Title: Amos T. Akerman to Cornelius Cole, 23 January 1871
Date: January 23, 1871
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Whitman Archive ID: nar.01653
Contributors to digital file: Nima Najafi Kianfar, Courtney Rebecca Lawton, Elizabeth Lorang, and Kenneth M. Price
January 23, 1871
Hon. C. Cole.
Acting chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.
I learn from some gentlemen who have spoken to you upon the subject that you desire my view upon the propriety of appropriating a sum of money (fifty thousand dollars has been suggested) for aiding in the detection and prosecution of crimes against the United States, to be expended under the direction of the Attorney General.
Generally, I disapprove of appropriations of so vague a character. But the reasons in favor of this proposition are strong. It is intended to employ persons who shall exert themselves to detect and prosecute a class of offenses which now no officer is likely to feel specially charged with. I refer particularly to prosecutions under the Acts known as the Enforcement Act, the Naturalization Act, and the Civil Rights Act.
In some parts of the country, the sufferers by the crimes punishable by these Acts are, for the most part, poor and ignorant men, who do not know how to put the law in motion, or who have some well-grounded apprehension of danger to themselves from the attempt to enforce it. In most of the other classes of prosecutions, there are persons within the range of whose official duties the business of prosecution comes, as in Internal Revenue offences, and offences against the Customs laws. But it is not so in the classes of cases to which I have referred ; and I think therefore that the law would be better enforced if the Attorney General had authority to employ persons who would learn facts, gather testimony, and prefer charges against the offenders in such cases.
Very respectfully, &c.
A. T. Akerman,
certain appropriation ($50000) considered.