In Whitman's Hand

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About this Item

Title: William M. Evarts to Richard H. Dana, 17 December 1868

Date: December 17, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: nar.00733

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, John Schwaninger, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Kevin McMullen

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December 17, 1868.

Hon. R. H. Dana,

No 30 court street,

Boston, Mass.


I have just received your letter of the 15th instant, pointing out to me the difficulty that has arisen affecting the interests of Messrs. Fields, Osgood & Co., representing the copyright interests of Mr. Longfellow's works.

It seems that fraudulent invoices of imported books, now being prosecuted to forfeiture for fraudulent importation, contain English reprints of Longfellow's works which, if regularly imported, so far as the revenue system of the United States is concerned, would be subjected to forfeiture in favor of the American copyright holder, under the 6th Sec. Chap. 16, Statutes of 1831. (4 U. S. Stat. 436.)

I have requested Mr. Jordan, the Solicitor of the Treasury, to instruct the several District Attorneys in charge of the forfeiture suits for fraud in the importation, not to take decrees which will require a sale of the portion of the invoices under this special predicament of the infringement of the Copyright act in their importation, without further instructions from him.

I am inclined to think that the further protection of the special interests under the Copyright act, will need to be assumed by the parties interested, who will find the prosecuting officer of the government, I have no doubt, disposed to give them every facility in the presentation and execution of their rights.

Very respectfully,

Your obd't servt

Wm. M. Evarts,

Attorney General


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