051.69 on the word of somebody else without any explanation ?-A. You can call it what you please; we clerks in the office obey orders.
Q. And the Register's books are made up, you think, properly when made up from orders from the Secretary ? -A. This was not on the books at all. This was a statement. - Q. The statement that would have appeared from your own books varied from the statement as actually made by $3,274,051.69 ?
Mr. DAWES. This does not purport to be from the books.
Mr. BECK. This does not, but that does (referring to a table in the Finance Report of 1871).
Mr. DAWES. It is a statement of the public debt, and it does not state where he got it. It gets the public debt from three or four places, it seems, and puts it altogether in the statement. Whether they told the truth or not depends on the character of the items that they used.
Mr. BECK. I think I can get at it. (To the witness.) Speaking in round numbers, without regard to fractions, the sum you started with was $2,480,000,000 ?—A. Yes, sir.
By Mr. BECK: Q. And you received during that year $285,000,000 !-A. Yes, sir. Q. You paid out during that year $393,000,000 ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then your receipts and your payments would not have brought about the result you now have, by $3,274,000?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And in order to make your statement correspond with the Secretary's statement, you had to add, on the say.so of somebody else, $3,274,051.69 that your own receipts and expenditures did not show !-A. Did not show because it existed in that previous balance. This $3,274,051.69 is not the product of one year; it is the product of a series of years, bringing that balance; and as we were ordered to barmonize our statement, and they had made up the public-debt statement from a different basis altogether, we had to put that in to give us the correct balance for the year 1870.
By Mr. INGALLS: Q. What does that $3,274,051.69 discrepancy represent ?-A. It represents, as I understand, in the first place a difference of classification, and in the second place the difference in statement between issues and redemptions and receipts and expenditures.
Q. You do not quite get my question. You say it is the aggregate of discrepancies running through a long series of years ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And appearing in this statement in the sum of $3,274,051.69. Now, what I want you to state clearly, if you can, is, what does that discrepancy represent, running through that long series of years ?-A. The bulk of it represents the difference between stating the debt by issues and redemptions and by receipts and expenditures.
Q. Does it involve necessarily, or as a matter of fact, any improper use of the public funds by any officer of the government?-A. It does not.
Q. Does it in any way increase or diminish the liabilities or obligations of the government?-A. It does not.
Q. Did it result from errors or omissions or miscalculations on the part of any of the officers intrusted with the keeping of the accounts ? A. Partly so, as I understand.
Q. In what part?-A. In charging a thing to a loan which ought not to have been charged, or in not charging to the bonded debt things which should have been charged.
Q. I wish you to explain that a little more clearly?-A. For instance, take the Texan indemnity fund. It was not formerly considered a portion of the public debt.
Q. Who had the dicision of the question, whether it was or was not a part of the public debt ?-A. Mr. Ross Fish had the ultimate decision which affected this table.
Q. How was that authority vested in him ?-A. By the Secretary,
By Mr. BECK:
By Mr. INGALLS: Q. You have mentioned about the Texas indemnity. You say there was a difference of opinion between Mr. Fish and some other officer of the government as to whether that should or should not be stated as an element of the public debt ?-A. Not some present officer, but some of the predecessors who had not incorporated it in the public debt.
Q. The decision of that question involved no turpitude ?-A. No, sir.
Q. It involved no misappropriation or wrongful expenditure of the public funds ?-A. No, sir; not a cent.
Q. It was merely a question of judgment ?-A. That is all.
Q. Judgment as to whether this particular item should or should not be stated as a part of the public debt of the United States ?-A. Yes, sir ; that is it.
By Mr. DAWES : Q. Allow me to inquire whether the question involved anything more than what name should be given to this particular transaction, whether it should be called a part of the public debt or called something else. Did it involve anything more than that ?-A. No, sir; it did not.
By Mr. INGALLS: Q. Then if any subsequent Secretary should come to a different conclusion from an examination of the law, and should decide to state these items in some other way than that in which they had previously appeared, it would merely be a question of judgment and not of official misconduct, would it not ?-A. That is my opinion.
Q. That is your understanding of it ?-A. Yes, sir,
Q. You have given us an item in reference to the Texan indemnity bonds. What other items were included in the aggregate that appeared in the statement of 1871 ?-A. I am not perfectly familiar with this statement. I merely spoke from general knowledge. There are a few other items. I think the Oregon war debt was one. I think the bounty land scrip was another, that was either excluded or included, but that was stated differently from what it had been previously stated. But those items did not amount to a great deal either one way or the other, taking them or leaving them. They were not very heavy items either of them. I merely mention them as they were some of the causes of the change. The principal cause of the change was the difference of statement between Issues and Redemptions and Receipts and Expenditures, with the exception of the $200,000,000 blunder, which I believe you understand.
Q. That has been fully explained, I think!-A. Yes, sir; I believe there was another thing which was incorporated in, if I remember aright, and that was the Pacific Railway debt, yhich made some fifty odd million dollars difference.
Q. Was there not also an item of a thousand dollars contributed by some patriotic gentleman for the purpose of extinguishing the public debt ?-A. Yes, sir; which had been classified as “Miscellaneous.”
Q. Did not that return like Banquo's ghost, in a good many different ways, to bother the souls of the officials having the matter in charge?A. The classifiers, yes, sir.
Q. And the question was whether it should be placed in one account or in another account?-A. One column or another.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Ought the changes that you have spoken of, no matter what they referred to, to have changed the total of the public debt? I do not refer to the items now, but the total of the public debt.
Mr. DAWES. Do you mean the total of the public debt or the total of the statement?
The CHAIRMAN. I mean the total of any particular year as made up in the statement. Mr. DAWES You mean the total of the statement of the public debt! The CHAIRMAN. I mean just what I say.
The WITNESS. Of course it ought not to have changed the total of the public debt. . As I understand the public debt, it is everything the government owes. The government may owe $100,000,000 of bonded debt and $100,000,000 of miscellaneous debt. Now if you say that $50,000,000 of the miscellaneous debt is bonded debt and ought to go into the bonded debt, of course it would change the amount of the public debt, but still it would not increase the total amount of the obligations of the government.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) The statement I hand you was made up by you in your office, I believe? (Exhibiting to the witness the tabular statement on page 28 of the testimony.)-A. (Examining.) Yes, sir; it was.
Q. You have in a column headed "Amounts to be added to receipts” three items aggregating $6,293,827.79?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were those taken from your books, or were they added by order of the chief clerk or Secretary ?-A. They were added in accordance with the order of the chief clerk, to make our statement harmonize with that of the Secretary. They do not appear upon our books.
Q. Do those amounts appear upon the books to your knowledge ?A. Not to my knowledge.
By Mr. DAWES: Q. Have you any knowledge that they do not appear on other books ?A. I have not.
Q. When you say not to your knowledge, do you mean to say you do not know whether they do or not?-A. I do not know whether they do or not.
By Mr. INGALLS: Q. In the statements of the amounts received from loans and paid on account of loans during the year 1861, there appears in the column of "Amounts to be added to receipts” the sum of $2,019,776.10, which appears by note b, at the foot of page 28 of the printed testimony, to be to discount on bonds, act February 8, 1861." Do you know, as a matter of fact, whether or not that item had an actual existence on the books of the Treasury Department, and that that was discount on those loans ?-A. No, sir; I do not.
Q. You do not know anything about that?-A. No, sir.
Q. In the same statement for the year 1868 appears, in the column of “Amount sto be added to receipts,” an item of $1,000,000, which appears by note c, at the bottom of the page, to be the “ Navy pension fund." Do you know anything about whether that appears on the books of the department anywhere ?-A. I do not.
Q. In the same statement for the year 1871, in the column of “Amounts to be added to receipts," appears an item of $3,274,051.69, which is explained in note d to be a “ difference." (See Finance Report 1871, p. 11.)