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William M. Evarts to Andrew Johnson, 7 January 1869

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January 7, 1869. The President. Sir: I have the honor to say that I have carefully examined the papers which you transmitted to this office some time since, in the matter of the claim of the Amoskeag Arms Company, but find it impracticable to give a definite legal opinion upon the question of the liability of the Government to pay the amount claimed by the Company, without a statement of the agreed facts of the case. It is impossible for the Attorney General in a case of this character, to determine the facts. I would therefore respectfully suggest that you cause a reference of the accompanying documents to the Secretary of War, in order that a statement of the facts which are admitted by the Ordnance Department may be prepared for submission to me. I can easily understand that there may be, upon a comparison of views of the claimants and the Department of War, no essential difference or dispute touching the leading and important circumstances of the transactions out of which the present controversy arises. It may not be difficult, therefore, for the proper executive department, and the representative of the claimants, to agree upon such a presentation of the facts as will raise for my consideration and determination the question of law upon which the liability of the United States may depend. Should this anticipation be realized, it will be my pleasure as well as my duty, to give early consideration to the matter of this claim, upon a presentation of those facts which the government is willing to admit, and which the claimants are willing to concede. Very respectfully, Your obedient serv't, Wm. M. Evarts, Attorney General.
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