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The man in the foreground is the Government weigher who was in the scale-house when
the spring was discovered. The man in the corner is Richard Parr, the Government agent
who found the spring. He occupies in this picture the position of the Company checker

bags of raw sugar. The man on my left the rod leading to the platform outside. impersonated the customs officer charged Between the post and the end wall of the with weighing the sugar and recording scale-house was a space perhaps a foot the weight for the collection of the duties. wide, as dark as a pocket. Running my He is known as the Government weigher. hand down the post, I touched a thin strip The man on my right took the place of an of iron protruding from the post, its outer employee of the refinery, whose duty it end bent into a ring. The strip worked was to check the operations of the Gov- loosely in a hole in the post, and as I ernment weigher and keep a record for pushed it through, its inner end ran over a the Company. He is known as the Com- joint of the scale mechanism.

It was easy pany checker. The motions we had just to see how the spring of the steel would gone through were a dramatic illustration exert force upon the levers and make the of the practice by which for six years registering beam drop. the Sugar Refining Company had been "We've found," said my companion, stealing from the Government.

“that a pressure of one ounce just at that Stepping from the scale platform, I point is good for a loss of forty-eight went around into the scale-house. Taking ounces on the platform outside. You see the seat in the corner, I ran my hand down now where those eight pounds went to where my companion's had been a mo- that you lost so miraculously." ment before. As I sat where a Company Lighting a match, we drew out the strip checker had sat every day for years, just and inspected the hole in which it had been. by my left knee was a thick post support. It was perhaps a quarter of an inch in diaming one end of the shelf beneath the scale eter, and its edges were worn and rounded. bar. Under the shelf was a system of Just above it was a cleat ; and beneath the levers and joints which formed the connec- cleat horizontal scratches converged into tion between the registering beam and a veritable groove as they approached the


hole itself. It required little imagination against the American Sugar Refining to picture the bit of steel spring, held in Company of New York. some hand (whose in the world but the man's who sat in that chair day after day ?) In the summer of 1907 a man named in the gloom of that narrow corner scratch- Richard Whalley appeared at the Treasury ing across the post, guided by the edge of Department in Washington and related the cleat, in search of the hole into which that during the ten years from 1892 to it fitted. On the inner side of the post 1902 he had been employed on the Sugar the hole was worn much larger.

Company's docks as a Company checker, Regularly spaced along the dock stand and that from 1897, when the Dingley tariff the seventeen scale-houses ; and in the went into effect, he had been in the habit of obscurity of each one's farther corner a using methods for lessening the apparent sturdy post is pierced by a hole like this. weight of drafts of sugar. These methSome were worn more, some less; for not ods he had employed with the knowledge, all the scales are used at once. As each ship and indeed by the direction, of the Comunloads, her cargo is weighed at the scale- pany's dock superintendent.

. Whalley was houses nearest her berth, and in the nat- a pretty poor specimen of a man, and he ural course of events some berths are was doubtless actuated in offering this more continuously occupied than others. information by the desire of obtaining a It was proved at the trial that nine-tenths reward. Nevertheless, the Assistant Secof the sugar received at this refinery was retary of the Treasury had Whalley put on weighed on five of the scales, and it is the Department's pay-roll as a special worthy of note that the holes in the employee, and told him to go back to posts in those scale-houses were very Brooklyn and see what he could find out much more worn than those in the other about the continued existence of such houses. In several of them the hole had practices. At the same time a special been worn so large that the spring evi- agent of the customs service, Richard dently did not work satisfactorily, and the Parr, who had been for some time quietly enlarged hoie had been filled in, in one investigating the possibility of such frauds case with putty, in another with tacks on his own account, was detailed to work driven in at its upper edge, in a third upon the case, assisted by another agent, with a sliver of wood glued in to make James O. Brzezinski. the hole smaller. In the most striking of Whalley obtained employment as the cases the hole had become enlarged; tallyman for the owner of a ship which was it had been reduced by driving in two discharging a cargo, his duty being to stand wooden pegs; these in their turn had be- in front of the scale-house and make a come worn; and then the wood round the record of the number of bags of sugar hole had been cut out and a fresh piece landed from the vessel. with a new and smaller hole had been On November 19 he reported to Parr countersunk into the post. This counter- that while he had been unable to discover sunk piece had evidently been painted over any definite evidence of fraud, he noticed at the same time with the post and that whenever a draft of sugar was put the dried and worn condition of the paint upon the scales, the Company checker in showed that the repair must have been the scale-house dropped his left hand at made a long time ago. On one of his side in a peculiar way.

It was the scales a groove had been filed at arranged that the next morning Parr and the point on the iron lever where the Brzezinski should come to the dock, and end of the spring rested, presumably to if Whalley noticed the same action on the give an accurate resting-place for the part of the Company's checker he should spring, and in other cases this point had raise his hat. About ten o'clock on Nobeen worn smooth by the friction of the vember 20 Parr and Brzezinski appeared spring

upon the dock, and when Whalley saw Seventeen scale-houses there are, and them he gave the signal agreed upon. by the same token seventeen holes. Hence Parr had quietly instructed another Govthe Federal Attorney's designation of the ernment employee who was on the dock, case: The Case of the Seventeen Holes when he saw Parr approach a scale-house,



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to stop the last three drafts of sugar one weighed fourteen pounds more than it which had been weighed on that scale. had three minutes before, the other eightOn receiving the signal Parr went quickly een pounds more. Rather a miraculous and by a roundabout route, not to the increase in so brief a space of time! But scale-house where Whalley was stationed, it is even more interesting that the draft but to another not far away. He pushed weighed while the Government agent was open the door, and just after he entered in the scale-house had increased not at all the house a draft of sugar was weighed. on reweighing That fact should be remembered. Stand- While this little scene in the drama was ing at the door, where he thoroughly com- being acted, Parr noticed that the Company manded the situation, he directed that the checker in the far corner

was crouched last three drafts of sugar, which had over his counter in a curious fashion, with been detained by his associate as they left his left arm thrust down into the corner the scales, be reweighed. The result under the shelf, and that he kept changing was significant. The draft which was color. weighed just after he entered the scale- Stepping toward him, Parr asked: house weighed exactly the same the second “What are you monkey-doodling with time. But of the two other drafts the down there ?"

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“Nuthin'," said Kehoe, the Company Deputy Surveyor of the Port, Mr. James checker.

F. Vail, was present on the dock on the Parr ordered him to get up, sat down morning of that day. It will be shown himself, and, running his hand down the later in this article that whenever special post, discovered the spring with its Government officials or detectives were curled handle, wound with string as on the docks the duty weights were very if to protect the fingers of any one hand- much higher than they were at other ling it. He did not take the spring times. The deduction that the springs out of the hole, but asked the checker were not used when there was danger of what he knew about it. That individual detection is irresistible. professed the most complete ignorance One other incident of that morning is of its existence, purpose, use, origin, or illuminating. The refinery docks have history. And, what is perhaps a little been for twenty years under the control remarkable, he showed no curiosity about of a dock superintendent, Oliver Spitzer. it, and even declined to look at the spring His rule was absolute; he hired and disor the hole where it had been found. It charged the Company checkers, kept in was some little time before the Govern- his office the records of their work, and, ment agents went to the three other scale- as the District Attorney expresses it, houses which were in use that morning, the Company on the dock." A few minand when they got there no springs were utes after the discovery of the spring to be found, though there was a hole in Spitzer met Parr, according to the story of the same position under every scale. But the latter, took him to one side, and asked during the delay two of the Company him to name his price to hush the matter checkers in these scale-houses had been


All he needed to do, said Spitzer, relieved by other employees of the Com- was to “lose that iron.” As far as the pany, and one, who was not relieved, had testimony shows, he had had no opporleft his scale-house of his own accord. tunity of seeing the spring at that time, Whether any springs went with them can and, in fact, he testified himself that he did only be a matter of conjecture. But their not see it until several months afterwards. unanimous departure seems not without Spitzer was tried in Brooklyn for attempted significance.

bribery, on the accusation of Brzezinski, A perusal of the figures representing Parr's fellow-agent, and was acquitted, the weights of all the drafts of sugar owing very largely to Brzezinski's reversal contained in the cargo of the Strathyre, at the trial of the statements which he had the ship which was being unloaded on made in swearing to the complaint. Parr's November 20, throws some interesting story, however, was unshaken by his comlight on this point. The ship began to panion's change of front, and during the discharge her cargo on November 18, and main trial, while under oath, Parr fiatly the drafts which were unloaded on the accused Brzezinski (who in the meantime first two days averaged generally consid- had been dismissed from the Government erably less than one thousand pounds in service and had not been called as a witness weight, but at the time when Parr discov- by either side) of perjury. ered and removed the spring the average weights took a sudden jump, and during With the evidence of the happenings of the rest of the unloading of that particular November 20 as a basis, the Government cargo, on November 22, 25, and 26, the brought suit against the Sugar Company. weights averaged nearly one thousand and The suit was brought under a law which fifty pounds, and never dropped below a provides that if any one-owner, importer, thousand and twenty pounds.

This con

consignee, agent, or other person—shall dition of affairs is graphically shown by make use of any fraudulent practice or the diagram on page 33. It will be noted appliance by which the Government shall in that diagram that the broken line, rep- be deprived of any of its duties in regard resenting the weight of the drafts, takes to a given article, then that article or its a jump above the thousand mark in the value shall be forfeited to the Government. early part of November 18. This jump It is a simple regulation ; if you try to is interesting because of the fact that the smuggle a watch or a pair of gloves or a

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