June 27, 1904

CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

Yes.

Sir WILLIAM MULOCIv. No, I do not think such a thing occurred.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

It is so reported.

Sir WILLIAM MULOCIv. You cannot believe all you hear reported.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

Nor half of what you see either.

Sir WILLIAM MULOCIv. There is not the slightest foundation for such a statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

I am glad to hear that things had not got to such a pitch that pri-Mr. WILSON.

vate letters could be sent to party friends and refused to the House of Commons.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Oh, no.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

I hold in my hand a petition-signed by 24 Liberals who get their mail matter at the village of Wilton ; men who are respectable, reliable and well-to-do, and who have much more to do with the post office than any other set of men in that locality. This is the petition :

Wilton, June 11th. Hon. Sir William Mulock,

Ottawa.

Dear sir,-We, the undersigned mail receivers of the Wilton post office locality, beg leave by this petition to say that we are satisfied with the present postmaster and also satisfied with the place where it is kept, the place being most convenient to the general public, and we sincerely hope there will be no action taken to please a few who are either jealous or maliciously inclined to injure him. The moving of the post office would, we are inclined to think, injure our political strength.

We pray that you may give it your careful consideration and undoubtedly our sincere request will be granted. We remain, supporters of the present government.

That is signed by twenty-four leading Liberals who reside in that locality and who have principle enough, or shall I say common sense enough, to rise above party feeling, and to say that they would not do an injustice to a good and efficient officer. I have a letter here from Mr. Gallagher which sets out the whole case in pretty strong and plain language, and I shall read it to the House. When the return was brought down I sent It to Mr. Gallagher for the purpose of getting an explanation of the charges made against him and on May 2, 1904, he wrote as follows :

Wilton, Ont., May 2nd, 1904. Uriah Wilson, Esq., M.P.

My dear sir,-Your letter to hand containing complaints about me as postmaster, and X will answer them in rotation, and attach slip to each one that you may more definitely understand It. All are true ; they are a hard gang -not one of the crowd attends church, and there is out of the eight, I may say, 1 never saw more than three of them inside a church, unless for some special occasion, and of the eight, seven drink whisky, seven use tobacco, one in the poor-house now, four combined not worth |200, altogether that is $50 each, one with suspended sentence of theft hanging over him. It is of no use to say more, they are simply a gang. The Postmaster General got letters from Rev. Dr. D. C. Day, Methodist minister here for four years now in June ; from Robert Miller, a man worth $40,000, a justice of the peace and commissioner, and issuer of marriage licenses, and ex-reeve of Ernestown by acclamation ; Wellington Babcock, a well-to-do farmer, and ex-reeve, and a member of the township council for, I think, six years ; James Lewis, J.P., and a resident for sixty years, and one of the real hard workers for the party ; Ross Peters, owner of

200 acres of land, and a resident of the place for thirty-seven years ; Thomas Prest, owner of 150 acres of land, and a man about 55 to 60 years of age, one of Ernestown's hardest workers for their party ; H. Walker, aged 62 years, always a Reformer and always lived here, and worth ahout $5,000 to $8,000. I will put their names below and their worth-that is the six men that wrote the Postmaster General. They marked their letters private, and I saw the answers, but this was done to keep peace with the gang, and I kept it from the crowd algo : Name. Worth.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
?

Rev. D. C.@

Day Unknown.

R. Miller $40,000 or more.

J. Lewis 15,$00

Ross Peters 8,000

Tom. Prest 9,000

H. Walker 8,000

Total $80,000

The following is a list of the gentlemen who signed these declarations and their positions : Name. Worth.

B. Toomey Nothing.

J. Cams "

Tom. Clyde $3,000

M. F. Parrott / 1,000

/ John Carr 2,000

H. Timmerman 100

J. McEwen Nothing.

G. Simmons $1,000

J. Simmons Poor-house now.

Not one of the gang are churchmen .unless Toomey may be ; he is a Roman Catholic.

The foregoing may be hard to understand, but I have put the thing as near as I can, and you can only show the gang up, and the government that took their petition into consideration, when thirty good honest people wrote and requested the post office to be not molested. I may say the post office was to be moved on the 21st December, and a telegram was sent to stay proceedings, and the Postmaster General telegraphed inspector, and he telephoned me to hold it ; this was sent to Postmaster General, I think, by the request of Keech. Dr. Leonar,d, Dr. Vrooman, Herrington, Eeech, Haycock, and Shibley, and Farrell-, the Reform organizer, * were all in it. But the thing was and is rotten. One hundred and fourteen families get mails here and only seven want a change. The Postmaster General got petition and letters from thirty of the Grits and there are only fifty-one altogether and about sixty-three Conservatives.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think I have made out a pretty strong case against the action of the Postmaster General. If he had taken the pains to inquire into the character and the business capacity of the postmaster and the service he had done during the eighteen years that he held the office, he certainly would have made no change. I have aiiother letter from Mr. Gallagher, dated the 7th of May, 1904. in which he says :

I saw B. Toomey, McEwen and Timmerman and those three claim they never signed nor authorized any one to sign for them, and sav if they did they were drunk.

What about letters from Haycock, Shibley, Keech and Dr. Leonard, and probably from Sir Richard and their organizer Farrell ? Hiram Walker says he wants it thoroughly understood that the Postmaster General was asked by him in three letters to not molest the postmaser.

I would like to call the Postmaster General's attention to the fact that Joseph Haycock is a civil servant, and that Dr. Leonard is the postmaster in my town. I do not wish to make any complaint against either of these gentlemen ; but I wish to call the Postmaster General's attention to the fact that the First Minister said that if any civil servant interfered with politics, he would give him all his time to do so if he liked. I think it most unfair, after a man has run for parliament and been defeated, and has been given one of the best positions in the riding, that he should still be the consulting physician of the government in the riding, as Dr. Leonard I believe is. I believe that the Postmaster General has some letter from Dr. Leonard in reference to this matter. I know that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries had one which he produced the other day from Dr. Leonard in reference to setting the buoys in the Napanee river. I would like the hon. Postmaster General to call the attention of the Prime Minister to this matter and see if he cannot stop it.

I dk>

not know the gentleman who has been appointed postmaster,- but I believe the government made a serious mistake. He may be as respectable a man as the other; I have nothing to say against him; but I have a good deal to say against a man taking the stand that the Postmaster General does. I understand that he has been urged strongly to take it, but I think he should have backbone enough to stand up for a man who has done good service for eighteen years. I think Mr. Gallagher's word is as good as that of Mr. Clyde with reference to the registered letters ; besides, the circumstancs are all in favour of Mr. Gallagher in that matter. I think the Postmaster General is to blame for not having given an investigation to see who was right. If he were as strict with all postmasters as he has been with Mr. Gallagher, I have no doubt there would be a good many vacancies to-morrow morning. I will listen patiently to hear wlmt the Postmaster General has to say with regard to the dismissal which I have brought to his attention.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCIC.

A letter dated the 7th of May, 1903, was received by the department on the 8th of May from Messrs. Herrington, Warner and Grange, transmitting to the department a number of affidavits and statutory declarations containing charges against the postmaster at Wilton. In the ordinary course, these complaints, ns set forth in these declarations, were

transmitted to the inspector for investigation. On the 15th of May the inspector made a report in these words :

Post Office Inspector's Office,

Kingston, 15th May, 1903.

Sir,-In returning herewith sundry affidavits and correspondence received by you from Messrs. Herrington, Warner and Grange, barristers, of Napanee, making grave complaints regarding the management of the Wilton post office in the county of Addington, I have the honour to report that I visited the locality on the 11th inst., and made full inquiry into the several charges made : 1st, taking part in a political contest ; 2nd, delay and improper delivery of a registered letter ; 3rd, delay in sending forward ordinary correspondence in order to persoanlly gain a municipal advantage.

I have no reason to doubt or question the correctness of the affidavits made by John Carr, John Cairns, Isaac McEwen, Thos. Clyde, Gay Simmons and others, some of whom were personally interviewed, that Mr. Gallagher did take part in the last political contest, perhaps not as openly as heretofore, but an active part when opportunity offered-to what extent I was unable to definitely leam, although Mr. Gallagher admitted the fact stated in Mr. McEwen's affidavit, that Mr. Uriah Wilson and others were at his house the evening after Mr. Wilson's political meeting held at Wilton at the time of the last Dominion election contest, but denies that the meeting was political. Of course an accurate report of the business transacted or matters discussed cannot now be obtained, but I think the conclusion come to by Mr. McEwen is not unreasonable, and that a political meeting was held and matters in connection therewith discussed.

The second point, delay in a delivery of a registered letter. This fact was clearly established by reference to the registered letter book and the admission of the clerk in charge of the office, showing that the letter, although frequently asked for was not delievered for eight days.

Third charge, delay in sending forward correspondence in order to gain a municipal advantage. In January last Col. Clyde was a candidate for the reeveship of Ernestown township in opposition to Mr. Gallagher and of course no effort was spared by the friends of the respective rival candidates to win. Mr. Simmons a strong supporter of Col. Clyde, wrote a letter on January 3rd, posting it before 2.30 p.m. on that day, to Mr. Harry Timmerman, then at Camden East, urging him to come to Wilton and vote for Col. Clyde on Monday. Mr. Timmerman, who was known as a supporter of Col. Clyde, did not intend returning, having paired with another voter ; this was well known at Wilton and it was common gossip in the village that Mr. Simmons' letter was purposely delayed so that Mr. Timmerman' would not cast his vote against Mr. Gallagher. I am unable to say that the public came to a correct conclusion, but the fact remains that the letter was posted at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday and that the mall for Camden East did not leave Wilton until 6 p.m., and that the letter for Mr. Timmerman did not go forward on that day, although posted in ample time, and did not reach Camden East until Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Monday p.m., too late to serve the purpose intended' and suggests to my mind at least, that there was more reason than simply oversight for the delay in sending this letter forward. In my opinion the charges made have been in the main substantiated .

I am, sir,

Your most obedient servant, (Signed) H. MERRICK,

P. O. Inspector.

My hon. friend alludes to private letters, and sent me a letter from Mr. Thomas Prest asking to have a private letter sent by him returned. When my hon. friend moved for their return, I said I would not bring down private letters except with the consent of the writers, and I think X acted unwisely, in offering to act on such consent. When people write private letters to any one engaged in public life we should not allow pressure to be brought upon them to make public what they intended to be private. However, on the receipt from the hon. gentleman of a letter from Mr. Prest, I instructed my secretary to write to those who had sent me private letters, asking whether they were willing to have them made public, and did not get any reply from one of them. I do not consider that I have any authority to make public any private communication.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER.

A new doctrine.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

That 'is my opinion. Complaints of a serious character had been made against this man.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

How many complaints were made before the ones in question Y

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I have no knowledge of the history of the office. A responsible firm of lawyers sent in a number of statutory declarations charging this postmaster with certain offences. They charged him with having been a political partisan in the last Dominion election, with having delayed delivering a registered letter, and with having withheld a letter concerning an election in which he was interested. Although to delay the delivery of a registered letter is a serious matter, I would not in this case have condemned the postmaster for that offence, as it might have been due to a mistake. But as regards the letter sent to Mr. Timmerman, here was a case in which the postmaster himself was interested. He was a candidate for the reeveship, and there was a man named Timmerman whom it was desired to get to Wilton.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

What evidence had the inspector that that letter had been called for and had not been delivered Y

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

*Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I only take the finding of the inspector.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WTLSON.

But the hon. gentleman refused to bring down the inspector's report

iu the return on the ground that it was private. And now he is making it public.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOOK.

I was not aware it had not been produced in the return.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

The hon. gentleman must remember that he crossed the floor and told me it was unusual to allow the reports of inspectors to come down, and I thereupon consented to strike that part of my motion calling for that particular report struck out. Now, however, he has made it public. Was Mr. Gallagher furnished with a copy of the charges made against him, and was he given a chance to defend himself ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I remember the incident to which my hon. friend refers, but had forgotten about it and really thought that the inspector's report was in the return. I have not seen the return until this moment.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

Does the hon. gentleman remember a conversation he and I-had when we talked of the meeting held at Mr. Gallagher's house ? I told him then, as I tell him now, that there was no political meeting held at Mr. Gallagher's house on that occasion, nor was I ever at a political meeting in Mr. Gallagher's house, though he is a friend of mine. Mr. Pruyn who was a candidate for the local house, went with me to Wilton to speak on that occasion. There is no hotel at Wilton, and after the meeting, Mr. Gallagher asked me to put up my horse in his stable and to have supper with him. This invitation Mr. Pruyn and I accepted. But I positively deny that there was any political meeting that evening while I was at Mr. Gallagher's house, nor do I think there was one afterwards. And Mr. McEwen denies ever having made this affidavit. If the Postmaster General wi!! afford me an opportunity we will bring Mr. McEwen, Mr. Gallagher, Mr. Henry Allan Baker-who is ex-warden of the county of Ijennox and Addington-and myself, and then let him put us in the box and take our evidence. That is what should have been done before taking so serious a step as dismissing a good official. It would be better than dismissing this man upon so flimsy a pretext. The Postmaster General has got it down finer than I thought-that this man was dismissed because one letter which possibly might have related to a vote in a municipal election was delayed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink
LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Wilson) does not take the correct view of that transaction. I have not stated that that was the only transaction upon which an opinion against this official might be based. According to the report of the inspector he intentionally interfered with a letter passing through the mails. That is a criminal offence.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RESIGNATION OP THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
Permalink

June 27, 1904