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Congress, declare was due to them for their services in the years 1829 and 1830, and which, of course, ought to have been provided for by Congress in those years.
I am, therefore, to be held up to public censure and made the subject of public charges, although, even according to the case as made out by my own accusers, I have never been in default to the public a single dollar, although the Government has not lost, and could not, by any possibility, lose, a single cent; and Messrs. Carbery and Dunlop have received at last, only too tardily, the money justly due to them by the United States, and which the District committee thought I ought to pay them.
I must be permitted to say that, where the act I have done has caused, and could have caused, no loss or injury, either to the public or any individual, and was prompted by good motives and intentions, and with the advice of the District comunittee, I ought not to suffer, even my accusers being judges; for they, I think, with all their hatred to me, ought to admit that to constitute an offence, there must be an evil intent and an injury to some body.
But if I am to be held to a stricter account even than this, and to vindicate inyself for an act when no wrong was either done or intended, I think I can successfully do so.
It is said, although the Government has lost nothing, and could hare lost nothing, and Messrs. Carbery and Dunlop have only received from you what Congress has since admitted was their just due, and what ought be. fore to have been paid to them, you ought not to have paid them till a law was passed, and ought to have disregarded what the District committee said.
I meet the case in this aspect. I thought these gentlemen entitled to their claim, the District committee thought so, and Congress has since, by law, said so.
I had a right, I think, to lend them the money at my own risk and on my own responsibility; I did do so; and took notes to me personally and in. dividually, being perfectly satisfied in the security which their character and notes gave me; and Mr. Dunlop actually refunded the money before the act of Congress passed, and Mr. Carbery, I am sure, would have done the same if I had ever called on him.
I must do them the justice to say that this transaction was negotiated between us solely on the footing of a personal and individual loan.
They were responsible to me alone. For all my money transactions to the United States, I was liable on my private means and official bond. 1
Still, it is said, we do not deny your right to make a private loan, but you cannot lawfully or properly do it with ihe public money; and in this case you drew checks, as warden, on the public funds in the Bank of the Metropolis.
My answer is, that my account in the Bank of the Metropolis, as an inspection of it will show, contains my own private funds, as well as the public funds; and I have often used my private funds to pay checks drawn by me as warden.
This was ine case, as every body in the bank knows, during the periods when Congress failed to appropriate for the prison, and when it was wholly supported, for more than two years, at different times, from the private funds raised by myself, Mr. Carbery, and Mr. Dunlop.
These funds so raised amounted to $8,000 or $10,000; and my public account, hereto annexed, (C,) and the bank account, fully prove that, for
rublicacattention of abbeen lending debted to me and
months together, the United States hare been largely indebted to me ,and that, instead of using their money, I have been lending them my own.
I now call the particular attention of the Secretary and President to my settled monthly public accounts, hereto annexed, (C.)
You will find that, on the 31st December, 1836, after the date of the loans to Messrs. Carbery and Dunlop, amounting together to $1,000, I owed the United States only $559 88; on the 31st January, 1838, I owed the United States only $738 13; on the 31st March, 1838, I only owed the United States $136 68; and on the 31st October, 1838, only $139 90 ; and on the 31 st December, 1838, on settlement, the United States fell in debt to me $677.
I need go no further. These documents prove conclusively that the mon. eys lent by ine to Messrs. Carbery and Dunlop were not the moneys of the Uniled States. But the moneys to my credit in the Bank of the Metropolis were not the only resources I had.
I had other private means, at all times, more than sufficient to pay the demands of the Government against me; and, unless it is thought that the money of the United States has an ear mark, I do not know how it is to be distinguished from other moneys with which it is or may be mixed.
I state, in persect candor, to the Secretary that, at the time these loans were made, I know my private means were more than sufficient to meet them, and that there has been no day, since my connexion with the Gov. ernment as a public officer, when I could not have settled and accounted for every dollar due to the United States.
I have often, as my public accounts prove, sellled, and brought the United States in debt to me. In the case now in question, even if I had used the public funds, which would be wrong in ordinary cases, I do not think I deserve censure. The District committee thought I might pay them, and Congress has admitted they were just claims, and that they ought to have been paid in 1829 and 1831. I put my own bond and means between the United States and loss, to render that justice to individuals which Congress ought to have rendered, and did at last render.
At all events, if I have erred, I have erred innocently, and with no bad design. No wrong has been suffered by the United States, and it must, I hope, be equally clear to you that none was intended. How could I think, or can any body think, that the inspectors, through me, wished to appropriate to their use the public money?
Their whole lives, as well as their public conduct in office as inspectors, utterly put to flight such a thought. These gentlemen, as is well known to you, (for you have seen the bank account,) pledged their credit and their private means in aid of my own, over and over again, to support the prison, then Congress failed lo appropriale.
Instead of borrowing the public money, they havc lent to the public thousands; and the ungrateful and miserable men who have brought forward and endeavored to prove this charge were indebted to the loans the inspectors made for the penitentiary for the payment of their own salaties, and these facts were well known to them.
The private fortunes and credit of Messrs. Carbery and Dunlop, as well as my own, were pledged to procure the daily bread which led these false accusers. A charge like this, with such an accuser, and such a wit. Des, I am sure, will never find favor with a just Government and those who administer it.
. I pass now to the third charge. This relates to the ice given to Mr Carbery. For the quantity, I refer to his statement. No ice had then ever been sold to any person. .
The ice-house was built and filled, not to make money by the sale of it, but for the use of the prison. I not only gave to him, but to many of the neighbors around, and amongst others to the officers at the arsenal. Alter it was determined to sell it to Mr. Todd, not a pound was ever given away, either to Mr. Carbery or any other person.
If I did wrong, I was not conscious of it at the time; nor did I see the false construction which an enemy, or the censorious, might put upon it.
The fourth charge. This relates to Nancy Ashton's case. If she became pregnant while she was in prison, it must have occurred, according to Wheatly's evidence, before I was warden, and I ought not to answer for it. He does not pretend that I knew her situation, or that he ever told ine of it, or that any body else did. Because reports and tattle prevailed with him and other officers, he assumes that I knew them. Not being of a like character with the witness, I must say this is a “non sequiter.” Besides, how could I, in justice, convict, or even try, Mr. Young upon report, even if I had heard the report, when Wheatly himself admits that the females, in the day time, mixed in the yard and shops with the male convicts ?
I found Mr. Young to be always a faithlul and good officer, and, if Nancy Ashton was really pregnant, any reasonable man, in the absence of all proof, would conclude that some male convict was the begelter, and not Mr. Young. This charge grows out of an affair of more than seven years' standing, and is brought forward, I think, too late to answer Mr. Wheatly's purposes of malice against me.
Filih charge. This is the case of Harriet Smith, and strongly illustrates the malice or my accusers, and the sort of evidence which has been allowed to be used against me. There is not a single witness, not even Wheatly, who proves there is any truth in it. They speak of it only as a repori, and do not say I was ever told or heard of such a report, and Ratcliff's own witnesses state that the whole report rests solely upon the statement of a black female convict.
One of his witnesses, Smith, says he put no confidence in it, or he would have told the warden. Ought I to have any body on trial in a case like this?
Sixth charge. This alleges that I took from the convicts their vegetables, raised by them within the public grounds.
The witnesses all say they were “liitle patches,” the peculium of the few convicts who worked them; and it is certainly a very little affair. They were not for the use of the prisoners generally ; there was not enough for a mess for them, as is proved by one of the witnesses. The few who raised them got the seeds and plants from me, and in return, to show their good feelings, sent to my kitchen, sometimes without my knowledge, some of the vegetables--a mere trifle, unworthy the notice of any body but those seeking occasion to find fault and accuse.
Charge seventh. This relates to the milk in Mr. Todd's bill, and supplied for the use of the hospital. I have been already tried on this charge before the inspectors and acquitted, and I think there ought to be an end of it. This is one of the accusations in relation to which Mr. Wheatly begged pardon before the inspectors. He knows that the milk was sup
plied by me for less than it could be got from any other person. He knows that it was a great saving of trouble and expense so to procure it. If I bad oot furnished it, he knows that a messenger and horse would, whenever it was wanting, have been sent to the city, a mile off, to get it, cost. ing more than the milk itself was worth. He knows, further, that the board of inspectors expressly authorized me to furnish it, and charge it in Mr. Todd's bill, and has been so compelled to admit it on his cross-ex. amination by me in this case, though he has made the admission reluc. tantly and evasively.'
He also admits that the transaction occurred several years ago. Nothing could more strongly exhibit than this charge does, taken in connexion with attendant circumstances, the wanton and persevering malignity which aetuates Mr. Wheatly against me.
Eighth charge-cruelty to convicts. Even Wheatly does not venture to say a word in support of this, and it is unsustained by any of his coadjutors. When convicts resist the otficers and choke the warden, he ought, I think, to be permitted to defend himself. One of Ratcliff's witnesses bas testified that he never saw the convicts get more than they deserved, and anotber of them that no cruelty was committed by me, and my malignant and wicked accuser, Ratcliff, has out of his own mouth falsified his own charge, by his testimony on oath, in July last, on the charges.preferred by Topham. I give his own words on that examination, as taken down by Captain Carbery, and beg that they may be referred to in the record now before the President in Topham's case.
Here are Ratcliff's words: “I have thought that, at times, Mr. Clarke was not so kind to me as I deserved, but I cannot say that he has been overbearing, oppressive, or tyrannical, either to the officers or the prison. ers;" and yet this shameless man has had the effrontery to make this eighth charge in the terms stated in it. Ought any body to believe him after this as to any of his charges ?
Ninth charge-that articles were made in the penitentiary for my use. I have been already twice tried and acquitted on this charge, also before the board of inspectors and a committee of Congress; and Mr. Wheatly, before the inspectors, withdrew it and confessed it false. The pine table, Dot painted, the bedstead, bird cage, &c., have all been heretofore brought up against me by Mr. Wheatly, and are of years' standing.
On the inquiry before the inspectors, he was told by them that the bed. stead, worth abuut $2, had been made for me by their order, to supply the place of a cot which I had furnished for a sick convict, yet he still renews and repeats it at this time as a charge against me.
In conclusion, I have to say that all sorts of hearsay and convict and illegal evidence have been received and noted down against me, whilst Mr. Young, a competent witnesss, was excluded, on the ground that he was implicated in the charges. The same rule shut out other testimony most material for me, and which it was therefore useless for me to call; and my acensers have had the case altogether in their own hands.
in their cunning and malignity they have, I think, overreached themselves, and enough has been disclosed, I hope, both to vindicate me and expose the conspiracy by them against my character.
If the President should wish any further explanations, I trust an opportunity will be afforded me to make them; and if any other testimony is to be taken, I pray it may be taken by a tribunal which holds itself bound by the ordinary rules of evidence, and that I may not only confront my accuser and his witnesses, but be allowed to offer, on my part, such proof and witnesses as are competent, legal, and credible. I am, with profound respect, your very obedient servant,
ISAAC CLARKE, Warden. To Hon. Joan FORSYTH, Secretary of State.
A and B. I believe William Wheatly, the clerk of the penitentiary, to have unkind feelings and to be vindictive towards Isaac Clarke, the warden.
I believe it from certain charges against said Clarke, preferred by Wheatly in the year 1837,and what then took place on the inquiry into them by the board of inspectors, and his conduct both before and since.
Mr. Wheatly had often before been, secretly to the inspectors, making insinuations against Mr. Clarke, and endeavoring to poison the minds of the board against hiin. I remember well to have often said, on such occasions, at the board, to Mr. Wheatly, that, if his accusations were true, we ought to try Mr. Clarke, but that some body must make charges against him. It was very hard to get Mr. Wheatly to be specific, and to act openly.
He seemed to prefer to accomplish bis object in Mr. Clarke's absence. These insinuations, at one time, inade a very unfavorable impression on my mind against Mr. Clarke; but as soon as I found that Mr. Wheatly was reluctant to act openly, and preferred to talk behind Mr. Clarke's back, I changed my opinion.
In 1837, after one of Mr. Wheatly's secret accusations, the board of inspectors required of him to bring forward his allegations. It was with great difficulty we got him to do so in a public way. Mr. Clarke was notified to attend, and did attend, and was successfully vindicating himself.
In the midst of the inquiry, Mr. Wheatly withdrew his charges, admitted they were frivolous, and could not be sustained, and asked to be excused for preferring them.
One of these charges was about a bedstead and a bird cage; another about the the convicts working in Mr. Clarke's garden, for his private use; and another about Clarke's supplying milk for the hospital, and charging it in Todd's bill. If there were any others, I do not reinember them. As to the first charge, it appeared to the board that the bedstead had been made by the inspectors' order, to supply the place of a cot, furnished by Mr. Clarke for some sick prisoner in the hospital. The particulars of the bird cage I do not remember. • As to the second charge, it was proved that some of the convicts had worked in the garden, when the inspectors desired it, for the benefit of the convicts' health, and at their request.
The inspectors were satisfied that the milk in Todd's bill had been supplied cheaper, and much more conveniently, than it could be got elsewhere, and it was put into Mr. Todd's bill, who generally furnished stores for the hospital, to save the multiplication of vouchers for small items, as was done by Mr. Todd in relation to other small articles, for the use of the sick.