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"WASHINGTON, D. C., November 17, 1871. "MY DEAR SIR, - I learn with surprise that your personal and commercial situation and the good name of the house of Remington & Sons have been questioned. Having known your father and sons for many years, having lived within a stone-throw, so to say, of your house for a number of years, and being one of the Senators of your State, I cannot hesitate to give you my testimony relative to the accusations that have, as has been told me, been brought against you in France.
"As to what concerns personal situation, importance of affairs, success, solvency, wealth, and fidelity to the Government of the United States, your house has for a long time occupied a front rank, not only in the State of New York, but also in the Union.
"The allegation that you lack experience as a manufacturer of arms, or in anything that can, as a man of business, entitle you to respect, is, I can affirm in all sincerity, destitute of foundation, and must proceed from ignorance or malignity. "Sincerely, your obedient servant,
Mr. SAMUEL REMINGTON."
Thus does the Senator from New York vouch for the "good name" of Mr. Remington.
Thus introduced, thus authenticated, and thus indorsed, Mr. Remington cannot be rejected as a witness, especially when he writes an official letter to the Chairman of the French Armament Commission at Tours. You already know something of that letter, dated at New York, December 13, 1870. My present object is to show how, while announcing his large purchases of batteries, arms, and cartridges, he speaks of dealing with Government always, and not even with any intermediate agent.
MR. CONKLING. Will the Senator allow me there one moment, as he has referred to me?
MR. CONKLING. He is engaged at this point, if I understand him aright, in supporting Mr. Remington in his character; and as the document from which he made the translation of my letter also contains stronger fortification in aid of the Senator and of Mr. Remington, I beg to call attention to it. The Senator might refer not only to my letter, but to letters written by Governor Hoffman, ex-Governor Horatio Seymour, Edwin D. Morgan, late a member of this body, General John A. Dix, not unknown here, and other citizens of the State of New York, who certify, I believe in somewhat stronger terms than those I employed, to the probity and standing of Mr. Remington.
MR. SUMNER. I am obliged to the Senator for the additional testimony that he bears. It only fortifies the authority of Mr. Remington, which was my object. I took the liberty of introducing the letter of the Senator, because he is among us, and had vouched for Mr. Remington personally. I gladly welcome the additional evidence which the Senator introduces. It is entirely in harmony with the case that I am presenting. I wish to show how Mr. Remington was regarded by the Senator, by the Secretary of War, and by other distinguished citizens, so that, when he writes an official letter to the Chairman of the Arms Committee of Tours, he cannot be rejected as a witness.
The letter is long, and early in it the writer alludes to a credit from France and certain instructions with regard to it, saying:
"This we could not do, as a considerable portion had been already paid out to the Government."
Then coming to the purchase of breech-loading Springfield muskets, he writes:
"The Government has never made but about seventy-five thousand, all told; and forty thousand is the greatest number they think it prudent to spare."
In order to increase the number he proposed an exchange of his own, and here he says:
"This question of an exchange, with the very friendly feeling I find existing to aid France, I hope to be able to procure more."
Where was "the very friendly feeling existing to aid France"? Not among merchants, agents, or brokers. This would hardly justify the important declaration with regard to a feeling which was so efficacious.
Then comes the question of cartridges; and here the dealings with the Government become still more manifest:
"Cartridges for these forty thousand will in a great measure require to be made, as the Government have but about three millions on hand. But the Government has consented to allow the requisite number, four hundred for each gun, to be made, and the cartridge-works have had orders, given yesterday, to increase production to the full capacity of works."
Observe here, if you please, the part performed by the Government, not only its consent to the manufacture, but the promptitude of this consent. This was not easily accomplished, as the well-indorsed witness testifies:
"This question of making the cartridges at the Government works was a difficult one to get over. But it is done."
Naturally difficult; but the agent of France overcame all obstacles. Then as to price:
REFORM AND PURITY IN GOVERNMENT.
"The price the Government will charge for the guns and
"The forty thousand guns cannot all be shipped immediately, as they are distributed in the various arsenals throughout the country."
That is, the Government arsenals.
Then appears one of our officials on the scene:
"The Chief of Ordnance thinks it may take twenty to thirty days before all could be brought in."
Then again the witness reports:
"The Chief of Ordnance estimates the cost of the arms, including boxing and expense of freight to bring them to New York, at $20.60 currency."
Then as to the harness:
"The Government have not full complete sets to the extent of twenty-five hundred after selling the number required for the fifty batteries."
Always "the Government"!
Then, after mentioning that some parts of the harness are wanting, he says:
"I have made arrangements to have this deficiency made good by either the Government or by outside persons."
But the Government does all it can:
"In the mean time the Government have ordered the harness to be sent here immediately."
Then at the close the witness says:
"I forgot to say the Government have no Spencer rifles, having never had but a small number, and all of those you have bought."
And he adds
that "they have from three to four thousand transformed Springfields," which he "may think best to take after examination,
showing again his intimate dealings with the Govern
Such is the testimony of Mr. Remington, the acknowledged agent of France. It is impossible to read these repeated allusions to "the Government" and "the Chief of Ordnance" without feeling that the witness was dealing directly in this quarter. If there was any middleman, he was of straw only; but a man-of-straw is nobody. If Mr. Remington's character were not vouched. so completely, if he did not appear on authentic testimony so entirely above any misrepresentation, if he were not elevated to be the model arms-dealer, this letter, with its numerous averments of relations with the Government, would be of less significance. But how can these be denied or explained without impeaching this witness?
But Mr. Remington is not without important support in his allegations. His French correspondent, M. Le Cesne, Chairman of the Armament Committee, has testified in open court that the French dealt directly with the Government. He may have been mistaken; but his testimony shows what he understood to be the case. The Senator from Missouri [Mr. SCHURZ] has already called attention to this testimony, which he cited from a journal enjoying great circulation on the European continent,