In Whitman's Hand

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Title: W. A. Field to Charles F. Blake, 31 December 1869

Date: December 31, 1869

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01137

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, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger

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December 31, 1869.

Charles F. Blake, Esq.

No. 7 Warren st. New York


I have received your letter of the 29th inst. with papers enclosed.

You will continue to take charge of these cases as counsel for Gen. Dix, your compensation to be determined and paid by the Secretary of War. I desire to be governed in great measure by your opinion as to the best method of conducting the defence, but unless you think otherwise, I desire the suits removed immediately to a Circuit Court of the United States.—At all events I think this should be done before any trial on the merits is had in a State Court—but if you think otherwise you will please advise me immediately.

In regard to the question you ask, whether the Attorney General holds that an order from the State Court is essential for the removal of a case to a United States Court under the Act of 1863, and its amendments, I have to say, that no opinion on that subject has ever been given by him, and if he had given an opinion upon it the Courts might not regard it as evidence of the true construction of the law. Similar suits are often removed from State Courts by a writ of error, or a writ of certiorari from the Circuit Court,—and the only order in the State Court is one directing the clerk to make a proper return to these suits and that proceedings in the State Courts be stayed. But whatever is the prevailing practice in New York, or is thought by yourself, or the profession, to be the best practice in these cases, I wish you to follow, in order that there may be no dispute upon the question whether these suits have been removed or not. I only wish that you should do nothing that would commit the United States to any doctrine, that, in a proper case, it is within the power of a State Court to prevent the removal of a suit, or that it is for the State Court, and not for the Circuit Court, to determine whether any given case is brought within the statute.

If Wright will discontinue his case without paying costs, would it not be best to consent to it, if the statute of limitations will prevent his bringing a new suit, or he will stipulate not to bring a new one?

Very respectfully,

W. A. Field,

Acting Attorney General.

suit ag't Gen. Dix.
see p. 148 ante
question of removal of cases from State to U. S. Courts


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