Answer in Explanation to charges prefered against Benj. R. Biddle U. S. Indian Agent for Malfeasance in Office by Wm H Rector Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon viz;
"By contracting with one Frank Cooper for the necessary transportation at Siletz Agency, at certain stipulated prices therefor, with a complete and full understanding that he, Biddle Should receive One half of the proceeds arising therefrom."
"Agent Biddle" in answer to the above charge says, that the same is not true in fact that he never made any contract with "any Frank Cooper," for transportation at any stipulated price whatever, except for monthly wages on private account and that said Frank Cooper was not to receive any portion whatever of the proceeds arising therefrom; and no other sum except monthly wages refered to. For proof of Answer to this charge see 1st part in Wm H Spencer's Affidavit hereunto affixed.
Agent Biddle begs leave to explain as follows the reason why he purchased a pack team, and employed a man to pack. In private account viz; (He quotes in part from his Annual Report when he took charge of the Siletz Agency, the Government was without [illegible], and the absence of ready means to make such purchases of articles required for immediate use, was a source of great embarassment, in consequence of this state of Affairs "Agent Biddle" had to use his own private means, or give his individual obligations for such purchases as were made at Corvallis and Vicinity; And the Department having no pack Animals, and no other means of transportation from the Settlements; And on account of the great demand for Pack trains in the northern mines, no contracts for packing to the Agency, could be made except at exhorbitant rates necessity and a desire to economise compelled him to purchase mules and horses on his private account which were used to pack supplies for Self and Employees as well as Department Goods both from Corvallis & Yaquina Bay. The rates of charges made by Agent Biddle for what was packed for the Indian Department, was not greater than had previously been allowed [...]
[...] We never used any false representation to Frank Cooper for any purpose whatever. Frank Cooper was by Agent Biddle's order paid in full for his services for packing, and said Cooper Signed the vouchers after they were filled up knowingly and understandingly; And further; said Cooper signed a separate receipt in full for all his services. For further & confirmatory proof, see Wm H Spencer's Affidavit 3rd part; also C. P. Blairs Affidavit hereunto annexed. Cooper acknowledges to Blair that he has been paid in full for packing, by Agent Biddle &c &c.
The foregoing charges & perhaps a portion of the following charges were founded upon the Affidavit of Frank Cooper, and one Doctor Swigget so Agent Biddle presumes.
Touching the veracity of said Cooper, Agent Biddle says, that Frank Cooper has the reputation of being a common liar, and is not beleived under Oath when he is an interested party. In proof of this statement, see the Affidavits of J. L. Lilly, S. N. Lilly, and James Miller, herewith annexed all which they and truthful citizens and neighbors of Cooper. Fifty other Affidavits could be produced to the same effect but the foregoing is deemed sufficient to establish the unenviable character of the men upon whose Affidavits, Supt Rector presumes to bring charges against Agent Biddle.
Touching the Character and veracity of Doctor Swigget, Agent Biddle refers the Department to Senator Nesmith & Harding.
All the Affidavits upon which Supt. Rector bases charges against Agent Biddle are from disaffected persons, and the testimony is entirely exparte.
"With making false representations to Alfred Flickinger in order to induce him to sign, or witness the mark of Dick Johnson to a voucher for his salary as Interpreter during the 4th Qr 1861."
Agent Biddle for Answer says the above charge is false that he never made false representations to Flickinger nor to any other person to get him or them to witness "Dick Johnson's mark" nor any persons mark. Agent Biddle chalanges his accuser to show proof of this Charge. [...]
[...] any interest whatever in contracts. This Agent Biddle is willing to concede but he begs leave to plead as an excuse for so doing; that the necessities of the case compelled him, (though very reluctantly) to purchase a pack train, and to an interested party in the transportation of merchandise to the Siletz Agency: But that any fraud against the Govt, was thereby committed, he says is not true.
Admitting that the transaction was "irregular," and contrary to the regulations of the Indian Department as a general thing Agent Biddle must further plead, that he had many precedents of a similar character to warrant him in making the contract referred to period. Agents Metcalfe and Newcomb both owned or had an interest in the pack trains, transporting merchandise to the Siletz Agency; this is a fact known to everyone in the vicinity and must have been known at Supt's office. again; by reference to Supt. Rector's Abstract of Dispursement for 4th Qr 1861, on account of the "Removal of Indians from Rogue River to Grand Ronde Agency", One Martin Newcomb is purported to have been paid the sum of ______ Dollars for use of Pack Train for said purpose of the rate of $2 per day for each mule & expenses besides which statement of Dispursement is not wholly. It is a well known fact that said Martin Newcomb did not receive but half of the sum called for in the voucher. Who received the other half may be properly asked? The question is easily answered: Martin Newcomb had a partner that Partner's name is Rector, and that Rector received the money. Also a well known fact that the Original Contract with Martin Newcomb was at the rate of $1 per day for each mule and how the sum happened to grow to $2 per day for each mule, is a question that Supt. Rector best answer himself. "Agent Biddle" does not make this statement with a view as bringing it as a charge against Supt. Rector, but merely to show that he had a plain example and precedent for being interested in the transportation of Merchandise to Siletz Agency: with the difference however: Agent Biddle was the real owner of the pack train, actually performed the services, and at reasonable rates: while the contract in which Rector was interested does not possess that one virtue or excuse. He was not the owner of the train and had no property whatever in Martin Newcombs mules. Biddle's interest and claim is honest and just.