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Henry Stanbery to J. D. Smith, 3 October 1866

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October 3, 1866. To J. D. Smith, Esq. U. S. Attorney, Northern Dist. Montgomery, Ala. Sir: Complaints have been made to the Government that improper prosecutions are being instituted in your District for violations of the law respecting the use of stamps. You are hereby instructed (by request of the Secretary of the Treasury,) to commence no prosecutions for failure to affix stamps to instruments issued prior to the establishment of the Collection District, & that none be commenced for omissions since that time, unless a fraudulent intent can be clearly proved. Your attention is called to those provisions of the statute which authorize Collectors to remit penalties in cases of this kind, upon payment of the proper stamp duties, whenever it is proven to their satisfaction that the omission of the necessary stamps was without any fraudulent intent. By the Act of July 13, 1866, it is provided that an instrument issued unstamped, at a time when, & in a place where, no collection District was established, may be stamped by the party who issued it, or by any party having an interest therein, at any time prior to Jan. 1, 1867,—and the legal effect of such stamp is the same as though affixed by the Collector. Very respectfully, &c H. Stanbery, Attorney General. [A duplicate of the above was this day sent to L. V.B. Martin, U. S. Attorney, Mobile, Ala.]
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