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Orville Hickman Browning to Edward Jordan, 6 July 1868

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July 6, 1868. Edward Jordan, Esq. Solicitor of the Treasury. Sir: In your letter of the 12th ultimo, a case, arising our of the impressment by officers of the Government of the steamer B. M. Runyan, belonging to the Alton and St. Louis Packet Company, is submitted to me for my opinion on the questions of law arising in the premises. I would cheerfully respond to your request if I thought I could do so with entire propriety. But the advisory function of the Attorney General upon questions of law seems to me to be restricted in the Act creating this office, (1 Stat. 93,) to requisitions of the President, and requests of the Heads of Departments, touching matters that may concern their Departments. And though he has since been charged with the supervision of other officers, and required, (1 Brightly, 884,) "at the request of the Solicitor to advise with and direct" him,— yet, as in the case of District Attorneys and others, it is only "as to the manner of conducting the suits, proceedings, and prosecutions," referred to in the Statute. With these views, I have thought fit to inform the Head of the Treasury Department of them, and that I would with pleasure consider the questions of law in the case, should he desire my opinion; and herewith return the papers with your letter for your convenience, should you desire to reach this office in the manner suggested. Respectfully, your obedient servant OH Browning,​ Attorney General ad interim.
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