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Manly's Expose

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Grand Rapids, Mich., July 31, 1891. To the Board of Managers of f e Michigan Soldiers' Home. Gentlemen:- In tuis my Jast report I deern it my duty to make as full and complete a statement as possible of my admiuistration as Commandant of the Home. You are all aware of what has been done by the board and the officers whom you haveappoiuted, but the outside woild knows but little of your proceedings or the labors of the officers in charge of the Home. As thisinstitution is supported by the tax payer9, as the old soldiers for whom tuis Home was built are the wards of the atate, the board of managers and tueir offlcers are the servan ts of the people, their official acts as well as the reporta of the officers of the Home are public property and subject to the criticisrn of the people. On entering upon the duties of Commandant of the Home, I found officers agaiust whom no charge of extravagance as far as I kuow rested. Under such circumatances it is fair to presume that the administration of these officers in that direction was aatisfactory to the board. Let us compare, if you please, the past with the present administration. And from the reoult determine whether the charge of extravagance lies justly at my door or not. We find that General Pierce, Major Long aud Oolonel Hinsdall each had a private servant at fheir private quarters. In the officers' diniug room we find the Commandant aud adjutant with separate tables aud a servaut for each, also an extra servaut to open and close the door as the officers and their ladies passed in and out. These servants were on the pay roll aud drew a salary of 57 a month. In the Commandaut's room was an orderly at $9 a month, in the adjutant's and quartermaster's department were employed two clerks at a salary of $24 a month, in the commissary department was employed the wife of' the commissary, Colonel Hinsdall, as a clerk at a salary of $12 a month, a total of $45 a month. In the four months I have beeu in charge of the Home I have reduced the help somewhat. In the officeis' dining room is s-et one table with one waiter at a cost oi $15 per month. In the Commandant' office one orderly at L9 a month, in the adjutaut's quarters one clerk at $15 per inontii, in the quartermaster's and commissary departnient one clerk at S25 a month, a total of $49 a month, a saving to the state in the offices' private dining room and quarters of S33 per month, while showing au increase in the clerical help in the offlcers' quarters of $4 per month, a net saving to the state is shown of $29 per month. The salaries paid for running the general dining room under the former admiuistration was $425.50 per month, under the present admiuistration it is ■S341.50 per month, a saving of S114 a month,, a saving on my salary and tbat of my orderly. Under the old administration six horaes were quartered at the home, and used as iöllows: General Pierce private horse, Colonel Hinsdall ambulance horse, Major Long's horse, the gray horse on the farm, the doctor's horse and the head cook's horse, with fourattendants. At the present the same number of horses are kept at the home employed as follows: Two of the state horses are working on the grade taking the place of a $3 team, one horse is drawing the ambulance, and the other the mail wagon, as they were formerly einployed. It becoming necessary to have extra horses for the home, the horses on the grade must be taken off or other horses procured. To meet this emergency, I direeted my private team to be sent here. They arrived on the twenty-fourth day of April, and have been used by the offlcera of the home in their official capacity ever since, taking the place of the state horses on the road, as bas rny buggy when the state buggy was out of repair. One of ray horses was oa the dump cart drawing stone for sixteen days, for these services no charge has been made, beheving as I did when I brought tuem that they would more tban pay the state for their keepiug. Prior to moving to the city of Grand Rapids, Adjutant Walker built for his own use a sniall steamboat eighteen feet long with a five foot beam, which he brought with hini. , There being no boat house at the home he got together a lot of old boards and othe timbers and with the aid of the state carpenters at thirty cents a day built a very respectable boat house, the erec tion of this building was well known to your honorable body as showu by a resolution introduced by Manager Graves at the May meeting pertaining to the erection of boat houses at the Home. The building is now complete, sitúate on state grounds, made out of state material and erected by state labor and can be put to the best possible advantage as a ladies' saloon, as nothing of this kind exists on the Home grounds, excepting in the private rooms in the main building, the painter also inl'orms me that he used about one dolIsr's worth of paint and about $2.10 worth of labor was placed upon the boat. It is an urrüsputed fact that in the past the state's carpenter has made inauy brackets, and the state's painter has gilded and painted many articles of the ofñcers' fu mi ture, using the state's material aud the state's time. The closest scrutiny of these records fail to show the slightest criticism from the board. In my effort to improve thegrounds I have left no stone unturned and have done everything ia my power to make the improvement fund go a ft r n p'ssuilf. 1 nave eiuployeil the bei, men I could get at as cbeap wagen ;i Uk y would work, in man y cast; ; ing only 75 cents a day aud board, j Many of the old soldiers startei to work for 30 cents a day; as tliey grew stronger and uiore uaed to work they demanded higher wages. Sorae of them took their discharges atid went to work at the Home. I have at every meeting of the board or committee ou grounds asked for instruetions, always receiving the otie universal auawer: "You are doing well, go ahead." From the corumencement of the grading I have liad the open endorsement of Mr. Rutherford as to iuy management of the grading, and at no timf during bis visits to the grounds did he cbange or suggest auy changes to any of the plans of the grade, but atalmosl e'ery visit expressed himself satisfted with tbe progress of the work. At one of bis visits, in tbe latter part of April, wliile passing tbrough the woods west of tbe gravel road he suggested the digging of a ditch from the oue crossing tbe field on the north to the springs on tbe south side of said woods and laying out drives tbrough the woods. and asked me what the cost would be. I told him, "From $50 to ■ $75 to do the ditching." He said: "If t don 't cost more tban tbat lay the ditoh," which I did do. I also ;ouud it iiecessary iu order to get top dressiug for the grade to widen a ditch across the lower grouuds froni the woods to a large spring or reservoir up near the north end of sald premises, running parallel with the river, its terminus, about 300 feet fromLamberton Creek. The ditch so dug was 7J feet on top and H feet on the bottom, the dirt excavuted from this served as a top dressing for about twothirds of the grade. The ditch being ñnished and the top dressing of the grade two-thirds done, 1 was puzzled and unable to flnd top dressing for the balance of the grade. I asked Sergeant Nelsou if he knew where surface sou could be got to finish the grade, and went with htm around the premises to see if we could find where the same could be got. None could be found. He advanced the idea of building ati artificial lake on the low grounds west of the gravel road conuecting with a ditch and using the soil excavated for top dressing for the grade, and supplyiug the lake with water from Lamberton Creek. This project was piessnted to Managers Crozer and Rutherford, but did not meet with their approval and the work was not done nor have there been any water courses chantred. At the next meeting of the board, which was the same day I received my instructions on the grade, the board, without open criticism. directed thatlshould confine the grading to the east side of the road, at the same time cautioning me to be careful and not overdraw the appropriation. I told them, "that there was sufficient funds In the appropriation to complete the grade, build the neeessary walks, clear the woods from underbrush, fin ish the drives, and still have $500 in the fund," I thought it strange that the ditchingshould that above everythiug else was the very ei-senceof improvements, as every rod or auca autiea to tue vaiue ot tne Home property by draining the black ash swamp, drying up aud making accessible tliis disease-breeding hole, that was very troublesome when the change of administratibn took place. At the June meeting there seemed to be a coldness ou the part of the board that I could not account for. I was not aware of the fact that Manager Rutherford was continually advising the board that the funds were nearly exhausted and the grade not half done. I was not aware of the fact that a traitor was seated at the offleers' table. or that a Benedict Arnold was on the Commandant's staff ready and willing to betray his benefactor by pouring in tue ears of a too willing board every word uttered, to picture out and enlarge every act done, for no other purpose than to further his own ends. Notwithstanding the fact that the old board asked from the legislature $8,000 to do the grading, aud claimed that it would not be done for less money, this extravagant Commandant has so nearly eompleted the grade for $3,000 that Iwill enter into bonds to finish the grade for the balance of the appropriation, the same to be done to the entire satisfaction of Manager Crozer, Governor Winans and the mayor of Grand Rapids. I desire to say in reference to the grade that I have been ably seconded by my adjutant and equally so by Sergeant Nelson, who has been in i rum ed ia te charge of the men, directing the grade in so skillful a rnanuer as indicated a through knovvledge of the business he was engaged in. The grade when completed will be pleasaut to look at, will be a place of resort for the Grand Rapids people and a beautiful resort for the old soldiere who cali it horue. As to the cbange of extra vagance on the part of the administration of the Soldiers' Home, I desire to joiu issue with the board of managers and will join my issue at the first meeting of the present board, and most respectfully cali their atteution to one of the acts passed by that board at its first meeting, namely, the granting to C. C. Comstock, of the privilege of laying a doublé track across the Soldiers' Home grounds without a single dollar consideration for the valuable grant conferred to Mr. Comstock. I told the board then that they had no right or power to vote away such a valuable franchise, that the matter ought to be referred to the legislature then in session. Mr. Rutherford said that they did not want to submit it to the legislature. There was no realty parted with and he for one was ready to vote the franchise. I told him that the state ought to receive a consideration for sueh a valuable franchise. The yea and nay vote was then taken, in which my vote was the only one recorded agaiust the enterprise. This right of way Í9 of great value to Mr. Comstock, for which he should have been obliged to deliverall freights pertaining to said Home over his track free of charge. At the flrst meeting after I beeame Commandant of the Home and J. V. Shank had been conflrmed quarteriiaster and commissary, and before the new officer had entered upon the charge of his duties, the board of managers without any request on my part aised his salary from $720 to $1,000. 'his was an unnecessary act as the duties of that departinent arelight, requiring not more than balf the otli((-[ 's time. At the .-ituie meeting of the board they voted u salary of 800 to their trensurer. This is uu exorbitant salary as tiie treasurer has nothiag to do but to draw a few checks, taking not to exceed tb ree days labor after each regular meeting. . At the same meetiug the board, if my uietuory serves me right, voted to the outgoiug treasurer S550 as a fee for past .ervicea. I cannot speak positively, but ara of the opinión, that exTreasurer Bliss never saw a cent of ie. Whether these acts are legal I kjiow not, but believe thein to have been eutirely unuece.isary. At the tirst meeting of the board after my appointment as Commandant, the board passed a resolution appropriating $1,000 to be used iu furnishiug the offleers' quarters. I told the board that I was a strauger in ttie city and asked that the board make the purchases of the furniture that they deeuied neces.sary for theofficers' quarters and I would le satisfied with their purchase. This they refused to do. They had appointed me Oommandaut of the Home and I must do my own purchasing. The ladies of the Home in eompany with Major - ■ - - - - ■ L- w - t v _-b a - urn. fc v Long's wife made most of the purchases. The rooms to be furnisüed consisted of the Conumandant's, adjutant's, quartermaster's aud surgeon's quarters, couaisting of ten rooms, six bedroom sets, drapery, carpets excepted. So long a8 I have not overdrawn the appropriation. the charge of extravagance cannot lie, as such au economical board could not for a moment be eharged with extravagance in the appropriation. Would it not be well for the board before they charge extravagance to explain why it is they impose upon the Commandent additional responsibilities. At the same meeting the members of the board iu company with the Commandant and adjutaut visited the hospital, examined the same and found that the roof was in a dangerous condition, so much so that they directed their extravagant and incompetent Commandant to proceed forthwith to repair and use such means as in his judgment was necessary to make said building safe. No, gentlemen, you can charge extravagance, you may howl iucompetency, but it will not cover up the fact that the removal of J. V. Shank as quartermaster was the principal and only cause that lead to the demand for my resignation. As the true cause for the removal has not as yet been published I will here give to the public a few of the many acts that caused his removal. Ou or about the twentieth day of May, Mr. Shank anuounced in the diniiitr room that after the next day there would be but two rneals on Sunday. This announcement was met with open denunciation by the inmates, causing many protests at my office. As this was done without my knowledgeand believing it to be and impracticable I iunnediately ccntermanded the order. Froin that day to the day of his reruoval I had or less trouble with him. At one time preseuting me with a requsitiou for baled hay, I told him that was a dear way to buy hay. He said there was no hay on the market. I signed the requisition and the hay was purchased at 16 a ton. I was in the city the next day and passing by the hay market saw several loads of hay selling at $14 a ton. This is ouly one of many articles he has purchased that I was lead to believe he was paying full market price for. He also appropriated 60 yards of private carpet stored away in the Coinmandant's private room and turned it over to the store room keeper who cut it to fit and put it down on the store room floor, which has utterly destroyed the carpet as far as any use to me is concerned. The purchase of the peas was but one small item of itself, but plainly showed the utter lack of the quartermaster's knowledge of the duties of the office he was called upon to fill, as it only took 11 bushels to supply the dining room, Mr. Sanford's statement notwithstanding. Becoming alarmed at his general beha vior and apparent lack of judgment in purcbasing, I directed a book to be kept by the store room keeper of the Home, in which should be entered every article purchased in the comrnissary departinent and the price paid for the same, which has been complied with in part, the enteriug of all articles having been made as directed, but the price, the important part, was omitted (exceptiug during the time Mr. Shank was relieved from office). The store room keeper, Mr. McRae, when asked why my iustructions had not been eomplied with, said: "Mr. Shank told him it was not necessary and he needn't do it." It has been bis habit to leave the Home for all day and night without apprising this ornee of bis conteinplated absence. Since hia reinstaternent by your honorable body, he has done that which ought not to have been done, to-wit, purehasing goods at his öwn expense that have been crossed off the requisition. The discharging of the quartermaster had to be done though it removed every appointee of your board and it will be a mere question of time before the newly appointed Commandant will have to execute the same authority. The demand for my resignation was no surprise to me as it was the common talk of tbe Home the day before the board met, that the quartermaster would be reinstated and my resignation demanded. The dining room sergeant whose salary tne quartermaster had increased from $9 to $18 a month was offering to bet $5 to one to that effect. After hearing my written report and the statement made by Mr. Sbsnk the board adjourned, and as I have been informed took dinñer with Quartermaster Shank and Major Long, then returning to the hall called the meeting to order and passed á resolution reinstatiug Mr. Shank as quartermaster. ïhis act I believed to be illegal, although I made no objection, and withdrew to my office for the purpose of drafting my resignation. When nearly completed the orderly informed me that the board wauted to 3ee me. When I entered the room the chairman informed me that he fciad a resolution he wanted me to lisien to. Mr. Graves then read a resoution asking for my resignation, I was asked by the chairman, Mr. ghank, what I had to say. My reply was, "Gentlemen, aren 't you a little fast, would it not be wel] to give ine time to think of this matter." You eau have till to-morrow niorning." "Then you have decided this matter?" Mr. Graves: "'es, sir." Manager Rutherford: "You have made charges against Major Long and disgraced Mr. Shank the world over." 1 replied, "This is most too sudden to fluish my reports and close up my accounts. If you withdraw your demands I will tender my resiguation to take effect August lst." Scarcely had the board adjourned befoie it was reported tbat my resignation was asked for on account of incompetency. These were serious reports and as none but the board and nayself were present at the time, it is fair to presume that they came trom some member of the board. I am not ashamed of what I have done and am more t.han willing to submit my administratiou to the people. Place your finger on a single item that I have purchased that the state has not valué received for. Show me a day's work I have paid for, that the state has not received its full valué. Show a single dollar, yea, a single cent of the state's money that bas passed through my hands that bas not been economically expended. As for the purchases in the quartermaster'ïi department I will not oe responsible for it; he is your officer and not mine. A great deal has been said about Mr. Long's carpeta and table liuen. If I am not mistaken it was at the April meeting that James W. Long, the adjutaiit of the Home, stated to the board that he had furnished at bis own expense part of a carpet on bis private quarters and asked that it be made good to hini. Some meuibcr of the board suggested that it be left whh the Commandant to settle with the adjutant, it was so left. I examined into the merits of the case and told Mr. Long that I could not allow more than $25 or $30. I was called upou by a member of the rirm of whom the carpet was bought, who asked me how much the state would allow on Mr. Long's carpet. I told him I was willing to allow 25 or $30, the board might allow what it pleased. Some time after this the same gentlemen presented me with a writteu order with my name signed to it giving the merchant the privilege of presenting to the board a bilí foracertain amount of carpeting. (I wish the board would cause to be printed the order that the people may readily see that it was no order.) I told the board then and repeat it now that I never gave any order for the purchase of Unen, yet they allowed the bill. At the last meeting of the board, July 22nd, I weutbefore the board aud asked that the painter be sent for that he might testify as to the paint and for v hom it was used. Tbia being a subject that the board at this particular time (the same as the carpet and linen matters) didn't care to have stirred up, ia the preseuce of the reporters of' the press, in order to get rid of it took immediate adjournment. Dr. Rush J. Sbank, stand up to the charge of extravagance! What do you know about it? You have never seen the decoration in the Commandant's quarters. You can'ttell whether there is one room or ten. Again Dr., you have cut off the wrong limb to shield that sore Shank of yours. I defy you to show where I have gone outside of my instructions excepting to clean out the old stumps, brush and dead trees around the red house down on the bank of the river, that the people of Grand Rapids might enjoy the grove on the Fourth of July, and this was done with General Rutherford's permit. Again you are wrong, doctor, dear, when you say the horses were kept at the expense of the State. They more than paid for their keeping in work on the premises, which can be proven by at least one dozen respectable citizens living in the vicinity of the Home, who will be remembered long after you and I are forgotten. Again, doctor, you are mistaken, there is no extra barn rented or groom employed to take care of my horses, it is the same man that was employed by Mr. Pierce. My dear doctor, what can be the matter? Again, I have not purchased a single yard of carpet and had it charged to the home, nor did I give Adju'.ant Long any permit to buy lineu, notwithstanding the statement made before your board to the contrary. All the carpets and lineu that were purchased was by the board against my protest. You caunot produce a single word of proof to subitantiate a single oue of the above charges that would stand for a ruomeut in a court of justice. Why, doctor, take a dose of your own medicine, never mimi what it is, auything will help you, 1 never saw n man so badly out of sorts. I never used a foot of the State's lumber, I never erected or caused to be erected a boat house, I never owned a yacht nor even a common row boat. Wrong again, wheu you say that there was only one charge agaiust Quartermaster Shank. The records will show that the quartermaster purchased all of $1,000 worth of goods that were not contracted for, or a requisition signed for, during the month of June. For your particular beneíjt, that you may know in what high esteem your wortby uncle was held by a certain member of the board I will publish a letter that I received a short time before Mr. Shank was removed. "Gkeenville, Mich., Juue 16, 1S91. "C. H. Mani.y, "Commaudant of Soldiers' Home. "Friend Manly:- I am Just in receipt of your letter and send this by hini, (Theodore Karnsen). You will flnd film a creclitable young man. Have Dr. Spaulding examine hun as closely as he llkes as to lus ability to compound medicine. He will fiud him very proricient. I have used the strictest care so as not to foiston you any one that will give you trouble as I am satisfled has been done. I was sorry 1 could not get a chance to talk with you, out tuiulc I understand the trouble quite well. I had some talk wltli Crozer and Graves and they are of the opiuion that the 'luartermaster is entirely incompetent, aud I share their views. I don't just kuow how we are to remedy the difnculty but I am ready to try. I have no confldence in Kutherford. I trust you will not reslgn, at least not at present, for in that event the two Republicans with Rutaerford will put in the old gang, sure. Etc. "Very respectfully your. "L. W. Spkagüe." Right you are, doctor. Mr. Manly did uot write his own resignation. I have every reason to believe it was dictated by J. V. Shank, written by Manager Graves, and endorsed by the rest of the board. RiK)it lucky was I lo get out of your ehiteues evt.i witti niy undershirt, and lueky vill be the Home if it escapea with a bare liberty pole unless you chantre your (juartermaster. ReRt)eetfullv vourg.