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Read The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll Volume X Part 34

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Mr. Ingersoll. He had the impudence then to come here and malign Garfield by saying that upon that statement he would have turned out two members of his Cabinet. That is Mr. Bliss’s idea of impudence; and yet, upon the testimony of the same man, he wants to put five men in the penitentiary.

Mr. Bliss. Not upon the sole testimony, I suppose.

Mr. Ingersoll. Not upon the soulless testimony. Now, I think that Mr.

Dorsey had a right to go and see Mr. Garfield. I think he had a right to take that affidavit with him. General Garfield was told what this man had said concerning Mr. Dorsey. He had the right to take that affidavit of that man with him so that General Garfield, or the then Attorney-General rather, might know how much confidence to put in the statement of that man. He had a right to do that. If he found in this way that his Attorney-General and his Postmaster-General were seeking to have a man convicted by means not entirely honorable, then it was not only his privilege, but it was his duty to discharge them from his Cabinet. But I am not saying anything in regard to them now, because they are not here to defend themselves.

Mr. Bliss. I want to correct myself. Further down on that page I see I did refer to the impudence of this man going to Garfield.

Mr. Ingersoll. Well, as Mr. Bliss has been fair enough to state it, I will not follow up my advantage. On another page Mr. Bliss says that the idea that Mr. Vaile did what he did for Miner out of any sympathy is “too thin.” Mr. Bliss cannot believe that Vaile became Miner’s friend so suddenly, but he thinks it highly probable that they conspired instantly. That is his view of human nature. Friendship is of slow growth; conspiracy is a hot-house plant. Gentlemen, is that your view of human nature, that a man cannot become the friend of another suddenly?

Whenever he does become his friend the friendship has to be formed suddenly, does it not? There is a first time to everything. A moment before it did not exist; a moment afterwards it is dead very suddenly.

There was a boy came to town one morning and met an old friend. The old friend asked the boy, “How is your father?” He says, “Pretty well, for him.” “How is your mother?” “Pretty well, for her.” “Well, how is your grandmother?” “She is dead.” “Well,” says the old man, “she must have died suddenly.” “Well,” said the boy, “pretty sudden, for her.”

Whenever one man becomes the friend of another’s, a moment before that he was not, and a moment after he was. It must be sudden. But I imagine that there was a friendship sprang up between Vaile and Miner, and I will tell you why. They have been partners ever since. You, gentlemen, have had the same experience a thousand times. It is not necessary to conspire with a man in order to like him. Neither is it necessary to like him to conspire with him. Men have conspired without friendship a thousand times more, probably, than they have formed friendships without conspiracy.

Mr. Bliss says that because Miner failed to produce the power of attorney that Moore swore was given to him when he went West, the jury have a right to infer that instructions to get up false pet.i.tions were in writing and were included in that power of attorney. Mr. Moore did not swear to the contents of that power of attorney. Do you think that it is within the realm of probability that a man ever gave a power of attorney to another and inserted in it: “You are hereby authorized to get up false pet.i.tions; you are further authorized to have them so written that you can tear them off and paste others on?

“N. B. You will make such contracts with all contractors.

“P. S. Don’t tell anybody.”

There was another witness in this case, Mr. Grimes (page 808). Not the one that wore the coat–All b.u.t.toned down before–but Mr. Grimes, postmaster at Kearney. He came all the way here to swear that he stopped using mail bills on the route from Kearney to Kent because he was so ordered by a letter from the Post-Office Department. Then it was discovered that he did not have the letter with him; he went home to get the letter, but he never came back any more.

We introduced Spangler (page 341) from the inspection division of the Post-Office Department; I think he was in charge of that division. He swore, as a matter of fact, that there never were any mail bills on that route at all.

Mr. Carpenter. He was in charge of the mail bills on that route.

Mr. Ingersoll. The mail bills on that particular route. That man Grimes was brought clear here to prove that he stopped using mail bills, and then we proved that there never were any mail bills used on that route for him to stop using. I do not suppose that that man was dishonest.

These people just got around him and talked to him until he “remembered it.” They just planted the seed in his mind, and then came the dew and the rain and the lightning until it began to sprout and in time blossomed and bore fruit–mail bills. When we come to find out that there never were any mail bills used, away went Mr. Grimes.

On page 4969 Mr. Bliss says:

They have not, up to this moment, dared to state under oath, I think, that those books are not in their possession.

On page 3784 Dorsey swears that he never received any such books. Never saw any such books. He swore again and again that he never heard of any such books.

Mr. Bliss. I stated distinctly that the defendants had not stated that in the form required to excuse them from the production. I stated that distinctly.

Mr. Ingersoll. All right; away goes that.

On page 4983 Mr. Bliss says:

Is it not an absurdity to suppose that Dorsey would leave Rerdell in charge of his business from July, 1879, to August, 1880, and then on from that time until the close of the contract term in August, 1882; leave all the business in that way, and then through Bosler settle the accounts with Mr. Rerdell and have no knowledge in any way, not only of the entries contained in the books which Rerdell kept, but have no knowledge that he kept any books whatever? Is it not absurd to suppose any such thing? These ten routes represented an income of two hundred and fifty-odd thousand dollars a year, or a total business, including income and outgo, of five hundred thousand dollars a year, for three years, going no further than that. These ten routes alone represented transactions amounting to half a million dollars a year. There were one hundred and thirty routes and Mr. Dorsey took one-third in value if not in number. If the value was the same, Mr. Dorsey took not less than forty routes. As ten routes involved a business of one million five hundred thousand dollars in that period, the forty routes involved in that proportion transactions amounting to six million dollars.

You made a calculation on the supposition that all the routes were expedited the same as those in the indictment, and when you made that calculation you knew they were not expedited.

Mr. Bliss. I object, your Honor, to his making any such statement as that. In the first place, it is not evidence; and in the second place, which is of more importance, it is not true. I did not know any such thing, and I do not know any such thing.

Mr. Ingersoll. Do you say now that the other routes of his, to the number you talked of, were expedited?

Mr. Bliss. I am not on the stand to be cross-examined now. But I do say to your Honor that there is no evidence of that in this case. And then I go beyond that, and say that I did not know those things then and I do not know them now.

Mr. Ingersoll. Very well; he made the argument on the supposition that all the routes were expedited. I say that not one of them was expedited in which Mr. Dorsey had an interest.

Mr. Bliss. There is no evidence on that subject.

Mr. Ingersoll. Is there any evidence of what you say?

Mr. Bliss. I put a supposit.i.tious case; you have stated a fact.

Mr. Ingersoll. I will put another supposit.i.tious case, and mine is that the other routes were not expedited.

The Court. That is the right way to meet it. Counsel ought not to turn to counsel on the other side and make an appeal to his knowledge in regard to matters not in evidence.

Mr. Ingersoll. I know, but he said he did not know it. Then I asked him, as a matter of fact, if he did not know–

The Court. [Interposing.] He stated his supposition, and you met that supposition–

Mr. Ingersoll. [Interposing.] I am always glad to get information.

Now, then, I will go to another point, and that is the $7,500 check. Mr.

Bliss speaks of that check at page 4997, and he says:

There is a question raised as to whether it was drawn in Mr. Rerdell’s presence.

I do not think there was. How could such a question be raised, gentlemen? The check was made payable to M. C. Rerdell, or his order. On the back of the check is Mr. Rerdell’s name, put there by himself. He is the only indorser. And yet Mr. Bliss tells you that there is a question raised as to whether the money was drawn in Mr. Rerdell’s presence or not. The check shows, and the evidence is absolutely perfect, that the money was paid to Rerdell in person. The question is this: Whether it was drawn in Mr. Rerdell’s presence. If it was paid to him in person, I imagine that he was in that neighborhood at that time. The check was written by him, everything except the signature of Dorsey. It was drawn to Mr. Rerdell, or order, and indorsed by Rerdell himself. There was no other indorser. So that it is absolutely certain that he drew the money in question. And yet Mr. Bliss says the question is whether it was drawn in Rerdell’s presence or not.

Mr. Bliss continues and states that the money went to S. W. Dorsey. Did it? Mr. Dorsey, on page 3965, states the circ.u.mstances. He was packing to go away. He had not the time to go to the bank himself. He had the check written payable to Mr. Rerdell, or order, and he signed it.

Rerdell went to the bank, got the money, brought it back and put it in his carpet-sack. That is the testimony.

Now, Mr. Bliss says:

No evidence was given as to what Stephen W. Dorsey was wanting just at that time with seven thousand five hundred dollars in bills.

According to Mr. Rerdell, he wanted that money to give to Mr. Brady.

That is what Mr. Rerdell intended to swear. But when he found that that check was made payable to him, and indorsed by him, then they had to take another tack. They dare not say then, “That is the check.” They dare not say then, “That is the money.” Rerdell had forgotten at the time he swore that that check was payable to his order. When he told his seven thousand dollar story to MacVeagh he forgot about that check.

When he told it to the Postmaster-General, if he did–I have forgotten whether he did or not–he forgot about that.

Now, gentlemen, I will call your attention to the part to which I really wish to direct your attention. It is an admission by the Government, an admission by Colonel Bliss; it is in these words, on page 4997, speaking of this very thing:

However that may be, they themselves put in a check here for seven thousand five hundred dollars, drawn about the time Mr. Rerdell spoke of, the money upon which admittedly went to Stephen W. Dorsey, though there is a question raised as to whether it was drawn in Mr. Rerdell’s presence or whether it was not drawn by him. But the money went to Stephen W. Dorsey, and there was a promise made to show you what was done with that seven thousand five hundred dollars. But, like many another promise in this case, it remains unfulfilled to-day. No evidence was given as to what Stephen W. Dorsey was wanting just at that time with seven thousand five hundred dollars in bills.

Mr. Dorsey offered to tell you what he did with it, and you said you did not want it; you did not want to know when he was on the stand. He offered to tell you what he did with the money, and you would not take his statement. Hear what he says:

Mr. Dorsey was not taking seven thousand five hundred dollars in bills to the West.

How do you know? Who ever told Mr. Bliss that he was not taking seven thousand five hundred dollars to the West? He must have got that from Mr. Rerdell. May be that is the reason they would not allow Dorsey to tell, because before that time they had been informed that he would swear that he took the seven thousand five hundred dollars to the West.

How else did Mr. Bliss find this out?

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