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Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to William A. Richardson, 21 June 1869

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June 21, 1869. Hon. Wm. A. Richardson, Acting Secretary of the Treasury. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th inst. relating to the case of Baker, Beach, & Company, arising under the Internal Revenue laws. It appears that an assessment was made upon this firm for deficiencies in their returns of manufactured tobacco, from May to November 1868, both inclusive, as follows:
Tax $4271:52
Penalty, 50 pr cent 2135:76
Total $6407:28
An information for the forfeiture of property seized, being of the value of $750, was filed, and Baker, Beach, and Ware, the co-partners, were indicted, charged among other things with knowingly making false returns.
Baker, Beach & Co. offer to pay as tax— $2865:24,
Specific penalty 596:30,
Total 3461:54.
Payable, "one half cash down, the balance in three equal payments," in six, nine, and twelve months, in compromise of said assessment and suits. If this compromise is accepted, either the suits are to be discontinued on payment of one-half of the sum offered, and on the execution by Baker, Beach, & Co. of an obligation to pay the remaining half at the times named;— or the suits are to be continued for a year, and if at the end of that time the money offered is all paid, the suits are to be discontinued. Meanwhile, the instalments paid must either be held by the local officers of the United States, and paid into the Treasury; or, if paid into the Treasury, and the last instalment is not paid, the suits must be either prosecuted, and the amount received paid back, or the suits discontinued—although only a part of the amount offered has been paid. The practical difficulties in trying the cases, after having been continued for a year, must be considerable. If the suits are discontinued, on receiving one half, with an obligation on the part of Baker, Beach & Company, to pay the remaining half, and there is a breach of the obligation, the United States must bring suit upon it. It is not agreed that Baker, Beach, & Co. are to furnish sureties that they will perform their obligation—and, if they did furnish sureties, still the United States, a year hence, may be compelled to bring a suit with no certainty that a judgment obtained will be satisfied. It may be that the amount offered should be accepted, if payable immediately; but I cannot think it for the interest of the United States to give credit in compromising suits of this character—and I feel constrained to withhold my recommendation. The papers enclosed in your letter are returned herewith. I have the honor to be, &c. &c. E. R. Hoar, Attorney General.
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