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Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to H. B. Titus, 4 June 1870

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June 4, 1870. Gen. H. B. Titus, No. 608 14th street, Washington, D. C. Sir: I have received your letter of the 31st ult., calling my attention to your claim as informer in the so-called Laboratory case at Macon, Georgia. It appears from a letter addressed to you by Messrs. Jackson, Lawton & Basinger, on the 3d ultimo, that an application was made by the U. S. Attorney to the Court to open the order adjudging the moiety to you as informer, upon two grounds: 1st. That you were an officer of the United States Government, at the time you filed the information; 2d. That the property condemned was in the actual occupation of the military forces of the United States at the time of said filing; and that the matter was adjourned to the next term of the Court. I have already shown you a letter of Gen. Howard to me, of the 4th ultimo, and a letter of the Secretary of War to me, of the 26th ultimo. I have read the record of the Court which you handed me, in which it does not appear distinctly what the proofs were, or what points were contested and argued at the hearing on your petition to be declared informer; and as the Secretary of War does not assent to your claim, and as a motion is now pending in the Court to open the original order, I do not feel at liberty to withdraw the instructions to the U. S. Attorney previously issued. It is true, perhaps, that the fact that you were an officer of the United States at the time you filed the information, if it be a fact, and that the property condemned was in the actual occupation of the military forces of the United States at the time of such filing, if that be a fact, do not necessarily exclude your claim; but it is also true that your relations to the property as such officer, or to its occupation by the military forces, might be such, or the occupation might be of such a character as to exclude your claim; but whether the facts in the case would bring you in as informer, or not, I cannot determine—and I think that question should be determined by the Court. If at the hearing on the application to open the order adjudging you as informer, the U. S. Attorney in behalf of the United States presents no facts or grounds against your claim that were not deliberately considered and decided when your petition was first heard, and the Court is still of the same opinion as it was then, it will of course deny the motion, and issue an order to the clerk to pay you the sum adjudged to you. If, however, the Court should be of opinion that there was newly discovered evidence or facts, or that there are questions of law which ought to be considered before, or upon which it has doubts, and desires reargument, it will probably grant the motion and proceed to hear the petition de novo on the proofs, and after argument decide it. My only wish is, that your rights to be adjudged informer shall be fully and fairly investigated and determined by the Court, after hearing all the facts, and after argument on all doubtful questions of law connected with your claim—and that this may be done as speedily as possible, that you may not suffer from delay. No other course will, in my opinion, be satisfactory to the Department of War, and I do not think it proper for me to give any other directions in the case than such as are indicated in this letter. The previous instructions given by me, you have seen. Very respectfully, E. R. Hoar, Attorney General
Gen. Titus' claim as informer. (Macon Laboratory property.)
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