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We hereby certify that we have examined the books of Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins, James F. Hunter and John Dickson, and find the prices named in the statement annexed are those at which wholesale sales have been made by them, and that said sales are generally on time, and payable in current funds.
That, further, the invoice cost of said articles, from their books, are correct as stated.
W. A, LOWELL,
and James F. Hunter.
NORFOLK, July 29, 1841, Sworn to before me by W. A. Lowell and James A. Saunders.
CHARLES H. SHIELD, Alderman..
Interrogatory propounded to Richard Vermillion, by B. Homans and J.
H. Butler, commissioners appointed to investigate complaints alleged aguinst the navy agent, Norfolk, and his answer thereto.
Will you be pleased to state what you know on the subject of furnishing oars for the naval service ?
Answer. Since I have been in business here as a boatbuilder, (1832,) I have endeavored to get a contract for supplying oars for the navy, but never succeeded. I once furnished a small order for oars of extraordinary length, but they were not contracted for. I occasionally went to Mr. Linn, the master boat builder of the navy yard, and inquired if oars were or soon would be wanted, and was sometimes informed that they would be. I then looked at the newspapers, to see if any proposals were advertised, but the next thing I heard on the subject was, ihat the oars were furnished. On one occasion, last fall, a quantity was advertised for as “ wanted immediately," when, at the same time, the oars were in a lighter at Portsmouth, and furnished by Mr. Robert Tatem, as he informed me. Consequently it appeared to me useless to attempt to get an order or a contract. The person who usually supplied oars was à Mr. Styron, of Princess Ann county, Virginia ; and the price paid, as I have heard from undoubted authority, was six cents per foot; when, if they had been advertised for, and any thing like a competition existed, they might have been got at five cents. What I complain of is, that, by the practice hitherto pursued, dealers in articles wanted for the naval service have not had an opportunity to supply them, because no competition was permitted, to my knowledge.
R. VÉRMILLION. NORFOLK, July 6, 1841.
This statement was made and reduced to writing at half past nine A. M., before Mr. Loyall appeared, which was about 10 o'clock, and was afterwards read to him before Mr. Vermillion signed it.
Interrogatories propounded to William D. Roberts, jr., by B. Homansand
J. H. Butler, commissioners appointed to investigate complaints alleged against the navy agent, Norfolk, and his answers thereto.
TO INTERROGATORIES BY THE COMMISSIONERS.
Question. What have been the prices of tin during the years 1838, 1839, and 1840, say common, X, XX, and XXXX ?
Answer. I have not sold much tin by the box, as I purchase it for manufacturing. I can state what the article has cost me in New York; and when I have sold any to my customers I have charged them from 75 cents to $1 per box advance; but, if I made a business of selling tin by the box, I should charge more. The advance should be 15 per cent. on the New York prices. I have paid in New York as follows: for $X, from $9 to $9 75, or an average of $9 33 per box ; (when single or common tin is sold separately, it is about $1 per box less than $X ;) for XX, $11 per box. I have never used any tin so thick as XXXX that I am aware of, and therefore cannot state the price or cost per box. I bought, in January, 1841, two half boxes of XXX tin, 14 by 20 inches, at the rate of $27 per box, and should say that XXXX tin was not worth more than $1 per box over the XXX. There has not been a difference of more than 10 per cent. in the price of tin during the last three years.
Question. What has been the wholesale price of charcoal during the last three or four years?
Answer. The average price has been about 10 cents per bushel; it has been as low as four cents, and sometimes is as high as 124 cents, which is the highest I have known it to be during that period. A little before Christmas holydays charcoal is low in price, but in the spring, when the farmers are busy, it is higher,
Question. What do you charge for tin boxes or cannisters, with covers, capable of holding from 20 to 25 pounds of corn meal each ?
Answer. For round ones from 874 cents to $1 each, and for square ones about $1 each.
WM. D. ROBERTS, JR. NORFOLK, July 8, 1341.
Interrogatories propounded to Simon Slone, by B. Homans and J. H,
Butler, commissioners appointed to investigate complaints alleged against the navy agent, Norfolk, and his answers thereto, as well as to interrogatory by George Loyall, navy agent. Question. In what line of business are you engaged ? Answer. In mercantile business.
Question. What was the wholesale price of first crop bunch raisins, in the early part of November, 1940, in Norfolk?
Answer. In the early part of November, 1840, we had not a box of raisins in the store. We purchased, on the 14th, a quantity in Baltimore, which were received about the 18th, and then sold at $2 62, until about the 25th, when a small decline took place.
Question. Do you know what was the wholesale price of first crop bunch raisins in Norfolk, in October, 1840 ?
* Answer. The supply on hand in October, 1940, was small, and none could have been procured here, prior to the first of November, under $3 per bor. We had an order abroad which we could not get filled, because the price then exceeded our limits. When the price fell to our limits, which was as above stated, on the 14th November, our order was executed.
TO INTERROGATORT BY MR. LOYALL.
Question. At what price would you have supplied 200 boxes on the 3d of November, 1840 ?
Answer. I should have charged $3 per box, for the very best quality of bunch raisins.
SIMON STONE. NORFOLK, July 8, 1941.
Interrogatory propounded to John Flipkins, by B. Homans and J. H.
Butler, commissioners appointed to investigate complaints alleged against the navy agent, Norfolk, and his answer thereto.
TO INTERROGATORY BY THE COMMISSIONERS.
Question. Will you be pleased to state the substance of any conversations which you may have held with M. Jordan, Esq., naval storekeeper, in relation to a contract for cheese, entered into in the year 1838, between the late firm of Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins, and the Board of Navy Commissioners ?
Answer. Some time in the summer of 1838 (I can only recollect the time of the year from the fact of its being a very warm day) I called on Mr. Jordan, at the naval store, and inquired when the cheese would be wanted. He replied, that if some ship, then lying in the harbor, did not require it, he did not know when it would be. Mr. Jordan promised to give us early notice when’any cheese would be required, that we might have time to procure it. I saw Mr. Jordan in Norfolk several times, both before and after this conversation, and made some casual inquiry respecting the cheese, but do not now recollect what occurred. I also saw him after the indent was sent to us, but do not remember what took place. Mr. Hunter, one of my then associates, took charge of the matter.
JOHN HIPKINS. NORFOLK, July 15, 1841.
STATE OF VIRGINIA, borough of Norfolk, sct :
1, Charles H. Shield, a justice of the peace in and for the borough of Norfolk, aforesaid, in the State of Virginia, do hereby certify that John Hipkins this day personally appeared before me, in my said borough, and made oath, in due form of law, that the answer given to the interrogatory propounded to him, as (within) above written, is true and correct.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 15th day of July, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one.
CHARLES H. SHIELD. (SEAL.]
Interrogatories propounded to Merit Jordan, Esq., naval storekeeper, by
B. Homans and J. H. Butler, commissioners uppointed to investigate complaints alleged against the navy agent, Norfolk, and his.answers thereto, as well as to interrogatory by George Loyall, Esq., navy agent.
Question. Do you remember the circumstances attending a contract for cheese, made between the Navy Department and Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins, of Norfolk, in the year 1838 ?
Answer. I have a copy of the contract, sent by the Navy Commissioners to the commandant of the navy yard.
Question. Did either of the menibers of the said firm inquire of you if any cheese would be wanted during the year of their contract, and ask you to give them notice of the quantity and the time, that they might order it from the North in season ?
Answer. I cannot recollect at this time whether such an inquiry was made of me during that year; but, if it was, my reply was no doubt similar to that usually made to contractors, that it was impossible for me to say, and that they must not be governed by any opinion I might give. I remember a conversation with Mr. Hipkins, of the late firm of Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins, after the indent was sent to them.
Question. Did you ever promise either of the members of the said firm to give them the notice asked for; and, if so, did you give it?
Answer. I gave no such promise, that I recollect of; nor do I think I could have made such a promise, as I could not myself know when it would be required, or the quantity.
Question. At what time was the indent for cheese made, during the existence of Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins's contract ?
Answer. It was made on the 29th of October, 1838, for 2,000 pounds.
Question. Was not the quantity called for supplied to the satisfaction of the inspecting officers, and without loss to the Government ?
Answer. None was delivered under that contract.
Question. Was any contract for cheese, deliverable in 1837, made with E. J. Higgins, or Higgins & Keating ?
Answer. I cannot state, without reference to my books.
Question. Have you not given notice at any time, to either of the per. sons who are in the practice of supplying articles for the naval service, that certain articles would probably be required within a definite period ?
Answer. I may have done so, but it was unofficially, and cannot now state positively.
Question. Can you explain why so many indents for iron were made in the latter part of the year 1938, and supplied by John Capron, the then contractor, on the 31st December, 1838 ?
Answer. There was only one indent made for the whole. When an indent is made for articles deliverable under contract, the articles are fre. quently furnished in parcels, at different and remote periods. When the accounts are rendered, they are generally made to bear the same date as the indent. This is done that the navy agent may know under what contract the payment is to be made, so that the price stipulated for one year may not be charged for articles contracted for in another year. This is the only manner in which I can explain the transaction alluded to in the question.
TO INTERROGATORY BY MR. LOYALL.
Question. Have not other contractors, for cheese and provisions generally, complied with requisitions made upon them as late in the year as October or November?
Answer. I do not recollect that any contractor but one, except Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins, has failed to comply when called on by requisition; but I cannot say, without reference to my books, at what time in the year the indents were made.
WM. COLLINS, J. P.
ADDITIONAL INTERROGATORIES TO MR. 'JORDAN. Question. What was the whole amount of the indent for iron given to John Capron, on the 31st December, 1838 ? Be pleased to state the quantity, of each description.
Answer. About the date of the requisition of the 31st of December, 1838, Mr. Francis Grice, naval constructor, furnished me with an estimate of the description, sizes, and quantity of iron proper to be required and kept on hand for “ public stores,” under the head of “repairs.” The commodore directed me to divide the requisition, so as for one half to be furnished by the contractor for 1838, and the other half by the contractor for 1839; this was done as nearly as practicable. A requisition was therefore made on the 31st December, 1838, for one half, to wit: 3,000 pounds round iron, 21,900 pounds of assorted flat, 3,000 pounds of square, 2,000 pounds assorted nail rods, and 20 sheets assorted sheet iron, (the two latter articles not contracted for ;) and another requisition in February, 1839, for a like quantity; which two embraced the description, sizes, and quantity contained in the estimate of Mr. Grice.
Question. Was not John Capron'a contractor for iron to be delivered during the year 1839 ?
Answer. He was.
Question. Was not the price of iron deliverable by John Capron in 1839 lower than of that which he delivered in 1838 ?
Answer. It was.
Question. Are you certain that you have never given information, officially or unofficially, to John Capron, Eugene J. Higgins, or Higgins & Brother, that articles would be probably required for the naval service during a specified period ?
Answer. I am pretty certain I never did officially; I may, upon inquiry by them, and in an incidental conversation, have expressed some unofficial opinion, not intended to govern their operations; and I think it very possible, AFTER a requisition was made, or an order given to make one, for ar ticles they were in the habit of furnishing or had contracted for, and which were wanted immediately, I may have said to them, an indent would be over the next day, or in a day or two afterwards, for them, or words to that effect. I have sometimes written to contractors abroad after the requis tion was made, or ordered to be made, informing them of it, and re