In Whitman's Hand

Scribal Documents

About this Item

Title: John M. Binckley to B. M. Boyer, 18 March 1868

Date: March 18, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: nar.00474

Source: National Archives and Records Administration. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kevin McMullen, John Schwaninger, and Nima Najafi Kianfar

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

March 18, 1868.

Hon. B. M. Boyer,

House of Representatives.


The Attorney General ad interim has received your letter of this date, in relation to the case of Col. Gilder, which was the subject of a communication of the 5th instant, from District Attorney Courtney of New York, and of our reply of the 7th instant, in which I expressed the disapprobation of the Attorney General with respect to the release of Col. Gilder upon his own recognizance, as proposed by Mr. Courtney. You inquire "whether it is intended to restrict the usual powers or discretion of" the District Attorney in that case?

I have the honor to state in reply that the only matter covered by the instructions, was, that which the District Attorney had expressly submitted for the approval of the Attorney General, viz: whether Gilder should be released upon his own recognizance. It is not the usual practice of the Attorney General to exercise his power of supervision in special cases in derogation of the regular and ordinary discretion confided by law, with a corresponding responsibility to United States Attorneys for the several Districts. The expediency of accepting bail, the sufficiency of it, the propriety of discontinuing prosecution, and all kindred matters, belong in the first instance to the District Attorneys.

A copy of this letter is sent to District Attorney Courtney for his information.


Your obedient servant,

John M. Binckley,

Assistant Attorney Gen'l.


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.