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Oregon, for I never made, authorized, or knew of any expenditure in relation to the election in that State or the resulting controversies, or any promise or obligation on the subject.

"Mr. Ellis, the acting president of the bank, himself a Republican, some time ago told the chairman of the committee and several of its members, that there is nothing in the account capable of furthering any just object of the investigation. I am also informed that a resolution was passed to summon me as a witness, but have received no subpæna. I had written before this telegram appeared, requesting you to say to the committee that it would be more agreeable to me not to visit Washington if the committee would send a sub-committee or hold a session here, but that otherwise I should attend under the subpæna. As to this arrangement now reported, I have only to say that I can accept decorum and decency, but not a fictitious equivalent for a mantle of secrecy to anybody else.

"S. J. TILDEN.”

CHAPTER VII

Income-tax returns — New persecutions by the administration — The capit

ulation of the administration — The ignominious end of seven years' persecution - Letters of Edwards Pierrepont, special counsel for the government; S. L. Woodford, United States District Attorney; Green B. Raum, United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue; Charles J. Folger, Secretary of the Treasury; and Benjamin H. Brewster, AttorneyGeneral of the United States.

THE INCOME-TAX SUIT.

The administration at Washington, not content with violating the sanctity of private correspondence for material with which to discredit the candidate of the Democratic party, did not scruple to avail itself of other resources exclusively within its own control, and with despotic recklessness.

In the latter part of August, 1876, an article appeared in the " New York Times,” the favorite New York organ of the administration, charging Mr. Tilden with having sworn to false returns of his income; and giving various specious statements of his sources of income purporting to show a substantial discrepancy between its amount and the amount which Mr. Tilden returned. The time selected for this assault betrayed the unworthy motives which inspired it. It was in the high noon of the presidential canvass, in which, of course, all of Mr. Tilden's energies were enlisted; his brother Moses was lying on what in a week or two proved to be his death-bed; Mr. Tilden had not found time to complete his letter accepting the nomination of the St. Louis convention, to which his spare moments, usually taken from hours that should have been given to repose, were devoted. It was under these peculiarly trying condi

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tions that he was suddenly and altogether unexpectedly called upon to review the history of transactions already fourteen years old, of which he had preserved scarcely a scrap of memoranda. More than six years had elapsed since he had retired from the active practice of his profession, subsequently to which he had rarely visited his office even for matters of private concern. Add to all these embarrassments, the ruthless hand of one of the same cabinet ministers who subsequently engineered the electoral frauds in Florida and Louisiana was here visibly directing the blow that was aimed at his honor through the columns of the Times."

Of course such a charge with what appeared to be official specifications, including a facsimile of Mr. Tilden's incometax return, which could only have come from the Department of the Interior, of which Zachariah Chandler was the official head, produced a profound sensation throughout the country. Mr. Tilden's character was of more importance to him than the presidency, and inconvenient and laborious as it was, he felt himself compelled to devote several weeks, with the aid of three or four clerks, to evoke from the scattered records of the past, evidence of the false and malicious character of these imputations. With the aid of Judge Sinnott, who had been his confidential law clerk during the period covered by the " Times,” he prepared a statement which was published on the 20th of September. The "Nation” of the 28th of that month summoned up the whole case, so far as the main charge of making a false return, perjury, etc., was concerned, in the following table :

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8, 9. {N; of

"TIMES" CUARGE. TILDEN'S ANSWER.

“ TIMES” REPLY. 1. Fee .....

.$5,000 1. No such fee ever received. (No proof. Items declared 2. Fees, etc.....2,000 2. No such charge ever made.

to have been made up by Work done by another

aflixing to the titles of man.

" certain instruments"

1-6. 3. Fec..........5,000

certain charges “believed 4. Fee..........2,500 No such charge ever

to have been approxi. 5. Fees... ..4,500 3-6. made. Services end.

mately correct." No. 2 6. Fee..........5,000

ed before 1862.

"withdrawn." 7. Fee..........5,000 7. No services in 1862.

7. No proof; defence irrelevant,

because offered by a man “well disposed to take refuge

in a suggested falsehood.8. Fee.... ..10,000 8. 9. Fee......... 10,000 9.

$10,000 “ withdrawn." 10. Fees........20,000 10.

10. No proof. 11. Fees........15,000 | 11. Never received; the com. 11. No proof; answer admitted to

pany not a client of Mr. be conclusive; charge“ with. Tilden's.

drawn." 12. Share of bonds 12. No bonds retained for ser. 12. No proof. Charge“ reiterated for services. 25,000 vices in 1862. Services with renewed emphasis."

rendered included in re.

turn. 13. Salary .......1,000 13. Correct except as to date. 13. No proof. Charge repeated.

Whole answer pronounced “ dieingenuous and "char. acteristic of its author," but total amount of "true in. come" cut down to $76,000, or $5,882 less than the amount

originally said to be " fraudu. Total ....$108,000

lently concealed.” 14. “Obviously false" 14. No answer.

14. No proof.
return for 1863.
15. Omission to make 15. Permitted by law.

15. No proof of illegality.
returns in subse.
quent years.

For the period subsequent to that covered by this table the " Times” had charged Mr. Tilden with allowing the income-tax assessor to assess his income at less than its value. The absurdity of this charge leaped to the eyes of every reader. In the first place, not only in New York, but in every State of the Union, property is assessed for taxation by an official assessor, and the taxpayer is never required to make a statement of the amount or value of his property except in pleading for a reduction of his assessment. In the second place, the income-tax law expressly provided that in case the taxpayer omitted to make a return of his income, it should be assessed by the assessor. It was so assessed and paid. The terms of the law had been complied with, and, as Mr. Tilden confidently affirmed, he paid more those years than would have been required had he made his own returns, which he neglected to do only

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because the difference was not worth the time and trouble it would have cost him, to apportion to each year the precise amount saved during that period, in litigations covering a series of years.

Mr. Tilden's answer effectually disposed, for the time being, of these charges, which in the somewhat emphatic language of a journal of the period " can be characterized in no milder terms than a vicious lie, a base slander, and a diabolical calumny." The assault had utterly failed of its purpose so far as any effect upon the election was concerned, upon which, if it had any, it seems to have been a favorable one; but the extra toil and worry to which it subjected Mr. Tilden for several weeks during the hottest season of the year, told seriously upon his health and no doubt contributed to shorten his days, in that respect serving the purpose of his tormentors by contributing to disqualify him for the duties of the chief magistracy four years later, to which, had his health permitted, he would unquestionably have been chosen.

Unhappily for Mr. Tilden's peace, he was still too formidable a political force to be neglected. He was regarded by his party, with practical unanimity, as its inevitable candidate for the presidency in 1880. Though the assault upon his character had thus far ignominiously failed, the resources of the administration's arsenal of defamation had not yet been exhausted. It had charged Mr. Tilden with making false returns of his income. He had denied it, and the public had accepted his denial, but the administration had prosecuting attorneys and a judiciary all of its own appointment; why not institute proceedings for the money of which it was alleged the government had been defrauded? That course would at least vindicate in a measure the part which the administration had had in promulgating the original calumnies; it would keep the question of Mr. Tilden's innocence measurably open for partisan uses; it would worry and wear upon their victim, who had no health to

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