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Robert Ingersoll Star Route Trials Second Opening

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Second Opening

Robert Green Ingersoll

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Washington, D.C. Dec. 21, 1882.

May it please the Court and gentlemen of the jury: We consider
that the right to be tried by jury is the right preservative of all
other rights. The right to be tried by our peers, by men taken from
the body of the county, by men whose minds have not been saturated
with prejudice, by men who have no hatred, no malice to gratify, no
revenge to wreak, no debts to pay, we consider an inestimable
right, regarding the jury as the bulwark of civil liberty. Take
that right from the defendants in any case and they are left at the
mercy of power, at the mercy of prejudice. The experience of
thousands of years, the experience of the English-speaking people,
of the Anglo-Saxon people, the only people now upon the globe with
a genius for law, is that the jury is a breastwork behind which an
honest man is safe from the attack of an entire nation. We esteem
it, we say, a privilege, a great and invaluable right, that we have
you twelve men to stand between us and the prejudice of the hour.
We believe that you will hear this case without passion, without
hatred, and that you will decide it absolutely in accordance with
the law and with the evidence. This is the tribunal absolutely
supreme. In a case of this character, gentlemen, you are the judges
of what is the law; you are the judges of what are the facts; you
are the absolute judges of the worth of testimony; and you have not
only the right, but it is your duty to utterly disregard the
testimony of any man that you do not believe to be true. You, I
say, are the exclusive judges, and for that reason we ask, we beg
you, to hear all this testimony, to pay heed to every word, and
then decide, not as somebody else desires, but as your judgment.
dictates, and as your conscience demands. Here before this jury all
letters of Attorneys-General, all desires of Presidents, all
popular clamor, all prejudice, no matter from what source, is
turned simply to dust and ashes, and you are to regard them all
simply as though they never had been.

There is one other thing. Some people are naturally
suspicious, It is an infinitely mean trait in human nature.
Suspicion is only another form of cowardice. The man who suspects
constantly suspects because he is afraid. Whenever you find a man
with a free, frank, generous, brave nature, you will find that man
without suspicion. Suspicion is the soil in which prejudice grows,

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


and prejudice is the upas tree in whose shade reason fails and
justice dies, And allow me to say that no amount of suspicion
amounts to evidence. No case is to be tried upon suspicion. No case
is to be tried upon suspicious facts. No case is to be tried on
scraps, and patches, and shreds, and ravelings. There must be
evidence; there must be absolute, solid testimony. A case is tried
according to the rocks of fact and not according to the clouds and
fogs of suspicion. No juror has a right to make a decision until he
feels his feet firmly fixed upon the bed-rock of truth.

So I say, gentlemen, that we are glad of the opportunity to
make a statement of this case to you, and to tell you exactly the
manner in which my clients became interested in what is known as
the star-route service. You have to be guided in this case by the
indictment. That is the star and compass of this trial. You cannot
go outside of it. The evidence must be confined to the charges
contained in that instrument. If you find us guilty of a
conspiracy, it must be such a conspiracy as is set forth in that
indictment. That indictment is the charter of your authority, and
you have no right to find us guilty of anything in the world except
that which is therein charged.

Now, let me give you an exceedingly brief statement of what we
are here for. It is charged in that indictment that all these
defendants, including one who has been discharged by a jury, who
has been found not guilty, Mr. Turner, including another who is
dead, Mr. Peck, conspired together for the purpose of defrauding
the United States, and we are met at the threshold with the
statement that conspiracy is very hard to prove. It is like any
other offence, gentlemen. They say conspirators generally meet in
secret. My reply to that is that people generally steal in secret,
and the fact that they stole in secret was never deemed an excuse
for not proving the offence before they were found guilty. You can
see that this is precisely like any other offence in the world. Men
when they commit crimes endeavor to get away from the public eye.
They are in love with darkness. They do not carry torches in front
of them. And it is so in every crime. But whether conspiracy is
difficult to prove or not, it must be established before you can
find the defendants guilty, That is a difficulty that the
Government must overcome by testimony. The jury must not endeavor
to overcome it by a verdict. And I say here to-day that the same
rule of evidence applies to this case as to any other, and you must
be satisfied by the testimony the Government will offer that these
men conspired together; that they entered into an arrangement
wherein the part of each was marked out, and that that arrangement
was contrary to law; and that the object of that arrangement was to
defraud the Government of the United States.

This indictment is kind enough to tell us the means that were
employed to carry out that conspiracy. How did they find these
means, gentlemen? They must have had some evidence on which they
relied. If they had evidence enough to convince them, they must
introduce that evidence here, and if that evidence establishes
beyond a reasonable doubt that these men conspired, then you will
find them guilty otherwise not. The difficulty of establishing it
is something with which you have nothing to do. How did they
conspire? What were the means they had agreed to use? Let us see.
Thomas J. Brady was the Second Assistant Postmaster-General. The

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Postmaster-General was not included in the scheme, consequently
they must deceive him. The Sixth Auditor was not included in this
conspiracy, and as by virtue of his office it was his duty to go
over all of these accounts and pass upon the legality of each item,
it was necessary to deceive him. According to the indictment Mr.
Turner was a clerk in the department, and his part of the rascality
was, on the jackets inclosing petitions, to make false statements
in regard to the contents of the petitions inclosed. The object of
that being that when the Second Assistant Postmaster-General, Mr.
Brady, exhibited these jackets to the Postmaster-General, it being
considered that he would not have time to read the petition, he
would be misled by the false statements on the cover touching the

The next step was for the contractors to get up false
petitions; that is, petitions to be signed by persons who did not
live along the route upon which the mail was to be carried. These
petitions also to be forged; that is to say, the names of persons
put there by another, or the names of fictitious persons written,
when in fact no such persons existed.

The next thing to do was to write false and fraudulent
letters; to induce others to write such letters; the next thing, to
make false affidavits; and the next thing, to make false orders --
those to be made by Mr. Brady -- and these false orders were to
have, as a false foundation, false petitions, false letters, false
communications, false affidavits, and fraudulently written

That is the indictment. That is the scheme said to have been
entered into by my clients with all of these defendants, and the
object being to defraud the Government of the United States. Now,
in order to establish that scheme, it would be necessary for the
Government to prove it. Not to assert it. Neither have you the
right to infer it. No man can be inferred out of his liberty. No
man can be inferred into the penitentiary. That is not the way to
deprive a man of his reputation and of liberty -- by inference.
They must prove it. They must prove that the petitions were false.
They must prove that the letters were fraudulent. They must prove
that the orders rested upon those false and fraudulent petitions,
letters, and affidavits; and they must prove that Mr. Brady knew
them to be false.

It is also stated in this indictment that service was to be
paid for when it was not performed; that service was discontinued
and a month's extra pay allowed; that fines were imposed and
afterwards set aside because the contractors agreed to pay fifty
per cent. of such fines to General Brady. I will speak of them when
I come to them.

Now, there is a clear statement. What part, then, did my
clients play in this scheme? I will tell you. It is charged in the
indictment that John M. Peck was in this scheme, and, although he
is dead, whatever he did, I imagine, can be established by the
Government. A man can be found guilty, I understand, of having
entered into a conspiracy with another, although the other be dead,
and the living man can be convicted.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Now, it is stated in the outset that my clients never had been
engaged in carrying the mail and that is regarded as an exceedingly
suspicious circumstance. A man has got to commence some time, if he
ever goes into the business, and if this doctrine be true, the
first bid that a man ever makes is evidence that he has entered
into a conspiracy. Suppose, on the other hand, my clients have long
been engaged in this business. What would the Government counsel
then have said? They would have said, gentlemen, that they had been
engaged for years in the business. They knew all the tricks that
were played, and consequently they were the very persons to form a
conspiracy. And that is the wonderful thing about suspicion. It
changes every fact. It colors every word it reads and every paper
at which it looks; and no matter what are the facts, the moment
they are regarded with a suspicious mind they prove what the man

So, then, the first charge is that we had never been in the
business, and consequently our going into the business must have
been the result of a conspiracy. Gentlemen, if the doctrine be laid
down that it is dangerous for a man to make a bid the result of
that doctrine will be to double the expenses of the Government in
carrying the mails. All that will be necessary, then, is for the
old bidders to combine. They will know that there is no danger of
any new men interfering with them, because the new men will be
immediately indicted for conspiracy and the old men will have the
field to themselves. You can see that this is infinitely absurd.
There is only one step beyond such absurdity, and that is
annihilation. No man can possess his faculties and get beyond that
absurdity, if it is evidence of conspiracy, because it is the first

As a matter of fact, however, John M. Peck had been engaged in
the mail business. He was engaged in the business before 1874. He
had been interested with others before that time. He was interested
in several important routes from 1874 to 1878. It was in the fall
of 1877 that he made arrangements to bid at the next letting. He
was a business man. He was not an adventurer. He was secretary at
that time of the Arkansas Central Railroad. He had been, I believe,
for two sessions a member of the Arkansas Legislature. He was in
good standing, solvent, and regarded as an honest man. In 1874 he
was interested in the bids and, as I said, was engaged in carrying
the mails at the time these contracts were entered into. He became
acquainted with John W. Dorsey, I believe, in 1874. When he made up
his mind to put in more bids for the letting of 1878 he went after
John W. Dorsey, and they met together in the city of New York, I
believe, in the month of September, and agreed that they would put
in some bids for the letting of 1878. Peck was acquainted with John
R. Miner and had been acquainted with him for a considerable time.
Mr. Miner wanted to go into some other business than that in which
he was then engaged, and those three men made up their minds to
bid. Was there anything criminal in that? Nothing. Any men anywhere
have the right to combine; the right to form a partnership; the
right to come together for the purpose of making proposals for
carrying the United States mails. Of course you will all admit
that. Now, that is what they did. There was nothing criminal,
nothing secret, nothing underhanded. Everything was above board,
open, and in the daylight. There is no conspiracy yet, and we will
show that.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


John M. Peck had been troubled with a lung disease. He had
gotten much better in September, and thought that he was almost
well. Later in the fall he took a severe cold and got much worse,
and from that difficulty, I believe, he never wholly recovered. He
went, however, to Colorado and New Mexico, and finally died.

Now, let us see about John W. Dorsey. I believe that great
pains have been taken to say that he was a tinsmith, which is a
suspicious circumstance. Why? Is there any law against a tinsmith
bidding to carry the mails? Is there any such provision in the
statute? And yet that has been lugged forward as one of the
evidences of a conspiracy in this case, and it has been lugged
forward in a way to cast some disgrace upon this man -- simply
because he was a tinsmith. Well, do you know I have as much respect
for a good tinsmith as for a good anything. What is the difference?
Sometimes I have thought I had more respect for a good tinsmith
than a poor professional man -- sometimes. In this country of all
others labor is held to be absolutely honorable, and I think a
thousand times more of a man who works in the street and takes care
of his wife and children than I do of somebody else who dresses
well and lives on the labor of others, and then is impudent enough
to endeavor to disgrace the source of his own bread. I think the
man who eats the bread of idleness is under a certain obligation to
speak well of labor. And yet we have the spectacle in this very
court of the Attorney General of the United States endeavoring to
cast a little stain upon this man. As a matter of fact, and I am
almost sorry to say it, John W. Dorsey is not a tinsmith. I am
almost sorry to make the admission. He happened to be a merchant,
which is no more honorable but somewhat easier. He dealt in stoves
and tinware. That, gentlemen, is his crime, and upon that rests the
terrible suspicion that he is a conspirator. And I want to say
more, that his reputation for honesty, his reputation for fair
dealing, is as good as that of any other man in the State in which
he resides. He made up his mind to cast his fortunes with John M.
Peck and with John R. Miner and make some bids for carrying the
mails of the United States. That is all there is about it.

There is, however, another suspicious circumstance, and that
is that John W. Dorsey was the brother of Stephen W. Dorsey, and
Stephen W. Dorsey at that time was a Senator of the United States.
That is another suspicious circumstance. Whenever you find a man
with a Senator for a brother, put him down as a conspirator.
Another suspicious circumstance, John M. Peck was the brother-in-
law of S.W. Dorsey, absolutely married a sister of Mrs. Dorsey, and
that was the beginning of this hellish conspiracy. It was
suspicious. He intended to rob the Government when he was courting
that girl.

Now, we come to another man, Mr. John R. Miner, and the
suspicious thing about Miner is that he lives in Sandusky. But that
of itself would be nothing. Dorsey lived there once, too. Now, do
you not see how they moved to that town with the diabolical purpose
of swindling this great Government? Miner was not in very good
health -- do you not see -- pretended to be sick so that he could
leave Sandusky; and in some way Miner and Dorsey were excellent
friends -- another suspicions circumstance; and for several years
whenever John R. Miner visited Washington he laid the foundations
of this conspiracy by always stopping at the house of Senator

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Dorsey -- another suspicious thing. And do you not recollect the
delight, the abandon with which Mr. Bliss emphasized the word
house, when he said that they met at Dorsey's house? I had a great
notion to get up and plead guilty on that emphasis. Miner came
here. He and Peck were acquainted; and wherever you find four men
acquainted, gentlemen, look out, there is trouble. When Miner came
here he went directly to the house of Senator Dorsey. I admit it
with all the damning consequences that flow from that admission. He
did not even go to a hotel. He went directly to Dorsey's house. I
want that in all your minds, because the prosecution regards that
as one of the foundation facts in this conspiracy, and while
admitting it, do you not see how much I save them in the way of

And there is another damning fact connected with this case.
Dorsey in the top of his house had set apart one room for an
office. It was up two or three pair of stairs. I think he
established his office there to shield himself a little from the
people who usually call on a Senator in the city of Washington. But
he found that he put himself to more trouble than he did them, so
he moved his office to the lower part of the building, and when
John Miner got to that house he occupied a room right next to that
office upstairs, and sometimes he went in there and wrote. Now, you
see, gentlemen, how that conspiracy was planted; how the branches
sprang out of the windows of that room and covered all the
territory of the United states. I might as well admit that
frightful fact. I do not know that they know that, but I might as
well admit it, because we want the worst to come first. Before
Miner came here he wrote a letter. There is another place to put a
pin of suspicion. He wrote a letter to S.W. Dorsey; that is, it was
Miner or Peck, I have forgotten which, and may be that very
forgetfulness of mine is another evidence of conspiracy. A letter
was written either by Miner or Peck to Stephen W. Dorsey, saying
that they were going to bid; that Peck was not well enough to be
here at that particular time, and would he be kind enough to hand,
that letter to some man in whom he had confidence and let that man
get such information as he could with regard to the routes upon
which they expected to bid -- all these Western star routes.

Now, what did S.W. Dorsey do? There was a man in town by the
name of Boone. He sent for Mr. Boone, and I believe that Mr. Boone
went to Mr. Dorsey's house, and that Dorsey handed him that letter
in his house. And what was the object of the letter? For Boone to
get information regarding these routes. Well, now, what did Boone
do? Boone made up a circular which he sent to all the post,
masters, or most of them, through Oregon, Washington Territory,
Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Kansas, Nebraska; that is
to say, the Western States and Territories; and in this circular a
certain number of questions were propounded to each postmaster.
First, the distance from that post-office to the next, and from the
next to the next, and so through the route. Second, the condition
of the roads, whether hilly or level. Third, about the snows in
winter and the floods in spring. Fourth, the cost of hay and corn
and oats. Fifth, the wages that would have to be paid to the man or
men; and it may be some questions in addition. Now, these
circulares were sent by Boone to all the postmasters in consequence
of a letter that he received in Dorsey's house. What for? So that
by the time that Miner and Peck and John W. Dorsey came they could

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


sit down and bid intelligently upon these routes; so that they
would have some information that would guide them; in other words,
that they would not be compelled to bid at random.

Now, we will show, gentlemen, that that was done, and if at
that time there had been a conspiracy, certainly such information
was of no particular value. Now, that is what Mr. Boone did, and I
believe that is about all he did at that time. There is no
conspiracy yet, no fraud yet. It is utterly impossible to defraud
the Government by getting information from postmasters as to the
condition of the roads, and as to the distance from one post-office
to another. There is no fraud yet, no conspiracy up to this point.
In a little while Mr. Miner and Mr. John W. Dorsey appeared. Ah,
but they say Stephen W. Dorsey was at that time a Senator of the
United States Yes, he was, and I believe he remained Senator until
the 4th of March, 1879. When his brother came we will show to you
that Stephen W. Dorsey said to his brother, "I would rather you
would not bid; I would much rather that you would keep out of this
business, because I am a Senator and somebody may find fault.
Somebody may suspect, and consequently I would much rather you
would get out of the business." John W. Dorsey did not agree with
him. He said he did not see how that could interfere with him, and
that he believed he could do well in that business, and the
consequence was he went on. There is nothing suspicious so far as
I can see in that. That is what we will show.

This man being a member of the United States Senate did what
he did out of pure friendship; did what he did for his brother,
what he did for Mr. Peck, and what he did for Mr. Miner from pure
friendship. I know it is very difficult for some people to imagine
that any man does anything for friendship. They put behind every
decent action the crawling snake of a mean and selfish motive. My
opinion of human nature is somewhat different. I have known
thousands and thousands of men capable of disinterested actions,
thousands of men that would help a brother, a brother-in-law, or a
friend, and help them to the extent of their fortune. I have known
such men and I never supposed such acts could be tortured into
evidence of meanness.

The first charge against Stephen W. Dorsey is that he sent
some bonds and proposals for bids to a postmaster by the name of
Clendenning, in the State of Arkansas. The trouble with these
bonds, as I understand it, was that the amount of the bid was not
put in the blank in the printed proposal. It is claimed by the
prosecution that according to the law the postmaster has no right
to certify to the solvency of the security until that blank is
filled. I want to explain this so that you will understand it. I
think I have one of the bonds and proposals here. I would like to
have the Court see exactly the scope of it. [Exhibiting blank form
of proposal and bond.] The proposal is that the undersigned, whose
post-office address is ----, of the county of and State of ----,
proposes to carry the mails of the United States from July 1, such
a date, to June 30 of such a date, being four years, between such
and such a place, under the advertisement of the Postmaster-
General, for the sum of ---- dollars per annum, Now, if I
understand the matter of the Clendenning bonds, they were filled up
with the exception of the blank in which the amount of the bid was
to be written. That is the charge, as I understand it. Whenever a

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


man makes a proposal to carry the mail for four years on a certain
route, that proposal must be accompanied with a bond in a certain
amount, and certain men must sign that bond as sureties, and then
a certain postmaster must certify to the solvency of the sureties.
the sureties having made oath as to their property. Now, understand
that perfectly. It is not the bond that a man gives after his bid
has been accepted. It is a bond that he gives to show that his bid
is in good faith. That bond is conditioned that if the contract is
awarded to him he will give another and sufficient bond not only,
but I believe it is also conditioned that he will carry the mail.
The charge is -- and let us get at it just exactly -- that some
bonds were sent to a man by the name of Clendenning, who was a
postmaster, and this blank was not filled. Let me tell you why. It
was the custom -- and I want your Honor to understand that
perfectly, because so much was made of it before in talk -- to
leave that blank unfilled. It is the blank for the amount of the
bid. In the advertisement of the Government the penalty of the bond
is stated, so that the amount of the bid has nothing to do with the
penalty in the bond. Understand me now. If the bond was for ten
thousand dollars, it was because that amount had been put in the
advertisement by the Government. It did not depend upon the amount
of the bid. It had nothing to do with it. The amount of the bid
threw no light upon the amount of the bond. The penalty of the bond
was fixed by the Government before the bid was made and inserted in
the advertisement published by the Government. Why then did they
not wish to fill up this blank? This blank, gentlemen, told the
amount of the bid. Where there are many bidders, and an important
route, if you let the postmaster who has to certify to the sureties
know the amount of the bid he might sell you. He could go and tell
somebody else "I have certified to all the sureties on this route,
and the lowest bid up to this time is fifteen thousand dollars,"
and the person whom he told might go and bid fourteen thousand nine
hundred and ninety-nine dollars and take the route. Ah, but they
say the postmaster is not allowed to tell the amount of the bid.
No. What was the penalty if he did? He would lose his office. Now,
here is a postmaster holding an office worth, perhaps, a hundred
dollars a century, or, perhaps, fifty dollars a year, and by
selling information as to one bid be might make ten thousand
dollars. I do not know what he could have made. Certainly the
bidders did not feel like trusting the secret of their bids to the
postmaster who certified to the sureties. As a consequence the bond
was filled up with, the penalty according to the advertisement, but
the blank in which the amount of the bid was to be written was not
filled, because they wanted the postmaster's mind left a blank upon
that subject. In other words, that blank was left unfilled, not to
defraud the Government, but to prevent other people from defrauding
the bidder. That is all there is about it. That is everything about
the Clendenning bonds. But it may be well enough to state,
gentlemen, that those Clendenning bonds were never used on a
solitary route in this indictment, and I believe never anywhere;
that no contract was ever awarded upon any one of those proposals.
The only rascality in the transaction, gentlemen, was the failure
to fill a blank; and the reason they failed to fill that blank was
because they did not want the postmaster to know the amount of the
bid. Let us come right down to practical matters and things. For
instance, suppose one of this jury is in the stone-cutting
business, and the Government should issue an advertisement calling
for proposals to furnish dressed granite, and specify that every

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


man who bid must file a bond in a penalty of five thousand dollars
to carry out his contract, and that that bond must be approved by
the postmaster here. Suppose it was a contract of great
proportions. Would the man who bid be willing that the amount of
the bid should be inserted in the blank to be passed upon by the
postmaster? No. Why? He would not want the postmaster to know it.
Who else would he not want to know it? He would not want his
sureties to know it. A man might be standing by while the bond was
being approved and read the amount of the bid. The bidder would be
afraid somebody would get at those figures and go and underbid him.
Every man of common, ordinary sense knows that. If you made a bid
you would not let your sureties know the amount and you would not
give the amount to the keeping of a postmaster, neither would you
leave it to chance or accident. You would say, I will leave the
amount a blank. I will keep it in my mind, and when the paper comes
into my hands for the last time I will write it in there and fold
it and seal it and give it to the Government. "That is what every
sensible and prudent man would do, and what has been done for
years. And yet that act is brought forward as something to stain
the reputation of an honest man; something to strike down as with
a sword the character of an ex-Senator. They even say he wrote upon
paper that had the mark of the United States Senate Chamber upon
it. That is only another evidence that there was nothing wrong in
it. It was stated, too, in the opening of this case, that an
affidavit was made upon paper that bore the mark of the National
Hotel of this city. Think of such a damning circumstance as that!
Well, gentlemen, so much for the Clendenning bonds. We will prove
that the blank was left unfilled on purpose, not to defraud the
Government, but to prevent other people from defrauding us. Let me
say in that connection that there was an investigation in 1878 upon
this very question. The Clendenning bonds were brought up.
Testimony was heard, and we will be able to show you the facts that
I have stated. Then, if I am right, gentlemen, there is nothing in
it; and when the opening statement was made the Government knew,
just as well as I know, that there was nothing in it; at least they
ought to have known it, Probably it is not proper for me to say
they knew it, because men get so prejudiced, so warped, so twisted
that it is hard to tell what they know or what they do not know.
But that has nothing to do with this case and, in my judgment, will
never be admitted by the Court. If it is admitted by the Court we
will establish exactly what I have told you. So much for the
Clendenning bonds. Do not forget that the penalty of the bond was
put in by the Government. Do not forget that the amount of the bid
was left blank simply to protect ourselves. Do not forget another
thing: That leaving that blank unfilled could not by any possible
peradventure injure the Government. The bond was just as good with
that proposal unfilled at the time the sureties signed it as though
it had been filled, It had to be filled before it was finally given
to the Government or else there would be no bid. If there was no
bid, then no obligation rested upon the sureties. Certainly they
could not be harmed, and if there was no bid certainly the
Government could not be harmed; unless the bid should have happened
to be lower than any received; and yet out of that nothing, out of
that one bramble, a forest of rascality has been manufactured.
Gentlemen, that is the result of suspicion when it is hoed by
malice and watered by hatred.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


The next suspicious circumstance, gentlemen, is that we bid.
That is a suspicious circumstance. Miner bid, Peck bid, and John W.
Dorsey bid. And the suspicious circumstance is that they did not
bid against each other. Why should they? I was at an auction the
other day and unconsciously bid against myself, but I did not think
it any evidence of rascality on my part; I thought it tended to
show that I was not attending strictly to business, and yet it is
brought forward as a suspicious circumstance that these gentlemen
did not bid against themselves. Another suspicious circumstance is
that they bid in their individual names. That is the way all the
bidding is done, I believe. I believe every bond has to be signed
by the individuals and not by any partnership. That I believe to be
one of the regulations of the department. Well, there is no
rascality yet, as far as I can see. Now, when the contract is
accepted -- I will come to the bidding question again -- the
contractor has to give a bond. One of those bonds will be put in
evidence in this case. You will see what the contractor is bound to
do. Then it can be subcontracted, You will find that the contract
given by the subcontractor to the department is not a hundredth
part as severe as the bond the contractor gives to the Government.
In the contract that we give to the Government certain things are
provided. You will find that a copy of it will be introduced. The
contractor is left to the mercy of discretion -- I believe that is
the word -- of the Postmaster-General You will find that if he
fails to carry the mail one trip, no matter by what he may be
prevented, by flood or storm or fire, he is not to be paid for it.
Although he is there ready with his men and horses, if he is
prevented by the elements he has no pay, If the Postmaster-General
thinks he ought to have carried it when he did not, he can take
from his pay three times the value of the trip. He can take from
him one quarter's pay. He reserves in his own breast the power to
declare that contract null and void, because in his judgment the
contractor has not done his duty. Everything is left to him. The
man who signs that contract gives a mortgage on his, life, liberty,
and pursuit of happiness, He has no redress. I simply call your
attention to this to show you the obligation that a contractor
takes upon himself. We will show you that he is under obligation to
discharge any carrier that the Government does not like; that he
has no right to carry any package or any letter that can go by
mail; that he is to forfeit a trip when it is not run, or not to
exceed three times the pay of a trip; that he is to forfeit one-
quarter of a trip if the running time is so far behind that he
fails to make connection with the next mail; that if he violates
any of these provisions he forfeits a penalty equal to a quarter's
pay, or if he violates any other provision touching the carriage of
the mail and the time and manner thereof, without a satisfactory
explanation in due time to the Postmaster-General, he can visit a
penalty in his discretion, and the forfeitures may be increased in
the penalty to a higher amount, in the discretion of the
Postmaster-General, according to the nature or frequency of the
failure and the importance of the mail. Provided that, except as
specified, and except as provided by law, no penalty shall exceed
three times the pay of a trip in each case.

It is also agreed by the said contractor and his sureties that
the Postmaster-General may annul the contract for repeated
failures; for violating the postal laws; for disobeying the
instructions of the Post-Office Department; for refusing to

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


discharge a carrier when required by the department; for
transmitting commercial intelligence or matter which should go by
mail; for transporting persons so engaged as aforesaid; whenever
the contractor shall become a postmaster, &e.

It is further stipulated and agreed that such annulment shall
not impair the right to claim damages from said contractor and his
sureties under this contract: but such damages may, for the purpose
of set-off or counter-claim in the settlement of any claim of said
contractor or his sureties against the United States, whether
arising under this contract or otherwise, be assessed and
liquidated by the Auditor of the Treasury for the Post-Office

And it is further stipulated and agreed by the said contractor
and his sureties that the contract may, in the discretion of the
Postmaster-General, be continued in force beyond its express terms
for a period not exceeding six months. You will see, gentlemen, how
perfectly, how absolutely, the contractor is in the power of the
department. The Government enforces its contracts. No matter how
many years may elapse they are still after the sureties and are
still after the principal. Nothing relieves a man but death. Only
a little while ago a case was decided in the Supreme Court of which
I will speak to you. An importer of sugar gave the importers, bond
to pay the duty upon that sugar. By the custom of trade, sugar is
sold in bond. The importer sold to a third person and the third
person went to get the sugar. By law he could only take it after
paying the tax; and yet one of the officers of the Government,
contrary to law, allowed him to take the sugar without paying the
tax. The Supreme Court has just held that the original importer and
his sureties are liable to pay that tax -- the man who took the
sugar out having become bankrupt -- although the sugar was given to
the second party simply by a violation of law, and that law was
violated by one of the officers of the custom-house without .the
knowledge or consent of the original importer. I tell you,
gentlemen, whenever a man gives a bond to this Government the
Government stays with him. The Government does not die; the
Government does not get tired; the Government does not get weary.
The Government can afford to wait, and the poor man with the bond
hanging over him cannot go into business, cannot get credit, but
just lingers out a life of expectation, of hope, and of
disappointment. I trust none of you will ever sign a bond to the
Government. There is another thing, gentlemen. If you bid on a
hundred routes and they are given to you and you put the service on
ninety-nine of the routes and carry it in accordance with the
contract, and yet fail on the hundredth route, the Postmaster-
General has a right to declare you a failing contractor. A failing
contractor on the hundredth route? Yes. On any more? Yes; on every
one. And whoever is declared a failing contractor on one route is
by virtue of that declaration a failing contractor on all. They are
all taken from him. So that when a man bids for more than one
route, for instance, a hundred or a thousand, and gets them and
carries them all absolutely according to his contract but one, he
can be declared a failing contractor on all. What does that mean?
It means not simply ruin to him, but ruin to every one of his
sureties, unless they are in a condition to go on and carry the
mail. I want you to understand something of the obligation of a
contractor with the Government of the United States.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Now, I come to the bidding. These bids were made with a full
understanding of the obligation of a bidder. Messrs. Miner, Peck,
and John W. Dorsey bid, I believe, on about twelve hundred routes.
You see you are in great luck in bidding if you get one route in
fifty that you bid upon. In the first place, there are about ten
thousand star routes. I do not know that it is too much to say that
the number of bids runs up into the hundreds of thousands;
somewhere in that neighborhood. Hundreds of men often bid on one
route. Consequently, nobody who bids expects to get more than a few
of the routes for which they bid. Now, is there the slightest
evidence in the statement of the Government as to the frauds in
this bidding? Let me tell you how some frauds have been committed.
Suppose, for instance, this was a fraudulent business, and Miner,
Peck, and Dorsey were bidding. Let me explain it to you. I want you
to know it. All there is in this case is simply to have you
understand it. That is all there is. And if you do not agree with
me when we get through the case I shall simply think that you have
not comprehended it. Say that four men bid on the same route, one
man four thousand dollars, another man three thousand dollars,
another man two thousand dollars, and another man one thousand

Now, the man who bids one thousand dollars is of no account,
has not a dollar in the world, and so when the bid is given to him
he does not want it. He is what they call a straw man. The law
provides then that the next man may have it. The law does not
provide that he must take it. He may have it if he wants to, but
you cannot force him to take it, because he is not the lowest
bidder. He is the two thousand dollar man. He is another straw
gentleman. He does not want it. Then the Government offers it to
the next man at three thousand dollars. He is another chap made of
hay. He says he doesn't want it. Understand the Government cannot
force these straw and hay men to take it. Then they go to the
fourth fellow, who bid four thousand dollars. It is a good thing at
four thousand, and he says, "Yes; I will take it." That is what
they call fraudulent bidding. If you had found Dorsey and Miner and
Peck bidding on the same route and one of them failing and another
one taking it, you would not only have suspected fraud, but you
would have known it. Now, if it is a badge of fraud for them to bid
upon the same route and apparently against each other, I will ask
you if it is not a badge of fair dealing that they were not found
bidding against each other. They bid on about twelve hundred
routes, and much to their astonishment they got one hundred and
thirty-four contracts.

You have heard here a great deal of talk about the number of
men and horses. We will show you all about it. Men differ upon this
subject. If men did not differ upon it at all these bids would be
alike. Instead of being a dozen bids, all different, and differing
sometimes as much as ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or a hundred
dollars or more, they would bid the same. If they all agreed on the
number of horses and men it would take, and about what it would
cost, they would bid about alike, wouldn't they? But when they are
bidding they honestly differ. One man says it would take twenty
horses, and another says "no, it will take forty." Do you not know
that the number of horses depends a great deal upon the kind of man
who makes the estimate. Here is a man who is hard and brutal, and
he says a horse can do so much work. He says it is cheaper to buy

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


him and wear him out than it is to feed him decently. You have
known men who were perfectly willing to make fortunes out of a
horse's agony, and out of animal pain. There are hundreds of them
in the world. Now take it on horse railroads, and with freighters,
and teamsters. Whenever you find a mean, infamous man, if he cannot
whip his wife, he will take his spite out on his horse. If a man is
a good, broad, generous, free fellow he will say, "I don't want to
work that horse to death; I think it will take four horses. I am
going to keep my horses fat, and I am going to treat them as a
gentleman should." Another man, a wretch, will come up and swear it
would not take more than fifteen horses. When his horses are
through the service you will simply see a pile of bones wrapped in
a lamentable hide. You understand that.

Well, these men made twelve hundred bids and got one hundred
and thirty-four contracts. Ah, but they say, here is another badge
of fraud, another badge. Ah, they bid on small routes, on cheap
routes, on routes where the mail was carried infrequently and on
slow time. If it is a badge of fraud to bid on such routes the
Government can never let out any more. Most of these routes were
cheap routes. Now, I owe it to you to give you the reason for this.
We will prove in the first place that these men were not rich men.
If they had been very rich they probably would not have gone into
the business at all. They would have gone into that perfectly
respectable business of buying Government bonds. They would have
bought Government bonds and made other fellows pay the interest,
and twice a year they would have formed a partnership with a pair
of shears, and thus in the sweat of their faces they would clip
their coupons. They bid on poor routes. Why? They were poor,
comparatively speaking. They had not the money to stock the
expensive routes where four horse coaches were run. They preferred
to take the cheaper lines. Why? Because they could stock them. They
would have been able to have stocked the routes if they had only
obtained the number they expected. But as I told you, they got many
more routes than they expected. Was that for the benefit of the
Government? How did these men come to bid so cheaply on some of
these routes? I will tell you. Because they had the information,
because they had received the facts from all the postmasters on the
routes, and consequently they made a good close calculation, and
the result was that their bids were below others, and the fact that
their bids were accepted saved the Government hundreds of thousands
of dollars. When they found themselves with all these contracts,
the first hard work they did was to give away all they could. That
was the first hard work. They had contracts, not for sale, but just
to give, and they succeeded in giving away several of them. I
believe they sold two of these children of conspiracy for the
enormous sum of one hundred dollars each. That was the highest sale
they made at that time. Afterwards another route was sold which I
will explain when I come to it. Now there is no rascality yet. No
fraud yet. No conspiracy yet. Well, they then went to work to get
their bonds. But first let me say that there was another reason for
bidding on cheap routes. Whenever the bid is above five thousand
dollars, then the man who bids must, at the time he bids, put up a
check for five per cent. of the amount.

A check certified by a national bank. For instance, if it all
comes to a hundred thousand dollars he has got to put in a
certified check for five thousand dollars. Even in the little bids

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


we made we had to deposit with the Government some twenty-six or
twenty-eight thousand dollars, and I do not know but more, in cash,
or what is the same as cash, for the bank certifies that the money
is there. That is another reason they bid on smaller routes. What
is the next? The Government asks such frightful bonds, such
terrible amounts, that a man must be almost a millionaire, or else
there must be a confidence in him that is universal, before he can
give these bonds.

There was one route, at this very bidding where they had to
give bonds for six hundred and forty thousand dollars, and the
sureties upon these bonds under oath had to testify that they had
real estate to the value of six hundred and forty thousand dollars,
exclusive of all debts, dues, and demands. So there was another
reason for bidding upon small routes. Where the amount was under
five thousand dollars no certified check had to be deposited, and
the smaller the route of course the smaller the bond.

Now, I have endeavored to show you the reasons that we bid
upon these routes instead of upon the larger ones. The reasons as
stated by the Government are that we took these routes where the
service was once a week, so that we could have the service
increased; that we took those routes where the time was long so
that we could have it shortened, that is to say, expedited. But I
tell you that when a perfectly good reason lies at the very
threshold of the question you have no right to go further. The
reasons I have given to you it seems to me are perfect and you need
no more.

Now, then, we got, I say, about one hundred and thirty-four
routes. Of these, one hundred and fifteen are without complaint.
There is not a word about the other one hundred and fifteen.
Recollect it. We got one hundred and thirty-four routes. In this
indictment are nineteen; one hundred and fifteen appear to be
perfectly satisfactory to this great Government. There is not a
word as to those routes, not one word, I say, as to one hundred and
fifteen routes, and they want you to believe that these defendants
deliberately selected nineteen routes out of one hundred and
thirty-four about which to make a conspiracy, and that they left
one hundred and fifteen to go honestly along, but picked out
nineteen for the purpose of defrauding the Government.

Now, then, when these gentlemen found themselves with these
routes, the next thing was to put the stock and the carriers upon
them. As I told you, a good many more had been awarded to them than
they anticipated. They had not the money. So, in putting the stock
upon several of the routes, they found it necessary to borrow some
money, and here comes another suspicious circumstance. Mr. Miner
borrowed some money of Stephen W. Dorsey, and everybody is
astonished that any man would be mean enough to loan money to
another; that any man could so far forget the dignity of the office
that he held as to help a friend. Their idea of a Senator is of
such a lofty and dignified character that he ceases to take
interest in anything except national affairs; that after he has
been sworn in he forgets all the relationships and friendships of
the world, and the idea of asking him to loan money seems, to the
prosecution, to be the height of unconstitutionality. But as a
matter of fact he did loan some money, and we will show you how

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


that loan was treated, showing you that at that time he had not the
slightest interest in it. He loaned some money, and kept loaning
money until, I believe, he had given them about sixteen thousand
dollars to get these routes on. Then he, being on his way to New
Mexico, met in the city of Saint Louis John R. Miner, who at that
time was coming back, I think, from Montana or Dakota, where he bad
been putting stock on a route. Miner saw Dorsey in Saint Louis, and
said to him, "We have got to have a little more money, and I want
you to indorse my note or to loan me your note and I can get it
discounted in the German-American Bank in Washington." Finally,
Dorsey said to him, "You have already obtained from me about
sixteen thousand dollars: I will give you the note you ask, or
indorse your note upon one condition, and that is that you shall
give me orders" -- what are called Post-Office drafts -- "not only
for the amount of this note, but for the amount of the sixteen
thousand dollars. "We shall insist, gentlemen, that that evidence
shows exactly our position, and that you are entitled not only to
draw from it, but that you must draw from it the inference, the
fact, that we had no interest in those routes. Finally that was
agreed to.

Now, understand it, at that time. a contractor with the
Government who had agreed to carry the mail for a certain time
could give what are called post-office drafts or orders -- you
know. orders on his quarterly pay -- and they would be taken to the
proper officer in the Post-Office Department and they would be
accepted, not for the full amount, understand, but for any amount
that might be due that contractor. For instance, he might fail to
carry the mail, he might be fined, and consequently the amount of
that draft might not be there, so that the only thing the Post-
Office Department agreed to do was to pay upon that order or draft
anything that was due to the contractor. That was done at that
time, and why? Because there was no way other than that to secure
these advances. So he gave these drafts. He came on to Washington.
The note was put into the German-American Bank. The orders on the
Post-Office Department were filed with it, and the money advanced
by the bank and charged to Stephen W. Dorsey. That made, then, at
that time about twenty-five thousand dollars that Dorsey had
advanced. That being done he went on about his business.

Now, I will show you what happened after that. I think the
note in the German-American Bank was nine thousand dollars or ten
thousand dollars, I have forgotten which. Dorsey then went on to
New Mexico from Saint Louis, and remained there, I believe, until
December, 1878. Now, I want you to understand this, because here
turns a very important question, and a very important point. Now,
you recollect the information about these bids was collected in the
autumn and winter of 1877. The last bid was to be put in, I think,
February 28, 1878. Now, this was in the August of that year, 1878.
Still being pressed for money, Miner, Peck, and J.W. Dorsey were in
danger of being declared failing contractors. Now, recollect it. We
will show that at that time Brady, who, according to the
Government, was a co-conspirator, threatened to declare Dorsey,
Peck, and Miner failing contractors, and if he had declared them
failing contractors even on one route that was the end of all. At
that time Miner and John W. Dorsey sought out Mr. Harvey M. Vaile,
and let me say that is the first appearance of Mr. Vaile in these
contracts. He knew nothing about the bidding, was not in Dorsey's

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


house, knew nothing about the letting. That is his first appearance
in these contracts, August, 1878. Now let us see what he did. He
was a man of means. He had some money; had been, I believe, for a
long time engaged in carrying the mails; understood the business.
They will tell you that is a suspicious circumstance as to him, and
that the fact that that was John Dorsey's first experience is a
suspicious circumstance as to him. Really to avoid suspicion you
would have to have a man that had been in it a long time but never
had anything to do with it. They got him, and offered what? To give
him a third interest in this entire business. I think that was it.
They were to give him a third interest in this entire business, a
business that had been born of conspiracy, a business that had as
a silent partner the man who fixed the amount of money to be paid.
Think of that. According to the statement of the Government, here
was a conspiracy full-fledged, perfect in its every part, flanked
by the Second Assistant Postmaster-General, buttressed by all the
clerks they desired, and yet that conspiracy got so hard up that in
August, 1878, nine or ten months after its creation, it was willing
to give a third to anybody who would advance a little money to
carry the thing on.

So Mr. Vaile came in. Now, then, they had to secure Vaile
against any loss, and it seems that on July 1, I believe, of that
year, the law allowed the subcontract to be filed. It was a little
while before that that a law had been passed for the protection of
subcontractors. That was all explained to you yesterday. You know
it is something like a mechanic's lien; that if the subcontractor
would only file his subcontract in the Post-Office Department and
let that department know the terms of it they would not pay the
original contractor until this subcontractor was paid. Now, that
law had gone into effect a little while before August, 1878, and
the effect of that law, if anybody filed a subcontract on these
routes, was to cut out all those post-office orders that Miner had
given to secure Dorsey. You understand me now, do you not? It was
when he met him in Saint Louis that it was agreed that these post-
office orders were to be given and filed with the German-American
Bank in this city. Now, then, the law passed for the protection of
subcontractors, and subsequently the filing of subcontracts on
those very routes, would render those post-office orders absolutely
worthless. Very well. When they made the contract with Mr. Vaile
they agreed to file the subcontracts with the department to protect
Vaile and that rendered S.W. Dorsey's security absolutely nothing.
That cut out all other claims, drafts, and everything else, and at
that time Mr. Miner was fully authorized by power of attorney from
J.W. Dorsey and from John M. Peck, who was at that time in New
Mexico, to make this transfer to Vaile.

Now, see where we are on August 16, 1878. On Dorsey's return
in December, 1878 -- he had not been here from that time, and do
you not see he had nothing to do with it -- he found that these
subcontracts had been filed. He found that the note in the German-
American Bank had been protested, and he found that his collateral
security was not worth a dollar, that it was all gone. Thereupon he
demanded a settlement. The matter drifted along for a little while,
and a settlement was made with the bank; and Mr. Vaile, holding the
subcontract, undertook to pay that Dorsey note, and he did pay it.
He took it up, and gave, I believe, his own instead, and that was
finally paid. But the money due Dorsey, the sixteen thousand

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


dollars that at that time amounted to something more by virtue of
interest, was not provided for. The money that had been expended by
John W. Dorsey was not provided for. The money expended by Peck was
not provided for. Now, I want you to see exactly how that matter
stood at that time. We have got it up to that time and here it
stands, and the chief conspirator out sixteen thousand dollars and
without any interest in one of the routes. There is where he was at
that time, and that is what we will show. The brother of the chief
conspirator ten thousand dollars out, and not the interest of one
cent in any route. The brother-in-law of the conspirator about ten
thousand dollars out, and not a cent in. That was the condition of
this conspiracy at this time, and when Vaile took these routes
Brady telegraphed him and asked him, "What routes of Miner, Dorsey,
and Peck, are you going to put the stock on? This thing can be
continued no longer. The stock must go on. We will show it. Now,
having got to that point, we will take another step. There is
nothing like understanding things as we go along.

Now, from the time Mr. Vaile took the route, to the settlement
in 1879, to which I will call your attention in a little while, Mr.
Vaile had the absolute control. Neither Peck nor S.W. Dorsey had
the slightest thing to do with one of those routes until the final
settlement, and I say to these gentlemen of the prosecution now,
that in that time they can find no line, no word from Stephen W.
Dorsey upon the subject. They cannot find that he wrote a word to
any official, that he sent a petition to anybody, that he wrote a
letter to any human being upon the subject, or that he took, any
more interest in it than in the ashes of Sodom and Gomorrah. It
went right along.

Now, then, up to this time, Stephen W. Dorsey had made
nothing. He was only out about sixteen thousand dollars or eighteen
thousand dollars. John W. Dorsey was in the same healthy financial
condition. John M. Peck had reaped the same rich harvest of ten
thousand dollars lost, and all the things had been turned over to
Mr. Vaile; John W. Dorsey put out -- left out -- with nothing to
show. That is the first chapter in this conspiracy.


I believe when I stopped, the principal conspirators were
substantially "broke." The head and front was out sixteen or
eighteen thousand dollars, and the other two ten thousand dollars
each. Now, a contract was made, and I propose to prove that
contract in the course of this trial. When that contract comes to
be shown, it will be about this: That, on the 16th day of August,
1878, H.M. Vaile, John R. Miner, John M. Peck, and John W. Dorsey
made an agreement. That agreement made a partnership, and we will
show that a partnership was formed by and between Miner, Vaile,
Peck, and Dorsey on the 16th day of August, 1878. We will show by
the articles of that partnership that H.M. Vaile was made
treasurer, and that all the other partners agreed, by suitable
powers of attorney, to put the collection of all the money from the
Government absolutely in his hands. When he got the money he
agreed, first, to pay all the subcontractors; second, the expenses
necessary and incident to the proper conduct of the business;
third, to divide the profits remaining among the parties as
provided in that contract. The profits were to be divided as

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


follows: From routes in Indian Territory, Kansas, Nebraska, and
Dakato, to H.M. Vaile, one-third; to John R. Miner, one-sixth; to
John M. Peck, one-sixth; and to John W. Dorsey, one-third. From
routes in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah,
Idaho, Washington Territory, Oregon, Nevada, and California, to
H.M. Vaile, one-third; to John R. Miner, one-third, and to John M.
Peck, one-third. Before any division of profits was to be made, the
sums which before. that time had been advanced were to be paid to
the parties so advancing such sums; and if the profits were not
sufficient to repay the entire sums so advanced, they were to be
paid from time to time during the existence of the life of these
contracts. Now, you will find that such contract was made on the
16th day of August, 1878, and that Mr. H.M. Vaile then took
absolute and complete control of every one of these routes, and the
only thing they asked of him was to repay the money that had been
advanced, which, as you know, and as I have told you, was the
sixteen or eighteen thousand dollars by S.W. Dorsey, the ten
thousand dollars by Peck, and about the same amount by John W.
Dorsey. Now that is understood. At that time certain papers were
executed by all the parties. I told you that a law had been passed
by virtue of which a man could make a subcontract and have that
subcontract put on file, and thereupon he could be protected by the
Government. Now, when H.M. Vaile took these routes, and they were
to be managed by him, subcontracts were made by the other parties
to Mr. Vaile, and Mr. Vaile put those subcontracts on record. Now
you can see that they gave him the absolute and entire control of
every route, That was the condition. I have explained to you the
liability of a contractor. He cannot put it off on a subcontractor.
He is the man primarily responsible to the Government during the
life of that contract, and for six months thereafter. Whenever a
contract is awarded to any person, he is regarded as the original
contractor, and his name is kept upon the books of the department
during the life of that contract. No matter how many subcontracts
may be made, he is looked to primarily if there is a failure of a
trip, or if there is a failure of the service, and he is
responsible for its complete performance. If there comes some great
storm and the road is obstructed by snow, or if the bridges are all
carried away by flood, and the subcontractor throws down the
contract, the original contractor must be ready to take it up; and
if he fail to do so, he can be fined three times what he has
received for each trip. There is one case in one of these nineteen
routes, gentlemen, where the fines exceeded the entire pay simply
because they did not carry the mail according to the contract. Now,
then, these parties finally made a settlement and they divided
these routes. They divided them, They ceased to have any interest
in common. Recollect, that was in April, 1879. I want you to know
it because this entire case depends on your knowing it. This entire
case, gentlemen of the jury, depends on your understanding it. In
April, 1879, Mr. Vaile having had possession of these routes for
several months, a division was made of them, and all interest in
common was at that moment severed. At this time, I say, these
routes were divided, and all partnership and all partnership
interest was absolutely destroyed. I want to tell you why. When
Dorsey returned from New Mexico and found that his orders on the
Post-Office Department had been superseded by subcontracts and that
his collateral security was worthless he was indignant, and at that
time he and Mr. Vaile had a quarrel. He did not think he had been
properly treated, and for that reason the moment he got the note at

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


the German-American Bank provided for, the moment he induced Mr.
Vaile to assume the payment of that note, he gave evidence that he
wanted a settlement. Not that he wanted the routes divided at that
time, because he did not dream of such a thing. He wanted the
settlement. He wanted his money. The arrangement that had been made
with Mr. Vaile was unknown to Mr. Dorsey, who at that time was in
New Mexico; and, as I told you before, when he returned and found
that the note that had been given to the German-American National
Bank was protested, and found, as I told you twice, his collateral
security was worthless, he wanted a settlement. He wanted his money
refunded to him. They said to him, "We haven't the money. We have
just got the stock really upon these routes. We have just got under
way, and we cannot pay out the money." "Very well," said he, "what
will you give me?" I want you all to see that this was a simple,
natural, ordinary proceeding. Said he, "I want my money." Said
Vaile to him, "We haven't the money, but I will tell you what we
will do. We will divide the routes with you." Now, recollect at
that time that they had a hundred and thirty-four routes, and had
given some of them away. At that time they agreed upon a division,
and they agreed how that division should be made. We will prove the
agreement to you. The agreement was that Mr. Vaile should choose
first. taking the route he wanted -- he and Miner being to-gather
at that, time -- that Mr. Dorsey should choose the next, and Mr.
Miner should choose the third route; and then that Mr. Vaile should
choose the fourth, Stephen W. Dorsey the fifth route, Mr. Miner the
sixth route, Mr. Vaile the seventh route, and so on. 'They finally
concluded it would be fair for Mr. Vaile to take the best route,
Dorsey the next best, and Miner the next best, and then again Vaile
the best, Dorsey the next best, and Miner the next best, and that
that would be an average that would do justice to each, In that
way, gentlemen, they divided these routes. There was no conspiracy;
nothing secret. This division was made on the 6th day of April,
1879, not only after Dorsey had gone out of the Senate, but after
he had advanced this money, after they had failed to repay him,
after he had failed to collect it, and when he finally had said, "I
must have some settlement that recognizes my claim." Gentlemen, I
want you to know that. In this case that fact will be one of the
great central facts. On the 6th day of April, 1879, these routes
were absolutely divided, and after that they had nothing in common.
But you recollect that these routes were divided by chance. Mr.
Vaile chose the first route. He might choose a route that had been
bid off by Peck, or be might choose a route that had been bid off
by John W. Dorsey. Stephen W. Dorsey took the next route, and that
might have been a route that had originally been awarded to his
brother, or to Peck, or to Miner. You can see how that is. The
division was here complete. Mr. Miner did not have the routes he
had bid off and that had been given to him by the Government. Mr.
Vaile came in, and as Mr. Vaile was not an original bidder he took
routes that had been awarded to Miner and to Peck and to John W.
Dorsey. By the division Stephen W. Dorsey came into possession of
routes that he never had bid off, because he never bid for one.
Consequently as he went along with those routes, he needed and he
had oftentimes the affidavit or the certificate of the original
contractor. That was a necessity. Otherwise the division could not
have been carried out. Anything that arises from the necessity of
the case does not tend to show any conspiracy or any illegal
partnership. I hope you understand perfectly that on the 6th day of
April, 1879, these routes were divided and Stephen W. Dorsey took

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


his share because they at that time owed him between sixteen and
eighteen thousand dollars.

What more did he do, gentlemen? He agreed at that time that he
would refund to John W. Dorsey all the money he had expended. That
amount was about ten thousand dollars. It was nine thousand and
something. He also agreed that he would refund to John M. Peck, who
is now dead, the money he had expended, which was between nine and
ten thousand dollars. He also agreed that he would take the routes
for the money be had expended, and that was between sixteen and
eighteen thousand dollars. So, when those routes were turned over
to him they were taken in full of over sixteen thousand dollars
advanced by him, ten thousand dollars that he was to give to his
brother, and ten thousand dollars that he was to give to John M.
Peck -- in the neighborhood of thirty-eight thousand dollars in
all. Speaking of the sum without interest it amounted to thirty-six
thousand dollars. Those routes were turned over to him. Gentlemen,
it was not done in secret. When that division was made, the law
having provided no way for A to assign a contract to B, that
assignment had to be accomplished by a subcontract, and
consequently subcontracts had to be given to Vaile, subcontracts to
John R. Miner, and subcontracts to S.W. Dorsey, and yet the
original contractor was still held by the Government. When the
subcontract was made, it was for the entire amount of the pay; not
one dollar remained for the original contractor. Now, I want to
state to you what we are going to prove about that. After the
division was made, to show you the interest taken by the arch-
conspirator, we will prove these facts: That when the routes
awarded to him by chance, on the 6th day of April, 1879, had been
awarded, he left the city of Washington in a few days, and went to
New Mexico; that he returned here on the 15th or 16th of May; that
he left again on the 19th of May, and went to Arkansas; that from
Arkansas he went to New Mexico, and returned to Washington on the
21st day of June, and that on the 27th of June he left for New
Mexico. The next time he visited Washington was in July of the
following year, 1880. He remained here one day, left and returned
again to witness the inauguration of General Garfield. From June
27, 1879, up to the present hour I challenge these gentlemen to
show that Stephen W. Dorsey ever wrote one line, one word, one
letter, to any officer of the Post-Office Department. I challenge
them to show that he ever took the slightest interest in any star
route, or said one word to any human being about that business,
except in explanation when attacked by the Government or in the
newspapers. Now, gentlemen, after the division of these routes what
did Stephen W. Dorsey do? This is a story, complicated, it may
seem, perfectly plain when you understand the surroundings. It is
a story necessary for you to know. After he got these routes what
did he do? Did he want them? Did he want to engage in carrying the
mail of the United States? Was that his business? At that time he
had a ranch in New Mexico where he was raising cattle. That was his
business, and is up to to-day. Did he want to stay here? Did he
want to attend to these contracts? That is for you to determine.
Did he want to enter into some partnership by which the Government
was to be fleeced? That is for you to say. I tell you he had
another business. I tell you he had a ranch in New Mexico, and we
will prove it to you, and that ranch was of more importance to him
than all the star routes in the United States. We will show you
that at that time he could not have afforded to waste his time on

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


these routes; that the business he was then engaged in was too
profitable to waste any time in the mail business. Profitable as
these gentlemen appear to think it was, what did he do? just as
soon as he could make the arrangement he went to a gentleman living
in Pennsylvania by the name of Bosler. Who is Bosler? He is a man
well acquainted with the business of contracting with the
Government. He has been in that business for years and years. He is
a man of ample fortune, excellent reputation, considered by his
friends and neighbors to be a gentleman and an honest man. He went
to him. That we will show you. He said to Mr. Bosler, "I have
advanced money by the indorsement of a note. I am in a business
that I do not understand. We have had to divide the routes in order
for me to have security for my debt. I want to turn these routes
over to you. I am not acquainted with the business of carrying the
mail, I know absolutely nothing about it. I want you to take it."
How did he turn it over? We will show. He said to Mr. Bosler, "You
take all the routes that have been given to me; every one -- You
run them and you pay me back my money, and then we will divide the
profit." Mr. Bosler said he was not very well acquainted with post-
office business, but he understood how to transact any ordinary
business, and he would take them. That is all there is to it. He
took the routes; every one. I believe that he took absolute control
within a few months of the 6th day of April. I do not know but the
warrants for the first quarter were paid or came in some way to S.
W. Dorsey. But for the second quarter Mr. Bosler took them, and
from that day to this Mr. Bosler has controlled those routes. He
has carried every mail or has contracted with the man who did carry
it. Every solitary thing that has been done from that day to this
has been done by him. Every dollar has been collected by Mr.
Bosler, and every dollar has been disbursed by Mr. Bosler. And
before we get through I am going to tell you how all the routes
that were given to Mr. S.W. Dorsey came out. Let me tell you how
they came out. Mr. Bosler has carried the mail, paid the expenses,
kept the accounts, and, gentlemen, I am going to tell you how much
he made out of this vast conspiracy that has convulsed that part of
the moral world that has been hired and paid to be convulsed. I am
going to tell you exactly how we came out on all this business. I
will give you the product of all this rascality, of all this
conspiracy, of all the written and spoken lies; I will tell you our
joint profit on this entire business; a business that promised to
change the administration of this Government; a business about
which reputations have been lost, and no reputations will be won;
counting it all, every dollar, and taking into consideration the
midnight meetings, the whisperings in alleys, the strange grips and
signs that we have had to invent and practice, you will wonder at
the amount. I will give it to you all. Mr. Bosler has kept the
books, has expended every dollar, collected every warrant, and I
say to you to-day that the entire profit has been less than ten
thousand dollars, not enough to pay ten witnesses of the
Government. Our profits have not been one-fiftieth of the expense
of the Government in this prosecution -- not one-fiftieth, and I
say this, gentlemen, knowing what I am saying. It is charged by the
Government that these gentlemen were conspirators; that they
dragged the robes of office in the mire of rascality; that they
swore lies; that they made false petitions; that they forged the
names of citizens; that they did all this for the paltry profit of
ten thousand dollars. That is what we will show you. And the moment
this reform administration swept into power they cut down the

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


service on these routes. They not only did that, but they refused
to pay the month's extra pay, and they committed all this villainy
in the name of reform. And do you know some of the meanest things
in this world have been done in the name of reform? They used to
say that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. I think
reform is. And whenever I hear a small politician talking about
reform, borrowing soap to wash his official hands, with his mouth
full and his memory glutted with the rascality of somebody else I
begin to suspect him; I begin to think that that gentleman is
preparing to steal something. So much, then, for the conspiracy up
to this point, up to the division of these routes in 1879. Now
recollect it.

Now, the next charge that is made against us, and it is a
terrific one, is that these defendants, my clients, have filled the
Post-Office Department with petitions -- false petitions; forged
petitions. I want to tell you here to-day that these gentlemen will
never present any petitions upon any route upon which my clients
are interested that they will claim was forged -- not one. Have we
not the right, gentlemen, to petition? Has not the humblest man in
the United States a right to send a petition to Congress? Has not
the smallest man -- I will go further -- has not the meanest man
the right to petition Congress? Why, it is considered one of our
Constitutional rights not only, but a right back of the
Constitution, to make known your grievances to the governing power.
Every man always had a right to petition the king. There is no
government so absolutely devoid of the spirit of liberty that the
meanest subject in it has not the right to express his opinion to
the king -- to the czar. Upon what meat do these officers feed that
they are grown so great that an ordinary citizen may not address a
petition to one of them? Now, I ask you, if you were living in
Colorado and could get a mail once a week, have you not the right
to petition your member of Congress to have it three times a week?
Do you not know that every member of Congress from every State,
every delegate from every Territory, is judged by his constituents
by the standard of what he does. By what he does for whom? By what
he does for them. They send a man to Congress to help them, and
they expect that man to get them a mail just as often as any other
member of Congress gets his people a mail, do they not? And if he
cannot do that they will leave that young gentleman at home. They
will find another man. It is the boast of a member of Congress when
he returns to his constituents, "I have done something for you. You
only had a mail here once a week. I have got it four times a week,
gentlemen." "Here is a river that was navigable. I have got a
custom-house." "Here is a great district in which the United States
holds a court and I have an appropriation for a court-house." Up
will go the caps; they will say, "He is the man we want to
represent us next session." But if he sneaks back and says,
"Gentlemen, you do not need a court-house, you have mails often
enough," the reply of the people is, "And you have been to Congress
often enough." That is nature, and no matter how highly we are
civilized when you scratch through the varnish you find a natural

Now, then, every member of Congress felt it was his duty, his
privilege, and his leverage, to have the mails established, and
when the people got up petitions he would indorse them. He would
look at the petitions. There was the principal man, you know, in

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


his town. He would look down a little farther. There was a fellow
that had an idea of running against him. He would look down a
little farther, and there was the man who presented his name at the
last convention; there is the fellow who subscribed three hundred
dollars towards the expenses of the campaign. That is enough. He
turns it right over -- "I most earnestly recommend that this
petition be granted. So and so, M.C." Then he would put it in his
coat-pocket, and he would march down to General Brady with a smile
on his face as broad as the horizon of his countenance. He would
just explain to the gentleman that there are miner's camps
springing up all over that country, towns growing in a night like
mushrooms, Providence just throwing prosperity away in that valley;
that they have to have a daily mail then and there, and he would
show this petition. In three weeks more there would come fifty
others, and it would be granted. Why, even the counsel for the
prosecution would have done the same, strange as it may appear.
They would have done just the same -- maybe worse, maybe better.
The Post-Office officials might have granted more to them.

Now, I have always had the idea that it was one of my rights
to sign a petition; that no man in this country could grow so great
that I had not the right just to hand the gentleman a paper with my
opinion on it. Do you know I do not think anybody can get so big
that an American citizen cannot send a letter to him if he pays the
postage, and in that letter he can give him his opinion. There is
no fraud about that; not the slightest. These men all out through
the mountains, men that went out there, you know, to hunt for
silver and for gold, live in little camps of not more than twenty
or thirty, maybe, but they wanted to hear from home just as bad as
though there had been five hundred in that very place. And a fellow
that had dug in the ground about eleven feet and had found some
rock with a little stain on it and had had the stain assayed,
wanted to hear from home right off. He stayed there and dreamed
about fortune, palaces, pictures, carriages, statues, and the whole
future was simply an avenue of joy upon, which he and his wife and
the children would ride up and down. He wanted to write a letter
right off. He wanted to tell the folks how he felt. Do you think
that man would not sign a petition for another mail? Do you think
that fellow would vote to send a stupid man to Congress who could
not get another mail? He felt rich; he was sleeping right over a
hole that had millions in it, and he had not much respect for a
Government that could not afford to send a millionaire a letter.

Now, Mr. Bliss tells you that we forged petitions, and in only
a few moments, as the Court will remember, he had the kindness to
say that anybody in the world would sign a petition for anything,
and the question arises if people are so glad to sign petitions why
should we forge their names. Do you not see that doctrine kind of
swallows itself. You certainly would not forge the name of a man to
a note who was hunting you up to sign it. And yet the doctrine of
the Government is that while the whole West rose en-masse, each man
with a pen in his hand and inquiring for a petition, these
defendants deliberately went to work and forged it. It won't do,
gentlemen. Oh, my Lord, what a thing a little common sense is when
you come to think about it, when you come to place it before your

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Now, the next great trouble in this case, gentlemen, is that
we bid on routes that were not productive. When you remember that
Congress made all these routes -- now Congress did it; we did not
do it -- you will protect us. We did not make a solitary route upon
which we bid, strange as it may appear. Congress, with the map of
the Territories and the States of the Union before it, marked out
all the routes. Congress determined where these routes should run.
And yet this case has been tried as though in reality we were the
parties who determined it.

Now, let me say something right here. It is for Congress to
determine first of all on what routes the mail shall be carried. I
want you to understand that, to get it into your heads, way in,
that Congress determined that question, and that there has to be a
law passed that the mail shall be carried from Toquerville to
Adairville, from Pawlins to White River. That law has to be passed
first, and Congress has to say that that route shall be
established. Now, get that in your minds. I give you my word we
never established a mail on the earth. That was done by Congress,
and the moment Congress establishes a route it becomes the duty of
the Second Assistant Postmaster-General to put the service upon
that route, and the duty of the First Assistant Postmaster-General
to name the offices on that route. Is not that true? That is the
doctrine. Now, that had all been done before we entered into a
conspiracy. These routes had not only been established, but the
Government had advertised for service on these routes, and we bid.
That was our crime.

These gentlemen said, I believe, at one time, that they were
about to lift a little of the curtain, to expose the action of
Congress. You see this suit has threatened the whole Government. If
the Constitution weathers this storm it will be in luck. They were
going to raise the curtain. They were going to be like children
hanging around a circus tent. One lifts it up and hallooes to
another, "Come quick, I see a horse's foot." They said that they
were going to show the rascality of Congress. They have never done
it. I suppose the reason may be that their pay depends upon an act
of Congress, but they let that alone. Now, they say that Congress
committed a great mistake. Why, they say they were routes that were
not productive, and we knew it, and that when the people asked for
expedition and increase on a route that was not productive we were
guilty of fraud.

Now, gentlemen, let us see: There are not a great many
productive post-offices in the United States. They say that a post-
office that is not productive should be wiped out. Let me say to
you, you cut off the post-offices that are not productive and you
will have thousands the next day that are not productive. It is the
unproductive offices that make Others productive. You cut off those
that are not productive and you will have double the number that
are not productive. You cut off all those that are unproductive and
you will have nothing left but the mail line. You might say that
there is not a spring that flows into the Mississippi that is
navigable. Let us cut off the springs. Then what becomes of the
Mississippi? That is not navigable either. It is on account of the
streams not navigable, emptying into one, that the one into which
they empty, becomes navigable. And yet, these gentlemen say in the
interest of navigation, " Let us stop the springs because you

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


cannot run a boat up them." That is their doctrine. There is no
sense in that. You have got to treat this country as one country.
You have got to treat the post-offices business as a unit for an
entire country. You have got to say that wherever the flag floats
the mail shall be carried, wherever American citizens live they
shall be visited with the intelligence of the nineteenth century.
That is what you have got to say. You have got to get up on a good
high plane, and you have got to run a great Government like this
that dominates the fortune of a continent, and you have got to run
it like great men. There has got to be some genius in this thing
and not little bits of suspicion.

Productiveness! Let us see. We are informed by Mr. Bliss, who
is paid for saying it, otherwise he would not, that the West is
perfectly willing to have mail facilities at the expense of the
East. I do not think the gentleman comprehends the West. There is
nothing so laughable, and sometimes there is nothing so
contemptible, as the egotism of a little fellow who lives in a big
town. Some people really think that New York supports this country,
and probably it never entered the mind of Mr. Bliss that this
country supported New York, But it does. All the clerks in that
city do not make anything, they do not manufacture anything, they
do not add to the wealth of this world. I tell you, the men who add
to the wealth of this world are the men who dig in the ground. The
men who walk between the rows of corn, the men who delve in the
mines, the men who wrestle with the winds and waves of the wide
sea, the men on whose faces you find the glare of forges and
furnaces, the men who get something out of the ground, and the men
who take something rude and raw in nature and fashion it into form
for the use and convenience of men, are the men who add to the
wealth of this world, All the merchants in this world would not
support this country. My Lord! you could not get lawyers enough on
a continent to run one town. And yet, Mr. Bliss talks as though he
thought that all the mutton and beef of the United States were
raised in Central Park, as though we got all our wool from shearing
lambs in Wall Street. It won't do, gentlemen. There is a great deal
produced in the Western country. I was out there a few years ago,
and found a little town like Minneapolis with fifteen thousand
people, and everybody dead-broke. I went there the other day and
found eighty thousand people, and visited one man who grinds five
thousand bushels of flour each day. I found there the Falls of
Saint Anthony doing work for a continent without having any back to
ache, grinding thirty thousand bushels of flour daily. just think
of the immense power it is. Millions of feet of lumber in this very
country, and Dakota. over which some of these routes run, yielding
a hundred million bushels of wheat. Only a few years ago I was
there and passed over an absolute desert, a wilderness, and on this
second visit found towns of five and six and seven thousand
inhabitants. There is not a man on this jury, there is not a man in
this house with imagination enough to prophesy the growth of the
great West, and before I get through I will show you that we have
helped to do something for that great country.

Productiveness! Let me tell you where that idea of
productiveness was hatched, where it was born, the egg out of which
it came. It was by the act of March 2, 1799, just after the
Revolution, and just after our forefathers had refused to pay their
debts,. just after they had repudiated the debt of the

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Confederation, just after they had allowed money to turn to ashes
in the pockets of the hero of Yorktown, or had allowed it to become
worthless in the hand of the widow and the orphan. In 1799, the
time when economy trod upon the heels almost of larceny, our
Congress provided that the Postmaster-General should report to
Congress after the second year of its establishment every post-road
which should not have produced one-third the expense of carrying
the mail. Recollect it, and I want you to recollect in this
connection that we never established a post-route in the world. We
will show that, anyway, if we show nothing else. By the act of 1825
a route was discontinued within three years that did not produce a
fourth of the expenses. Now, when those laws were in force the
postage was collected at the place of delivery.

But in old times, gentlemen, in Illinois, in 1843, it was
considered a misfortune to receive a letter. The neighbors
sympathized with a man who got a letter. He had to pay twenty-five
cents for it. It took five bushels of corn at that time, five
bushels of oats, four bushels of potatoes, ten dozen eggs to get
one letter. I have myself seen a farmer in a perturbed state of
mind, going from neighbor to neighbor telling of his distress
because there was a letter in the post-office for him. In 1851 the
postage was reduced to three cents when it was prepaid, and the law
provided that the diminution of income should not discontinue any
route, neither should it affect the establishment of new routes,
and for the first time in the history of our Government the idea of
productiveness was abandoned. It was not a question of whether we
would make money by it or not; the question was, did the people
deserve a mail and was it to the interest of the Government to
carry that mail? I am a believer in the diffusion of intelligence.
I believe in frequent mails. I believe in keeping every part of
this vast Republic together by a knowledge of the same ideas, by a
knowledge of the same facts, by becoming acquainted with the same
thoughts. If there is anything that is to perpetuate this Republic
it is the distribution of intelligence from one end to the other.
Just as soon as you stop that we grow provincial; we get little,
mean, narrow prejudices; we begin to hate people because we do not
know them; we begin to ascribe all our faults to other folks. I
believe in the diffusion of intelligence everywhere. I want to give
to every man and to every woman the opportunity to know what is
happening in the world of thought. I want to carry the mail to the
hut as well as to the palace. I want to carry the mail to the cabin
of the white man or the colored man, no matter whether in Georgia,
Alabama, or in the Territories. I want to carry him the mail and
hand it to him as I hand it to a Vanderbilt or to a Jay Gould. That
is my doctrine. The law of 1851 did away with your productiveness
nonsense, and when the mails were first put upon railways in the
year 1838, the law made a limit, not on account of productiveness,
but a limit of cost, and said the mail should not cost to exceed
three hundred dollars a mile. Let me correct myself. In 1838 a law
was passed that the mails might be carried by railroad provided
they did not cost in excess of twenty-five per cent. over the cost
of mail coaches. In 1839 that law was repealed, and the law then
provided that the pay on railways should be limited to three
hundred dollars a mile. So you see how much productiveness has to
do with this business. In 1861 Congress provided for an overland
mail. Did they look out for productiveness? The overland mail in
1861 was a little golden thread by which the Pacific and the

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Atlantic could be united through the great, war. Just a mail,
carrying now and then a letter in 1861, and they were allowed, I
think, twenty or thirty days to cross, Was productiveness thought
of? Congress provided that they might pay for that service eight
hundred thousand dollars a year. The mail did not exceed a thousand
pounds. Including everything. Some letters that were carried from
this side to the other cost the Government three hundred dollars
apiece. What was the object? It was simply that the hearts of the
Atlantic and the Pacific might feel each other's throb through the
great war. That is all. Suppose some poor misguided attorney had
stood up at that time and commenced talking about productiveness.
In the presence of these great national objects the cost fades,
sinks. It is absolutely lost. Wherever our flag flies I want to see
the mail under it. After awhile we established what is known as the
free-delivery system. That was first established on the idea of
productiveness. Whenever you start a new idea, as a rule, you have
to appeal to all the meanness that is in conservatism. Before you
can induce conservatives to do a decent action you have to prove to
them that it will pay at least ten per cent. So they started that
way. They said, "We will only have this free delivery system where
it pays." We went on and found the system desirable, and that many
people wanted it, and that the revenues of the Post-Office
Department were so great that we could afford it, and we commenced
having it where it did not pay. Right here in the city of
Washington, right here in the capital of the great Republic, we
have the free delivery system. Is it productive? Last year we lost
twenty-one thousand dollars distributing letters to the attorneys
for the prosecution and others. And yet now this District has the
impudence to talk about productiveness. If anybody wants to find
that fact it can be found on pages 42 and 45 of the Postmaster-
General's report. Productiveness! We have now a railway service in
the United States. I want to know if that is calculated upon the
basis of productiveness. A car starts from the city of New York,
and runs twelve hours ahead of the ordinary time to the city of
Chicago for the simple purpose of carrying the mail, stopping only
where the engine needs water, only when the monster whose bones are
steel and whose breath is flame, is tired. Do you suppose that
pays? You could scarcely put letters enough into the cars at three
cents apiece to pay for the trip. At last we regard this whole
country as a unit for this business. We say the American people are
to be supplied. We do not care whether they live in New York or in
Durango; we do not care whether they are among the steeples of the
East or the crags of the West; we do not care whether they live in
the villages of New England or whether they are staked out on the
plains of New Mexico. For the purpose of the distribution of
intelligence this great country is one. Do you see what a big idea
that is? When it gets into the heads of some people you have no
idea how uncomfortable they feel. I have as much interest in this
country as anybody, just exactly, and I am willing to subscribe my
share to have this mail carried so that the man on the very western
extreme, on the hem of the national garment, may have just as much
as the man who lives here in the shadow of the Capitol. You see
whenever a man gets to the height where he does not want anything
that he is not willing to give somebody else, then he first begins
to appreciate what a gentleman is and what an American should be.
Productiveness! I say that all the State and Territorial lines have
been brushed aside. We do not carry the mail in a State because it
pays. We carry it because there are people there; because there are

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


American citizens there; not because it pays. The post-office is
not a miser; it is a national benefactor. There are only seventeen
States in this Union where the income of the Post-Office Department
is equal to the outlay; only seventeen States in this Union. There
are twenty-one States in which the mail is carried at a loss. There
are ten Territories in which we receive substantially nothing in
return for carrying the mail, and there is one District, the
District of Columbia. I do not know how many miles square this
magnificent territory is; I guess about six, Thirty-six square
miles. How much is the loss in this District per annum? About one
thousand five hundred dollars a square mile. The annual loss right
here in this District is fifty-eight thousand dollars, and yet the
citizens of this town are rascally enough to receive the mail,
according to the prosecution. Why is it not stopped? Why is not the
Postmaster-General indicted for a conspiracy with some one? This
little territory, six miles square has a loss of fifty-eight
thousand dollars.

If there was a corresponding loss in Kansas, Nebraska,
California, Dakota, and Idaho, it would take more than the national
debt to run the mail every year. And yet here in thirty-six square
miles comes the wail of non-productiveness. It is almost a joke. We
are carrying the mail in Kansas at a loss of two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars a year, and yet Kansas has a hundred million
bushels of wheat for sale. Good! I am willing to send letters to
such people. It is a vast and thriving country. It contains men who
have laid the foundation of future empires. I want people big
enough and broad enough and wide enough to understand that the
valley of the Mississippi will support five hundred millions of
people. Let us get some ideas, gentlemen. Let us get some sense.
There is nothing like it. We pay five hundred thousand dollars a
year for the privilege of carrying the mail in Nebraska. Do you
know I am willing to pay my share. Any man who will go out to
Nebraska and just let the wind blow on him deserves to have plenty
of mail. You do not know here what wind is. You have never felt
anything but a zephyr. You have never felt anything but an
atmospheric caress. Go and try Nebraska. The wind there will blow
a hole out of the ground. Go out there and try one blizzard, a
fellow that robs the north pole and comes down on you, and you will
be willing to carry the mail to any man that will stay there and
plow a hundred and sixty acres of land. When I see a post-office
clerk sitting in a good warm room and making a fuss about a chap in
Nebraska for not carrying the mail against a blizzard, I have my
sentiments. I know what I think of the man. In the Territory of
Utah we pay two hundred and thirty thousand dollars a year for the
privilege of carrying the mails, and the males in that country are
mostly polygamists. I want you to get an idea of this country. In
the State of California, that State of gold, that State of wheat,
the State that has added more to the metallic wealth of this nation
than all others combined, an empire of magnificence, we pay five
hundred thousand dollars a year for the privilege of distributing
the mail. I am glad of it. I want the pioneer fostered. I want the
pioneer to feel the throb of national generosity. I want him to
feel that this is his country. You see the post-office is about the
only blessing he has. Every other visitor that comes from the
General Government wants taxes. The Post Office Department is the
only evidence we possess of national beneficence. It is the only
thing that comes from the General Government that has not a

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


warrant, that does not intend to arrest us. In Texas, which is an
empire of two hundred and seventy-three thousand square miles, a
territory greater than the French empire, which at one time
conquered Europe, we pay four hundred and fifty-nine thousand
dollars for the privilege of distributing the mail. I am glad of
it. It will not be long before that State will have millions of
people and give us back millions of dollars each year, and with
that surplus we will carry the mail to other territories. A man who
has not pretty big ideas has no business in this country; not a
bit. We pay one hundred and eighty-nine thousand dollars for the
sake of carrying letters and papers around Arkansas; one hundred
and eighty-three thousand dollars for the privilege of wandering up
and down Alabama; one hundred and seven thousand dollars in
Missouri; two hundred and forty thousand dollars in Ohio; two
hundred and eight thousand dollars in Georgia; three hundred and
twelve thousand dollars in old Virginia. When I first went to
Illinois the Government had to pay for the privilege of carrying
the mail in that State. Now Illinois turns around and hands six
hundred and sixty thousand dollars of profit to the United States
each year. She says, "You carry the mail to the other fellows that
cannot afford it just the same as you carried it for us. You rocked
our cradle, and we will pay for rocking somebody else's cradle."
That is sense. In other words, in seventeen States we have a profit
of seven million dollars. In twenty-one States, ten Territories.
and the District of Columbia we have a loss of five million
dollars. When we regard the country as a unit, then we make money
out of the whole business. That is good. We have in the United
States about a hundred and ten thousand miles of railroad now, and
we pay about two hundred dollars a mile for carrying the mail on
those railroads. We have two hundred and twenty-seven thousand
miles of star routes, and we pay on them between twenty and thirty
dollars a mile. I want you to think about it. In looking over the
Postmaster-General's report I accidentally came across this fact.
You know, gentlemen, the present period is a paroxysmal period of
reform. We are having what is known as a virtuous spasm. We have
that every little while. It is a kind of fiscal mumps or whooping-
cough. I find by this report that a mail averaging twenty pounds
carried in a baggage-car from Connellsville to Uniontown,
Pennsylvania, is paid for at the rate of forty-two dollars and
seventy-two cents a mile. Under General Brady the star routes cost
between twenty and thirty dollars a mile.

Now, gentlemen, I have told you our connection with the star-
route business. I have told it all to you freely, frankly and
fully. Some charges have been made against us, and I want to speak
to you about them. You understand that it often takes quite awhile
to explain a charge that is made in only a few words. One man can
say another did so and so. It is only a lie, and yet it may
take pages for the accused man to make his explanation. The worst
lie in the world is a lie which is partly true. You understand
that. When you explain a lie that has a little circumstance going
along with it, certifying to it, and attesting to its truth, it
takes you a great deal longer to explain it than it did to tell it.
The first great charge is that for us -- and I limit myself to my
clients -- orders were antedated. That is one great charge. Let me
tell you just how that was. Mr. Bliss calls attention to the fact
that Mr. Brady made orders relating back, and in one case he
alleged that the order was made, for the benefit of my clients, to

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


take effect six weeks prior to its being issued. I want to explain
that, A railroad was being constructed along the line of one of
these routes. It may be well enough for me to say that it was the
Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The points from which the mail was
carried had to be changed as the road progressed. As it grew Mr.
Brady increased the service on the route to seven times a week. He
increased it from the end of the railroad  and he made it seven
times a week because the mail on the railroad was seven times a
week. We were to carry the mail from the end of the railroad,
wherever that end might be. He increased the service on this route
from the end of the railroad to the other terminal point; that is,
he made it a daily mail so as to connect with the daily trains on
the railroad. At the time the seven trips were to be put on,
distance tables were sent out to postmasters at the terminal points
to get the distances. Let me tell you what a distance table is. The
names of the post-offices are on a circular, and the Post-Office
Department sends that circular to the postmasters along the route
and they are asked to return it with the distance from each station
to every other marked upon it. Now, until that table is returned it
is impossible for the Second Assistant Postmaster-General to tell
how far they carry the mail. This railroad was progressing every
mouth, and as the railroad advanced the distance from the end of
the railroad to the other terminal point decreased. Now, the
Postmaster-General or the Second Assistant cannot fix that pay
until he has a return of the distance table. But before he has that
return he can order the contractor to carry the mail, and after the
distance table is returned then he can make up the formal order and
have that order entered upon the records of the department. That is
all he ever did. I want you to understand that perfectly. It might
be four weeks after the contractor was ordered to carry the mail
from the termination of the railroad, or it might be five or six
weeks before the distance tables were returned and the distance
calculated. But do you not see it made no difference? There was
first an order either by telegraph or a short order, and after the
distance tables were returned then the distance was calculated, the
amount of money calculated, and the regular order written up and
made of record, and a warrant drawn for payment. That is all there
is to it. And yet this is what Mr. Bliss calls defrauding the
Government. We are charged on that kind of evidence with having
defrauded the United States. We will show you that no order of that
kind was made except when the distance was unknown; and that when
the distance was ascertained, the formal order was made, another
order having been made before that time. Let me say right here that
orders of a similar nature have been made in the Post-Office
Department since its establishment. Since the construction of
railways there has not a month passed in that department --
certainly not a year -- when such orders have not been made. And
yet for the first time in the history of the Government it is
brought forward against us as an evidence of fraud. We will show
that the order was made exactly as I have stated.

The next badge of fraud that is charged is that after a route
had been awarded to us it was increased or expedited or both,
before the stock was put on. Well, I will tell you just how that
is, because you want to know. This case, apparently complicated, is
infinitely simple when it is understood. There are in the United
States, I believe, some ten thousand of these star routes. They are
all or nearly all in some way connected. One depends upon another.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


It is a web woven over the entire West, and how you run a mail here
depends upon how one is run there, and the effort is to have all
these mails connect in a certain harmony so that time will not be
lost, and so that each letter will get to its destination in the
shortest possible time, and it requires not only a great deal of
experience, but it requires a great deal of ingenuity. It requires
a great deal of study and strict attention for a man so to arrange
the routes and the time in the United States that the letters can
be gotten to their destination in the shortest possible time. And
yet that is the object. You can see that. Now, you may be looking
at the route from A to B, and say that there is no sense in having
it in that time; but if you will look at the time of other routes,
if you see with what routes that connects you will say that it is
sensible. Now, you go on to another route, and, gentlemen, you see
that every solitary route is touched, is compromised, is affected
by every other route. That is what I want you to understand.

Now, then, Mr. Bliss says that it was a badge of fraud to
increase the time and the service on a route before the stock was
put on. Now let me show yon. Here you have your scheme. Here is the
route, we will say, from A to E. You let that for a weekly route,
once a week. How fast? A hundred hours. When you get the other
routes on and look at this business you see that that crosses
several places where the mail is lost. That is where a day is lost,
and you see, if instead of that being a hundred hours it were
seventy-five hours the mail at many stations would save one day or
two days. Now, then, the law vests in you the power before a
solitary horse or carriage goes upon that route to say to the man
to whom the contract was awarded, "You must carry that in seventy-
five hours instead of one hundred hours, and you must carry it four
times a week instead of once a week." If you take that power from
the Postmaster-General and from the Second Assistant those offices
become useless. It is impossible for any human intellect to take
into consideration all the facts growing out of this service.

There is another thing, gentlemen, which you must remember,
and that is that these advertisements for this service are not made
the day the service is wanted. These advertisements are put out six
months before there is to be any such service.

It is sometimes a year before that service is wanted, and if
you know anything about the West you know that in one year the
whole thing may change. That where there was not a city there may
be a city, and where there was a city nothing but desolation. Now,
then, the law very wisely has vested the power in the Second
Assistant and the Postmaster-General to rectify all the mistakes
made either by themselves or by time, and to call for faster time
or for slower, that is, for less frequent trips. Now, then, you see
that that is no badge of fraud, do you not? If, before you put a
man or a horse on that route, the Government finds it wants twice
as many trips there is no fraud in saying so, and if they find they
want to go in fifty hours Instead of a hundred hours there would be
fraud in not saying so. That has been the practice since this was
a Government.

Now, what is the next? The next great charge against us,
gentlemen, is that when they agreed to carry a greater number of
trips, or any swifter time for money, Mr. Brady did not make us

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


give an additional bond, and Mr. Bliss talked about that I should
think about a day. Nearly all the time I heard him he was on that
subject. "Why did they not when they were to carry additional trips
give a new bond?" Well, I will tell you why: Because there is no
law for it. There never was a law for it -- never. And Mr. Brady
had no right to demand a bond unless the statute provided for it.
When I give a bond to carry the mail once a week, and the
Government finds that it wants it carried three times a week, the
Government cannot make me give an additional bond. Why? Because the
statute does not provide for it, and Mr. Brady had not the power to
enact new laws. That is all. Why, there never was such a bond
given, and any bond that is given under duress, by compulsion, not
having the foundation of a statute, is absolutely null and void.
Everybody knows it that knows anything. And yet the gentleman comes
before you and says it is a sign of fraud that we did not give an
additional bond. There never was such a bond given in the history
of this Government -- never; and in all probability never will be
unless these gentlemen get into Congress. You know the law
prescribes every bond that the contractor must give, and it is bad
enough without ever being increased during the contract term.

So much now for that frightful badge of fraud. I want to make
this statement so you will understand it. They have the unfairness,
they have the lack of candor to tell you that it is one of the
evidences that we are scoundrels, that we failed to give an
additional bond, and when they made that statement they knew that
by law we could not give an additional bond, and they knew that if
we had given an additional bond it would not have been worth the
paper upon which it was written. And yet they lack candor to that
degree that they come into this court and tell you that that is one
of the evidences that we have conspired against the United States.
It won't do,

What is the next badge of fraud? And I want to tell you this
is a case of badges, and patches, and ravelings, and remnants, and
rags. It is a kind of a mental garret, full of odd boots, and
strange cats, thrown at us, and altogether it is called a case of
conspiracy. Another badge of fraud is that whenever we carried the
mail one trip a week, and it was increased to two trips a week,
Brady was such a villain that he gave us double pay; and Mr. Bliss
informed the jury that they knew just as well as he did that it did
not cost twice as much to give two trips a week as it did to give
one. Well, who said it did? And yet they say that is an evidence of
fraud. Well, let us see. There is nothing like finding the

Now, when we come to this case we will introduce a bond that
we gave at that time, and when the jury read that bond they will
find this, or substantially this:

It is hereby agreed by the said contractor and his sureties
that the Postmaster-General may discontinue or extend this
contract, change the schedule, alter, increase, or extend the
service, he allowing not to exceed a pro-rata increase of
compensation for any additional service thereby required, or for
increased speed if the employment of additional stock or carriers
is rendered necessary, and in case of decrease, curtailment, or
discontinuance, as a full indemnity to said contractor, one month's

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


extra pay on the account of service dispensed with, and not to
exceed a pro rata compensation for the service retained: Provided,
however, That in case of increased expedition the contractor may,
upon timely notice, relinquish his contract.

Now, it is in that provided that if they call on him for
double service he is entitled to double pay. That is the law, and
it has been the practice, gentlemen, since we have had a Post-
Office Department. And why? Let me show you. Here is a man who
carries a mail from A to Y. There are supposed to be some
commercial transactions between those two places. It is supposed
that now and then a human being goes from one of those places to
the other, and the man who carries the mail, as a rule carries
passengers and does the local business. Now, do you suppose that he
would agree with the Government that he would carry the mail once
a week for a thousand dollars a year, and that they might hire
another man to carry it once a week for a thousand dollars a year,
and maybe that other man take all his passengers and all his
business. The understanding is that when I bid a thousand dollars
a year for once a week, if you put it to three times a week I am to
have three thousand dollars; four times a week, four thousand
dollars; seven times a week, seven thousand dollars, and that has
been the unbroken practice of this Government from the
establishment of the Post-Office Department until to-day. You can
see the absolute propriety of it, and you can see that any man
would be almost crazy to take a contract on any other terms, and
that contract is this: "I will carry for you so much a trip, and if
you want more trips you can have them at the same price as that
fixed." That is fair. That is what we did.

So much for that badge of fraud. What is the next one? It is
that the pay was increased twice as much by the increase, and, as
I said, that is the law.

Now let us see what is the next great badge of fraud. That we
received the pay when the mail was not carried. I deny it, and we
will show in this case, gentlemen, that we never received pay
except when the mail was carried. And how do I know? Because
General Brady established a system of way-bills, so that a way-bill
would accompany every pouch in which letters were, and they would
put on that way-bill the time that it got to the post-office, and
when that way-bill got to the terminal point it was sent here to
Washington and filed away, and at the end of every quarter a report
was made, and if a mail was behind at any post-office you would
find it on that way-bill, and if they had not made the trip then
they were fined. That way-bill system was inaugurated by General
Brady, and under that way-bill system we carried the mail, and we
could not get pay unless we had carried the mail. I call them way-
bills. They are mail-bills that go with the pouch and give a
history of each mail that is carried. That is all.

Now another great badge of fraud. The first was that he was to
impose no fines when the mail was not carried. The next was that he
was to impose fines and then take the fines off for half -- fifty
per cent. Now, would not that be an intelligent contract? I carry
the mails. You are the Second Assistant Postmaster-General. I agree
with you that if you fine me and then will take the fine off I will
give you half of it. About how long would it take you to break me

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


up? And yet that is honestly and solemnly put forward here as a
fact in the case. They tell a story of a man who was bitten by a
dog. Another man said to him, "I'll tell you what to do. You just
sop some bread in that blood and give it to the dog; it will cure
you." "Oh, my God!" says he, "if the other dogs hear of it they
will eat me up." And here it is, without a smile, urged before this
jury that we made a bargain that a fellow might fine us for the
halves. Well, there may be twelve men in this world who believe
that. They are unfortunate.

The next charge is that a subcontract was made for less than
the original contract. Well, that is where most of the money in
this world is made. Thousands and millions of men have made
fortunes by buying corn at sixty cents a bushel to be delivered.
next February, and selling the same corn for seventy cents. There
is where fortunes live. The difference between a contract and a
subcontract is the territory of profit in which every American
loves to settle. You make a contract with the Government to
furnish, say, a thousand horses of a certain kind for one hundred
and fifty dollars apiece. You go and make a subcontract with some
one to furnish you those same horses for one hundred  and twenty-
five dollars apiece. Is that a fraud? You have taken upon yourself
the responsibility and if your subcontractor fails you must make it
good There is no  harm in that.

Suppose I agree with you to-morrow that if you will furnish me
one thousand bushels of wheat on the first day of January, I will
give you one thousand five hundred dollars, and I find out that you
made a bargain with another fellow to do it for a thousand dollars.
If I am an honest man I suppose I will jump the contract, won't I?
Not much. If I am an honest man I will say, "Well, you made five
hundred dollars: I am glad of it; good for you." But the idea of
the prosecution is that the moment Brady saw a subcontract for less
than the original contract he should have had a moral spasm, and
said, "I won't carry out the contract; I will swindle you, I will
rob you, and I will do it in the name of virtue." And that is the
meanest way a man ever did rob -- in the name of virtue, reform. So
much for that. But if you ever make a contract with this Government
and can make a subcontract at the same price you do it you do it as
quick as you can.

The next is, that whenever he discontinued a route or any part
of a route, rather, he gave us a month's extra pay; you heard that,
did you not? He was on that subject about a half a day. How did he
come to do that? I will tell you. There is nothing like looking:

And in case of decrease, curtailment, or discontinuance of
service, as a full indemnity to said contractor one month's extra
pay on the amount of service dispensed with.

That is first the law, secondly the contract. and thirdly it
was made in the interest of the United States. And why? Suppose the
United States made a contract with a man to carry a mail from New
York to Liverpool, and in consequence of that contract the man
bought steamships to perform the service, and then the United
States made up its mind not to carry the mail. That man might get
damages to the amount of hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Therefore the United States endeavored to protect itself and say

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


the limit of damage shall be one month's pay, and that has been the
law for years, and that law has been passed upon by the Supreme
Court of the United States. It was passed upon in the case of
Garfielde against the United States, where he claimed greater
damages because he had all the steamships to carry the mail from
San Francisco to Portland, and the Supreme Court said it made no
difference what his expense had been. He was bound by the letter of
the law and the contract, and could have only one month's extra pay
as his entire damage.

Now, these gentlemen bring forward a law to protect the United
States Government, and they bring that forward as an evidence of
conspiracy, as evidence of a fraud. Nothing could be more unfair,
nothing on earth could show a greater want of character. Now, let
us see what else.

The next great charge is false affidavits. They tell you that
we made lots of them; that we just had them for sale. False
affidavits! And that Mr. John W. Dorsey made two false affidavits
in two cases. The evidence will show that he did not. The evidence
will show that he made only one in each case, when we come to it.
But I want to call your attention to this fact, that in one case
one affidavit was made where it said the number of men and horses
then necessary was eight, that on the expedited schedule it would
be twenty-four. Three times eight are twenty-four. The second
affidavit said the number of men and horses then was fifteen and
the number on expedition and increase would be forty-five. Three
times fifteen are forty-five. So that the amount taken from the
Government would be exactly the same on both affidavits. You
understand that. For instance, if it took five horses and men to do
the then business, and would require fifteen to do the expedited
and increased business, then you would be entitled to three times
the amount of pay. So in this case one affidavit said it took eight
and would take twenty-four, the other affidavit said it took
fifteen and would take forty-five. Three times eight are twenty-
four. Three times fifteen are fortyfive. So that the amount of
money taken from the Government would be exactly the same under
each affidavit. Now, that is all there is of that.

In the next case, where he made two affidavits, I find
that by the second affidavit it took, I think, thirteen thousand
dollars less from the Government, and yet they call the second
affidavit a piece of perjury. And here is one thing that I want to
impress upon all your minds. Where you not only carry the mail but
carry passengers it is an exceedingly difficult problem to say just
how many horses and men it requires to carry the mail, and then how
many men and horses it requires to carry the passengers. It is hard
to make the divide you understand -- very hard, You can tell, for
instance, the cost of mounting a railroad for a hundred miles, but
it is very difficult to tell the cost of the bridges or what the
spikes cost or what the deep cuts cost. You can take the whole
together and say it cost so much a year. So in this case we can say
it requires so many men and horses doing the business that we are
doing, but it is almost impossible for the brain to separate
exactly the passengers, the package business, from simply carrying
the mail. As I said before, men will differ in opinion. Some men
will say it will take ten horses, others twenty, others twenty-
five, and then the next question arises, and I want to call

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


particular attention to that question, and that is, whether the law
means only the horses absolutely carrying the mail; whether the law
means by carriers only the men who ride the horses or drive the
wagons. Now, I will tell you what I mean. I undertake to carry the
mail, we will say from Omaha to San Francisco. How many men will it
take? Now, I will count all the men who are driving the stages, all
the men who are gathering forage, all the men who are attending to
that business in any way, and if on the way I have blacksmiths'
shops where my horses are shod I will count those men. If I have
men engaged in drawing wood a hundred miles, I will count those
men. In other words, I will count all the men I pay, no matter
whether they are keeping books in New York or carrying the mail
across the desert. I will count all the men I pay; so will you.
What horses will you count? All the horses engaged in the business;
those that are drawing corn for the others, as well as the rest,
will you not? There is an old fable that a trumpeter was captured
in the war and he said to his captor, "I am not a soldier, I never
shot anybody."Ah," they said, "but you incited others to shoot, and
you are as much a soldier as anybody; we want you.

NOW, I say that we are entitled to count every man who carries
the mail, and every man necessary to perform that service. So do
you. Now, there we divide. The Government says we shall count
simply the men carrying the mail, nobody else, and we shall count
simply the horses in actual service. That is nonsense. For
instance, you have got to have thirty horses. They are going all
the time. Do you depend on just that thirty? No, sir. If one gets
lame you cannot carry the mail. You have got to have twenty or
thirty horses in your corral, in the stables, so that if one of the
others gives out you will have enough. That is one great question
in this case, gentlemen. What I say to you now is that on every one
of these routes in which my clients are interested, or, I may say,
in which anybody is interested, the evidence will be that the all,
davits were substantially correct. In many cases there was a far
greater difference between the men and horses there used and the
men and horses that were afterwards necessary.

You must take another thing into consideration. In a country
where there are Indian depreciations one man will not stay at a
station by himself. He wants somebody with him; he wants two or
three with him, and the more frightened he is the more men he will
want. On that route from Bismarck to Tongue River, as to which it
was sworn it would take a hundred and fifty men, the statement was
made at a time when the men would not stay separately; that they
wanted five or six together at one station; that they wanted men
out on guard and watch. You will find before we get through,
gentlemen, that the affidavits do not overstate the number. You
will find in addition that these petitions were signed by the best
men; that that service was asked for by the best men, not simply in
the Territories, but by some of the best men in the United States;
by members of Congress, by Senators, by generals, by great and
splendid men, men of national reputation. So when we come to that
we will show to you that the affidavits made were substantially
true. There is another charge that has been made, and that is that
the affidavits in Mr. Peck's name were not made by him; that he
never signed these affidavits.

Yet, gentlemen we will prove to you as the Government once

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


proved by Mr. Taylor, a notary public in New Mexico, that Mr. Peck
appeared personally before him; that he was personally acquainted
with Mr. Peck, and that he signed and swore to those affidavits in
his presence. That we will substantiate in this trial as the
Government substantiated it in the other. These, gentlemen, are
among the charges that have been made against us. I say to you to-
day they will not be able to show that we ever put upon the files
of the Post-Office Department a solitary letter, a solitary
petition, a solitary communication that was not genuine and true.
Not one. They cannot do it. They never will do it. You will be
astonished when you hear these petitions to find the Government
admitting that they are true. If they do not read them we will read
them. That is all.

Now, I have stated to you a few of the charges made against my
Clients up to this point. I want to keep it in your mind. I want
each man on this jury to understand exactly what I say. Let us go
over this ground a little. I want to be sure you remember it. In
the first place, S.W. Dorsey was not interested in these routes.
All the bids were made by John W. Dorsey, John M. Peck, John R.
Miner, and a man by the name of Boone. All the information was
gathered by Mr. Boone by sending circulares to every postmaster on
the routes. Upon that information John W. Dorsey, John M. Peck, and
John R. Miner made their calculations and made their bids,
numbering in all about twelve hundred. Of that number they had
awarded to them a hundred and thirty-four contracts. Recollect
that. After those contracts were awarded to them they were without
the money to put the stock on all the routes, because more
contracts were awarded than they expected. Thereupon John R. Miner
borrowed some money from Stephen W. Dorsey and kept up that
borrowing until the amount reached some sixteen or eighteen
thousand dollars. Don't forget it. After it got to that point Mr.
Dorsey started for New Mexico. At Saint Louis he met John R. Miner,
then coming from Montana, and John R. Miner said to him, "We have
got to have some more money of you;" and Dorsey replied, "I have no
more money to give you." Miner then said, "You give your note or
indorse mine for nine or ten thousand dollars." Dorsey replied, "If
you will give me post-office orders and drafts, not only to secure
the note I am about to indorse or make for you, but also to the
amount of the money I have advanced for you, I will give the note."
That was agreed upon. Thereupon he gave the note. It was discounted
in the German-American National Bank, and Mr. Miner deposited with
the note the orders on the Post-Office Department, not only to
secure the note, but the sixteen thousand dollars that Dorsey had
before that time advanced. Dorsey went on to New Mexico, and in May
or July of that year another law was passed, allowing a
subcontractor to put his subcontract on file. After he had advanced
that money and indorsed or signed the note, they made the contract
with Mr. Vaile, turning these routes over to him and giving him
subcontracts on all these routes. When Stephen W. Dorsey came back
from New Mexico in December of that year he found that the note at
the German-American National Bank had been protested, and that his
collateral security was at that time worthless, because the
subcontracts had been filed and these subcontracts cut out the
post-office orders or drafts. Thereupon he wanted a settlement.
Matters drifted along until April, 1879, and then a settlement was
made. I have told you that from the time the routes were given to
Mr. Vaile until that time nobody had the slightest thing to do with

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


them except Mr. Vaile; that in April, 1879, the division was made;
that Mr. Vaile paid the note at the German-American National Bank;
that the division was made, as I told you, by Mr. Vaile drawing one
route, Mr. Dorsey one, and Mr. Miner one, and keeping that up until
they were all drawn. I forgot to tell you before that Mr. S.W.
Dorsey had sixteen thousand dollars, to which, if you add the
interest, it would be about eighteen thousand dollars; that John W.
Dorsey had ten thousand dollars and John M. Peck had ten thousand
dollars. and when that division was made Stephen W. Dorsey agreed
to pay John W. Dorsey ten thousand dollars, and to pay John M. Peck
ten thousand dollars for his interest. Gentlemen, he did pay John
W. Dorsey ten thousand dollars, and he did pay the same amount to
Peck, and from that day to this John W. Dorsey has never had the
interest of one solitary cent in any one of these routes. He was
simply paid back the money that he expended. Not another cent. John
M. Peck never made by this business one solitary dollar. He simply
received back the money he had expended. After he had paid back
that money to both of these men, Stephen W. Dorsey took these
routes with a debt to him of between sixteen and eighteen thousand
dollars. Now, as to Mr. Rerdell. They say he was the private
secretary of Stephen W. Dorsey. He never was; not for a moment, not
for a single moment. He attended to some of this business. I have
no doubt that the Government imagine they can debauch somebody in
order to get information. I give them notice now -- GO ON. There is
no living man whose testimony we fear. There is no living lawyer
who has the genius to make perjury do us harm. I want you to
understand it. And I want them to understand that I know precisely
what they are endeavoring to do. There is only one way for them to
surprise me, and that is for them to do a kind thing.

Now, gentlemen, at that time -- I want you to remember it; I
do not want you to forget it -- when these routes came to Mr.
Dorsey, he, not understanding the business, turned it over to Mr.
James W. Bosler. Mr. Bosler, as I told you before, is a man of
wealth. But, say these gentlemen, "While these routes were in your
possession, and while Stephen W. Dorsey had an interest in them he
asked men to sign petitions in favor of an increase of trips and
decrease of time." What if he did? Suppose you have a house out
here somewhere; you can petition to have a street opened, even if
you have the contract for paving the street. You have a right to
petition to have a schoolhouse located in your neighborhood even if
you have children. There is no harm about that. You certainly can
petition to have cows prevented from running at large even if there
is no fence around your yard. I think you could do so without being
indicted for conspiracy. I think a man might start a subscription
for a church, even if he owned a brick-yard and expected to sell
bricks to build it. Now, suppose I had a contract to carry the mail
through the State of California from one end to the other once a
week, is there any harm in my asking the people of that country to
petition to have it carried twice a week? Do you not remember what
I told you? All the members of Congress out there, when they go
home want to say to the people when they meet at the convention
with all the delegates on hand. "Why, gentlemen, you did not used
to get the New York Herald or New York Times, or The Sun, until it
was two weeks old, and now it is only a week old. Where you only
had one mail I have given you three. I have got fifty thousand
dollars to improve your harbor, and one hundred thousand dollars
for a new custom-house. Look at me, gentlemen, I am a candidate for

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


re-election." That is natural. This Court will instruct you that
any man who is carrying a mail anywhere in the United States has
the right to use his influence in getting up petitions for the
increase of that service or the expedition of that time. They say
Dorsey did this. What of it? They say Dorsey tried to manufacture
public opinion. That is what these gentlemen of the prosecution
have been doing for eighteen months, and now they object to the
manufacture of public opinion. Public opinion is their stock in

Leaving that charge, every man who has a contract for carrying
the mail has the right to call the attention of every editor in
that country to the fact that they need more mail service. He has
the right to send his agents there and if the people want to
petition for more service, and if Congress is willing to give them
more service, no human being has a right to complain in this manner
and in a criminal court. If any offence has been committed it is of
a political nature. If a member of Congress gets too much service
his people can keep him at home. If he does too much for his
locality they need not elect him the next time. It is a political
offence for which there is a political punishment and a political
remedy. So much for the right of petition. I am perfectly willing
to tell all he did in regard to the increase of service and the

While I am on that point I want you to distinctly understand
what increase is and what expedition is. Increase of service means
more of the same kind. Suppose I am to carry the mail from one
place to another. We will call it from Si-Wash to Oo-Ray. If I am
to carry that mail once a week for five hundred dollars and they
want it twice a week, I have one thousand dollars, but do not carry
it any faster. That is an increase. Suppose I am carrying it in say
two hundred hours and they want it carried in half that time. That
is what they call expedition. Now, the question is as to the
difference in cost of carrying the mail at six miles an hour, or at
two and a half, or two, or one and a half. If I carry it slowly, I
can go at a reasonable rate in the day and can lie by at night. I
want you to understand distinctly the difference between increase
of service, which is more of the same kind, and expedition, which
means the same kind at a faster rate. Now, I can carry the mail
twenty miles and back in a day and do that a great deal easier than
if I were to make the distance in four or five hours. The
difference is just about the same with a locomotive as with a
horse. If a train runs twenty miles an hour and you want to
increase its speed to thirty, it will cost altogether more than
twice as much as it does to run it at twenty. If you want to
increase it still further to forty or sixty, it will cost at sixty
more than three times as much as at twenty. The cost increases in
an increased proportion. I want you to understand that. Now, we are
charged with having done some frightful things on several of these
routes, and for three days and a half your ears were filled with
charges of the rascality we have perpetrated. We had some ten or
eleven routes, and we are charged with having defrauded the
Government on those particular routes. Let us see what my clients
did. Do not understand me as saying that because my clients have
done nothing the other defendants have. I do not take that
position. I take the position that according to the evidence in
this case there is nothing against any of these defendants. Leave

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


out passion, prejudice, falsehood, and hatred and there is
absolutely nothing left. If you will take from. Mr. Bliss's speech
all the mistakes he made in law and fact, there will be nothing
left to answer; not a word. But I think it due to my client,
gentlemen, my client who is not able to be in this court, my client
who sits at home wrapped in darkness, that I should answer every
allegation touching every route in which he was interested. I think
it due to him.


I will call your attention to a few of the routes, possibly to
all, in which my clients were interested. It will take but a short
time. I want you to know whether or not these routes were
important, whether it was proper to carry the mails as they were
carried, whether it was proper that they should be carried from
once to seven times a week, and whether it was proper that the
speed should be expedited. Now, you may think after hearing the
evidence that there were some routes that never should have been
established; but that does not establish a conspiracy. That simply
establishes the fact that Congress created routes where they were
not absolutely necessary. You may come to the conclusion that
General Brady ordered more trips on some of these routes than he
should have ordered. That does not establish a conspiracy. The most
that it could establish would be extravagance, and extravagance is
not a crime. If it were, the penitentiaries of the day would not be
large enough -- or rather would be large enough, and too large, to
hold the honest men. You may say after you have heard the evidence
that the time was faster than it need be; but you must take into
consideration all the connecting routes, and even if you should so
feel, it is for you to say whether that establishes any conspiracy.
All these things must be taken into consideration.

We will take first the route from Garland to Parrott City. *
* * * *

Now, I have gone over just a few of these charges. I have
shown you that they are false; that they are without the slightest
shadow of foundation in fact. Now, gentlemen, after you hear all
this evidence, it is for you to determine. It is for you to say
whether these men entered into a conspiracy to defraud this
Government. It is for you to say whether our testimony is to be
believed, or whether you are to decide this case upon the
suspicions of the Government. It is for you to say whether you will
believe the contracts and the witnesses, or whether you will take
the prejudice of the public press; whether you will take the
opinion of the Attorney-General; whether you will take the letter
of some counselor at law, or whether you will be governed by the
testimony in this case. It is for you to say, gentlemen, whether a
man shall be found guilty on inference; whether a man shall be
deprived of his liberty by prejudice. It is for you to say whether
reputation shall be destroyed by malice and by ignorance. It is for
you to say whether a man who fought to sustain this Government
shall not have the protection of the laws. It is for you
[indicating a juror] and it is for you [indicating another juror]
and you [indicating another juror] and you [indicating another
juror] to say whether a man. who fought to take the chains off your
body shall have chains put upon his by your prejudice and by your

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


ignorance. It is for you to say whether you will be guided by law,
by evidence, by justice, and by reason, or whether you will be
controlled by fear, by prejudice, and by official power. That,
gentlemen, is all I wish to say in this opening.

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Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
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us, we need to give them back to America.

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hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

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Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201