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Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to S. M. Arnell, 17 February 1870

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February 17, 1870. Hon. S. M. Arnell, House of Representatives. Sir: I have received the letter of Leonard Harkless of Sweetwater, Tenn. dated the 8th inst. in relation to his claim for bounty, with your endorsement thereon, asking my opinion "in regard to the necessity of further legislation in the direction indicated." The Statute establishing this office makes it the duty of the Attorney General to render official opinions only on the request of the President or the Head of some Executive Department; and it has been uniformly considered that any action beyond the statutory authority conferred upon him was an unwarrantable assumption on his part. I hope, therefore, that you will excuse me from undertaking a service beyond my official duty. The papers are herewith returned. Very respectfully yours, E. R. Hoar, Attorney General. (enc.)
opinion declined
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