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questing them to hurry on the articles.. I have always been cautious not to give any official opinion until authorized to do so.
Question. Will you be pleased to state the substance of the conversation which you held with Mr. John Hipkins, after the indent for cheese was sent to Dickson, Hunter, & Hipkins?
Answer. Some time after the indent was issued, how long I cannot now say,) I was passing the store of those gentlemen. Mr. Hipkins called to me and observed they found it impossible to procure the round or globular cheese, and wished to know if we would take pine-apple cheese in its stead; I informed him I could not do so, but advised him to see the commodore. He then requested me to ask the commodore if he would authorize it to be received, as they could not get round; this I did at his request. The commodore would not agree to do so, saying he had no right to alter the contract. This is the only conversation I recollect upon the subject, and it is probable I should have forgotten this, had the conversation with the commodore not impressed it upon my mind.
Question. When was the indent for 200 boxes of raisins, made on the 3d November, 1940, complied with by E. J. Higgins ?
Answer. Our books never show the day or date when articles are received under requisition; they only show the quantity and prices.
Question. Have you examined your books, to ascertain whether any “contract for cheese, deliverable in 1837, was made with E. J. Higgins, or Higgins & Keating ?”
Answer. There was no contract for cheese in 1837; at least I find I never received a copy of a contract for that year.
M. JORDAN. NORFOLK, July 14, 1841.
Sworn to before me, July 20, 1841.
WM. COLLINS, J. P.
Interrogatories propounded to E. J. Higgins, examined on behalf of
George Loyall, Esq., navy agent, Norfolk, and his answers thereto.
TO INTERROGATORIES BY MR. LOYALL.
Question. What line of business do you carry on in Norfolk, and how long have you been engaged in it?
Answer. I keep a ship chandlery and hardware store, comprising only such articles, with few exceptions, as are used in the navy. I have been engaged in this business about nineteen years; not the whole of the time on my own account.
Question. Have you been a contractor for supplies for the navy on this station, and for what articles ?
Answer. I have been. In 1834, I was one-third interested, with my father, in a contract for ship chandlery and ironmongery, although the contract was not made in my name, but in my father's; since then, I have been a contractor, on my own account, for groceries, paints, and oils, and for other articles. In 1838 I contracted for white lead and linseed oil; in 1839, linseed oil, white lead, sperm candles, butter, and sperm oil; in 1840, linseed oil and paints; in 1841, linseed oil, paints, sperm candles, batter, whiskey, groceries, all of which were separately contracted for.
Question. Have you contracted for snpplies for other naval stations; and, if yca, what stations and what articles ? més ,
Answer. I have contracted for groceries at Boston, whiskey at Washington and Norfolk, for the year 1839. In copartnership, I contracted for groceries at New York, and groceries at Philadelphia, as far as I can recollect, for the year 1836. My then partner now having possession of the papers of the firm, I cannot state positively, but am pretty confident as. to the year.
Question. By the terms of any contract you have made, was a preference given to the contractor for any articles not enumerated ?
Answer. A difference of 5 per cent. over the prices here; and that in the contracts for ship chandlery and ironmongery, for several years.
Question. Have you ever failed to comply with any contract you have made ?
Answer. Never, that I am aware of. ..
Question. Have you kept on hand such articles for the navy as are usually required, and made such arrangements, for larger demands, that no time might be lost in complying with an order on the most favorable terms for the Government ?
Answer. I have; not only in this country, but in Europe too.
Question. Do the articles required, generally, for the naval service, whether for use in the yard or for ships, differ in kind and quality, or pattern and finish, from those required for the merchant service, and for ordinary purposes ? vi,
Answer. Generally speaking, they are very different in regard to quality and pattern, and come at a much higher cost than articles that are used in the merchant service. We have had sometinies to send out to England a. pattern of locks to be made there.
Question. Can they be delivered upon the same terms; and, if not, be. pleased to state the difference?
Answer. All articles furnished by E. J. Higgins and E. J. Higgins & Brother, for the use of the navy, are delivered at the navy yard at their own risk and expense; they being responsible for such articles, not only until they are landed on the navy yard wharf, and delivered at the navy store, but until such time as the navy storekeeper may be at leisure to ex-. amine and receive them. All articles delivered on the navy yard wharf are generally allowed to remain some time (say one, two, or three hours) before they are taken to the navy store ; and it sometimes happens that articles sent to the navy yard, and seen on the wharf by the watchmen stationed there, have been lost between the wharf and the navy store; and even after their delivery in the navy store;articles that have been seen by officers attached to the store have also been lost; and such articles have always been re-placed by us, without any additional charge to the Government. Articles sent to the navy yard, in demijohns, jugs, &c., as well as articles of glass ware, such as thermometers, &c., put up in the most careful manner, and delivered on the navy yard wharf in good order, are sometimes, by carelessness of the navy yard draymen, broken or lost; and these, too, we have al. ways replaced. More or less loss is generally sustained by the rough man
ner in which barrels, casks, &c., are handled on the wharf, producing leakage of their contents; and in all such cases we have made good the deficiency.
Articles for the use of the navy are required to be furnished with all possible despatch ; and, as we receive orders nearly every day, and as those are to be attended to before every thing else, we have been obliged to give up all other business to attend to them, and to keep only such goods as are required by the navy, and suitable for naval purposes alone.
In consequence of the scarcity of transportation boats, we are seldom able to procure one before 10 o'clock, A. M., so that by the time the boat is loaded and gets to the navy yard it is nearly dinner hour; at which time we are obliged to stop landing, and leave the wharf. The boat and hands are thus detained one hour, at our expense, doing nothing. These and other difficulties must be encountered in sending goods to the navy yard, which make the expense of transportation alone, at the most moderate calculation, exceed $400 per annum.
It frequently happens that articles furnished, corresponding exactly to the orders we receive from the navy agent, are rejected at the navy yard, and thrown on our hands; a circumstance never occurring in mercantile transactions. By way of illustration, we mention a few instances. In March, 1839, we received an order for 5,000 pounds of wrought nails, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20 penny. After writing to Baltimore and New York to procure them, and finding they were not to be had, of the quantity and quality, we, on the 4th of June, sent the order to England to be filled. It was in due time executed, and the nails sent to the navy yard; but, on examination, were all condemned. The nails were such as are generally sent over, being of the best quality, but the rods of which they were made were thought too stout for the joiner's department, and suitable only for the boat builder's, although the order mentioned no particular department or de. scription of wrought nails. They are still in the navy store as our property, except the 20 penny, which were sold to the navy yard some time afterwards. On this operation we are without the entire cost of the nails, (save the few sold,) say $600 or thereabouts.
April 30, 1840, bought 3 dozen deck lights, which were refused at the navy yard, because they did not arrive in time for the purpose intended.
Last month delivered 30 boxes sperm candles, amounting (first cost) to $488 95, which were all condemned and thrown on our hands; the size used by the navy are fours, a very unsaleable size, as retailers all prefer short fives and sixes. Persons who have seen the candles say that they would not want better for family use.
On the 11th June ordered 199 boxes, raisins per sample box; used the utrnost diligence in getting the exact article, all from the same place, and sent them to the navy yard ; out of 199 boxes, had 56 condemned, and these too were thrown on our hands. . In July, 1837, we sent to the navy yard about six hundred dollars worth of cheese, (first cost ;) when this cheese was sent to the navy yard it was all condemned, and we were obliged to reship it to New York, and have it sold on our own account ; when it arrived in New York the season was over, and it remained on hand a long time ; and, when sold, netted $348 94; the difference was our loss. This circumstance was well known to many engaged in business here at that time.
On another occasion, we were engaged in shipping a quantity of rice,
which arrived at the navy yard in due season, but could not then be received ; in the course of the night the wind springing up, damaged the rice to about the amount of $1,000. We received this, however, from the person who delivered the rice, after a long lawsuit.
July 8, 1841. We this day sent over to the navy yard a lot of beans; they were exposed in the rain after they were landed on the wharf at the navy, yard; and in consequence, out of the lot, 58 bushels were condemned. These are only a few of the many articles we have had to suffer by, and are mentioned merely for the sake of illustration. And again, we often receive orders for one kind of articles or description of goods, and, to accommodate the persons requiring them, we frequently furnish articles entirely different, and much more costly and expensive than such as the order calls for, and this, too, without any additional charge; and it is generally the case in those orders required for the different departments of the forward officers of ships fitting out for sea.
All articles for the navy are required to be put up very carefully (withont charge) in paper bundles, boxes, barrels, &c., as the case may be; and each article put up separately, and marked with the name of the article, and the department for which it is required.
Question. Have you ever sold any article for the same or less price than you have charged for it to the navy?
Answer. Yes. Tin and lead I have sold at the same. I have sold brass wire to the navy at 45 cents, and to individuals at 62} cents. I sell very Jittle to individuals, having laid myself out to supply the navy, because the contracts I have occupy a large portion of my attention.
Question. Have not articles to a large amount been returned to you from the navy yard, because the proper officer was not ready to receive them?
Answer. Yes; on several occasions.
Question. Have they not often been sent back without complaints as to their quality, but because others were substituted for them ?
Answer. They have, sometimes.
Question. Is not this attended with risk in the transportation to and from the yard, and an additional expense ?
Answer. It is attended with a great deal of additional ri. k, in consequence of having to employ small boats, which are liable to be capsized or sunk by the swell occasioned by steamboats passing up and down, or other causes; and, also, with additional expense, having to employ additional hands always to load the boat at the wharf in Norfolk, and unloading her at the navy yard.
Question. Have not articles of provision, purchased by you to be sent to the yard, been thought of excellent quality by dealers and good judges here, yet condemned by the yard inspector, and returned to gou?
Answer. The cheese referred to in my answer to the tenth interrogatory was thought to be a good article, but condemned at the yard. Řecently, I purchased a lot of beans, (near 100 bushels,) a part of which I bought of Mr. James H. Johnston, who said they were the most superior article he had seen this year, and paid $125 per bushel, on account of their extra quality ; when they went to the yard they were condemned. I afterwards shipped them to New York, and had to sell them at 874 cents, in trade.
Question. Will you examine the accounts before you, together with the depositions taken thereon, of John Dickson and James F. Hunter, and say
whether you believe they speak from competent knowledge of all circumstances attending the purchase and delivery of articles for the nary at the yard, when they say they could have furnished similar articles upon better terms than you have done ?
Answer. I know that they are not acquainted with the mode of supplying and delivery of articles at the navy yard; and, upon a careful exainination of these accounts, and the depositions of Messrs. J. Dickson and J. F. Hunter, I feel eutirely confident that they could not have spoken from a due consideration of circumstances, with respect of the kind and qualities of the articles, or their delivery at the navy yard; and as to the prices charged by these persons for articles bearing the same name, for ordinary use, (without regard to quality or any other circumstance, I would refer to their own accounts, upon which testimony will be taken.
Question. If you have made any comparison of prices charged in the accounts of Messrs. Dickson & Hunter, with prices of similar articles furnished by you, what is the difference of these prices ?
Answer. I have compared accounts of articles designated by those gentlemen as being too high, and find that the prices charged by them to underwriters and others, for articles bearing the same name, are in most instances, higher than those charged by nie, although articles required for naval purposes are of a very superior quality to those required in the merchant service ; in-proof of this assertion, a statement will be handed you on to-morrow. (See statement here with, marked A.)
Question. Are not inuents from the yard frequently accompanied by patterris of articles required ; and do you not occasionally experience diffi. culty in procuring them from the manufacturer, at home or abroad?
Answer. Yes ; I do.
Question. Have you been able to obtaiu from the navy storekeeper, or from any other source, information as to the probable time when requisitions for articles under your contracts would be made ?
Answer. I have not, to the best of my knowledge. i Question. Would you not have saved a considerable amount upon your contracts for the present year, if such information could have been obtained, some weeks or days before the requisitions were s.nt to you?
Answer. Yes. As regards whiskey, had I rec-ived the indent three or four weeks before I did, or information that the order was coming, I should have saved fully four cents a gallon, on about forty-seven thousand gallons. -Question. Mr. Dickson has said that he sold you 100 Lolley's sail needles and 15 mounted palm irons. Do you rerneinber whether you bought them to fill up an order for the navy, or whether they were received at the yard as of suitable quality ?
Answer. I do not. I am sure that the ten palms which Mr. Dickson alludes to cost me 75 cents each to have them mounted ; and I threw in the palm without any charge. Sail needles are of various sizes, and when we receive an order from the yard, we assort them, from the largest to the smallest, and average the price. The sail needles bought from Mr. Dickson were of the smallest size that we are in the habit of selling to the yard.
NORFOLK, July 20, 1841.
Question. Were not the deck lights, charged in your account at $2 50 made to order, by pattern from the navy yard; and what is the rule of the manufacturers in charging for the first of such an article by pattern?