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1S49, I made no less than thirteen (13) reports on the military contribution fund in my hands; whilst the act of Congress regulating the Treasury Department is fully complied with when receivers or diabursers of public moneys within the United States make quarter yearly reports, or, when abroad, half-yearly returns of receipts, expenditures, and balances on hand.
The fourth specification to fourth charge arraigns me for approving a charge in Purser Greene's accounts for commission for collecting the military contribution money as collector at Mazatlan. Certainly I did approve that charge, and recommended its allowance to the department; and I should have thought it a grievous injustice to Mr. Greene to have imposed on him such heavy pecuniary responsibilities, wholly foreign to the proper duties of his commission, and to have refused to recommend a proper compensation. The whole effect of my approval was a recommendation to the department, from which no injury could result to the government; and if my judgment was erroneous, the department held the correction in its own hands. It was not in my power to allow the account, nor was my opinion conclusive on the department. In reply to my recommendation, Mr. Secretary Mason informed me, under date the 25th of August, 1S48, that the department could not, under the existing law, allow Mr. Greene's claim as it stood, but that the President was sensible of the justice of some allowance; that the subject had been brought to the attention of Congress, and suitable provisions of law were anticipated. Congress did recognise the justice of such claims, and did pass suitable laws allowing commissions. Now when before, I respectfully ask the court, was it ever made matter of criminal accusation against any officer or commander in the navy, that, in the honest exercise of his official discretion, he recommended to the Navy Department an allowance to a disbursing officer similar to what the department itself recommended to Congress, and Congress actually granted?
Memoranda of Commodore Joneses returns of receipts and expenditures of the military contribution fund collected at Mazatlan and Guaymas during the war with Mexico.
1. First report —Despatch No. 19, Mazatlan, June 19, 1849. Enclosed Hugh W. Greene's (collector) account-current of collection and expenditures up to that date, and showing a balance of $61,944 25 on hand, applicable to any outstanding uneuunierated claims.
2. La Paz, August 21, 1S48, No. 29. Forwards duplicates of H. W. Greene's account to the Secretary of the Navy.
3. Monterey, October 17, 1848, No. 32, to Secretary of the Navy. Relates to final doings at La Paz, and encloses two papers, B and C, relating to military contributions.
4. Sansalito, November 24, 1848, No. 41, to Secretary of the Navy. Encloses first abstract of military contributions, showing an unexpended balance of $24,S86 09.
5. San Francisco, April 27, 1849, No. 55, to Secretary of the Navy. Refers to No. 19, and to Commodore Jones's letter of the same date to the Hon. Mr. Clifford.
6. San Francisco, April 28, 1849, No. 56, to Secretary of the Navy, Encloses abstract No. 2, showing a balance of $22,789 18.
7. San Francisco, June 12, 1849, No. 58, to the Secretary of the Nary. Contains duplicate of abstract No. 2, (erroneously endorsed by Mr. Harris, clerk.)
8. San Francisco, September 14, 1849, to the Secretary of the Navy, No. 67.—(See page 10,3d specification to 3d charge, printed.)
9. San Francisco, November 5, 1849, No. 79. Refers to suspended items in Commodore Jones's accounts rendered of the military contributions; also enclosing "the true statement of my stewardship of the military contribution fund," showing a balance to be accounted for of $4,114 18.
Letters from A. O, Dayton, Fourth Auditor, acknowledging the receipt of vouchers of expenditure of military contribution fund by Commodore Jones.
K K No. 1.—June 19, 1849. Received letter of 24th of April, 1849, enclosing six receipts, amounting to $3,762 20; five only received, amounting to $3,162 20.
L No. 2.—July 9, 1849. Refers to account of military contributions referred to him by Navy Department; also to certain receipt-rolls. The receipt of Sam. Forrest for $1,510 82, &c, &c.
M No. 3.—Acknowledges letter of October 30, with vouchers Nos. 6, 7, and 8. fi, Chandler; 7, Toler; 8, R. M. Price for $18,000.
N No. 4.—Acknowledges receipt of letters of October 30, 1849, with R. M. Price's receipt for $ 18,000.
A brief notice of the circumstances on which the allegations set forth in second specification to third charge are based, will suffice to establish the restlessness imputed to Lieutenants Jos. F. Green, J. B Marchand( and T. Augustus M. Craven. Lieutenant Craven's letter of the 19th of October, 1849, in evidence before the court, reached Commodore Jones on Monday, the 23d of that month, accompanied by a note from Lieutenant Craven addressed to Captain Stribling, and dated October 21. This last note is very material, as it dictates the terms as the sine qua non of Lieutenant Craven's submission to the lawful orders of Commodore Jones, his superior and commanding officer. The evidence of Commander Rudd, of the sloop Dale—the vessel to which Lieutenant Craven was attached—is conclusive as to that commander's disapprobation of his lieutenant's resistance to special order No. 2, of the 18th of October, 1648. pommander Rudd's testimony is very important and speaks for itself, upon one point particularly, viz: the time of Lieutenant Craven's despatching his letter of the 19th of October the second time to Commodore Jones. Commander Rudd's testimony is at variance with his lieutenant's; but he is sustained by the general testimony of Commander Stribling, and by the original testimony of Lieutenant Green, the first day he was before the court. My own recollection of the circumstances is, that on the 19th of October, Commander Stribling, captain of the fleet and of the Ohio, verbally communicated to me the oppositioa Of Lieutenants Green, Marchand, and Craven to a certain portion of my special order No. 2, and that all practicable despatch was used to prepare my confidential explanatory communication dated the 2Uth of October; that it was delivered with my own hands to Captain Stribling, early in the evening of the 20th, and by him forthwith delivered to Lieutenant Green, with instructions to show it to the other two lieutenants, Marchand and Craven. Lieutenant Green's unprompted testimony on first appearing in court confirms this statement, and he stated that he showed the address to Lieutenant Marchand the same evening, (the evening of the 20th,) and the next day, the morning of the 21**, sent it to Lieutenant Craven; but after a short pause, during which time he directed his eyes to a paper in the hand of Lieutenant Craven, assistant prosecutor, seated by the side of the witness, Lieutenant Green, he drawled out, next day the morning of the 21st, the day the court martial met on board the Ohio; and so the evidence stood recorded when the court adjourned over to Monday. When Lieutenant Green reappeared in court, he asked leave to correct his testimony given the previous day, which was done by making his testimony to coincide more critically with the views and interest of Lieutenant Craven, a leader, and one of the restive.
Lieutenant Craven's attempt to prove, by his own testimony and that of Lieutenant Green, that he had not seen my confidential explanations of the 20th October, addressed to Lieutenants Green, Marchand, and himself, before he sent his note of the 21st of that month to Captain Stribling, is an entire failure.
The 21st of October, 1848, fell on Saturday; and it was a rule with me that no communications not requiring immediate attention were to be sent to me on the Sabbath, which was the 22d of the month. Commander Rudd is confident that Lieutenant Craven presented the duplicate of his letter of remonstrance, dated the 19th of October, and addressed to Commodore Jones, to him for his pass signature, on board the Ohio, on Monday, the 23rf of October, after the officers assembled in the abortive effort to organize a court-martial; so that, whether it was the morning of the 21st or the 23d of October that Lieut. Green showed the address to Lieut. Craven, he certainly saw it and read it before he finally despatched his letter of the 19th and note of the 21st of that month to Captain Stribling; and I am sure that they were not delivered to me until Monday, the 23d, immediately after the dispersal of the officers who had failed to organize the court-martial. Corroborative of the fact that my explanatory communication did not satisfy Lieutenant Craven, is another fact, established by his own testimony, as well as that of Commanders Stribling and Kudd, that he refused to withdraw or any way qualify his offensive letter at any time while under my command. Lieutenant Craven's assertion before the court, that I asked him, during our interview on board the Ohio at San Francisco, about the 1st of March, 1849, to withdraw his letter of the 19th October, is untrue, as is also his saying that I sent for him to come on board the Ohio before I received his application to be retransferred to the Dale. The paper that Lieutenant Craven presented to the court as a copy of his note of the 2lst of October to Captain Stribling, differs so materia/ly from the original proved in court, as to prove incontestably that Lieutenant Craven's copy was written from memory, and not taken from the original.
How far Lieutenants Green and Marchand are obnoxious to the censure implied in my letter (No. 34) of the 25th of October, 1848, the court can best judge from the evidence before it. The lieutenants have had every opportunity of clearing their skirts, even to giving the fullest and inos>t untrammelled evidence in their own behalf; while, on the other hand, the absence of two of my most material witnesses—my late flag lieutenant and my confiden ial .secretary—and the death of Lieutenant Armstrong, late first lieutenant of the Ohio, has thrown my defence against the second specification to third charge upon the class of the complainants' associates and companions, operated upon more or less by identity of interest and a union of feeling; committed, too, in most cases, by the insubordinate and reprehensible act of giving ex parte certificates of conduct in a matter of official difference between -the commander of a squadron and his lieutenants. That such witnesses, when brought before a court, should see nothing exceptional in the conduct of their comrades, is not very surprising under such circumstances.
It cannot have escaped the court that the evidence of Commander Stribling established the fact that at first, and from October to April, I had no knowledge of the precise terms or extent of Lieutenants Green and Marchand's opposition to my special order No. 2, other than what I derived from Commander Stribling's verbal reports and communications to me, in all of which he placed Lieutenants Green and Marchand in the same category with Lieutenant Craven; and this is shown by Captain Smb. ling s answers to my interrogatories put to him on the 10th day of Apnl, 1849, which were read to the court as one of the accompaniments to my despatch No. 52, and subsequently verified by that deponent.
Lieutenant Marchand's letter of the 19th of October, 1848, addressed to and designed for Commodore Jones, but withdrawn by the lieutenant upon the advice of Captain Stribling, was never seen by Commodore Jones, us Lieutenant Marchand testified, until it was brought into court by him. That letter, in terms and language unlike Lieutenant Craven's, is perhaps as unexceptionable as one could well be, written at that eventful time, when the commander of the squadron so much needed the hearty co-operation and zealous support of every officer under his command.
The evidence of Lieutenant Joseph F. Green establishes most conclusively, as against himself and Lieutenant T. Augustus M. Craven, the fact that they not only did manifest restlessness under moderate restrictions, but that they were in a state of active and effectual opposition to the lawful authority of their superior and commanding officer, in this: that the aforesaid Joseph F. Green and T. A. M. Craven, when ordered by Commodore Jones, about the day of October, 1848, to report themselves to Commander C. K. Stribling as members of a naval general courtmartial ordered to convene on board the United States ship Ohio in the port of Monterey, Upper California, at 10 o'clock a. m. on Monday, the 23d day of October, 184S, did, after assembling at the time and place as aforesaid, fail or refuse to take their seats as members, or assist in organizing according to law the court-martial—denying the right of the commanderin chief of the squadron, Commodore Thomas Ap C. Jones, to convene or hold any such courts in the waters of California; and in consequence thereof, the court martial could not and did not organize at the hour, nor at any time on the day, specified and required by the warrant under which the court was ordered to convene; nor did the court organize on the next day, nor until the following morning—the two refractory lieutenants still setting up their judgment and opinion in opposition to the commander of the squadron; and furthermore, Lieutenant Green avowed before this court that he was the last of the dissenters to yield—he holding out against my authority till the third day—so that the commander of the squadron was two entire days, and until the middle of the third day, deprived of the exercise of the chief attribute of supreme rank and command—the power of holding courts martial and punishing crime—which to all intents and purposes was overt mutiny, as denned by the best expounders of the tenn, whether civil or military.
That no more formal notice of such flagrant misconduct was taken on the spot does not detract from the enormity of the offence. The court will not be at a loss to find good and sufficient reasons spread upon the records for the comparatively slight notice of such high offences; particularly would I direct the attention of the court to my despatches Nos. 52 and 53, and their accompaniments, all in evidence before the court.
Much ado has been made about the term "a little tainted" used in my published letter No. 34. That term, of rather equivocal import, was never intended to apply to any except such as were harassing me for leave of absence, furlough, <t lo accept resignations because they saw an opening to make money. Whether Lieutenants Green, Marchand, and Craven entertained any such dreams, the court can form its own conclusions from the evidence before it. The testimony of Major Hill, paymaster in the United States army, is conclusive as to the effects of the intelligence of the gold discovery, when first communicated to the squadron at La Paz, Lower California, by the arrival of the Southampton at that port in July, 1848, on board of which vessel Major Hill was a passenger. He testifies that, during a sojourn of several weeks at La Paz, he was in daily intercourse with the officers of the squadron, and that the subject of a trading voyage on the joint stock principle, in which he was invited by one of the lieutenants of the squadron to take a share, was frequently spoken of. Purser Forrest and Lieutenants Greim and Marchand admit, in their evidence before the court, that such a voyage was spoken of, &c.,&c. Commander Stribling testifies that that project was much talked about in the squadron while at La Paz, and that Commodore Jones was applied to by officers of the squadron tor furloughs, or leave to embark in private business. My own recollections of these occurrences are clear. I was consulted by more than one officer of the squadron, and my opinions sought as to the probable success of such a voyage as was then contemplated, and I was also invited to embark capital in the enterprise. And even more: Lieutenant McUormick, my flag lieutenant, when inquiring as to the c/vnce of a sufficient number of officers being spared from the squadron, named both Lieutenants Green aud Marchand as fit and qualified to conduct such mercantile expedition; and 1 have never doubted that my prompt refusal to gr3nt any such indulgences gave the death-blow to all such enterprises.
Had it been possible for me to have the testimony of Lieutenant MeCorinick before this court, he would not only have confirmed this statement, but would also have proved that the idea of embarking in trade, first projected at La Paz, was not abandoned up to the time of the Ohio's departure from San Francisco, December 25, 1848, for Mazatlan and San