In Whitman's Hand

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About this Item

Title: Amos T. Akerman to John A. Minnis, 24 November 1871

Date: November 24, 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.02198

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Melanie Krupa



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Nov. 24, 1871.

John A. Minnis, Esq.

U. S. Attorney,

Huntsville, Ala.

Sir:

Your long letter of the 18th instant is received.

Of course whatever may be my interest as a citizen in the politics of the South generally, and of Alabama in particular, I cannot act officially in such matters.

It is not desirable to extend the enforcement laws beyond the intention of those who framed them; yet the members of one political party have no greater right to violate those laws than the members of another party. I am unable at this distance, and with my limited information to determine whether the transactions in Montgomery to which you refer were a violation of either of those laws. If they were, of course there should be a prosecution—otherwise not.

I suggest the expediency of taking great care to keep the administration of the law unconnected with mere party feuds. As a matter of fact, I suppose that the crimes at which the law aims have principally been perpetrated by one party; but if the members of the other party commit the same offences, whether against their general political adversaries, or against another section of their own political party, they must receive the same treatment. In each instance it seems to me that the case should be clear, both for the moral and legal effect of the prosecution.

In regard to apprehended removals from office, I can only say, in a communication of this character, that so far as this Department is concerned, that zeal and impartiality in enforcing the law will be a ground of commendation rather than of censure; and no objections to yourself or the Marshal on account of such zeal and impartiality will receive any favorable consideration from me.

Very respectfully,

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.


422
Alabama affairs, &c.


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