When he heard this request he displayed much feeling, but said he would comply with the President
It is proper to state the reason for this request.
On the night before it was made (22d December), the fact was first made known to the President
that 870 State bonds for $1,000 each, held in trust by the Government
for different Indian tribes, had been purloined from the Interior Department by Godard Bailey
, the clerk in charge of them, and had been delivered to William H. Russell
, a member of the firm of ‘Russell
Upon examination, it was discovered that this clerk, in lieu of the bonds abstracted, had from time to time received bills of corresponding amount from Russell
, drawn by the firm on John B. Floyd
, Secretary of War
, and by him accepted and indorsed, and this without any lawful authority.
In consequence there was found in the safe where the Indian
bonds had been kept, a number of these accepted bills, exactly equal in amount to $870,000. These acceptances were thirteen in number, commencing on the 13th September, 1860, and had been received by Mr. Bailey
, according to his own statement, ‘as collateral security for the return of the bonds,’ and as such had been placed by him in the safe.
It is remarkable that the last of them, dated on the 13th December, 1860, for $135,000, had been drawn for the precise sum necessary to make the aggregate amount of the whole number of bills exactly equal to that of the abstracted bonds.
And here it is due to Secretary Thompson
to state, though a digression, that on Monday morning, the 24th December, at his own instance, the House of Representatives appointed a committee ‘to investigate and report upon the subject,’ of which Hon. Mr. Morris
, of Illinois
, a rancorous opponent of the administration, was the chairman.
After a full investigation, the committee made their report on the 12th February, 1861.1
In this they state: ‘They deem it but justice to add that they have discovered nothing to involve the late Secretary
, Hon. Jacob Thompson
, in the slightest degree in the fraud, and nothing to indicate that he had any complicity in the transaction, or that he had any knowledge of it until the time of the disclosure by ’