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part of 1876 and the year 1877 we did not deduct the board from the wages of the laborers, but I know the prices that were usually charged and they were $4.00 per week. The labor above referred to was done by the United States by days' labor without the intervention of contractors. The prices paid for labor and the board of laborers as above stated were the usual and customary prices during the periods mentioned and I believe were reasonable and just. The current price for boarding men since early part of 1878 is $3.50 per week.
I am not directly or indirectly interested in the claim of C. L. Williams, administrator of the estate of George Williams, against the United States of America, arising out of the “ improvement of the Muscle Shoals Canal" in the Tennessee River, now pending
C. P. COMEGYS. Subscribed and sworn before me by C. P. Comegys this 19th day of May, A. D. 1879. SKAL)
R. M. MARSHALL,
No. 37. THE STATE OF TENNESSEE,
The County of Hamilton: I, F. F. Wiehl, on oath, states that I reside in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, TenDesece, and at present am in the livery business.
In the years 1875 and 1876 I was a member of the firm of Foster and Wiehl, contractors, Foster being the other member of the firm, we doing work on the Muscle Shoals Canal, Tennessee River, State of Alabama, under contract with the United States, to do section work consisting of excavation of earth and rock, building towpath, &c., on section 2. Pursuant to that contract Foster and Wiehl began the work on said section 2 about the first of December, 1875, and completed the same about the twentieth of December, 1876. As a member of this firm I was upon the work at the commencement of same, and remained until within two months of its completion, baving general charge and supervision of books, accounts, and management of the work. I personally know what price was paid for labor by us, as well as the prices paid for labor by other contractors on the same work. The general price paid for white labor was $1.50 to $2.25 per day, and the general price paid for colored labor as from $1.25 to $1.50 per day..
The prices paid varied as above, the highest price being paid for skilled quarry-men, the lower prices for common laborers.
We employed no stone-cutters nor skilled masons, and do not know what prices were paid such mechanics.
The above prices were usual and customary, and owing to the sickly nature of the country in which the work was being carried on, labor was obtainable with much difficulty and expense, even at those prices.
Such of our laborers as we boarded (most of our men boarded themselves), we charged foar (4) dollars per week for board, and that was the customary price for board on the work generally, and as reasonable as it could be furnished.
I further state that I have no interest of any kind or description in the matter of the claim of C. L. Williams, administrator, against the United States of America.
F. F. WIEHL.' Stort and subscribed to by F. F. Wiehl, before me, this 27th day of May, A. D. 1879. IDEAL.)
M. H. CLIFT, Notary Public for Hamilton Co., Tennessee.
IN THE MATTER OF THE CLAIM OF C. L. WILhars, administrator of the estate of George Williams, deceased,
against THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE STATE OF MINNESOTA,
The County of Ramsey, sct. : 1, Timothy Ford, on oath, say I reside at Keokuk, Iowa, and have resided there ance September, 1670. I am by occupation a contractor, and have been for many years past, and am now.
I was the senior member of the firm of T. Ford & Co., which firm during December, 1875, and the year of 1876 were engaged in doing the earth and rock excavation, clearing and grubbing and building the tow-path on section 1, of “The Muscle Shoals Canal in the Tennessee River," in the State of Alabama. I was also, during the latter part of 1875 and the early part of 1876, engaged in doing the grading and masonry on the Saint Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern Railway Company for about thirty miles between Hannibal and Louisiana, Missouri.
During the summer, fall, and winter of 1876, and the winter and spring of 1877, I was engaged in doing the grading and masonry on one mile of "The Cincinnati Southern Railway," about four miles northwest of Chattanooga, in the State of Ten
During the fall of 1877, and the winter of 1877 and 1878, and the fall of 1878, and the winter of 1878 and 1879, I was engaged building portions of “The Mississippi Levee" on the Mississippi River, in the State of Mississippi, in the vicinity of Greenville and Hall's Landing.
I know the prices paid for labor and the prices paid by laborers for board on these different works during the period above mentioned. The prices paid for common laborers on the work on the St. Louis, Keokuk and Northwestern Railway during the time mentioned were not less than $1.50 per day, and for skilled laborers, such as stone-cutters, masons, blacksmiths, and carpenters, from $2.50 to $3.50 per day.
The prices paid by laborers on this work for board were not less than $4.00 per The prices paid for common laborers on the above work on “The Muscle Shoals Canal” during the time above mentioned was generally $1.50 per day. We paid on this work all white common labor and all first-class colored common labor $1.50 per day. Some of the colored common labor was paid $1.25 per day.
The prices paid by the laborers through us to the boarding-house keepers on this work was $4.00 per week. The prices paid for common labor during the period above mentioned on the work
“The Cincinnati Southern” were from $1.25 to $1.50 per day. The prices paid by the laborers through us for board on this work were $4.00 per week and not less.
The prices paid for common laborers on the work on “The Mississippi Levees" were from $1.50 to $1.75 per day and the prices paid by laborers for board were from $1.00 to $4.50 per week.
I further state that the prices of labor and board paid as hereinbefore stated were the usual and customary prices paid at the times and places above stated, and the prices were reasonable and just. I further say I am not interested directly or indirectly in the claim of C. L. Williams, administrator, against the United States, in relation to which this affidavit is given.
Subscribed and sworn to by Timothy Ford, before me, this 31st day of May, 1879. [SEAL.]
J. P. ALLEN, Notary Public, Ramsey Co., Minn.
WASHINGTON, D. C., June 10, 1379. The Honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR:
Sir: The two senior members of the Board of Engineers who signed the report dated April 9, 1879, in the case of the claim arising under certain contracts of George Williams and Mathew G. Kennedy, for work on Muscle Shoals Canal, to whom said report was referred by your indorsement of May 21, 1879, instructing them to “report whether any, and if any what, deductions should be made from the sum of the actual expenditures under the rule laid down by the Judge Advocate-General, namely, that there should be allowed actual expenditures so far as reasonable and just,” have had the matter under consideration and report as follows, viz:
In their original report (April 9, 1879) the Board of Engineers concluded that "whilst the expenditures are in their nature reasonable and proper enough, yet in amount some of them cannot well be considered reasonable," and enumerated the following, viz: Traveling expenses
$7,035 56 Telegrams
1, 438 07 Interest and exchange.
12, 688 61 Boats, skiffs, &c
1, 169 61 Feed for stock....
1, 478 90
These amounts, though not great in the aggregate, seemed to indicate extravagance. The board also thought the rates paid for labor high, and attributed this to the rate charged for boarding.
Mr. C. L. Williams, the administrator of the estate of George Williams, deceased, has appeared before us and submitted affidavits upon these points of himself, C. S. Whitney, C. P. Comegys, Timothy Ford, F. F. Wiehl, and John W. Hobbs, and an affidavit of H. S. Dale is found amongst the papers referred to us.
These affidavits are all of the same tenor, and indicate that the price of boarding at Muscle Shoals Canal during the prosecution of the work was probably as low as it conld have been obtained for, and must, therefore, be considered as reasonable, notwithstanding the estimates of the Board of Engineers.
The affidavit of Mr. C. L. Williams covers the other items and satisfactorily explains them. The rate of interest paid was high, but no higher than any individual would bave had to pay under the same circumstances. The government could have borrowed the money required to carry on the work, at a rate not exceeding five per cent. (or half that actually paid), but no contractor could do it. It is hardly to be expected that a contractor undertaking a work of the magnitude of that in question, has in hand money to the full amount that will be required. He usually has enough to begin the work, and depends upon payments, as the work progresses, to keep him in funds.
This is all well enough when the contractor is engaged upon a profitable contract; bat if he is losing money he has no recourse but to borrow and pay such rate of interest as may happen to prevail at the time. It is one of the vicious features of the contract system; but under the system the practice is not unreasonable, and in that view the payment of interest at the rate of ten per cent. in this case was not unreasonable.
In conclnsion, the undersigned report that, in their opinion, under the rule laid down by the Judge-Advocate-General, no deductions should be made from the amount ($101,536.72), found by the Board of Engineers as representing the sum of the actual expenditures of George Williams and his legal representatives on the work in question.
The papers referred to us are herewith returned, and with them are transmitted the affidavits referred to. All of which is respectfully submitted.
J. N. MACOMB,
Col. f. A. Q. M., U. S. Army. 0. M. POE,
Major of Engr., But. Brig. Genl., U. S. A.
JUNE 24, 1879. The claim of the legal representatives of George Williams, deceased, under act for their relief of January 13, 1879, was by me this day submitted to the President and cabinet in cabinet meeting, and was freely discussed in connection with the reports of the Board of Engineers thereon. The conclusion was reached, and 'was announced by the President, that the Board of Engineers and the Judge-Advocate-General of the Army had given a correct construction to the act of Congress, and that settlement should be made by me accordingly.
The several items of expenditure allowed by the board were considered and approved as reasonable and just, with the exception of the item of traveling expenses, $7,135.56. It was deemed proper that I should make further inquiry as to this item. I accordingly examined the proofs relating to it, and conferred with Gen. Poe, a member of the board, and thereby ascertained that the sum named was actually paid out by Mr. Williams for traveling expenses in connection with the contracts in question, the larger part being for transportation of workmen, who could not be employed in the vicinity of the work, and therefore had to be hired elsewhere, and carried there at the contractor's cost. My conclusion, after careful examination, is that the report of the board must be approved.
G. W. McCRARY,
Sec'y of War.
This award is approved, and respectfully referred to the Third Auditor for settlebent for the amount of the award named within, to wit, $101,536.72, upon the appropriation for the work in question to the legal representative of the claimant, C. C. Williams, administrator.
G. W. MOCRARY,
Secretary of War. JUNE 24, '79.
Senate Report No. 483, 45th Congress, 20 Session.
JUNE 7, 1878.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. BUTLER, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following report, to accompany bill S. 1244:
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1244) for the relief of
George Williams, hare considered the same, and submit the following report : This bill provides :
" That the Secretary of War be, and is hereby, authorized to adjust and settle, upon just and equitable terms, the claim of George Williams for balance due on contracts for building locks two, three, and four of Muscle Shoals Canal on Tennessee River, and on a contract for section work, done under power of attorney from Matthew G. Kennedy: Provided, That in making said settlement the said Secretary of War shall not allow the said Williams more than his actual expenditures, with reasonable compensation for the use of tools, and for money advanced in the prosecution of said work.
The following amendment was proposed by Mr. Morgan, of Alabama, and referred to your committee, to be considered in connection with the original bill:
* And provided further, That no allowance or payment shall be made under this act except in pursuance of the recommendation of a board of at least three engineers, to be appointed by the Secretary of War, to inquire into and report upon the character of the work done and the merits of the same.”
It appears from the evidence submitted to your committee, that Mr. George Williams a contractor, undertook to do certain government work in building the locks and canal around Big Muscle Shoals in the Tennessee River, under three separate contracts.
The first work done was under power of attorney, dated August 11, 1876, from M. G. Kennedy, on a contract made between the said Kennedy and Maj. Walter McFarland, of the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, on the 13th of December, 1875, which for some reason the said Kennedy could not carry out.
2. A contract was entered into March 31, 1876, between Maj. Walter McFarland, Corps of Engineers, United States Army, and the said George Williams, on his own account, to construct locks three and four of the Muscle Shoals Canal; and
3. A contract was entered into October 14, 1876, between Capt. W. R. King, Corps of Engineers, United States Army, and the said George Williams to construct lock No. 2 of the Muscle Shoals Canal.
Copies of said contracts and papers relating thereto, together with a copy of a sworn statement of Mr. Williams, are hereto attached and made a part of this report.
It will be discovered by an inspection of the papers above referred to that a controversy arose between the government engineers and Mr. Williams touching a proper measure of compensation for the latter, under what he claims to have been a radical modification in the plans of the works, upon which he based his contract, and the loss to which he was subjected by delay on the part of the engineers, as he alleges, in furnishing him with plans of the work.
It is not within the province of your committee to pass upon the merits of this controversy, nor do the provisions of the bill require it.
The bill simply authorizes the “Secretary of War to adjust and settle upon just and equitable terms the claim of George Williams,” &c.; and in a letter from the Secretary of War to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, bearing date May 11, 1878 (a copy of which is hereto attached), in reference to this claim, he says: “I would, therefore, suggest that, if the bill” (referring to House bill 4412 upon the same subject-matter as the one now under consideration) “is favorably considered, the following provision be added at the end of the bill as a measure of precaution: And provided further, That no allowance or payment shall be made under this act, except in pursuance of the recommendation of a board of at least three engineers, to be appointed by the Secretary of War, to inquire into and report upon the character of the work and the merits of the claim.”
This provision of the bill protects the government, and secures to Mr. Williams a settlement upon “just and equitable terms," and your committee can discover no good reason why he should not have such a settlement, and therefore recommend the passage of accompanying bill.
“Washington City, May 11, 1878. “Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter from the Clerk of the House of Representatives of the 9th instant, inclosing copy of House bill 4412 ‘for the relief of George Williams,' and asking for any information concerning the same that may be of record in this department, and also informing me that the committee will be glad to receive any opinion I may see fit to give concerning the merits of the claim referred to.
"In reply, I have the honor to inclose the report of the Chief of Engineers, to whom the said letter was referred and the papers accompanying the same.
"It will be seen that there is a disagreement between the contractor and the engineer in charge concerning the compensation which shall properly be allowed the former.
"It seems probable that upon a settlement made upon just and equitable terms,' as provided in the bill, something would be found due the contractor. This, however, is only conjectural, and a more thorough investigation might lead to a different conelusion, as very much depends upon the character of the work done and the economy of the expenditures thereon.
“I would therefore suggest that, if the bill is favorably considered, the following provision be added at the end of the bill as a measure of precaution, to wit:
" And prorided further, That no allowance or payment shall be made under this act, except in pursuance of the recommendation of a board of at least three engineers, to be appointed by the Secretary of War, to inquire into and report upon the character of the work and the merits of the claim. “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“GEO. W. MOCRARY,
“Secretary of War. "To the SPEAKER,
“ House of Representatires."
[S. 1244. Report No. 483.]
MAY 14, 1878.—Mr. MORGAN asked and, by unanimous consent, obtained leave to bring in the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
JUNE 7, 1878.-Reported by Mr. BUTLER with amendments, viz: Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italics.
A BILL for the relief of George Williams.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of War be, and is hereby, authorized to adjust and settle, upon just and equitable terms, the claim of George Williams for balance due for building locks two, three, and four of Muscle Shoals Canal on Tennessee River, and on a contract
for section work, done under power of attorney from Matthew G. Kennedy: Provided, That in making said settlement the said Secretary of War shall not allow the said Williams more than his actual expenditures, with reasonable compensation for the use of tools, and for money advanced in the prosecution of said work: And prorided further, That no allowance or payment shall be made under this act except in pursuance of a recommendation of a board of noi less than three engineers, to be appointed by the Secretary of War to inquire into and report upon the character and value of the work done and the merits of the claim.
June 25th, 1879. I certify that there is due from the United States to C. L. Williams, administrator of the estate of George Williams, deceased, for amount allowed him by award of the Becretary of War, dated June 24th, 1879, made in pursuance of the act of Congress, approved January 13th, 1879, entitled "An act for the relief of the legal representatives of George Williams, deceased,” the sum of one hundred and one thousand five hundred