In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to George S. Boutwell, 6 January 1870

Date: January 6, 1870

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01147

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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January 6, 1870.

Hon. Geo. S. Boutwell,

Secretary of the Treasury.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th of September last, with its accompanying papers, all relating to a request from Mr. Leaycraft, that an export bond, executed by him, with sureties for the exportation of 387 pounds of tobacco, be cancelled, and that he be discharged from the payment of any Internal Revenue Tax due on said tobacco, on the ground that the tobacco, while being exported, was lost at sea.

It appears by a letter from the office of Internal Revenue, dated September 13, 1869, among the papers accompanying your letter, that in the opinion of that office, Mr. Leaycraft is not entitled to a cancellation of the bond, nor to a discharge from the payment of the tax; and you ask my opinion upon the question whether loss at sea is a good bar to an action on the bond, or to proceedings to enforce the collection of the tax.

I have respectfully to suggest whether it would not be better to permit the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to institute such proceedings for the collection of the tax, or the enforcement of the obligation of the bond, as may seem best to him, so that the opinion of a court, and, if necessary, the Supreme Court of the United States, may be had upon this question, if he desires it; and if this meets with your approval, whether the Attorney General should not be excused from giving any opinion upon the question.—If, on a reëxamination of the case, you still desire my opinion, I shall be happy to give it; but as it can easily be submitted to a court for its decision, if my opinion of it is not necessary for purposes of administration, I should prefer not to give it.

Very respectfully,

your obedient servant,

E. R. Hoar,

Attorney General,

(papers enc.)

question of cancelling Int. Rev. tax on goods lost at sea, in exportation
opinion conditionally declined


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