Page images

Iowa desires to hear the Senator from Massa- | quillity, for the sake of those fundamental prin. | up is one of public importance and one of chusetts, I shall not object. The rule of the ciples on which so much depends, and which, urgency. I think my friend from Nevada himSenate, I believe, has been, when there has whether as Senator or citizen, I can never for self, when he knows what the bill is-his attenbeen a response not to allow debate afterward. get-I appeal to you, sir, and to my associates tion has not been turned to it-will consent

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Such is on this floor, not to allow this question to be that it shall come up. It is a bill to protect the rule of the Senate. After the call of the revived. Let Colorado wait at least until she loyal men from prosecutions and suits for acts Yeas and nays and a Senator answers, the rule recognizes the Declaration of Independence. done in obedience to orders in putting down of the Senate is that debate ceases.

The Sen The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The morn the rebellion. There are at this time, I underator from Iowa, however, is right, in the opin- || ing hour having expired, it becomes the duty || stand, several thousand suits pending against ion of the Chair, in point of fact, that the of the Chair to call up the unfinished business | loyal men who have committed no offense and name of the Senator from Rhode Island had of yesterday, which is House bill No. 238. done no act except in obedience to orders of been called, and his answer was heard by the Mr. WILSON. I should like to have a vote superior officers. They are now being sued and Chair. When the Senator from Missouri's on this question, and I move to pass over that prosecuted in the courts of Kentucky and other naine was called, he made a few words of expla- || bill for a short time.

States, and this is a bill which has passed the nation, no Senator objecting. The Chair then Mr. CLARK. I have no objection if we can House of Representatives and is of a public directed the call to proceed. The call again come to a vote immediately on this matter, but character; and it is due to the men who hazcommenced, and the Senator from Rhode Isl I do not want the special order to lose its place. || arded their all to save the country that we should and had answered, and simultaneously with his The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The unfin protect them from prosecutions and suits for answer, or perhaps immediately after, the Sen ished business will be laid aside informally if | simply doing their duty. I hope that we shall ator from Massachusetts addressed the Chair there be no objection.

go on with it. and was recognized. If the point of order, Mr. COWAN. I hope not. This is an im Mr. NYE. At this point I should like to however, is made, the Senator from Massa

portant question, and it has not been discussed have the question of priority established a little. chusetts, under the rule, is not entitled to be by everybody.

The Senator from Ohio, (Mr. Wade,] when I heard.

Mr. WILSON. Well, let it pass over.

had the floor on the amendment offered by the Mr. SUMNER. Does the Chair decide Mr. CHANDLER. I move that the special | Senator from Iowa [Mr. Grimes] to the bill thatorder be passed by informally for the purpose

in relation to the contractors for icon-clads, The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair of allowing us to finish this motion to recon

moved that that question be laid aside until does noi understand that any Senator makes sider.

to-morrow (to-day) at one o'clock, to which I the point of order objecting to the Senator The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Objection consented. Afterward, as the Senate was about from Massachusetts proceeding. The Chair being made to an informal postponement, it

to adjourn, the Senator from New Hampshire simply stated that if the point of order should will require a motion to postpone the special slipped in this bill. I merely want to learn be made, the Senator from Massachusetts would order.

what the practice is, that hereafter I may avail not be entitled, under the rule, to be heard. Mr. CHANDLER. I make that motion. myself of it if I desire to get priority. I supAccording to the practice, however, which has The PRESIDENT pro tempore. It is moved | posed that when the Senate made an order that been adopted in the case of the Senator from

to postpone the present and all prior orders in the naval bill should go over until to day at one Missouri, the Senator would be entitled; but order to continue the consideration of the mo o'clock, it meant what it had said. still no point of order was made then. The tion to reconsider the vote on the bill for the

Mr. CLARK. I do not quite like the expres, Chair did not feel called upon to enforce the admission of Colorado.

sion of the Senator from Nevada that I had rule as against the Senator saying a few words Mr. GRIMES. I trust the Senators who are | slipped the bill in, implying that I had done it of explanation, and he would not now as against so anxious that Colorado should be admitted for the purpose of defeating his bill. The Senthe Senator from Massachusetts, and does not will allow this measure to go over until there

ate will remember that the Senator from Ohio understand that any one now makes the point can be a fuller Senate than there is to-day.

made the motion to postpone the navy bill, the of order. The Chair therefore recognizes the Mr. WILSON. I propose that it shall go

bill which was under consideration, and to proSenator from Massachusetts. over until to-morrow morning.

ceed to the consideration of the bill chartering Mr. SUMNER. Mr. President, I hear Sen The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Sen a company for the sewerage of this city. He ators about me say, "Make your speech after ator from Michigan makes a motion to postpone moved to postpone the navy bill until one o'clock the motion to reconsider has been adopted. the present and all prior orders.

to-day, but it was not made a special order, and I have no speech to make, but I wish to meet Mr. CHANDLER. I withdraw the motion. if it had been made a special order the unfin. this question on the threshold, frankly and sin Let it go over.

ished business would override that special order. cerely, with my most earnest protest. I feel

Mr. NYE. That is what I want to learn. that the Senate will make a great mistake if


Mr. CLARK. The Senate will bear me out they proceed to reconsider this vote. The

ques. The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The bill in the assertion that when I moved to take up tion was amply discussed on a former occasion; (H. R. No. 238) to amend an act entitled “An this bill the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. it was considered in every possible aspect. The act relating to habeas corpus and regulating | Wilson said, “Yon are not going further, Mr. condition of the Territory of Colorado was ex judicial proceedings in certain cases,'' approved | CLARK;" and I said that I wanted to take up posed; its want of population was exhibited, | March 3, 1863, is before the Senate as in Com the bill so that it might be in order for to-morand its constitution having in it the word mittee of the whole, the pending question row, (to-day,) and the Senate thereupon took "white" was also exhibited to the Senate. being on the amendment reported by the Com it up and put it in order for this time. There On those grounds I felt it my duty then to op mittee on the Judiciary.

is no "slipping' about it. It is the deliberate pose the admission of that Territory as a State Mr. NYE. I think when we adjourned yes order of the Senate taking up the bill at that into this Union. I opposed it then as earnestly || terday we were upon the naval bill, and I had

time. as I , believing it my duty as a Senator; floor upon that question

Mr. NYE. You slipped me.

Mr. CLARK. But it is before the Senate in mistake for us to admit it. Having acted as I arrangement.

its order. did then, I feel that I should be untrue to my Mr. NYE. I did not hear it.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The quesself if I let slip any opportunity to resist the Mr. CLARK. I called up the bill to make tion is on the motion of the Senator from New effort to introduce this Territory into the Union it a special order. That was the very object of vada to postpone the present and all prior orders at this time, and under the present circum moving to take it up, and then to adjourn. and proceed to the consideration of the bill stances of the case. I hope, therefore, that the Mr. NYE. That was a very sharp thing. named by him. Senate will not proceed to reconsider the vote Mr. CLARK. Not at all sharp. It is the

Mr. CLARK called for the yeas and nays, and that, to their honor, they have already recorded. usual practice of the Senate.

they were ordered; and being taken, resultedThey did well when, on a former occasion, after Mr. NYE. I move to lay that order of yeas 17, nays 14; as follows: a two days' debate, by a large vote they delib business aside, and take up the bill relating to YEAS-Messrs. Anthony, Buckalew, Cowan. Dooerately refused to receive this Territory into the the iron-clads.

little, Howard, Howe, Lane of Kansas, Morgan, NesUnion. Has anything occurred since to cause Mr. CLARK. I hope that will not be done;

mith, Nye, Poland, Ramsey, Riddle, Stewart, Sum

ner, Wade, and Yates-17. a change of opinion? Is there any new evi let us not lay aside this public business for what NAYS-Messrs. Clark, Connese, Edmonds, Foster, dence? Are there any new facts? Is there any. may be considered the private business of indi Johnson, Kirkwood, Lane of Indiana. Pomeroy, Sher

viduals. thing which can change your responsibilities or

man, Sprague, Trumbull, Van Winkle, Willey, and

Williams-14, which can make you see your duty in a new Mr. NYE. That is important public busi ABSENT-Messrs. Brown, Chandler, Cragin, Creslight? Has that constitution been amended? ness, relative to the construction of the iron well. Davis. Dixon, Fessenden, Grimes, Guthrie, Has the word "white" been struck out of it? clads.

Harris, lenderson, Hendricks, McDougall, Morrill,

Norton, Saulsbury, Wilson, and Wright--18. Why, sir, at this moment the most important Mr. CLARK. This is a matter of a great

So the motion was agreed to. practical question before the country is, whether deal of importance. I understand that in one we shall allow the word "white" to be in the State there are some three thousand suits which CONTRACTORS FOR VESSELS AND MACHINERY. constitutions of the late rebel Statés. Sir, with are to be reached by this bill.

The Senate accordingly resumed, as in Comwhat just weight can you insist that the word The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The ques mittee of the Whole, the consideration of the "white'' shall be excluded from those consti tion is on the motion of the Senator from bill (S. No. 220) for the relief of certain contutions when you yourself deliberately receive Nevada to postpone the present and all prior tractors for the construction of vessels-of-war into the Union a new State which has that prin. orders and take up the bill referred to by him. and steam machinery, the pending question ciple of exclusion? I say, therefore, for the Mr. TRUMBULL. I hope not. The bill || being on the amendment of Mr. Nye to the Eake of my country, for the sake of public tran which the Senator from New Hampshire calls ll amendment of Mr. Grimes.

may be.

The amendment of Mr. Grimes was to strike should give the price of labor per

hour during cost of their work is ascertained, that is the out all after the enacting clause of the bill and every month that they were engaged in the con exact measure of justice which the Governinsert in lieu of the words to be stricken out struction of these ships. Upon that point there ment ought to mete out to them in a spirit of the following:

is no question that the statements rendered are magnanimity. That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to true and perfectly reliable; they come to the Mr. GRIMES. The Senator is mistaken as pay, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise Committee on Naval Affairs certified by the to my amendment. As the amendment is appropriated, to the several parties the awards made

president of the board as correct and true. drawn they cannot get more than the award; in their favor by the naval board organized under the resolution of the Senate adopted March 9, 1865,

The Senate will bear in inind that these con but where the award is more than twelve per the awards being made under date of December 23, tractors were invited and required to appear, cent. they get the twelve per cent. If the 1865, and reported to the Secretary of the Navy; not before a tribunal of their own choosing, not award is less than twelve per cent., they will Provided, That the payment shall not, in any case, exceed twelve per cent. upon the contract price,

before a tribunal where they had the opportu get the amount of the award, whatever that except in the case of the Camanche, in which caso nity of even choosing one member; but the the award shall be paid in full. Government itself fixed the tribunal, and re

Nr. NYE. Then I understand the Senator The amendment of Mr. Nye to this amend- | quired and demanded the presence of these to say that the award may be less than he ment was to strike out “ twelve" and insert contractors before that board, in compliance proposes to give. "fifteen.''

with the resolution that the Senate had adopted. Mr. GRIMES. The award is less than Mr. NYE. Mr. President, in calling the Then, sir, there are two things which the twelve per cent. in several instances. In those attention of the Senate to this bill by the Government had done. The Senate had passed || instances, under my substitute, if adopted, the motion just made, I did not intend to press the resolution, and the Navy Department had | parties will only get the amount of the award, it in advance of any other more important acted under that resolution. A board was which may be two per cent. or five per cent.; measure; but I deem it quite important to organized, and before it these men were re but in the other cases where the award exceeds the country, and especially important to | quired to appear. That board was diligent in twelve per cent., those contractors will get the these contractors, that they should know as its business, and sat from June until December, twelve per cent. soon as possible the exact condition in which and it required these contractors to come before Mr. NYE. I thank the Senator for his they are to stand.

it and present their claims. Was the Govern- | explanation; it simply shows that, after all, A little more than a year ago this Senate ment in earnest with these contractors, or was he puts great confidence in this award as being adopted a resolution authorizing and directing | it trifling with them? Was this all to go for right, and I assume that there is no other basis the Navy Department of the Government to naught and the judgment of the board to be that can be right as between these contractors appoint three competent persons to ascertain reversed and the Senate of the United States and the Government but that resting upon the the actual cost to the contractors of the vessels to sit as a court of appeals for the purpose of award of this tribunal constituted by the Goyand steam machinery that had been accepted reversing the judgment of the board appointed ernment itself. It is therefore that I object to by the Government. I assumed then that the || by the Government itself? Sir, the committee the amendment, but if that mode of relief is to Senate conceded one point, that by authorizing to which this subject was referred felt that our prevail-and I know the power of the distin. the board to do that duty they conceded that | inquiries need go no further than to ascertain guished chairman of the Committee on Naval the Government were at least equitably bound what was the actual cost of these vessels. To Affairs, and feel great embarrassment in atto pay the actual cost of these vessels and ascertain that, a board of inquiry had been sit tempting to go against anything that he desires machinery to the contractors. In introducing ting for five months, and we took the report of --if that must be guarded as he says the amendthat resolution I had no other object in view that board as evidence of the cost of these ships. ment is, " that no person shall receive more than to ascertain the exact cost of these ves It seems to me that that is just. When a poor than the amount of the award in any case and sels and the machinery, so that at this present mechanic or contractor has gone on to do work shall be paid by a percentage, I insist upon it session of Congress the subject could be acted for the Government, and has, as my friend from that my amendment should prevail, to insert on understandingly. We assumed, of course, Iowa [Mr. Grimes] said yesterday, involved "fifteen" instead of "twelve” per cent. If that the Department would appoint such a not only all his own fortune but the fortune of the representations of these contractors are to board as in all of its constituent parts would his friends in the construction of these ships, be relied upon, their sufferings in a pecuniary make a perfect whole to ascertain that fact; and when the Government by a tribunal of its and financial point of view have been very great. and we rested upon that supposition. They ap own has declared that the cost of these ships || They have subjected themselves to large paypointed that board and the board have reported. was so much, it seems to me that the Govern ments of interest, have had many anxious hours Their report has been the subject of investigation ment is estopped from going back of the judg. || and days in regard to it, involving their friends' by the Committee on Naval Affairs, and as the ment of the tribunal of its own selection. property in the issue. It seems to me that Senator from Indiana (Mr. HendriCKS) has Sir, are we to be toid that this Government upon every principle of justice this Governsaid, received the careful consideration of the is too poor to be just? Are we to be told here ment ought to pay the contractors the actual sub-committee to which it was referred. They that this tribunal had not sufficient ability to cost of the work done by them. came to the conclusion that it was no more determine what the cost of these ships was? This is not an isolated case, or one peculiar than an act of justice on the part of this Gov. I have observed that whenever a tribunal is to our own Government. I have taken occaernment to pay to the contractors the actual | appointed by this Government to ascertain sion, since this question came up, to examine a cost of the labor they had performed.

what is due from the Government it is exceed little into.the proceedings of the English GovSir, it seems to me in all its phases to be | ingly exacting, exceedingly careful, and it is ernment at the time of the Crimean war. They eminently just. The whole system of this very rarely that a mistake is made in giving | needed vessels of a different kind from those mode of naval construction was new. The the applicant or contractor more than he ought || which had been usually employed, and the Government itself knew very little about it, and to receive. I approve of that care and of that rule they adopted where contracts were made the contractors as little as the Government. scrutiny, but I assert that when a judgment is in a hurry, not knowing what the additional But an absolute necessity existed for the con rendered in favor of a claimant this Government cost would be resulting from the necessity of struction of these ships; the necessities of the should be controlled by it.

speedy construction, was to pay the contraetor Government were such that, cost what they The Senator from New Hampshire, [Mr. the cost.

Can this Government or its repremight, it must have them, and the ships have | Clark,] always careful, always vigilant, and sentatives afford to see the grand crash that answered well the end for which they were exceedingly scrutinizing, denounced this as an will be made in individual fortunes, rather than constructed. I think I can say in truth that omnibus bill. Sir, here are just as many bills step up and say that the contractors shall rethere is no class of men who have been engaged as there were double-enders and iron-clads ceive what the labor and materials actually on Government contracts that have displayed that were accepted by this Government. He cost them? A man would hardly be tolerated a nobler spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism fears that an unjust bill is to be carried through to live as a good citizen in a neighborhood who to the Government than those men who vied on the back of just bills. In answer to that, would get a contract which was oppressive and with each other to see who could construct the let me say there is no greater probability of ruinous on his neighbor and so use it as to best and most efficient vessels-of-war. At any there being danger of one bill helping another, crush him; and surely this nation can afford rate the Government had determined to have in the bill as it is presented, than though there to be as magnanimous as individual is to indithis class of ships, and made its contracts for were forty separate bills. I therefore dismiss vidual. them in 1862 and 1863, and from that time that suggestion made by the Senator with that But we are told by the Senator from Iowa until the period of their completion the reasons simple explanation.

that this is only the beginning of the end, that are ample and very clearly set forth why there The Senator from Iowa, the chairman of the there are other claims. I have not taken occamust of necessity have been a great increase Committee on Naval Affairs, proposes to give sion to investigate that fact; I have not thought in the cost of the work. The Government these contractors twelve por cent. in addition it material. It this claim rests upon the prinacknowledged this. The Government acknowl to their contract price. I do not think that | ciples of equity and justice, and there are other edged that it did not know itself what it did that mode of relief is as just as the other; I claims resting upon the same foundation, this want and was constantly retarding the work do not believe that it will be as equitable to all nation, in view of its own dignity, in view of on these ships by alterations from the specifi these parties, and for this reason: by that its own sense of justice, ought to meet them. cations in the contracts.

proposition some will get more, perhaps, than Our Navy is not a thing of a day. It has done It is patent to us all that from 1862 to 1864 they would get under the award as it has been more to defend our national honor and our not only the price of labor, but of every mate rendered, and some will get greatly less. national integrity and has given a more noble rial which enters into the construction of a ship, Some will get more than they ought to have, exhibition of our national genius and enteralmost doubled in cost. So accurate were the and others will get less than they ought to prise than any other arm of the service used board that had this matter under investigation, have. It seems to me that when the amount during the war; and it has made old Eugland that they required of these contractors that they ll which is due these contractors for the actual ti sing in subdued accents that she is mistress of


the sea. From the day that the little Monitor and twenty days, I take it they did not under ernment have reaped where they did not sow went down to Hampton Roads and sank the stand that the Government was to change the to the amount of $1,000,000, that ought to rebel craft, or so shattered her that she had to model, change the machinery, or to order such satisfy at least a sensible, honorable body of take herself back to her moorings, the charac alterations as would require more than the time men who take justice for their standard and ter of the American Navy has attracted the prescribed in the contract for the performance equity as their rule. admiration of the world. I believe sincerely of the original work, to make the alterations, Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. President, I have difthat these contractors have tried to do the best as it appears in this report was done in a num ficulties about this bill on two points. It is they could, not for their own advantage, but ber of instances. Five hundred thousand dol avowed here as a rule that we are to pay the for their country's glory, and to establish the lars worth of extra work was done on one vessel. cost of this work, though it exceeds the confact that the character of the American Navy Mr. HOWARD. Then I understand from tract price. Are we to establish the precedent that was being built had more in it than any the Senator from Nevada that the Government that nobody that contracts with the Governother navy that had ever been built.

insisted on some fundamental changes in their ment is to lose; that Congress will make up Now, sir, we have this Navy, and I submit mode of construction.

any loss? That is a pretty broad precedent to to the Senate, I submit to the country, whether Mr. NYE. In a large number of cases. make, particularly at this time, or, indeed, at it is not worth all that it has cost. I care not, Mr. HOWARD. Necessarily increasing the any time. Another question involved is that sir, what its cost may be; we have a Navy | cost of the work.

you guaranty by this action the value of the now that admonishes the world that we are Mr. SHERMAN. I ask if that was not in currency, or in other words you guaranty them prepared for offensive and defensive warfare | all cases paid for.

against the increase of war prices during the with a naval force such as no other country Mr. NYE. The extra work was paid for; time they are fulfilling their contracts. can boast. Much of the credit of this achieve but the time it took to do the extra work was I should not like the Senate stablish either ment is due to the noble patriotism and magna as great as the contract time for doing the whole of these principles, that the contractors with the nimity of the contractors who built these ships, work.

Government of the United States are to be paid and they will stand as a monument to the Mr. SHERMAN. Still all the increased the cost of their work without regard to the congenius of Ainerican skill and enterprise when cost on account of the extra work was paid for, tract price, or that they are to be indemnified those who are talking about them to-day will as I understand.

for the depreciation of the currency and against have been forgotten.

Mr. NYE. I understand so, except in one the increase of war prices. All that is embraced Sir, I insist upon it that the report of the case; but that does not change the principle. in the resolution that was passed by the Senate board is the fairer, truer, and less liable to The point is that time was essential, and that at the heel of the session last year, authorizing mistake than the proposition submitted by the every month that rolled around increased the the Department to form this board to pass upon Senator from Iowa in his amendment; but if cost of doing the work. On one ship extra the cost of the vessels. If I was making laws that basis must be surrenderei, if that propo work to the amount of $500,000 was ordered, to last for all time to govern a people, I would sition, mathematically certain, must be given which took more time to perform than it would make no such rules and regulations. I have up, I insist upon it that the amendment of the have required to make the original construc | been, to a limited extent, engaged in public Senator from Iowa should be amended by tion. The question of time is important in two works; and my experience has been that there inserting fifteen per cent, instead of twelve views. The price of labor by the hour doubled is a difference in the talent, ingenuity, and skill per cent. These contractors have given the and the cost of materials almost doubled. of contractors. One man or one set of concost of every nail and spike and bolt. The Almost all the materials which they had neces tractors will do their work, pay all their hands, cost of every item in the construction of the sarily to use advanced in price from seventy and make money, and upon the same descripFessels, from the laying of the keel to their five to one hundred per cent. In another case, tion of work and at the same prices another completion, is here before us. I am unwilling as appears by the report, the contractors did set will fall short and not be able to pay their that this Government should say to them, not receive the draft for the machinery until || hands, and fail in the end. Why is this? It “Notwithstanding it cost you so much, we will after the contract time for the completion of the is on account of the superior energy and skill give you a portion only of what the work cost work had expired, and as the Department say of some, their power of combination, and their

If you adopt the principle that the in the letter to them, it was owing to the hurry | ability to apply their means to the end in view, Government is liable and should be held re of business in the Department. In every one the accomplishment of the work. If I can sponsible to any extent, the whole ground is of these cases there is a reason rendered, and understand these reports, that has been the case yielded. If the contractors are entitled to a reason that has been entirely satisfactory to in some of these contracts. Under precisely anything, they are entitled to what the work the Navy Department. The Department ac the same circumstances some have complained cost. Either reject the entire principle and cepted the work as evidence of their satisfac of no losses and others have complained of say you will not pay at all, or give them the tion. They took it when completed; and that pretty heavy losses. actual cost of the work. I appeal to the mag is the highest evidence of their satisfaction with Now, we know what ship-builders are, as well nanimity of the Senate, the representative of the work, both with regard to time and with as what they should be. Give them the dimenthe great nation whose Navy this is, not to regard to quality. Therefore the suggestion | sions of a ship, and the character of the vessel, send these men beggarly away, and let not the which the Senator from California [Mr. Con and they know what quantity of timber is only return they get for their patriotism and NESS] made yesterday falls to naught. It is needed; they know what iron is necessary and energy be an expression of ingratitude from the not at all unusual, but usual, when ships-of-war | the amount of labor necessary to accomplish representatives of the people of this country. go from here, and especially new ones, to the it. They can make their estimate of what it

Mr. HOWARD. I desire to put a question Pacific coast, to send them to the dry-dock on will cost them, and allow for a fair profit, into the Senator from Nevada in reference to the Mare Island to be overhauled and repaired. cluding their capital in machinery and in the basis on which this claim is made. Were not Mr. President, I do not desire to occupy the investment; and as intelligent men they do the contracts regularly made with each one of time of the Senate, or to keep the more im make their estimates and their bids accordthe firms mentioned in this bill, for the con portant measure, as it is deemed, of the Sena- || ingly. We know the immense fortunes that struction of these iron-clads, and were not the tor from New Hampshire from being acted on. some of these ship-builders have made, and prices fixed by the contracts; and where does I have only to say that the report in this case yet we know that there are others who fail, it appear that the Government of the United was carefully drawn and is the result of ma and so it is in all the avocations of life. Men States is bound either in law or on principles ture deliberation by the sub-committee. If of skill, energy, and judgment are the prosof honor to pay them more than was required | the Senate, after the suggestion of the chair perous men; men who lack skill, lack energy, by their contracts? I understand that the man of the Committee on Naval Affairs, pro and lack judgment are the men who fail in the object of this bill is to supply deficiencies of that

poses to pay a percentage, I think it ought to affairs of this world. kind, and to indemnify contractors who claim pay at least fifteen per cent. upon the contract Now, sir, I am unwilling (and that is my that the work cost them more than the contract


If the figuring of my distinguished || difficulty about this bill) to make the rule that price. I wish some information on this subject || friend from Iowa is correct, and I have ob this Government is to answer for whatever a from the honorable Senator from Nevada. served that he never figures so as to pay out contract may cost the individual to accomplish

Mr. NYE. These contracts were made in very much money, fifteen per cent. will give the work, without regard to the contract price. 1862 and 1863, at a time when labor was at a almost a million dollars less than the board They are sagacious men; they make their calgiven price. The vessels were to be completed | reported that the work cost the contractors. culations upon the character of the currency within a certain time specified in the contract; seems to me that a million less ought to and the chances of its depreciation. They but the Government admits the fact, and it is | satisfy the Government. If such a reflection know the effect of war and how it changes shown in the report, that for various reasons by || is at all sweet, I think the reflection that it has prices; and that, too, if they are fit for their the operation of governmental direction they | had and is now enjoying the benefit of more avocations, enters into their calculations when were retarded in their work, and much of it was than a million dollars hard earned by days of they bid. I believe all these specifications not completed until 1864, when the price of toil and anxiety ought to satisfy the most vora. required them to make additions and alteraalmost every article they had to use had doubled. cious. If it is required here, under the lead oftions before the completion of the work; and

Mr. HOWARD. Did not the contractors my distinguished friend from Iowa, that these that was within their contemplation at the time themselves contemplate that this delay might men shall contribute a million, let that suffice; they made these contracts. It may be true, be produced by the direction of the Govern but I insist upon it that he shall not by his and no doubt is true, that they have been dement, and had the contractors therefore any twelve per cent. proposition take half a mil. || layed by these alterations, by the large addi. ground to complain of the delay produced in lion more from them which their families and | tional work that was required to be done ; but that manner?

their own interests require that they should || for this additional work they were paid uuder Mr. NYE. When they contracted to build a have. I submit to the justice of the Senate the contracts. They may not have been paid ship in a hundred and fifty days or a hundred that when it is shown by figures that the Gov for all the delays, all the damages that were

39TH CONG. Ist Sess. —No. 125.

done them. They could not have foreseen the the time. If you are going to make compen that has been fought, every storm'that they extent of this additional work. They may sation for the difference between the contract have encountered, every experienced and capahave supposed the designers of these vessels price and the value of the money when it was ble man who has commanded one of them understood their business and had made the paid, to all the soldiers who received your pay, has made some suggestive changes, and where designs carefully, and that the alterations to all the officials to whom you paid salaries, those changes have met the approval of the would be but small and immaterial. An alter and to all the contractors who contracted to proper advising officers of the Navy Departation that would cost an additional $500,000 deliver to you on time all the supplies for the ment, although a vessel might be upon the certainly was not within the contemplation of Army and Navy that have enabled this coun stocks, availing themselves of the clause in any contractor, because it never should have

try to carry on the most stupendous war that the contracts which authorized them to change been allowed by a Department that understood has happened in our time, or that I hope ever the specifications of the contract, they have its business in relation to the building of ves will happen on the continent of America, it

done so.

Manifestly it was the interest and sels.

will be an endless and ruinous job, and you will the duty of the Government to make such Mr. HENDRICKS. Will the honorable Sen never be done settling the cost of this war. changes. I am happy to be able to say, and I ator allow me to make a suggestion ?

I do not wish to set up my judgment against think the Senator will concur with me if he Mr. GUTHRIE. Certainly.

the judgment of anybody. If it is the sense has consulted with any naval gentlemen and Mr. HENDRICKS. I think there is force of the Senate that it should extend its hand to entertains the same opinion with them, I am in his suggestion so far as regards ordinary | relieve the calamities of the contractors who happy in being able to say, what is my own contracts; but I think it is due to the Depart have failed, be it so; but I have seen enough honest conviction, that we have to-day the ment to say, as is stated in this report, that the of this case to see that some of these parties most perfect iron vessels in the world; and building of these ships was to some extent and have failed in the construction of precisely the they have all sprung out of a defective original almost altogether in this country an experi same class of vessels in regard to which other vessel, and all been perfected through these ment, and the Department had to avail itself parties have made no complaint, thus showing changes which have been gradually going on of all possible experience, and as improve that the failure in the one case was owing to in these various ship-yards, either private shipments were found necessary they had to be the want of skill and knowledge of the con yards or our own. made. Therefore I suggest to the Senator that tractor and not to any fault of the Government. I rose, Mr. President, not for the purpose of it is not like the construction of a ship upon There is no period in the history of the nation, controverting or entering into a discussion of old plans, and I have not been able to see that when you are carrying on a great war or great the merits of this proposition, but simply not even in the case to which he refers the Depart- constructions and improvements, that this same to let it be inferred that I acquiesced in what ment was in fault.

thing will not happen--some will fail while might possibly be drawn as a conclusion from Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. President, every spe others make money.

the Senator's remarks, that I believed there cial case that appeals to the Treasury, has its I felt bound to say this much on these few had been any improper blundering in regard to placebo, its excuse for failure. The building points. I am not willing to establish the rule these iron-clads. I know that the Navy Deof iron vessels was no new thing-no new thing that we will compensate every contractor for partment have made mistakes, I know they in America, no new thing in Europe. We are the cost of the work that he contracts to do, made most egregious mistakes in regard to one not to suppose that our officers made the plans or that we will take into consideration the dif class of vessels not included in this bill. I am without intormation as to how far the science ference in the value of money and the value of not here to defend those mistakes; but I am had progressed in other countries. I do not labor during the whole period of the contract; here to defend every improvement and change impeach them with any such want of judgment but still, wherever the loss has been occasioned that has been made to vard making a perfect and skill as to suppose that they went on blun- | by the action of the Government in delaying ship-of-war, which I think we have done. dering ignorantly without knowing what had the specifications or requiring additional work Nr. SUMNER. Mr. President, I am happy been done in other countries.

that could not have been fairly calculated upon to agree with the Senator from Kentucky in the I have no question in my own mind that when the contract was made, I think there is fundamental principle which he has laid down most of these men have lost money; I think i ground for equitable compensation, and I feel and developed so clearly. I agree with him they have lost money, principally because of willing and ready to vote for it.

that by no legislation of ours must we recogthe alterations that were made; and I should Mr. GRIMES. I only rise to set the Sena nize the principle that contractors with the be glad to have some criterion devised upon tor from Kentucky right in regard to one thing. Government may never lose. The Senator which I could vote for settling their bills, so I think, in the first place, that he is mistaken cannot state that proposition too strongly. But that we might be done with them.

in supposing that so many of these cases are I part company with him when he undertakes The difficulty I have is in coming up to the predicated upon the loss that has been sus to apply the proposition to the present case. point that this Government is to establish now tained by the contractors in consequence of We agree on the proposition; we disagree on and forever the principle that no man who con alterations made by the Navy Department. the application. tracts with it is to lose, and that it is to act But the inference would be drawn from what Had these contracts been in a period of peace, upon the principle hereafter that the contract he has said that the conduct of the Navy then there would have been occasion for the price is not to be the rule of compensation. Department in the construction of these ves application of the proposition of the Senator; If the contractors then swell the cost of work sels was rather of a blundering character, and but they were not in a period of peace; they that they have undertaken to perform, it is that they ought not to have directed changes were in a period of war. The Senator himself nothing to them. They will not care now to be made; and he says that these are not the has characterized the war as perhaps the greathigh wages go, for Uncle Sam is to pay. first iron vessels that have been built; that est in all history. If they were not precisely

I will not agree to establish that principle; || they have been built before. That is true. in a period of war, they were in those early but still these men have suffered by the change Iron vessels have been built before; but no days which were the heralds of war. of plans and the additional time required to do such vessels as we have built have been built tical question for us as legislators is, whether the original work, throwing them into more before; and almost all of the attachments to we can shutour eyes to that condition of things. expensive times. I would be willing to furnish these vessels have been compelled, necessarily, The times were exceptional, and surely tho a criterion of compensation if I knew what it to be altogether of a different character from remedy must be exceptional also.

The chairman of the Naval Committee | what was before known. In the first place, it I have said, had it been a moment of peace, seems to fix upon twelve per cent.; the Senator | required a great deal of time and ingenuity | then the Senator from Kentucky would be right, from Nevada fixes it at fifteen per cent. I and a great many experiments in order to and we should not be justified in exercising the sbould like to have these bills settled at the one determine which was the best character of a influence which we have over the public Treasor the other, and that we should be done with rudder to apply to these monitors. Then there ury in opening it for the relief of these conthem; but I beg you, gentlemen, not to establish were constant changes made in order to ob tractors, But, sir, war is a great disturbing the principle that a contractor with the Govern viate the defects which were found to exist in force. What force in human society, what force ment is never to lose, let his work cost him the original Monitor, so as to prevent the great in business, is more disturbing? Wherever it what it will. Such a rule would not do in pri- | overhanging which was doubtless the cause of goes it not only carries with it death and devate life among individual citizens. In extraor the sinking of the original Monitor. Then it struction, but the derangement of business, the dinary cases of hardship or of difficulty, indi was exceedingly difficult to arrange the com change of pursuits, the interference with the viduals, who are able to do so, compensate the pass, and many experiments were made and currency, and generally the dislocation of the contractor beyond the contract price. That is considerable delay occasioned in consequence common relations of life. You cannot be blind an appeal to his own sense of equity and justice of the variation caused by the action of the to such a condition of things. You must not on account of the misfortune of the man who iron on the deck of the vessel upon the com shut your eyes to its consequences.

If you do has made the contract. But when we come to pass. They finally devised a way of raising so you cannot do justice to the case that is make general rules and declare the general the compass on a high staff and having a card now before you. principle that we are to compensate all these on which it could be read down in front.

I repeat, therefore, did these contracts grow men, we take from them their interest in the If the Senator will go with me down here out of a period of peace I should not be hero result of their work and we are to pay the bills. to the navy-yard I will show him two mon now to advocate them ; but it is because they

Allusion has been made to the depreciation itors, one of which was built in 1862, and grow out of a period of war that I insist that of the currency, and that is urged as an argu another one built recently, the Tonawanda, those who have suffered by them shall enjoy ment in favor of this bill. Why, sir, there is and he would hardly suppose that the original | that same justice which we are making haste no intelligent man but what takes that into con Monitor that was built in 1862 was the pro to accord to all who have contributed to our sideration in making a contract. He estimates totype and original of the perfect vessel that success in that terrible war. Why, sir, how the cost and the hazards that he will incur. All is now lying at the whart. These changes often do we plead in this Chamber for justice those things are within his contemplation at have been going on gradually. Every battle to all who have contributed to our success! It

The prac


is my dnty constantly to plead here for justice for any cause the fact will be immediately reported be seen in those mighty results which we all to those freedmen who have done so much and to the Provost Marshal General. The commandant will decide what operatives come within the provis

now enjoy. placed you under undying obligations. I hope ions of the circular.

And now again I ask, are you ready to see 1 an not indifferent also to those national cred Very respectfully, GIDEON WELLES, these contractors who have done this service itors who have supplied the means which helped

Secretary of the Navy. sacrificed? You do not allow the soldier to your triumph; nor yet again to those soldiers, To COMMANDANTS OF NAVY-YARDS.

be sacrificed, nor the national creditor who whether on land or sea, who have so power Mr. KIRKWOOD. What is the date of has taken your stock. Will you allow the fully served the national cause. But there is that?

mechanic to be sacrificed? There are many still another class, for whom no one has yet Mr. SUMNER. “Navy Department, 13th of them who, without your help, must suffer. spoken on this foor, who have contributed to of August, 1864."

One of the most enterprising and faithful in your success not less than the soldier or the Mr. KIRKWOOD. Now, I should like to the whole country is a constituent of my own, creditor; I was almost about to say not less | ask, at what time were these contracts given who during the last year has been obliged to than the freedman; I mean the mechanics of out for the building of these ships? In 1862, I go into bankruptcy from his inability to meet this country. They, sir, have helped you to believe.

liabilities growing out of the war, and at this carry on this war to its victorious close. With Mr. SUMNER. In 1862 and 1863.

moment he finds no chance of relief except in out the mechanics where would you have been? Mr. KIRKWOOD. What proportion of the what a just Government may return to him. What wonld have been your equipments on the work, then, was done after the issuance of this My friend on my right [Mr. NYE] asked you land? Where would have been that marvelous order?

to be magnanimous to these contractors. I navy on the sea? It was the skilled labor of Mr. SUMNER. That I am not able to say. do not put it in that way. I ask you simply to this country, coming so promptly to the rescue, Mr. KIRKWOOD. We ought to know that, be just. Do by them as you would be done by. which gave you that power which carried you in order to see what effec, that order is to have l'he Senator from Nerada also very fitly on from victory to victory. on our deliberations.

reminded you of the experience of other counNow, sir, the practical question is, whether Mr. CLARK. Many of them were finished tries. He told you that England, at the close these mechanics, who have done so much to a year before that.

of the Crimean war, when her mechanics had turn the tide of battle, shall be losers by the Mr. SUMNER. But I take it they were not suffered precisely as your mechanics have sufskill, the labor, and the time which they de all finished at that time. Surely they were not. fered, did not allow them to be sacrificed, but voted to your triumph? Tell me not, sir, that This order illustrates very plainly the disturbing every pound and shilling of all their liabilities they acted according to their contract. To that influence from the war; and this brings me under their contracts was promptly met by that I reply, the war disturbed that contract, and it again to press this point upon your attention. Government. Will you be less just to your is your duty here, sitting as a high court in I mention certain particulars in which this ap mechanics than England? It is an old saying equity, to review all the circumstances of the peared; but I wish to bring home to your minds that republies are ungrateful. I hope that this case and to see in what way the remedy may the controlling consideration that we were in a Republic may certainly vie with any monarchy be titly applied. You cannot turn away from time of war, vast in its proportions, and most in gratitude to those who have served it. You the equities of the case. You cannot treat it || disturbing in its influence. This alone is enough have shown great energy in meeting your ene: literally and severely according to the precise to account for the failure of these contractors 1 mies. I ask you to show a commensurate terms of the contract. You must go into those to complete their contracts. We were not in energy in doing justice to those who have convital considerations which arise out of the a period of peace, and you err if you undertake 1 tributed to your success. peculiar circumstances of the case.

to hold these contractors to all the austere Now, sir, the practical question remains, There are several facts which are obvious to | responsibilities to which you might properly what shall be paid? I, of course, shall vote all. They have been alluded to already in hold them in a period of peace.

for the amendment of the Senator from Nethis debate. A Senator on the other side of The Senator from Kentucky said that they ! vada raising the percentage in the proposition the Chamber has alluded to them. In the first took the war into their calculations. Perhaps of the Senator from Iowa to fifteen per cent.; place, there was the general increase in the they did; but who among these contractors but I am free to say that does not satisfy me. price of labor and material that ensued after could take that war adequately into his calcu I prefer the report of the committee, and I will these contracts were made. Nobody doubts lations? Who among those sitting here or at tell you precisely why. I prefer it because it that. There was, then, in the second place, the other end of the avenue properly appreci- || is founded on the judgment of a court. I do another fact somewhat connected with the first. || ated the character of the great contest that was not use the language hastily. I say it is founded I mean the change in the currency. There was, then coming on? Sir, we had passed half a on what for practical purposes may be called then, in the third place, what has been alluded century in peace; we knew nothing of war or the judgment of a court. It was by a resoluto several times, the changes made in the of war preparations, when all at once we were tion of this body that a commission was conmodels of these vessels at the Navy Depart- | called to efforts on this gigantic scale. Arestituted of honorable gentlemen having the ment, which necessarily imposed upon these you astonished that these contractors did not confidence of the country, one of them an emicontractors additional expense and labor. Then know more about the war than your statesmen? nent commodore in the Navy; another a paythere was another circumstance to which my Be to these contractors as gentle in judgment | master, and another an engineer; attention has been directed latterly-I believe, and as considerate as you have been to others tlemen who from their education and position however, the Senator from Iowa alluded to it in public life who have erred in their calcula were supposed to be peculiarly competent to Festerday-that at the moment of the war, when tions with regard to it.

deal with such matters, and to them these cases labor was the highest, when it was most diffi I have said that the interest now in question were submitted. They sat as a tribunal for cult to obtain it, there came an order from the was the great mechanical interest of the coun months; they listened to all the evidence that proper authorities exempting those who labored try. It is an interest, let me add, that is not was brought before them; and you have now in the arsenals and public yards of the United local, as this bill is for the benefit of mechanics || before you their final judgment. They were a States from enrollment. Of course all who | in all parts of the loyal States, from Maryland court of claims created by yourselves to deal were then working in private yards or with in the South to Massachusetts and Maine in the with these cases. contractors, naturally, so far as they could, hur North and East, and then stretching from New Mr. KIRKWOOD. I should be glad to ried under the national flag that they might | York on the sea-board to Missouri beyond the call the attention of the Senator to the fact that become workmen there and thus obtain ex Mississippi. I have here a list of the States the board was constituted for this purpose: emption from enrollment. I have here an order | interested, through different contractors, in this "To inquire into and determine how much the vesfrom the Navy Department which I believe has very bill. I will read it: Maine, Massachusetts,

sels-of-war and steam machinery contracted for by

the Department in the years 1802 and 1863 cost the not yet been introduced into this debate, and Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New contractors over and above the contract price and wbich I will read. It is introduced by an order Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, allowance for extra work." from the War Department, as follows:

Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and even California. They were organized for the purpose of as[Circular No. 28.]

The interest 'for which I am now speaking certaining just what the cost was, not concernWAR DEPARTMENT,

crosses the mountains and goes to the Pacific ing the question whether it ought to be allowed PROVOST MARSHAL GENERAL'S OFFICE,

or not. It was a mere question of dollars and WASHINGTON, D. C., July 25, 1864.

I said that this was the skilled labor of the cents, a matter of figures. It does not touch Skilled mechanics and operatives employed in the artorics, arsenals, and navy-yards of the United

country. What labor more valuable; what the question whether we should make the alStates who shall be drafted, and, on examination, service, while the war was going on, more im lowance that they report. held to service, will not be required to report for duty portant! If these mechanics did not expose Mr. SUMNER. I do not pretend to sayunder such draft so long as they remain in the afore

their persons in the peril of battle, they gave I hope my friend will understand me - that said service, provided the officer in charge shall certify that their labor, as mechanics or operatives, is

their skill to prepare others to achieve the vic their report is, technically, in the form of a Deccasary for the naval or military service,

tory. It was in ancient times that the oracle ll judgment of a court; but I do submit that JAMES B. FRY,

said to the city in danger, "Look to your under the circumstances of the case it is to be Provost Marshal General.

wooden walls." The oracle in our country | taken by us as of similar value. It is the findThen comes the supplementary order from said, “Look to your iron-clads and your double ing of a tribunal created to consider this

very the Navy Department, as follows:

enders ;'' and these mechanics came forward question. Sir, do we not almost every day act In accordance with the provisions of the circular, and by their generous labor enabled you to put on the judgment of the Court of Claims, sitting hond killed mechanics and operatives" employed

those iron-clads and double-enders on the in another part of this building? We accept in the card be drafted, the commandant will certify to the Provost Marbul General that their labor as ocean, and thus to secure the final triumph. their deliberations, and do not undertake to Inthanies or operatives is necessary for the naval' The building of that invulnerable navy was open their judgments, except in rare cases. I service. The excaption from military duty contin

one of the great victories of the war, not to do not mean to say that the Senate may not - only so long as the drafted persons are employed in tbe navy-yard; and should either of them leave be commemorated on any special field, but to open the judgment of the Court of Claims, nor

three gen


« PreviousContinue »