In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to S. M. Arnell, 17 February 1870

Date: February 17, 1870

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01209

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, and John Schwaninger

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February 17, 1870.

Hon. S. M. Arnell,

House of Representatives.


I have received the letter of Leonard Harkless of Sweetwater, Tenn. dated the 8th inst. in relation to his claim for bounty, with your endorsement thereon, asking my opinion "in regard to the necessity of further legislation in the direction indicated."

The Statute establishing this office makes it the duty of the Attorney General to render official opinions only on the request of the President or the Head of some Executive Department; and it has been uniformly considered that any action beyond the statutory authority conferred upon him was an unwarrantable assumption on his part. I hope, therefore, that you will excuse me from undertaking a service beyond my official duty.

The papers are herewith returned.

Very respectfully yours,

E. R. Hoar,

Attorney General.


opinion declined


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