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Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to Kilpatrick & Maughs, 2 December 1869

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December 2, 1869. Messrs. Kilpatrick & Maughs, Corinth, Miss. Gentlemen: I have received your letter of the 29th ultimo, with a letter of James E. Stewart, Esq. late United States Attorney, enclosed. By his letter it appears that you were retained by the U. S. Attorney, at the request of the Supervisor of Internal Revenue, who said he had full power from the Treasury Department to cause to be employed the best counsel that could be had to assist the regular law officers of the government whenever the interests of the government required.—and the late U. S. Attorney expresses great gratification at the fidelity and ability with which you acted for the government in the cases in which he retained you. By law, the Head of any Department has the right to retain counsel in suits relating to the business of that Department, and their compensation is paid out of a fund under the control of the Department which retains them. The Department of the Treasury sometimes retains counsel directly, or through its own officers, and sometimes requests the Attorney General to retain counsel. In the former case, the bills for compensation are sent directly to the Treasury Department, and approved and paid by that Department. It is only when counsel are employed directly by the Attorney General that he approves their bills. When your letter, with the bill for services enclosed was received by this office, having ascertained that you had not been retained by the Attorney General, as the bills related to cases arising under the Internal Revenue Laws, I thought that you had probably been retained by the Secretary of the Treasury, at the request of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and accordingly sent your letter, with the bill enclosed, to the Commissioner, that he might pass upon your bill, and make such answer as he might see fit, to the inquiries contained in your letter. In reference to the inquiry you made as to whether, in case you performed additional services and incurred additional expenses I could assure you that you would be paid. I thought it would not be proper in me to make any reply, but to leave that to the Department by which you were originally retained. This explanation will, I think, show you that I simply took the most direct means of forwarding your letter to the proper officer of the government, and had the intention of expressing any opinion upon the amount of compensation to be paid you for the services you have already rendered, or the propriety of making any contract with you for services to be hereafter rendered—as those questions were under the control of another Department. The letter which I formerly addressed to you on this subject though short, was intended simply to direct you at once to the proper channel for the settlement of your bill. I have accordingly sent your letter of the 29th ult. with its enclosures to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with a request that he will reply to it. Very Respectfully, E. R. Hoar, Attorney General.
Bill for legal services, &c.
see p. 134 seq.
see p 116 ante.
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