Title: Amos T. Akerman to Clarence A. Seward, 26 May 1871
Date: May 26, 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.01986
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Joshua Ware, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger
May 26, 1871.
Clarence A. Seward, Esq.
P. O. Box 217, New York City.
The Secretary of State has referred to this Department your letter to him of the 12th instant, in relation to the suit of George W. Jones vs. William H. Seward, late Secretary of State, for false imprisonment, now pending in the U. S. Circuit Court for the southern District of New York.
The Secretary of State refers the matter to me under the supposition that the Act to establish the Department of Justice transfers to this Department the charge of all cases in which the United States is concerned. The proper construction of that Act is not fully settled, and I am not satisfied that its necessary effect was to dissolve the retainers of gentlemen who had been specially employed as counsel by any of the Departments in cases pending when the Act took effect. But to avoid all unnecessary questions I herewith transmit a commission to you as special assistant to the District Attorney for the Southern District of new York.
The only practical question likely to arise under the retainer is, whether the compensation shall be paid out of the funds of the State Department or of this Department—and this is reserved for future inquiry.
Very respectfully, &c,
A. T. Akerman,
Suit of Geo. W. Jones ag't. Ex-Secretary Seward N. Y.
retainer of C. W. Seward, N. Y.