Title: Benjamin Helm Bristow to James B. McKean, 24 October 1871
Date: October 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.02528
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Nima Najafi Kianfar
Oct. 24, 1871.
Hon. James B. McKean,
Salt Lake city, Utah
The President has handed me your letter of the 9th instant, addressed to him,—and directs me to say in reply that it is the disposition of his Administration to furnish all possible and available means for the enforcement of law in the Territory of Utah.
I think you are mistaken in supposing that the declination of Col. John H. Wickizer, to whom was tendered the office of District Attorney, is based solely, or even chiefly, upon the ground that the Postmaster General would not consent to his acceptance, while he held the office of Postal Agent. The letter of Col. Wickizer to this Department places his action upon other, and altogether different, considerations.
The President would be glad to fill the office at once, by the appointment of a man of superior talents and energy in his profession, and if such an one is known to you as being willing to accept the office, I will thank you to suggest his name. Of course the chief difficulty in procuring the services of a competent District Attorney lies in the inadequacy of compensation provided by Congress. Over this, the Executive Department of the Government can have no control. We are not at liberty to increase the compensation allowed by statute to District Attorneys. But under the Act of August 2, 1861, reënacted by the Act of April 10, 1869, the Attorney General is authorized to employ and retain assistants to the District Attorneys whenever in his opinion the public interest may require it.
In view of the importance of public business in your District, the President directs that counsel be employed under the authority of this Act of Congress. Deeming it advisable to have the services of counsel resident in the Territory, and familiar with the laws thereof, I will thank you to suggest a suitable person for this employment. Your early attention to this matter will greatly oblige.
Very respectfully, &c.
B. H. Bristow, Solicitor Gen'l
& Acting Attorney Gen'l.
Utah—enforcement of law in, &c.