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FURTHER MAJORITY REPORT.
Your committee to whom was referred back the report formerly made, with instructions to take additional evidence, and to report fully their conclusions, beg leave to report further, in accordance with said instructions, that they have taken such evidence as Mr. Edgar Allan introduced, and allowed him to crossexamine such witnesses as he desired. But they have failed to elicit any evidence to change or alter the facts set forth in the former report. They do not regard the testimony of Mr. Painter as having any bearing on the case whatever. They are at a loss to know what Mr. Allan, chairman of the Committee on Printing had to do with the management and profit of Messss. Hunnicutts’ office.
They would further report, that Mr. Allan, to explain the evidence of Messrs. Ayer, Massie and Kelso, the three members referred to, introduced testimony proving that he had conversations with other men in which he stated that Mr. Hunnicutt’s employees were fooling him, and that he, Mr. Allan, had detected it, and that had Mr. Hunnicutt been smart he would have done so. He further proved that he had suggested changes to Mr. Hunnicutt in the manner of doing his office work, which did not affect the Convention, but was a saving to the printer. And they would also report, that there is no evidence of any fraud whatever in the matter of printing, and beyond the evidence of the three members referred to, there is nothing showing anything improper in Mr. Allan in this matter of printing.
In conclusion, they would recommend a re-organization of the Committee on Printing; and that the committee then be required to re-measure Mr. Samuel's work, and deduct therefrom, and charge him for such matter as should not have been allowed. HENRY iM, BOWDEN, J. H. PLATT, JR. EUSTACE GIBSON, JAMES M, FRENCH.
The undersigned, members of the Special Committee appointed by your body on the 13th ultimo, in accordanee with a resolution introduced by Mr. Bowden, to investigate matters pertaining to the amount paid the Stenographer, inquiring as to who audited the accounts, and other matters pertaining thereto, beg leave to present the following minority report :
In presenting this report we deem it proper to state that we are compelled, from a sense of duty, to dissent from the opinion of the majority in such particulars as we deem necessary to vindicate the character of individuals against whom charges have been made, and whose innocence the majority report does not make as prominent as the evidence would warrant.
Mr. Samuel has received for reporting $4,395.60 up to this date—a larger amount than Mr. Samuel, the members of the Convention, or the Committee on Finance, with whom he made the contract, anticipated. This was OWing, principally, to the fact that the debates and sessions were longer than it was thought they would be.
As the largeness of this amount has been the result of the peculiar nature of the Convention in regard to the amount of the Reporter's work, a fact that no one could foresee, we deem it but just and proper that no blame be attached to any person or committee on this account. It is the opinion of the undersigned that the reduction of the price for reporting, an action your body has already had, is all that need to be, or can justly, be done at this date.
As a further explanation of this matter, we deem it but proper to state that much of this sum—about one-third—has been paid to assistants, in order to prepare the work for the printer as rapidly as it was deemed necessary and proper.
In regard to having drawn pay for “reports of committees, printed and other prepared matter furnished by the officers of the Convention,” the majority say that “Mr. Samuel did not go beyond his contract, as he understood it,” thereby implying that he did go beyond the contract in that particular. They then refer to the Committee on Finance as not having made a proper contract in the particular referred to.
Now, this contract either did allow pay for this work or it did not ; if it did, Mr. Samuel did not go beyond his contract; if it did not, then the Committee on Finance should not be censured for the “loose character of their contract.”
The same may be said in defence of the Committee on Printing, the chairman of which is greatly blamed by the majority because his committee audited the accounts of Mr. Samuel so as to include this prepared matter. If the contract could be so construed as to cause its framers to be censured becensured for auditing the accounts according to this construction. Hence, the majority have erred either in regard to the Committee on Finance or in regard to Mr. Samuel and the Committee on Printing.
Again, the majority make the Committee on Finance responsible for the allowance of pay for prepared matter on account of the “loose character of their contract,” and then recommend, in their conclusion, that Mr. Samuel should be required to refund the money drawn for such work. If Mr. Samuel can be required to refund this money, it will be because the contract did not allow it. But if the contract did allow it, then the Convention can not honestly or legally require him to refund it. And in this also the majority err, either in censuring the Committee on Finance, or in requiring the money for this particular kind of work to be refunded. The facts obtained from the evidence in this matter are such, that neither the Committee on Finance, Mr. Samuel or the Committee on Printing are censurable, for all aeted in accordance with well established customs and usages in such matters; neither should the pay for reporting this prepared matter be refunded, for it is part of the Reporter’s duty to look this over, punctuate and correct it, and besides this, it is, according to custom, included in the terms of the contract, which allows pay for reporting “the Proceedings and Debates.” What is spoken comes usually under the head of debates, and that this prepared matter comes under the head of proceedings there can be no question. And, as far as the committee could ascertain from the evidence, the Reporter is always allowed for such matter.
Mr. Edgar Allan, a member of this Convention, has been in the employ of Mr. Samuel a portion of the time, but we would attach no blame to him on this account; Mr. Samuel was unable to procure enough other assistance at the time, and the work was done by Mr. Allan as an accommodation, in order to hasten its preparation for the printer, and had it been otherwise it would have been a matter beyond the jurisdiction of this Convention or Committee to investigate, as it was entirely an individual arrangement between Mr. Samuel and Mr. Allan, with which the public or Convention had no more to do than with any other individual affair between any two persons in the business community.
In regard to Mr. Samuel drawing pay for work which was not entirely ready for the press, we beg leave to differ with the majority report, which accuses Mr. Samuel of an impropriety in so doing. It appears from the evidence, that it is customary, under such contracts, for the Stenographer's accounts to be made up from the manuscripts, when completed and ready for the printer, except, under certain circumstances, the accounts are made up from the stenographic notes; and it also appears from the evidence that the present was one of those circumstances under which it was customary to make out the account from the notes. As this occurred in but one instance, and that according to an established custom, and as Mr. Samuel did not draw pay for as much service as he had actually performed at the time, and as the interests of the State were sufficiently guarded, we deem it but just and proper to exonerate Mr. Samuel from all blame in this matter. The same reasoning and conclusions may be applied to the Committee on Printing, who audited this account.
In regard to the manner of reporting the speeches, it appears that Mr. Samuel has reported according to the established usages, and has faithfully discharged the duties of his Office.
The majority report says: “It appears from the evidence of three of the members of your body, that Mr. Allan has, on several occasions, stated that he had so managed the printing as to make it pay the printer some six or seven hundred dollars more than it otherwise would have done ; and, that he further said, that if the other side of the House had been sharp, they would have detected it. These witness were unable to say in what this management consisted, but understood that it was making for the printer more than the Convention intended to allow him.” We entertain a high regard for the veracity of these gentlemen, but from the further examination of explanatory evidence, it appears to the undersigned that Mr. Allan had suggested to Mr. Hunnicutt that a different arrangement in his office would save him a considerable amount, and, in these remarks referred to by these witnesses, he referred to this arrangement, instead of meaning any arrangement whereby more money was drawn from the State than would otherwise have been drawn. As evidence of the correctness of this view of this subject we refer to the following statement of the majority: “In the matter of the printing done for the Convention, they are fully satisfied that the charges have been proper, and the same as other printers would have charged.” Again. they say, that there is no evidence of any fraud whatever in the matter of printing. And, as further proof of the correctness of the position taken by the minority of your Committee on this subject, we would state the fact, that from the evidence, it appears that instead of the printer defrauding the State, by the aid of Mr. Allan, the job is actually an unprofitable one.
The majority report censures the Committee on Printing for auditing accounts on the representation of the chairman. This is incorrect, from the fact, as appears from the evidence, that the Committee, though taking the representation of the chairman, (Mr. Allan) they kept watch of his representation by their own examinations, and taking the work, unbeknown to Mr. Allan, to other practical printers of the opposite party, who invariably said the accounts were correctly audited. Other measures were adopted to guard the public treasury in this particular. It would have been impossible for every one of the Committee to have examined every page of the manuscript. It also appears that no mistakes have occurred by the mode adopted by that Committee to ascertain the correctness of the accounts.
The majority report is contradictory in several particulars, one of which we will notice. In the first report, Mr. Allan, chairman of the Committee on Printing, is “greatly blamed ” for the manner of representing and auditing the accounts of the Stenographer. In the second report, though there was no additional evidence on this point, they exonerate him from all blame except the remarks he had made about managing the printing so the printers could make more by it.
The majority represent that about one-third of the matter prepared for the printer by the Stenographer, in the reports of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention, consists of “reports of committees, printed and other prepared matter, furnished by the officers of the Convention.” After a thorough examination of this subject we are satisfied that this matter does not comprise more than one-tenth of the reports, and would state that there was no evidence before the Committee as to the proportion of prepared matter, from which the majority could arrive at any conclusion.
After a careful and impartial deliberation upon the evidence and all the facts and circumstances bearing upon this case, the minority of your Committee would respectfully recommend for adoption, by your body, the following:
Resolved, That this Convention do hereby exonerate from all blame all persons to whom the investigation of this Committee had reference.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Before a mature deliberation upon the subjects embraced in the reports of this Committee, I attached my signature to the first report made by the majority; but after hearing further evidence, and after careful reflection upon the whole subject, I hereby endorse the minority report, and attach to it my signature.
- EDWARD NELSON. RICHMOND, VA., March 7, 1868.