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J. Hubley Ashton to Clarence A. Seward, 4 August 1865

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Attorney General's office. August 4, 1865. C. A. Seward, Esq. Acting Assistant Secretary of State: My dear sir: I have received and read the letter of Mr. Sloat enclosed in yours of the 3d inst. I am not able, of course, to give an official opinion on the question presented; but I am at liberty to say, unofficially that I think it very apparent from the affirmative & negative statements contained in his letter, that Mr. Sloat would require a special pardon, under the 13th exception in the President's Proclamation, if the value of his taxable property were over twenty thousand dollars.— Whether his employment in connection with the company to which he refers, was an agency of the pretended Government, and is, as such, embraced by the 1st exception, would depend upon circumstances which are not explicitly stated in his letter. But I should infer from what is stated in his letter, that his superintendency of that Company, was such an agency. If Mr. Sloat was a northern man, as I believe he was, (for I formerly knew something of him,) I am of the strong moral impression that his conduct at Richmond was extremely reprehensible. I am very respectfully, J. Hubley Ashton, Acting Attorney General. P. S.—I have said that this is not an official opinion on this case, as I do not understand you to ask for one, on behalf of the Secretary of State. If the Secretary, or you at his instance, should ask one, I apprehend it would be on the present showing, substantially as above. J. H.A.
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